Gary Duncan 9/4/1946 - 6/29/2019

QMS Marin County 1968Quicksilver Messenger Service was one of the best bands to emerge from the Sixties Haight Ashbury - San Francisco scene. They loaded up their from-the-heart songs with free-form jamming; in gigs at classic venues like the Fillmore and Avalon, they stretched out and improvised, pushing their music in unpredictable directions. Tougher than the Grateful Dead, looser than the Jefferson Airplane, but never managing to achieve the popularity of either; they faded away after 1975. Maybe they just weren't ambitious enough. In the words of guitarist Gary Duncan, "We had no ambition toward making records, we just wanted to have fun, play some music and make enough money to be able to afford to smoke pot". Sadly, today Quicksilver Messenger Service is too often overlooked as an essential classic rock experience.

They made hippie music, simple straight forward lyrics, mostly love songs and some social commentary thrown in (from the freak point of view). QMS from Solid Silver Musically loose, plenty of rough edges, rarely over-produced, no slick singer, just a tough dual guitar attack always looking for a little open space to stretch it out as far as they could go. Their personnel sometimes changed based on who was busted on the latest pot possession rap. But the two guitar attack of John Cipollina and Gary Duncan was generally a constant. With the charismatic folk rocker Dino Valente out front, the band had its most recognizable singles "Fresh Air" and "What About Me". However there is much to enjoy in all the bands phases from the heavy jamming of the first albums, through the hits of the Valente folk pop period (spiced up by Nicky Hopkins then Michael Lewis keyboards) and finally sweet cowboyish love songs like "Gypsy Lights" and "Don't Cry My Lady Love"

Quicksilver - Sweetwater 1997 Duncan, Freiberg and Lewis stretched Quicksilver into the Eighties with the the lost classic "Peace by Piece" where the band experimented with rap music and synthesized drums. Today, Gary Duncan's powerful Shape-Shifting Quicksilver pushes the live sound full circle, with long explorations of rock, jazz, pop and blues - touching back to the endless jams of the sixties at the Avalon and Fillmore.

Listen to Quicksilver, still jazzed after forty years and sounding fresher than ever.

Dino Valente
Dino Valente

A look back with Elaine ...

DinoValenti - Singer, Songwriter and Poet
Don't miss this outstanding tribute site!

Dino Valente

Wishkitz Meteorite Boxes

We've all been wishing upon stars since we were little because we all know wishes upon stars come true... a wishkitz is your opportunity to give the child in your life their very own bit of a star to carry in their pocket... for those moments when a wish would come in handy. Their magical and shiny star will arrive in a one-of-a-kind colorfully hand painted and hand crafted celestial box. And like snowflakes, no two boxes or stars are exactly alike. Pick from four vibrant colors. It's a perfect gift for you or the star in your life... a guaranteed authentic fragment of a real shooting star. This meteorite fell from space between 4000 and 6000 years ago. The first record of its discovery was in the 1570s by Spanish explorers in Argentina. The actual fall is believed to have been witnessed by local Indians who originally named the area Campo del Cielo, which means Field of Heaven, an appropriate name for the star strewn region.

Put a star in the pocket of someone you love... so they can make a wish! A unique gift for birthdays or just because! .

David Freiberg

Sept 97 Interview with David Freiberg
by John Barthel
They said it couldn't be done!

Virtual Duncan Virtual Duncan does not require your belief in order to function.

John Bird
In Memory of JOHN BIRD

Gary Duncan with Automatic Pilot
San Francisco's satiric / erotic jazz wave ensemble

Unreleased demos from 1984!

These songs were recorded at the Sammy Gene Music studio in San Rafael in 1984. Gary hung out there with engineer Bob Ohlsson and drummer Sammy Piazza, who did not play on these songs but did play on Dream A Lot. Gary also contributed to the arrangement and production of these songs.

These songs also feature performances by percussionist Pete Escovedo, bassist Frank Zincavage (of Romeo Void), and Automatic Pilot.

Click here for MP3s and streaming audio.

The Jon Hammond Band

When I first started playing as a professional in 1960, that's 45 years ago, Hammond made a lot of Hammond B3 Organs. There were a lot of B3 players in those days. Hammond also made an option which attached to the legs of the organ and sat on the floor. It had keys like a Piano but the keys were about three times the size of the Piano. It was made to play Bass. You played it with your feet. Not everybody had one cause it was hard to play.............. like riding a bicycle and flying a plane at the same time. Back in those days when you were auditioning an Organist (and it was always a B3.....never a Farfisa) the first question which was usually asked by the Bass player was "Does he Kick Pedals, or....Can the Man Dance".....meaning Can the B3 player play Bass with his feet which meant the Bass Player was out of a Gig. Not every B3 player could "Kick Bass"..............only the Great ones

Jon Hammond "KICKS PEDALS............and "THE MAN CAN DANCE!!"

Just listen

Gary Duncan
Quicksilver Messenger Service


Nicky Hopkins
Nicky Hopkins Page

"Hopkins was undoubtedly one of the most talented piano players to have graced British rock during this era."

John CipollinaJohn Cipollina
The John Cipollina Memorial Photo Page
by Michael Kirschner

"From the time I arrived in San Francisco in 1982 until John's untimely demise in 1989, I attended many of his gigs ... These photos are from those gigs at The Fresno Saloon (later just "The Saloon"), Ms. Keiko's Chi Chi Club, The Keystone Berkeley, Wolfgang's, and other places I just don't remember..."

Quicksilver poster

The Quicksilver Concert Timeline
by Marc Skobac

Blow your mind with a nearly complete list of QMS gigs from 66 to 75!

Duncan and the Crawfish! Electric Gunslinger Jacksonville FL, June 21


  • Quicksilver Messenger Service (Capitol, 1968)
  • Happy Trails (Capitol, 1969)
  • Shady Grove (Capitol, 1970)
  • Just For Love (Capitol, 1970)
  • What About Me (Capitol, 1971)
  • Quicksilver (Capitol, 1971)
  • Comin' Thru (Capitol, 1972)
  • Anthology (Capitol, 1973)
  • Solid Silver (Capitol #11820, 1975)
  • Peace by Piece (Pymander, 1986)
  • Sons of Mercury: The Best of Quicksilver Messenger Service, 1968-1975 (Rhino, 1991)
  • Shape Shifter (Pymander, 1996)
  • Live at Fieldstone (Captain Trip / Pymander, 1997)
  • A great place for the new Quicksilver fan to start is with the outstanding Rhino collection! Almost all the essential music in a well-packaged two CD box set. The other purchase I would definitely recommend is Happy Trails, recorded mostly live at the Fillmores and one of the coolest live albums ever (IMHO). After that you can fill in according to your taste. Although Quicksilver always had solid musicianship and free spirit, there is a noticeable difference in style along the way as members came and went. Get the Rhino collection and go from there!

    BAND MEMBERS (1968-1998)

    Gary Gary Duncan - guitar, vocals
    John John Cipollina - guitar, vocals
    David David Freiberg - bass, keyboards, guitar, vocals
    Greg Greg Elmore - drums, percussion, vocals
    Dino Dino Valenti - vocals, guitars


    Nicky Hopkins - keyboards

    Jim Murray - vocals, harmonica (left group before first Capitol album)

    Michael Lewis - keyboards


    Mark Naftalin - keyboards

    Chuck Steaks - keyboards

    Mark Ryan - bass


    Greg Errico - drums

    Bobby Vega - bass

    Jim Guyett - bass

    John Bird - guitar, vocals

    Tony Menjivar - L/P percussion

    Quicksilver Messenger Service
    The Shady Grove Visitor Register - (Closed to new entries due to spammers)

    Friends of Quicksilver

    Big Brother and the Holding Company
    Bo Diddley - The Originator
    The Jefferson Airplane Home Page
    Barry Melton (of Country Joe and the Fish) Homepage
    Sons of Champlin
    Sopwith Camel
    VersaFrame - Custom Picture Frames
    Wharf Rat QMS Concert Photos
    JW Anderson's Rock Garden
    The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
    Globe Records Sound and Vision Cyberlounge
    Poster Planet


    Fresh Air midi courtesy of Bruce Bundy
    with Jim Allen
    a website