Who... We?

The owner of this poster received it free at the Psychedelic Shop on Haight Street in 1967. They were given to anyone who asked for one, but they were kept under the counter. You had to know enough to ask the cashier. That way the people of the neighborhood could get them, instead of the tourists (who had discovered the Haight by 1967). The poster is for a concert staged by Chet Helms' Family Dog Productions, which was Bill Graham's only real competition in presenting concerts for the San Francisco psychedelic scene. Unusual in that it actually shows the group who's gig it advertises. Most of them were artistic creations that was at best only tagentally related to the concert. The band depicted is the Charlatans. They never garnered the fame of groups like the JEFFERSON AIRPLANE or the GRATEFUL DEAD, but they predated them all, being the first to crystalize the new psychedelic San Francisco sound and the sartorial style of vintage clothes and beat boots. Group member Dan Hicks (second from the left in photo) went on to great success in the '70s with his group DAN HICKS AND THE HOT LICKS. Group member George Hunter (seated on the steps) went on to fame as a graphic designer, (he did QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE's Happy Trails Lp cover, for example) using the vintage style he displays here, an early example of what became a trendy vintage graphic style. RICK GRIFFIN, former surfer cartoonist turned psychedelic illustrator, did the illustration work on this. He went on to do several posters and album covers for the GRATEFUL DEAD, along with comics for ZAP Comics, which was started by R. CRUMB. Photo is credited to Herb Greene. Second-billed group SPARROW later evolved into STEPPENWOLF, who wrote and recorded the classic rock hit "BORN TO BE WILD." Third billed group, CANNED HEAT, went on to have hits in the seventies with songs "GOING UP THE COUNTRY," etc.

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History