Woodstock Story

Thoughts and memories from longtime Jefferson Airplane Manager Bill Thompson

Woodstock Story

Postby bill-thompson on Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:14 pm

It was Aug 16th, 1969, and we were leaving the hotel for "Woodstock." I flew in a helicopter with Marty Balin, our lead singer and Pigpen (Rod) the keyboard player for the "Grateful Dead." We flew right after Janis Joplin who was in her helicopter. We flew over almost a half a million people!

The band was on a roll as of late and generally considered one of the biggest bands of the time. Just five days earlier, there was a show at the Tanglewood with B.B. King, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and the headliner was us, Jefferson Airplane.

When we finally landed at the Woodstock site, I ran into "Michael Lang" one of the promoters. I said "When do we get paid?"We made $15,000 which was a good amount of money in 1969. He said "don't worry about it. Isn't this beautiful?"

I organized all the bands managers: "Stan Marcum" "Santana". "Grateful Dead" "Rock Scully", "The Who" "Wiggy." " Janis Joplin" "John Cook." I told everyone that we should be paid or threaten not to play. We had a meeting with "Michael Lang" & co-promoter "Artie Kronfeld." I think they were both on acid. In 1969 banks were not open on Saturdays but there were so many people at "Woodstock" and I thought that the bands might get burned so I was insistent that we all would get paid. After Bill Graham was fired as manager "Jefferson Airplane" played "Salt Lake City" and I took a check which bounced. I hear a lot of groans from the band. It wouldn't happen again. That was in Feb 1968.

So Lang & Kronfeld showed up with "Cashier checks" and the night roared on. We were set to go on stage at midnight, but due to rain and other delays we took the stage at 6 am and ended at 8 am on Sunday, August 17th, 1969. The bands that played that night included Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, the Who then Jefferson Airplane, all 7 of which are now members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Talk about a night to remember... it is still clear in my mind after 40 years.

Bill Thompson

NEAT STORY on Woodstock w/ prices they paid for each band:
http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news ... acts_N.htm
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Re: Woodstock Story

Postby babson on Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:39 am

Hi Bill

I was at Tanglewood on August 12th. I was 20, my girlfriend 17. We found some round blue buttons on the ground with the word PRESS on them. I picked them up and we pinned them on us and walked right past all the security into the press area. Saw the whole WHO show. JA came on with Somebody to Love, and I kissed my girlfriend through the whole song standing in front of the whole crowd, the band and the press. When we stopped my girlfriend looked around and got really embarrassed. I looked up and Gracie, standing right above us, was looking right at me like her eyes we boring through me. I looked around and that kiss had attracted too much attention. The whole press box was looking at us, so we made a nonchalant exit before we were escorted out. We found our blanket, had another toke, and made love under the blanket during the rest of the JA songs. I felt like Grace was warning me that we had been discovered.
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
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Re: Woodstock Story

Postby Airplane Freak on Sun Oct 27, 2013 12:53 pm

Saturday night… Woodstock... down in front.
"Ladies and gentlemen… we have what's called a 'trickle'. Please don't be alarmed…"
Anybody remember?
We are all creatures of fame, lightness, and liberty!
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Re: Woodstock Story

Postby psychy on Mon Nov 18, 2013 7:37 am

Hey, what a great read, man:):)!!! Say.....do some of you guys who were THERE :P :shock: know anything about why Iron Butterfly was supposed to play Woodstock and didn't????!!??? Legend has it that the band had asked for a kopter to fly them over because they seemingly had a hassle getting there, but the organization had refused to comply...is this true??:)
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