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