1965 – present
Had it not been for the melodic and accomplished guitar work of Peter Albin flowing out of an upper story window at 1090 Page Street in the early summer of 1965, there might never have been a Big Brother and the Holding Company. It was on that day that Sam Andrew happened down Page Street in San Francisco and was so impressed by what me heard, that he went in and introduced himself.
Peter was born on June 6, 1944 in San Francisco. He began playing guitar at an early age and became involved in the folk scene of the early 60s. While attending The College of San Mateo, Peter and his brother Rodney played in a bluegrass band called the Liberty Hill Aristocrats.
By the time Peter met Sam in 1965, he had aspirations of forming a band that would write and perform children’s songs. One of the first songs he wrote while working with children at The Marin Jewish Community Day Camp, north of San Francisco, was “Caterpillar”. This song went on the appear on the first Big Brother and the Holding Company Album.
But the guitarist who inspired the first meeting with Sam Andrew ended up making the transition to bass and has spent the majority of his career with that instrument. Although his fine guitar work can be heard on cuts such as “Coo-Coo”, “Oh, Sweet Mary”, and “Turtle Blues” and also on Big Brother LPs “Be A Brother” and “How Hard It Is”.
Witty and personable, Peter provided much of the on-stage commentary and also served as the liaison for the group with managers and promoters. Also, in the early days of Big Brother, before Janis, Peter did most of the lead vocals for the band. Among the many songs he sang were “Blow My Mind” and “Down On Me”. Even after Janis, the first album finds Peter’s lead on “Blindman”, “Light Is Faster Than Sound”, and “Caterpillar”.
Peter’s musical pursuits have also extended beyond Big Brother and the Holding Company. He has played with Country Joe and the Fish and can be heard on their 1969 Vanguard album “Here We Are Again”. He later toured in an all-star band with Joe McDonald that cut an album outside Paris (Paris Sessions, Vanguard – 1973) in September of 1972.
In 1982, Peter was one of the founding members of the Bay Area super group, The Dinosaurs. Along with Peter, the group consisted of, John Cipollina, Barry Melton, Merl Saunders, Robert Hunter, and Spencer Dryden.
Peter has loaned many items to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. The most notable piece is his legendary psychedelic Fender Jazz Bass from 1968 which is now a popular museum attraction.
Today, along with keeping a regular tour schedule with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Peter serves as an advertising coordinator with City Hall Record Distributors.
1965 – present
David Getz was born January 24, 1940 and raised in Brooklyn N.Y. As a child he showed an exceptional talent in both music and art. His first passions, starting somewhere in early adolescence, were drawing and copying comic book art and studying Native American culture.
Dave started playing drums at the age of 14 and by the time he was 15 years old he was a member of the New York musicians union, local 802 and was playing professionally. He went to Europe and back when he was 19 with Rick Lundy and the Saints a Dixieland jazz group. That summer, when the Saints were not performing Dave hitch-hiked his way through Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. After High School Dave wanted to study art and was accepted into Cooper Union Art School in Manhattan. He graduated Cooper and decided to continue his studies in California. He waved goodbye to his family, to his friends in New York and drove his 1949 Plymouth almost nonstop to San Francisco (1960). In San Francisco in that early-sixties time Dave was at the center of the San Francisco underground. What began in that time and place was the seed that germinated into what became the counter-culture that would change the world.
Between 1960 and the time Dave joined Big Brother he didn’t play the drums that much. He painted and worked as a dishwasher and a cook and only played drums at the Art Institute parties with other artist/musicians.
In 1964 Dave got his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute and was the winner of a Fulbright fellowship for his paintings. He spent the next year living and painting in Krakow, Poland, a communist, iron-curtain country and it was in Poland that Dave started sitting in on drums in some of the underground jazz clubs.
Back to San Francisco and in the Fall of 65 Dave joined the faculty of the Art Institute as an instructor of painting. He was painting, showing his work and teaching.
Things were beginning to stir in San Francisco. LSD was opening minds. The ‘Free Speech Movement and the Freedom Riders were demanding change. Bands were starting up and playing a different idea of what music could be; the first psychedelic dances. Everyone is listening to Blues, Soul, Ragas and Free-Jazz. It becomes apparent that something is happening. In the winter of 1965-66 in a café downstairs from his loft while taking a break from painting, Dave met Peter Albin. Dave told Peter that he played the drums and had heard of the group that Peter played with, Big Brother and the Holding Co. One month later Dave became the new drummer for the group. Three months later Janis Joplin joined the band.
The time from 1966 through 1968 was an incredible time in the history of music and culture in America and the world; Big Brother was close to the center of it all. The Band with Janis was one of the greatest bands in the history of rock music. In late summer and fall of 1968 “Cheap Thrills” was the number one record in the world for eight weeks.1968 when Janis left Big Brother and the band broke up Dave became a member of Country Joe and the Fish, touring Europe twice and recording two albums , (Here I Go Again, Paris Sessions) with different ‘Country Joe’ bands.
The post-Janis reunion of Big Brother between 1970 and 1972 produced two albums for Columbia Records “Be A ,Brother” and “How Hard It Is”.
In 1975, Dave moved to Los Angeles where he met his wife, singer and actress, Joan Payne. For several years they wrote and performed together in L.A as part of a contemporary music ensemble called “Passengers”.
At the end of the 1970s Dave resumed his work as a visual artist but this time mainly as a printmaker. Working from his studio in Santa Monica he produced over thirty limited edition prints, hundreds of paintings, cast paper pieces, collages, and mixed-media pieces. His work was been shown in galleries all over the U.S.A. and has been acquired by numerous corporate and private collections. Many of his print editions can be viewed at davegetz.com. In 1987, Dave, moved back up to the Bay Area and in the Spring of that year Big Brother had its second re-birth.
Today Dave Getz still lives in Marin County, CA. He is a father and grandfather and continues, as he has throughout his career to juggle art, music, teaching and his other passion, golf. He teaches and has taught both art and drumming at numerous schools including the College of Marin, Drake H.S., Novato H.S., and San Marin H.S. he has been on the faculty of Jazz Camp West and he currently teaches drumming at the Marin Community Music School. Dave also continues to pursue his work in the visual arts. In 2005 he was asked, along with eleven other Bay Area artists, including Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, to each paint an actual violin. These were works of art and music and were auctioned for the Marin Symphony.
In 2010, Dave finally released a CD of his own music called ‘Can’t Be The Only One’. The title track being a song that Dave co-wrote with Janis in 1968 that was never recorded which features the vocals of the late Kathi MacDonald. The album has received high praise from everyone from Ben Fong Torres to Barry Melton. It is available from CD Baby, Amazon and the Global Recording Artists Label.
2013 – present
Darby Gould began performing with Big Brother & the Holding Company in 2013. The daughter of a minister father and a pianist mother, Darby’s first singing experiences were in front of a church audience. She joined her first band at age 12. She is best known for her work with Paul Kantner’s Jefferson Starship (since 1991) and World Entertainment War, the last band managed by Bill Graham. Now balancing single parenthood with a full-time job and her music career, she still makes time to appear with various bands in the Bay Area. Darby is thrilled to be a part of Big Brother and is honored to sing such celebrated songs while sharing the stage with legendary musicians.
1997 – present
Tom Finch, a California native and multi-instrumentalist for over thirty years is Influenced by rock, funk, blues, and jazz styles and his playing and composing continue to grow with a creative and energetic force! A Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame inductee, Tom has toured throughout the U.S., Europe, Japan and Canada, and is featured on many albums with groups such as Big Brother & the Holding Co, Jazz Iguanas, Pamela Parker and the Kings, and Plethora. As well as leading his own group, Tom has played with a variety of artists some of which include Joan Baez, Randy Vincent, Mel Graves, Steve Smith and Kai Eckhardt. His formal training includes 10 plus years of study in music theory, composition, performance, and education at Sonoma State University, College of Marin, and Mills College and he has taught music privately as well as in school programs for more than 20 years. He currently resides in Fairfax, California.
Kate Russo Thompson is a singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist touring and recording music artist from central Massachusetts.
A stand out in the violin world, she created her own style of lead rock electric 5-string violin, equally influenced by blues/rock guitar legends, classic rock, pop, blues and classical music– while also amazing listeners with killer keyboard playing and vocals. A childhood steeped in music (and every instrument she could lay her hands on!) led Kate to New England Conservatory of Music and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, followed by an exciting musical journey across the country and internationally! She has shared the stage with classic legendary rock, pop and blues artists including Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks (performing on NBC’s “Live with Conan O’Brien”), Gin Blossoms, Clyde Stubblefield, Van Morrison, James Cotton, Savoy Brown, Vassar Clemens, Medeski Martin & Wood, Lonnie Mack and Rick Danko.
In the late 90s, in a sweaty and packed NYC club called Manny’s Car Wash, Kate Russo found herself, armed only with vocals and a violin, onstage with BBHC- dueling with James Gurley and Sam Andrew! A few months later she was singing with the band in Mexico City. A few years later they tried “an interesting experiment,” as Sam called it: Kate touring with BBHC as the second lead guitarist, on rock violin…. This exciting collaboration was so much fun and so unique that BBHC decided to invite Kate to join BBHC in 2016 to tour Holland on violin/keys/vocals and be a part of the “Live In The Lowlands” recording and DVD. Ever since, she is grateful to join this group of legends and amazing artists; a Little Sister to Big Brother!
present | East Coast
Eileen was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. A natural born performer, she started honing her skills at an early age, both acting and singing. Eileen fronted her first rock & roll band as a teenager and hasn’t stopped since. When a mutual friend sent a recording of Eileen performing to the late, great Sam Andrew, Sam was eager to have her perform with BBHC. Her first show with BBHC was in Italy in 2014, and she has been performing with them since in Europe and the U.S. Eileen brings an unbridled passion to the stage which captures the audience and makes them feel every note with her. Eileen lives in Tampa Bay with her husband, Gary, and way too many pets! A long time fan, she’s thrilled to perform this iconic music with this legendary band!
David Aguilar is an accomplished rhythm & blues/slide guitarist and has played with artists such Bo Diddley, David & Linda LaFlamme (It’s A Beautiful Day), Big Brother & the Holding Company , Bonnie Raitt, Roy Rogers, The Doobie Brothers, Jackson Browne, Barry Melton (Country Joe & the Fish), and many others. He has been featured on recordings with artists including Norton Buffalo, The Aguilar Blumenfeld Project, Helen Mead, John Salz, Vikki Lee, and most recently played on Lester Chamber’s latest recording, ‘Lester’s Time has Come’. David truly enjoyed performing with the late harmonica virtuoso Norton Buffalo and his wife Lisa Flores as the Norton Buffalo and Friends trio. In 2013 David was recognized as Sonoma Treasure Artist of the Year for his musical talents and community contributions.