2005. July 29th. Tribute to Chet Helms. Great American Music Hall, San Francisco, California.


2005. July 29th. Trib­ute to Chet Helms. Great Amer­i­can Music Hall, San Fran­cis­co, California.

I spoke with Chet while he was very ill in his hos­pi­tal bed not long before he passed away. Although he was very con­cerned about his health, as he had been for quite some time, he was at that point opti­mistic that he would be back home short­ly. How­ev­er, he was wor­ried about sev­er­al debts that were build­ing up; includ­ing his rent…he just did­n’t have the funds to pay them.
I asked him if he mind­ed if I, Roger McNamee and the Fly­ing Oth­er Broth­ers host a ben­e­fit con­cert at the Great Amer­i­can Music Hall to help him out.
He was very grate­ful and gave us his bless­ings to pro­ceed. Roger spoke with Bay Area poster artists, I met with Dawn Hol­l­i­day and the staff at the GAMH and it all seemed doable…so I began call­ing up musi­cians and work­ing out who would play what and when.

It was going to be billed as a fundrais­er for Chet…but trag­i­cal­ly he nev­er left the hos­pi­tal and soon passed away. When Chet died we were well into the plan­ning stages and many musi­cians had already agreed to per­form, so we decid­ed to turn it into a com­bi­na­tion ben­e­fit and trib­ute show, with Kathy Peck from H.E.A.R. orga­niz­ing an online auc­tion. The evening was a great suc­cess musi­cal­ly and finan­cial­ly, and we gave all the mon­ey raised direct­ly to Chet’s broth­er John and fam­i­ly as well as pay­ing off his landlord…something Chet had been very con­cerned about.

The show sold out with­in a few hours unfor­tu­nate­ly leav­ing many peo­ple out­side unable to get in.
But the free con­cert in the Gold­en Gate Park put on by Boots Hous­ton a short time lat­er had room for every­one and was also a great suc­cess; a won­der­ful trib­ute to Chet…I played with Jef­fer­son Star­ship, Nick Graven­ites, and Coun­try Joe McDon­ald that day. It was a sad time…Chet was a good friend and a won­der­ful fel­low, whose style of pro­mot­ing shows at the Fam­i­ly Dog and Aval­on helped define the “Sum­mer of Love” generation.

Some of the musi­cians who per­formed that night at the Great Amer­i­can Music Hall:
T Bone Bur­nett, Bob Weir, Mick­ey Hart, David Nel­son, Coun­try Joe McDon­ald, Leigh Stephens, Bob­by Vega, Joli Valen­ti & Friends and the “Fly­ing Oth­er Brothers”.
The $50 admis­sion price also includ­ed a pack­age of lim­it­ed edi­tion posters designed by such artists as Stan­ley Mouse, Wes Wil­son, Chris Shaw, and Alton Kelley.
Thanks to Roger Mcnamee. — with Coun­try Joe McDon­ald, Chet Helms, Leigh Stephens, Mick­ey Hart, Nick Graven­ites, Bob Weir, Jef­fer­son Star­ship, T Bone Bur­nett, David Nel­son and Moonalice.


Leave a Reply