ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7 Blesok no. 18 | volume IV | January, 2001
Blesok no. 18,
Interview with Sam Andrew
"I find something new in what I am playing"
VI: Tell me more about your musical beginnings.
SA: I began playing the guitar, because that is the instrument my father played. He was a music reader and my mother's family were intuitive musicians who played by ear. I think I inherited both qualities. I listened to T-Bone Walker, Little Richard, Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Ivory Joe Hunter, Charlie Parker, Fats Domino, Chet Atkins, Paul Desmond, The Moonglows… and on and on, such great musicians. I always loved all music.
VI: San Francisco became musical center of USA in mid 60's and you were part of that scene. Prior to forming Big Brother And The Holding Company, did you play in some other bands in the area?
SA: I played saxophone in a small band in Marin County which is just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. In this band I played with John Cipollina, who later helped form The Quicksilver Messenger Service. We did some silly songs and had a lot of fun. I also played jazz on the guitar and joined up with people to play in clubs, but this was sporadic and unorganized.
VI: In Irwin Stambler's “Encyclopedia Of Pop, Rock & Soul”, it is stated that you met with future Big Brother members Peter Albin and James Gurley at a Victorian mansion where Chet Helms also was. How did you get together, did you share the same ideas about music and who gave the name Big brother And The Holding Company?
SA: I heard Peter Albin playing one day in a beautiful Victorian house in San Francisco. I climbed the stairs to his room, introduced myself, and said:”Let's form a band”. This was before Chet Helms or James Gurley were there. When Chet came to hear us play in the basement, he brought James Gurley to be in our band, and he brought a list of names. One was Big Brother and the other was The Holding Company. We put them together.
VI: Did you play any of your songs then or were you just jamming or something?
SA: I always wrote songs, even when I was a small child. So, when Big Brother started, I had a lot of songs for the band. We also played covers, songs done by other bands.
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