Friday, June 12, 2009

The Crystalline Silence Band




I couldn’t remember if I posted this story. It belongs in my Laclede Town FaceBook somewhere.

Across the circle from where I lived, behind the bookstore, just up a cul-de-sac/parking lot was a psychedelic tour bus belonging to our local rock group The Crystalline Silence Band.

The allure of this multi-colored fantasy chariot proved too strong for the kids in the neighborhood to resist. One night we broke into it. I can’t remember who was with me but there were a lot of us. We didn’t even try to be discreet. We ran wild.

Needless to say we were discovered by the band. I thought we were really in for it but, instead of getting angry, they invited us into their pad.

It was an environment I had never known before. There were strange odors. All of the walls were covered in murals and some were still in progress. A beautiful hippy girl with a head band surrounding long blonde hair sat on a stool reciting wonderful abstract poetry into a microphone. Her voice was processed with a lot of reverb and there was so much smoke that it seemed like it was all a dream. Now that I think about it, I bet we kids all got a contact high.

Laclede Town was already a cultural experiment and it seemed like we were all heading into a world of acceptance and tolerance.

What happened?

Pic is from Laclede Town’s paper The Mill Creek Valley Intelligencer, December 1967. I just put a bigger one on. Click for better details. Tickets were sold at our friend Bill Burgdorf's bookstore. He told me his store was closed once because he sold the book Candy. I'll do a post on him one of these days.

32 comments:

Susie said...

Wow, the page from the Intelligencer is great!

Doggie said...

I'm going to put a larger pic on so people can click on it for details.

dominic schaeffer said...

I think this was produced by Jorge Martinez... if i heard right.

Tony Patti said...

Velvet Plastic Balls were put on by either Jorge or by Raymond Tissier, who I got to know when I worked for him at the Top Man Shop on Bond Street in London in 1984. He went out with both Rose Denness and Paula Wills back in the day, and god only knows who else.

When I think of those old hippie days I get a thrill.

Anonymous said...

i know i was there, they let me mess with their drums, i must have been about 7, im sure Patrick was there, and i'll bet at least david or both of the Parker brothers were there; as a result i wanted to be a drummer for years, till i realized i couldn't do anything with sticks in my hands( i did do a short stint playing congo's once); i dont know why, but i always thought members of the csb went on to join the Guess Who, though i now know that cant be, since they were both around at the same time Geo

Anonymous said...

James Michael Webb was the drummer ... he lives in Salt Lake City, UT now.

Elven Webb said...

Hey Gang,
my Mom just posted this to me, very cool. James Michael Webb is my dad. Ric Blackerby was the lead singer? He lives about a block from me now, also in Salt Lake. Ric and his wife are both artists. I'll let them know about this.

rober49 said...

I was a regular at the Circle Coffee House & attended the Velvet Plastic Balls. They also played at the Garravelli's on DeBaliver. The last time I saw Rick Blackerby was in his carriage house in the C.W.E in 1969. I saw Jerry Fairess ( who ran the coffee house & played guitar in the Crystaline Silence ) in 1997 in Santa Fe. I saw Jorge a few years ago in Carl's Grill in Rock Hill. I'm still in regular contact with Wes Hartley (look at the back page of the Intellingencer ) & I saw Bill Burgdorf today.

rober49 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rober49 said...

PS:Elven-
Give Blackerby my e-mail. I've heard he'd like to get in touch with Burgdorf.........

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Wes said...

Wes Hartley here. I was the editor-in-chief of The Mill Creek Valley Intelligencer during the December 1967 issue. I pasted-up the back page spread advertising the end-of-the-year gig. I also designed the poster pictured at the top of the sheet. It's very likely that I have the only surviving copy of the poster in my archive. I also have all but one of the issues of the Intelligencer I edited during my very brief tenure. I was a very close pal of Rick Blackerby, and Jerry Farris, and the other members of The Crystalline Silence Band. Indeed, it was Jorge Martinez who set up the gig at Garavellis. He disappeared for a month or so after the bash, absconding with the cash (as usual) and reappeared later with a "likely story". The lightshow workers got their money because my boyfriend Brian who conducted it threatened little Jorge with physical violence . . . I have some large glossy B&W photos also in my stash of the event taken by a famed shutterbug of the day. I also have a full-frontal nude of Rick Blackerby (which he gave me in 1970) posing for a very famous local painter and silversmith. I have been residing here in Vancouver, BC for forty years. It's a long story . . . Cheers!

Wes said...

One more detail I just recalled about The Crystalline Silence Band, the name of the third guitarist. He was Harvey Moscowitz, a really great young guy (the youngest member of the band) and the most personable of the four. When the band splintered after a couple of years of gigging, Harvey migrated to San Francisco where I ran into him I believe in 1970 or 71 when I was living in The Haight. Believe it or not, I also have a photo of Harvey! I've lost contact with everybody from those days but one extremely close buddy who I email and phone periodically and who has also contributed to your comments blog. Happy to see you are keeping the flame flickering. You are welcome to any and/or all of the St Louis memorabilia in my archive to post in a blog or to use however you see fit. Peace.

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Ric6 said...

Hi, Ric- here. Its great to hear that there are those who remember! I would really like to connect with anyone having memorabilia of the Crystalline Silence.Especially would like to get in touch with W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W-Wes Hartley.I tried to e-mail him, but Canada would not accept? Also is anyone in touch with Dave Korst(lead guitarist) or Harvey Moscovitz (bassist). I know where Jerry and Mike are.Thanks for the memories.THE CRYSTALLINE SILENCE LOVES YOU!

Ric6 said...

Ric -again. P. S. how do I post pics on this site?

rober49 said...

ric6-
i am in regular contact with wes. what's your contact info? are you ric balckerby?

ric Blackerby said...

Rober49 got any questions or answers- my email is ricblackerby@comcast.net Also I have all kinds of poster pics from the C S B . I am here to serve whomever. yours Ric

Jay G said...

Wow, the Velvet Plastic Ball I was lucky enough to attend the first one at Union Station in October 1967 as well as the second one at Garavelli's. The first one was held on the night of the Veiled Prophet ball and we all had a helluva good time. In fact, around midnight, a bunch of folks in tuxes and evening gowns began showing up....to have some real fun! Cool evening indeed.

The Circle. We used to hang out in Gaslight Square at The Exit, a coffee house run by (I think) the Luthern Church. Great place for good conversation. When it closed around midnight, we'd head over to the Circle for more. Great scene.

Used to go to Bergdorf Books too. He was a neat guy to hang out with.

Heck of an era to have lived in. Thanks for sharing the poster.

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Anonymous said...

I just happened to google "Crystalline Silence Band" and came across your blog. Reading about the band and Bill Burgdorf really brought back some memories.

Thanks,

Ed

dancer said...

I attended the velvet plastic ball at the old national guard armory on market just west of grand ave. I think the year was 1969.the bands that performed were mother earth,crow and dr john the night tripper ray gazall and I attended.

dancer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.