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Splatt Gallery's History of Michigan Concert Posters
The Grande Ballroom Posters - Page Two
The following weekend, however, January 13-14, 1967, introduced the work of a new artist, Donnie Dope. Donnie Dope was an alias for Northville high school student Donald Steven Forsyth who also made posters for student-run shows at the Northville Cavern. He would also use the names Dr. Mabuse, Alice Cow, Hairy Pumpkins, Guido Ponzini, and Black Dennis for his rock posters, he’s said he found it “humorous”.
The original handbill measures approximately 8″ x 11″. No other versions are known to exist.
Ultimately, Forsyth became best known as Max Elbo, the name he took when he moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas around 1975 and found his calling in the eclectic arts and music world of the Ozarks, becoming locally appreciated and highly regarded for his posters for numerous annual festivals throughout the years.
Here is a nearly reverent video made by the Eureka Springs Art Council on his induction into their Hall of Fame in May 2016. Max Elbo passed away less than a year later, on January 15, 2017.
Groups that performed at the Grande Ballroom, January 13-14, 1967, were MC5, Southbound Freeway, Cosmic Expanding, and the Grande Ballroom debut of a Taylor, Michigan band, The Unrelated Segments, who were riding high on the early success of their first record, “Story of My Life”.
The Unrelated Segments – Story of My Life (1967)
The next poster for the Grande Ballroom was Gary Grimshaw’s eighth and covered the final two weekends of January – January 20-21,1967, and January 27-28, featuring four shows with MC5 and the Trees, Scotty’s Group with the Passing Clouds, the Plague with C-Water Blues, and MC5 with the Vernor Highway Band. “Scotty’s Group” was the one-time billing for SRC just before they took the Scot Richard Case name.
The original poster was printed on white stock and measures approximately 14″ x 21″. No other versions are known to exist.
A close-up of the center section of Gary Grimshaw’s eighth poster for the Grande Ballroom with an unknown subject and a nice “spirograph”. This was Grimshaw’s first poster, in the Grande series at least, that incorporated a photo with his drawing.
Newspaper ad for the Grande Ballroom, January 20-21, 1967 with the Scot Richard Case (misspelled) in place of Grimshaw’s “Scotty’s Group”. This ad also refers to them as “alias the Chosen Few” and lists the group the House of Lords in place of the Passing Clouds.
The ad also displays the Grande Ballroom emerging practice of using nutty themes or inside jokes, often with a Tolkien Middle Earth obsession, this one asking, “Is Uncle Russ Really Gandolf”, and notes that possession of a magic ring is allowance to waive the age restriction.
It was also neatly placed above The Detroit Free Press’ own pitch for small ads that “catch the eye”, with the perfectly accepted sexism of the times, but nevertheless a brilliant design.
Gary Grimshaw’s ninth Grande Ballroom poster was for a special, Sunday night benefit show, January 29, 1967, called “Guerrilla Lovefare”. The original poster measures approximately 17″ x 22″.
An 18” x 24” screen print of this poster was created as the eighth release of the Grimshaw Memorial Series in the fall of 2015; a partnership between Richard Wohlfeil of Lo & Behold in Hamtramck, Michigan, and Laura Grimshaw, Gary's widow, through the Gary Grimshaw Legacy Foundation. The print run of each poster was 100 copies.
John Sinclair was getting very busy, putting together coalitions of artists, musicians, and activists, launching a newspaper with Gary Grimshaw called The Warren-Forest Sun, managing The MC5 and the Plum Street bookstore, integrating the activities of the publications of The Fifth Estate and The Guerrilla newspapers along with other publications, and starting the Detroit chapter of LEMAR that advocated the legalization of marijuana.
To organize all this activity, Sinclair formed the 67 Steering Committee and their first event, the Guerrilla Lovefare, was a bigger and better version of the previous workshop shows that featured poetry and jazz, and added rock and roll, a light show, “plenty of weed and acid, and the most explosive gathering of freeks in Detroit history” held at The Grande Ballroom to benefit the newly formed Detroit LEMAR.
The list of acts included the MC5, the Spikedrivers, Livonia Toll and Die Co., Detroit Edison White Light Band, and the Lyman Woodward Ensemble.
Sinclair, already with two convictions for marijuana possession, couldn’t have painted a larger target on his back. Two undercover agents for the Detroit Police Narcotics Division, a male- female team posing as hippie candle-makers, “Louie” and “Pat” had infiltrated the scene, bugging people for weed and generally getting turned down. Frustrated after months of failing to score a deal, they seized upon a casual gift of two joints that Sinclair gave “Pat” for free at Christmas to justify a raid and on January 24th, thirty-four law enforcement officers descended onto locations around Wayne State University and arrested fifty-six people. They arrested John Sinclair during a rehearsal for the Guerrilla Lovefare show, just five days away, and he made them wait until the completion of Coltrane’s “Love Supreme” before taking him away.
The Detroit newspapers trumpeted one of the largest drug arrests in the city’s history but only a small amount of weed and some LSD (still legal in Michigan) were seized and forty-three of the fifty-six people were released without charges. But the Guerilla Lovefare show was cancelled and Sinclair, with his third offense, was potentially facing serious prison time.
Gary Grimshaw’s tenth Grande Ballroom poster was made for the 18th weekend, February 3-4, 1967. The practice of naming the weekends with a silly theme was in full swing, this one was called the “Beings of Beauty Dance Concert”.
The original handbill measures approximately 6″ x 10″. No other version is known to exist. This was Grimshaw’s first Grande poster to incorporate a “found photo”, a group of five musicians from a vintage era.
The line-up had The Wha? with Little Sisters on the first night and the MC5 with Raven on the second night.
A newspaper ad for the “Beans of Beauty Dance Concert” at the Grande Ballroom, February 3-4, 1967, an apparent mistake from Grimshaw’s “Beings of Beauty” poster. The ad includes the line, “If you don’t get uptight about guys with long hair and gals in mini-skirts, then you may qualify as a BEAN OF BEAUTY”.
The ad also carried the “Warning: The Grande Ballroom may be habit forming and hazardous to your mental health”.
The line-up differs significantly from the Grimshaw poster, with the Poor Souls and the Brand X in place of Little Sisters on the first night and with the Harvard Street Blues added to the line-up for the second night.
The 19th weekend at The Grande Ballroom (February 10-11, 1967) and Gary Grimshaw’s 11th Grande poster. The performers for the two shows we the Rationals, Thyme, People, and Zymodics.
The original poster measures approximately 17″ x 21″. No other version is known to exist.
“Detroit’s Favorite Band” (according to WKNR Keener-13 poll), the Rationals, made their Grande Ballroom debut and as a joke they opened with a promo they had recorded for the Danby’s Men’s Clothing store (“Shop at Danby’s. Danby’s really turns you on…”). The crowd loved it. The Rationals would become one of the groups with the most Grande Ballroom appearances, with more than 30.
The Rationals – Turn On (1967)
A newspaper ad for the February 10-11, 1967 shows, with a hand-drawn Grande Ballroom Detroit logo by an unknown artist that we have not seen elsewhere and is a shame it didn’t catch on as it is pretty cool.
A new artist, David Carlin, created his first poster for the Grande Ballroom’s 20th weekend (February 17-18, 1967). Carlin studied at the Detroit Society for the Arts and Crafts from 1962-1967, majoring in industrial design and fine arts. He moved to San Francisco in 1967 (following his run of posters for the Grande), where he became a student of "Netsuke," the unique small sculpture of the Japanese culture, building quite a successful career of it, which is further detailed here: https://www.david-carlin-arts.com/resume
The original handbill measures approximately 7½″ x 11″. No other version is known to exist.
The bands for the weekend were the Barons, with the Ashmollyan Quintet, and the Landeers with the Cosmic Expanding.
The Barons were from Grand Rapids and recorded their single record in 1965 on an offshoot of the Fenton label. The band split up into The Pedestrians and The Soulbenders shortly after their appearance at The Grande.
The Barons – Try A Love With Me (1965)
A newspaper ad for the Grande Ballroom’s 20th weekend (February 17-18, 1967) with the note “Where love meets middle earth”.
The following weekend, February 24-25, 1967, the poster was again by David Carlin, co-credited to Gary Grimshaw, and the silly themes had been taken to the extreme. It was called, “The Benefit Dance Concert for the Greta Garbo Home for Wayward Parents” and the premise was to drag your parents away from the strip clubs and liquor bars to have some “good, clean fun” at The Grande.
The bands that weekend were Scot Richard Case with the Village Beaus, and Jagged Edge with The D.S.R.
The original poster measures approximately 17″ x 22″. No other version is known to exist.
The Scot Richard Case was finally being billed under their new name, although it was misspelled on both the poster and the invitational ad. They had just released their first record on Jeep Holland’s A-Square Records, a cover version of The Cream song, ”I’m So Glad”, which made it to #13 on the CKLW chart, so if you grew up in Detroit thinking you had heard a different version of that song, this was it.
The Scot Richard Case – I’m So Glad (1967)
An ad in the Michigan Daily newspaper in Ann Arbor for the “Greta Garbo” weekend at the Grande Ballroom, February 24-25, 1967.
An second newspaper ad for the “Greta Garbo” weekend at the Grande Ballroom, February 24-25, 1967.
Gary Grimshaw’s poster for the 22nd weekend of the Grand Ballroom looks like a quick knock-off, covering both of the first two weekends in March, 1967. We believe this was only published as an ad.
Playing on the first of those weekends March 3-4, 1967, was Ourselves with Zymodics, and MC5 with the Apostles. For March 10-11, it was Poor Souls with We Who Are, and Southbound Freeway with Frut of the Loom and Passing Clouds.
The Ourselves from Birmingham, Michigan had a brief good run. This was their third appearance at The Grande and there would be at least four more, plus they opened for The Jefferson Airplane at Ford Auditorium later that June.
The second weekend featured the first appearance at The Grande (possibly the first appearance on any stage) by the band, Frut of the Loom, from Mt. Clemons, Michigan. They later shortened their name to Frut, and became well known for their “Frut House” parties at their farm in Warren, Michigan. The band was led by red-headed singer, Norm Liberman, who called himself “Panama Red”, which was apparently his favorite strain of weed.
Frut of the Loom – One Hand in the Darkness (1967)
Newspaper ad for the 22nd weekend at the Grande Ballroom, March 3-4, 1967. The ad adds the Belshires to the line-up of the second night, and the tag lines, “Fly Trans-Love Airways to the Blessed Realm of Detroit’s Middle Earth, the Grande Ballroom”, and “Hobbits Admitted Free”.
There was a poster made for the March 10-11, 1967 weekend, by David Carlin (his fourth). Carlin’s poster has the title “The Spirit of Love” and an excellent placement of the Uncle Russ logo.
The original poster measures approximately 17″ x 21″. No other version is known to exist.
The 24th weekend, March 17-18, 1967, at The Grande Ballroom again featured a poster by David Carlin (his fifth). The bands for the weekend were MC5 with Sixth Street, and Scot Richard Case with Strange Fate and the Gang.
The original handbill was printed on white stock and measures approximately 8½" x 11". No other version is known to exist.
We have found a recording by the Detroit band, The Strange Fate, on the CAR (Continental American Recordings) label who’s only other release seems to be by another Detroit band, The Future.
In the newspaper ad for these shows “Uncle Russ says: If long hair turns you on and mini-skirts don’t bother you, then you’re most welcome at the Grande Ballroom”.
The Strange Fate – Hold Me Baby (1967)
Newspaper ads for March 17-18, 1967 at The Grande Ballroom. One of the ads has the Radicals in place of Sixth Street opening for MC5 on the first night. The other has the weekend’s message, “Uncle Russ says: If long hair turns you on and Mini-skirts don’t bother you, then you’re most welcome at the…GRANDE BALLROOM.
The 25th weekend, March 24-25, 1967, at the Grande Ballroom featured Gary Grimshaw’s twelfth poster for the Ballroom. The bands were the Landeers with the Henchmen, and MC5 with Born Blues and City Limits. Along the sides of the image, it’s written, “Good Friday – Easter Celebration both nights”, “Hunt the Prized Easter Eggs Freak Freely”. Grimshaw also signed this one as Warlock Studios.
The original handbill measures approximately 9″ x 14″. No other version is known to exist.
The newspaper ad described, “Uncle Russ invites you to come and participate in a giant Multi-Colored Monied Easter Egg Hunt”, “Easter Bunnies Admitted Free”.
The band, The Henchmen, had a record on the Punch label, a brief foray for Punch Andrews away from The Hideout label.
The Henchmen – Livin’ (1966)
Newspaper ad for the Easter weekend at the Grande Ballroom, March 24-25, 1967.
The 26th weekend, March 30, 1967 – April 1, 1967, at The Grande Ballroom also featured a Thursday night show. This beautiful poster by David Carlin (his sixth) crammed in eight bands for the three nights, with Scot Richard Case and Somethin’ Else on Thursday, Thyme with Wild Cargo and Yesterday’s Shadows on Friday, and Detroit Blues Bagg with Jagged Edge and Seventh Seal on Saturday.
The original poster measures approximately 17″ x 21″. No other version is known to exist.
The Scot Richard Case – Who is That Girl? (1967)
A close-up of the lower right corner of David Carlin’s poster for the Grande Ballroom, March 30, 1967 – April 1, 1967, showing the Warlock Studios imprint.
The newspaper ad for the 26th weekend at the Grande Ballroom. It does not include the Thursday night show on March 30. It also adds the Bac In Bac Boo Funny Music Band to Saturday’s line up.
The ad provided the theme, “in honor of the American Indian; A Tribal Rock Flow”, and “Squaws with Papooses Admitted Free”. The ad also includes a special Sunday night show (coming up next).
On Sunday night, April 2, 1967, Russ Gibb provided the Grande Ballroom for a benefit dance concert for Michigan State Senator, Roger Craig. Craig, who represented the 10th District (Dearborn, Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Melvindale), and shared an apartment in Lansing with fellow senators, Basil Brown and Coleman Young, had just introduced legislation to remove marijuana from the state’s narcotics statues.
The poster for the benefit was David Carlin’s seventh poster for The Grande Ballroom. The original handbill was printed on white stock and measures approximately 8½" x11". No other version is known to exist.
On the bill, along with the MC5, were Billy C. & the Sunshine, featuring Billy C. Farlow, a transplant from Alabama that favored a roots-country-blues musical style, and the Seventh Seal, “Ann Arbor’s respected ‘rock and raga’ ensemble”, that featured guitarist, Bill Kirchen. Both Farlow and Kirchen would join Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen.
Carlin’s poster also adds the C. Water Blues, although the ad shown above has an Electric Band and the Bac In Bac Boo Funny Music Band instead.
Gary Grimshaw’s poster (his 13th) for the 27th weekend of The Grand Ballroom, April 7-8, 1967, used the same 19th century engraving of “The Dirty Old Man” that Wes Wilson had used previously for a Family Dog poster. Grimshaw called his “Rites of Spring”.
The original handbill was printed with green ink and measures approximately 8½″ x 11″.
An 18” x 24” screen print of this poster was created as the sixth release of the Grimshaw Memorial Series in 2016; a partnership between Richard Wohlfeil of Lo & Behold in Hamtramck, Michigan, and Laura Grimshaw, Gary's widow, through the Gary Grimshaw Legacy Foundation. The print run of each poster was 100 copies.
The line-up on the poster was the Poor Souls with Reason Why? on the first night, and the Rationals with the Restless Set and the Hideaways. The newspaper ad also had the Born Blues on the first night.
Newspaper ad for 27th weekend of the Grand Ballroom, April 7-8, 1967.
Gary Grimshaw’s 14th poster for the Grande Ballroom, April 14-15, 1967, is known as the “Mind Zap”. The bands that played that weekend, were two bands from Ohio, Changing Tymes and Weeds with Sum Guys from Detroit, and One Way Street with Thyme and Gang.
The original poster measures approximately 16″ x 21″. No other version is known to exist.
Dave Banyase & Sum Guys – Just a Little Bit (1967)
The Changing Times – Going Too Far (1967)
The Weeds – Live in Cincinnati (1967)
The SUN newspaper also provided Gary Grimshaw a platform to develop print ads for the Grande Ballroom shows in addition to his poster work. This ad from the first issue is for the same shows as his “Mind Zap” poster, April 14-15, 1967.
The band, One Way Street was from Vancouver, Canada, but somehow this record was released on Paula Records in Shreveport, Louisiana, so maybe they hit The Grande on their way home. This would have been a good driving song for the trip!
One Way Street – I See the Light (1967)
Gary Grimshaw’s 15th poster for the Grande Ballroom, April 21-22, 1967, was a self-portrait. Along the theme of the newspaper ad, it was titled, “In Honor of the Vanishing American – The American Barber”. The ad also promised that “John Paul Morgan will submit to an on-stage real live haircut while Scot Richard Case, the Manchild, and the New Spirit provide the background for Detroit’s first hair happening”. The admitted-free gimmick was for “Men with real shoulder-length hair”. The bands on the previous night were Jagged Edge and Sons Of Sound.
The original handbill measures approximately 8″ x 11″.
An 18” x 24” screen print of this poster was created as the first release of the Grimshaw Memorial Series in the fall of 2015; a partnership between Richard Wohlfeil of Lo & Behold in Hamtramck, Michigan, and Laura Grimshaw, Gary's widow, through the Gary Grimshaw Legacy Foundation. The print run of each poster was 100 copies.
The New Spirit were two sons of Russ Gibb’s lawyer, Bernie Fieger who got Gibb to give his kids a shot on stage as a personal favor. The younger son, Doug, eventually made it big with his band, The Knack, and the older son, Geoffrey became the famous trial lawyer who successfully defended “Dr. Death” Jack Kevorkian. True to form, Geoffrey Fieger claims that his teenage band “sounded just like the Beatles”.
As you can hear, the Terre Haute, Indiana band, Sons of Sound, are sufficiently heavy, later becoming the stoner-metal, prog-rock band, Goliath. They described themselves as “a run and jump” band, that would venture into tribal war chanting, hands-clapping and foot-stomping.
Sons of Sound – He’s Gonna Ride (1967)
Newspaper ad for the “American Barber” weekend at the Grande Ballroom, April 21-22, 1967.
John Sinclair consolidated all his various activities under a single organization called “Trans-Love Energies”, “a co-operative of artists, musician, craftsmen and hippies in general”. It formally included the bands, the MC5, Billy C. & the Sunshine, the Seventh Seal, the Family Medicine Chest, the Back & Back Boo Funny Music Band, and the Detroit Contemporary 5 (jazz band), as well as the Magic Veil Light Co. light show group that had been started by Gary Grimshaw at the Grande Ballroom.
It also consolidated the Detroit Workshop Press, which was still publishing books, pamphlets and magazines with a new Warlock Studios (posters, handbills and artwork), the “Warlock Studios” that we noted on an earlier posters.
The organization also ran the Detroit LEMAR (committee to legalize marijuana), The Fifth Estate, and The Sun newspapers, Cleage Printers print shop, and three stores on Plum Street - Mixed Media, House of Mystique, and The Skin Shop.
The name, Trans-Love, was taken from the lyrics of the Donovan song ”The Fat Angel”, which interspersed the chorus of “fly trans-love airlines” with “fly Jefferson Airplane”, the title of the song a tribute to Mama Cass Elliott.
A Sunday night benefit concert at the Grande Ballroom on April 23, 1967 was a fund-raising launch for Trans-Love Enterprises. Poster by Gary Grimshaw, also incorporating art by Jerry Younkins. The original handbill was printed on either red (shown above) or yellow (shown below) paper and measures approximately 8½" x 11".
The bands were MC5, Billy C & the Sunshine, and the Back & Back Boo Funny Music Band.
Donovan – The Fat Angel (1966)
The yellow version of the poster for the Trans-Love benefit at the Grande Ballroom on April 23, 1967. There also appears to have been a version printed on white paper as well.
Here’s the ad in the first issue of the SUN newspaper that Gary Grimshaw made for the Trans-Love Energies benefit concert at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan, April 23, 1967. We’d sure like to find out what The Back & Back Boo Funny Music Band sounded like.
There was no poster for the 30th weekend at the Grand Ballroom, April 28-29, 1967. This newspaper ad for “A Hippie Love-In” with “Hobbits Admitted Free” has a band list that includes the Trees, the Wild Woodies, the Metrics, the Strange Fate, the Buckingham 5 and radio DJ Dick Purtan. It was the second time for the “Hobbits” as a free admission gimmick.
The very first Grande Ballroom poster, Gary Grimshaw’s “Seagull” had the line “Seagulls Admitted Free”. Beginning in March 1967, with the first “Hobbits Admitted Free”, the gimmick was becoming a regular weekly feature. Up to this point, there have also been “Easter Bunnies” and “Squaws with Papooses”.
The weekend of May 5-6, 1967 was the Grand Ballroom’s 31st weekend and Gary Grimshaw’s poster was his 17th for the venue. The bands were Billy C & the Sunshine with the Primates, and the Harmon Street Blues with Panic & the Pack. The newspaper ad had The Wha? and the Strange Fate in place of Panic & the Pack.
The original handbill measures approximately 8″ x 11″.
A newsprint version of Gary Grimshaw’s poster for the Grande Ballroom, May 5-6, 1967, with the better contrast you can see the toes of a human foot at the bottom of the flower stalk. The poster is also credited to John Ka along with Grimshaw.
The newspaper ad for the weekend of May 5-6, 1967 at the Grand Ballroom. The theme was a “Flower People Dance Concert” with “free flowers”.
The weekend of May 12-13, 1967 coincided with Mother’s Day, and Gary Grimshaw’s poster for the Grande Ballroom (his 18th) showed his growing collage skills around the theme of “Earth Mother”, and “Mothers” were admitted free to the shows.
The original handbill was printed on green paper and measures approximately 8½" x 11".
The bands were Ourselves with the Berry Patch and the Hearde, and the Apostles with Echos From A Broken Mirror.
We talked about the band, The Apostles, a few posts back. Here is the A-side of their only single.
The Apostles – Stranded in the Jungle (1968)
A newspaper ad for the “Mother’s Day” weekend with “Moms Admitted Free” at the Grande Ballroom, May 12-13, 1967.
The 33rd weekend at the Grande Ballroom, May 19-20, 1967 featured Gary Grimshaw’s 19th poster, a “Rising Eye” theme that implemented the Trans-Love Egyptian eye logo, and was promoted in the newspaper ad as a “Rising Eye of Conciousness Dance in the San Francisco Style” and “Hobbits” were again admitted free. The bands were Scot Richard Case with December’s Children and Thyme with Odds & Ends.
This image was only printed as a handbill, which measures approximately 8″ x 10″.
The band, December’s Children were from Cleveland, Ohio, starting out as a four-part harmony group with two female vocalists that mostly covered Motown hits until one of the girls left and the group took a decided turn to hard rock.
December’s Children – Too Early to be Late (1969)
A newspaper ad for the 33rd weekend at the Grande Ballroom, May 19-20, 1967.
The 34th weekend at The Grande Ballroom, May 26-27, 1967 saw the return of Donnie Dope with his second Grande poster, the beginning of a long string that will go into September. The bands were Southbound Freeway with Cowardly Thangs, and Harmon Street Blues with Vernor Highway Band. The newspaper ad called it “a dance concert in honor of happy people” and “Tooks” (whatever they are) admitted free.
The original poster measures approximately 16″ x 20″.
A newspaper ad for the 34th weekend at the Grande Ballroom, May 26-27, 1967.
The 35th weekend at The Grand Ballroom, June 2-3, 1967 featured Donnie Dope’s 3rd poster for the venue. The bands were the Rationals with C Water Blues and Jagged Edge with Bell Shires. The newspaper ad, and the poster, called it a “Smile Concert”. The ad also misspelled (deliberately?) the “Rashionals” and the weekly “admitted free” gimmick was for “Numanorians”, which apparently is a misspelling of Numenoreans from the Lord of the Rings.
The Rationals – Hold On Baby (1967)
A newspaper ad for the “Smile Concert” weekend at the Grande Ballroom, June 2-3, 1967, with “Rationals” badly mis-spelled.
The Grande Ballroom Posters - continues - HERE