Rocking At the Red Dog: Psychedelic Age Begins

Planting the Seed(s) of the Psychedelic Age

We've been doing a lot of research as of late, using the '67 Summer of Love as a focal point. Arriving late to the party, what George Harrison saw disturbed him as he played street minstrel to thousands. His first-hand summation was amplified by PBS's American Experience worthy retrospective presented 40 years later (view it online for free). All of the sour grapes makes Floydian Slips glad we didn't accept Dr. Tim's admonition to tune out—not completely, anyway. (Tuning in and turning on were suggestions more easily accepted.)

The Beats aside, what's not well-known is the real backstory to the burgeoning Haight-Ashbury scene before the tour buses put the district on a freak show site-seeing route. It starts two years earlier, with the opening of the Red Dog Saloon in the unlikely location of Virginia City, NV.

The story gets two pages in I Want To Take You Higher—The Psychedelic Era 1965-1969, a magnificent coffee table volume issued by the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. As worthwhile as this volume is for any collector's library, the complete story is best told in Rockin' At the Red Dog—The Dawn of Psychedelic Rock. The expose that Life magazine missed, this comprehensive video includes rare photos, original footage of a pre-Janis Joplin Big Brother and the Holding Company, and interviews with many of those who were an integral part of the scene.

The best documentary on the ‘60s
ever made. Red Dog Saloon rocks!

Michael SimmonsRolling Stone, L.A. Weekly, High Times, BAM

The Charlatans get a lot of attention for reasons best told by the video, an obvious labor of love for Director Mary Works (Assistant Editor, Titanic, Saving Private Ryan). Other groups included in the piece are Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane, although the viewer should not expect them to be a focal point. Rather, Rockin' At the Red Dog is really the story of how a handful of people began a cultural revolution that spread across America in a few short years. Interesting sidenotes include noted poster artist Anton Kelly on the advent of rock posters, and a look at Bill Ham's development of the de rigeur psychedelic light show.

Wolfgang's Vault - Reissue

It should be noted that, without the Red Dog's pioneering trailblazers, there very well may never have been an Avalon, a Fillmore, a Winterland, a Grande Ballroom, a Boston Tea Party, a Monterey Pop Festival, or a Woodstock. Netflix subscribers may instantly view this entertaining documentary; others may stream it over the 'Net using Amazon's Video On Demand service for a nominal fee.