by Robert Wilkinson
Today’s the birthday of the founder and screaming lead player for Quicksilver Messenger Service!
John Cipollina (August 24, 1943 – May 29, 1989) was considered one of the first and best of the Bay Area musicians to come out of the 60s. From Wikipedia:
Cipollina had a unique guitar sound, mixing solid state and valve amplifiers as early as 1965. He is considered one of the fathers of the San Francisco psychedelic rock sound.
"I like the rapid punch of solid-state for the bottom, and the rodent-gnawing distortion of the tubes on top.”
To create his distinctive guitar sound, Cipollina developed a one-of-a-kind amplifier stack. His Gibson SG guitars had two pickups, one for bass and one for treble. The bass pickup fed into two Standel bass amps on the bottom of the stack, each equipped with two 15-inch speakers. The treble pickups fed two Fender amps: a Fender Twin Reverb and a Fender Dual Showman that drove six Wurlitzer horns.
Cipollina used a custom foot switch setup to select reverb, tremolo, Maestro Echoplex (the unit mounted on the right of the Twin Reverb), and Standel Modulux (on the left of the twin reverb). 12 volt automotive running lights indicated which effect was being used.
He died way too young of emphysema at age 45, and we read his one-of-a-kind stack was donated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For your dancing pleasure, the very rocking guitar of Mister John Cipollina and Quicksilver Messenger Service!
Since we already featured “Who Do You Love?” as our Saturday Night Attitude dance tune on March 23, tonight our Saturday Night Attitude dance tune is a different but also infinitely danceable Bo Diddley tune! Time to shake it!
For our featured number for tonight, here’s our birthday boy and Quicksilver very live and rocking in San Jose in the early days when they were still peaking!! It’s a full 11 minutes of “Mona” – Quicksilver Messenger Service Live in 1966 This one will give you a workout!
Before we segue into a birthday tribute to John Cipollina, we’ll do another rocking live video of our Saturday Night Attitude Song! Time to dance to Tom Petty and the legendary Bo Diddley! “Bo Diddley and Tom Petty Live at the Fillmore performing “Mona”
Here’s a great reverb-drenched studio version of Bo Diddley performing “Mona”
We have more danceable versions of our Saturday Night Attitude tune coming later, but for now we’re back to the great guitar work of John Cippolina! Time for another boogie tune live in 1973 at Winterland! It’s QMS doing their signature stomping song, so get up and move your hips to this rocking performance of “Who Do You Love?”
Here’s another b/w live video performance, this time 20 minutes at Winterland in 1975! For your dancing pleasure, Quicksilver Messenger Service cranking out “Freeway Flyer”
Here’s the remarkable studio version featuring the incredible piano work of Nicky Hopkins! Welcome to the very danceable “Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder”
And if you love the sound, here’s the entire 1969 album! “Shady Grove” (43 minutes)
For another great dance, here’s our birthday boy with the Dead doing the Chuck Berry classic “Reelin’ and Rockin’” – The Greatful Dead with John Cippolina”
Here’s a great 80 minute complete show! “Once – John Cippolina and Friends"
To close our penultimate birthday tribute set, here’s John with the legendary Link Wray doing 18 minutes of pure gold! Enjoy this meeting of two legends! Link Wray and John Cippolina Live and Rocking!
Now we get back to what brought us to this dance! Here’s our Saturday Night Attitude song performed live in 1981 in Philadelphia by the self-proclaimed “greatest rock and roll band in the world,” the legendary “Rolling Stones Live Performing “Mona” which we’ll follow with the version they did live in the studio for the BBC in 1964. I like this one better than the previous version. “Mona”
Here’s a video of the great Bo Diddley very live cranking out “Mona”
We’ll close with another absolutely rocking version of our Saturday Night Attitude Dance Tune! From the Ralph J Gleason KQED “Go Ride the Music” series, a great video of Quicksilver very live in 1969 cranking out “Mona”
Happy Birthday, John. Sorry you checked out so young, but your guitar work will ring chimes in the subtle planes forever!
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson