Peter Shapiro called me this morning, and after we chatted, I called Chris W. in NY. Peter had brought up Malcom and Willy, two black acid-heads in Berkeley who wanted to promote Peter, by himself. Chris said they were crazy, and she could not understand a word they said. Were the talking Jive? We talked about this great site on the Zone, and Peter looked at the paper he had on it, sent by the site owner. When he pointed out they played at CJ Motors, I had a vision of Vonneguts ‘Breakfast of Champions. Were Willy and Malcom there?
I told Peter this is High Art, when you consider the Loading Zone palyed at the BEAF event on College. They Zone played at many benefits, and protests, which put them in the category of Theatre. I told Peter the Zone was more than a music act. Not becoming mega rock stars, allowed them to remain PURE, and at the Genesis of a great cultural happening, that changed the world in a myriad of creative ways. That they had a artist in residence, myself, puts them on a level with the European Avant Guard. That I was the brother of a woman artist who rendered Hip Bohemian Posters further enhances the creative history of a garage band that was on par with what Andy Warhol was doing on the East Coast.
There were a hundred stages and sages in Berkley. This city was transformed. One did not need to go to Paris or Amsterdam. We were so inventive. One did not know what to expect. We were always entertained. Music accompanied us wherever we go. The Zone were Bodhisattva, who even played at a skating rink in Hayward. The People had access to them, these ministers of good vibes. We were about turning on and changing whole cities. We avoided being mere consumers. Now that the pendulum has swung to the right as far as anyone wants to go, it will now move to the left, and stay there for a thousand years.
What was truly wonderful, is, that there are three beings who were there, that have remained very good friends, and still love each other. I told Chris that my cat, Brembe, was back. I asked about the two gray Burmese cats we had as our friends at 13th. Street where we lived with the Zone. Chris remember their names;
“Diamond and Oscar. Steve Kupka dropped them off. His mother would not let him keep them.”
Steve is a co-founder of The Tower of Power.
So, we are still here, still sending light beams of Love and Hope across America….and the Universe!
The building formerly known as C.J.’s Old Garage today houses The Works Cooperative Exercise and Dance Studio and in the former indoor village are a few vestigial remnants of the glory of the early 1970s. Most are restaurants – Kiraku, Kabob and Karahi, Hi Mirchii Indian Cuisine, and Fondue Fred.
I showed the draft posting on C.J.’s Old Garage to my friend. He was reluctant to stop going through the latest record album collection that Gabby had gifted/dumped-on him (album covers of signers named “Slim“) but once he saw that it is about Old C.J.’s he perked right up.
“Loading Zone! I roadied for those cats. I may have even loaded out for them at Old C.J.’s. I knew C.J. too. A cool dude. Liked little go-fast cars. I worked as a carpenter on the deal there for a couple days but those hippies had no idea what they were doing and somebody was gonna get hurt and I decided it wasn’t gonna be me who got hurt and I quit.”
Several years later, probably in 1936, the business was renamed “University Motors” and was awarded a Pontiac dealership.
In 1965, C.J. Felt and John Bolander opened C.J. Motors, an English Ford dealer that also sold Triumph and Citroen. This was no ordinary garage or car dealer; between December 1965 and April 1966, C.J. Motors was a venue for an eclectic mix of live music performances, including jazz, the Loiellet Chamber Ensemble, the Laney College Chorus, and Berkeley’s almost-famous Loading Zone.
Felt sold the business in the late 1960s and moved north, first to Oregon and then to Washington. C.J. Motor’s almost immediately became known as “C.J.’s Old Garage.”
The Berkeley Gazette reported in 1969 that a “creative shopping mall” with “a Berkeley flavor” was under construction by developer Larry Brooding in C.J.’s Old Garage. A combination of non-union hippie carpenters and a group from a south campus Christian group built 21 shops in “a two-tiered village … that’ll give the aura of a movie set.”
|16 October 1965||Longshoremen’s Hall, San Francisco, CA||Jefferson Airplane, Charlatans, Marbles, Great Society, Russ The Moose Syracuse|
|14 January 1966||Open Theater, 2976 College Ave, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone|
|22 January 1966||Longshoreman’s Hall, San Francisco, CA||Big Brother and the Holding Company, Grateful Dead, The Loading Zone (not Jefferson Airplane)|
|29 January 1966||Open Theater, 2976 College Ave, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone|
|01 February 1966||Jabberwock, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone (unconfirmed date)|
|10 February 1966||CJ Motors, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone/Saint James Five (CJ Motors was a car dealership at 2566 Telegraph Avenue)|
|09 April 1966||Veteran’s Memorial Hall, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone, Answer (Trip A Go-Go)|
|22 April 1966||Longshoreman’ Hall, San Francisco, CA||Grateful Dead, Loading Zone|
|23 April 1966||Longshoreman’ Hall, San Francisco, CA||Grateful Dead, Loading Zone|
|24 April 1966||Longshoreman’ Hall, San Francisco, CA||Grateful Dead, Loading Zone|
|03 September 1966||Skate Arena, Hayward, CA||Loading Zone, New Delhi River Band|
|07 October 1966||Fairgrounds, Auburn, CA||Loading Zone, Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice|
|21 October 1966||Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA||Grateful Dead, Loading Zone, Lightnin’ Hopkins|
|22 October 1966||Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA||Grateful Dead, Loading Zone, Lightnin’ Hopkins|
|04 November 1966||Walden Center, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone, The Generation|
|05 November 1966||Pauley Ballroom, UC Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone|
|26 November 1966||Friendly Persuasion, Grant and Columbus, San Francisco, CA||Loading Zone, Robbie Basho, Paul Xavier, Poets|
|17 December 1966||2353, Prospect St, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone, Susie Levin|
|13 January 1967||Ligure Hall, 4799 Shattuck, Oakland, CA||Maybe Tomorrow, Loading Zone (Committee For New Politics Presents A Peace Fest)|
|14 January 1967||Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA||Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sir Douglas Quintet, Loading Zone, New Age, Big Brother and the Holding Company|
|15 January 1967||Provo Park, Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone, Ulysses S. Crockett, Drongos|
|19 January 1967||Upper Sproul Plaza, UC Berkeley, CA||Loading Zone (Rally protesting proposed UC Berkeley fee increase)|
|29 January 1967||New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA||Country Joe and the Fish, The Loading Zone [Delana Grape Strikers Benefit]|
|29 January 1967||Provo Park, Berkeley, CA||New Delhi River Band, Loading Zone|