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September 16, 1988 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-09-16

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the Michigan Daily
A s most "classic rock" fans
probably know, Jimmy Page tickets
went on sale this morning. Fans
heard about the sale by religiously
reading the back of the Free Press
Sports Page or having the smidgen
of dumb luck needed to hear one of
the blizzard of radio spots promoting
the show.
Concerts weren't always so
instantaneously publicized however.
Back in those legendaze '60s, before
hard rock became a capitalist, "bot-
tom line" industry, fans got a line
on the shows by happening by a
head-turning concert poster, or, as
was more likely, by receiving a
handbill/postcard with the same
When one thinks of the '60s
today, buzzwords such as Haight-
Ashbury, the Avalon Ballroom, and
the Fillmore West come to mind.
'Bill Graham and Family Dog
Productions pioneered the use of
,revolutionary psychedelic concert
fosters to promote shows in San
Francisco. San Fran has always had
a reputation as the place to be in the
'60s; but what is less well-known
are the amazing things that happened
In the Detroit/Ann Arbor area at the
Detroit had the Grande Ballroom,
'modeled after the famous San Fran-
"cisco venues. Shows at the Grande
were promoted in a similar manner.
The artist behind the Grande's
fosters until 1968 was Detroit
native Gary Grimshaw. I recently
lspoke with Grimshaw, who ex-
t;plained the San Francisco-Detroit
k connection: "A lot of the people
who made the San Francisco scene
were from Detroit. A lot of people
wfrom Detroit were going back and
forth and people from San Francisco
ewere coming here. It wasn't San
NFrancisco versus Detroit, it was
k something going on .all over the

Friday, September 16, 1988

Page 8


Gary Grimshaw's




Gary Grimshaw's psychedelic
poster art flooded the Detroit
and Ann Arbor area through-
out the late '60s and early
'70s. Above, a pre-Zeppelin
Jimmy Page glares from a
early Yardbirds poster; a
blues bonanza comes to town,
right; and local rockers the
MCS also get the acid-art
treatment. Although the
baroque prints have largely
been replaced by fliers,
reproductions still grace many
dorm walls.
world and San Francisco and Detroit
were just two centers of it."
Grimshaw went on to explain
concert promotion at the Grande:
"The Grande Ballroom never bought
any newspaper ads and they only
started advertising on the radio after
they had been open a couple years.
All their advertising was done
through the posters and especially

1 '.*
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apprehension or anxiety?
If you experience such attacks at least 4 times a month and are between 18 and 40
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the postcards. Russ Gibb, who ran
the Grande, had a whole network of
high school kids who would come
down to the Grande and get big
stacks and pass them around. That
was his main advertising." The
Grande used posters as well, but "the
press runs were very small. Of the
full sized posters they would only
print 500, a thousand, two thousand
at the most. The Avalon and
Fillmore's were printed 10, 20, 30
thousand at a time."
A recent book, The Art of Rock:
Posters from Presley to Punk (Paul
D. Grushkin, Abbeville Press)
featured Grimshaw prominently.
"I'm really pleased that since Art of
Rock came out I've been getting
some recognition. The San Fran-
cisco posters have been famous and
popular ever since they came out."
Grimshaw and the posters he drew
have indeed been getting some

recognition. Posters for incredible
gigs featuring Detroit heroes the
MC5, the Stooges, and the Amboy
Dukes, as well as local appearances
by Cream, Blue Cheer, the Yard-
birds, and the Grateful Dead now
fetch $100 or more in the collector's
market. At the time, no thought was
given to the future value of the
posters. I asked Grimshaw if he was
surprised at their current value: "I'm
not surprised now. If somebody had
told me back then I might have been
surprised. I'm surprised at myself for
not saving more of them."
After 1967 Grimshaw was forced
underground by a marijuana pos-
session charge, which at that time
carried a ten-year prison sentence.
During 1969, Grimshaw only pro-
duced two posters and a few comic
books while living in Boston and
California before returning to
Michigan in 1970. The marijuana

laws were changed after a successful
court challenge by Grimshaw's
friend and local activist John Sinclair
reduced the penalties considerably.
The charges against Grimshaw were
subsequently dropped.
From his return in 1970 until
1974, Grimshaw lived in Ann
Arbor, doing posters for the U's
Office of Major Events as well as for
EMU. In 1973 he did his first major
label album cover, for a live record
from the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues and
Jazz festival. After 1974 he returned
to Detroit and worked for various
clubs and promoters. In 1980 he did
a commemorative poster for a week
of Iggy Pop shows at Bookie's.
Throughout most of ' the '80s he
managed the Urbations with Sin-
clair, which included doing most of
their artwork.
When asked about the current
state of concert posters Grimshaw

explains why they're not used any-
more: "When I started doing posters
in '66, posters cost about 20 percent
of what they do today to print. It
was cost effective then but it's not
anymore. Now tickets go on sale and
they want to sell all the tickets the
next day and radio ads are the only
way they can do it. They're not all
that useful for selling tickets."
Fortunately for poster collectors
the dearth of new posters only
applies to major arena shows. Aran
Arbor based Prism Production still
uses posters for local events due to
the volume of foot traffic in the area.
Posters or flyers are also still used
extensively for club appearances, a
trend Grimshaw likes: "Ann Arbor's
got a lot of great flyers. It's realyr
the only way to get yourself noticed/
if you're just starting out. It's worth
See Posters, Page 10

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U-M Anxiety Program








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