Bernstein's New Book, CALIFORNIA SLIM, is Released
Palo Alto author Andrew Bernstein lived out the dreams of every male boomer in the 1960s and '70s. His musical journey began in 1962 when he was the 14-year-old student of an unknown banjo teacher named Jerry Garcia-and ended in 1980 on a Warner Bros. back lot at the premier party for Willie Nelson's first movie, Honeysuckle Rose.
The two-lane bumpy road from Palo Alto to Austin became Bernstein's gilded highway. His initial foray into the music business began in 1969 with his creative partnership in Crimson Madness, a posse of wild geniuses who were handpicked to produce light shows at Fillmore West by the legendary Bill Graham. Bernstein and his fellow artists brought the walls alive, making them pulse with colors, both real and imagined, for the likes of B. B. King, Iron Butterfly, the original Fleetwood Mac, the Grateful Dead, and scores of others.
Starting in 1971, as the owner of the historic honky-tonk Palo Alto nightclub Homer's Warehouse, the author laid the groundwork to help launch new talent (including Asleep at the Wheel, Pablo Cruise, and Norton Buffalo) and also gave Jerry Garcia the perfect venue to showcase his non-Grateful Dead bands: Old and in the Way and Merl and Jerry. Bernstein brings those days and nights alive with vivid imagery, colorful dialogue, and a desert dry humor.
In 1975, the author found a job for his best friend, Maynard Lutts, as a bus driver for Asleep at the Wheel, which later led to Maynard becoming the driver for the then relatively unknown Willie Nelson. Two years after that, Bernstein met Willie and the boys, and was soon invited to ride along with the rollicking band of Texas hippie cowboys to help "fuel the fire." Within weeks of that meeting, Stardust launched the second-stage booster rockets of Willie's career, putting him and his Family into musical orbit. But there is still a couch on the crew bus reserved for Bernstein to this day.