It was the beginning of the San Francisco sound. On Aug. 13, 1965, Marty Balin a…
Written by megarock on August 14, 2018
It was the beginning of the San Francisco sound. On Aug. 13, 1965, Marty Balin and his partners opened “the Matrix” in San Francisco. It was a renovated pizza shop located at 3138 Fillmore Street. The opening night featured a band that Marty had put together to be the ‘house’ band. They called the band “Jefferson Airplane.” The band rose rapidly to local prominence during late 1965 and early 1966, and it was there that they were first seen by noted music critic Ralph J. Gleason, who became an early champion of the group.
The Matrix was a favorite haunt of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson in the late 1960s and was also mentioned briefly in his book, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, during a flashback scene. During this period, Thompson was a contributing editor for the then-new tabloid magazine, Rolling Stone, which was founded in San Francisco in 1967.
The Matrix featured not only rock bands, but several blues artists and blues bands, with an occasional jazz artist thrown in. Besides Jefferson Airplane, many other well-known bands and musicians performed there including:
Big Brother and the Holding Company
The Blues Project
The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
The Chambers Brothers
Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen
Country Joe and the Fish
Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks
Elvin Bishop Band
The Great Society
It’s A Beautiful Day
Jerry Garcia & Friends aka Jerry Garcia Band
John Lee Hooker
Mickey & the Hartbeats (a subset of the Grateful Dead consisting of Mickey Hart, Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, and Bill Kreutzmann)
New Riders of the Purple Sage / NRPS
Quicksilver Messenger Service
Siegel Schwall Band
Steel Mill (with Bruce Springsteen)
The Sparrow (just before they changed their name to Steppenwolf)
Steve Miller Band (with Boz Scaggs before he formed his own band)
The Velvet Underground
Bob Marley and the Wailers
The Matrix was always popular with local and visiting musicians, so, on their off nights, many of them would come there to hear other groups they knew or just to hang out. Known musicians never paid a cover charge.
The San Francisco sound got a good kick start, 53 years ago tonight.