Janis Joplin / Big Brother & The Holding Company – 1966 ‘Zenefit’ Concert Contract / Avalon Ballroom

A contract for a Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin) show on November 13, 1966 at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.  This was the famous Zenefit benefit show for the San Francisco Zen Center, also featuring the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service (the poster for this event is reproduced as a full page in The Art of Rock, as plate 2.181.)

This contract was executed on behalf of the band by bassist and group ‘leader’ Peter Albin, and a representative of the Zen Center. This is the ‘Leader’s Copy’ carbon copy, given to the band. Remarkably, Big Brother, with Joplin, received a grand total of $214.50 for the show, probably an amount that covered their expenses for the show.

This dates from the very early days of Big Brother; the band played their first show in January 1966, and at the time of this performance, Janis Joplin had only been in group for four months. Peter Albin formed Big Brother with guitarist Sam Andrew, and was considered the group’s ‘leader’, negotiating and signing early contracts on their behalf. (On the scan here, we have photoshopped out the social security numbers of surviving Big Brother members Albin and David Getz.)

This contract comes from the collection of Big Brother’s early manager, Julius Karpen (1935-2021). With Recordmecca’s written lifetime guarantee of authenticity.

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