expand Country Joe & The Fish

Inspired by an anarchic Fugs show in Berkeley, Country Joe (as Stalin was ‘popularly’ known) McDonald & the Fish (Barry Melton… for this one you’re gonna have to check out Mao Zedong’s definition of a true revolutionary) became a rock band.  They had been many things prior to becoming that band,  a protest song writer's work shop, a magazine, a folk act with washtub bass among other things.  I like any band that can say they half expected to be arrested for singing their songs.
Their first performance was highlighted with them smashing their instruments, throwing shredded IBM cards on the audience and the singer passing out and falling backwards off the stage.  Sounds like definite Hall of Fame material to me.  

1967 saw the release of what many believe to be the first psychedelic album of all time "Electric Music for the Mind and Body'.  The band could be every bit as trippy as the Doors.  Their record label talked them out of having 'I Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die' on the album in fears of a conservative backlash.  Subsequently, they song became the title track of their follow up release which remained on the Billboard charts for 2 years.  

The band was featured at both the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock.  Joe had come down early to check out the scene at Woodstock which was fortunate as most of the acts at the beginning were stuck in hotels, miles from the venue, or trying to make their way to the stage through a half million people.  

Joe, who just happened to be on stage at the end of Richie Haven's set, was handed a guitar and went out and knocked 'em dead, as they say.  The 'Fish Cheer' became legendary from that performance and the band had fulfilled its intention, telling the establishment to 'get f#^ked' and done in such a way that almost everyone has seen.  The band released two more albums, played hundreds of shows and went their separate ways to very pleasing results.



The NEW LA Free Press POST-MONTEREY SERIES (thru '67) with LA Free Press Era Rock Historian, Bruno Ceriotti, now featuring... COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH
(Part 1)
>> On July 22, just one month after their appearance at the Monterey, Country Joe and The Fish appeared at another California outdoor music festival (actually a 'happening'), the Fantastic Flight of the Mystic Balloon, held at the Casa Loma Swim Club in Lafayette.
>> The band performance was filmed by director Jack
O’Connell, and a segment of them playin’ their classic Vietnam protest song ‘I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag’, was included in O’Connell’s new underground movie documentary, Revolution. Enjoy!

The NEW LA Free Press POST-MONTEREY SERIES (thru '67) with LA Free Press Era Rock Historian, Bruno Ceriotti, now featuring... COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH
(Part 2)
>> From July to September, Country Joe and The Fish were in New York City to record their 2nd album ‘I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-
To-Die’. The title track was, of course, the band's most known song and, arguably, one of the greatest anti-Vietnam War protest songs ever. The album was released in November, but the band couldn't promote it immediately because they'd broken up by then! >> To cut the long story short, one month earlier, in October, the band leader, “Country Joe” McDonald, left his own band to embark on a solo tour of the Pacific Northwest, while the remaining members of the band briefly changed their name to The Incredible Fish and fulfilled a number of engagements. However, just two months later, in December, the problems are patched up and the band is back together!
>> Here, below, is one of the songs taken from the album, ‘Janis’, that Country Joe wrote as a “love testament” right after he broke up with his girlfriend, Janis Joplin.  Enjoy!

See video