With Woodstock '94 quickly becoming a historical footnote, musicians who performed at the original festival in 1969 are rushing to capitalize on the newfound attention. In the case of the musicians who have died, their record labels are busy doing the work for them.
With the exception of Woodstock's more obscure acts, like the Keef Hartley Blues Band (Keith Hartley is now working as a joiner), Bert Sommer (who died of respiratory failure in 1990) and Quill (which disappeared by the early 1970s), the question "Where are they now?" can easily be answered for most Woodstock veterans.Here are a few albums recently released by the performers of 1969 or coming out soon. Some albums were actually timed to come out around the weekend of Woodstock '94 (Aug. 12 to 14); the release dates of others may be coincidences.
- Canned Heat: Though both the band's leaders died after Woodstock, four original members play on Canned Heat's new album, "Internal Combustion," released Aug. 16.
- Joe Cocker: This English singer's latest, "Have A Little Faith," is to be released on Sept. 13. It includes songs written by Woodstock veterans Robbie Robertson, who used to lead the Band, and John Sebastian.
- Country Joe and the Fish: In September, Country Joe McDonald is to release his first album with the Fish since 1980.
- Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: Crosby, Stills and Nash are on tour promoting their new album, appropriately titled "After the Storm." The record was released the week of Woodstock '94, as was Neil Young's newest album, "Sleep With Angels."
- Richie Havens: This folk-rock singer is on tour supporting his new album, "Cuts to the Chase."
- Jimi Hendrix: In August, MCA released both an album and a video of this legendary guitarist's Woodstock performance. The album entered the Billboard pop charts at No. 40.
- Incredible String Band: In August, Rykodisc reissued the first three albums recorded by this Scottish progressive folk duo. In September, the company plans to reissue the next three.
- Melanie: This folk singer has two boxed sets coming out this fall, one of which documents her Woodstock performance.
- Santana: Carlos Santana's new album, "Brothers," recorded with his brother Jorge, is to be released on Sept. 27.
- Ravi Shankar: Always one step ahead, this Indian classical musician reissued a recording of his 1969 Woodstock performance last year. He is to tour the United States in October, around the time his new live album, recorded at Royal Albert Hall in London, is to be released.
- Sly and the Family Stone: Sly Stone's first new album in 15 years is expected this fall.
- The Who: A four-CD boxed set of this English band's music, "30 Years of Maximum R-and-B," was released in July. It includes music and dialogue recorded at Woodstock, including the sound of Pete Townshend's guitar cracking over Abbie Hoffman's head.
And the rest: Blood, Sweat and Tears, John Sebastian, Johnny Winter, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Jefferson Airplane (now called Starship), the Grateful Dead, Mountain and Sha Na Na are all touring or recording in some shape or form, as are members of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sweetwater, the Band and Ten Years After.
- IN AN INTERVIEW with fans on the Prodigy online-computer service, Keith Richards continued to make provocative statements about Bill Wyman, the bassist who left the Rolling Stones before its current tour.
About Brian Jones, the Stones guitarist who died in 1969, and his replacement, Mick Taylor, who left the band in the mid-1970s, Richards wrote:
"My gut reaction was that nobody leaves the band, except in a coffin. Mick Taylor was lucky . . . because he's not the sort of guy that you want to beat up."
Of his stormy relationship with Mick Jagger, Richards wrote that the two are "learning to work together again."
- AFTER NEARLY seven years of accolades from the press as one of rap's most popular and innovative groups, Public Enemy is taking a beating on its latest album, "Muse Sick-n-Hour Message" (Def Jam).
Even worse, because of a change in the album's release date, some of the most negative reviews were published a full month before the album went on sale last week. In its mid-July issue, Rolling Stone called the album "poorly conceived" and "virtually unlistenable."
Critics are accusing Public Enemy of being out of touch, of launching a weak attack against the trend toward gangster rap, of writing second-rate rhymes, of producing the album poorly, of using a bad pun for the title ("music in our message") and of being too old. The bandleader, Chuck D, is 34 and his right-hand man, Flavor Flav, is 35.
Though he said he was upset about the negative press, Chuck D said he did not think it would affect the album's sales.
- FANS GOT A SURPRISE during the Meat Puppets' opening set for the Stone Temple Pilots at the Beacon. Vacationing radio personality Howard Stern stepped out on stage with a guitar strapped around his neck and joined this Arizona band for a version of "Lake of Fire." The cheering was so loud that it was hard to hear just what Stern was playing.
Crew members backstage said the volume was discreetly turned off on his guitar amplifier, but the road manager for the Meat Puppets insisted that Stern was audible, strumming one chord and nothing else.
Evidently, Stern had come to the show to see the Stone Temple Pilots, and decided to "jam" with the Meat Puppets, whose music he wasn't actually familiar with, on a whim.