John Cipollina – Nick Gravenites Band – At Rockpalast (2009)

FrontCover1.jpgOn November 28, 1980, guitarist John Cipollina and singer/guitarist Nick Gravenites performed together at the Kleine Westfalenhalle in Dortmund, Germany; the four-man band they co-led was billed as the John Cipollina/Nick Gravenites Band and also included Al Staehely on bass and Marcus David on drums. It isn’t hard to understand why Cipollina and Gravenites got along well musically. Both had been part of the dynamic Bay Area rock scene of the 1960s, although Gravenites was originally from Chicago; Cipollina was a founding member of Quicksilver Messenger Service, whose self-titled debut album was produced by Gravenites in 1968. Cipollina and Gravenites had blues-rock credentials as well as hard rock credentials, and both blues-rock and hard rock (along with some psychedelic rock) are important parts of the equation on this 73-minute CD (which focuses on the November 28, 1980 show in Germany).


Cipollina and Gravenites’ compatibility is never in question in Dortmund, where they clearly enjoy a strong rapport on smokers like “Southside,” “My Party,” “Hot Rods and Cool Women,” and “Bad Luck Baby.” Cipollina sounds inspired by Gravenites’ lead vocals, and Gravenites sounds inspired by Cipollina’s electric guitar playing. That is not to say that Gravenites sings lead on all of the material; “Small Walking Box” is an instrumental, but even when Gravenites doesn’t sing, Cipollina is obviously enjoying his guitar playing. This CD is a lively example of the sort of excitement that can come about when musicians who have a lot of common ground get together. (by Alex Henderson)

In other words: A hell of a record and these guys really knew how to party …

Recorded live at the Westfalenhalle, Dortmund/Germany
November 28, 1980


John Cippollina (guitar)
Marcus David (drums)
Nick Gravenites (vocals, guitar)
Al Staehely (bass, vocals)


01. Rockpalast Intro (Mayfield) 0.15
02. Southside (Gravenites) 2.53
03. Junkyard In Malibu 7:45
04. Signs Of Life (Staehely) 4.11
05. My Party (Gravenites) 4:07
06. Small Walking Box (Gravenites) 10.16
07. Pride Of Man (Cipollina) 4.39
08. Bad Luck Baby (Gravenites) 7:09
09. Hot Rods And Cool Women (Staehely) 4.11
10. I’ll Pull The Trigger (Gravenites) 3.52
11. Keep On Running (Edwards) 4.28
12. Buried Alive In The Blues (Gravenites) 8.14
13. Who Do You Love (McDaniels) 11.26





John Cipollina (August 24, 1943 – May 29, 1989)