The John Cipollina Memorial Photo Page

All Photos Copyright © Michael Kirschner 1983-2011

I attended many of John's gigs from the time I arrived in San Francisco in 1982 until John's untimely demise in 1989. Some I recorded; some I photographed; some I just danced at; one I got up on stage and did an impression of Richard Nixon at (and was summarily dismissed by both Barry Melton and the crowd!). These photos are from those gigs at The Fresno Saloon (later just "The Saloon"), Ms. Keiko's Chi Chi Club, The Keystone Berkeley, Wolfgang's, and other places I just don't remember. Fish & Chip, The Barry Melton Band (or, as Barry once called it, "The Barely Melting Band"), Zero, Nick Gravenites' Thunder & Lightning, Dinosaurs, and other bands included John in their lineup in those days. His unique style, his attitude, and his gentle nature all are sorely missed in today's music scene.

NEW!!!!! See my Flickr set for more photos of John and those he played with.

1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7. 8. 8a.

9. 10. 11.

12. 13.


1 & 2. Coming out of the drum solo of "Who Do You Love" at the Chi Chi Club

3. John at the Haight Street Fair; note the Batman logo'd shirt.

4, 6, and 9. These three shots comprise the quintessential photographs of John (or so everyone, including his manager and mother, thought!). I got them all in one night, at one show, in 1984 or so at The Keystone Berkeley. They're taken using Kodak ASA 1000 color film, shutter speed was probably 1/60 or 1/120 second; no flash was used, of course. What's odd about them is the color: this was NOT tungsten-color-corrected film, yet the colors are pretty true. No filters were used in taking or printing them and no unusual color correction was used in scanning them in for this page. Perhaps the spotlights at the Keystone were the right color temperature, or maybe the color filters on those spotlights were unique, but I've never again been lucky enough to get decent colors using non-tungsten film in an artificially lit environment (the resulting image tends to have a yellowish tinge to it since daylight film is color corrected to the sun, not tungsten filament lights).

5. Another typical pose...

7. John does his "Tiny Tim, Guitar Fiend" impression.

8 and 8a. John looks over the shoulder of Nick's bass player, Doug Killmer, during a solo.

10. Peter Albin and John deeply into it at a Dinosaurs gig...

11. A Picture of Nick's band, including drummer Greg Elmore. I took this at the Chi Chi. It was never used since the photo was completely screwed up (aperture was set wrong) and I had little luck printing it. Later (too late, in fact), I printed it using as many filters as I could to bring out what little contrast was on the negative and this is the result.

12. Another Dinosaurs gig at Wolfgang's

13. John would sit on his amp occasionally during shows towards the end of his life to conserve energy.


Here are more photos of other musicians who played with John

Some Links to Follow


Buy These Photos

8"x10" Color glossy photos of numbers 4, 6, and 9 are available for $25 each (add $4 shipping charge), or 2 for $40 (add $6 shipping charge). Please e-mail me (just three little letters, an "@" symbol, and remove the "NOSPAM") for more information. Note that the picture of #4 above is a scan of an 8"x12" print so you'll receive a cropped version (but still damned cool).

Last Updated 8/22/2011, Copyright © 2011 Michael Kirschner, All Rights Reserved