#67-Turquoise Jewelry- Grace Slick Where Art Thou?


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07 Turquoise Jewelry

come down from that condominium treehouse

stop driving around in that station wagon with the wood on the side

take off that jumpsuit you look like grace slick

staying up all night drinking that 7-11 coffee

Funny story about this song.  It was all pretty much based on the alleged sighting of Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane) at a 7/11 in the north bay of SF.  Sausalito?  Mill Valley?  I’m not really clear.  I’m not even sure who told me about it.  Paul MacKinney (my old college roomate) Jackson Haring (our former manager)  one of the guys in Spot 1019?  Anyway the alleged sighting was approximately this:  Someone had seen Grace Slick buying coffee at a 7/11 or other convenience store.  She was wearing some sort of fashion forward pantsuit or designer coveralls, and a fair amount of jewelry.  I’m pretty sure that the turquoise jewelry part was my embellishment of the story. More on that in a minute. The part of the story that makes me question the veracity of the story is that she left in a Buick roadmaster station wagon. No self respecting Northern Californian hippy would drive a Buick station wagon.   Any former hippy who needed a station wagon would naturally choose a Volvo station wagon.  I’m pretty sure it’s in the handbook.

Either that or it wasn’t Grace Slick.

Or the entire story was made up by one of my friends.

But what this song clearly illustrates is Camper Van Beethoven’s delight in picking apart the bones of the dead or dying Norther California hippy scene while simultaneously praising and emulating hippy culture in general.  For at the same time the songs distinctly owes it’s narrative voice to Don Van Vliet.  That’s Captain Beefheart to you civilians.

Check the distorted harmonica,  disjointed and seemingly random horn parts, the hoo hoo hoo vocalizations  and most tellingly the barked non-sequiturs.

I know Captain Beefheart was from Southern California. So was Zappa.  See even the guys from Northern California in the band seemed to prefer these hippies, these musical anarchists to their Northern Californian cousins.

We were mocking the flower power, peace and love part of hippiedom while simultaneously trying to emulate and update the bomb-throwing part of the movement.  Using Captain Beefheart’s voice to comment on Grace Slick was just one way of doing it.  We didn’t really dislike Grace Slick or Jefferson Airplane. They just happened to be innocent bystanders.  Collateral damage if you will…

(and too be fair Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane were a lot more edgy and punk than we gave them credit  for).


But as previously noted Camper Van Beethoven was also defining itself against the punk and post-punk scenes.  To a lesser extent the new “college rock” movement.  Back in 1986-87 we actually wore a lot of turquoise jewelry.  It was one of our ways of rebelling against the punk and college rock movement.  It worked too. If you wore a fake indian pancho, giant turquoise belt buckle,  laminated scorpion bolo tie and turquoise beaded mocassins into Hollywood’s Club Lingerie in 1987  people loked at you like you were crazy.

We didn’t wear the good stuff.  Just the knock-off fake stuff you’d buy at a truckstop or “indian” trading post along I-40 somewhere in the southwest.  We also spent a lot of time in thrift stores in this part of the world.  Tucson and Albuquerque still have some of the best thrift stores around.  I mean they were (and probably still are) hip deep in fake indian panchos and bolo ties with laminated scorpions and of course turquoise jewelry.  When we’d return to Santa Cruz from one of our periodic tours, it was usually via the 40.  Inevitably we’d come home looking like a deleted scene from movie Billy Jack.

Right on.

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Turquoise Jewelry.

Come down from your tree house condominium
And start driving around that station wagon with the wood on the side

Take off that jumpsuit, you look like Grace Slick
Stayin’ up all night an’ drinkin’ that 7-11 coffee

And take off your turquoise jewellery

Shake your medicine rattle

And fill a sock with an herb
Put on your fringe skirt

Come sit down next to your man, he’s hankering for some company
Come sit down next to your man and let him cough in your ear

‘Cuz you bring me sticks and stones
You bring me everything

Take off your turquoise jewelry
Shake your medicine rattle

‘Cuz you bring me sticks and stones
You bring me everything

16 Responses to “#67-Turquoise Jewelry- Grace Slick Where Art Thou?”

  1. Hey CVB, is that a real poncho? I mean is that a Mexican poncho or a Sears poncho?

  2. Love this song. Love this blog. Glad to see you back at it.

    One song makes you smaller and another makes you small
    and the one you hear on the radio don’t do anything at all..

  3. While 300 Songs was on hiatus, I had to find another distraction. Ended up downloading all the live music for Camper Van Beethoven on archive.org for the period 1984-1990 (1800+ songs). Set about trying to whittle it down to my (biased) choice of best recording (or two) for each song. For no reason in particular, here’s the results:


    Glad to have 300 Songs back so I don’t have to be so proactive. (Then again, if 300 Songs goes in silent mode again, I’ll be force to work my way from 2002 to the present – 3400+ songs already in that queue).

    • this is amazing. free electric band? how high were we?

      • Maybe if you play Processional backwards, you somehow wind up with Free Electric Band? That particular concert was in the rarefied air of Berkeley (the center of Northern California?). So it was probably just an environmental side-effect.

      • You guys played Free electric Band at the Icehouse afterhours too, I think.

    • vlvtelvis Says:

      I don’t know what the hell is up with Photochrome but it’s one of the coolest things I’ve heard in ages.

      I’m going to be up until 4AM going through this.

      I’m inspired to do something like this with the Cracker archives but it’s too vast. Maybe just a page of my top picks that I’ve found so far.

      • If anyone ever decides to do something similar for the Grateful Dead archive, they’ll be sucked up in a vortex – never to be heard from again. One of these days I’ll try and figure out how to sink Flowplayer up with the song listings similar to way that archive.org works. But the script they use seems to be a mess. Should be a law forcing programmers to use Lisp for 10 years or so, before they’re allowed to touch javascript. Then again, I guess I should just come to accept the imperfections inherent in this world:


    • Combination of waiting for The Palace Guards earlier this week… and not getting out of the house since Monday… Now with 2002-2011 CVB goodness:


      Now, on to listening to TPG!

  4. spikeandmona Says:

    Way Cool.
    I love the edginess … and the horns

  5. vlvtelvis Says:

    Great song, particularly the live version on the Cigarettes and Carrot Juice bonus disk.

    Glad to see you posting again.

    RIP Don.

  6. Wore out my Volunteers vinyl way back when – but that music didn’t age too well. Not much after that time was noteworthy. Ans station wagon’s would be more a Jefferson Starship sort of thing.

    Perhaps we could label CVB as Counter-Counter-Culture?

  7. rubyray77 Says:

    Oh my God…I`m from Phx/grew up here and I so can relate to Flag, the res and over abundance of turquoise EVERYWHERE! Especially amongst the old lady artists in Sedona who wear the huge necklaces and big gaudy rings! blah! Thx for posting! Great song!

  8. Station wagon? I thought they used a spaceship. Again I’m deceived by music and musicians…..

  9. wherethehellisbob Says:

    I love this blog, but only just recently caught up thanks to the break. For me it’s only fitting that I add my first 2 cents on this particular post since TJ is the first CVB song I’d ever heard – highschool maybe ’88-’89?? From the vocals to the horns; it was so in your face, it kind of dared u to pick up Beloved. Bought it and everything else soon enough, and stayed on board till about Gentleman’s blues. Now in the midst of catching up with old friends – will probly start w-Greenland. thanks so much David for putting some thought into your rock.

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