The Cosmic Aeroplane not only promoted eclectic music, but fostered many musicians during the decades of its existence:
Smoke Blues Band and the Sixties ——————————————————–
Smoke Blues Band distinguished themselves in front of huge crowds when they performed solid opening sets for Numenor Productions’ Dance of the Desert Prophet in 1968.
Smoke played gigs around the University of Utah, and any place that was interested in modern Electric Blues, including the Bastille Family Reunion.
… and there we were, the Bastille family, in 1970. One of the biggest collections of misfits, radicals, individualists, free-thinkers (popularly known as “secular humanists”), free lovers, non-workers (not including me), uncommitted students, dropouts, back-sliders, and alienated Jack Mormons, Salt Lake City had ever seen. And don’t let me forget, also a couple of French nationalists. It was Bastille Day, after all …
From The Thirtieth Annual Bastille Family Reunion by E. Richard Bastille
This highly-recommenced book illuminates The Movement in Salt Lake City which spawned the Cosmic Aeroplane and other creative endeavors.
The Thirtieth Annual Bastille Family Reunion by E. Richard Bastille is in print — available via email from email@example.com and (ironically) on Amazon.
The motto under Utah Chronicle’s logo says: Zee duty of zee newspaper is to raise hell and print zee news. This edition announces the Bastille Family Reunion later that day.
Although there’s no further Bastille material, read the entire front page as a PDF File:
Nick Snow-Bastille described the Bastille Family Reunion on July 17, 1970,
also in this issue, Society Editor MARILYN was dishing on the Bastilles.
What did Sherm mean when he said the Bastille Family Reunion was only the warmup “for something even bigger?” And why the sudden reappearance of Lucky Thinks, the avant-garde jazz unit … if not for some important occasion?
Read these two complete articles as PDF Files:
(The identities of music-makers “Truckee Canyon” are under investigation.)
Chapter Six of the 30th Annual Bastille Family Reunion by E. Richard Bastille provides some answers to MARILYN’s questions — buy it at firstname.lastname@example.org
Link: Bastille Family Home Page — Bastille Family pictures, articles, and records.
Reverend Willis sells vintage Smoke Blues Band recordings on his website!
You are invited to peruse Smoke’s pages for more photos, and lists of band members.
“Smoke” eventually metamorphosed into “Rocks and Gravel” and were part of a de facto reclamation of the blighted area around the depot, which accelerated after their regular bar, Ben’s Railroad Exchange, became the Sun Tavern under Joe Redburn’s management.
Later in the Seventies ——————————————————————-
Cosmic staffer Sandy Duncan and musician Curt Setzer made music together in the early ’70’s, performing at Westminster College’s May Fest, and at the Underwater Poetry Festival with Charles Bukowski, while they were first working as a duo, three nights a week at Trolley Square.
Thanks to Rev. Willis, a recorder was running during the poetry festival:
They also formed the nucleus of a group of acoustic entertainers called the Jordan River Uptown Band, which shifted and expanded its membership, performing well into the following decade. Early collaborators included Mark Nelson on bass and Mark Jardine on fiddle.
The Jordan River Uptown Band played regularly at “The Pub” in Trolley Square, after conversion of the buildings from their former use as a municipal bus garage, but they also appeared throughout the area — even at Symphony Hall with Tenpenny, Wasatch Rascals, and the Deseret String Band.
Sandy eventually moved to Colorado, but the Jordan River Uptown Band continued with Hardin Davis, Laurie Bogart and Curt Setzer. Other musicians like Tom Krug, Rand Keith, Ann Downey, and Stuart Curtis were in the group as well.
Read more about this group in the Jordan River Uptown Scrapbook
Setzer also made cultural impacts in the Salt Lake area by his involvement with Round Records, Smokey’s Records, Improvisatory Music, and the Avant Garde.
Setzer promoted the only concert in Utah by master composer Sun Ra — from a contact made with the Arkestra’s woodwind player Danny Ray Thompson by Cosmic Staffer David Fagiolli, while playing in Portland, Oregon. Curt also accompanied services led by Reverend Holy Ground Willis — but there is much more to say about his creative career.
Read more about Curt Setzer at: Cosmic Music — Jordan River/Avant Garde
Further into the Eighties ———————————————————-
The Atheists ————————————————————————————-
In the Cosmic tradition of challenging tradition:
They recorded their own material and performed at a speed which they characterized from the stage as: If somebody shoved us off the Empire State Building, we could play our whole set before hitting the ground.
The Atheists also held forth at various venues around Salt Lake, including the Hole In The Wall Saloon, which was famous throughout the community for hosting crack Jazz performers like Available Jelly, Air Pocket, and Mainstream.
For your perusal: “Live At The Roxy — 1981” post on Rev. Willis’ Blog
Avon Calling ——————————————————————————-
There is a first-hand sketch of the career of Avon Calling at Cosmic Staffers Project V.3
Avon Calling at the Indian Center:
Indian Center promoter Brad Collins had worked at the Cosmic Aeroplane before setting up his own record store and skate shop.
Avon Calling was one of the “headliners” at the Rock Against Reagan rally in 1984, kitty-corner from Temple Square, where well over a thousand average citizens of stood up in protest during an official visit from the great communicator. (sic)
For context, read the whole issue: Salt Lake Area Music (SLAM) Number Three
Shot In The Dark —————————————————————————
More pictures and info about Lisa Versteeg can be found at Cosmic Staffer’s Project V.1
Although they were totally accepted by SLC’s Punk scene, Shot in the Dark played a variety of hard-charging Rock numbers and original songs as well.
Kosmic Kudos — The Speedway Project is seeking memories and memorabilia!
The Speedway Cafe was contemporary with the late 1980’s Cosmic Aeroplane, and definitely had a long-term impact on S.L.C. Culture as well.
The Cosmic Aeroplane is a SLC cultural treasure and it’s awesome what you have done to preserve its memory. I’ve visited the site several times and, in fact, it has been a source of inspiration and validation for the Speedway Project. I would be honored to have our link connected to yours and would be happy to do the same — Trinity West, administrator of The Speedway Project.
Read the Salt Lake UnderGround (S.L.U.G.) Magazine’s article about The Speedway Project HERE — The Speedway Project: The History Within the Walls of SLC’s Legendary Underground Venue December 30, 2015
… Speedway first opened in 1984—cultivated as a local space for underground music, its catchphrase was “a café that served no food and had a bar that didn’t serve booze.”
Read the Salt Lake Tribune’s article about The Speedway Project HERE — Whatever Happened to — The Speedway Cafe? by Rich Kane May 20, 2016
… when some 700 people packed into a room that legally was allowed to have 290.
(Provided with permission of The Speedway Project, Rich Kane, and S.L.U.G. Magazine.)
Punk-Rock hangout The Painted Word, near Speedway Cafe and Raunch Records, also hosted Cosmic Avant Garde music:
Double Oh Four (004) ——————————————————————–
Are there two women in the center? Yes there are!
The versatile 004 relied on an uptempo Dance Music called SKA, and began playing at the Roxy Club, making common cause with the Punk Rock scene, much like their counterparts in England.
Check out 004’s performance on KUED (PBS) in 1982:
After the group broke up, 004’s musicians kept creating, in SLC, and on the West Coast.
Doug visited Salt Lake with his band Temple of Rhythm from Southern California to play some prestigious venues in Salt Lake, and Phil sat in on some of their gigs.
Wanda partnered with Punk-Rocker Aldine Strychnine in a quartet called Kaos Kids:
Aldine would jam onstage with 004 while playing in other bands like Maimed for Life, Gnawing Suspicions, Spencer Kimball and the Brainwashed. True to Cosmic traditions, he bravely stood with his guitar at the forefront of Salt Lake City’s “Rock Against Reagan” in 1984 for an audience of over a thousand citizens — Cosmic disc jockey Michael G. Kavanagh was MC for this civil demonstration across the corner from Temple Square, during a visit by said president.
Aldine continues to create Punk-Rock for appreciative audiences around the state of Utah, and is a co-host on KRCL 90.9 FM. He also helps administrate the SLC Punks Facebook page, from where this site gets many images, like the two above.
The LZ Five, and other Cosmic Alliances ——————————————
Phil Miller played with Liz Draper well into the 1990’s, but also added horny textures to the soulful Sha Girls band, and popular grunge-punk Boxcar Kids (see Speedway Cafe image above.) Scott Simons did a collaboration called Pangea with fellow Cosmic Staffer Julie Leuders:
Leuders brought her considerable talents to the all-woman band My Sister Jane before her untimely death in 1994.
The creative energy of the Cosmic Aeroplane continued with musical children of the original staffers:
Christian’s mother Kathleen bridged the gap between West Temple and First South. He helped her out as she and the staff watched him after school.
Mr. Coleman is also co-owner of the gypsy-like Hive Gallery, which tours the United States. (See Blogroll)
Willis Clow made a musical career of his own, and also played with Curt Setzer at ultra-alternative and Punk-Rock venue Kilby Court during the Millennium:
Willis has his own content-rich website too. (See Blogroll)
A niece and nephew of Bruce Roberts formed a band called Cosmic Aeroplane.
Named in memory of Bruce Roberts, Owner of the Bookstore/Head shop:
As of this writing, they have a page on the social media site Facebook.
Afterword: Utah, Gateway to Nevada was also an example of Cosmic Music by A Plague of Locusts, an outstandingly Cosmic Band.
We actively request your contributions of artwork, music, corrections, memorabilia, and oral histories concerning the Cosmic Aeroplane — please contact our blogmeister:
Blogmeister Michael Evans is an author and historian.
There is more about the early music of Curt Setzer, David Faggioli and the 9th & 9th Community in his book — The Great Salt Lake Mime Saga and Amsterdam’s Festival of Fools.