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If you have any connection to the San Francisco Bay Area music scene, Beserkley Records, Rather Ripped Records, KSAN, etc. during the 60s, 70s and 80s, you've probably heard of or met Gary Phillips, a.k.a. Gary Philippet.

Or you may have known Gary from Spokane or
Penrith Farms in Newport, Washington.

Your thoughts, memories, etc. are very welcome on this blog!

Please feel free to email your posts and any photos or audio clips to


Your requests or suggestions for improvement are
gratefully accepted as well.
- Thanks!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

where else could I write it?

Everyday, everyday I think of you.
I'm so grateful to have known you.
Thank you for everything my friend.
Man oh man I miss seeing you, talking to you.
I love you, I gratefully think of you everyday

Monday, February 23, 2009


Dear Friends:
I knew Gary during the Beserkeley days. My band, the Young Adults, opened an Earthquake show at Keystone Berkeley in 1978 or so. Gary was always a big fan of the Young Adults and very encouraging about our musical efforts. I always enjoyed talking to him and while we were not close friends I remember his warm smile and easy going nature with great fondness. I recently reconnected with many friends from those days and was saddened by the news of his passing. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I was hoping we'd be able to reconnect through the Facebook Berkeley Punks pages. He's now part of the big endless song and I'll listen for his music when I go to sleep tonight.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What a shame...

I met Gary sometime in the 80's when he was over in England and came to visit my late husband Simon Stable, at our house in Oxfordshire UK

I forget how he knew Simon, probably to do with the music papers Simon used to write for, and he only stayed for a few hours and played us a cassette of some music that he had recorded..but I do remember what a lovely man he was. One of those people
that you instantly take a liking to and remember down the years.

I was just idly googling, the way you do on a Saturday afternoon in February, and came across his name and I am really sad to hear that he has passed away.. my condolences to his friends and family

Judy Dyble

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

remembering Gary

I'm just writing since I notice that your site has been up for over a year since Gary's passing and has a link to The Rubinoos site but no posting from anybody in the Rubinoos or anyone from Beserkley, aside from Greg Kihn.
Gary produced The Rubinoos first 45 rpm recording, Gorilla, which was included in the Beserkley Chartbusters LP.
I won't pretend that I appreciated Gary 'discovering' this tune for us to cover, but we did cover it, then I went on to Jonathan Richman, other things, as did the Rubinoos.
But I do have fond memories of Gary, Earthquake, Longbranch and visiting his little room in the attic of the house which was the home to Beserkley Records, at Eunice & Spruce. Gary had a love for music which inspired us all and an incredible music collection which informed us all too.

- Greg Keranen

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Meeting Gary

Good job on the website. There's a lot of heart & soul that went into it.
Speaking of soul, my brother Dan and I were living in the Bay Area after my escape from the Synanon Cult in 1975. Making the transition from inside the "Funhouse" to back "Down On The Streets" was a tough thing to navigate after forfeiting your God-Given right to think. Our forays across the bridge where Earth Quake would dish up some rock at The Keystone provided some needed social lubrication to begin to Rawk Hard Again is something I'll always be grateful for.

Now please take what I'm about to share with some flexibility & humor. While living around the corner from Winterland with the whole Scene in general providing a plethora of live music to take in any night of the week, let's just say that Dan and I found most Bay area bands more flaccid than Rawk Hard. Having been raised in Detroit, cutting our teeth on the MC5 and the Stooges at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, you may have come to the same conclusion yourself.
I'll let you in on a little secret....Gary knew it to be the truth.

One night at the Keystone, my brother and I approached Gary to make his acquaintance while he was playing pinball. Ever the gentleman, we shook hands, ordered some beers and began a conversation about a subject passionate to both Gary, ourselves and some reading this...the State of the Rock n' Roll. We agreed that acid Utopia's replaced by Hep C laden needles as a metaphor for whores that bored while onstage nodding on Rorers was JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE. That led to Gary's inquisitive hunger and thirst for any was stories we had about the MC5. He apparently loved that band. He flashed that killer grin of his when we told him that his onstage presence was close to Fred "Sonic" Smith...the notorious rhythm player for the MC5.
When we shared that Fred's post Five band was the foursome of Fred, Scott "Rock Action" Ashton (Stooges) on drums, Gary Rasmussen (The Mighty Up) on bass, and Scott Morgan (Rationals) on guitar and vocals...well suffice to say that Gary just about blew a load right there on that pin-ball machine.
Over the next few Keystone gigs, we turned him on to SRB photo's and tapes of their live shows. Our cross-cultural Detroit-Bay Area bond was cemented with his favorite pic of Fred "Sonic" Smith that depicted a man on the prowl for that Perfect overtone...leaning back into a power chord with his left foot raised...exposing a boot so worn that the leather had separated from the sole of the boot.

Gary just looked at it and said...."Cool"

Years later when we returned to Detroit, it was a Jumpin' Jack Flash to see him onstage playing with Greg Kihn at Harpo's on the East Side.

Gary impressed me as being fairly spiritual...not particularly religious and that's a good thing as Jesus himself hated religion. When he would cruise into a town like a band on tour, Christ made it a point to sup with the whores, sinners, dope fiends and winos...much like a good rock n' roll band does while coming in to do a gig...spreading the life-affirming power of the art of Rock n' Roll. My prayer is that Gary went home resting in the peace & knowledge of being in Father's hands with all his humanity bought and paid for by the power of the blood of His Son.

There's a killer Springsteen lyric very appropriate to end this with and add to the class & dignity of this memorial website for Gary. God Bless Your Hearts

Where the road is dark and the seed is sowed
Where the gun is cocked and the bullet's cold
Where the miles are marked in the blood and gold
I'll meet you further on up the road

Got on my dead man's suit and my smilin' skull ring
My lucky graveyard boots and song to sing
I got a song to sing, keep me out of the cold
And I'll meet you further on up the road.

Further on up the road
Further on up the road
Where the way dark and the night is cold
One sunny mornin' we'll rise I know
And I'll meet you further on up the road.

Now I been out in the desert, just doin' my time
Searchin' through the dust, lookin' for a sign
If there's a light up ahead well brother I don't know
But I got this fever burnin' in my soul
So let's take the good times as they go
And I'll meet you further on up the road

Further on up the road
Further on up the road
Further on up the road
Further on up the road

One sunny mornin' we'll rise I know
And I'll meet you further on up the road
One sunny mornin' we'll rise I know
And I'll meet you further on up the road.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dennis Lanigan

Recalling my times with Gary and the Philippet Family brings back many fond and lasting memories.

Closest friends through high school and beyond, collaborating musically throughout the 60's, shaping our lives during a very turbulent, yet inspiring time, we bonded together through music and friendship.

Though many years had passed between visits, Gary's caring nature was very apparent when he came to visit us a couple of years ago. He was most concerned about our well being and was very pleased to find we were all fine, even though he seemed aware that his time was limited.

My sincere thanks to the Philippet Family for including me in their lives and to Gary for being such a good friend.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Front Line

great pics from Joanne BlakeThe Front Line

Gary and Dennis Lanigan

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Memorial for Gary

Gary's family are hosting a memorial to celebrate Gary's life -
September 15th,
in Newport, Washington
on the beautiful property where Gary lived since 1985, Penrith Farms.

If you would like to attend, contact Jim or Sherry at Penrith:

Phone: 509-447-0665


E-mail: penrith@povn.com

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Memories: from a roadie.

I knew Gary in the 70s & 80s. It was with the GKB. This was the real thing. Few bands could rock like that. We played them all East West North South. Berkeley to Boston Alaska to Hawaii, TV, Videos, Oh yeah Played with the Stones, SNL, Halftime Candle Stick Super Bowl years. Touring Coast to Coast, from Santa Cruz to Asbury Park the Big Time. So there we were outside the Club right there on the boardwalk and… well like I just don't reveal old road stories.

1981 Beserkley Years

But needless to say Gary was living like a Rolling Stone and we had to leave town the back way. Finding our way to NYC with our Keith Richards in the back was better than the Gig. There were times when the GKB (Greg Steve Larry Gary Dave) found all the right harmonics with all the right people all at the right time. Whoa. What a great time. Gary you really did “rock”. I'm going to miss ya. My thoughts are with you.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

from Greg Kihn

Click to enlargeGreg and Gary at Rather Ripped 1975

The news of Gary's passing brought back a ton of memories. Gary was one of the first people I met when came to California from Baltimore in 1971. At the time he was in Copperhead. Gary and I became instant friends and musical partners. I remember playing a handful of acoustic gigs with him before I started the Greg Kihn Band. We did a kind-of Everly Brothers thing. Gary called our impromptu duo "The New Nurk Twins" and I remember playing a place called "Dali Feenjohn's" in San Francisco where the guy paid us in soup! Money would have been nicer since we were both as poor as a church mouse at the time, but hey, we lived on soup for the next few days! We both got jobs at Rather Ripped Records in Berkeley. Neither one of us knew what we were doing but we sold a lot of records based on Gary's knowledge of music. Those were great times, even though we were struggling. Soon after, Gary joined Earthquake. His version of "Little Tin Soldier" was an all-time classic! Around the time Gary was in Earthquake, he moved in downstairs from me in a house we rented on Broadway Terrace in Oakland.
That house burned to the ground during the big firestorm a few years back. Our time there was full of musical inspiration. Gary had been helping out the GKB in the studio and it was only logical that he start playing gigs with us. This led to a phasing out of Earthquake and a full time position in the GKB. We went on to have lots of hit records and toured the world. I like to think Gary was happiest then. He was a genuine rock star, a role he enjoyed playing (for a while). We were as close as brothers during this period. His little M.G. sports car was featured in several of our videos. I will miss Gary every time I hear one of our songs. Gary was a musician's musician. What a tragic loss.
-Greg Kihn

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Essentials (80s)

Lisa Sheftman wrote:

...I thought Gary was brilliant (from the time I managed to sneak into an EQ concert at the age of 10)

Someone recently posted some EQ videos on YouTube, from a 1978 German TV show. Here's "Street Fever" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnRvDOIJ_0Y

and "Train Ride"

...some heroes are never worth letting go.

All the best,


Monday, March 5, 2007

Greg Douglass

Gary's death hit me hard, considering that I hadn't seen him in 20 years. He and I were friends from the mid-70s on, when we met at Cippolina's rehearsal hall. I had immediate respect for his musical talent, his voice, and that amazing presence. It's weird to think of that driving force being absent from the planet. I corresponded with Gary during his illness a few times, and his attitude was just amazing. The last letter he sent to me ended with "Make sure you enjoy every sandwich." I have taken that advice to heart.
Gary was always my favorite rhythm guitarist. I knew when I walked onstage with Gary that I would have my ass kicked into playing well, even if I was tired or fucked up. The guy was Keith Richards with chops. He could be a tad volatile at times...as I'm sure you know!...but it was only because he cared so deeply about the music.
His picture, along with the rest of the Kihn band, hangs in the hallway on the way down to my studio, so I still see Gary in his prime everyday. It's a good memory to carry into the day with me.
Let me know any details about the memorial. Unless I'm in, like, Uganda, I'll be there.
Thank you so much for writing, Patrick, and thanks for turning me on to the marvelous web site. Please keep me updated.

Greg Douglass
Escondido CA

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chuck Prophet

I'm still numb. Still haven't been able to get
my head around it. Gary's gone.
Just like that. It wasn't "just like that" but it
sure seems like it this morning.

Gary didn't want me to know he was sick. I wish I
would have pressed him harder, maybe then I would
have had the chance to say goodbye. But he didn't
want to get into the details. I suspect it had
something to do with him not wanting to be
anything less than a good hang.

Above all, Gary was always a good hang. That's
the way I always remember Gary. As a great hang.
Never one to put anyone out.

Living the good life up there outside Newport Wa.
Working the land. Away from the glitz. His second
act was all service. He took care of people. He
grew vegetables. Helped people back into society
by showing how to bale hay. Until he got so sick
that he couldn't climb up on that tractor.

All he wanted to do was get well enough to feed
those animals. He'd say, "man there's a certain
feeling you get down in the stalls at 5 AM. The
animals need me. Those Lama's are happy to see
me. I just want to be of service. If I could
just get that well again!"

One of the first times we reconnected after so
many years, Gary drove four hours up to a gig I
was playing in Seattle. 3 Am and we're loading an
SVT amp head into the van off the loading dock.
And somehow I'm having more fun than I had the
whole tour! That's what I mean by a good hang.
We're hanging out for ten minutes and I feel like
I've known him my whole life. Which makes more
than a little sense.

We would send each other Mix CD's. We took it
very seriously. Gary would tap into a vein and
surprise me. My favorites were the 7 inch singles
that he'd gathered from his days working the
counter at Rather Ripped. Often times' the store
couldn't make the payroll each week, so the owner
would say, "just grab as many singles as you

Probably suited Gary just fine. He was never that materialistic.

All he wanted to do was get well enough to feed those animals.

I remember last year I had loaned a book to
Jonathan Richman who happens to be my neighbor
and was Gary's one time room-mate. We stood on
the porch shuffling our feet, talking about Gary
being sick. Jonathan raised his head opened his
eyes wide and said, "He might make it." And
somehow at that moment I believed he would make
it. Later when I told Jonathan that Gary was
slipping fast, I reminded him what he'd told me
and how I believed him.

Jonathan said, "I believed me too."

I have so many great memories of Gary.

Gary and I had electricity. Just two people when
we would start to talk it would flow. You touch
those two wires together and it sparks.

All those years ago, at the Keystone in Berkeley.
Playing pinball. I remember Gary showing me a
Yardbirds lick. One of the three licks that I
know. I play it every day.

Funnier than two motherfuckers he was. After the
surgery where they cut that massive tumor out of
him, he referred to it as "the baby".

Sure do miss the dude.

chuck prophet

(((belle sound))) 61 noe St sf, ca 94114

management: dan kennedy mummyheadMusic@gmail.com
mummyhead music: (520) 982-4650


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

note from richi ray harris


I can't believe I'm here and Gary's not.

Richi Ray Harris from Freedom Highway

Sunday, February 11, 2007

miss you

Gary Phillips: -good friend I will miss. Patti Smith sometimes called him her little tin soldier, no doubt in reference to his absolultely hot rockin' song but more perhaps alluding to his innate boyish premise and tough (as tin) personae. tin in fact is quite a rare element and Gary was quite a rare kind of person. i liked him, i loved him and am a better person in every way for having known him. he once laughed when i suggested that GKB should open for the stones. i somehow knew it would soon happen and sure enough not a year later we shared one of Jagger's marlboros (which Gary had politely pilfered from their common backstage) secretly in his magical montclair lair long since burned.
the last thing he said to me face to face before goodbye: "all there is is forgiveness."

i foresee your smile, Gary.

ron b. libby

Friday, February 9, 2007

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Bassist from "Freedom Highway" remembers

My name is Scott Inglis.I was fortunate to play bass with the band ''Freedom Highway'' for most of the band's existence and more fortunate to play along side Gary for about a year. If you look at the CD ''Made in '68'' I'm the big guy in back with the squinty eyes.

My Gary story; we had just finished a gig in Eureka,Ca. and sitting in the back of Bruce Brymer's (drums) van and it was pouring rain and crawling with police. I said something like ''I'd hate to be busted on a night like this''.

He replied something like : '' I'd get popped if it was for the band'' I just sat there and thought to my self ''what b---'s'' and didn't say a word. That was Gary.

I only have two regrets with Gary Philippet (that's how I knew him).
One; I never got to record with him and two; I never saw him again except the times I saw him on MTV. I'll leave you and Gary in peace. Ill miss him.
Scott Inglis.

Praise from Tom S.


I only just now, as I type this, about Gary. While I never met the man personally, I have heard several great things about him. As I know a lot of people who did and/or were connected to them. It's too bad I never met the cat, as I heard he lived not too far from me at all.

As an unoffical collector of of all things Cipollina, I was deeply touch by the sheer raw talent of Gary. He seemed to appear to be the man who had been born with rock and roll in his blood, yet had a carefree way. His vocals were a marvel, all gritty mean and sweet and heartfelt at the same time. Along with a very sly sense of humor. All in all, Gary was very much something quite rare indeed!

I have uploaded some Copperhead recordings (legally) on the Live Music Archive found at http://www.archive.org/details/JohnCipollina) and will continue to upload some more soon. I know it's not much by them so far, but it will keep the spirit of this great musician alive! We shall not forget Gary!

While I am sad on this current, I would still like to give a big thanks for wonderful webpage available!

All the best,
-Tom S.

February 5, 2007 4:54 PM

Monday, February 5, 2007

Celebrate Life


Saturday, February 3, 2007

Great memories from Joanne Blake


My name is Joanne Blake. My husband Reb and I have known and loved Gary for over 40 years.

I first met him I believe, in 1966. He was in the band The Front Line. They had just toured with Sonny and Cher. The band moved into the house next door to my parents house on Blossom Court in San Rafael.

Being 14 at the time, you can imagine how exciting it was to have a "famous" rock band move into the house next door. After a few months of living it up and spending all the money they made on tour, they had the electricity and water shut off for non-payment. My parents had fallen in love with Gary and Dennis Lanigan and allowed them to run an extension cord to our house to power the amps and a few lights in the house. Also allowed them to shower at our house... and I think they even had a hose running from our backyard into their house to flush the toilet. In exchange, Gary cooked wonderful meals for us, and Dennis and Gary both gave my younger brother guitar lessons.

From day one I loved Gary. He was the big brother I never had, my best friend, and my savior when my 12 year old brother died very suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage when I was 15. I am not sure I would have survived that experience, except for that fact that Gary was at my side day and night for a week or more.

Over the years we were in and out of touch but I always talked to him around his birthday (Reb's birthday is the day before Gary's, same age).

About 2 years ago he came to the Bay Area to do some production work, and stayed with us in Mill Valley 2 times. We got to renew our long time friendships over those 2 weekends and I will always treasure those times. After that we talked or emailed at least once a week.

I received a belated Christmas card from him a couple of weeks after Christmas, and after that he did not return emails or phone calls and I knew he was gone. We just found out from Mike Somavilla a couple of nights ago and we are so sad. I know Gary would want us to be happy that his suffering is over. Every time we talked, during his illness, he would tell me not to cry for him, but it was hard not to then, and hard not to now.

Thank you for putting together the wonderful tribute to Gary.

And as you said...many of us think of him as our BEST friend!

Thank you

Joanne (Harris) Blake

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The original Copperhead (incl. Mark Unobski)

A note from Pete Sears

I was very sad to hear that my old band-mate and compadre, Gary Philippet recently passed away.
I spent many happy and crazy months hanging out, playing music and recording with Gary, John Cipollina, Jim McPherson and David Weber at the old Quicksilver rehearsal house up on the hill in Corte Madera. We would occasionaly venture out and play a show here and there, like a live KSAN broadcast, or Bermuda Palms in San Rafael. Along with John, Gary was always a strong driving force behind the band. Gary and John's style of guitar playing and personalities always complemented each other well, as did Gary and Jim on vocals. We rehearsed for many months before we managed to come up with a name for the band, "Copperhead" (John's idea). I remember Gary as a generous and kind man, who lit up on stage (literally) and put all his energy into giving the audience the best possible performance he could.

Man, we had some good times. I haven't seen or spoken with Gary since I left Copperhead in 1972 just before they recorded their first album. I had to go back to England to record my third Rod Stewart album, and join a band Nicky Hopkins was starting up. As with other old friends who have moved on from this earthly plane (including Nicky), my biggest regret is not having reconnected with them again in later years - it's something that is always in the back of your mind. Then it is too late.

Gary will be remembered and missed by all those who loved him and his music.
My deepest sympathy goes out to his family and close friends.
See you down the line my old friend…and say hi to John, Jim and big Mark for me.
Your old mate,

Click to enlarge

Photo courtesy Pete Sears

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Freedom Highway

I'm EXTREMELY grateful to Mike Somavilla (creator of "Keeper of the Flame Music News") for hanging onto the Bay Area's (and beyond) music history (esp. John Cipollina and Terry & The Pirates), and for sending these great pics and scans for use on this site in Gary's memory:
Click to enlarge
Photo scan provided by Mike Somavilla
Photo scans provided by Mike Somavilla

Copperhead pics - CBS and Edsel

Click images to enlarge

Photo scans provided by Mike Somavilla

Copperhead pics

Click any image to enlarge

Photo scans provided by Mike Somavilla

more Copperhead posters!

Click any image to enlargeKeystone Berkeley

Shire Road Pub
Poster scans provided by Mike Somavilla

Copperhead posters

Click to enlarge all pics
Bermuda Palms

All About Copperhead

Image scans provided by Mike Somavilla

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Earth Quake "8.5" - 1976

"Kihntinued" 1982

Click photo to enlarge

Da Doo Ron Ron

Click any photo to enlarge

There was a dumpster across from Beserkely on Eunice that someone (presumably Ron) had painted his name on. Gary, ever the producer, made it a hit. Dennis Kernohan took the pix with Gary's new Olympus, 1975.

Beserkley Picnic Tilden Park 1981

Click any photo to enlarge

Greg, Stan Miller, Gary, Marcie Ingbar Me & Gary

_______with Vivika ____________ Gary Vivika Jon

Longbranch Saloon, Berkeley 1975

Click photo to enlarge
Jon Rubin and Gary backstage at the Longbranch
Photo courtesy Dave Seabury

Longbranch Saloon, Berkeley 1975

Click photo to enlarge
L to R: Nina Port, Dave Seabury, Paula , John Seabury, Gary Phillips
Photo courtesy Dave Seabury