View "The List" of some of the performers
with whom Geoff has appeared
Just so we're all on the same page here, these are mostly performers I've opened for, and I am in no way comparing myself to them. Certainly, it's been a pleasure and an education seeing these pros live and up-close. With others I've done double-bills, been a backing player, or have taken my turn in the line-up on festival workshop and main stages. On the Contemporary Folk Songs Workshop stage at the 1988 Newport Folk Festival, I found myself sitting between Richard Thompson and Mac Rebennac (Dr. John the Night Tripper). I wasn't nervous... nooo.
At a Benefit Concert for Harvard Square's enduring Nameless Coffeehouse sometime in the early 1980s, I followed a strong, young, and at the time, unknown performer named Tracy Chapman. I wonder if she has my name on her list! The gig with Suzanne Vega was on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village at a little joint called the Speakeasy, long gone now. I was the opening act. Suzanne was signed to A & M Records about a year later in 1985. My girlfriend at the time was Suzanne's road manager, and when someone was needed to drive the RV for two weeks on Suzanne's first U.S. tour that summer, I took the job. I saw her do shows in Fort Worth, Chicago, Saint Paul, and Denver. The outdoor Saint Paul show headliner was Joan Baez, who sat barefoot at the edge of backstage listening to every act. Suzanne and her band went on first followed by David Bromberg and his band, John Prine solo...an incredible show... and finally Joan, who took that audience of several thousand into the sky and was worth every minute of the wait.
The show with Martin Mull was at Salt, a great club that used to be on Thames Street in Newport, Rhode Island. Martin played a beautiful maple Gibson L5 at that gig, and was joined by the fine pianist Eddie Wise. To show what a class act Martin is, he listened to all my sets, two shows a night for four nights, and offered to join me for a few numbers on the last night. I took him up on it, and he and Eddie were my backup band for three... count them three... numbers. Whoa. That was in 1976. Remember Do the Nothing? It was interesting to see Martin a year later on TV's Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and to see his ads now for Red Roof Inns. That gig alone probably pays for his house in Malibu. Salt was a great club. It had a full bar and seated around 200, and the audience was quiet. All the gigs were four-nighters. Why aren't there gigs like that anymore? I also opened for Dave Van Ronk, Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry, and John Hammond at Salt.
On the show with Peter, Paul, & Mary, and Arlo Guthrie, I was playing guitar for Tom Paxton. This was at the Bottom Line in New York City, a Benefit Concert for the late, great Dave Van Ronk, who was in the hospital with cancer. We raised a lot of money that night, but it wasn't enough to keep Dave alive. He passed away two months later while undergoing chemotherapy. They broke the mold when they made Dave Van Ronk, and I hate it that he's gone. I hope & trust he's in a better place. Dave had a huge heart and was a profound influence on me nearly from the first time I picked up a guitar.
There is one act I haven't mentioned here, but here's the story. Around 1973, Bob Franke and I opened for an unknown rock band in the gym at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. I don't remember them yelling at Bob, but if I never hear another audience screaming, "Get the f**k off the stage! We want Aerosmith! AEROSMITH!! AEROSMITH!!! ", it'll be too soon. A year or so later they signed with Columbia, and the rest, as they say, is history.
At Bob Dewitt's Red Mountain Ranch, Raymond, CA
Backstage at Kerrville with songwriter and Waterbug Records founder Andrew Calhoun
At Kerrville with Anne Feeney & Kat Eggleston
Geoff & David Massengil at Folk Alliance, Boston
Chowin' down with Chuck Brodsky & Lui Collins