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Local impresario shares tales of 1960s music scene

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Before he turned 30, Andrew J. Bernstein brushed shoulders with some of the giants of the music industry – Jerry Garcia, Willie Nelson and Pablo Cruise, to name a few. They weren’t his idols so much as his buddies, friends he met during his adventures running light shows and the famed music club Homer’s Warehouse in 1960s Palo Alto.

In his book “California Slim: The Music, the Magic, and the Madness” (XLIBRIS, 2013), Bernstein chronicles his friendships and experiences in the burgeoning Bay Area music scene. He shared his story with local residents in a presentation June 12 at the Los Altos main library.

Many readers are often more interested in the “madness” described in his book than any other topic, Bernstein joked. “California Slim” documents his journey through the madness, touching on his “experimentation” during the ’60s. He emphasized, however, that it was never about the drugs, but the “immersion in the music.”

Bernstein knows about immersion. He described walking into a music store in Palo Alto as a young boy about to take his first banjo lesson and meeting his teacher, Garcia, later the lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead. He and Garcia became good friends who stayed in contact during the Grateful Dead’s skyrocketing success and afterward.

Bernstein discussed his adventures in Palo Alto rigging light shows and later opening Homer’s Warehouse, which Garcia frequented. Over the years, Bernstein also worked with musicians Leon Russell and Van Morrison.

To purchase “California Slim,” visit Amazon.com.

For more information on library events, visit www.sccl.org/losaltos.

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