The Keystone Berkeley was one of many Bay Area small clubs where music could be innovative and new styles could be cultivated but they also had their commercial dark sides. This interview of Johnny Winter conducted after his shows at the Keystone illuminate the tensions that were common between artists, their managers, and club owners. This article expresses Johnny’s interested in coming to to the Bay Area specifically because of its wealth of small clubs. As a musician in the age of corporate arena rock, it must have been very appealing to play and have fun without the expectations of the large stadium crowds.
Johnny Winter’s manager Jerry Landry describes a miscommunication with Freddie Herrara, the owner of the Keystone Berkeley. Johnny wanted the show advertised as the Albino Kangaroos, leaving his name out which would allow him to play with out audience expectations. They also wanted a lower ticket price. They grew upset when they found out the show had been advertised with his name and that Mr. Herrara had charged four dollars at the door. Capitalism could not be escaped completely, even in these havens for musical exploration.