What: Rock ‘N’ Art Benefit Concert
Who: New Morning Youth and Family Services
Where: Lakehills Church, 7000 Rossmore Lane in El Dorado Hills
When: Saturday, Aug. 10 from 6 to 10 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are $30 and $40 at the door
Information: 530-622-5551 or go to newmorningyfs.org.
Remember the ’60s?
OK, trick question — but chances are if you lived in that crazy, colorful decade you at least recall the vivid, psychedelic record album covers that you studied for hours as the Grateful Dead, the Doors and countless other legends filled your days with glorious rock ‘n’ roll.
Now you can own a remarkable reminder of that era, and help troubled youth in El Dorado County find their way back to hope at the same time, with the purchase of a poster created by the very same artist who crafted all those album covers, Bob Masse.
Masse, who actually lived with the Grateful Dead on Ashbury Street in the Bay Area during the ’60s, and hung out with Jefferson Airplane in L.A.’s Laurel Canyon, has signed 150 of these specially created posters. They are offered for sale locally at $100 apiece to raise money for New Morning Youth Shelter in Placerville.
With the purchase of one of the signed and numbered posters, which feature an image of a Victorian style woman wearing a flowing hot-pink dress on a background of bright blue, you have the chance to win a one-week stay at the Maui Schooner Resort in Kihei, Ha., along with $1,000 for airfare. Posters may be purchased at newmorningyfs.org or at the door of a special event coming up.
Masse’s poster, designed specifically for New Morning, is part of the second annual Rock ‘N’ Art Benefit Concert, set for Saturday, Aug. 10 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Lakehills Church in El Dorado Hills.
Filling the evening with its own brand of rock and roll will be the local band, “Late for Dinner,” sure to get your heart pumping and toes tapping with sounds of the ’60s and beyond.
Rock ‘N’ Art includes wine and beer, plenty of food and an auction, all to benefit New Morning’s shelter and programs for youths in need.
Pouring wine during the event will be Crystal Basin Cellars, Wofford Acres, Bumgarner, Grace Patriot, Shadow Ranch, Boeger, Madroña and Lava Cap, among others.
Masse, 68, understands the importance of extending a helping hand to youth, as was obvious during his younger years hanging out in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, where thousands of young people, often runaways, converged during the ’60s and ’70s to experience the hippie movement.
They came seeking freedom and love, but what they often found was a life of pain and desolation as they lived homeless and desperate, victims of those who took advantage of their situation.
The circumstances that lead to youngsters finding themselves in terrifying and even life-threatening situations remain today, and that’s why there is a need for an organization such as New Morning, which has helped young people on the West Slope of El Dorado County since 1970.
“I definitely have a soft spot for kids,” said Masse from his home on an island off Canada’s west coast not too far from Victoria. “It’s usually not their fault that they have screwed-up lives when their home situation is out of control, for whatever reason, and they find themselves on the streets.”
Masse recalled his own younger days, harkening back to the days that led up to him spending his life on the rock and roll scene, creating iconic rock album covers and concert posters.
It all began when he and friends would frequent local coffee shops where folk music artists would perform, and in order to score free drinks and concert tickets, Masse would create his posters to promote the event.
They soon caught on … sort of like a wildfire in Laurel Canyon.
“It was all very bizarre to me,” Masse said of his lifetime of hobnobbing with rock stars and becoming an integral part of epitomizing that astounding moment in history.
“I was young enough to just drive down there (Haight-Ashbury), not worrying about whether my car blew up or not, and just start getting involved in that whole scene,” Masse said.
And while Masse’s art has been in the homes of virtually every young American in the 1960s and ’70s who enjoyed rock music, Masse said he didn’t enjoy financial success to the degree that some might imagine. His posters and album covers were more a labor of love, he explained.
“I didn’t need much money — no one did,” said Masse, recalling when he lived in Errol Flynn’s old house in Laurel Canyon outside LA and hung out with members of Jefferson Airplane. “It was all forested, up little roads with cottages outside Hollywood. It was Hollywood, not L.A., when I think about it. I would walk up the canyon and hear Joni Mitchell plunking on the piano, and around the corner would be Crosby, Stills and Nash at their house.”
Masse’s love of rock and roll and its artists remains today, as he excitedly told the Mountain Democrat about a black-and-white photo that someone had sent him just the week before.
It shows the late Jimi Hendrix looking at a concert poster promoting Hendrix’ show designed by Masse, and in the background, on the wall, hangs a poster of an album cover for the band, The Collectors. The cover of The Collectors’ album was the first ever designed by Masse, in his early 20s at the time.
That black-and-white print may be viewed on Masse’s Facebook page.
It might occur to readers that an artist such as Masse, who cut his teeth on holding a pen and brush in his hands to create his astonishing art, may hold a certain animosity toward the modern age of computers and electronically generated art. After all, he gained much of his inspiration from old engravings and lettering.
But not so, he assured.
“Art nouveau and turn-of-the-century Europe provide my inspiration, and my wife Claire and I have gone to Europe to study,” Masse began. “But while I still do hand art, inking, I use the computer to speed the process up, assemble elements. I find that computer art that is strictly computer generated is too slick, too much polish, so I seek a happy medium.”
Masse said it usually takes him months to create a single piece of art before he is satisfied with the work.
After the era of the 1960s ended, Masse continued to make a living with his talent, making a foray into commercial work, and along the way designed such memorable creations as the orange-furred fox for C-FOX radio station.
His work also may be seen in posters for top films including “Total Recall” and “Back to the Future III.” Masse’s hand also may be spotted in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV shows.
His later work resulted in gorgeous posters for performances by the Smashing Pumpkins, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette. His poster for U2 at the Reunion Arena is listed as one of the top 10 concert posters of all time by Billboard Magazine.
And so what does the rock-loving, hard partying pioneer of the psychedelic art movement do for fun these days?
“I rarely get to a concert anymore,” said Masse “I have a quite magical little home on an island in the Pacific Ocean, off Vancouver. This morning I’m drinking my coffee and watching the deer.”
Masse’s New Morning benefit poster contains the words, “Changing lives and restoring hope.”
That’s exactly the mission of New Morning, which provides a safe haven for youth and help for their families in difficult circumstances.
New Morning offers a 24-hour children’s shelter, alcohol and drug treatment for adolescents, counseling and support for pregnant and parenting teens and counseling for high-risk youth, such as abused children, runaways and suicidal youths.
Highly trained therapists offer counseling and services to youth and families at 20 sites throughout the county’s West Slope.
Tickets for the second annual Rock ‘N’ Art to support New Morning’s Youth Shelter are $30, $40 at the door. The event at Lakehills Church’s auditorium, 7000 Rossmore Lane in El Dorado Hills, is from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10.
For more information call 530-622-5551 or go to newmorningyfs.org.