Old Mill Tavern

Old Mill Tavern

Old Mill Tavern Music Bash 1970s (1976 or 1977?)
With Rowdy & The Rivets: Larry “Rowdy” Armstrong guit vox, Jamie Kindt bass, Gregory Leroy Dewey drums, Notjoe Dewey harp, Peter Walsh guitar.  Photo courtesy of Tim Eschliman.

Tim remembers,  “These Old Mill shots are way back when the Sweetwater was fairly new, & had shiny bras and plushed redwood and we thought it was way too uptown and it attracted lots of out of town folks.   So we preferred the Old Mill… shots & beers… no cover… a real melting pot of locals, blue collar guys, Bank of America ladies, musicians, artists… bikers, pool sharks …. hangers-on….”

Christmas Jug Band in front of the Old Mill’s window (circa December, 1979).  — Photo submitted by The Christmas Jug Band.  In the photo…Gregory Leroy Dewey (washboard), Dan Hicks (guitar, voc), Tim Eschliman (Guitar, voc), Turtle vandermarr (guitar), Paul Wenninger (Washtub bass), mostly out of view: Austin delone (accordion), Notjoe Dewey (harmonica, effects)

Photo taken from inside the Old Mill looking out (circa 1979) — Photo submitted by The Christmas Jug Band,
P O BOX 750112 Petaluma CA 94975 USA

Old Mill Memories

Musician Audie deLone

Audie deLone

AUDIE: My favorite place in Marin County — and also my main hangout — was The Old Mill Tavern. It had everything, both good and bad. There are special places at certain times where there’s sort of like a beam from outer space that comes down and puts a little zap on a place…and for a while, that place bubbles up like a boiling cauldron of great ideas and people. That was The Old Mill Tavern.

I got here in ’72 and it was jumping with crazed rednecks, stoned hippies, gays, lesbians… a wild mix of everybody. At the time there were some rich people who lived up in the (Mill Valley) hills but the town wasn’t particularly a high end joint. A lot of workers lived in town.

JASON: Was there friction between all these different groups at The Old Mill?

AUDIE: No. The rednecks were happy to go out and fight each other but there wasn’t friction between the different groups. That’s what was amazing about it. Everybody just poured in there and they had a good ol’ time. Before I lived out here (I was told) that in the Sixties they called it “Saturday Night Fights”. People used to go down to the bar and at the end of the night they’d be outside slugging it away. It was just kind of how they had their fun.

On ‘Whalebone’

AUDIE: Whalebone moved into town in the early-ish ‘70s, originally from the East Coast somewhere. He was a Viet Nam vet who had been a Marine guy, maybe a tunnel-rat. The toughest guy I’ve ever met. No point in fighting with Whalebone.  Even if there were 5 of you there was no point in getting in a fight with Whalebone because you would definitely lose. He was a lovely guy but he had a hair-trigger. He used to hang out at the bars and if people crossed him the wrong way — whew! — it was unbelievable. He pretty much put an end to the Saturday Night Fight style thing at the Old Mill Tavern because everybody after awhile realized there was no point in going up against Whalebone.

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