Photo of band Clover playing at Lion’s Share provided by Alex Call.
Musicians’ Lion’s Share Memories
It was this crowded hot room with kind of a low ceiling. For some reason I was walking down the street about two years ago and I went by there and said, “Hey, this is the Lion’s Share!” I walked in and it (had become) this metal refinishing shop or something. I asked them, ‘Do you have any idea what used to go on in here?’ … I said, ‘Mose Allison was in this room. We had a party for Janis Joplin after she died in this very room and everyone was snorting coke in the bathrooms. It was insane.’
John Stewart used to play at the Lion’s Share, and I felt so lucky to be able to see him right there where I lived. He sang a song called “Cody” which at the time was the greatest song I ever heard. I wasn’t even a musician at that point, but going to the Lion’s Share made me want to be one.”
Highlights from the Forum
Lion’s Share was on the north side of Redhill Ave. (Miracle Mile), inbetween what is now Redhill Auto and what was Hatt’s Custom Choppers. It’s a “modern forties retail” looking, one story. I believe it’s got a weather-beaten coat of green paint on it now. Lots of oleander growing in front. Just a block toward San Rafael, from United Mkt. I’ve been curious and peeked in the windows, and it looks like it’s now some sort of manufacturing facility or a machine shop of some kind. Lots of big, floor-standing tools that I don’t recognize.
Before it was Lion’s Share, I believe it was a hardware store. “Highland Hardware”, I’ve heard. That little district was referred to as Highland from the 1910’s thru the 40’s. The Mission-style buildings on the center divide were NWP train station buildings. The north side of the street was for normal traffic, and the south side (east bound) was the NWP right-of-way. If you look closely, there’s still some of the old green and white 4×4 fence posts to keep people and animals away from the third rail (600 volts DC).
Lions Share was a club located on Miracle Mile in the same block as United Market, in an easterly direction. The Share put on music & poetry reading, many well known locals played there. Van Morrison was a frequent performer when I was a high schooler, Commander Cody played there too. I remember the hill behind there as being a place people would hang out & socialize with beverages & herb before the shows.
Memories from the Chef
“I was the cook at the Lion’s Share around 1972 – Mike (Considine) was the owner and he needed to serve food so minors could be allowed in (mo money) he gave me a little room to the side of the liquor bar with a serve through window, and a cutting board – he explained the minor situation – and didn’t want to be bothered by anything food related after that. The music and the scene was just so very hip. Van Morrison was there at least monthly it seemed – Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee – Herbie Hancock – Sun Ra – Jerry Garcia picking in a bluegrass band called ‘Old and in the Way’ – I cooked and served Jerry a cheeseburger at an afternoon sound-check – a very big moment for me – I’m a bit of a harmonica player and another idol, Charlie Musselwhite graced the stage – one afternoon when I came to work there were security guards outside and one of the bartenders had to come to the door and OK me before they’d let me in – the whole place had been ‘rented’ for a private party – as I was setting up in my ‘kitchen’ a guy came in with a sack of pot and a BIG chunk of hash – he started rolling hash/grass bombers and since it was my cutting board and I prided myself on rolling skills in those days I took over and when everything was rolled up he gave me two for my services – the opening act was a 3 or 4 piece with a very hip babe singing and playing a wicked slide guitar – after the set she and Mike had a little conference in my kitchen and when Mike left for his office we talked and she commented about the looseness of the party – cops standing watch outside – and inside there were barmaids walking around with a platter of free coke – piled high – no shit. She asked me if I had gotten high yet – meaning the coke – and I said no – and she whipped out a small glass vial and gave me a couple of toots from her coke spoon necklace – I was in hippie heaven – I don’t KNOW who that gal was – but looking back it almost had to be Bonnie Raitt – I didn’t know who she was at the time – so I can’t say for sure – but it fits perfectly.”