A bunch of hippies, a bunch of good people, got together and refused to run a business. And, I'm sorry, you've got to live in that world if you're gonna run a business.
On Rakow, in particular:
What Ron Rakow did to those people, he chained them to a machine that couldn't make money. It wasn't free. And the energy of all those good people in that building wasn't going anywhere, It was being trapped. Because he chained them to a financial problem, which was $9,000 a month rent, plus 20%. They couldn't have made it in 25 million years, man.And then when he was going down, and he was $66,000 in the hole and they were in danger of losing it, they ran to the community and said, "Let's get the community together, together we can save it." It was a bummer to lay on the community.In front, had Ron Rakow been honest with himself about business, he would have said, "$9,000 a month is too fucking high. And if we can't get this dance hall for $5,000, let's not take it. But instead, he took it. So it just went down the tubes.
On Graham taking over:
The only reason that Bill Graham got that dance hall was because they gave it to him. He would not have taken that dance hall. Ask Ralph Gleason, Ron Rakow, Bill Thompson, Rock Scully ... They said, "If we can't score it by Wednesday, if we can't make any deal with the owner to come up with the eight grand or a new ballroom manager, and a new organization, then you're free to go do whatever you want on Thursday. And that's what he did.
Ideas for the future:
Let's get together, do a benefit or a festival, and rent two places like the Matrix for a year, one at the south end and one at the north end of the city. And hire a couple of people to manage those 2 or 3 hundred capacity rooms, and put the young bands in there. … We should do that. Right now, there's a lot of wounds to heal and everybody is tired after the Carousel, so it's gonna take a little while. But it should come to pass.
The festival idea would manifest as the ill-fated Wild West Festival. At the same time, the Matrix really did take up some of the slack left by the Carousel (the Tuesday Night Jam morphed into the Monday Night Jam), and the Family Dog had the south end of town covered, albeit in a bigger room with the problems of rent and overhead and all that Polte identified as problematic for the prospective hip community musical operations. Indeed, Chet Helms never could make the Dog work, and he was out in less than a year.
Darlington, Sandy. 1968. Ron Polte: A Good Word for Bill Graham. San Francisco Express Times, July 31, 1968, p. 13.