First Images

By Tom Erikson

After Allen’s service in Portland there have been two funerals I’ve attended in San Francisco. The first was in St. Mary’s Catholic Church, near Golden Gate Park, and the other in Temple Emanu-El, near the Presidio.

The Catholic was my friend Buck, of the band Buck Naked and The Bare Bottom Boys, who was shot twice in the chest by a madman in the Panhandle of the park. Buck’s dog disturbed a group of pigeons the man was feeding, and this upset the guy. At his trial it came out that the killer had a storage locker filled with over $10,000 worth of birdseed.

The Jew was Bill Graham, legendary concert promoter. The helicopter that was taking him home from a concert during a bad storm crashed into a newly constructed, and unmarked, radio tower, killing Graham, his girlfriend, his pilot and his personal assistant. I had been photographing a lot of Bill Graham’s events, so I went to the service, where former Jefferson Airplane lead singer Paul Kantner gave the eulogy and Carlos Santana played a solo requiem on electric guitar. Bill’s son David also spoke and then helped load his father’s coffin into the hearse for the trip to the cemetery. I allowed myself one photograph that day, to respectfully mark the last time I would see Graham.