By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
But such a place also attracted enemies. The Ash Grove was set on fire three times. After the third incident, Pearl closed the Melrose venue, in 1974. “But the era closed anyways,” he says, “and towards the end, I knew it was over. I mean, everyone ... wanted a normal life. So they went back and became lawyers and teachers, and — whatever people do.”
But the performers — those still living — kept right on performing, decade after decade. “Yeah, it keeps movin’ that same kinda way,” says Mahal, now about the same age as some of the blues men he used to see at the Ash Grove. “Naw, it — it never stops, man ... You gotta be doing what you’re supposed to be doing — whenever, however it’s coming down, you know. If you’re getting your butt kicked — you still gotta do what you gotta be doing.”
Taj Mahal did, and does; so did Ed Pearl.
The Ash Grove 50th Anniversary: Legend and Legacy will take place on the UCLA campus at Royce Hall, Schoenberg Music Building and Schoenberg Hall on Fri.-Sat., April 18-19. For more information, visit www.ashgrovemusic.com.