Music News – More than you can imagine, all in one place!

Many Sonomans know me from my Rock and Roll Memorabilia store that I once had on the Sonoma Plaza. Although it was called Rontor Presents, most people called it The Grateful Dead Store.

How I came to own that store is an interesting series of events. When I moved to Sonoma, I had just started selling items on Ebay. Our new Sonoma home was rather small and my (then) husband Phillip suggested that I rent an office for my Ebay business. It was either that or turn the bathroom into the computer room!

I went to the Chamber of Commerce and described my situation. I explained that I didn’t need a storefront just a phone line, electricity, and space that I could make a mess in (all those packing puffs!). I was told that 8th Street East was the ‘industrial’ area that that perhaps someone out there would have a small space I could use.

I drove around in the parking lots of these big buildings. The place had ZERO personality. It was just big metal building after big metal building. Finally, I saw one door with a rose bush in a pot out front. I thought, “Anyone that would try to dress up this place must be OK.”

I knocked on the door and was greeted by a bearded man and a small barking dog. The lights were not on in the building and I could hardly see who I was talking too. The dog didn’t stop barking. I was tired and hungry.

I was thinking that perhaps we could turn the bathroom into a computer room after all…..

I managed to explain my situation and was told that since there are so few industrial buildings in Sonoma, they don’t turn over very often and there are typically no vacancies.

The man then told me something that changed my life.

He said, “I have been trying to get my artwork on Ebay for three years.”

I said, “It isn’t that hard, I can help you.”

So I did.

As it turns out, the man was Stanley Mouse. Stanley is known as one of the “Big 5” poster artists from the San Francisco scene in the 1960’s. He, along with Alton Kelley, did a lot of artwork for the Grateful Dead.

But, I didn’t know that for quite some time. All I knew was that I had a gig in my new town and it was putting this guy’s art on Ebay. A couple of days later Stanley asked his assistant, “do you think she knows who I am?” His assistant replied, “no.” Stanley then said, “I have my own category on Ebay.”

Now, that got my attention.

As it turns out, he didn’t. He really didn’t understand Ebay very well at the time. But, what did happen was that if you type Stanley Mouse into the Ebay search, you get results.

I figured right then I was in for an interesting ride.

Eventually I opened a gallery/store where I sold Stanley’s art. Additionally, I represented other poster artists including: Alton Kelley, David Singer, Lee Conklin, Carolyn Ferris, Gary Houston, Christopher Peterson, Bob Masse, the photographer Gene Anthony, and others. I also bought and sold Family Dog and Bill Graham Presents posters and other artwork by Wes Wilson, Rick Griffin, Victor Moscosco, Randy Tuten, Jim Philips etc.

One day a guy in a brand new Porsche pulls up to the curb. He jumps out and runs into the store. He says, “Do you have those little Grateful Dead stickers?” I said no. He left.

I sat there thinking about that dude who apparently has some spare cash and how I let him out of my shop without helping him decorate his house….. I immediately called the Grateful Dead offices and got in touch with their merchandise department.

At that time, the Dead offices were still in Marin County. I just drove over and picked out what I wanted to carry in my store. Thus, The Grateful Dead Store was born.

Yes, the Porsche dude eventually came back and was able to sell him the sticker and a satisfying amount of artwork as well.

I closed the store after 9/11 as business had dropped off to almost nothing when folks stopped spending money.

I still sell concert posters. Check out my Ebay store for availability. Also visit The Rock Art Poster Society, a group of collectors who are passionate about this type of art.

Now, that entire story has been told to share a bit of news with you.

Somewhere along the line I subscribed to an email newsletter called:
P U N M A S T E R’ S M U S I C W I R E b y D a v i d G r o s s
This newsletter comes out a few times a month or so. Each one is packed with details about the music world with an emphasis on bands and acts that you would have heard new in the 1960’s and 70’s. If you like the music of that time, you WANT to subscribe to the newsletter.

From his website:
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