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Chet Helms, a Rock and Roll Hero


Chet Helms just died of Hepatitis C complications. When I first arrived in
Berkeley in 1965 Chet was one of the golden prince’s of acid rock. He organized mind blowing rock events at the Avalon in San Francisco and was the moving force behind Big Brother And The Holding Company. Rumor said he hitched to SF from Texas in the company of Janis Joplin.

Chet was always a soft touch for doing benefits and making contributions. I met him in some Haight Ashbury sanctuary, where we were all planing the first Human Be-In, a mass event in the park where the spectacles and pleasures of the new psychedelic community would be on free flowing display.

It’s hard to believe that there was a crafty, sinister, then unnamed virus that would enter Chet’s blood stream and 40 years later, it would destroy his liver and kill him.

Chet’s death is a very personal thing for me because I just defeated the same Hepatitis C virus via a year in chemotherapy hell.

Others that I knew have died of this same plague.

What a cruel irony that back in the mid 60s amidst all that energy and abundant life force a deadly disease was targeting Chet and so many other really beautiful people.

Hep C must be destroyed.

STEW ALBERT runs the Yippie Reading Room. His memoir, Who the Hell is STEW ALBERT?, is just out from Red Hen Press. He can be reached at:


















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