(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION AUG. 16-18, 2019) — The 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival praise be has been thrust upon us. You may have heard about it.  Many of you might also know that a band from Pittsfield, Mass., The Quarry, played the most music there.

Roadies set up Mick’s drum set on the Woodstock stage. Day 1.

How did the Woodstock promoters hire The Quarry — Mick Valenti, Dave Carron, Danny Velika, and Mike Furey — to essentially serve as musical hosts for the most famous rock event of all time and play to crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands? Let THE PLANET tell you. Incidentally, in a completely serendipitous coincidence, this is the 1969th column we have written since we began this board. 1969. The gods are with us.

The band was headquartered in McAfee, N.J., where they had played the winter at Great Gorge Ski Lodge. McAfee was also handy to Manhattan, where Quarry headlined at two of the Big Apple’s hot night spots, the Zodiac Club and the Electric Circus. Talent scouts for Woodstock caught the band’s sets at the Circus in July and signed them for through their manager, Barry Hollister.

Mick, left, watches carefully as roadies set up his kit and The Quarry’s instruments on stage at Woodstock.

The Quarry arrived in Bethel while the crews built the main stage, did long sets during the festival itself, played on after the last note from Jimi Hendrix’s white Stratocaster echoed off Max Yasgur’s red cow barn, and even entertained the clean up and tear down crews. The Quarry played mostly original music, too, most of the songs written by Mick. Dave and Danny also shared writing duties.

God bless Max Yasgur.

Before leaving Bethel, N.Y., booking agents for the Texas International Pops Festival signed The Quarry for their event (Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 1969). This time the band would appear with Led Zeppelin, Santana, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, and Ten Years After. They had hit the big time. Thereafter, it was tour buses and flying to gigs, mixed in with the group’s van-and-vehicle caravan.

This new film promises to be the ultimate film record. Note THE QUARRY finally getting star billing.

The Texas shows and Zeppelin ax man Jimmy Page changed Mick Valenti’s musical path forever. Late in 1970, he left Quarry to start Quick Fox, taking on the role of lead guitarist and front man. Mick wanted to rock. Dave and Danny fell under the spell of country-folk and ended up in Shenandoah, eventually becoming sidemen for Arlo Guthrie.

Meanwhile, Quick Fox toured the country for the next 40 years — colleges, clubs, theaters, arenas, private parties, with Mick based variously in the Midwest, Santa Fe, Daytona but HQd in Pittsfield. After James Brown, was he the busiest man in show business?

Today, Mick’s still writing, recording, and playing music, this in the middle of a flurry of activity relating to Woodstock’s 50th, mostly handling media requests. He’s also featured (billed as The Quarry) in the exhaustive new documentary, Creating Woodstock, released recently to U.S. screens.

Mick Valenti, on stage, Christmas concert 2018.

Part of Woodstock’s 50th has been the “cash in.” People have been paying crazy amounts for memorabilia fromrock’s seminal event. Mick still has some of the drum set he played there, the kit featured on the Woodstock II album cover, and he’s not selling. God bless him, too. He never sold out. Didn’t then, will not now.

Yasgur’s field has been marketed to death, built over into a park-like mall, and the gullible flock to the site as if it’s Stonehenge. Of the Quarry, Dave and Danny have passed on, too soon for their great talents. Mike Furey has been long gone out of music. Mick carries on, irrepressibly — the coolest, most optimistic, irrepressible, caring, loving man we have ever met.

The Quarry and Quick Fox, both his creations, are still the most successful rock bands ever to come out of Pittsfield, Mass. For that we thank our parents for allowing the three brothers to follow their own muses. Each of us pursued and reached one of life’s greatest blessings, that of being able to make a living at something we loved doing.

Yes, we’re prejudiced about Mick.

He’s my brother.

Have a great weekend, everybody.


“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp”Robert Browning.



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  1. Johnny99
    August 15, 2019 at 7:27 pm #


    What a warm and wonderful tribute you composed to your brother.

    Sure sounds like he did it his way, as Ole Blue Eyes sang.

    Were you at Woodstock, either 50 years ago, or since?

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2019 at 9:15 am #

      No, I wasn’t there. Wish I had been, with my camera, my trusty Yaschica TL-Electro X IC rangefinder 35mm. I shots lots of film of the band with that baby, my go-to camera, a gift from my first girlfriend, in 1968. Thanks, Linda, for a lifetime gift. I still have it, and it occupies a place of honor with my other vintage pieces: A Revere 8mm movie camera, an Argus C-3 35mm, a Mercury II half-frame 35mm, and a Minolta XG-1 SLR.

      • Johnny99
        August 18, 2019 at 1:06 am #


        Thank you. I hope to check it out one day, even though I understand the true Woodstock is gone forever. I’ll bet most of the youngens’ don’t know that Woodstock was named after the town where it was supposed to happen.

  2. CC The Maze Sun
    August 15, 2019 at 10:16 pm #

    “ We are Stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon,
    And we got to get ourselves back…….”
    – Joni Mitchell

    • a fan
      August 16, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

      Joni is the absolute best.

    • kltpzyxm
      August 16, 2019 at 7:11 pm #

      She is the best.

      • danvalenti
        August 18, 2019 at 8:31 am #

        Great song. Best ever about the happening, the state of mind in physical form, that was Woodstock. That year, 1969, also saw three other iconic large gatherings where hundreds of thousands of young people came together in peace, fun, love, and joy. One I mentioned in my column, the Texas Int’l Pops Festival. The other two: The Stones’ free concert in Hyde Park, London (before Woodstock), and the Isle of Wight festival (after). It seemed for that final instant that the ideals of the 60s were actually possible as an implementable lifestyle, but then … but then came drugs. And thugs. What a lost opportunity.

  3. Joe Blow
    August 16, 2019 at 2:03 am #

    Cool for your Bother to be a part of music history…….

    ” Woodstock was not about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was about spirituality, about love, about sharing, about helping each other, living in peace and harmony.”
    -Richie Havens

    Don’t eat the brown acid!!!

  4. Pat
    August 16, 2019 at 4:39 am #

    Woodstock was all about freedom in 1969. Let’s remember that when we have people in this country who want to give government total power and control over our lives….it will not work out well for us.

    • Harrison
      August 16, 2019 at 2:48 pm #

      So true Pat. As we appropriately celebrate this Woodstock anniversary with a little weed, we are thankful to this progressive state to give us the freedom to do so without consequence.

      • Pat
        August 16, 2019 at 8:10 pm #

        Sorry Harrison, but it wasn’t about the weed. If the only reason you vote Progressive is for the weed, then our country is in deeper trouble than even I thought. Let government enslave us all, as long as you get your weed; is that the message you take from Woodstock?

        Weed can be just as deadly behind the wheel as booze as we saw just last week with the young Lee girl fighting for her life after a stoned driver hit her. So many died at Woodstock of drug overdoses. Woodstock wasn’t about drugs although many did take lots of drugs while attending.

        • The school committee
          August 17, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

          Our country was at war in a jungle in southeast Asia trying to prevent communism. As you repeat often Pat it is still used today by you and that scared regression political party who want guns and war.Your party now loves Russia and North Korea.America will be Great Again soon .Vote for Bill Weld a real financial conservative.

          • danvalenti
            August 17, 2019 at 12:09 pm #

            We went to war in the jungles of SEast Asia simply to keep Endless War going. Like Korea with China, the U.S. and the USSR found it much better, safer, and more lucrative to fight each other by proxy, sacrificing young men for the sake of $$$. It was the best way to keep the Cold War from getting Hot.

          • Pat
            August 17, 2019 at 1:35 pm #

            You and your far left millennial supporters go around calling each other “comrade” and we are the ones who love Russia? No so fast SC.

  5. Paul
    August 16, 2019 at 5:09 am #

    Thanks Dan for a great read. If everyone was at Woodstock that say they were at Woodstock they’d still be leaving :)’

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2019 at 9:15 am #

      Great line, PAUL!

    • C. Trzcinka
      August 18, 2019 at 5:22 pm #

      Great line. I was not at Woodstock. I couldn’t get the car. My old friend Paul Phillips could but he had to mow the lawn on Saturday. We were going to drive up then but the news reports of miles long traffic jams kept us from going. So we missed Woodstock because the lawn had to be mowed. There is a certain poetic justice in this…

  6. Greg Harris
    August 16, 2019 at 7:30 am #

    Awesome tribute to Mick. I heard of Quarry but didn’t know the Woodstock connection.

    So cooool. Its like a new wrinkle to this event of myth.

  7. Drew Z
    August 16, 2019 at 8:26 am #

    Danul,Mick looks good and nice shoes to boot. Just curious though,what is that bottle next to the water bottle on the stage?

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2019 at 9:18 am #

      Thanks, DZ. Mick is absolutely ageless. As for the bottle next to the bottle, my guess is that it’s an aerosol spray guitarists use to make the neck silky smooth so the hands can glide up and down for quick and easy chord changes.

  8. Hundred Crib
    August 16, 2019 at 9:32 am #

    His greatest achievement was definitely at the he Texas Festival. I was there visiting my cousin a ways away and went from Arlington Mick V and his band were awesome.

  9. Ol Sid
    August 16, 2019 at 9:37 am #

    Mr. Valenti, ask your brother if he knew of a Sid Barnes.

  10. G A Sitterfeld
    August 16, 2019 at 12:06 pm #

    Dan, if I might I would ask that the voters in Ward Six vote for Craig Gaetani. Craig cares about his Ward and I think it would be a good fit o have him as our City Councilor. One of our biggest challenges will be the plight of the water-sewer costs to his constituents, and that alone should be enough to have the voters in the Ward concerned about our water bills going forward.

    I ask that each voter consider him for their next a City Councilor.

    • Gobsig
      August 16, 2019 at 6:03 pm #

      Avoid Gueil at all costs. She’s the darling of the Tyer cabal.

      • James
        August 17, 2019 at 8:58 am #

        Question, how is Gueil able to run for office while working in the DA’s office? I thought that was against the law.

  11. Jonathan Melle
    August 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm #

    August 16, 2019

    Re: Open letter to Donald Trump about mental health and gun violence

    Dear U.S. President Donald Trump,

    There is NO correlation and/or causation between people with mental illness and violence, including gun violence. If there is a link, then please publish the report(s)! Most people with mental illness are not violent. Moreover, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than the general population. I listened to part of your speech on CSPAN-TV in Manchester, NH at SNHU Arena last night, August 15, 2019. I totally disagree with your statement that people with mental illness should be put into facilities like they were in the 1950’s. I believe your statement was discriminatory and violates the legal rights of people with disabilities, specifically people with mental illness. If a mental health patient is homicidal and/or suicidal and/or wants to destroy property and/or is in serious legal trouble, there are already legal and healthcare measures in place to commit him or her to jail and/or a psychiatric hospital. The key to mental healthcare is the evidenced-based recovery model with a comprehensive community support system in place for the mental health patient. Putting people with mental illness into facilities to isolate them is the opposite of the recovery model! Lastly, Veterans, like myself, come home from military duty with mental health issues. Putting Veterans into facilities would stand against everything our great country should stand for!


    Jonathan A. Melle

    • Johnny99
      August 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm #

      What military duty may I ask?

    • Blare
      August 16, 2019 at 7:49 pm #

      There are many forms of mental illness. You are correct that the vast majority are not predictive of violent behavior. But make no mistake, anyone who decides to embark on a mission to kill as many people as possible, for ANY reason, is indeed mentally ill, by definition.


      • Pat
        August 16, 2019 at 8:18 pm #

        What is to stop people from taking guns from someone who is accused of being mentally ill? That sounds like a tricky way of taking guns from Americans under these new proposed gun laws which President Trump may approve, but which I am against.

        • The school committee
          August 17, 2019 at 12:05 pm #

          The NRA is headed by a man who is afraid of getting shot.Thats crazy .

  12. Gone to it
    August 16, 2019 at 12:25 pm #

    Sounds like off topic restorative justice lingo. Again Job, you are treading thin thin ice on here and only because Dans a nice guy, but the repetitive nonsense you bring is getting a little annoying.

    • Shakes
      August 17, 2019 at 6:50 pm #

      Oh, you share responsibility for this blog with the planet?

    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2019 at 7:58 pm #

      Jonathan Melle is a welcome contributor to THE PLANET. Let’s be clear on that. It’s called “free speech,” lad.

  13. Still wondering
    August 16, 2019 at 12:27 pm #

    But there is a direct relationship between people with mental health issues and your keyboard.

  14. Hippy-Dippy Weatherman
    August 16, 2019 at 2:03 pm #

    Hey, far out, man.

  15. Dum Kin
    August 16, 2019 at 2:39 pm #

    Think of what Mccandless said at City Council the other night? most kids are on the lower economic scale. Then why can’t his Mayor understand we cannot afford her school budget? Or any other tax increase?

    • Roberto Del Halitoso
      August 16, 2019 at 5:54 pm #

      Why is the economy roaring everywhere but Pittsfield?

      • Jonathan Melle
        August 16, 2019 at 6:22 pm #

        The answers to your question are:

        * High municipal taxes, fees, and debts

        * High poverty rate, welfare (teen pregnancies), social services, not-for-profits, and economic inequality

        * Poorly performing public school district that is overpriced

        * The “Big 3” (school, police, fire) labor Unions who take as much taxpayer dollars they can get their greedy hands on

        * The Good Old Boys club of insider political hacks

        * 21-year-old polluted PEDA with 0 tenants and 0 private investment

        * A lousy daily newspaper who mostly publishes puff pieces

        * A dangerous and dead downtown with a few entertainment venues during the summer tourist season

        * An apathetic citizenry with low voter turnout

        * Decades of population and job loss

        * Scarce living wage jobs

        * GE’s left behind PCBs chemical industrial toxic waste sites

        * An empty nearby Berkshire Mall

        * A Boston-centered state government with career Democrat Party political hacks

        * A career U.S. Congressman (Richie Neal) who raises most of his campaign dollars from out of state special interests

        * A U.S. Senator (Elizabeth Warren) who is running for U.S. President and another U.S. Senator (Ed Markey) who really lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland

        * A U.S. Prez (Donald Trump) who only cares about billionaires like himself

        * Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski always having to assume the humiliating position for the corrupted social, economic, and political system that screws them over year after year after year…

        • Roberto Del Halitoso
          August 16, 2019 at 6:33 pm #

          You had me until your TDS kicked in.

        • JoePesci
          August 16, 2019 at 7:18 pm #

          Mr. Melle,

          You forgot about the crime.

          Just how much an hour do you think an experienced police officer should be paid in this crime ridden city?

      • Mr. Fritz
        August 16, 2019 at 6:46 pm #

        Because the city is run by Democrats. And has been for a long long time!

  16. The lizerd
    August 16, 2019 at 2:51 pm #

    You’re kidding no right Dan,about prejudice. Mick as you and the rest of the local music scene knows Mick was the real deal,just didn’t know how good he was,could’ve been a superstar, sad thing is,he was.

  17. TrubbLou
    August 16, 2019 at 3:18 pm #

    Dan,who invented the Pick?

  18. Rule 27
    August 16, 2019 at 5:52 pm #

    Who else thinks that Marchetti’s favorite breakfast is a three minute egg?

  19. X-Lachs Lounge
    August 16, 2019 at 5:59 pm #

    So you think someone of sound mind will do a mass murder? You are quite obtuse.

    • X-Lachs Lounge
      August 16, 2019 at 6:01 pm #

      the above was @ Melle

  20. Bradford North
    August 16, 2019 at 6:11 pm #

    Pittsfield will have it’s own music festival called “Woodlawn Ave. Stock. Headlining the event will be “Barry And the Constipated Accounts.”
    ​They’ll be performing selections from their album “We Worked It Out With A Pencil.” Get your tickets while you still can.​

  21. dusty
    August 17, 2019 at 1:45 am #

    Agree a super nice tribute to Mick and the guys. Brings me back to the Lighthouse days when everyone was walking in a circle with their hormones raging. (now there is a line for a song right there)

    • a fan
      August 17, 2019 at 8:07 am #

      …and Dave Carron was singing ‘Last Exit to Brooklyn’.

      • Harrison
        August 18, 2019 at 8:28 am #

        Carron had an amazing voice. He reminded me of Robert Plant.

        • a fan
          August 18, 2019 at 6:48 pm #


    • danvalenti
      August 17, 2019 at 9:04 am #

      Thanks. Remember the Lighthouse well, and the hormones even better! Great fun back then, with a lively musical scene in the city. Lots of great bands.

  22. Pat
    August 17, 2019 at 5:20 am #

    There are more pot shops springing up across the Berkshires. Harrison and other Progressives are really happy. (see the posts above). My question is who will protect the general public from all the stoned drivers? The first role of government is to protect people not to encourage them to act irresponsibly.

    Progressives and their addiction to weed has destroyed that basic responsibility of government. Now they just want to give government all the money and power and let the public take their chances at surviving on our highways? Now we need Mothers Against Stoned Drivers.,582464

    • The school committee
      August 17, 2019 at 12:07 pm #

      Yes ,legal pot finally.

    • Harrison
      August 17, 2019 at 12:21 pm #

      Someone’s been watching Refer Madness again.

      • Pat
        August 17, 2019 at 1:47 pm #

        The Berkshire Eagle glorifies pot shops and can’t stop gushing about getting stoned in the same issue that they report on the young girl in a coma after being hit by a stoned driver. Unbelievable!!

        • Harrison
          August 17, 2019 at 2:28 pm #

          Bad things happen. It’s the price we pay to be free. We are free to smoke pot, we are free to have guns. You don’t discuss all the horrendous things as a result of the lack of government gun control. You are hypocritical and unbelievable. By the way, what makes you think that I am a progressive? Peace!

          • Pat
            August 17, 2019 at 3:17 pm #

            Freedom means responsibility. Not seeing it from many when it comes to driving and pot. Just like so many have been irresponsible over the years with booze. We are going down the same path with pot.

          • Shakes
            August 17, 2019 at 7:03 pm #

            The same people that protect everyone from the drunks.

  23. Muni Susuki
    August 17, 2019 at 5:41 am #

    Yeah, the song title is Assme the position.

  24. The school committee
    August 17, 2019 at 12:10 pm #

    We all know how republicans spend Americas money.Pittsfield would be in bad shape with Republicans watching budgets

  25. Pat
    August 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm #

    Video of far left socialist millennial supporters calling each other “comrade” and School Committee is saying that Trump supporters love Russia. We can see from this video that they love to act just like Russia. They model themselves after Russians.

  26. Pat
    August 17, 2019 at 1:42 pm #

    The far left acting like Russians.

  27. Pat
    August 17, 2019 at 3:13 pm #

    Americans have the right to own guns to avoid a tyrannical government. Giving up our guns to government means giving away our power to big government.

    A gun doesn’t make somebody shoot someone, but using pot does get people stoned and they shouldn’t drive.

    What is your political preference? Conservative (unlikely) or Independent if you are not liberal?

    • Pat
      August 17, 2019 at 3:15 pm #

      The above reply is for Harrison. Not sure how it got down here.

      • The school committee
        August 18, 2019 at 1:47 am #

        The gun defense is ignorant.These mass murder machines have no place in your home Pat.Trump may ask you to pick one up to defend his presidency. Would you?

    • Harrison
      August 17, 2019 at 4:08 pm #

      I realize that it’s easier to understand if you place everyone in a nice little politically labeled block, but fortunately things are not that black and white.

  28. Jonathan Melle
    August 17, 2019 at 5:43 pm #

    Come visit Pittsfield and buy your pot, booze, cigs, tobacco, scratch tickets, and get your welfare benefits!

    Pittsfield attracts the “finest” people who want to get high, drunk, smoke cigs, and go on welfare.

    • X-Lachs Lounge
      August 17, 2019 at 6:03 pm #

      Sounds like Tyer’s campaign

    • Johnny2Shoes
      August 18, 2019 at 6:12 am #

      That list explains the vibrant community we hear about in Pittsfield that’s happening and continuing to grow.

  29. Auto Phil
    August 17, 2019 at 8:01 pm #

    *Newsflash to Pat*

    People have been driving around stoned forever. It has nothing to do with the legalization of Marijuana. People drive stoned, they grocery shop and do laundry and go for walks. They cook dinner and do homework and play sports. For many, using marijuana regularly is just how they love their life. Just like I start my day with coffee every morning and sometimes brew a cup in the afternoon.

    It’s time to move past all the reefer madness theories and stick to realty. Marijuana is unlike any other drug out there. It is medicinal, pleasureable, and a spark to creativity.

    • Pat
      August 17, 2019 at 8:28 pm #

      The spread of recreational pot will absolutely put more stoned drivers on the road. For every person who goes around acting completely normal and capable on pot, there are many more who just can’t handle it.

      • Auto Phil
        August 18, 2019 at 7:16 am #

        Completely disagree Pat.

        The only difference now is that you can buy it in a store if you are 21+. The world has been buying, smoking and living with marijuana all along.

        And while there may a slight increase in new users, mostly there is not. The industry is there for a market that already exists. So people who smoke know their limits, just as they do with alcohol. This isn’t brand new, Pat.

        I’m guessing that with your use of the phrase “on pot” that you are of an older generation, brow beaten to accept that drugs are bad, marijuana is a gateway drug, the wacky weed makes people commit crimes, etc. Are you a friend of Henry Anslinger? 😉

        • Pat
          August 18, 2019 at 4:14 pm #

          I didn’t say that pot is a gateway drug. Someone far more knowledgeable than me when it comes to drugs said that pot is a gateway drug,That was a local doctor from a detox clinic here in Pittsfield. For some people, pot is a gateway drug according to him.

          Should I say stoned instead of on pot? What is the appropriate language?

  30. The school committee
    August 18, 2019 at 1:48 am #

    Pittsfields North Street South Street Park Square Common Park are the most attractive areas in Berkshire county.
    Northampton is a dump as is Holyoke Lowell Lynn Brockton Lawrence Framingham I could go on and on and on. Lenox is the only attractive town along with Williamstown and you can buy pot there.

  31. The school committee
    August 18, 2019 at 1:51 am #

    Pat ,have you ever used the drug alcohol?

  32. The school committee
    August 18, 2019 at 5:09 am #

    Moon thinks she is a councilor at Large like Caccamo. Walk your ward Dom.Nobody forward you to run.You can drop out right now if you don’t like fixing sidewalks and replacing street lights…….Would Tyer please cut tree limbs on 1st street and install new lighting for safety…..Also it’s very dark in and around the Beacon Cinema

  33. X-Lachs Lounge
    August 18, 2019 at 6:41 am #

    TSC, Moon doesn’t think she’s an at large councillor. She thinks she’s a senator.

  34. The school committee
    August 18, 2019 at 2:09 pm #

    Senator Moon and Senator Caccamo could not run a lemonaid stand on Park Square because of the cups.

    • Hell Toupee
      August 18, 2019 at 6:22 pm #

      Tyer denied them permits

  35. The school committee
    August 18, 2019 at 2:18 pm #

    Mayor Mazzeo is asking questions about taxes for water treatment and School Department throwing money at the failed schools.Kids cant learn at the Middle Schools because 12 year olds wont be removed from the building. Superintendant wont back his teachers.Curtis is spending out of control.Somebody needs to talk with Behnkel and Tyer only shows for a photo pushing Bouvier out of the way.Mazzeo will be asking question Joe and Jake.

    • Hell Toupee
      August 18, 2019 at 6:24 pm #

      Tyer still hasn’t figured out that water is wet. She has to check with bad breath Ruberto.

  36. Walter Webster
    August 18, 2019 at 4:21 pm #


    A friend told me about your article on Woodstock.

    Woodstock is such a fine memory. I enjoyed reading your piece.