Drummer David Getz
was the last member of Big Brother & the Holding Company
to join; he was also the one bandmember who had already embarked on a successful career in a field separate from music. Born in New York, Getz
grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and was turned on to rock & roll as a young teenager, listening to Alan Freed
's radio show. He was also heavily immersed in Native American culture, and the two interests intersected when Getz
recognized that he had a special talent as a drummer. At age 15 he was a working musician and fully paid-up union member, and he played in all musical idioms, including Dixieland jazz, during his teens. He was also busy developing his talents as an artist, attending Cooper Union in New York, among other schools -- he earned fine arts degrees from the San Francisco Art Institute before he ever played music professionally. He kept his hand in music, however, playing jazz in his spare time (including a period studying in Poland).
was teaching when he was offered the chance to succeed the group's original drummer, Chuck Jones
. Over the next two and a half years, Getz
was riding a whirlwind as Big Brother
's drummer, as they gradually made their name in gigs in San Francisco and points east, ran through one recording contract with Mainstream Records, and jumped to Columbia and national stardom. He rode the wave down after the split with Joplin
and did a stint in Country Joe & the Fish
, but he never lost sight of his original career in the visual arts. After spending most of the 1970s pursuing various musical activities, including a cabaret act with his wife, he refocused his life on the visual arts in the ensuing decades. He has periodically played with Country Joe McDonald
and Barry Melton
, among others, and toured with the re-formed Big Brother
, while continuing to work in the visual arts.