Country Joe and Me is a biography of Country Joe McDonald founder of the seminal rock band Country Joe and The Fish and a star of the Woodstock Festival held in 1969. It is also partially a autobiography of the writer Ron Cabral. Ron and Joe met while serving in the U.S. Navy at Naval Air Station, Atsugi Japan in 1960. Both being trombone players and hailing from California they became friends. They were also both Air Traffic Control Tower Operators and were in the same unit. The friendship continued after they both returned to California in the early 60's. Joe turned into Country Joe in 1965. Ron got his teaching credential that year and began his 35 year career with the San Francisco Schools. Ron was so moved by the rock and roll music explosion in his home town of San Francisco that by late 1967 he started managing three different bands two of which played at Fillmore-West and Winterland for Bill Graham - Celestial Hysteria and Gold. Ron figured he could teach by day and work with the bands at night and did this for five fantastic years.
The book follows Ron and Joe through the acid days of the Haight-Ashbury and the Human Be-In and their associations with Rock Czar Bill Graham. There is a chapter called Joe and Janis and it's about Janis Joplin and Joe's brief, but passionate love affair in 1967. Later a chapter features a rock concert starring Jerry Garcia put on by Ron's school Opportunity High with Joe's help. Actually it was Joe's idea to hire Bimbo's 365 Club and put on a historic rock concert run entirely by Opportunity High students to help raise money for the school's music program. There is a chapter called Summerland devoted to this event and it was historic as it turned out. The poster from that event has became a prized collector's item.
In 1973 Joe started a new band called Country Joe and The All-Stars and this band featured two ex members of Big Brother and the Holding Company Peter Albin and Dave Getz. Joe was looking for a trombone player to add to the new horn section and the only one he could find was Ron who was given a 4 night try out at Mandrakes in Berkeley. There is a chapter about this musical event in the book called Mandrakes....
A chapter about Joe the Family man covers Joe's family life and his role as a devoted father to his five children. There is also a section devoted to Joe's work with and for Veteran's. Being a veteran himself he knows of what he speaks. Joe wrote the concluding chapter about Veteran's and why he supports some of the causes he does.
The book includes lyrics from some of Joe's most important songs and a complete discography of all the works of Country Joe and The Fish and all works Joe has done as a solo or in collaboration with others. Joe has written over 300 songs and has almost 40 LP's, CD's in worldwide circulation. There is also a filmography showing the many films and Hollywood Movies Joe has appeared in. There are also 60 rare photos and graphics in the book.
In more recent times Joe has toured with Paul Kantner's Jefferson Starship family and has taken a one man Tribute to Woody Guthrie on the road to great acclaim. He recently headlined the 40th Anniversary Summer of Love concert held in 2007 in Golden Gate Park.