Danny Glover, known for playing tough guys in movies and for his activism, was a flower child. “I’m a native of San Francisco, I grew up in the Haight Ashbury, I graduated from high school in 1965,” Glover told us at the Jazz Foundation of America’s Great Night in Harlem benefit on Thursday, where the conversation turned to music. In high school in 1963, Glover watched Sly Stone rehearse in his friend’s basement down the street. “I didn’t go to Woodstock, but I saw Jimi Hendrix at Marx Meadow in San Francisco,” Glover said. He used to hang out at the legendary Avalon Ballroom in the mid-sixties, when he was 18 years old. “My friend was a doorman there. We used to sneak into the Avalon Ballroom,” Glover said. “Listened to everything, you know. Janis Joplin — one of the cats that lived in my commune in 1968, every time Janis came to town, he’d go get a bottle of Southern Comfort and bring it up there,” the Lethal Weapon star recalled, laughing.
“I lived in a commune in 1968 to 1969. We were part of the commune network that included the Grateful Dead commune and the Jefferson Airplane commune.” We immediately had visions of giant Afros and fringed vests. “I wore bell bottoms, platform shoes, the Edwardian coats, you know? I don’t even want to see myself in that stuff no more,” Glover told us, laughing. In 1975, Glover saw Bob Marley play his first show in the U.S. at San Francisco’s Boarding House. “It’s funny. We produced a film about celebrating the 60th birthday of Bob Marley, you know. When I saw him, I was 28 years old. My daughter, who’s got the Rasta, and my grandson’s a Rasta — her mother was pregnant with her when we went to see Bob Marley — she says, ‘That’s the reason why I can’t get away from these Rasta boys!’” —Bennett Marcus