Tag Archives: hippies

The Janis Joplin Trap House: A Legend

Hmm let’s see. I can’t think of any urban legends, but here’s a story.

My best friend growing up – his family bought Janis Joplin’s old house. I ran into him a little bit ago and he told me that people would just show up out of the blue. This was after she died and they’d just let themselves in. So he’d wake up and find some random bum on his couch.

So, turns out, Janis Joplin gave everyone she had ever met a house key and offered up a place to stay if they were in town. They finally had to replace all the locks and had to turn away people for years. Jimi Hendrix apparently showed up one day – he had the manners to knock – and he asked him if Janis was home (laughs).

This is a legend the Informant told me about her childhood in Larkspur, CA. She paints a model childhood in the neighborhood, where the kids roamed the streets, played stickball, and stuck together like a pack. Like stated above, it involved an unnamed member of her friend group.

A bold claim is bound to draw skepticism. This seems like a plot point out of a movie, but, hey, it was the ‘60’s. I read somewhere that about half of what you’ve heard about rockstars in the 1970’s is true. Everything you’ve heard about rockstars in the 1960’s is true. And you’ve only heard half of it.

Records show Janis Joplin owned houses in both Larkspur and on Haight St. in San Francisco. This appears to be the monogenesis of the legend. The key could be an allomotif for a password or special knock, but there is one glaring problem with the legend. Ambiguity in the last sentence could possibly mean to say that Jimi Hendrix showed up after Janis Joplin had died asking her. The problem that raises the alarm is that Hendrix died less than a month before Joplin. If this was backtracking, then the legend can still be true, but we only have the reported reputation of the people involved to go on.

Larkspur is located in Marin County, a mainstay for many bands and other successful hippies of the 1960’s and 1970’s. This legend, if true, only adds to the long list of legends already circulating about Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and possibly the most legendary decade in US History. I want this to be true. The foundation of the legend is factual and, although I can only go on the public persona of Janis Joplin, I feel like this is well within her character to offer her home to anyone involved in the Peace and Love Movement.