Clementine Hall on Janis Joplin

"Janis was a friend to us, a really, really good friend to me long before anyone knew who she was. I really, dearly loved her. I knew her when she when only 18 years old and horrifically shy about her singing. She'd never let us hear her sing. One day she took a reel-to-reel tape and recorded a song. She brought the tape recorder out into the living room and said, 'Listen to this, but I don't wanna be here. When I come back, you're going to be totally and brutally honest and tell me the truth if I'm good or not.'

"We heard exactly what we heard years later. Same voice. Nothing changed except she learned how to scream from Roky. Roky was trying to teach her how to do a scream. But she didn't learn to do it right. She didn't protect her throat, so she ended up losing a lot of her voice because of it. However, when she came back, we said, 'You're incredible! Like Bessie Smith.' She said, 'Don't say that. Don't bullshit me. I want the real truth.'

"She wore her black dress and hair in a bun, no make-up, grandmother shoes, a black dress – shapeless like a bag – the first time she was supposed to get up on the stage and sing. The image of Janis, she became the total opposite of that. Someday, I'd like to talk to Laura [Joplin], because I know so many stories no one else does. But I'm afraid to open those flood gates. I won't even see a movie about her; I'd burst into tears."

  • More of the Story

  • She Lives

    Clementine Hall was the 13th Floor Elevators' hip, maternal Wendy, providing food and security for the band's tribe of Lost Boys

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Margaret Moser
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?
Did I Know Bruce Springsteen Was Going to Play 2012?

March 3, 2017

Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
Adult Audio Coloring Book Sampler
A look back at illustrated album covers old and new

July 29, 2016


Janis Joplin

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle