Why Janis Joplin left Big Brother & the Holding Company
In this excerpt from Janis: Little Girl Blue, Janis’ letter home reveals a glimpse of the troubles she had with her band, Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Even though Janis and the band were widely popular, and had released a Gold-certified album, Cheap Thrills — still considered one of the band’s best — Janis’ stardom soon overshadowed the band. She left within a year to form her own group, the Kozmic Blues Band, and launched a solo career.
Letter Home Reveals Janis’ Greatest Ambition
In this film excerpt from Janis: Little Girl Blue, Chan Marshall narrates Janis’ letter home to family shortly after her 27th (and final) birthday. The letter reveals a glimpse into her off-stage struggles, mostly rooted in her reckless lifestyle and strong desire to be loved.
Janis Joplin’s former lover: “She set me free”
David Niehaus had no idea who Janis Joplin was when they met in 1970 on Ipanema Beach in Brazil, where both had traveled for Rio Carnival.
In this outtake clip from Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue, Niehaus remembers his relationship with Janis as a liberating, wild but delicate one, in which he witnessed her most vulnerable and tender moments. Even though the couple split when her relationship with heroin and alcohol intensified, Niehaus still remembers Janis at her best — the carefree girl who inspired him to be whoever he wanted to be.
Chan Marshall Talks About Voicing Janis Joplin’s Letters
In this outtake from Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue, Chan “Cat Power” Marshall, who serves as the film’s narrator and provides the voice for Joplin-penned letters, discusses how she tapped into Joplin’s mindset for the documentary.
“In high school I had imitated Janis a few times, and when I did the letters, I knew it was going to be difficult because it’s a big responsibility because she’s passed, so it’s not like I could call her and say, ‘Yo, Janis, how were you feeling this day and what did you mean when you said that?’”
Video clips and text provided by PBS.org