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Monday, December 28, 2009

Mickey and the Hartbeats, October 1968

Someday I may write up a post about these shows that I love so much and that are so central to my thinking. But for now I just wanted to show off the poster I splurged and bought myself.


! note: Note the misdating to 1969 by Grushkin's AOR.

! ref: AOR 2.118: October Calendar; The Matrix, San Francisco, 1969 [sic]; Artists: George Chacona, Marty Rice (Grushkin 1987, 166).

! ref: Grushkin, Paul. 1987. The Art of Rock: Posters from Presley to Punk. Artworks photographed by Jon Sievert. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers.

! note: Note dates 10/8/68, 10/9/68, 10/10/68, for searchability.

! seealso: "Hartbeats as Tempo Etudes,"


  1. Nice poster....

    I wondered if you agree with the Lost Live Dead blogger that Garcia was using these Hartbeats shows to audition for someone to replace Weir?
    I'm pretty skeptical....however much Elvin Bishop liked playing with Garcia, with his heavy blues leaning, I just can't see him in the Dead. (Any more than David Crosby, later on.) All the Hartbeats guests were in their own bands, I think. The player who guested most at these shows was Jack Casady (sitting in for Lesh) - so does this mean Garcia wanted to yank him from the Airplane and get a second bass player for the Dead?
    When the Hartbeats shows started in Oct '68, Garcia may have been in doubt about what was going to happen with the Dead. But I feel like the Hartbeats thing was always meant to be a side-project, like the gigs with Wales & Saunders (& OAITW)'s kind of the first sign that one band wasn't going to be enough for Garcia!

  2. Yeah, I don't think it was an audition. I think it was just jamming around.

    And I agree that this is the first sign that GD wasn't enough. I am working on a big project about Garcia outside the GD (but during the GD era), and these shows are pivotal for just that reason!

    We know/assume that Garcia gigged around a bit outside the GD, but 5/21/68 is the earlier piece of tape we have of him playing live outside the GD after the GD's formation. Then there's the Olompali thing in July, and then the Hartbeats shows.

    So here's an open question ... anyone know of Jerry playing live outside the GD between 1965 and 5/21/68?

  3. Dwork and Muellner (1998, 13) includes some interview material with Peter Abram, Matrix proprietor.

    "Peter Abram: 'It would have been called Grateful Dead Jam or something like that, but Chet Helms got freaked out because he was having them at the Family Dog event the following weekend and he insisted that they not play.' A compromise was made ... The gig would go on, as long as the name Grateful Dead was omitted from promotions, and so Mickey Hart and the Hartbeats was born."

    Dwork, John, and Alexis Muellner. 1998. “Inside” the System: The Soundmen Cometh. In The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, vol. I, edited by Michael M. Getz and John R. Dwork (New York: Henry Holt/Owl Books), pp. 5-18.

  4. AOR 2.118: October Calendar; The Matrix, San Francisco, 1969 [sic]; Artists: George Chacona, Marty Rice (Grushkin 1987, 166).

  5. I don't think you've posted about the December '68 Matrix tapes, so this seemed like an approximately close post for my question.

    Deadlists says of the 12/16/68 Matrix tape, "An extensive search through the old San Francisco Chronicle newspapers failed to turn up any evidence of this event - no advertisements, no announcements in the "on the town" column etc."
    Is this the case, that there's no printed evidence for this date?

    I know Chicken on a Unicycle lists 12/16 - though it uses the "Hartbeats" name which I think was not actually printed until Feb '69. I wonder if perhaps this date is just due to a tape mislabel & the music here more likely comes from, say, the 23rd, a verifiable Garcia & Friends show.

    1. If you are asking whether they called themselves the Hartbeats on that night of the 12/16/68 session, I think the answer is no. But boy are the metadata confused.

      To answer your question, there is physical, contemporary evidence of this gig: Gary Jackson's bar and door books for the Matrix show a "jam session", free, but generating $58.25 at the bar.

      Who was there, and whether the tape we have as 12/16/68 Hartbeats is actually from 12/16/68 remain mysteries to me.

      My notes: Personnel uncertain. Joe Buchwald listed as "Winter, Casady, Garcia & Bishop Jam". Bill Gadsden says "Garcia, Spencer Dryden, Casady, Getz".

      I will say that the reason I have not written up the December '68 Matrix stuff is I find it deadly dull, upon repeated reasonably careful listenings.

      If you are asking if they were "actually" called Hartbeats that night, or the night represented on tape as that night, I think the answer is no. And since this "12/16" stuff is not a Tempo Étude, that name is probably inaccurate in some strict sense given my understanding of the Hartbeats concept, such as it was.

    2. I was just wondering if there was a Matrix jam that night, and there was....maybe even our "12/16/68" jam.

      The Hartbeats name existed informally at the time (Garcia announces it in the 10/8 show), it just wasn't used in listings til the next year.
      And no, I don't think these Dec '68 tapes are Hartbeats - unless you consider the Hartbeats to be "Jerry, Mickey, and whoever else shows up."
      Still, I'm fond of the big 12/24 jam with Harvey Mandel - a heavy Hendrixian drone jam, and a rather rare example of Garcia going at it with another lead guitarist.


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