I posted some listening notes from the 10/13/82 JGB show at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA. A priori, two things are particularly interesting about that show. First, it's the public debut of drummer Greg Errico with the Jerry Garcia Band in this particular stint (he had done a mini-tour with them in July 1980). There's much more to say about him and that. Second, there are no backup vocalists, as this was a ca. four-show interregnum between the departure of two female vocalists after the June '82 east coast tour and the arrival of Jacklyn LaBranch and DeeDee Dickerson on 10/24/82 at the River Theater in Guerneville, CA. (I'll do a post or two on that show as part of this thread, I hope.) (For some more backing vocalists talk with data relevant to what I'll post here, see this discussion of the personnel working the late '83 JGB tour.)
As as so often the case, Corry replied with knowledge that far exceeds that which is the present public "state of the art". All of this has been known by Corry all along, mind you, but it just never made the various leaps from him to what's currently publicly "known". So glad he is blogging so we can recover and extend all of this!
Anyway, he left a series of great comments, which I am going to try to respond to ad seriatim before I try to summarize where I think we are in terms of the early 80s drummers and backup singers. It's more complicated that one might think. In fact, these are among the last reasonably consequential Garcia mysteries from the 80s onward.
Comment 1:Not much to go on. I would love to be able to talk to him, to learn more.
Do you know anything about Jimmy Warren? Where he came from, what he did before, whether he ever did anything after? I don't.
Warren wasn't a guest star, he was in the JGB for 18 months and played dozens of shows. One of the biographers (Blair?) said "he had problems," but who knows what that meant.
Here's Blair: "Electric pianist Jimmy Warren was, to put it delicately, sympathetic to Kahn's and Garcia's offstage behavior ... even John Kahn admitted that 'things got kind of out of control around then. Jimmy Warren was just sort of a friend. It didn't work out and it went on too long ...'" (Jackson 1999, 321). I believe he mostly played a Fender Rhodes. He came in with Melvin in January of 1981 (I believe "12/20/80" is just a mislabel of 12/20/79). He and Liz Stires were an item, so this band initially had both the Liz Stires-Jimmy Warren couple and the Essra Mohawk-Daoud Shaw couple. I doubt he was especially "problematic" in terms of personal issues among those within Garcia's orbit at that particular time. Blair continues on pp. 321-322 about the fact that Garcia was in pretty deep at this point. I don't know anything about his tenure except that TJS lists his last gig as September 7, 1982. So, yeah, 18 months, no flash in the pan.
Comment 2:I don't list this 8/25/81 show. Should I?
Essra Mohawk and Liz Stires were the vocalists from June 25 '81 (Santa Cruz) through Aug 25 '81 (Keystone PA).
I have just checked on 5/30/81 and 6/25/81, and indeed there are no vocalists on the former and two female backing singers on the latter. So I'd say 6/25/81 is, as far as we currently have evidence, the return of backing vocalists to JGB after 2.5 years of having none.
Comment 2:Julie Stafford is completely missed by TJS. I know that she is credited for background vocals on "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" from the Run For the Roses album. I never knew that Essra was in for such a short time, really just a handful of shows. In fact, I am a little bit skeptical of this. I have to go back and check some stuff.
Julie Stafford replaced Essra Mohawk starting on September 7, 1981 (Concord Pavilion). Stafford and Stiles [sic] were the singers through June 24 '82 (Capitol Theater, Passaic).
What's more, I know that Liz Stires left after the Mosque (Richmond, VA) show on 6/22/82. She was not there for the rest of the tour. I need to revisit tapes, but a review of the 6/23/82 Stanley Theater (Pittsburgh, PA) show (1) says that there were two keyboard players and one female vocalist.
Upshot, I have some doubts about this particular time period. Corry, can you say more about how you came to this understanding?
Comment 3:I have always followed TJS and had Shaw in through June 1, 1981, which has always left open the question of who played the June-July-August shows. I am more than happy to fill Shaw's name into the drum slot here, but can I ask again about sourcing?
David (Daoud) Shaw was the drummer for the Jerry Garcia Band starting in January '81, and he remained the drummer through Aug 23 '81. [ed: Comment 4 says this was 8/25/81.]
Comment 3:It absolutely blows my mind that it was billed this way, and that this has somehow been lost to history insofar as that is represented at TJS, etc. It also reconciles one little factoid which has been bugging me, which is that Ozzie Ahlers has said that Tutt played some shows after he left. These would be them, I guess.
The next JGB show [ed: after 8/23/81, implied by comment 2] was Sep 7 '81 at Concord Pavilion. Bill Kreutzmann played drums.For the three other Sept JGB shows (Sep 18 Keystone Berkeley, Sep 19-20 The Stone), Ron Tutt played drums. Tutt also played drums on the tour that started in Palo Alto on Oct 25 and headed East from Oct 31 (Philadelphia) through Nov 19 (Denver). On the Grateful Dead hotline, the tour was billed as "The Return Of Ron Tutt."
I list Kreutzmann on 9/19/81 at the Stone, though that may have just been me following TJS. I did conclude that "[drummer] is an animal" in my listening notes.
Comment 3:Yes, there is an old tape of 12/17/81 with audience chatter suggesting that Kreutzmann is in the house. And, with you, I assume that there are some discontinuities or non-linearities kicking around from night to night.
Bill Kreutzmann returned to the drum chair on Dec 17 '81 at Keystone Berkeley and seems to have held it through Jun '24 82. I have not absolutely confirmed that, however, and it's possible that there were subs at some show (Gregg Errico, Gaylord Birch, etc) or that someone else took over the drums entirely. I do know that Kreutzmann generally played drums at Bay Area shows during this period, because I asked anyone who went to a show.
So much for bullet-type responses to Corry's comments. What's the big picture?
First, we still have some meaningful gaps in our knowledge of who was on stage in the 1981-1983 period, especially. This is true in terms of drummers and backup singers.
Second, this is probably a case where lots of listening is required. I wish I were more perceptive in terms of being able to hear different drumming and singing styles, but I am not. Sometimes audience chatter and stage talk can reveal a thing or two.
Third, we may never be able to pin it all down. Much as I like knowing, not knowing is OK, too. Keeps some mystery in the whole thing.
Thanks for giving lots of food for thought, Corry!
(1) John Allison, "Garcia band hot at the Stanley," Daily Collegian (Pennsylvania State University), June 25, 1982, p. 13.