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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reading Notes: Harris, David. 1970. Rock’s First Family: Grateful Dead. Circus 4, 4 (March): 32-35 .

Just figured I'd post my random scribbles about stuff as I read. 

Harris, David. 1970. Rock’s First Family: Grateful Dead. Circus 4, 4 (March): 32-35.

This article is based on discussions that appear to have happened in January 1970, since Tom Constanten is present.

Recall that there have been various discussions of this timeframe online:

Anyway, here are some tidbits.

p. 32: "songs for a fifth [GD] album [ed: Workingmans] are being taped this month" (i.e., March 1970).

p. 32: GD are making a movie called Zechariah ... never heard of this. Here's  some of the discussion:

Their upcoming movie is Zechariah, described as a kind of fantasy cowboy flick with a plot line closely resembling Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. Costuming has been completed for the Dead; filming may begin in April, either in Mexico or in the old back lots of MGM. Zechariah was written by screen veteran Joe Massot ... and will be produced by George England, known for his productions of Shoes of the Fisherman and the Ugly American among others. 'If it's done as we originally heard about it,' MacIntire said, 'the movie really won't be a western, but will be an interesting piece of surrealism. ... The movie's star (Ginger Baker) is Zechariah--the Dead have their segment of the picture when Zechariah interacts with them, lusts after the kind of lives they live and wants to be a part of them. We're really looking forward to filming it.'

p. 32: The article focuses to some degree on the NRPS, listing Lesh as bassist. Says the NRPS "recently" cut a demo tape for Warner-Reprise.

p. 32: "the present schedule often finds the Dead playing on weekends, the 'New Riders' on weekdays. 'They're going all around to various beer houses and country and western, folk-oriented, collegiate type places,' MacIntire said. [NB: consistent with a 1/19/70 NRPS gig at UC Berkeley!] 'But the ideal is to book them into hard-core country redneck places where they can get the feedback they need from the people who really know country-western music.'"


  1. Zachariah was ultimately released, but the outlaw rock band part was played by Country Joe and The Fish. Elvin Jones and The James Gang (with Joe Walsh) were also in the movie. It was billed as the "First Electric Western." It was also the last. Saying the movie makes no sense at all would be kind.

  2. I just realized: if the late '69 Riders recorded a demo for Warners, what became of it? I don't think anyone has heard it.

    Of course, the Riders ended up signing with CBS, so any NRPS cd re-releases wouldn't be on Warners, so it wouldn't have been attached as bonus material. In any case, the original would be in Warner's vaults, not the Dead (Rhino) vaults, but of course Warners owns Rhino.

    Still, I wonder if Warners even knows they have that tape? Probably not. It would make some nice bonus material, for when they re-re-re-release Workingman's Dead on whatever format comes next.I guess we should ask Lemieux.

  3. Workingman's sessions began around 2/16/70 with Dire Wolf, resumed in early March, and wrapped up around March 16. Browne 2015, 19.


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