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Monday, June 16, 2014

Billing the JGB: October 8, 1975

Billing shall be as follows without deviation:

JERRY GARCIA BAND 100% size type

Featuring 25% size type

Nicky Hopkins 75% size type
John Kahn 75% size type
Ron Tutt 75% size type

The names of each band member shall appear below "JERRY GARCIA BAND" in any and all forms of advertising in the order listed and shown above. Artist must approve all radio spots and only those songs approved by Artist shall be used. The names of each band member shall be used in all radio advertising after the name JERRY GARCIA BAND. The name Grateful Dead or the association of Jerry Garcia as a member of the Grateful Dead shall not be exploited or used in any manner in any and all advertising and publicity, including marquee and radio advertising. Any violation of the above billing and advertising demands shall be grounds for non -performance with full contract price due Artist.

3 comments:

  1. Very cool. I knew Jerry was very particular about having the JGB stand on its own merits and distancing the band from the Dead (cf those Cats Under the Stars-era interviews), but it's interesting that he made sure that the lawyers made it contractual. Good for him! I wonder if he insisted on similar arrangements for LOM and the Garcia/Saunders band as well... I don't remember seeing any GD associations on any posters or ads for shows by those bands, so he must have?

    The bit about securing equal billing for everyone in the band is cool, too. My thinking is influenced by your prior posts on this, but it's interesting to infer what the reasoning was behind this: integrity and respect for his bandmates, sure, but isn't this more like how a jazz group would advertise itself rather than a rock band? Did any other rock bands that weren't all-star assemblages (like Blind Faith or something) bill themselves like this? or am I making too much of that?

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  2. I don't know what other practices prevailed in other groups.

    LOM and Garcia-Saunders contracts have the same proscriptions against leveraging the GD connection. I wonder if Jerry was doing that to stand on his own, or if he just didn't want to reproduce the GD hassle (of particular interest to me), or, even more tantalizing, I wonder if the GD insisted on it? I doubt the latter, because they probably sold more GD records even when JGB was in town, so it wouldn't be in their interest. (On that, see the back cover of the May 31 - June 1, 1983 JGB program that I just posted.) But I do wonder what is the source of the proscription against mentioning GD.

    In terms of JGB billing, I don't have access to post-1970s contracts, and I'd need to revisit posters and handbills and ads and such. My sense is that this requirement of naming the players waned as JGB institutionalized. I'd offer two conjectures about that.

    First, Nicky, especially, could probably sell a few extra tickets/records based on his Stones connection, which would not have been the case for, say, Melvin Seals.

    Second, if we (Corry, me) are correct that putting his name on the band was a major concession to the market on Jerry's part -- no more comfy, bar-band, relative-anonymity for you, Mr. Garcia!!-- this is a way to kind of leaven that just a little bit. He has his name on the band, but he's the only guy who is *not* named individually.

    This is all getting into some of my explorations about hierarchy, democracy, etc. in the Garcia Band, of course. Just how egalitarian was it? On this evidence, it seems considerably so, much more than we would predict based on the respective earning power of the band members.

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    Replies
    1. There are a number of interesting points here. One is that I think insisting that the other band members' name be part of the billing was an essential part of the JGB structure. In return for naming the group the Jerry Garcia Band, everybody else's name got mentioned as well. Do you think the promoters actually wanted to include Ron Tutt's name? I'm all but certain that the David Nelson Band has the same deal--I notice that every member of the DNB is mentioned whenever I see an ad for the group. It was my understanding that for many years they could only appear as the DNB with bassist Bill Laymon, so when Pete Sears played (Laymon had health issues) they had to be billed as David Nelson And Friends. I think the Legion Of Mary and the original JGB had the same deal.

      The insistence on not mentioning the Grateful Dead seems to stem from a different issue. I can assure you that at almost every 70s Garcia Band show, there was some stoner who would swear that the Dead were going to show up, or that they had shown up last month or other fantastical tales. It would be very easy for an ad that said "Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead" to become "Jerry Garcia And The Grateful Dead", and suddenly Garcia would have a crowd problem and an expectation problem that would do him no good.

      I should add that promoters did this all time--whether intentionally or not was another matter. The band Moby Grape was always in a weird state, and inevitably a band featuring a few former members always ended up being plugged as "Moby Grape." The Grape members didn't have the pull to stop that but Jerry did. If a show at an 800-seat movie theater got into the wind as a Grateful Dead show, Pacific Avenue would get very out of hand very quickly, and Garcia would have been blamed.

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