Please make yourself at home! Check some tags, do some reading, leave a comment.

Friday, August 29, 2014

GD at Carousel, May-June 1968

Since I am on the subject, the ad below (published 5/30/68) lists the GD at Carousel on Friday May 31, Saturday June 1, and Sunday June 2, 1968. The Chicken lists Thursday (5/30) through Saturday (6/1).

Sorry if this has all been gone over, but I don't see any notes in my own files on this.


  1. Kelley's "Memorial" poster for this run (AOR 2.160 and 2.179) has the dates Friday May 30, Saturday May 31 and Sunday June 1. June 1 was a Saturday in 1968 so Kelley either has the dates wrong or the days of the week wrong. His printers proof (2.179 on page 183 of "The Art Of Rock") also has the tickets with admission prices "Friday May 30" $2.50, "Saturday May 31" $2.50 and "Sunday June 1" $2.00. I reckon the cheap Sunday admission strongly implies it is the dates that are wrong, not the days of the week and your ad confirms this. Good find, sir

    In looking for a good copy online I just found this

    It states "Both the posters and handbills come in two variations. On the upper margin, where the show dates appear, many copies have had some of the dates blacked out." Indeed this copy has the days of the week blacked out leaving just the dates, so someone spotted the error. It's a shame they blacked out the correct days and left the incorrect dates. The copies on and are similarly blacked out.

  2. Thanks, ROG! Here's hoping it turns out to be one little confirmed answer to one little tiny question about the Carousel.

  3. "One tiny little question" of many.

    I'd flash the Visa card in an instant for "The Short but Sweet Inside Story of the Carousel Ballroom" by anyone who was there on the inside and can really remember what happened after all these years.

    Most of what we know comes from the Dead's point of view but, in theory at least, the Airplane and Quicksilver were equal partners. McNally's account populates the Carousel with Dead associates. The Airplane were presumably away on tour a lot but still managed a couple of weekend runs but what about QMS? They had just come back from a successful copromoted Quick & The Dead tour which seems to have been a major nudge towards them opening their own venue. Where is their account? Why did they hardly play there? And Janis asking what help she could give these hopelessly disorganised hippies who had got themselves into a mess, the uninvolved Big Brother played the Carousel more than QMS.

    I suspect Rakow roped QMS and the Airplane in initially to spread the risk and cost but QMS (probably even more broke than the Dead) at least saw the financial writing on the wall and disengaged as soon as possible. Or Rakow just took it over himself after using the initial cooperation just to get it up and running.

    I'd love to know the real story.

  4. I think that's exactly right. Haven't we heard about a Ron Polte book? Rhoney Stanley's book has some great material on it. Who else was there?

    I have a secret dream that Bear or someone taped QMS on the Quick and the Dead tour, and that we might someday hear those sets - the band would have been on fire in that period and getting better every night (if the available tape from April and June is any indication).

    For me, the Carousel is Ground Zero, where the first known GD-era Garcia "side" gig happened (5/21/68 which, amazingly, we do have tape from - thank you, Bear!). The Olompali, then the Matrix, all in 1968. So I'd love every scrap about the Carousel. I think I have more stuff from my various newspaper cullings, I'll see what I can find.

  5. Quicksilver had no "organization," to speak of, even by hippie standards. They were allies of the Dead, but didn't have their penchant for collective action. The definitive work on QMS back in the day is Shelly Duncan's "My Husband The Rock Star." Very hard to get, but very interesting. All the QMS boys (save Cippo) were married, and the vibe was very different. So QMS wouldn't have had hangers-on or wannabes who would have hooked up with the Carousel crowd.

    Some intriguing hints about the founding of The Carousel can be found in a strange book called Wayward Angel, by George Wethern. Wethern was Sonny Barger's #2, and one of Owsley's principal dealers, or so he says. He's in witness protection, so it's not like we can email him. Anyway, he suggests that the Carousel was backed by biker drug money.

    I wish Ron Polte would write a book but I doubt it. He has kept a pretty low profile. Only Joel Selvin coaxed him out to talk, and that is Selvin's specialty. Other than that Polte has weighed in on nothing over the years. Its even hard to find a picture of him. Polte was a critical guy, though, among many other things he was the reason that Bloomfield, Gravenites and others moved West. Of course, Polte, a Chicago union organizer, had supposedly killed a cop under strange circumstances, and had to leave Chicago quickly. Polte was a very influential guy in many ways, with the Dead, Janis and others, through his WestPole booking agency.

    An intriguing factoid about the May 31-June 2 (or whatever) Carousel shows is that there was an attempt to publicize them by having the Dead and opening act Petrus play in the Panhandle one afternoon. Petrus featured Peter Kaukonen (Jorma's brother) and Ruthann Friedmann, who (bizarrely) had written the big hit "Windy."

  6. I have Shelly Duncan's book. It can't be whatever it is, but it focuses much more on the domestic scenes and much less about any band-related nuts and bolts. I am as big a Cip fan as anyone, but Gary Duncan, to me, is one badass guitar player.

    I will look for the other book you mention - sounds intriguing.

  7. Do we have a sense of whether shows actually occurred May 31 and June 1-2, or May 30-31 and June 1?


!Thank you for joining the conversation!