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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Darkness, Darkness


**Fulsomely updated, 11/28/2014 at 12:34 PM, GMT -0700)**
**update2: Blogger is making me crazy. Sorry for poor formatting**

**updated title and added "Darkness, Darkness" data 1/5/2015**


1. San Diego papers

I mentioned in my 11/18/73 post that the San Diego State Daily Aztec is digitized and online. Bravo, and thank you, librarians! They have also, with the support of taxpayers and/or donors, produced scans of some alternative campus newspapers. These are not generally found in the wonderful UMI Underground Press Collection, so there is real value-added here. I had been unaware of these particular San Diego State papers. There's lots of great Latino, Chicano, and indigenous material, as befits the college's long status (like, late 19th century which, in the Anglo West, is old) as a pillar of a very diverse community. The library also appears to have digitized the San Diego Union, the San Diego Tribune, and the San Diego Union-Tribune, but those collections seem to be onsite access only, and I didn't have time to go to campus. I need to investigate a bit more.

2. Fragments



Most relevant to this blog, they did a little hippie paper called Sunrise, and it popped up with the following result, dated 10/7/70, to a search on "Grateful Dead" (which is either my first or second filter, depending on how much stuff I expect to return on it and "Jerry Garcia")

Thought I would turn you on to a little info on how promoter Jim Pagni makes his money - based on the Grateful Dead concert he was forced to cancel because of Jerry Garcia's illness. When the Sports Arena is filled it holds 15,000 people. At Jim's prices, he would have grossed $60,000. Expenses of $12,000 for groups, approx. $6,000 for the facility, $3,000 for advertising, and $1,000 for miscellaneous would have left J.P. with a new profit of $35,000 of the people's money. No wonder J.P. can afford his Mercedes Benz and $100 suits.

This fragment, about a previously unknown canceled Grateful Dead / Leon Russell concert in San Diego in ca. September-October 1970, really struck me. This post has resulted.

3. This is a canceled GD gig previously unknown to me.

I implicitly keep what I think of as the Provisional Definitive List of Canceled Grateful Dead Concerts. Favoring the appropriate precision, and since Olsen mentions no date, I investigated further. I found a listing in the 9/21 Aztec for a Dead show in San Diego on Sunday, September 27, 1970: "The Grateful Dead, a San Francisco rock group, are back in San Diego, this time at the Sports Arena."

Naturally, I have added it to my spreadsheet. Canceled gigs can be just as important as consummated shows. The lengths to which I find myself going below at least signal my own belief in that proposition, if not its general truth.

4. The Dead and Garcia in San Diego

My fragmentary research reminds me that the Dead were never that big in San Diego. Here's what I come up with for area Dead and Garcia gigs through the 70s:




  • 8/2/68 GD Hippodrome
  • 8/3/68 GD Hippodrome
  • 5/11/69 GD San Diego State Aztec Bowl. Here is some SDSU eyecandy from the show. There are great Rosie McGee and other color pictures from this gig and surrounding stuff, Garcia sporting a very Chicano looking mustache, some gaudy orange stripy clothes, etc. The eyecandy I linked shows a rather empty looking facility.
  • 1/10/70 GD Golden Hall
  • 8/5/70 Acoustic GD Golden Hall. Uncertain, see especially here.
  • 8/7/71 NRPS-GD Community Concourse
  • 11/14/73 GD Sports Arena
  • 11/18/73 JGMS San Diego State Aztec Bowl [canceled]
  • 12/27-28/75 JGB La Paloma Thater in Del Encinitas [corry]
  • 2-21/22/76 JGB La Paloma Theater
  • 1/7/78 GD Golden Hall
  • 12/27/78 GD I show "Community Concourse Golden Hall"
  • 7/28/79 Reconstruction Roxy Theater
  • 11/23-24/79 GD Community Concourse Golden Hall

  • For some reason I felt like there was a Garcia Band show on 5/24/76, but I must be imaging that.
    Anyway, they weren't that big in SD. There's something about the tone of the Aztec item – "The Grateful Dead, a San Francisco rock group, are back in San Diego, this time at the Sports Arena" – that feels a little cold. Odds are it's a single copywriter (if it's anything at all), but it just feels to me like things didn't always resonate between the Dead and San Diego. And another sign of San Diego's relative diffidence: there is not a single audience tape among the Garcia shows. December 1975, February 1976, a totally unheard-since-7/28/79 Reconstruction show on a Saturday night ... not a scrap of tape for most of this, and not a scrap of audience tape from San Diego, full stop, in the Garciaverse.

    San Diegans, please issue a call to arms to send me your old reels and cassettes – I'll see what's there and what might be worth the archival treatment. Please email me at jgmfblog@gmail.com!

    5. The business information

    The columnist obviously holds no love for promoter Jim Pagni. His position on capitalism in general is more ambiguous (though writing about "the people" in the Sunrise in fall 1970 probably indicates something). But this is great info, and I agree with him that paying the act $12k and profiting three times that sounds a little excessive.

    I do wonder where the contractual information came from. Certainly the promoter wouldn't reveal it.

    6. Something's not quite right ...

    Maybe columnist Dave Olsen is just the suspicious kind, but he doesn't quite seem to buy that Garcia was sick, which is the given reason for the cancellation. He makes special note that Garcia played the weekend in LA (I assume referring to the Dead's attendee-confirmed Pasadena gig on Friday 9/25 [deadlists]) over the weekend. But Pasadena was before the canceled Sunday gig in San Diego, and between them was a little jaunt out to Salt Lake City for a Saturday show (deadlists, which gives a setlist). This is the schedule of a band that needed the money - SF to LA to SLC to SD to SF don' make no sense at all, unless you are just taking whatever check won't bounce.

    I don't think the Dead would have walked away from $12 grand to fuck over the capitalist pig, which Olsen seems to imply. My first guess was that, y'know, Garcia really was sick. Maybe they brought the contract terms to light as a PR move, vilify the capitalist a little bit. "Sorry for the last minute cancellation. By that way, that guy is really fleecing the San Diego hip community …" But they could not have afforded to refuse the gig to make a political statement. Circumstances must have been exigent.

    8. But here's what it might be?

    Ruth Clifford Garcia Matusiewicz (née Ruth Marie Clifford, b. June 1910 [Jackson 1999, 5]), mother to 28 year-old Jerry Garcia, passed away on the afternoon of Tuesday, September 29th, 1970 – two days after this canceled Dead show. I no longer think, as I initially did, that her imminent failure formed the proximate cause for the 9/27/70 San Diego cancellation. That was probably, as Corry argues and I elaborate below in the "No Shit, Sherlock" section, just plain old poor ticket sales. But I still have to think that Ruth's demise played a role.

    9. O Death

    Ruth Garcia had been gravely busted up in a gruesome-sounding car wreck on September 8, in which her dog got mixed up in the car pedals and sent them careening off a cliff. Technically speaking, she survived the accident – but not dying is not the same as really living. Brother Tiff paints the grim picture: "It just mangled my mom. She had broken bones all over her body and internal injuries. She wasn't in a coma but she was in traction and she was in intensive care at San Francisco General for nearly a month. … She couldn't talk. She had to write things. It was hard for her to breathe …" (Jackson 1999, 198).

    Over the course of the prior decade, Jerry and Ruth had rarely seen each other, but he visited her nearly every day after her accident. He even belatedly introduced Mountain Girl to his mom, probably crossed paths with ex Sara Ruppenthal and daughter Heather. As I'll say below, Garcia was surrounded by the love of a lot of empathetic musical family. But it was tough. Tiff:



    "I was living at my grandmother's house [on Harrington Street] and Jerry was in Larkspur. He'd pick me up every day and we'd go over to see her. She was conscious but you could sort of feel her fading away. Imagine seeing your mom in intensive care every day. To see one of your parents in that kind of condition makes you feel so powerless. You have tears in your eyes when you get in the elevator before you get there; then when you leave, shit, you're emotionally broken. I'm surprised Jerry got any recording done at that time. But maybe he needed to keep busy. I know I felt that way. But there was nothing we could do. It was awful. I think I lost about fifteen pounds. Jerry lost a bunch of weight, too (Jackson 1999, 199).

    Both Sara and Mountain Girl confirm that Ruth's passing hit him really hard (Jackson 1999, 199-200). At some levels he couldn't deal with it. Tiff and Sara made all of the arrangements and took care of all of the paperwork, which was probably already voluminous in 1970, and especially a Depression survivor, likely to put bank accounts all over town –see some of the stories in Terkel (1970) – to hold all kinds of weird government paper, and to be plentifully insured, guarantied, and otherwise papered with the wall hangings of the Administrative State. And all of this before the internet.

    Look, Jerry was never one for the paperwork, never would be, and it sounds like on some wavelengths he shorted out a little bit, suffered, as all who lose –i.e., we all—must. But he didn't go totally off the rails, or anything, drowning in drink, or whatever. His response –as ours—exhibits characteristic complexity. Dichotomies can be clarifying, but we generally indulge them at the cost of verisimilitude, because life is full of highly textured choices. The branches growing forth from the critical junctures of our lives, like all the rest of them (i.e., the non-critical ones), are always a little crooked. So, while Garcia may have screwed the paperwork pooch, he responded reasonably healthily and astonishingly productively to losing his mom.

    10. Darkness, Darkness – and Light

    In 1970 the Dead took to jamming on Bay Area compatriot Jesse Colin Young's "Darkness, Darkness", from The Youngbloods' 1969 record Elephant Mountain [LIA | wiki]. Not just a great jam, it tracks some of the year's emotional timbre. Discovery (and/or acceptance of the fact) of Lenny's Perfidy hit everyone hard, and there's a lot to say about that – but that is mere betrayal and threatened financial ruin. Bear (Augustus Owsley Stanley III, b. d.) went to prison on some of his many drug charges. But the loss of a friend's liberty is a trifle next to the Big Kahuna of pain, the death of a family member/loved one. As sometimes is somewheres and somewheres its wont, death pervaded the Garciaverse in
    1970.

    Pal David Crosby had lost his love Christine Hinton on September 30, 1969 (RS 11/1/69), in a manner eerily prefiguring Ruth's demise -- both involved carbound pets causing horrific wrecks. David and Christine had just moved north from LA, and the Dead, ensconced at Mickey Hart's Novato ranch, had warmed their new house (with Debbie Donovan) with a horse for Christine – this on the very day she died. Kevin Ryan ran over after getting the horrible news: "I walk in the house and there are already a dozen people there. [Bill] Graham and a lot of the Grateful Dead people and David, who's sitting on the edge of his bed crying" (Crosby and Gottlieb 1988, 171-172). Debbie Donovan: "It was just a devastating, devastating time. Everyone gathered" (Crosby and Gottlieb 1988, 171).

    By summer, Crosby was starting to feel his way "homeward through the haze." He was still fragile: "unresolved grief over Christine's absence could still move David to sudden tears and he'd be plagued by bouts of melancholy and depression for the rest of the decade," his autobiography reads (Crosby and Gottlieb 1988, 195). And he continued to make bad pharmacological choices, we might say now, around various things, but most dangerously a certain expensive and eventually devastating white power. But he also used the occasion of his grief to put his nose to the grindstone professionally. He "negotiated a solo album deal with Atlantic and began to work on the first fully produced expression of his musical self in his career" (Crosby and Gottlieb 1988, 195, one of the most well-realized artistic achievements of the Bay Area scene, his xxx 1971 IICORMN (xxx).

    Dead bassist Phil Lesh's father was diagnosed in early 1970 with prostate cancer and had had the battery of 1970 surgical and other medical technique thrown at him, with all of the pain and challenge and, apparently, little of the avail. He passed on a September day, with a dying exhortation to listeners unknown: "What are we waiting for -let's get this show on the road!" (Lesh 2005, 189). Paul Kantner, Grace Slick and various other Jeffersons had come into Wally Heider's San Francisco Studios in July. The Dead showed up August 6th, and Crosby was omnipresent –he'd get serious about his own record November 1970 – January 1971.

    Lesh elaborates how music –and, specifically, playing with compadres in the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra (PERRO), in the face of deeply shared loss—can warm up what the reaper done chilled.

    The magnetism of the scene at Wally Heider's recording studio made it a lot easier for me to deal with Dad's loss and my new responsibilities. Some of the best musicians around were hanging there during that period; with Paul and Grace from the Airplane, the Dead, Santana, Crosby, Nash, and Neil Young working there, the studio (with its three main recording rooms) became jammer heaven. When you'd finished up your work on one track, you only needed to stick your head into the next room to find some outrageous collaboration wailing away. At the same time as I was arranging to take over my mom's support, I was playing on albums made by David Crosby (If I Could Only Remember My Name) and Graham Nash (Songs for Beginners); I was also making music with artists like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Paul Kantner, David Freiberg, and Mike Shrieve, and working on American Beauty with the Dead. Thank the Lord for music; it's a healing force beyond words to describe (Lesh 2005, 190).

    "It's always something," as Roseann Roseannadanna used to remind us. Jimi Hendrix (b. November 27, 1942), checked out on September 18th. Five days after Ruth and in some ways closer to home, Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970), dear friend to all of the people I have been writing about, died of a heroin overdose in a Los Angeles motel. What are you gonna do? You have a whole range of choices, sons and daughters.

    "Might as well work" – that's how McNally (2002, ch. 32) brilliantly essentializes the Dead's response to the discovery/acceptance of Lenny's Perfidy, which left them more or less in financial ruin and utterly betrayed by not just a father figure, but Mickey Hart's actual father. Pain, pressure, diamonds: the band produced its American masterpiece, Workingman's Dead (Warner Bros. WS-1869, June 1970), and took a huge step toward building the ship of the Grateful Dead, the brand that launched a thousand Volkswagens. The summer sessions at Heider's culminated in that record's shimmering sequel, the timeless American Beauty. 1970 was a huge year, professionally, "the year the Dead finally broke through to a wider audience and established themselves as the quintessential American rock 'n' roll band" (Jackson 1999, 207).

    "It was raining down hard on us while that record was going on," Garcia said of American Beauty (Garcia, Reich and Wenner 2003/1972, 71), but his and his friends' life tragedies begat both growing artistic and burgeoning professional success. The Dead's little San Diego cancellation speaks to this dance in the Garciaverse, the creative tensions inherent in living life on multiple tracks –redundancy alert, since that's just living life-- on being the son of parents who die, Jerry Garcia with his own life's dreams and ambitions, and "Jer-Jer-Jer-Jer ee-ee-ee-ee GARCIA! ah ah ah" Dead guitarslinger. It's all of a piece.

    6. And one more thing—

    Sorry, but this is JGMF: Olsen has heard that Garcia played San Francisco over the weekend, all while allegedly too sick to play San Diego. What might this be? I would not be the least bit surprised if Jerry, having canceled his Sunday out-of-towner to be close to the hospital, didn't nevertheless play closer to home. Why not? It's his favorite way to spend an evening (this would presumably be at the Matrix, presumably with Merl Saunders), he's not doing anything else, and playing is always the order of the Garcia day, even when it might not help, even just a little, to take the mind off its troubles.

    Conjecture upon conjecture upon conjecture, of course. But there's nothing wrong with trying to do some groutwork, filling in some interstices, so long as it's labeled as such. As always, caveat lector.

    7. No Shit, Sherlock

    Update: Corry, from whom I appear to have learned little (an inapt pupil), finds Occam's Razor and slices through to the probable proximate cause of the Dead's San Diego cancellation.

    I think the explanation for the canceled concert is simple: they didn't sell enough tickets. The Sports Arena was a big place, and the Dead were not particularly big in San Diego. Leon Russell had only released one album (if you don't count Asylum Choir), and while there was a big buzz about him he was not really a hit act yet either. I think Pagni overreached [especially for a Sunday night show, Corry later notes], and it was easier to cancel the show.

    I had it right there in front of me to see, and I missed it. But as he further points out, this, too, is of a piece with my darker interpretation. Here's how it might have been:

    If ticket sales were low, the promoter probably called up the bands and tried to renegotiate the deal to a lower fee for the Dead. If Jerry was looking to get home, he might have given an indication to Sam Cutler (who likely would have been working the deal) that walking away was preferable. Since there had to have been a signed contract, an official excuse from the Dead may have been seen as a safety valve for everyone involved, even if it wasn't true [Corry].

    6. In closing

    Funny how little fragments can turn out to be small, rippling echoes at the outer edges of the bigger game. Whatever the circumstances, as it happens Garcia was able to fly back a day early and be closer to home when his mom died. I don't think it's coincidental that 1970 and the next several years would find him scaling newfound professional and musical heights, in many ways the most productive years of his life. Trouble would come, as it will, but most of that came later. For now it would be taking the lumps but also stepping up to the plate, making his way –truly, for the first time, his own way, in the sense of lacking even implicit parenting—in the world.

    NOTES AND REFERENCES
    ! ack: thanks to anonymous commenter for correcting me in re Phil's parent who passed away in 1970 – it was his father, not his mother. And, inspired by anonymous taking the time to comment, I have been spinning American Beauty [24/96 vinyl rip – wow] and doing due diligence on the very weight matters of Deaddom's family losses in 1970 – re-reading McNally, Jackson and Lesh on the period. It's Thanksgiving, and I am grateful for the ongoing collaboration of everyone who reads and helps with the blog – thank you!
    ! listing: Daily Aztec (San Diego State College), September 21, 1970, p. 5, accessed via SDSU digital collections, URL http://library.sdsu.edu/find/digital-collections, consulted 11/21/2014.
    ! expost: Olsen, Dave. 1970. Metacoustics. Sunrise (San Diego State College), October 7, 1970, p. 13, accessed via SDSU digital collections, URL http://library.sdsu.edu/find/digital-collections, consulted 11/21/2014.

    ! ref: "Tragedy Strikes David Crosby," Rolling Stone, November 1, 1969, p. 8.  ! ref: Crosby, David, and Carl Gottlieb. 1988. Long Time Gone: The Autobiography of David Crosby. New York: Doubleday.
    ! ref: Jackson, Blair. 1999. Garcia: An American Life. New York: Penguin Books.
    ! ref: Lesh, Phil. 2005. Searching for the Sound: My Life with the Grateful Dead. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.
    ! ref: LIA. 2010. The Dead's Early Thematic Jams. Grateful Dead Guide, January 8, URL http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2010/01/deads-early-thematic-jams.html, consulted 11/28/2014.
    ! ref: McNally, Dennis. 2002. A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. New York: Boadway Books.
    ! ref: Terkel, Studs. 1970 [1986]. Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression.  Pantheon Books.

    ! tags: 1970, business, CA, canceled gigs, death, GD, Ruth Garcia, San Diego, San Diego Sports Arena, Sara Ruppenthal Garcia, David Crosby, Phil Lesh, PERRO,
    ! p.s. Bonus content for Ross, from Olsen (1970): "Country Joe and the Fish have finally split completely. Joe is doing an acoustic thing and Barry Melton and the rest are putting their own thing together." I am sure you knew that, but maybe knowing that they talk to a guy in San Diego is the key to unlock some deep mystery … cheers!
     

    28 comments:

    1. This lost, canceled concert makes for a fascinating post. For one thing, googling "James Pagni" and "concert" told me a whole lot about the history of San Diego concerts. However, looking the circumstances over, I think the explanation for the canceled concert is simple: they didn't sell enough tickets. The Sports Arena was a big place, and the Dead were not particularly big in San Diego. Leon Russell had only released one album (if you don't count Asylum Choir), and while there was a big buzz about him he was not really a hit act yet either. I think Pagni overreached, and it was easier to cancel the show.

      The Dead were going to fly to San Diego anyway, from Salt Lake City, so if they agreed to the cancellation, they could just fly home. That's very different than a band on the road who finds themselves stranded without a paying gig. Who knows what negotiations went down, but agreeing to the story "Jerry was sick" may have been their part in getting out of a deal that might not have been working. Leon Russell was based in LA, so a canceled gig wasn't a big deal to him, he would have just stayed home (or gone home a day earlier, if he had been touring).

      The rock audience was still pretty young in those days. September 27 was a Sunday, and a lot of potential fans may have just had school. Workingman's Dead was a popular album on FM radio, but it wasn't Born On The Bayou. Pagni was an important concert promoter in San Diego for several more years (then he went into the restaurant business), so I'm pretty sure that the Dead played for him at the Sports Arena in '73. This was just business--I think the promoter overestimated the market, since the journalist's numbers do suggest a huge profit. I think the opposite happened, and not enough San Diegans were willing to go the Sports Arena after their mandatory day at the beach. It was easier to call the thing off with a polite excuse than take a financial bath.

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      1. Incidentally, my hypothesis doesn't invalidate yours. If ticket sales were low, the promoter probably called up the bands and tried to renegotiate the deal to a lower fee for the Dead. If Jerry was looking to get home, he might have given an indication to Sam Cutler (who likely would have been working the deal) that walking away was preferable. Since there had to have been a signed contract, an official excuse from the Dead may have been seen as a safety valve for everyone involved, even if it wasn't true.

        I should add that the journalist's numbers include a fee of $12000 for the groups (the Dead and Leon), and I think that number would have been higher, but no matter--I don't think enough tickets got moved.

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    2. That makes sense to me. Do you have any thoughts about how Olsen would have gotten the numbers? I guess he could have figured all of it out on his own except the bands' fees, and even that he could ballpark.

      10/13/74 Santa Barbara County Bowl also has a picture, one of the only pix of Paul Humphrey playing with JGMS. It's on my "new to TJS" post that also talked about the U Iowa 10/20/73 show.

      You are right about those other stadium shows - very few recollections. Why? I don't know, beyond the idea that stadium or not, there just weren't that many people in attendance.

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    3. Man, I am dense. It's as if I have learned nothing from you! I had several of the pieces right there in front of me.

      Promoter charging high prices. We have the information here from the article. This is the cause of the cancellation. Hip journo wants to use the episode to make a point to the promoter - lower your prices. He somehow gets the artists' fees. Hell, I have neglected the possibility that the Leon Russell people gave it to him. He makes his point.

      It's wonderful to see the market work this way. This should all have been an informative signal to the promoter, at least about the community's willingness to pay *for the Dead in San Diego* - another piece I put out there but didn't integrate.

      In the meantime, Fate is weaving Ruth Garcia's thread independently, and the ladies have their scissors out. Garcia and the Dead use the occasion to go home a day early. As you point out, since promoter is breaking the contract, they would have gotten some check to salve the money hit.

      There's a real beauty to the space these still-young men were in at this stage, and the continued forging of their lives together, lives and music. Jackson, as always, captures things beautifully. Phil Lesh had just lost his mom and had written "Box Of Rain". Robert Hunter penned some of the best lyrics in the rock canon for it, for Phil and his mom. The whole thing is a jewel, the canted angles of life itself. Garcia and Mountain Girl were living with Hunter and Christine, writing the American amazingness of Hunter's planned Ramblin' Rose Trilogy, which became instead, "only", the Dead's paired 1970 masterpieces Workingman's Dead and, en cours at the time of this San Diego episode, American Beauty. ... "Brokedown Palace" ... What the occasion of this episode gives me is the depth of all of this after Ruth was catastrophically injured on Tuesday, September 8th, an actual day in just-turned-28 Jerry's life. He was at Heider's with the PERRO crowd on that date, I don't know whether before or after news of Ruth's predicament hit.

      Garcia and Mountain Girl are living with Hunter and Christine in Larkspur. Tiff is coming by every day and they are going to visit Ruth, spending some unusual time together. Mountain Girl meets Ruth for the first time! And Phil has just lost his mind, and they are in the studio everyday, the story goes, that they aren't on the road. The List has Garcia blank for the next six days after Ruth's accident, including a rare open Friday-Saturday (though it's perfectly possible he was playing the Matrix or other with his new mate Merl). Several days home again after the Fillmore gigs, more good, amazing music ... Phil plays "Box of Rain" acoustic on 9/17 (http://deadlists.com/deadlists/showresults.asp?KEY=9/17/70) ... the Riders are around, Grisman and Nelson playing together publicly, a real rarity on 9/20 (http://deadlists.com/deadlists/showresults.asp?KEY=9/20/70) ... "Ripple" ...

      Blair reports that Jerry went to the hospital every day. Note that

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    4. I plan to edit, somehow integrate, or eventually delete, but I was on a roll and just kept going. More to say, obviously.

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    5. I obviously can't write the Side Trips story without tending to the deep imbrication of the Dead, and those people, in Garcia's life. The guys in the Grateful Dead were the human bedrock of Garcia's life - the one constant. That's as true of all of the emotional ups and downs, life events big and small, as it is more obviously, more publicly, of the music. The 1974 break was Garcia's time away, such as it was, was the closest he came to walking away from those guys. They were flat sick of each other, but it wasn't really a break. They saw each other, even then, most every week, if not most days; did some business, played some stiff; hell, probably occasionally had a cup of coffee and talked about the foreign situation.

      Sometimes the hardest thing about thinking about famous people is that the everyday warp and weft is drowned out by noise and color. Though I think I was flat dense not to see that bad ticket sales probably triggered the event that I made out to be, first and foremost, about Ruth, I think it was, nevertheless, and as Corry tips, also about Ruth, and thus "about Ruth" in the biggest sense. "It's just there." And that, in turn, has made me think about the Dead guys a little more than I would have. It wasn't just a canceled gig I found in a local paper in a local library, which it turns out I could have found from my mancave on the Front Range, the discovery of which may have come at the opportunity cost of research onsite at SDSU, which is the *only* place, I gather, one can find OCR digital of the Union, the Tribune, and the Union-Tribune --d'oh!!-- it was a world of prosopographical discovery and reflection, and maybe even a little on life itself. Good times.

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    6. Garcia dates soon after Ruth's accident (9/8) and subsequent death (9/28).

      9/7/70-Matrix, Sf (Merl Saunders first club appearance with Jerry)
      9/8/70 Ruth has a car accident.

      Wally Heider's, SF
      9/11/70 David Crosby
      Jerry plays on Cowboy Movie.

      Matrix, SF
      9/14/70 And Friends[1]
      It's unknown who the friends are.

      Six GD shows:
      These four at the Fillmore East, NY
      9/17/70
      9/18/70
      9/19/70
      9/20/70
      And these two "closer to home" shows
      9/25/70 Pasadena Civic
      9/26/70 Terrace Ballroom, Salt Lake City, UT

      9/27/70 San Diego Sports Arena (canceled)

      After Ruth passed on the 28th, Jerry went back to work on October 4, 1970, at Winterland, CA.



      1.)^Calendar item in Good Times v.3 n.36 (9/11/70), pg. 16., http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2010/11/when-did-jerry-garcia-and-merl-saunders.html

      Additions and corrections humbly accepted.

      ReplyDelete
    7. Phils dad died at this time, and he documents writing box of rain for him. I don't know about his mom.

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      1. Thanks, I need to check and probably correct that. I appreciate the correction!

        Delete
    8. You're welcome. and thank you for your blog. I don't have the link, but if you go to youtube and search phil lesh talking about box of rain, there are interviews with phil and Robert hunter about the song, both mention phils dad dying.

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    9. Fixed, and I used the occasion to, well, spill out a lot more words. Thanks so much.

      A random note/question to bloggers and anyone: I am a little stymied in keeping these posts efficiently up-to-date. On the one hand, Blogger inherently sucks as a compositional medium. I have lost many, many hours' of work to an innocent keystroke. So I like to compose, and can work much more productively and safely, in Word. But then in pasting back into Blogger, formatting is problematic. Grrr,

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    10. "Wally Heider's, SF: 9/11/70: David Crosby Jerry plays on Cowboy Movie"

      slip, where did you get this? I don't have it in my files.

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    11. Having refreshed myself on The Canon on this period (i.e., Jackson 1999, McNally 2002, and the relevant autobiographies), I find myself disagreeing with McNally to degrees and on occasion. For example, he ends his American Beauty chapter thusly: "That the band had even survived through 1970 was, on reflection, a little miraculous. That they had prevailed was just good old Grateful Dead dumbshit synchronicity. For once, the joke was theirs" (McNally 2002, 384).

      I don't disagree with the miracle of survival part. But it was more than dumbshit synchronicity. That's a big part of the Dead/Garcia story over all, of course; but we need to scope it properly, bound it by the other things going on. One of the other things going on that I try to lay bare in this post is also a lot of good, hard work. Workaholism has its pathologies --hiding in the library, the office, the studio is still hiding, I tried to say in the post -- but it's a more positive way to respond to challenge than, say, getting bombed on cheap wine. (That these aren't the only two choices is another point I briefly try to make.) Another thing contributing to success is good old well-functioning community. The hippies were funny in there funny ways, but insofar as it worked it depended on people making it do so, together. To chalk it up to "dumbshit sychronicity" (alone, which of course Dennis doesn't really do) is to deny these folks some of the credit they're due.

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    12. Ruth apparently went by "Bobbie". I maintain an updated version locally, not sure efficiently and sufficiently aesthetically to get this info here.

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    13. I thought it may be useful to quote more from the 10/7/70 Sunrise article on the cancelled 9/27/70 gig:

      Promoter Jim Pagni "was forced to cancel because of Jerry Garcia's illness... [The paragraph follows on how much Pagni would have made from the show.] A funny thing happened on the cancellation of the GD, Leon Russell concert. Supposedly Jerry Garcia was ill, but he managed to jam in Los Angeles and San Francisco over that weekend. Maybe the Dead finally learned they were playing for an old enemy, James Pagni, and that he is still ripping the people off with his ridiculous prices."

      I wonder whether the writer had any sources of information at all. His financial numbers could be guesswork ($12,000 for both the Dead & Leon Russell seems rather low). His hatred of the capitalist-pig promoter (with the Benz and $100 suits) is clear. Where he heard that Pagni was "an old enemy" of the Dead is unclear (the Dead had played a show or two in Golden Hall that year) - most likely he's just speaking in class terms, that Pagni is "an enemy of the people" and of course the Dead are on the side of the people, etc.
      And the info that Garcia "managed to jam in Los Angeles and San Francisco over that weekend" is curious - any musical gigs that Garcia had in SF that weekend have eluded historians. (Word of a little club appearance would probably not slip down to San Diego!)

      In short, this article is useful for telling us that the show was cancelled, and the reason the promoter gave. I'm not sure it tells us anything else factual.

      The same article also notes the upcoming Leon Russell/Hot Tuna/Pink Floyd show at UCSD on October 18 '70. Surprisingly, the author writes that "Leon Russell's group needs some equipment that works and is in good repair for the outdoor concert at UCSD on October 18" - a bunch of the needed amps are listed, and readers are requested to call author Dave Olsen or the Sunrise office.

      It's quite interesting to see Leon Russell placing a want-ad for amps in a local underground political paper before a show! It's possible that part of the author's indignation about Jim Pagni came from a conversation with Russell's group.

      In other news, this issue of Sunrise also reports: "A warning that the computer can become 'a horrifying tool for prying and repression' was issued by an international assembly of 400 lawyers. They also warned about modern methods of eavesdropping and interfering with human personality. The lawyers stated, 'obviously, national and international legislation must be found to protect individuals from manipulation...'"

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      1. Regarding Garcia "managed to jam in Los Angeles and San Francisco over that weekend," how about Vince Guaraldi and Friends at the Matrix on the Monday night, 1970-09-28? We know Jerry and Vince played together on occasion, maybe Jerry was a Friend and this is one of those occasions.

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      2. Awesome thought. Could have been.

        http://www.chickenonaunicycle.com/Matrix%20Shows.htm

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    14. The Dead had slid out of an earlier agreement to play in San Diego, as well.
      The 11/20/69 Daily Aztec reported that the Student Mobilization Committee was planning a peace festival the next month, at which the Dead would play: "The Grateful Dead have agreed to play here in December. They'll play just for travel expenses."

      A couple weeks later, though, things didn't look quite so firm. The 12/4/69 Daily Aztec said that all plans were only tentative. An antiwar rally to be held in the Aztec Bowl was planned in early 1970, and the SMC was negotiating to get the Dead, possibly even the Airplane.

      I didn't see any more about this in a quick look, so the plans must have fallen through, or perhaps the SMC didn't command much financing or organizing power. At any rate, the Dead played at the Community Concourse in January 1970 (promoted by Magna Production, an outfit I don't know), so San Diegans got their Dead show.

      We should remember that we're writing from very limited evidence here - a few papers that happen to have been digitized & made publicly available. Different papers might have more info to relate. I still wonder whether anyone can find evidence for (or even lack of evidence for) the supposed 8/5/70 San Diego show - as far as I know there's no proof that show happened, but there must be some San Diego paper with entertainment listings that would settle the question.
      It strikes me as odd that Pagni would promote a Dead show in an arena less than two months after the Dead had played in San Diego. The Dead were otherwise very infrequent visitors...

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    15. "During the same period, Mickey Hart's girlfriend lost a child to a bicycling accident, both of Weir's parents died within a week ..." (Richardson 2014, 172).

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      1. Weir's parents died in spring '71, which I think stretches the definition of "the same period" - at least within the parameters of a post dealing with September '70!

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      2. At one point I had seen some dates, but have lost track of them. Do you know the dates on which Weir's parents passed away?

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      3. Workingman's: "The album was a tremendous joy. Being able to do that was extremely positive in the midst of all this adverse stuff that was happening … It was the first record that we made together as a group, all of us" (Garcia et al. 2003 [1972], 69).

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    16. American Beauty: Garcia et al. 2003 [1972], 71. "I tried to block the whole trip out. You see, my mother died while we were making that record. And Phil's father died. It was raining down hard on us while that record was going on" (Garcia et al. 2003 [1972], 71).

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    17. Circling back a little to the Dead in San Diego, listening to 1/10/70 and the band is hassling a little with the crowd about getting out of the aisles so they can go on. Phil: "Clear the fucking aisles, man."

      Also, the 7/1/80 hassle with the police, if I didn't mention it in the post.

      Seems like GD-SD was just a little star-crossed.

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    18. Found an unsigned review of 1/10/70 that pins down what I am looking for: San Diego is just too damn square, and the Dead's thing depends on the freer, San Francisco kind of sprit, everyone not so uptight. The Concourse presented the band with "hundreds of rows of carefully aligned and immovable chairs, plentiful police to keep clear the aisles (tape-check!, "petite, reserved … properly coiffed and outfitted" usherettes, and an overall scene more appropriate to Dvorak than the Dead. BTW, accompanying the article are some awesome uncredited photos of Pig singing, a Casady-esque Lesh, and madman Hart, hair flying.

      ! ref: "Dead Live Aren't Always Dead 'Live'," Street Journal, January 16-22, p. 13, via Independent Voices.

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    19. I happened to look up a little more on James Pagni - he was San Diego's main concert promoter in the '60s and early '70s, doing shows at the Community Concourse and Sports Arena and Balboa Stadium in the late '60s. (He was called "the Bill Graham of San Diego.")

      He did shows outside San Diego, too - the Dead's 6/22/68 Phoenix show was put on by him, as the 6/21/68 Arizona Republic paper states: "At the Phoenix Travelodge theater tomorrow night, James C. Pagni of San Diego is bringing together a couple of acts that ought to bring glee to the hearts of dedicated followers of fashion." (See deadlists entry.)

      I know he also did some Doors shows in June '68, in Bakersfield and Fresno, and also Jefferson Airplane in Fresno (Selland Arena, 8/2/68). He even put on shows in Tucson (U of Arizona Stadium, '68).
      Pagni also promoted a Dead/Mothers concert in San Jose, 6/21/68, which was cancelled due to lack of ticket sales; but Pagni also did the Mothers' show in Sacramento the following day.

      Aside from the Phoenix '68 show, he might have promoted Dead shows in other southwest cities as well (none of their Fresno shows, though). I'm not sure how many of the Dead's San Diego shows he promoted, but none in the '60s.
      Their San Diego promoters:
      8/2-3/68 Hippodrome - Trans-Love Airways Productions
      5/11/69 Aztec Bowl - Hedgecock-Piering
      1/10/70 Convention Hall - Magna Production
      8/7/71, 11/14/73 - unknown

      Given that I haven't spotted Pagni's name on any other Dead posters, and that two Dead shows he promoted were canceled, I suspect there may have been some antipathy between him & the Dead.

      Pagni seems not to have been too popular among concertgoers at the time. A review of the 5/11/69 show mentions, "Hedgecock-Piering's obvious concern for the comfort of artist and audience alike is a welcome change from the policies of San Diego's leading rock entrepreneur, James C. Pagni."
      Pagni proudly remembered overselling a Moody Blues show in '68, stuffing the Sports Arena with 2,000 over capacity; and his concern for the audience might be illustrated in this quote of his about the arena shows: “We started having crowd-control problems - we had to keep kids off the stage, because they kept running up and trying to get drumsticks and other souvenirs - so I brought in these big Samoans and dressed them in yellow so people could see them. They were unbelievably huge; you just couldn’t hurt those guys. And that really quieted things down.”
      http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/San-Diego-Magazine/November-2002/Hatbox-in-the-Marshlands/?cparticle=3&siarticle=2

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    20. Croz:
      "I had a terrible thing happen to me. My girlfriend had gotten killed in a car wreck. She was somebody that I loved and I was very shaken by it. I didn't have the emotional equipment to deal with it. The only place I felt comfortable was in the studio. We had finished doing "Déjà Vu" and it was pretty tough for me to exist outside of the studio. In the studio I could at least concentrate on the songs/music and it would ease the pain."
      https://www.facebook.com/jake.feinbergshow/posts/1243346175741911

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    !Thank you for joining the conversation!