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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Zimmy at Sans Souci

Many counter culture luminaries found their way to Sans Souci in those days. On one memorable occasion, Grisman brought Bob Dylan along for a rehearsal at the house. "It was kind of exciting," [Mountain Girl] remembered. "I baked chocolate chip cookies, and they all seemed to be having a rousing good time, playing together in the living room for hours."

I don't think I knew that Zimmy picked with Jerry and Dawg at Sans Souci. Did you?

! ref: Liberatore, Paul. 2013. Lib at Large: Grateful Dead icon Jerry Garcia's first Marin house for sale for nearly $4 million. Marin Independent-Journal, November 1, URL, consulted 11/29/2014.


  1. Care to guess on the date of Dylan's visit? Pre-Old And In The Way? Where does it fit? Does anyone know any other dates at Sans Souci?

    Jerry rehearsed and was interviewed here in
    5/3/71 Jerry buys the house.[12]

    1972 Jann Wenner (interviewer)
    Jerry Garcia lives near the Tamalpais Mountains(a range with magical significance in Northern California Indian lore) overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in a casual 1950 suburban house with his old lady, Mountain Girl, (once of the Merry Pranksters and a close friend of Kesey's in those days) and their little
    girl. The house is surrounded by eucalyptus trees, huge shrubs and six-foot rose bushes (beyond which is a magnificent view of the Pacific and the Far East, as far as the imagination can take you).
    On the front lawn, which looks onto that magnificent view, Charles Reich, myself and Garcia sat on a sunny afternoon and turned the tape recorder on. Five hours later, I packed up the machine and headed back to the city, not entirely sure I could drive too well and not entirely sure at all what had just gone down. Reich was wandering around somewhere in back of the house, remarking on the vibrancy of the trees (never found out exactly when and how he left that day), and Jerry had to be somewhere at 7 for a gig.
    A few days later, Reich called; there was a recording session he wanted to go to and he wanted to see Jerry again . . . Sure, sure, what the fuck, I didn't know what my old acquaintance Garcia thought of me at all at that point, so might as well let
    it roll.
    I received the transcriptions of the tapes about three weeks later. What had happened was one interview that I did with Jerry, based on an old familiarity, best described as the good old Grateful Dead trip; and there was a whole other interview that Reich was trying to do: Garcia as spokesman, teacher, philosopher. If I played participant and historian, Reich was the true fan and amazed adult. To be honest, there came a point in that afternoon where I sank into my chair with my hands over my face, wanting out of the whole proposition. Reich was asking questions I thought either achingly obvious or obviously un-answerable. Reich went back a few weeks later and did another two hours on tape.
    In the fall, I returned also to talk to Jerry for another four hours, to complete the interview. Charles Reich put it all into a rough chronological order, and then I edited it for publication. Reich is identified as the interviewer in several passages where I felt it important to indicate the dialogue between the professor and the professional. The rest is, at long last, "The Interview with Garcia."
    Far out. We were in the first one
    too, "Grateful Dead Busted."[8]

    "Jerry (electric, acoustic, and pedal steel guitar) and Ned (piano) play together alone on multiple occasions at Jerry Garcia's house and at Mickey's.  Jerry teaches Ned, through singing and playing, a number of Grateful Dead tunes including new ones for the "American Beauty" album.  Ned and Jerry jam on "Dark Star", on one and two chord pieces, on sound textures, and play and improvise on pop and jazz songs, using Ned's fake books (Ned on piano, Jerry on acoustic, electric, and pedal steel guitars).  Jerry refers Ned to the piano playing of Floyd Cramer, and to bluegrass players.  Ned shows Jerry (and they work through) transcriptions (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Dave Brubeck, Bill Evans, and others), scores by Mahler, Copland, Ives, Gershwin, Ravel, Debussy, Webern, and Pendereki (and others), his Berklee School of Music notes on reharmonization, as well as his research on Renaissance music (Obrecht, Okeghem), all of which he also shares with Phil.  Ned plays Bill Evans' "Blue in Green" and "Peace Piece" on piano for Jerry.  These musical interchanges between Ned, Jerry, and including Phil and Mickey also occur during the summers of 1971-1973.[11]

  2. Unknown date
    "On one memorable occasion, Grisman brought Bob Dylan along for a rehearsal at the house.
    "It was kind of exciting," Mrs. Garcia remembered. "I baked chocolate chip cookies, and they all seemed to be having a rousing good time, playing together in the living room for hours. We did a lot of rehearsing in the living room."[16]

    1973 David Grisman and Peter Rowan
    Jerry plays a banjo.
    "One day, according to Rowan, “David said let’s go up and see Jerry. That’s what you do when you have bluegrass in your blood, you play all the time to try to further the music. And we went up to Jerry’s house and there was Jerry standing outside in his garden with that banjo strapped on and he was playing. He played the banjo, just laughing, standing in the gardens. David and I drove up and we took our instruments out and just started playing out in the garden.”
    Rowan reflects on the period around the time Old and in the Way began, “We didn’t exactly know what we were doing but we enjoyed going through the old song books.” Rowan continues, “It was a great outlet for Jerry and someone told me that I didn’t know how important this was for him. Of course we didn’t know how important it was for him because we were all young and stupid. And he was touring with the Dead all the time and I figured that was his gig.” Looking back, Rowan realizes the importance of that time in Garcia’s life. In the evenings, after Garcia’s children were in bed, Rowan and Garcia would play, and according to Rowan, “That was really a special time. We would just take out the songbooks and sort of really marvel at what was there in terms of what was there in bluegrass. Jerry was rediscovering his whole connection with the music and I think that was kind of connection that went back to his youth.” Rowan continues, “Bluegrass represented a happy time for him, a time of growth, a time of discovery. And so every time that we played together, he was getting off on the sense of discovery that originally the bluegrass had been for him. He discovered something with Old and in the Way that made him really happy. And, to be around him, his happiness was infectious.”[3]

    Summer 1973 Pete Wernick[2]
    Jerry plays a banjo.

    I remember there was a sign outside Garcia's house. It said Sans Souci, which means "without care".[5] Contrary to the real estate firm's claim that Garcia named the house "Sans Souci," meaning "No Worries" in French, Mrs. Garcia said it was already called that before they bought it. "The name was on a little sign on a tree," she said. "We thought that was sweet."[16]

    "The last time I saw Jerry was ten years later, summer of '73, when I
    spent a day with him at his house, picking banjo, reminiscing about
    those early days, and talking about all sorts of subjects. This was
    around the time of Old and In the Way, and he was up on his banjo chops and wanting to learn new licks, etc. He was a very special person, a complete music devotee, very well informed on a lot of different kinds of music.
    It had taken quite an effort to reach him, as there already was a wall
    of protection around him as a celebrity, but when I finally did make
    contact, he was eager to rekindle our friendship, as he said he felt
    most comfortable with the people he knew before he was famous. Later
    that night I went with him to a recording studio and saw the Dead
    attempt to record something they wound up finding too complicated, and
    gave up on."[10]

    Jerry signs away the house to Mountain Girl in settlement of their separation.[13]

  3. 2.)^Wernick, Pete, Notes From The Road,
    3.)^Sforzini, Hank, Five Musicians Remember Jerry Garcia
    5.)^Greenfield, Robert, Dark Star:An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia, pg. 136,,+menlo+park&source=bl&ots=ZetKy5H0Tu&sig=k2j8fzCqqPfAd6gWpn0EmbFW-w8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=5T19UbPSFOiaiQKUq4GoDA&ved=0CGQQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=underground%20hofbrau%2C%20menlo%20park&f=false
    10.)^Wernick, Pete,
    12.)^Marin County, Official Record, Book , APN 195-111-05, Joseph Jupille Archives.
    13.)^Marin County Official Record, book 2986, page 552, recorded 1/26/76, Joseph Jupille Archives.
    16.)^Liberatore, Paul, Marin Independent Journal, 2013-11-01,

  4. This is news to me. Fascinating.
    I didn't know Dylan even knew Grisman; though he was friends with Doug Sahm, David Bromberg, and Pete Rowan, so he had plenty of other connections with Garcia.
    The beginning of Dylan's friendship with Garcia is shrouded in mystery - basically, Mountain Girl's the only person who could tell us about it, most likely, and she'd probably be vague on dates. As of mid-'71, Garcia hadn't met Dylan yet, so they must've met sometime in late '71 or '72.
    In a December '72 Rolling Stone article, Garcia shows he's already close to Dylan:
    'We asked Jerry about all those New York rumors about the band meeting with Dylan, maybe playing and recording with him later. "No," Jerry said. "I think he wants to get out of the music world. He says he doesn't think it's right to go pick on a stage and get paid for it. You gotta remember, too, he's in a house now with five kids in it, has no time to write, no solitude." When Dylan showed up at Dead shows in New York, Jerry said, "We just sat around and talked and picked. And with Sir Doug he didn't have to do a Bob Dylan trip. But with us - well, we're on two different coasts, so there's that problem of adjusting to each other's schedules. Anyway, he's into movies."'

    We could possibly triangulate this Sans Souci trip from Dylan's known visits to the San Francisco area in those years. From Heylin's book A Life In Stolen Moments:
    Summer 1971 - Dylan attends a bluegrass festival in San Francisco, where he sees the Greenbriar Boys.
    April 1974: Dylan stays with friends in Marin County.
    August 1974: Dylan stays in San Francisco for a couple weeks, visiting Michael Bloomfield, Shel Silverstein, and Pete Rowan to play them his new songs.
    March 1975: Dylan plays at the SNACK benefit at Kezar Stadium.

    But it's also worth mentioning that Dylan was frequently in Los Angeles in those years (he bought a house in Malibu, and also had various recording sessions or other meetings in LA), so he and Garcia could have had many opportunities to get together.

  5. I'll go with Summer 1971 - from Heylin's book A Life In Stolen Moments:
    Dylan attends a bluegrass festival in San Francisco, where he sees the Greenbriar Boys, for the time frame when he visited Garcia in Stinson Beach.

  6. " didn't know Dylan even knew Grisman; though he was friends with Doug Sahm, David Bromberg, and Pete Rowan, so he had plenty of other connections with Garcia. "

    This is a bit later, but Grisman was a guest at a Dylan show at Portland, 12/4/80, just a few weeks after Garcia was at one of the Warfield shows. Dylan said:

    We're gonna play a real old song here that I used to play before I wrote any songs. People always want to hear old songs, well this is real old. Anyway it's like when ..., there's a musician friend of mine here tonight, David Grisman. I don't know if you ever heard of him. Well he's playing in town someplace else, you go see him if you get a chance to. He’s playing tomorrow night. We wanted him to play on this song but can't seem to find him. Anybody know where he is? But it'll be too late by that time. He can't play on the next one. Anyway, this is called Mary From The Wild Moor.

    David Grisman actually did show up! So he's gonna play with us on this song. (plays To Ramona) You go see his band now! I can't remember where he's playing' but he is playing.


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