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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Reading Notes - Loren 2014



Loren, Richard, with Stephen Abney. 2014. High Notes: A Rock Memoir. Demariscotta, ME: East Pond Publishing.

When I read a book that I will need to be able to cite chapter and verse, this is how I arrange the chapters and verses. I just pull out quotes and other observations, I effectively tag them, and I sort them into the relevant files. So these aren't really reading notes, just cullings.

That said, I think Richard Loren's book High Notes is nice, well-written, informative, warm but also suitably dispassionate and detached. I learned a lot. Some of the many things of interest to me are David Grisman, Rowan Brothers, Stinson Beach, OAITW, drugs, banjo, Hells Angels, official releases, John Scher, John Lennon, Europe, The Movie, Nicky Hopkins, James Booker, Sirens of Titan.

#OAITW Spring 1970 RL and Dawg bumped into each other in Greenwich Village (Loren 2014, 101). Friends since 1967 Earth Opera with Peter Rowan. #David_Grisman

#Rowan_Brothers that very spring 1970 day RL and DG formed Hieronymous Music, to "get the Rowan Brothers a record deal, make a hit single, and get rich" (Loren 2014, 102). #Rowan_Brothers

"We were a fun-loving, high-spirited, optimistic bunch, working hard on our goals and hoping to break into the big time" (Loren 2014, 103). #Rowan_Brothers

"David's connection to Jerry went back to the early sixties, when the two then-unknown musicians met in a parking lot after a bluegrass festival. Jerry had heard David playing his mandolin in the back of a pickup truck and joined him on his banjo. Again, one of those fortuitous events that shape life" (Loren 2014, 103). #David_Grisman

FE 1970 GD staying at Chelsea Hotel. Story pp. 104-105 implies that these are the July 1970 shows, since he said Dawg would lay down tracks a few months after this meeting in NY.  p 105 Garcia suggested they all move out to the west coast. They started moving out late summer, also consistent with 7/70 meeting.

"Shortly after I arrived, [Marty Balin] invited me to several recording sessions for Paul Kantner's Blows Against the Empire album … The experience went hand in hand with another first, Merck pharmaceutical cocaine, the session's buffet drug. The fluffy white tincture was situated on the recording console in a brown bottle with a skull and crossbones label. That label signaled its toxic potential to the dentists who used it as a topical anesthesia- and its lethal appeal to recreational users. Merck's coke was not an organic compound but a synthetically manufactured drug that packed an insidious punch. Musicians, engineers, and guests freely and openly indulged, assuring me that I had definitely landed in California, not Kansas." (Loren 2014, 110). NB BATE cocaine PRIVATE Jerry and the Jeffersons. #drugs

"credit card hippies" (Loren 2014, 111) #Rowan_Brothers

"We were living an idyllic lifestyle. We continued our healthy food regime, played music for entertainment, practiced yoga, used the beach for exercise, grew our own pot, and maxed out our credit cards. Everyone was following his dreams, but no one had a paying job. We were living on both the geographical edge of the Western world and the financial edge of our resources. Every paradise has a [112] snake--ours was the bill collector-but we were happy, high, healthy and hopeful. As it turned out, not everyone m Stinson loved having a commune of long-haired, dope-smoking, guitar-playing, good-for-nothing hippies in the neighborhood. One morning the phone rang, and to our surprise an unknown caller said, "Hello, this is a mission of mercy. Colonel White knows about your pot growing and has notified the sheriff." Colonel White was the ex-military fire chief who patrolled the beach in his Jeep, on the watch for fire hazards, burglars, Cold War spies, and any threats to the American Way of Life. We figured that a local electrician who'd been on the property to do repairs had tipped him off about our four-flowerpot marijuana operation. When the sheriff and the colonel arrived, the Great Stinson Beach Dope Raid failed to turn up any evidence of degenerate, criminal activity thanks to the anonymous tip. We were extremely grateful to our anonymous caller." (Loren 2014, 112). #drugs #Rowan_Brothers

Go to hang out with Jerry and MG, "Jerry would carefully select premium cannabis buds from his extensive pot pantry" (Loren 2014, 113). #drugs

JG music: Swan Silvertones, Homer and Jethro, which inspired him to want to pick up the banjo again (Loren 2014, 113). #banjo

Rowan Brothers deal: "Clive offered us a two-year, three-record contract rather than the usual deal of one year with four one-year options, plus a fifty thousand dollar signing bonus. And he agreed to let Grisman produce the album rather than insisting on a renowned producer." (Loren 2014, 114). #Rowan_Brothers

Rowans did a bunch of LA shows to generate attention (Loren 2014, 114) – when? Also opened for GD (ibid) – when? #Rowan_Brothers

"dissolution of the enterprise" (?Hieronymous Music?) in mid-1972 (Loren 2014, 115).

Why Garcia needs a manager: "Hey man, I gotta lot goin' on in my life besides the Dead. Wanna help me out? You know, coordinate stuff, set up gigs, organize session work …?" … "My friend Jerry had a lot of stuff going on that needed organizing". (Loren 2014, 117).

"music was a source of wonder and fascination to Jerry. His life was music, and the more varied and challenging it was, the more engaged he became. Practicing and performing took all his time and energy, and he did need a manager to look after the practical details and the business end of his affairs" (Loren 2014, 118).

Parish: "He was about six foot five and at least two hundred twenty-five pounds, had bulging biceps protruding from his leather vest, and was giving me the stank eye. I felt like I had just stepped between a pit bull and his bone" (Loren 2014, 119).

"At the Keystone for the first time, I had found my way to the dressing room, where the musicians and the crews hung out and smoked weed before the show. Big Steve and another roadie, Kidd Candelario, were blowing a joint and Jerry was practicing when a congenial-looking, dark-haired guy walked in." (Loren 2014, 119). Freddie Herrera.

Freddie: "I sell beer by the pitcher and popcorn by the bag", was the Keystone's MO (Loren 2014, 120).

Ca. 1973, Jerry always insisted all the musicians get the same amount of money (Loren 2014, 121).

"I think the club's legal max capacity was two hundred fifty, but the place was packed. I'd heard that on Garcia-Saunders weekends, Freddie packed in as many as five hundred, and it must have been one of those nights." (Loren 2014, 121).

"It was an exciting and productive period of varied musical activity in Jerry's life, and it was my pleasure to be around him and hear him perform in so many genres. He was relaxed and free of his rock star identity when he played outside the big rock venues for his adoring fans. When Jerry later played in Old and in the Way with Vassar Clements, Peter Rowan, John Kahn, and David Grisman, the bluegrass aficionados had no idea who the bearded banjo player was. Jerry loved just being another musician and not a recognized celebrity. At one point, he summed up his feelings in Melody Maker, 'The most rewarding experience for me these days is to play in bars and not be Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. I enjoy playing to fifty people. The bigger the audience gets, the harder it is to be light and spontaneous'" (Loren 2014, 121; quote is from Lake 1974, 21, and continues "and that's my biggest single dissatisfaction").

Loren: "Although these projects were great for Jerry, they didn't sit well with some of the other Grateful Dead members. The band was not yet making the big money that would come later. There were rumblings in the Dead community that Jerry's activities were a costly distraction, limiting the Dead's engagement schedule and their paychecks. Jerry always made the Dead his first priority, but his pure love of music transcended monetary considerations and he was seduced by the muse in all shapes and forms, which meant playing not only with the Grateful Dead" (Loren 2014, 122). #why #GDJG

GD jealousy/complexity/attitudes: "Jerry was above reproach, so as his manager, I became the brunt of all the resentment. For me, Jerry came first, and I found myself having to juggle feelings on both sides witl1 a positive attitude, as diplomatically as possible. I had to deal with a complex web of relationships, both within and surrounding the band" (Loren 2014, 122).

Ron Rakow introduced as a "character" a "high-finance wheeler-dealer", a "slick and self-assured businessman, high-level Scientologist and low-level hippie" who "managed to ingratiate himself into the Dead community, where he concocted a number of weird and shady deals. One involved a sixteen-car fleet of British-made Ford Cortinas, which he leased at a bargain rate to members of the Dead family to get around Marin County. The cars, the subject of some hilarious stories, all ended up destroyed, broken, and abandoned in the hills and lagoons of Marin. Many of his schemes, wacky as they were, seemed harmless-until one day the band discovered that he was responsible for glaring irregularities in the Dead accounts. Confronted by Phil Lesh and others, his [123] explanation was, "Go fuck yourselves!" He wrote himself a severance check for two hundred twenty-five thousand bucks and disappeared from the scene. Years later, his financial shenanigans finally caught up with him, and he spent five years behind bars" (Loren 2014, 122-123).

More Rakow: "Ron had always been friendly and generous to me because of my close association with Jerry, but I never trusted him. I could recognize a shark after my New York experiences, even one posing as a hippie entrepreneur. I made a point of maintaining a good distance from Ron and not getting involved with him or any of his schemes. Ironically, I went through a strange spell with some of the band members and crew, who mistakenly thought Ron and I were in cahoots simply because we both lived in Stinson Beach and shared a friendship with Jerry. I heard rumors that we were referred to as the "Stinson Beach Mafia," the nefarious outsiders who were trying to take over the Dead. It was my first direct introduction to the nasty business of Dead family rumors, jealousies and suspicions" (Loren 2014, 123).

Heading "A Day in the Life" #adayinthelife: "I rented a one-room office in Mill Valley, halfway between our homes in Stinson Beach and the Grateful Dead office in San Rafael. We hired Sue Stephens, my devoted assistant from the Rowan Brothers days, picked up some furniture, installed phones, bought a movie projector, and put together a small sound system. What the office lacked in designer decor, it made up for in relaxed and easygoing ambiance. On typical mornings, Jerry walked in around nine o'clock, slapped his briefcase down on the desk, grabbed a big mug of [124] coffee, pulled up a chair, laid out a couple of lines, lit a joint, and began the day. Mornings were spent tending to business, watching movies on reels I'd rented from LA, or jawing with anyone who popped into the office. Jerry's Bay Area friends and musicians dropped by from time to time with stories and news from the odd collection of places and people that made up Jerry's world. In those days, Jerry was vibrant and active. (Loren 2014, 123-124). See also Bernstein California Slim video games at Homer's #adayinthelife

"The bond we established during those times made it all the more painful for me to see him, long after our days together, slide into addiction and self-isolation" (Loren 2014, 124).

Early OAITW: "When I was Jerry's manager in the early seventies, Jerry, David Grisman and Peter Rowan started hanging out at Jerry's house in Stinson Beach to play bluegrass and traditional acoustic music for their own enjoyment. Jerry played his old Weymann five-string banjo and the three jammed out archival bluegrass tunes. I was never a big bluegrass music fan, but there in Jerry's living room, I soon found myself sharing the joy these three guys were having playing tunes from their musical roots and became transfixed by the sound I was hearing. They had left behind this music to pursue other musical goals, and now they were playing it again. They were enjoying every moment, and their exuberance was infectious. Jerry, David, and Peter decided to form a band, and Jerry recruited his friend, the Garcia-Saunders bassist John Kahn, to join on upright acoustic bass. . This exciting project for old friends became Old and in the Way. I accepted their offer to manage the band's affairs, and they were off and running. Rehearsals started, [126] songs were chosen, and after just a few living room rehearsals, Garcia, always more eager to perform than rehearse, suggested, "Hey, man. This is fun! We should play in a few bars and see where it takes us." David invited Richard Greene to play fiddle. When he couldn't make it, John Hartford sat in. The first couple of gigs were small, loose, informal affairs in Stinson Beach that were quickly followed by a dozen performances in Bay Area clubs. I put forward the idea that they play some gigs on the East Coast. The band was without a permanent fiddle player, so David suggested that they try to get Vassar Clements. We contacted Vassar in Nashville, and in a matter of days, he arrived at the first gig in Boston and proceeded to blow everybody's socks off. Vassar, like Peter, was a veteran of Bill Monroe's band and was regarded by many as the greatest fiddler alive. Jerry, of course, had an enormous fan base. Old and in the Way was a band of unique revelers, on stage and off, who energized each other. John had a brilliant dry wit and played an omnipresent bass; Peter's singing and songwriting were brilliant; David's quest for perfection on the mandolin was unwavering; Vassar, with his pipe clenched tightly between his teeth, played faultlessly; and Jerry, with his huge heart, was determined to conquer the banjo. Delighted by the challenge of David's and Vassar's licks, Jerry held his own and made the banjo his constant companion. Everyone had nicknames. Peter was Red because he'd written "Panama Red." Grisman dubbed Garcia, Spud, and Garcia, in turn, named David, Dawg. Vassar was Clem, and Kahn was Mule. Kahn gave me the name Zippy because I was always moving quickly and am a high-energy kinda guy" (Loren 2014, 125-126).

Loren says: "In September 1973, Ron Rakow needed new product for Round Records-the subsidiary of Grateful Dead Records owned by Garcia and Rakow-and he was on Jerry's case to make another album" (Loren 2014, 131). Yet I don't think Round Records existed yet, did it?

Compliments: "Most of the recording took place in LA in late December 1973. John had top session musicians lay down the basic tracks first, and then he used Jerry as a vocalist and support player" (Loren 2014, 131). The date is news to me.

Compliments "selections from Van Morrison, Dr. John, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson, and Irving Berlin" (Loren 2014, 131).

Compliments Garcia: "I let John select most all of it, but I made a few suggestions like ... 'Russian Lullaby' was my idea" (Loren 2014, 132).

Hells Angels #hellsangels : On a bright September day in 1973, had Liberty been a live lady instead of a statue in New York Harbor, she would have raised her eyebrows in disdain at the sight of "the wretched refuse" partying on the passing steamship. They were not the tired, the poor, or the huddled masses yearning to breathe free; they were the Hells Angels drinking beer, sucking nitrous oxide out of party balloons, and rollicking on the upper deck of the SS Bay Belle. Specifically, they were members of the New York City and Richmond chapter of the Hells Angels outlaw biker club and their friends. Resplendent in leathers and tattoos, they were rocking to the sounds of Bo Diddley as he belted out "Who Do You Love?" The Angels had always treated me with respect and loyalty, but I also had seen them suddenly snap and get in your face, so I thought it best to pocket my camera after a few cautious snapshots and not invite trouble. I was attending the raucous affair, appropriately called "The Hells Angels Pirate's Ball," with Jerry, Merle [sic] Saunders, Bill Kreutzmann, and John Kahn. We were guests [133] of the Angels" (Loren 2014, 132-133). 9/5/73

#hellsangels "Their presence always had an edge of unpredictability, and they could turn violent on a moment's notice" (Loren 2014, 133).

#hellsangels "Sandy Alexander, the president of the New York City chapter of the Angels, felt that the Dead-Angel connection was solid enough to ask Jerry and Ron Rakow for funds to complete a documentary film about the club that they were making with Leon Gast, the director. Sandy introduced Ron and Jerry to Leon, who showed them the footage he'd already shot. Jerry was enthusiastic about the film, and he and Ron ended up investing well over two hundred fifty thousand dollars towards its completion" (Loren 2014, 133). Hells Angels Forever

#hellsangels "Jerry was intrigued with the larger-than-life Angels, and the first East Coast -tour of the Garcia-Saunders Band just happened to coincide with the Pirate's Ball the Angels were having in New York. Jerry had agreed to perform as a favor to Sonny Barger, the president of the Oakland Angels chapter, who was in prison at the time on federal charges. The event, which was on a boat that chugged around the New York harbor, was a benefit to raise funds for Barger's defense" (Loren 2014, 134).

9/5/73: "The Angels' temperaments were ramping up fast, in close correlation to the increase in the consumption of drugs and alcohol. We were suddenly more aware of our isolation and situation: we were partying on a boat in the middle of a harbor with the elite of the outlaw biker world. They were a fearsome group, intimidating not just in size, and we felt a growing apprehension as the action became more frenzied. Surrounded by a seemingly friendly pack of dogs but wary of their ferocious potential if paws got stepped on, we were treading carefully. We discreetly retreated to the ship's boiler room, which was serving as the makeshift backstage. It occurred to me that we were somewhat removed from the boisterous deck crowd above but now trapped in a confined space below, and that space shrank dramatically when Big Vinnie pushed his way into our midst. Vinnie was huge-well over six feet tall and more than three hundred pounds, with a bearded pug face, massive arms, and a pumped-up chest protruding from his denim vest. He gesticulated [135] wildly, flailing his spike-belted bulging arms perilously close to our faces. "I just come down here to see yous and make sure ya bein' treated right. Lemme know if ya have any problems need fixin'." Thoughts of having Big Vinnie hovering by my side when I had to deal with shady promoters distracted me, but I was interrupted from my daydream by Jerry's voice assuring Vinnie that there were no problems and we were delighted to be on board. Vinnie snorted his satisfaction and turned to leave. We were relieved to see him go. Jerry watched Vinnie shuffling off. "Man, you gotta hand it to that guy! He's scary, but he's real." Yeah! Real scary!" I added. Jerry smiled. 'Yeah. He's just who he is." He believed that there was something uniquely American about the Angels-their toughness, independence, and directness. Jerry accepted people for who they were, on their terms, without judgment. Years later, we heard that Big Vinnie ended up in prison for throwing a girl from a rooftop to her death. It was tragic news but not surprising." (Loren 2014, 134-135).

#hellsangels "The Garcia Band ended up playing at another Pirate's Ball several years after our first experience, but for the most part I tried to shy away from Sandy Alexander's persistent attempts to promote the band. I had started working with John Scher and his company, Monarch Entertainment, for our East Coast shows, and I used our commitment to John when necessary as a reason for not being able to do shows outside the Monarch umbrella. It helped me fend off Sandy's requests but ended up unintentionally casting John as the bad guy, an undesirable role at best" (Loren 2014, 136).

"John was promoter in 1978 when the Dead did a Giant Stadium concert in East Rutherford City, the night before the band's Egypt tour. At the last minute, Sandy Alexander informed John that forty to fifty Angels would be attending the concert, and he wanted permission for them to park their bikes in the area beneath the stadium. This request was actually a favor by Angels' protocol, and when Angels asked for favors they expected favors to be given. John relayed the request to the Jersey Sports Exposition Authority but was emphatically denied. To appease Sandy, John offered to cordon off a section of the parking lot for the bikes, but Sandy was furious and threatened the now-terrified John. Shortly after their encounter, I got a call from Sandy demanding that I tell John to let the Angels park under the stadium or else. We appealed to the Sports Authority, who were growing increasingly nervous about the Angels, and they responded by getting the mayor of Jersey City to back them up on their denial. John, who was no longer sleeping at night, begged me and the band to do something-anything" (Loren 2014, 136).

"Jerry and I went down to the club headquarters at Seventy-seven East Third Street, the safest street in New York thanks to the Angels, who the local working-class residents regarded as guardians.
Sandy greeted us with, ''What the fuck's with this asshole Scher? Is he tryin' to mess with us?"
"Believe me, Sandy," I said with complete sincerity, "nobody's trying to mess with you!"
"We don't like it any better than you do," Jerry chimed in, "but we don't make the rules."
"Rules! What fuckin' rules, man?" 'john tried his best. He . .. "
"Bullshit!" Sandy interrupted. "He's a fuckin' liar!" Jerry gave Sandy his best what-can-we-do? look.
Sandy liked Jerry and reached over and patted him on the shoulder. ''Y a wanna know about rules, man? There's only one goddamn rule-ya take what ya want and fuck the rest."
''We're really sorry, Sandy," Jerry offered.
"Ah, don't worry 'bout it. We're gonna park underneath." Sandy shrugged. "No problem."
''But ... but ... ," I stuttered.
''We talked to some guys we know and got the Jersey State Troopers to put pressure on the stadium dickheads. They changed their minds. Know what I mean? We're parkin' underneath."
Jerry and I exchanged looks of relief.
Sandy nodded at us. "That's how the fuckin' rules work!"" (Loren 2014, 137).

Under heading "Beatle Juiced and the Banality of Fame", Loren: "I want to jam with 'em. Get me a guitar louder than J.C.'s!" John Lennon told me" (Loren 2014, 137). "'J.C.? You mean Jerry," I said, amused by my imagined image of Jesus in a band. "I mean Jerry what's-his-name, in the black T-shirt," Lennon replied. 1974 was an odd and pivotal year, with a lot of disquiet. People were being challenged and pressured. The pendulum swing was reaching an apex, and the Piper was having a field day" (Loren 2014, 138).

July '74 Bottom Line shows! "On the Fourth of July weekend, the Garcia-Saunders Band was playing in New York at the Bottom Line on West Fourth Street in Greenwich Village. The Dead had just finished an East Coast tour, and Jerry's Compliments album had been recently released. The owners of the Bottom Line had contacted me back in February, offering a four-show engagement for the Garcia-Saunders Band, and we'd accepted. I arranged for John Kahn and Merl to fly in, and John brought along his girlfriend at the time, Maria Muldaur, who was riding high on her hit single "Midnight at the Oasis." She sat in as a guest vocalist, and the group was hot. Word got out, and lines stretched around the block for every show. The Bottom Line was the happening place to be in the city, and all sorts of people were showing up." (Loren 2014, 138).

11/74 Lennon, which RL seems to sort of merge in with the July shows. "John Lennon showed up backstage at the beginning of his eighteen-month "Lost Weekend" estrangement from Yoko, and he was shit-faced. After making his bizarre request for a guitar louder than Jerry's, he turned and left, leaving me thinking, ''What the hell was that?" When Jerry took his backstage break, I relayed Lennon's desire to sit in with a louder guitar. "What the fuck!" Jerry snorted. Lennon returned and repeatedly kept calling Jerry "J.C." Fueled by alcohol and who knows what else, he was creeping me out with his uncool behavior. Jerry, however, simply ignored the drunk Beatle and kept his distance" (Loren 2014, 138).

Lennon: "it was hard for me to see him stumbling around, a bad drunk, grappling with his demons in public. His music and his songs attested to another side of the man, and if he had shown up sober, his encounter with Jerry that evening could have evolved into something extraordinary" (Loren 2014, 139).

Sam Cutler had taken control of the GD organization, playing politics. He was let go in January 1974. Sam was tight with the crew, which was not very happy about his departure. crew: "drug-fueled, rowdy antics" (Loren 2014, 141). "Their macho mentality was overwhelming the band's former hippie aesthetic (Loren 2014, 142).

1974: "Cocaine was changing everything. Of all the drugs I'd encountered on the scene, cocaine changed people's personalities the most and tended to fuel their egos and make them irrational" (Loren 2014, 143). #drugs

"increasingly difficult to deal with the escalating cocaine use and the presence of the "cocaine cowboys," as John Barlow, the lyricist, called them. Most of the cowboys were recent additions to the road crew. The labor involved in transporting and setting up the Wall of Sound demanded muscle, and these guys were big, burly characters with surly attitudes and a taste for toot. They were riding high on coke, inflated salaries, and pumped-up egos. Dealing with them was a pain in the ass, and their salaries were sucking a small fortune out of Grateful Dead Productions" (Loren 2014, 145). #drugs

Rock Scully pushed E74 for his promoter buddy, Tom Salter, who was loaded with drugs, "more of a rich groupie than a promoter" (Loren 2014, 146). #drugs

Loren's heading for E74: "burned out from exhaustion, blown out on the trail (Loren 2014, 146). #drugs

"Rex Jackson, a longtime and respected crew member, came down hard on the group, railing about the cocaine madness and challenging the group to toss their drug stashes and get it the fuck together" (Loren 2014, 146). #drugs

"The London shows were a disaster" (Loren 2014, 147). Then they undertook a "death march across Europe" (Loren 2014, 148).

"The Movie turned out to be a bear, taking two and a half years to reach theaters. Jerry was the film's editorial director, and he put in endless hours and energy editing the film and soundtrack" (Loren 2014, 150).

The Movie: "Expenses piled up and the film's budget ballooned from one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars to six hundred thousand" (Loren 2014, 150). Graham financed the final 40k to get the prints made, then John Scher and Richard agreed to do special showings rather than standard distribution (Loren 2014, 151). Premiered at the Ziegfeld Theater in NY on 6/1/77.

RL characterizes John Kahn as JG's "musical director" (Loren 2014, 153).

#why "playing in other bands gave him the opportunity to interact with a variety of talented artists other than the Dead members, and he enjoyed being a carefree musician without the commander-in-chief responsibilities that were his when he played with the Dead … Being on the road with the Jerry Garcia Band, free of an encumbering entourage and complicated politics, differed from touring with the Dead" (Loren 2014, 153).

"In July of 1975, Jerry and John decided to take the band in a different direction, looking for a cleaner, meaner sound" (Loren 2014, 153).

"I persuaded them to drop the incongruous 'Legion of Mary' name and just go with the Jerry Garcia Band" (Loren 2014, 154).

Loren calls Nicky "The Chopin of Rock" (Loren 2014, 154). Kahn suggested him.

RL says NH debuted with JGB at Key Berk 8/5/75, but I think he probably got that from Deadbase or something (Loren 2014, 154).

"The well-organized and short out-of-town gigs that the Garcia Band was doing seemed to work for him, but before long we started to notice an increase in his reliance on drugs and alcohol. I was amazed that a guy with a major intestinal disorder could pack in so much cocaine and booze, but it seemed to alleviate the symptoms of his affliction; either that or he was just so high he didn't notice them. His self-medicating started to affect his performance and create tensions with the band members, especially Ron, who was Nicky's polar opposite in both physical stature and personality. Nicky was a fragile, capricious Brit and a brilliant musician prone to going off the rails. Ron was a beefy, no-nonsense Texan and a brilliant rock-solid musician. Despite being worlds apart, they had gotten on well at first, but Ron, as the rhythmic center of the band, was intolerant of music inconsistencies. Nicky could be flamboyant, especially when he was [156] loaded, adding an extra beat here and there. These sometimes sloppy rhythmic fluctuations drove Ron crazy" (Loren 2014, 155-156).

"The band had had it with Nicky. His drug and alcohol use debilitated him and made him impossible to work with" (Loren 2014, 156).

Booker: "The black, gay, junkie priest" (Loren 2014, 156). "When Nicky left, I had already signed the Jerry Garcia Band to an engagement at Sophie's Club in Palo Alto, so we were pressed to find a replacement. A friend of John's who had been playing in New Orleans suggested that we contact a keyboard guy there named James Booker" (Loren 2014, 156). Makes it sound like NH's departure was sudden, consistent with contract having NH's name on it.

"unstable genius" (Loren 2014, 157). "He told me he was on methadone, and I agreed to make arrangements to have it available during his stay in the Bay Area" (Loren 2014, 157).

RL picked Booker up from the airport. First stop was a methadone clinic in the Haight-Ashbury (Loren 2014, 157).

Booker's business card at the time read "James Booker, the Black Liberace" (Loren 2014, 158).

June 1976, "we appointed John Scher as east coast [GD] tour coordinator" (Loren 2014, 159).

"we approached Clive Davis" (Loren 2014, 160).

Between Terrapin and The Movie, Garcia was burning the candle at both ends. "to get through days and nights of writing, recording, and editing, he had made a pact with the devil" (Loren 2014, 161). PERSIAN. #drugs

heading: "The Puff of No Return": ""Hey, man, you gotta try this shit!" The fateful words rolled off our Persian hash dealer's lips as if he were the snake addressing Eve.
''What is it?" I asked, as Jerry examined the innocuous brown powder that had been placed on my desk in our Mill Valley office.
"It'll mellow you right out," the Persian promised. The scene desperately needed to mellow out. The excessive cocaine use had everyone in a perpetual state of frayed nerves and grinding teeth, and something that would relieve the edginess seemed almost therapeutic. "It's like Persian hash. Take a hit of the smoke," he said, unfolding a small piece of tin foil from his pocket, placing some powder on it, and holding a lighter underneath. We took turns sucking in the smoke with a straw. In a few seconds, we were floating in the warm, comforting balm of heroin. Without a forbidding negative moniker like "smack," it had arrived with an ease of entry, offering a reprieve from all pressures and anxieties --·temporarily anyway. Jerry looked at me. 'Wow, man, this is some god shit!"" (Loren 2014, 161). #drugs

"Heroin addiction is insidious, and its destructive power has been described in detail in many places. One of its initial appeals to Jerry was that it helped him balance all his various projects and commitments. He could smoke weed, do coke, take the edge off with rat, record, edit, and perform. He was an easygoing guy who kept an even keel even when he was high. He didn't like theatrics or drama, and rat kept him relaxed and immune to emotional highs and lows. That was true at least for about a year, and then I started to notice some telltale changes. He had a lot less energy, chose to be more reclusive and withdrawn, and had a more passive onstage presence.
Eventually, heroin becomes a consuming drug that users do in seclusion as they slowly slip away. The process can be long and drawn out or a quick overdose. Jerry did heroin for twenty years, interrupted by futile attempts to clean up. He didn't die of a sudden overdose; heroin just slowly ate away at him like a sweet, suffocating poison. (Loren 2014, 162). #drugs

#women: "Jerry was not a philanderer" (Loren 2014, 162). JG met DK in NY in 1973 and was smitten (Loren 2014, 163). Once she threw a five-gallon water jug through the window of Richard's Mill Valley office, screaming "like a barbarian princess" (Loren 2014, 163).

They lost $500k on Egypt, which RL blames on the crew for hazing away the piano tuner (Loren 2014, 179). "After the shows, Jerry, Bobby, Keith, Donna, Alan, about twenty close family members of the band, and I sailed for two and a half [186] days up the Nile from Luxor to Aswan on Atti's new boat, the Sobek - dubbed the "Ship of Fools"" (Loren 2014, 185-186).

March 1981 Kreutzmann again attacks RL in a rage. In the old days he would have spoken to Jerry, but by this time "he was so consumed by his addiction" that it would do no good (Loren 2014, 210). Garcia was "lost in another phase of his personal odyssey. He was no longer living in idyllic Stinson Beach with Mountain Girl. He was holed up in Rock Scully's basement, where he was well supplied with whatever he needed for his visits to dreamland. He was no longer interested in the kind of adventures I envisioned. He was taking his own personal trips to other places. Amazingly, he did some of his best artwork during this period, bringing back memorable images from his private sojourns and applying them to canvas and other graphic media with stunning results" (Loren 2014, 211). #drugs

RL tried to get together a film script Watch The River Flow about Ol' Muddy and American music (Loren 2014, 213, 216-217), but Garcia lethargy prevented him from contributing. #drugs #movies

"The Saga of Sirens" pp. 225-229.

Lucy Kroll, John Kahn's godmother and show business insider. Jerry, John and RL started their "quest to make a movie" of Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan in 1977. RL and JG were watching lots of movies, and Garcia was "bursting with [226] boundless, creative energy" (Loren 2014, 225-226). Inspired by success of Close Encounters (Loren 2014, 226). Note that this is Garcia right after the ordeal of The Movie. "Wouldn't it be far out to make that?", he said of Sirens of Titan (Loren 2014, 226).

Optioned the book for 6 years for $60k (Loren 2014, 227).
"Like Vonnegut's characters on the remote moon Titan, the project languished for years, stranded by our demanding schedules, the difficulty of getting studio backing, and plain old human procrastination" (Loren 2014, 227).

Loren had Warren Leight write up a treatment in 1983, but "we barely got a response from Jerry", who was "sliding into his own private fantasy drug world" (Loren 2014, 227).

Word of the project reached Saturday Night Live actor and staff writer Tom Davis, who was doing some pretty heavy drug partying with Jerry, which gave him access to Jerry that Warren and I didn't have. Tom used his connections to get the novel to Bill Murray, who had the potential for being the star to move the project forward. Murray was riding high on the recent success of Ghostbusters, and the studios were anxious to bankroll his project of choice. Bill read the book, loved it, and wanted to play the role of Malachi Constant, the novel's protagonist. Things spun somewhat out of control, and Davis overshadowed Warren, despite my strong suggestion to Jerry that he look at Warren's superlative screenplay again.
With Murray's commitment and the revived interest, I got pulled back into the fray and ended up in LA at a meeting with super-agent Michael Ovitz, Jerry, Tom, Bill, and Gary Gutierrez -- the special effects artist whose company had been creating visuals for the film. I expected a meeting with big-name movie and music stars and high-powered Hollywood movers and shakers about a possible multi-million-dollar film project to be a serious affair. I was wrong. while Ovitz and I, the business guys, were at one end of a huge table talking about financing, development, and rights, Bill was at the other end playing the role of a billiard pocket. His mouth was wide open at the edge of the table, waiting while Tom attempted to roll gumballs across the hardwood into his mouth. Despite his shenanigans, Bill had serious Hollywood juice, and based on his interest alone, Ovitz was able to get us a development deal at Universal Pictures with an advance of two hundred fifty thousand dollars. It covered the cost of the book rights, an option renewal, full storyboards, drawings, paintings, incidentals, and Tom's draft of the screenplay. Warren Leight's original masterpiece [229] of a screenplay was not only ignored but never even acknowledged. Tom's desperate desire to bond with Jerry and his drug-fueled insensitivity dealt a nasty blow to Warren, and to me. I never fully got over it" (Loren 2014, 228-229).

Bill Murray dropped out, and it got shelved. RL set up a meeting between himself, Garcia and Jonathan Demme, but "Jerry was too enervated by then to muster enough energy and enthusiasm to interest Demme, and Demme was distracted by problems he was having on the set of his film, so the meeting went nowhere … As Vonnegut himself cryptically wrote, 'And so it goes'" (Loren 2014, 229). That meeting was 1987.

Jerry of "boundless depth, talent and energy" (Loren 2014, 231).

"Over the years, he'd done his share of drugs, but none got a hold of him like heroin. And when it did, much to my heartbreak, we drifted apart. By the mid-80s, he had a major dependence and had become more and more reclusive. He had little energy, was not interested in much, and didn't want to be disturbed. His condition attracted an odd assortment of people-most of whom didn't have his best interests at heart and enabled his increased isolation by deciding who could see him" (Loren 2014, 231). #drugs

Loren emphasizes how quickly and fully Garcia returned to the road after the coma. "From afar it seemed at times like his needs were sacrificed for propping up the golden calf" (Loren 2014, 232).

end of OAITW: "Back in the OAITW days, there had been a misunderstanding about work that David had performed for Round Records, and he was not fairly compensated. … Jerry had [233] trusted Ron with the label's finances and was unaware that his friend had not been paid" [please] (Loren 2014, 232-233). #OAITW

Grisman: Loren places Jerry and David's reunion to a San Francisco recording session in 1990 (Loren 2014, 233). Is that right? "For reasons known only to Jerry [ed: interesting], their reunion that night spurred him to authorize the Rex Foundation-a charity funded by the Grateful Dead-to honor David with its Ralph J. Gleason Award for his contribution to music, which was accompanied by a check for ten thousand dollars" [ed: is that even legal?] (Loren 2014, 233). #David_Grisman

19 comments:

  1. Fascinating stuff. Certainly the most complete explanation of how the Sirens Of Titan deal came about.

    Loren seems loose with timelines. To name a typical error of his, the session where Garcia and Grisman reconnect was in 1988 (for a Pete Sears album--he didn't know they were mad at each other), not 1990. The money came from the Rex Foundation, regardless of whether it was tied to an "award" or not. So my feeling is that Loren is good on relationships, but we have to take him with a grain of salt on dates.

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    1. I don't quite understand your Rex Foundation point. I think the point that Jerry engineered for David to get a nice $10,000 check from the Foundation is consistent with how I understand it to have happened.

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  2. Yeah, that's what I had thought, Pete Sears's Watchfire.

    There are a few other places where dates don't quite line up, though I find him generally very reliable. Memory is so fascinating.

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  3. " The first couple of gigs were small, loose, informal affairs in Stinson Beach that were quickly followed by a dozen performances in Bay Area clubs."

    so maybe they did play Stinson Beach before they played The Lion's Share. Although of course Loren may be repeating information from another source, and he doesn't really remember either--a sort of "inserted" memory.

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  4. > So these aren't really reading notes, just cullings.

    :-) thanks for letting us sneak in backstage and see the soundcheck. :-)

    seeing your creative process is a treat!

    I-) ihor

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  5. One interesting passage you didn't note - circa 1981, Loren proposes in a meeting that the Dead play a riverboat tour of the Mississippi:
    "When I opened the subject for discussion, Jerry spoke up immediately. 'Nah, we don't want to do that.' No one said a word. Dead silence. When Jerry axed the project, no one asked for further discussion or questioned his decision. I knew Mickey and Bob were excited about the proposal, but if Jerry wasn't in, nobody was. Jerry held absolute sway over the Grateful Dead." (p.213)

    This reminds me of a comment Steve Parish made, that in meetings they could debate a proposal endlessly, but if Jerry said he wanted to do something, everyone would fall in line.

    A couple other small notes -
    p.114 - "At the insistence of Columbia Records, the Rowans went on tour as the opening act for the Grateful Dead." Um, no. 7/2/71 was a high-profile show, but 12/12/72 is the only other opening I recall?

    p.131 - Loren says Compliments was recorded in December 1973; but it was actually February 1974 - close. (The Dead were on tour through most of Dec '73.)
    He also says "Ron Rakow needed new product for Round Records...and he was on Jerry's case to make another album." This is fairly accurate - not for another year or two would Rakow ask for "another" album; but at this point in late '73 Round Records was just starting and its existence was basically predicated on releasing solo albums, particularly Garcia's, so I'm sure Rakow was eager for Garcia to do the album. (Compliments was the second Round release.)

    p.122 - Fascinating passage on "the nasty business of Dead family rumors, jealousies, and suspicions."
    Jerry's solo projects "didn't sit well with some of the other Grateful Dead members... There were rumblings in the Dead community that Jerry's activities were a costly distraction, limiting the Dead's engagement schedule and their paychecks... I became the brunt of all the resentment..."
    Wales, Saunders, and Seals also mentioned this resentment from the Dead at various times - apparently all Garcia's bands were unwelcome to the Dead, and their access to Jerry a threat. All these memoirs later, it still remains a rather vague issue, without anyone going into specifics. (Everyone's too diplomatic!)
    Loren mentions his surprise that he and Rakow were thought to be "the Stinson Beach Mafia, the nefarious outsiders who were trying to take over the Dead" (or at least take Jerry away). But jealousy & suspicion were part of the Dead family package - one reason different accounts of Jerry's relationships need to be compared & measured against each other.

    Loren also adds another perspective to the story of Sam Cutler's firing in early '74 (p.139-41). Between this book, Cutler's own book, and McNally's narrative, we have three variant accounts which don't even sound like they're describing the same event! Someone might try to triangulate these at some point... At any rate, Loren makes clear the ease with which Grateful Dead managers could get fired. (Particularly by Kreutzmann, whose own book is understandably vague on this issue...)

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    1. Thanks, as always, for giving your insights.

      Indeed, there is probably much more to unravel around Cutler.

      Thanks for pointing up the Garcia veto. I try not to get too much into the GD, impossible wholly to avoid, but the Mississippi River thing is indeed a nice clear, specific case of Garcia's power.

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  6. It looks like I was wrong about the Rowans, and Loren accurately remembered them touring as the Dead's opener, after their album was released in 1972.

    Cleveland's Scene magazine wrote a blurb on the Dead for their show there in October '72, stating: "At the invitation of the Dead...the Rowan Brothers are on tour with them and will certainly make a strong supporting act." (The Scene, 10/26/72)

    I haven't been able to find any poster, or any witness who remembers the Rowans, from this tour; nonetheless this is pretty strong contemporary evidence.

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    1. Oh, and for the Rowan database: according to a Variety review, the Rowan Brothers also opened on 8/5/71 at the Hollywood Palladium (and probably the following night as well).

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    2. Do you have a reference for the Variety review of 8/5 and/or 8/6/71, or better yet a scan?

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    3. Thanks for pointing out the Rowans opening for this fall '72 tour. The tour went 10/17 (St. Louis) through 10/30 (Detroit), I wonder if Rowans played every show?

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    4. ! ref: Girard, Jim. 1972. Grateful Dead!!! Scene (Cleveland, OH), vol. 3 no. 55 (October 26 – November 1), p. 1.

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    5. There is no telling how many of the October '72 shows the Rowans played at, unless someone finds posters or reviews mentioning them - I didn't find any.

      Loren suggests that as an opener for the Dead, the Rowans flopped, and the '71 Variety review agreed: "In spite of all the Rowens' hokum dating back to the early days of rock and their attempt to have an audience-participation show, the kids did not join in. They listened and some of the pieces evoked mild approval but there was no real communication. As musicians the brothers were okay."
      (Beth, "Grateful Dead Dance," Variety, August 9, 1971)
      www.dead.net/sites/default/files/images/19710809_0714.original.jpg

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    6. It's pretty remarkable to find out that the Rowans opened a Dead tour in Fall '72, even if we can't yet confirm they played every date. A final whiff of the NRPS model.

      I remember the Rowan Brothers opening for the Dead on December 12, 1972, of course, but that seemed to be part of a troika of shows where the Dead had opening acts to replace the Allman Brothers. And the Rowans opened an NRPS show at WInterland, I believe on Nov 3-4 72.

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    7. The Stanford Daily ran a review of a Hot Tuna/NRPS/Rowans Winterland show in Nov '72.
      That reviewer didn't like the Rowans either: "All of their stuff sounded the same. They're a very unoriginal rock group (sure to become a big success). Fortunately, they didn't stay on very long. During the intermission was a great Bugs Bunny cartoon...Bugs went over a lot better than the Rowan Brothers."

      The reviewer also hated NRPS, with scathing words for every song: "terrible...extremely inferior...horrible...monotonous...of course the crowd went wild."
      He said the highlight of the show was Bob Weir singing Johnny B Goode as the New Riders' encore. He also said Garcia wasn't present.
      (Dan Forte, "Big Disappointment at Winterland," Stanford Daily 11/8/72)

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    8. Dave Davis uncovered an interesting newspaper post from Houston, November 1972:

      "The Rowan Brothers, Chris and Lorin, will NOT be appearing Saturday and Sunday in Hofheinz Pavilion with the Grateful Dead, as previously announced by the Houston Post."
      "At this time, nobody else will be playing with the Dead."
      http://gratefulseconds.blogspot.com/2017/01/t-for-texas-dead-november-18-19-1972.html

      The Allmans had originally been paired with the Dead, so when they cancelled perhaps the Rowans were briefly considered as the openers, or maybe someone just got some wrong information.
      How many shows the Rowans actually opened for in fall '72 is still a mystery.

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  7. A correspondent who saw many Bay Area shows in the '60s-70s wrote me:
    "I once saw Garcia play pedal steel with The Rowan Brothers at The Keystone Corner in North Beach (1970 or early '71) and while he was tuning his pedal steel someone played "Teach Your Children" on the jukebox and he tuned his pedal guitar to his pedal guitar solo on the record. It was pretty funny."

    An intriguing detail! If it was the Keystone Korner, I'm guessing '71....perhaps the June '71 shows where the Rowan Brothers opened for NRPS? I don't think there are many known shows where Garcia played pedal steel with the Rowans too, if his memory's right.

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    1. Oh, he also mentions that he never got to see Garcia play pedal steel with the Dead: "I only saw him play steel a lot with The New Riders...and that one time with the Rowan Brothers even though I saw the Rowans quite a lot."

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