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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Reading Notes: Dupree 1974

Zoo World, January 31, 1974. "Cover photo captured by Mario Algaze the afternoon of a Leas Campbell presentation of the Grateful Dead at Curtis Hixon Hall in Tampa, Fla.", December 18 or 19, 1973.

A clean-shaven Jerry Garcia in Tampa, Florida, December 18 or 19, 1973. Photograph by Mario Algaze, published in Zoo World, January 31, 1974, p. 12.

Dupree, Tom. 1974. Grateful Dead: Hipper Than the Average Corporation. Zoo World, January 31, pp. 12-13.

The pictures are from Tampa. As the Thoughts On The Dead guy might say, Billy looks like he wants to kick punch some dicks. Anyway, Donna Jean was back home giving birth, and the band played two kickass shows December 18-19, 1973, really great.

The article draws from December 12th in Atlanta, meetings and interviews with band members, a few expost reax to the show. As the title implies, the main topic of discussion is Grateful Dead Records, and business matters (this appears to have been an industry paper based in Nashville, I should probably know that).

p. 12

booking firm: Out Of Town Tours

Dead inspired travel agency Fly By Night

"Garcia's country group Old And In The Way"

Sparky And The Ass-Bites From Hell

Weir interview

Meeting in the Regency Hyatt House Hotel, not where band is staying. Bob is there to sightsee the tony hotel's glass elevator, architectural emanation of American opulence, on the side of a newspaper interview downtown. Pull-quote paints picture of a wine-snobby Bobby, which is partly true but pretty unfair for a guy who has worked hard for fifty years despite probably sitting on a pile of family money (the Atherton house he grew up in alone would make quite an inheritance). In his seventies as I type this, tonight he's playing the second night of GD50 in Santa Clara.

Weir: the hippie thing was a good time, but we've moved on.

Record company: "the Dead organization picked a network of conventional distribution firms" to get the Wake of the Flood into the stores.

p. 13

Rock Scully is current road manager – when did Cutler leave the road?

Weir says they have reduced their risk by having a less diversified portfolio than most record companies. They don't have to pay for the 6 or 7 Donnie and the Doughnuts records that lose money. They have just the 1 GD record, which they have some idea can sell. "Any fears about the company's success in its initial stages have been quieted: the album is about to go gold, with RIAA certification expected to come in January, just about two months after release" (Dupree 1974, 13).

"The Dead organization … is hoping the LP will provide capital to bolster and expand other aspects of its operation" (Dupree 1974, 13). Interesting – note that at this early stage, no mention of Round Records, Round Reels, etc. I want to triangulate to when we get the first mention of the Round stable of shell corporations.

Ever the anti-businessmen, Rock and others say the album kind of sucks! (Dupree 1974, 13).

"I like it," Garcia says of Wake of the Flood. "I thought the material was very good. And there's no question that we were rushed on it. We did that to ourselves, really, by leaving ourselves too short off time. But, considering, I think it turned out pretty well" (12/12/73, Dupree 1974, 13).

JG: "Phonograph records are misleading … First of all, there's an artificial start and stop, the physical dimensions of an album. … There's only, what, 22 minutes to an album side, and our thoughts are much longer than that" (12/12/73, Dupree 1974, 13).

Odd moment 12/12/73 Garcia to say they now like big rooms because of the WOS: "If we couldn't get off in them, we wouldn't play big halls. But now we understand them about as well as we understood theaters when we were playing them" (Dupree 1974, 13).

Rock 12/12/73 says the band will take five days off, play the Florida gigs, then take a month or two off. "That's the whole band I'm talking about. Garcia has never taken a moment off since he picked up his first guitar. He is playing somewhere every night" (Dupree 1974, 13).

Keith speaks! 4th column, p. 13 "I'm sure there are a lot of relatively honest ways of calling attention to yourself, as long as it's not hype. We are not in a position to be ripped off. We can't afford yet to give $3,000 to a local distributor and then have him forge newspaper receipts on us. Where we're at right now is, we have people on the inside we can trust. Now we're trying to find the people on the outside that we can feel the same way about. But with this operation, we're gonna be honest if we have to beat some ass."

"Or take it in the ass," Weir says. "We've done both. We just are trying to take some of the sleaze out of it, and say that things should be done in an above-board manner or not at all."

At the end of the interview, Keith "Godchaux drags on his cigarette, then leans over purposefully: 'I'm not averse to hustling, either'" (12/12/73, Dupree 1974, 13). 


  1. Sam Cutler ran the booking agency, Out Of Town Tours. Sometimes he came on the road, sometimes he didn't. I think OOT started after Europe 72. Sam's primary role was running OOT, and making guest appearances as Road Manager was not mandatory. His partner was Chesley Millikin, so if Sam was on the road, Chesley stayed home and ran the shop.

  2. I have not yet seen any public reference to Round Records that predates the first actual Round Records releases in June '74.
    There may be one somewhere - but I think it existed only as an internal concept at this point (Dec '73). The Dead must have already been planning to release various side-project albums, but first they needed Wake of the Flood to "provide capital." Exactly when Garcia & Rakow became co-owners of a separate company called Round is rather vague - the answer presumably is in the Dead archives.


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