Sunday, September 11, 2022

August 1971 Crosby super session / double album project to end the Vietnam War?

update: Never Trust A Prankster :)


Bruce Rostenstein was an ouststanding rock columnist for the American University Eagle in the early 1970s. That paper has been digitized, and like so many other college papers, offers up all kinds of goodness for the intrepid researcher.

His October 29, 1971 column brings forth something I have never heard about. Noting the success of George Harrison's Bangladesh benefit concert, he reports, on the basis of some seemingly pretty clear documentation (including side-and-cut information), about a star-packed double album project spearheaded by David Crosby to end the war in Vietnam.

The concept itself is mind-boggling; one LP will feature Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with all new material, and the other record will have the boys playing with some of the biggest names in rock. As for the business end, Crosby has arranged for Atlantic Records to distribute the [sic] on the special Empathy label.

Word of the project leaked, and Croz had to give more info to the rock press. It included the following stuff put togther in "mammoth sessions" over five late August days at Electric Lady Studios:

A-1: the original Byrds: unidentified tune
A-2: Captain Beefheart (sax and guitar), Stephen Stills (organ), Jeff Beck (guitar): a seven minute cut called "Feet"
A-3: Michael Bloomfield, Stills (organ), Jack Casay (bass), Joey Covington (drums): "I Just Don't Know", an autobiographical Bloomfield tune, his first original in two years
A-4: members of the NRPS and Poco, "with an extended pedal steel guitar solo by David Grisman of the New Riders": "Sagebrush"
A-5: a 23-second spoken intro by Richard Meltzer
A-6: Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals), Jack Casady (bass), Graham Nash (organ), Ringo Star (drums): a nine minute version of "Goodnight Irene"
B-1: Dr. John, Eric Clapton, various percussionists: "Bayou Madness" (impromptu/original)
B-2: Leon Russell (piano), the Tulsa Tops, Merry Clayton and Claudia Lenear (vocals), Billy Preston (organ): "Funky Oklahoma Mama" (a new Russell original)
B-3: Russell, Neil Young (guitar), ?others?: "Rock 'n' Roll Forever" ("Supposedly this eight and a half minute cut is a fusion of 'Maybelline', 'Long Tall Sally', 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On', 'Sweet Sixteen' and 'Summertime Blues'")
B-4: Buffalo Springfield: "On the Way Home"
B-5: Paul McCartney (bass), Linda McCartney (piano), Crosby and Stills (acoustic guitars), Clapton and Nils Lofgren (electric guitars), Phil Lesh (bass): a ten-minute instrumental called "What Is Reality"?

Along with the record, word has it that the Maysles brothers donated their services and filmed the entire session for a television special which may be aired as early as mid-January. The release date of the record is indefinite. Some say as early as December 15th, others say not before January.

OK, so my question to you, dear friends, is is this a real thing that I missed? Or??

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Dating the September 1971 Lion's Share Gigs

Consider this a throwback post, in that it does what the blog started out doing, and that's just trying to correct and fill out metadata around Garciavents. Here, I argue that the material we know from circulating tapes as 9/24/71 is actually from the next night, 9/25/71, also at the Lion's Share in San Anselmo. The post also serves to pin down a third set of music from the four played this weekend, from newly digitized (and, as of today, circulated) tape of what, I argue, should be seen as the 9/24/71 late show.

Tom Fogerty left Creedence Clearwater Revival on February 1, 1971 (Boucher 1972), seeking to escape the domineering shadow of his little brother John and carve out his own musical identity. Around May 26, 1971, he first sat in with Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders and their unnamed group, at the Keystone Korner in San Francisco. He gigged on and off with them for a year-and-a-half, while also doing all kinds of studio work at The House That Creedence Built (Fantasy in Berkeley). He continued collaborating on Merl's Fire Up into late spring '73 before exiting the Garciaverse. Some of his correspondence with Merl lives in the GD Archives, and from what we can glean he was a sweet and generous guy who was very fond of his labelmate. He continued to play and record through ongoing back problems, fell on some hard personal times, and apparently contracted HIV/AIDS from an unscreened blood transfusion connected with a back surgery in the early 80s. This led to his untimely demise from a tuberculosis infection at the age of 49 on September 6, 1990.

I have yet to come to a clear understanding of my own of the mix of music and commerce (especially, the role of Fantasy Records) in the "Tom Fogerty Era" of the Garcia-Saunders group, partly because, outside studio recordings, so few tapes of them playing live are available to hear. The first pop up almost four months after his arrival, in September 1971, with two widely-circulated sets from the Lion's Share which I will focus on here. After that, the next tape comes June 30, 1972 at the Korner, and then December 28, 1972, again in San Anselmo. That's it - though tape exists of September 20, 1971 at the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati, and December 5, 1972 at the Boarding House in the city, it does not circulate. And, while he figured in some billings early in 1973, it seems highly unlikely that he ever gigged with these guys after 1972. 

We currently list 48 Tom Fogerty events at Jerrybase, we have a few setlists from newspaper reviews and attendee recollections, and now pieces of five shows. Tragically, all of our JB listings are for public events. Fantasy has remained completely opaque in terms of session dates, which I estimate might number in the few dozens from 1970 or 1971 through 1974 or 1975.

As a result of all of this, the little tape that we have is precious. I have spent considerable time with it trying to glean some insight into the Fogerty Era. It's risky to extrapolate much from the little we can hear, of course. But it seems clear that he and Jerry shared a love for 50s R&B numbers such as Hank Ballard and the Midnighters' "Annie Had A Baby" (1954), The Four Deuces' "W-P-L-J" (1956), and Jimmy Reed's straighter blues "Baby What You Want Me To Do?" (1959), the latter of which the Dead played a few times but none of which is known to have appeared in any other GOTS configuration. They also played Jesse Winchester's super-sweet "Biloxi" from his 1970 debut, and a bunch of tunes that otherwise seem part of the Garcia-Saunders repertoire of the period, insofar as we can know it.

The Lion's Share gigs on September 24-25, 1971 were well advertised and, in a refreshing change of pace, Fogerty's name preceded Garcia's. Yayyy, Jerry! (We celebrate this because the guy just wanted to play, he didn't need or necessarily want top-billing). Maybe it was just done alphabetically. Anyway, only the Berkeley Tribe specifies early (9 PM) and late (11:30 PM) shows. The ads all identify Jerry Corbitt, Billy Cox, and Charlie Daniels (yes, the one you've heard of) opening, though for some reason Jerrybase currently shows Loading Zone and Congress of Wonders the first night instead of them. Gideon and Power were also on the bill the second night, per the Lion's Share calendar.

My partner David Minches and I have just had the pleasure of working with 1971-1972 Lion's Share soundman Lou Judson to arrange a fresh transfer of these old tapes. The three from this September 1971 weekend present, first, a Sony PR-150 labeled "Friday 24 Sept 71 last 1/2 hr)".

The labeling is confirmed by the end of the recording, where the emcee says "Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, Tom Fogerty and Bill Kreutzmann. They'll be back tomorrow night, for another two shows, along with Jerry Corbitt and Charlie Daniels. Come back and bring your friends. Thank you for comin', and good night." So this is clearly 9/24/71b. As you will hear when the seed hits the ether, this is distinct music that has never circulated among collectors.

It seems that there probably was a first reel from this night, but, alas, it remains MIA.

But wait, you say - don't circulating filesets already purport to included 9/24/71b? Indeed, they do. But these tapes clearly establish that they are mis-dated, and derive from the second night. Lou's other two reels from the weekend are Sony SLH-180 stock, and clearly labeled "September 25 Saturday '71 first set" and "September 25, 1971 second set".

The material on these tapes corresponds to the material that has long circulated as 9/24/71. But it is actually 9/25/71.

Last thing to do is pin down what we can from the partial setlist for 9/24/71b, and post listening notes from all three sets of material. That stuff follows.


Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
Lion's Share
60 Red Hill Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960
September 24, 1971 (Friday) - Late Show / reel #2
Judson MSR > HD 2022

--end of late show (6 tracks, 5 tunes, 30:28)--
19710924-l-t01. [0:46] Annie Had A Baby [3:21] ->
19710924-l-t02. W-P-L-J [3:48] [1:07]
19710924-l-t03. Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do? [5:16] [1:08]
19710924-l-t04. I Was Made To Love Her [7:51] [1:05]
19710924-l-t05. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [5:31]
19710924-l-t06. outro (2) [0:36]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - electric guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Tom Fogerty - electric guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards;
! lineup: Bill Kreutzmann - drums.


! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [m:ss] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [m:ss] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.

! Jerrybase:

! db: none in circulation from this date. The following are mistakenly dated 9/24/71, but are actually 9/25/71: (early and late, via Shriver shnf); (Reel Master 10inch Master Reel@7.5ips 1/2trk > DAT, via Eaton-Scotton-Miller-SirMick); (raw version of shnid-137584)

! map:


! personnel: NB no bass.

! R: field recordist: Lou Judson

! R: field recording gear: PA line out > Viking 88

! R: field recording media: Sony PR-150 1/4" x 7" @7.5ips stereo (tape "GS6")

! R: lineage: MSR Sony 854-4 playback > Sound Devices 744T (24 bit / 96kHz wav) > editing and mastering by David Minches, July 2022.

! t02 (1) @ 4:27 JG: "No dancing in the Lion's Share. At least - nobody's dancing in the Lion's Share. [inaudible] dancing right around here [inaudible] I don't know [inaudible]

! R: t05 some kind of noise in TNTDODD, not sure if it's tape or equipment

! t06 (2) JG: "Thanks a lot folks. See y'all later." Emcee: "Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, Tom Fogerty and Bill Kreutzmann. They'll be back tomorrow night, for another two shows, along with Jerry Corbitt and Charlie Daniels. Come back and bring your friends. Thank you for comin', and good night."


Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders
Lion's Share
60 Red Hill Avenue
San Anselmo, CA 94960
September 25, 1971 (Saturday)
Judson MSR > HD 2022

--early show (7 tracks, 6 tunes, 51:56)--
e-t01. Introduction (1) [1:09]
e-t02. Save Mother Earth [11:38] ->
e-t03. Imagine [5:19] (2) [2:28]
e-t04. One Kind Favor [8:45] [1:25]
e-t05. I Was Made To Love Her [9:53] [0:32]
e-t06. Baby, What Do You Want Me To Do? [3:47] [0:04] %
e-t07. Biloxi [6:51] [0:06]

--late show (7 tracks, 51:55)--
l-t01. [0:15] Hi-Heel Sneakers [8:36] [1:10]
l-t02. Man-Child [10:21] ->
l-t03. Summertime [10:07] [1:14]
l-t04. That's A Touch I Like [5:47] (3) [1:52]
l-t05. Annie Had A Baby [2:55] ->
l-t06. W-P-L-J [3:17] [0:13] %
l-t07. [0:19] The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [5:40] (4) [0:09]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - electric guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Tom Fogerty - electric guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Merl Saunders - keyboards;
! lineup: John Kahn - electric bass;
! lineup: Bill Kreutzmann - drums.


! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [m:ss] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [m:ss] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.

! Jerrybase:

! db, mistakenly dated 9/24/71: ("MSR>1C>D etc.", via Ryan Shriver and Danny Metz); ("MSR>DAT etc.", via Paul Scotton and SIRMick); (raw transfer of Scotton DAT). Prior to 8/9/2022, no sources have circulated dated 9/25/71, which is the correct date for this material.

! map:


! R: field recordist: Lou Judson

! R: field recording gear: PA line out > Viking 88

! R: field recording media: 2x Sony SLH-180 1/4" x 7" @7.5ips 1/4 trk stereo (tapes "GS7" and "GS8")

! R: lineage: MSR Sony 854-4 playback > Sound Devices 744T (24 bit / 96kHz wav) > editing and mastering by David Minches, July 2022.

! e-t01 (1) JG: "Hey - whoever it is that controls the lights, could ya turn 'em down, these ones here? Ahh, yes. Keep it going ... thanks, great. You can turn 'em down even farther ... that's good. [To band] Can you guys see well enough?" Tom: "Oh yeah, for sure." Emcee: Let's have a warm welcome for Jerry Garcia, Tom Fogerty, Merl Saunders, and ... friends." JG: "That's, uh, John Kahn and Bill Kreutzmann, are the 'friends'." Emcee: "Thank you." JG: "Don't mention it."

! P: e-t02 SME very slowly paced. @ 7:30 JG pedals in a little wah or whatever that is. Things getting melty in 9.

! e-t03 (2) Tom: "Can we get some beer and apple juice, please?" JG: "And a little bit of light - just the tiniest little bit" [some chuckles].

! R: e-t07 Biloxi patched in from shnid-137584. How it could be complete there and not here is a mystery ...

! P: l-t01 HHS Tom's buzzsaw tone fatigues my ears

! P: l-t02 Man-Child John starts rumbling fantastically in 6

! l-t04 (3) Tom: "Can we please have some beers and, uhh, two apple juices?"

! R: l-t07 TNTDODD in mono

! l-t07 (4) JG: "Thanks a lot. Good night."

Monday, June 27, 2022

tuning ditty identification request

Can anyone identify the little ditty or ditties Jerry noodles in this mp3?


update: commenter WWHS Clear Vision informs us that it is "The English Country Garden" - "it's an English folk song that was popularized by Percy Grainger." Thank you!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Odd Pair at the Old Waldorf: JGB, Monday, January 11, 1982 and Wednesday, January 13, 1982

LN jg1982-01-11.jgb.all.sbd-gmb.84012.flac1644 | LNjg1982-01-13.jgb.all.aud-GEMS.98706.flac1644

What a weird little pair of shows - an early year Monday-Wednesday pairing at the Old Waldorf. Also an interesting pair of tapes. The 11th is represented by one of the uber-clean early 80s soundboard cassette tapes, which the old rumor had it marched out of "official" possession powered by a Peruvian blizzard. The 13th is represented by an otherwise unlineaged 1st gen aud cassette from the Jeff Knudsen collection which sounds absolutely stunning.

The shows are uneven. I definitely feel like the 13th is stronger overall. Maybe the fact that Phil Elwood was in the house --improbably enough, at this juncture-- supplied a little extra motivation. Elwood saw Blakey and Garcia in the same time frame and wrote a review praising both old timers for still bringing the musical goods. 

Anyway, the 11th has a lot more lyrical flubs and whatnot, though there are a few highlights probably made possible by the super clean tape. The 13th has a little more juice. I *really* like this "Roadrunner" - it's executed almost flawlessly, and just sounds good. The "Don't Let Go" is good, starting off with Billy double-time syncopating on the rim, but it's quite brief. I have never met a bad DLG, though the super long ones from the 70s can drag for me. This one is probably average, which is to say it's a delight.

Jerry Garcia Band
Old Waldorf
444 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
January 11, 1982 (Monday)
MSC > DAT shnid-84012 retrack

--set I (6 tracks, 57:13)--
s1t01. //How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [#1:19] [0:13]
s1t02. Knockin' On Heaven's Door [13:22] [0:13]
s1t03. That's What Love Will Make You Do [10:49] [0:08] %
s1t04. //Simple Twist Of Fate [#14:21] % [0:02]
s1t05. I Second That Emotion [9:40] ->
s1t06. Deal// [7:07#]

--set II (7 tracks, 59:25)--
s2t01. [0:31] The Way You Do The Things You Do [8:06] %
s2t02. I'll Take A Melody [12:50] %
s2t03. Valerie [6:45] %
s2t04. Harder They Come -18:39
s2t05. //Night They Drove Old Dixie Down [# ->
s2t06. Dear Prudence [12:27] ->
s2t07. Tangled Up In Blue// [2:13#]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band #14a/c
! lineup: Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn - bass;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - keyboards;
! lineup: Jimmy Warren - keyboards;
! lineup: Bill Kreutzmann - drums;
! lineup: Essra Mohawk - backing vocals;
! lineup: Liz Stires - backing vocals.


! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [m:ss] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [m:ss] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.

! db: (same source tape, shnf, deprecated); (this fileset)

! ad: San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle Datebook, December 27, 1981, p. 19

! historical: Odd little pair of gigs on Monday (1/11) and Wednesday (1/13) at the Old Waldorf at the start of 1982, in the sense that they'd usually play consecutive nights.

! R: Source: MSC > DAT

! R: Transfer: Panasonic SV-3700 > M-Audio Audiophile 2496 to Wavelab 5.0, mastering with iZotope Ozone 3 > CDWAV1.9 > FLAC (level 8). Transferred, Remastered and Seeded by Green Mountain Bros. April 2007.

! R: seeder comments: Very clean SBD with several pauses between tunes - crossfades were applied to cover. 

! R: s1t01 HSII cuts in, most of tune is missing

! P: s1t02 KOHD Jimmy feature 7:25ff. Basic, but I think it sounds nice.

! P: s1t03 TWLWMYD Very punchy. Kahn is rumbling around really nicely, though how much of that is the recording, I dunno. But a few times he rumbles and it makes me happy. Melvin's feature in 7:20ff also sounds great. Yeah, big fella!

! R: s1t04 STOF clips in

! P: s1t04 STOF Jerry delivers the lyrics slowly and with care (though not without error). Bass "feature" late 6ff. He is flubbing lyrics hard late 11.

! P: s2t03 flubby lyrics

! R: s2t03 the fileset had Valerie and HTC tracked together. I have fixed this.

! R: s2t05 TNTDODD cuts in, missing first two verses

! P: s2t06 DP BK is having tempo problems, as he had been during HTC as well.

! R: s2t07 Tangled Up In Blue is painfully cut.


Jerry Garcia Band
Old Waldorf
444 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
January 13, 1982 (Wednesday)
1st gen aud gems shnid-98706

--set I (5 tracks, 50:26)--
s1t01. Sugaree [11:13] %
s1t02. /They Love Each Other [#7:38] %
s1t03. Sitting In Limbo [12:09] %
s1t04. Let It Rock [8:26] %
s1t05. Tangled Up In Blue [11:01] %

--set II (6 tracks, 62:18)--
s2t01. [0:13] (I'm A) Road Runner [7:02] %
s2t02. Don't Let Go [13:25] %
s2t03. /Harder They Come [#11:19] %
s2t04. [0:06] Russian Lullaby [11:30] %
s2t05. Dear Prudence [12:08] ->
s2t06. Midnight Moonlight [6:32] (1) 


! review: [positive] Elwood 1982. Club was "jammed to overflowing". Amazing that Elwood bothered to see Jerry this late in the game. This was sort of a throwback review, discovering that Jerry and Art Blakey can still bring it.

! R: source: Jeff Knudsen's 1st gen aud cassette: "I taped this but this version is better than mine so I don't have my original anymore. I don't remember who taped this. I knew them but I can't remember their names. The reason I sent this to Matt was the one on LL was missing (I think) the last three or so songs and my copy is complete."

! R: Transfer: MAC(1) > Apogee Mini ME (24/96) > Apogee Mini DAC > Wavelab 5.0 (dithered via 'UV22HR' to 16/44) > CD by Matt Smith. Edits and Mastering: Jamie Waddell ( on the GEMS Edit Station. Weiss Saracon for POWR-3 Dither. Meta-data with Tag&ReName. 

! seeder notes: "Thanks to Jeff and Matt for the honor to share these". A *GEMS* Production,, April 2009.

! R: do not be put off by the generic lineage - this is a really, relaly good aud tape. Update sometime later: really, really, really good!

! P: s1t04 LIR Jerry is doing some truly unique stustained reverby train pulls in late 5. Very intentional stuff!

! P: s2t01 IARR sounds really nice

! P: s2t02 DLG man, is that Billy syncopating on the rim right out of the gate? Sounds cool. Doubling 4:10ff. Melvin pulls a little thing 4:04, 4:15 that just sounds so sweet. 4:23 some putting some sustain on it. I am loving the sound of this band right now - great palette of sound. Nice jam, doesn't get too far out, JG starts nudging back to tune 11:22.

! R: s2t03 HTC clips in

! P: s2t03 HTC peppy. Jimmy feature 5:50ff. Lyrical flub 10:05.

! P: s2t04 Russ Lull John forward 5:44ff. WTF is he doing? I dunno.

! s2t06 (1) JG: "Thanks a lot. See ya later."

Friday, June 17, 2022

Jerry Band SoCal '89

LN jg1989-05-19.jgb.all.aud-tfh.24537.flac1644
LN jg1989-05-20.jgb.all.sbd-miller.20679.shn2flac
LN jg1989-05-22.jgb.all.aud-ebay-liberation.150868.flac2448

The Jerry Band in SoCal

After the Jerry Band started in 1975, SoCal trips were mostly one, two- and few-offs - no real tours as we define them at Jerrybase. Starting in spring 1983, the band started doing what were called "tours" in-house, but were typically just a couple days, couple of rooms:
  • March 11-13, 1983: three nights, two rooms, five shows
  • August 1983: a few canceled gigs, not sure how many nights/rooms/shows were ever totally solidified
  • September 30 - October 4, 1983: makeups for the August gigs, five nights (one off), three rooms, four shows
  • May 17-20, 1984: four nights, four rooms, four shows
  • May 31, 1985: just the one night, two shows at the Beverley, fleecing the fans
These were all arranged between the Jerry folks (sometimes with John Scher brokering) and the local promoters. In 1986, Bill Graham took over Jerry's SoCal gigs, which for several years are Wiltern dominant. Here's the rest of the Garcia-in-SoCal story:
  • May 23-24, 1986: two nights, two rooms, two gigs
  • March 13-14: two nights at the Wiltern
  • December 3-6, 1987: four nights at the Wiltern in the acoustic-electric format
  • November 25-27, 1988: three nights at the Wiltern
  • May 19-22, 1989: four nights, three gigs, three amphitheaters
  • November 11-16, 1990: five nights out of six at the Wiltern
  • July 29 - August 2, 1992: five nights, four gigs, four amphitheaters
  • April 16-18, 1993: three nights, three gigs, two arenas
  • May 13-19, 1994: seven nights, five-and-a-half gigs, five amphitheaters
As with everything else in the Garciaverse, institutionalization is more or less the story. Things went from pretty fly-by-night in the first half of the 80s to professional, streamlined in the last decade. Graham wanted it all, and the fact that Scher ran Jerry's SoCal stuff apparently irked him. I suppose that Bill getting the Wiltern was the real pivot - he had a great room for Jerry to play that was appropriately scaled. You might say the same thing up north, especially as Jerry got too big for Freddie's clubs. And once the Warfield was renovated (I still have never seen a perfectly clear timeline for that), certainly by late 1989 through to the end, it was probably most efficient to have Wolfgang run the whole west coast.

There's more to say about Jerry in SoCal, which I will try to get to in Fate Music. In short, a disproportionate number of negative things happened to Jerry, or involving Jerry, south of, let's say, Gaviota Point. He was a third-generation San Franciscan, and the antagonisms between SF and LA (north and south more broadly) make all kinds of sense, what with the whole good-and-evil dichotomy at work there (heh heh). It is just kind of funny that SoCal had more than its fair share of bullshit.

That's one set of background conditions, more just historical than anything.


My expectations supply a second set of background conditions. Here, they were extremely high. Here's how I described my sense of the overall period writing some eight years ago:
For my money, 1988-1989 is one of the great JGB periods, which a fresh and healthy Jerry (that's what starts to break down, for me, 1990-1991), solid band, some fresh material, rehearsed arrangements, and lots of classic American songs. Nothing too crazy, lots of good music.

In that same post, I had described spring '89 as "a peak period for me". All of that was based on the following, I think.
Another piece of the puzzle is instinctive contrarianism, and my long-held desire to assert the "year too late" hypothesis with respect to the 1991 Jerry Garcia Band double-live CD, which is pretty self-explanatory: they recorded it in 1990, but Jerry Band in 1990, I had in my mind, was not as good as Jerry Band in 1988-1989.

True, I found a couple of duds in that timeframe, such as 12/3/88, which I thought just kinda sucked. But even when we factor that in, I had high hopes. Whoever it was who said that "expectations are the enemy of happiness", or whatever the saying is, may have been onto something.

The Jerry Band SoCal May '89 "Tour"

The three shows in the mix here underwhelmed me. 

True, "whelming" is a function of expectations, and I have already noted that mine were high.

True, the 5/19/89 Don't Let Go is one for the ages. It's right up there with some of the early '80s classics, or the shocking 2/6/94 masterpiece. Definitely top-10, maybe top-5.

True, there are some nice tapes here, including the Tapers From Hell pulling 5/19, and some rare late '80s sbds (albeit incomplete) for 5/20 and 5/22. (Where in the world did these come from??) 

But the whole batch is quite uneven, in various ways.

5/19/89 may be the weakest of the bunch. The vocals are downright bad. As a newspaper reviewer put it, "Garcia's croaked singing ... has pretty much waned from endearing to abominable". WFAM and STOF exhibit some lyrical wobbles. Good hot guitar in "Deal", but the voice is just shot. The astonishingly great "Don't Let Go" may show the compensation effect at work, and of course could be said to redeem the show all on its own. I wouldn't argue. It's great.

I find 5/20/89 the strongest of the bunch. CUTS is clean and doesn't get caught cycling at the end. "Forever Young" has some great screaming and scrubbing, "Like A Road" is real sweet, "Sisters and Brothers" ditto, and "Deal" is shreddylicious - this "Deal" KILLS. "Think" has a nice edge. Things kind of fall off for me after that, though hard to say if the advent of the atmospheric Matt Xavier Nak 300s tape is driving this. (Note, too, young'uns - chomping is as old as the hills.) The second set clocks in at a pretty paltry 46 + minutes. Even with the between song stuff mostly edited out, I think a reasonable expectation in this period is a 55-60 minute set.

I characterize 5/22/89 as "below average for the period", but I think it's probably average, and "below my expectations" would be more accurate. The guitar work in "Deal" and "Think" comes in for more praise, but overall not much moves me here, and another sub-50-minute set II also takes it down a peg.

Let me make one final note: I do think drugs are playing a role here. Trying to pin down Garcia's opiate use is mostly a fool's errand. He seems to have been mostly clean in '87 and '88, though it seems he was probably chipping on and off (Jackson 1999, 406). If Browne's account is to be believe --and I absolutely believe it-- by the time the GD were really seriously recording Built to Last, Jer was back in pretty deep. I have long felt that darkness around 8/26/89 and 10/31/89, both of which I plan to revisit soon. And the Dead's hair-raising "Dark Star" from Miami on 10/26/89 certainly earns its adjective. Finally, as noted above, I have long that that 1990 Jerry Band was overrated and exhibited some of the telltale signs that Jerry was making problematic pharmacological choices.

We are smack dab --see what I did there?-- in the middle of this window, and I think there are issues. The negative reviewer from 5/19 (Washburn 1989) didn't dig ol' Jer dealing "six-string sedatives", and he may have been closer to some truth than he knew. Colleague Mr. Completely rightly warns against "drug reductionism", and I don't intend to reduce the unevenness of these shows to drugs. But I can't shake the feeling that they are playing their part. *sigh*

Listening notes below the fold.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Nina Blackwood Interviews Jerry Garcia for MTV, ca. June 2, 1983

Some classic lines here, like the studio as building a ship in a bottle and playing live like piloting a rowboat in the ocean. I wasn't super careful about getting everything 100% perfect, especially not where there's GD talk. I am not 100% certain about the geolocation, but it's got to be about right.

Jerry Garcia Interview by Nina Blackwood
MTV Studios / Teletronic Studios
West 33rd Street and 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10019
June 2, 1983 (Thursday)
Youtube > Tuberipper m4a >

! metadata: date a little uncertain. The Relix version (Blackwood 1983) says "conducted at MTV by Nina in May, 1983". But the Gary Gershoff pix at Getty ( date this as 6/2, and that does seem likely.

! venue: At this time, MTV was housed in the Teletronic Studios on West 33rd Street, right around the corner from 10th Avenue

! map:

! ref: Blackwood, Nina. 1983. Jerry Garcia: Interviewed for MTV. Relix 10, 4 (August): 16-20.

! R: source: part 1: TT 13:02

! R: source: part 2: TT 14:16


Jerry Garcia  0:00  Got it apart. Yeah. And to me that's very loose to that has a very light niceness to it that I like. But that still my all time favorite is that Talking Heads one 

Nina Blackwood  0:12  I like Twilight Zone  I don't get sick of that one. I love like Yeah, it's fine. Love that one. 

Jerry Garcia  0:17  I mean, I'm interested in seeing how this stuff works out like, is it going to turn into something that people are gonna buy? Are people going to buy these things? You know,

Nina Blackwood  0:25  I know , I know

Jerry Garcia  0:27  what directions are gonna go? Yeah, okay. All right. Yeah, I think my take might be coming up taped.

Unknown Speaker  0:32  Yeah. Is that mic coming loose? was 

Nina Blackwood  0:43  and I do want to tell you if you see me looking away and not paying attention to you, I'm just trying to keep my place, so ...

Okay, welcome to MTV here in the studio. We're talking to Jerry Garcia. And you're on the solo tour now. Which is your first in quite some time actually. How's it going? 

Jerry Garcia  1:13   Pretty good. 

Nina Blackwood  1:15  You having fun [on JGB tour]?

Jerry Garcia  1:16  Oh, yeah, yeah. Well, that's the main reason I do it.

Nina Blackwood  1:21  How are you comparing the audience's that you're getting with your solo tour as compared to Grateful Dead?

Jerry Garcia  1:30  They're pretty ... well. There's, they're similar, I think my audience might be just a little bit more laid back. I guess, you know, if that's the right word to use, maybe that's not the right word to use. Maybe they're more. They're a little less demonstrative, maybe a little quieter.

Nina Blackwood  1:50  Who's playing in the band?

Jerry Garcia  1:52  John Kahn is bass player, my old and dear friend. And the keyboard player is Melvin Seals, the drummer is Greg Errico, and have DeeDee and Jackie are my girl singers. And they're good. This a good band. I like this band a lot.

Nina Blackwood  2:10  Really, when you started off ... way back when? Well, you were in a jug band, actually, and you did a lot of acoustic material. Right? Are you doing any of that? Are you playing banjo or pedal steel?

Jerry Garcia  2:23  No, I'm not. It's very hard for me to do more than one thing at a time. As far as instruments are concerned, what happens is ... They're different. Acoustic guitar is not like electric guitar. For me, it's a different set of chops. And pedal steel is even more different. And banjo is even more different. So it's hard for me to switch hats like that. I haven't got that kind of concentration, or I like to feel very good at one thing, you know. And so, for me, it's a matter of doing something full tilt and not splitting my attention. I tried [being a multi-instrumentalist] at various times during my so called career and it and it doesn't work. Like when I was playing pedal steel for a while, back with the New Riders, I was playing pedal steel for half the night and guitar for half a night. I found that the change in muscle development from holding a steel bar, with one hand and your wrist down and not using your fingers at all for half a night, and then going to the wrist up position and moving your fingers … when I went to play the guitar, my fingers felt like lead - I got cramps in my hands and everything. And my guitar playing suffered terribly. I mean, it got to be really awful. And I got to this point where I felt like if I'm going to do both, I'm going to end up being real mediocre on both instruments. And I'm not going to feel like I'm getting off at all, you know? So it's like ... finally at some point I had to decide what am I going to do? This full time, or this other? So I opted for the guitar. And actually I think I've put more energy and I feel more comfortable and more natural with it now.

Nina Blackwood  4:07  playing the guitar ...

Jerry Garcia  4:08  Yeah, it's the kind of musician I am. I can't switch guitars either. Like a lot of guys - a lot of bands go out there with you know, hundreds of guitars on stage and switch guitars, tune in, and stuff like that. That's another thing I can't do. I can only play one guitar, they'll have it set up very carefully, and it's just me and that instrument.

Nina Blackwood  4:24  Has it been with you a long time, like your baby?

Jerry Garcia  4:26  I do 'em one at a time. You know what I mean? Yeah, that's the way it is. I have that one guitar and that's the one I play and any change in that is a major trauma.

Nina Blackwood  4:37  The musician and the instrument very inseparable. But you know, you're saying that you can't really like you know, play two instruments at one time, but yet you have your solo career and also the Grateful Dead. How are you doing both of those?

Jerry Garcia  4:49  That's a little different, in that ... for me there's no conflict there because I'm playing the electric guitar, which I conceive of as one kind of energy, one kind of instrument, and the differences in music are very natural for me. And the kind of music that I play in my band is different from Grateful Dead music. And so it's like, my solo career, it's kind of this accident, really, you know. I never really planned on it. What happened was that when we were at home, and the Grateful Dead wasn't working, I would get horny to play, you know, I would want to play. So I started going to these Monday night jam sessions that they used to have this club in San Francisco called Matrix. And I started going down there and playing. And that's where I met Merl Saunders. And I started playing with him on a regular basis there every Monday night, and I met John Kahn there, and we started playing, and we were playing there for maybe a year ... every Monday night, nearly, when I was in town, in a very casual way. And this gradually turned into something kind of a little more formal, and so on, until now, see. This has all been, uhhh, really it just comes from my wanting to be able to play a lot. That's really what it's about." #why #fatemusic #institutionalizatoin

Nina Blackwood  6:04  So it developed into a serious thing, rather than just for fun?

Jerry Garcia  6:07  Kinda. I try not to I try not to let it be too serious, because it isn't really isn't something ... I really don't want a solo career, in that sense. I just like to play, really, is what it's all about.

Nina Blackwood  6:18  With the Grateful Dead … like bands, like the Who, or the Rolling Stones, have real solid, hardcore fans and have followed, you know, through the years, but with your band, you have something one step beyond that, really? How can you explain this culture that has followed you and they're so dedicated, they just are still ...

Jerry Garcia  6:39  I can't explain. I can't explain it, they all have the same people. You know, I mean, also, it's not, it's not as though we have a bunch of 40 year old hippies, nobody, you know, same kind of PA Yeah, I think that's the key to it, you know, there's a certain kind of person, you know, maybe in every generation or whatever, I really don't quite know how to split it up. And there's certain kind of person that likes what we do. You know, it's like, like, there's certain kinds of people who like licorice, you know, or a certain kind of people like buttermilk or something, you know, and it's might not be something that everybody likes, but there are certain kinds of people that really do like it and, and, and empathize, you know, or sit or it's like, what they would do, you know, or something like that, you know, that's as close as I can come to figuring out why it is that we have this kind of our audience has been actually gradually increasing over the course of the slowest rising rock and roll band in the world. That's really what's happening with us. And it's, it's just, you know, I can't really, I really don't know why, but that's the closest I can come is there's something there's a certain kind of person that we're, we're for them, you know, and it's like discovering us is like, oh, yeah, right. You know, this is this is for me. That's as close as I can come.

Nina Blackwood  7:46  You get any strange kind of presents letters from your phone?

Jerry Garcia  7:49  Oh yeah. Wonderful things, wonderful things. In fact, there's a there's a neat book out that's a deadheads books about dead heads and for dead heads and, and has lots and lots of stuff that deadheads have created and anecdotes and, and it talks really about that subculture, if you want to describe it, in that it kind of gives you some sense of what they have, what they do, or who they are,

Nina Blackwood  8:12  and what kind of thing can you think of the you know, like everyone,

Jerry Garcia  8:15  Every kind of thing, I mean, everything from original artwork, you know, like me, like really lovely things really beautiful, beautifully executed things to things like motorcycles with the Grateful Dead designs on them advance customized vans, you know, that kind of stuff, you know, American, you know, hardware, art, to, you know, fine arts and tapestries, and, you know, lovely boutiques and all kinds of things. I mean, every form of every form of plastic art that I'm aware of, we've had some version of, and really well done stained glass, we've had an incredible stained glass window. So I mean, a huge, beautiful stained glass window of one of the covers of one of our elements is somebody lovingly put together and it's a beautiful piece. Please, for all album, it's a makes an amazing, impressive thing. It has such a monumental composition, it really looks great. It's the stained glass window, but lots of those kinds of things and, and things they're not only derived from the artwork from our that's created by our people, but, you know, I mean, the artists that do our covers, and so forth, but people who have truly original visions that are somehow inspired or, you know, motivated somehow by their relationship to the Grateful Dead experience, you know, it's things that are truly original and, and wonderful letters in real literate. I mean, we have great range, you know, from kind of street, like there's got there's a guy that's got a tattoo that's got a tattoo of me on his arm, you know, and it's a nice tattoo, you know, and he's like a street guy and he's got a thing of style and a thing also, which is very specific and very individual it's, it's him you know, it's not me and it's not really the Grateful Dead it's, but he's used us as a kind of a way to go had to focus himself somehow. And then I get letters from PhDs and from astrophysicists and you know, the rate is incredible. Yeah. That's what's wonderful about it.

Nina Blackwood  10:12  I want to go back a little bit to when you started playing guitar. Yeah, I believe I read. Yeah, let's go back a little bit. Okay, back into the 50s. And at that time, apparently, we had read that that, you know, you wanted to play rock guitar, but there wasn't really like there weren't that many rock guitarists to study for home or some of you?

Jerry Garcia  10:35  Oh, well, for me. I mean, for me, it was, I got my first guitar when I was 15 on my 15th birthday. And I played around with it for a year before I learned how to tune it properly. And I had invented my own tuning, and invented my own chords and everything. Because there were no there was nobody in San Francisco that I could discover that played that guitar at that time that played anything … like when I wanted to play and, you know, I didn't, it was just one of those things, I had to grope. Finally, I met a guy you know, in the high school, I was going to the new a few chords and knew the right way to tune the guitar. And I, I picked it up like that, really. And for me in my music, career, it was it was like, it seemed like wherever I was located wherever I was, I was in this odd musical vacuum, where I somehow wasn't able to meet people who knew anything about the guitar, and I wanted to play it so badly, you know. And so for me, it was this, this process of little discoveries, you know, that which represent a whole worlds of things. Oh, wow, that's amazing, you know, and I learned these little things. And it was definitely the hard way to do it. You know, I mean, I wish that I could have taken lessons. And, you know, I could have saved myself years of trouble. But it just didn't work out that way, you know, and 

When I went into bluegrass music, I had the same difficulty. You know, I learned banjo off the records and stuff like that. I didn't know I knew very few bluegrass musicians, I'd meet a few and I just couldn't, I couldn't get involved in a musical situation that would, that was satisfying for me because I wanted the music to be as good as the way I imagined it. You know what I mean? And it just never was that way. And so I kept trying to find niches and things.

Finally the jug band thing worked out pretty good, because it didn't require that anybody be very good. See, nobody had to be an expert. You know, and you can have fun with it. But there was still musical, it still had the basic elements of music. And from that moment, it seemed to me that the thing to do would be to get together with your friends and try to hammer something out in that situation and forget about good, bad or indifferent, right? And try and go about it that way. You know, so that like that kind of opened the door for me as far as acceptance goes, you know, to let myself be in this situation. So the jug band turned kind of turned into the Warlocks which kind of turned into the Grateful Dead, which ...


Nina Blackwood  0:00  That was my next question. Moving up a little to early 60s ...

Jerry Garcia  0:05  trudging through time

Nina Blackwood  0:06  Trudging through time. How did you meet the members of Grateful Dead? The original members for instance?

Jerry Garcia  0:12  Well, when I met Phil, he was a lunatic, classical composer. And he was he had a little place in Berkeley, a little apartment at Berkeley and he had like a card table that had orchestra shards, scoring orchestra scoring paper, these things with a million staves on him he was writing this thing for for orchestras, you know, and he No piano or anything, you know, he had perfect pitch. He just pulled the notes out of his head. He had an incredible musical education the most, the most knowledgeable guy I've ever known. So it's the opposite. Oh, yeah, totally different. But incredible, super Livewire. Phil was when I first met him. He was a live real Livewire. So we hit it off like sparks, you know, bam bam bam. And at the time, he was working at a radio station over there, and that was one of the Pacifica you know, like educational TV on the radio is what it boils down to. And he, he was the engineer for a fun music show. And at the time I was I that was very my foci period, you know, so he liked the music that I was playing my little blues tunes and folk songs and stuff. So he engineered this to this hour long program I did for that radio show. And, you know, that was kind of our, our musical first musical connection because we were worlds apart musically. That's when I first met him that was like three or four years before the Grateful Dead foreign but, and then Phil and I knew each other socially, we were friends, we weren't musically involved with each other. But then I ran into him again, when the Warlocks it started and there was my old pal Phil see, and now he's now he was driving a truck for the post office, you know, and, and, and, and a hippie, you know, and, and he came down to see the band, the Warlocks as they were at that time, he came down from San Francisco down this line and say, oh, man, this is amazing. I said, Hey, man, how would you like to play bass in the band? You know, because I knew that with Phil, he had so much talent. And he knew everything there was to know about music, you know. So the structure of rock and roll was certainly no problem for him. And all I had to do was tell him how the bass is tuned, you know. And two weeks later, he played Yeah. And basically, he invented the instrument, you know, as he's gone along. I mean, he's a guy who's invented a way to play in. And in fact, he's got now he's got a six string instrument, which is his own invention. It's completely unique in His whole approach to everything is completely ... he's an amazing guy 

Nina Blackwood  2:46  When did Pigpen fit in?

Jerry Garcia  2:47  Pigpen was another guy I knew socially. And he was, he was this 15 year old kid who is, you know, hung out in Palo Alto cutting school all the time and drinking wine going over to East Palo Alto. We're all the black people lived in the ghetto. That was the ghetto that we all lived over there at various periods of time and, and he hung out and played harmonica. And his father was the first rhythm and blues disc jockey in the Bay Area was interesting thing about Pigpen. So he grew up with the blues and R&B, you know, it's just as natural to him is, I mean, that was the music that came out of it. And if you asked him was music, what he came out with was the blues. You know, so he and he never really thought of himself as a performer. I don't think it was just something he could do. You know, and I, we would really coaxed him into it, we we've sort of forced him into performing, you know, so and I also knew that he played a little piano. So it was just natural. It's gonna be you know, they figured out hey, yeah, you know, he's a great singer, you know, sang blues real well. So, from the jug band, to sort of electric an blues band that was the transition. That's what the Warlocks was originally, kind of …

Nina Blackwood  3:56  do you think that suddenly the Grateful Dead has ever been captured correctly? Or the right way? on vinyl? 

Jerry Garcia  4:03  No. 

Nina Blackwood  4:04  studio album, I should say

Jerry Garcia  4:05  No, no, not at all. Not at all. Because when we go into the studio, we turn into this ... these scientists, you know, we turn into another kind of ... we become another sort of person. And it's, it's no ... we don't, I mean, it's like the difference between building a ship in a bottle and being in a rowboat on the ocean, you know … it's a world of difference.

Nina Blackwood  4:25  How would you compare, like a dead album with recent ones to the older albums?

Jerry Garcia  4:31  Well, it's hard for me to make comparisons, I see all of the Grateful Dead albums as near misses, you know, and like that, you know, because I can only see them in terms of the difference, the discrepancy between my own mental conception of what attune should be like, and the realization which I always feel is slightly flawed, you know, just because It just it always is. But that's the thing about the Grateful Dead is that it's not my point of view, you know what I mean? So that's the thing I'm constantly coming to grips with, we all are in our way, is there's the difference between what we think it ought to be individually, and what it is. And what it is always turns out to be more interesting and more, more itself than any of our individual viewpoints contains, you know, what I mean? It's the thing is larger than the sum of the parts of the whatever.

Nina Blackwood  5:28  When you're when you're playing live, what specific songs do you play that take you off into the solos or the group or what you're talking about the group interaction? Any specific ...

Jerry Garcia  5:39  Oh yeah, there are ones that work that way. All of them potentially could, you know, and every, ... Even though our even our simplest songs are mostly choices being made in the present time, and that is to say that even if the song is just a short, little, you know, four verse job, you know, it's the simplest kind of like, rock'n'roll song, Chuck Berry song, anything. The simplest kind of songs still is, everybody is playing, what they're inventing at the moment, you know, what I mean, even our simplest stuff is relatively free of specific hard arrangement, ideas, there are a few things that we have that have specific things, but mostly, the nature of our music is such that it all has a lot of improvisation, you know, it's that we deal with different forms, we have forms that are very, very tight and very structured and others that are very open.

Nina Blackwood  6:32  Why What do you play? You play? Like four and a half, five hour? Sets? 

Jerry Garcia  6:37  Yeah. 

Nina Blackwood  6:37  Why do you play that long?

Jerry Garcia  6:38  It takes us that long to get it together. I mean, and also, it's that our, we don't really plan, it really is just that, that our ideas tend ... even our short ideas tend to be kind of long, like for us a short song is seven minutes, you know, I mean, that's also one of the troubles we've had with records, too, is that our ideas tend to be bigger, you know, they, the record is really not quite the right medium for us.

Nina Blackwood  7:07  I also want to ask you about the films, you're involved in a couple of films, a documentary, I believe on Grateful Dead, like 74-75. 

Jerry Garcia  7:17  Yeah - it's not really a documentary. It's, it's a, it's a, it's a film. And it's, it has documentary bits in it. Sure enough, but it's not a documentary. It's it has its there's a little more art to it than that as much as I hate to use that word. It's really, it's structured, really using the form of the Grateful Dead concert as a model. Kind of the same way that deadheads book is The deadheads book is also structured the way the show is structured. So I use the Grateful Dead concert as a energy model. Like when you're making a movie, you want a movie to have certain things to satisfy that requirement of sitting in a theater watching a screen, you know, it's not the same as being in a concert, you know, it's wants to be a movie. So that was what I wanted to have happen. And I didn't want it to be a documentary in the cinema vérité sense, you know, and I wanted it to be something more than that. So for me, all of the bits of film, including the documentary things, they all have energy, you know, levels of energy and certain things so, for me, it was a matter of taking stuff like a documentary piece that was very, that had, you know, tremendous that was up I would I could use it in either as counterpoint you know, in material it was down or, or to move somebody along, it was up you know, so is really using making those things come together as another version of the Grateful Dead experience, so to speak. That was the idea.

Nina Blackwood  8:43  That's gonna be out on video disk, right? That particular one? Yes. Also to you're going to do a new Dead album. Yeah. Whenever understand when are you gonna start on that?

Jerry Garcia  8:54  When we get a chance. [sometime this year]

Nina Blackwood  8:59  What can we expect

Jerry Garcia  9:00  from that? Oh, yeah, new stuff. We're already performing the new stuff. And this is a great luxury for us. You know, this, like, usually we have to squeeze the new we're none of us are our crackerjack composers, you know, I mean, we've whipped ourselves into becoming composers you have original material. Yeah, that was always the rap. Right. So you know, we've flogged ourselves into becoming composers and, and so our output is like, not prolific. It's extremely erratic. And usually what happens is, for us making a record is like doing a term paper. We do all it all gets done that Friday before the test, you know,

Nina Blackwood  9:40  Speaking of term papers, I know a lot of our fans and stuff that are watching while they're doing their term papers are also running thes letters asking for some Grateful Dead video. Can we expect to get any video from the album?

Jerry Garcia  9:52  Yeah. I think so. Yeah, they're all Yeah, we definitely have tunes that are like tailor made. I mean there and I have there are some ideas that I would like to follow. myself, as you

[started that question, could I really ask you I'm sorry, sorry]

Okay ask me that again.

Nina Blackwood  10:07  Not in the same way, because we aren't getting some letters, a lot of letters, as a matter of fact, from the people that are watching MTV, wanting some video from the Grateful Dead. Yeah. We can expect any video from the new album?

Jerry Garcia  10:22  I think so. I hope so. There, I talked to some of my friends that we have definite ideas about working with us as far as production is concerned, and I have some ideas of my own. And I but I believe mostly that I think we have some tunes that might work real well.

Nina Blackwood  10:43  How do you feel the Grateful Dead fit in your music fitting into the music of the 80s? What's going on now?

Jerry Garcia  10:51  Well, it's Grateful Dead music of the 80s. You know, I just because it definitely changes. I mean, we we are like, everybody has have ears, you know, and we were affected by and we let ourselves be, you know, affected by whatever happens in music. And as we're exposed to it, you know, freely, you know, the thing of being freely what influenced, we steal from everybody? And so, you know, it's the 80s I mean, the 80s version of us, it has things that I think, certainly, certainly sounds and textures and stuff that belong to the 80s that that, that make it different, say, from grateful to the 70s and 80s, or whatever.

Nina Blackwood  11:31  Do you feel that there's still a 60s counterculture culture?

Jerry Garcia  11:36  There's an 80s counterculture. I don't like that kind of culture, it it's not as though there were a culture to be countered to it, you know, what I mean, there's a the, there within that the range of the American experience down at one of the, one of the data, the shallow end or something, you know, there's, there are these margins, you know, and, and somewhere in the margin, I think, is where the Grateful Dead and dead heads and whatever it is that we are part of, you know, because I feel, yeah, I feel that we're part of something, but I don't feel that it's this banner, you know, that we're carrying along this banner, that's this relic from the 60s. And it doesn't feel that way at all, you know, it isn't like that. And the Grateful Dead, just as we move through these periods of time, you know, there's the 60, that period of time they call the 60s, that period of time, they call the 70s, or whatever, that that that emptiness, they call the 70s. And so forth. I mean, it's it never has been. We've never felt attached to that stuff going on around us, really, because our, our directionality and our, the thrust of what we're doing has remained pretty much pretty similar to the way it's been to the way it was when we started it. And the what happened, what's, what time has produced, is maybe a little clearer focus, you know, maybe, and a little bit better, a little bit closer to that idea that we think is out there. You know, it's this is like this gamble that we're taking, you know, it really is based on having faith that there exists that's all, it's all been working, you know, amazingly enough,

Nina Blackwood  13:37  you think you're gonna be together for a while? Oh, yeah. ... go on and on. 

Jerry Garcia  13:40  Yeah, I think so. Because it's it, it still feels very much like, like, we're just starting to get it, you know, Oh, yeah. When we're so close, you know, it has that feeling. And as long as it keeps having that feeling, like it makes it exciting, you know, as long as it has that feeling of like there's something over here that really, you know, that only we can get at, you know. 

Nina Blackwood  14:05  slowest rising band, still rolling on

Jerry Garcia  14:05  that's right, as long as it has that we'll we'll keep doing it

Nina Blackwood  14:08  Thank you. 

Jerry Garcia  14:08  Thank you much.

Unknown Speaker  14:09  Thank you.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Reading Notes: McNally 2002

McNally, Dennis. 2002. A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead. New York: Broadway Books.

What a book. This, and Jackson's Garcia: An American Life have set a bar that I can only see from far below.

Yes, my original copy is in six pieces, so well-loved has it been.

But you also see that I bought a second copy just to make sure. You're welcome, Dennis!

Obviously, Dennis's focus was the GD, while Blair's was to provide a biography of Garcia, while mine is even narrower, to account for his musical life beyond the GD. One of the things that this will allow me to address is the dramatic historical imbalance in many of the existing sources. Dennis, for example, clocks in at 479 pages up to the hiatus (a decade in GD life), 131 for the remaing 20+ years. This is not a criticism. The early stuff is interesting. It's important. It's when things were fluid and still taking shape. Once things become institutionalized (regularized, routinized, etc.), there's clearly less of interest to say (unless one's interest is precisely in institutionalization, heh heh). But I do hope to provide a balanced look at the whole arc of Garcia's musical life 1965-1995, because I think there's a lot that's of interest in the later years as we try to understand the arc of a man's time on Earth, the nature of "the good life" (and the tradeoffs involved in trying to live it), the different rhythms of young vs old.

As you might imagine, given the painstaking nature of my methodology with a book like Long Strange Trip, part of me has been resisting sitting down and executing this task. But it's obviously essential, and I have done it. I am tackling Jackson next. And what I know the exercise shows with respect to McNally, and what I know it will show with respect to Jackson, is that some huge percentage of what we know about all of this stuff comes from these guys, either originally or in codified / interpreted form. They faced different opportunities and challenges of course. Dennis had the benefit of inside access, and did amazing work in nevertheless giving an honest assessment of the thing, warts and all. Blair was able to strike a little more distance, but had less access to materials. And both are simply marvelous, incredible scholars in putting together what they did in a mostly pre-internet era. I may have the opposite problem - there is so much material now, and my OCD is so exacting, that I face the challenge of how to honor the embarassment of empirical riches while still writing a narrative that reads.

We shall see how I do. We know how Dennis did, and it gets five stars, my highest recommendation.

So, lots and lots and lots of reading notes - below the fold.

Reading Notes: basic method

I have my research methods. They are time-consuming, but I think they work well. For long written works, they involve several layers of activity.

1) reading, marginal notes, etc.

2) going back through and a) typing direct quotes, with Author, Year, Page reference [for hard copies], or b) copying and pasting direct quotes, with Author, Year, Page reference.

3) this may involve tagging with topics like #drugs or #women or #togotigi or whatever

4) sort these quotes into their thematic buckets, such as a document called "drugs.docx" or "women.docx". Highlight them yellow in the basic document to show they have been "processed".

5a) Eventually, paste these thematic quotes into the relevant part of the overal manuscript outline. So, for example, in the current outline of Fate Music, chapter 2 has a major heading B. "1969 not all that peachy, either: Center on 8/1/69", with a level 2 heading "3. Light Artists' Guild, Wild West Fest", and a level 3 heading "a. LAG strike".  So anything I have on the LAG strike will just get pasted, quote and reference, into that part of the document. Then, when I am actually writing in that part of the document, I will organize them at even deeper levels. All of this corresponds to an "architecture of complexity" a la Simon, or Arthur Koester's rendering of hierarchical systems.

5b) In the alternative, I may just write up prose within the thematic document. So, for the LAG strike, I probably have a document that narrates it all.

6) for redundant references to the same fact or claim or whatever, I string the references together à la brochette, as my grandparents' compatriots would have had it. I don't want to just claim one cite and leave the others aside. I want to document every claim as exhaustively as I possibly can, especially when it comes to the canonical sources. So, in Fate Music, you may see some basic claim noted with multiple references, e.g., to Jackson 1999, McNally 2002, Browne 2015, Gans & Jackson 2015, etc. etc. That way, Fate Music also serves as a reference, which can be checked against as many other sources as possible, to maximize reliability, etc.

7) Then I need to write the words, in plain and preferably attractive English. That's the hardest part for me. The rain man is good at stringing together 27 sources after 20 years of research. He may also be an excellent driver. But writing for other brains, in an idiom other than political science? That's like dancing about architecture, my friends.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Killer Sugaree and final DDD: JGB at Country Club, Reseda, May 20, 1984

LN jg1984-05-20.jgb.all.aud-nak300s.79553.flac1644

This Sugaree is in the running for hottest ever, especially in the 6-10 minute range. It opened shows a lot in the 75-77 period, a little less frequently by this time, and it would leave the JGB fold in '86 to become GD only. But, for my money, the Jerry Band ones from this ca. '84 period were the very best. I am told that 8/13/84 is another smoker. I plan to revisit it soon.

I don't think Jim Rismiller still had the Country Club at this point, though I am not 100% sure. I am calling it The Country Club, though the tag still has Rissmiller's name to keep them together with other posts from earlier dates.

Last night out for DeeDee Dickerson. Thank you, DDD!

Jerry Garcia Band
Country Club
18415 Sherman Way
Reseda, CA 91335
May 20, 1984 (Sunday)
Nak 300s shnid-79553 retrack

--set I (6 tracks, 5 tunes, 53:59)--
s1t01. ambience [0:19] 
s1t02. Sugaree [15:32] [0:03] % [0:28]
s1t03. Love In The Afternoon [10:06] [0:02] % [0:02]
s1t04. Rhapsody In Red [11:42] % [0:03]
s1t05. Run For The Roses
s1t06. Deal [10:20] (1) [0:07]

--set II (5 tracks, 4 tunes, 40:31)--
s2t01. ambience [0:18] 
s2t02. Mission In The Rain [12:07] [0:03] % [0:02]
s2t03. [0:10] Harder They Come [14:21] % [0:03]
s2t04. /Gomorrah  [#5:48] ->
s2t05. Midnight Moonlight [7:30] (2) [0:07]

! lineup: Jerry Garcia - guitar, vocals;
! lineup: Melvin Seals - organ;
! lineup: John Kahn - bass;
! lineup: David Kemper - drums;
! lineup: DeeDee Dickerson - vocals;
! lineup: Jacklyn LaBranch - vocals.


! Recording: symbols: % = recording discontinuity; / = clipped song; // = cut song; ... = fade in/out; # = truncated timing; [m:ss] = recorded event time. The recorded event time immediately after the song or item name is an attempt at getting the "real" time of the event. So, a timing of [m:ss] right after a song title is an attempt to say how long the song really was, as represented on this recording.

! db: (this fileset)

! band: DDD's last gig, and so last night out for JGB #21a. The classic 21b lineup with Gloria would debut ca. 7/10/84.

! JGBP: 1,000 seat room which opened 3/28/80 with Merle Haggard (Jackson 1980).

! listing: Orange County Register, May 20, 1984, p. L7.

! seealso: JGMF, "There is World Class Guitar Playing Here," URL

! R: field recordist: unknown

! R: field recording gear: 2x Nakamichi CM-300 w/ CP-1 caps (no shotguns) > Sony D5

! R: lineage: MAC > ?? > DAT > HHB 830 CD Recorder (Stand Alone) > ?? > flac1644.

! R: Nice tape, brightness suggestive of improper Dolby decode.

! P: overall I like it less than the night before. Kemper sounds great on this tape. The Sugaree is pretty off the chain, otherwise not much that strikes me as special. The second set clocks in below the Minelli Line.

! historical: Garcia often undertook these compact SoCal tours in the early 80s. This one comprised four nights of earning: Beverly Theatre on Thursday 17th, Irvine Meadows (a very big space for the JGB of the time) on Friday the 18th, Arlington in Santa Barbara on Saturday the 19th, and this show to round things out. A logistics person might have wanted to run it north - south (SB, Reseda, Beverly Hills, Irvine) or the other way around, but I suspect Irvine had to be on the Friday or Saturday, so all bets were off. Robert Hunter opened the last three nights, as far as I am aware.

! P: s1t02 Sugaree in the 9 and 10 this thing is just going nuts. Returning some years or months later: yeah, yeah. Sugaree comes hot out of the gate, and never lets up. Some serious attack variation arises 6:19, goodness still a minute later. Each note has its own little existence, but he constructs half-phrases, half-paragraphs, up and down the fret board, fast-slow, loud and really loud, God damn, Jerry! Jeesus fucking christ, now Kemper 8:35 just CRUSHING to keep up with Jerry and Jerry is running circles like a fucking demon. Crowd is seems to be going crazy 9:10, but Jerry is playing so fucking loud and crazy that it's hard to know. Pure energy happening here. Mamma mia! Now starts some fanning 9:45, and it sounds like he has four hands, because he seems to be fanning chords and picking notes at the same time. Boy. Softens to set up a verse first half of ten, verse comes 10:30. After that verse 11:30 he comps for Melvin, and Kemper @ 12:20, I just love you, man. 

! P: s1t04 I hold my RIRs to very high standards, and this one is not above average.

! P: s1t06 Deal Kemper is a beast here.

! s1t06 (1) JG: "Thanks. We're gonna take a break for a few minutes. We'll be back in a little while."

! P: s2t03 HTC going a mile a minute. Right out of the gate, Kemper sounds awesome, John hits a huge note and a little slide!

! R: s2t04 Gommorah clips in

! P: s2t05 Mid Moon goes a mile a freaking minute, and tempo seems to pick up as the song plays. Kemper needs another leg and a couple of arms to keep up.

! s2t05 (2) JG: "Thanks a lot. See y'all later."

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Unidentified Nicky Hopkins Instrumentals

update: Mark Mattson has identified the number as "Lucky Old Sun" - wow!

There may be others, but I am right now pondering two distinct instrumentals that Nicky does out of "Lady Sleeps" with the JGB in the last month or so of his run with the band.

He announces that one before as one of his originals, I think.

12/19/75: about 51:30ff here--> a little peppier, sounds kind of Beatles-ish to me (though it's not "Mother Nature's Son")


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Did You Ever Notice the 9/18/81 JGB Rehearsal Has Jerry Playing Acoustic?

The spine of Betty's 9/18/81 JGB rehearsal tape box

A beautiful piece of tape: Betty's reel from the 9/18/81 JGB rehearsal

I just revisited this little 20+ minute rehearsal fragment. Thank you Betty! This is the latest piece of Betty Board of interest to me: some of the abortive Brent solo album material came from later in '81 and into '82, but this is the last scrap of tape with ol' Jer on it.

 A few things to note.

First, Jerry is playing acoustic throughout, and doing so tastily.

Second, this is Ron Tutt drumming. Right before "Dear Prudence", as the reel winds up, Jerry comes in with a "hello?" while beautifully strumming Prudence on his acoustic. Tutt asks "Is that the right tempo, or should that be a little slower than the other'n?" Jerry replies "it should be a little slower than the other one."

Third, Melvin Seals sounds simply wonderful here. 

That's all I've got.

Jerry Garcia Band - Studio Rehearsal
Club Front
20 Front Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
September 18, 1981 (Friday)
MSR -> P -> D shnid-13881 shn2flac

--partial rehearsal (3 tracks, 21:38)--
t01. Tangled Up In Blue [7:36]
t02. Dear Prudence (1) [6:28] (2) [0:49] %
t03. //Tangled Up In Blue// [#6:45#]

! ACT1: Jerry Garcia Band
! lineup: Jerry Garcia – acoustic guitar, vocals;
! lineup: John Kahn – electric bass;
! lineup: Jimmy Warren – electric piano;
! lineup: Melvin Seals – organ;
! lineup: Ron Tutt – drums.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

On Tours and Marketing Records

Over at Jerrybase, we have begun grouping events not only by "runs" (consecutive nights at the same venue), but also "tours". It turns out that the notion of a tour isn't quite as crystal clear as one might want it. I wanted it to be at least three out of town gigs in at least two rooms on a single outbound from San Francisco, but, especially in the Garciaverse, this ends up creating some "tours" that lack face validity as such.

Consider Jerry's March-April 1976. The decision rule above would produce the following "tours" that month:

1) Pacific Northwest (Eugene, Portland, Seattle), March 3-6 (3 cities, 3 shows in 4 nights)

2) Midwest College Towns (Evanston, Oberlin, Columbus), March 12-14 (3 cities, 5 shows in 3 nights)

3) Texas (Houston and Austin), March 18-21 (2 cities, 6 shows in 4 nights)

4) the "real" Spring Tour, March 26 - April 5th (9 cities, 13 shows in 11 nights)

My Jerrybase partners have suggested that's a little too granular, and I don't disagree. While they fit the operational definition I offered above, they lack verisimilitude. We'd welcome you to peruse Jerrybase's Tours Page to see what you think.

UPDATE 20220625: correspondent Matt Grady informs that musicians call this little not-quite-a-tour jaunts "runouts" - the perfect word! I am a big fan of words, and when they effectively classify a group of things that would otherwise leave me wordless, well, I like them even more. And, thank you Matt!

As it happens, this work also allows me to fill in a placeholder post I had been ignoring for awhile, centered on the following image:

Here we have an 8.5" x 11" promotional handbill listing some upcoming Jerry and Merl gigs in various cities in December 1974. I know there is a copy of this in Santa Cruz ("Business: RX-102 - Compliments of Garcia," Grateful Dead Archive, Special Collections, UC Santa Cruz, MS.332.ser. 2, box 17, folder 10), and I know this image is not from there. First, this one seems to have a crease, that one doesn't. Second, they don't allow posting of scans from the collection - a requirement which I respect and I think others do as well. I was about 99% sure I got this from GDAO, but I cannot find it there. So I can't recall how I came into this it. Anyway, I saw it in the GD Archive, and loved it, then found a copy out in the wild which I could reproduce.

Why do I love this?

First, because I love the music this band made. Go get thee to Garcia Live: Volume Three: December 14-15, 1974, Northwest Tour, Legion of Mary (ATO Records, 2013) if you want to hear why.

Second, who doesn't love beardless Jerry?

Third, this particular image of beardless Jerry was drawn by Victor Moscoso for the cover of Jerry's second record, Garcia (by which I mean it was his second record, and his second record with that very title), which we all know as Compliments (Round Records, RX-102, June 1974) and I have the very tall, full color poster of the album art at the framer's, and I can't wait to get that sucker up on the wall. It's a beaut.

Fourth, the handbill promotes JGMS gigs --note, still no public use of the moniker Legion of Mary known to me before January 1975-- at the Paramount Northwest in Seattle on December 13, 1974, at the Paramount in Portland on December 14, 1974, at the Ambassador in St. Louis on December 20, 1974, two nights at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin on December 21-22, 1974, and then three nights, December 25-27, 1974, at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach.

Four-A, I love the Pacific Northwest. Four-B, these PNW theaters hosted some killer GD and Jerry over the years. Four-C, the Ambassador, a "landmark of rococo 1920s theater design"? Yes, please. Four-D, I have an original poster from the Armadillo gigs, and it is allegedly the very copy that was hung in the 'dillo lobby at the time of the show. So, there's that. Four-E, the Golden Bear - again, yes, please and thank you. We don't list capacity for it at JB - anyone know? Four-F, the Golden Bear hosted one of my favorite shows from the last eight months of the Garcia-Saunders band, 12/29/74b, partly because of the amazing tape pulled by "Flashback" Charlie Disalvo and partly because I want that version of "Expressway (To Your Heart)" to be my walk-off music as I leave behind my earthly existence. It KILLS.

Fifth, another one of my longtime favorite Garcia-Saunders shows, 12/15/74 in the EMU Ballroom at the University of Oregon, is *not* listed on this handbill, which gives me a sense that it was booked rather later than the others. Who cares? I kind of do, to tell you the truth.

But the BIG takeaway is, Six-A, that I don't know of any other Round promotions for live gigs. Jerry went to NYC on July 1-3, 1974, to play the Bottom Line just a few days after the record came out. The shows sold out in a minute without advertising, but, of course, the record company could also, y'know, have promoted the record. Same goes with the November '74 tour, Jerry and Merl and crew with Martin blowing and the great Paul Humphrey on the drums - no advertising needed for the gigs, but what about cross-promotion with the vinyl? (Yes, I know the record wasn't JGMS. But if we held strict to that, it'd rule out the hints we do have here of a tie between the record and these gigs.)

So, here we have the imagery from Moscoso's cover art, the same lettering on 'GARCIA', and the Round Records logo. But, - Six-B - there is no evidence of the record besides this. No title. No note that there even is a record. It doesn't say "buy the new record, and come see the show", or, "come see the show and, if you dig it, buy the record. Oh yeah - tell your friends!" Instead, we see allusions to Compliments, but no direct mention of it. The Jerry heads would already have recognized some of this, of course, but mostly because they probably already had the record or, as Jerryheads, didn't need to be marketed to buy tickets to see Jerry. Maybe your average head would go to the show, and Round man Steve Brown would ply them with the advertising cards, maybe a "Here Now" poster --already framed and on my wall--

or  some other schwag, so maybe that was the idea. Maybe Anton Round was signing autographs.

I guess it just seems like a little bit of a missed opportunity. Oh yeah, one last thing, in full-circle mode: those March '76 jaunts were almost certainly "behind" Jerry's third record, Reflections (Round Records, RX-107, February 1976) - maybe by then the tie-ins were being made more explicit. But, then again, that'd redound to the benefit of United Artists, since Round, as such, had gone belly-up. I wonder why?