Tuesday, January 18, 2011

JG: December 21, 1970 (Monday), Pepperland, San Rafael, CA

At some point I need to figure out Pepperland. I see from a Rock Prosopography post on Sons of Champlin setlists that the venue was the Bermuda Palms ca. 1967, then became Euphoria Ballroom, then became Pepperland. Nothing turns up on Rock Archaeology.

COAU has a little bit. With an address of 737 Francisco Blvd. E, San Rafael, CA 94901, it is apparently recently known as Litchfield's Zebra ?Restaurant?:

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But my purpose here is not to dig into Pepperland, but to follow up on the gig on December 21, 1970. I had mentioned it in one of the recent Hooteroll? posts, and I reproduce an ad from the Pacific Sun that I had also posted there. (What can I say, I like this image?)

In comments, cryptdev confirmed that Howard Wales was not present, so the billing in the ad is wrong.

We have good eyewitness information on this at Deadlists, however. This from MP:

I attended part of this show. It was indeed the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood opening, with a spectacular set. Next up was a blues band (not Howard Wales) that I can't recall the name, but John Kahn was their bass player. The New Riders played next. Around 2 AM, Garcia, Lesh, Hart, and David Crosby came out. They opened with "Drop Down Mama," and also played "Alabama Bound," "Triad" and "Deep Elem Blues" before I was dragged kicking and screaming from the hall by my ride, who needed to work the next morning. The ads billed the show as "Acoustic Dead" but this segment, at least, was electric. At one point, Garcia introduced the group as "David and the Ding-A-Lings" (not Dorks!) and Crosby countered with the name "Jerry and the Jets." Weir and Pigpen were visible wandering around backstage, so it is entirely possible, even likely, that the entire Dead played even later, as curfew clearly was not an issue.

So I'll just extract and reformat. On this night, we have the following:
  1. Jerry Hahn And The Brotherhood 
  2. blues band, with John Kahn on bass: Comment: LLD, take note!
  3. New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS). Comment: Mickey is in the house. Wonder if he played drums, or if Spencer did?  First documented show with Spencer was in Cleveland on 11/29/70, but as I am learning it might have switched back and forth for awhile, so with Mickey here it's possible he played.
  4. David And The Dorks. Comment: Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, David Crosby. Name is utterly fluid, so this DATD listing is purely conventional. Much to say, eventually, about David and the Dorks. Not sure what more there is to be learned ... hopefully more!
  5. possibly the GD, acoustic or electric possible

A few thoughts..

If the GD did play, this would have been a rare "threefer" day for Garcia. The only other days I can think of him playing live with three different bands, off the top of my head, were the closing of the Fillmore West run (July 2, 1971) and, you guessed it, the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival on April 28, 1974. (He played three separate shows on 6/5/82, but all as the Garcia-Kahn acoustic duet.)

With Weir and Pigpen in the house, I'd wager the GD were at least slated to play. I'd even say there might be better than even odds that the GD played in some configuration.

Wonder where Mickey Hart's head was at, given how things would shake out in regards to Perfidious Lennie over the next few months? I also wonder whether his barn studio was being planned or built yet?

Would JG ever play at Pepperland again?


  1. Spencer was with the New Riders. I did not see Mickey backstage, just Weir and Pig. It was also interesting that Kreutzmann played with the Dorks, as the Matrix shows with Crosby have always been listed with Hart as the drummer - maybe a mistake?

  2. This is indeed a mysterious subject. For an amazing photo of the stage at the Bermuda Palms, circa '67, see here


    My post on the subject of The Aliens is here


    I think Bermuda Palms (and Litchfield's) was a watering hole for Hamilton AFB, and when the base wound down so did the club. It was then repurposed (as we would say today) as a rock venue for a while.

  3. cyptdev, I am unclear on your comments re Kreutzmann. It was Hart playing with Crosby et al on this date, right?

  4. I'm taking Crypt's comment to mean that Kruetzmann was the drummer for "David And The Dorks." Crypt begs an interesting question: do we have any confirmation whatsoever that Mickey Hart--or anyone--was the drummer for the Dec 70 Garcia/Crosby Matrix shows? Any photo, review, flyer, eyewitness? I think it's just a name on a cassette box.

    That doesn't make it wrong, by the way, but it does mean it's not at all settled fact.

  5. My photos of this show are pretty bad, because the hall was almost pitch black, but it was definitely Kreutzmann, not Hart, playing drums. It's impossible to tell from the photos, but I don't think there were two drum kits on stage either. I do think this begs the question of whether Mickey played with the Dorks (or Dingalings, as Garcia called them on 12/21) at the Matrix gigs. Kreutzmann is a pro, but it seems like switching drummers would have required a bunch of additional rehearsals from one night to the next. I was actually shocked when I saw Kreutzmann in the pictures (thanks to brightness/contrast adjustments in Photoshop) because the notion that Hart was the drummer for this group has been so prevalent for so long.

  6. With both Weir & Pigpen there, and the evening billed as a Grateful Dead show, I feel there must have been a Dead show later on...
    What surprises me is the vast difference between the poster and the actual events. Those who went (and stayed) got to see three extra bands who weren't even scheduled... Perhaps because (as a Monday night) everybody was free, except for the elusive Wales...

    We have Garcia's word that both Bill & Mickey were part of David & the Dorks. From his quote in Crosby's Long Time Gone bio:
    "We had a little band called David & the Dorks. He was the star and it was his trip that we were doing and it was right around the time he was doing his If I Could Only Remember My Name album and he was in the Bay Area a lot. One time me and Phil and Bill and Mickey, we backed up David. We did maybe two or three shows. I think they were all at the Matrix in San Francisco. They weren't announced or anything, we just went in there on a Monday night and had a lot of fun and the sound was cool. In fact, that was the core of the band that played on David's album: David & the Dorks. It was a fine band and a short-lived band. Almost legendary. We had a lot of fun."

    As for Mickey Hart's state of mind - it seems to have been a delayed reaction. As long as they were on the road through 1970, he was OK, but when they took a break for rehearsals in Jan/Feb '71, it hit him. As McNally says, "It had been a long time since he'd been able to sleep decently, and by the time the band hit Port Chester, he was a complete wreck..."

    My readings imply that his studio was built afterwards, but I can't find a specific start date.

  7. I can't particularly tell drummers apart, but I am listening to the "12/20/70 Matrix" live show now, and the drummer is keeping a pretty straight beat on Bertha. Now, I know that Mickey was a champion march drummer and all that, and I confess that this is pure speculation, but if forced to say I'd say it's Kreutzmann.

  8. I have to agree with Crypt's suggestion that if BK was drumming at Pepperland, he was drumming at Matrix a few days earlier. I realize that JG said Hart played with Crosby, but that was after the fact, and it would be pretty easy for him to forget.

    In non-Dead projects, BK was definitely the "straight time" drummer to my ears, whereas Hart always had these deliciously off-kilter fills and rhythms that I'm not able to describe.

  9. Every source I can look up says it was Hart in the Dorks.
    I'm startled that cryptdev discovered it was Kreutzmann just now, considering he was there at the show! (So much for eyewitness testimony...)

    Now I'm wondering if there's any other bandmember comment confirming the drummer....there must be SOME source for the idea that it was Hart. (There's no spoken hint on our Matrix tape that I could hear.)

    By the way - I may be behind the times here, but why is the Matrix Dorks show now thought to be 12/20? On the rehearsal tape, Crosby clearly says, "I overblew their mics last night," which seems to point to a 12/16 or 12/17 date. Have those Matrix dates been disproved? (Or perhaps the rehearsal comes from a different date, in which case we can conclude nothing.)

    What's more curious is that this 12/21 show seems to be the last appearance for the Dorks. Crosby & Garcia don't seem like the types to let this band evaporate (considering they were constantly in the studio at this time), so there must be an untold story here. Maybe it was just too many projects to juggle?

    And another minor point - apparently Hart also did not play at the 1/21/71 Davis show, which further suggests that his troubles deepened around that time. (Unless it was coincidence...)
    Lenny Hart wasn't arrested til July '71.

  10. Very, very interesting about the Davis GD show. What's the source for that info?

    Was just looking at info on Crosby's IICORMN, which was being recorded right in this very period at Heider's. There's a whole damn book to write about PERRO and all that ... I keep waiting for Steve Silberman to do it!

    Anyway, Hart is only credited on "Cowboy Movie", whereas Kreutzmann is credited all over the place.

    I have a bunch of stuff gathered up on IICORMN and PERRO. There is tons to say, but maybe I'll see if I can slice off the drummer piece and make a post on it.

    Oh yeah, LIA, the datings are quite fluid. I need to sit down and compare what's what, and would welcome any input you have, so I don't reinvent the wheel!

  11. Deadbase said that the 1/21/71 show was without Mickey; the GD "Illustrated Trip" timeline also notes, "Mickey Hart sits out this show."
    Lemieux has played the end of the first set on the Tapers Section (1/19/09) - it's in mono so it was hard for me to tell, but it could plausibly be just Kreutzmann. A different pair of ears could probably tell.

  12. This was my first show! That is, other than the Sons of Champlin outdoors at the Fairfax Festival '68. I was born in Marin in 1957 and got into the GD in 1970 when I was 13. My parents were paranoid about letting me go to any show and wouldn't let me anywhere near the Fillmore or Avalon. Other parents they knew said that Pepperland was OK so my friend's dad drove us down and dropped us off at this show. I remember that the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood was incredible and couldn't remember anything about who played after that. Note that HOWEVER we had to be picked up at midnight! It was a school night and I had no idea it would go any later than that anyway (I was a freshman in high school in San Anselmo). I had always remembered that the Dead were coming on stage when we had to leave, as I clearly remember seeing Garcia. BUT, after reading the blog post I now know that he was coming on to play with the NRPS, not the GD! Years later when Deadbase came out with this show I was amazed to see that it was a Crosby/Dead hybrid band.

    My friend Michael Bendinelli saw the full on GD there when it was the Euphoria Nightclub (before Pepperland). He clearly remembers that Pig and Janis were rubbing asses while singing Lovelight together.

    I remember that the Pepperland marquee just read "Acoustic Dead Jam Now". Since I didn't see them that night, my first show was on Jan. 2 1972 at Winterland. I just happened to come across this blog post tonight while Googling Pepperland -- wild that it was just posted ten days before I wrote this comment, which was just over 40 years after the actual show! Thanks.


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