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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The ubiquity of revolutionary times

My too-verbose formulation, sometimes used in large freshman lecture.

Good little color: "Next year marks a millennium since the sermon given in 1014 by Archbishop Wulfstan in York where he declared that 'the world is in a rush and is getting close to its end'" (ht

Monday, December 30, 2013

RN Peter Simon 1975 New Age Journal

Simon, Peter. 1975. Making Musical Miracles: An Interview with Jerry Garcia. New Age Journal .5 (May 1975): 52-59.

This is a really neat piece, lots of great stuff.  Interview took place at the "film house"  (230 Eldridge Avenue, Mill Valley, CA, 94941), ca. the last week of March 1975.

Love his notion of "tight-loose" forms conducive to "orchestrated twists of fate". This is essential Garcia in a very fecund period.

Reading Notes

Interview took place at a film lab in Marin County #The Movie. Note took place after 3/23/75, but before whatever needed to happen for a May deadline. Because Jerry went on the road with Legion of Mary and was gone the first three weeks of April, I have to say that this was probably the last week in March 1975.

Garcia hopes to have The Movie “done and maybe out by around October, but it could go longer than that – there’s a lot of film” (Simon 1975, 52). He speaks more about the film, how they have to work through the dreaded middlemen, trying to do the distribution with integrity. Talks about the idea behind it, how it tries to capture the GD concert experience in part as a substitute for the band touring live.  He explicitly talks about this as an alternative to touring. It’d be less expensive, and you don’t have to expose fans to hassles, including the ultimate hassle, the police power (Simon 1975, 52-53). #The Movie

JG on The Movie: “On the level of ideas, and just in terms of something to do as an artist, it represents a new level of interest and development for me. I enjoy films. I’ve been a film buff for a long time and all that – it’s neat to be kind of forced into making a movie” (Simon 1975, 53). #The Movie

They are working on Blues For Allah, so this could be February-March. Not sure I know when film work starts? NB from below, this is after 3/23/75. Sometime between then and a deadline for May 1975 issue. I am not sure I knew when JG started working on The Movie. # The Movie

Workaholism, life balance: NAJ: You’re also doing a solo album and touring with Merl Saunders. In that you have so many projects at once, how do you channel your energy so productively? JG: “Well, things tend to work and overlap, generally speaking. I wouldn’t really be able to concentrate on sitting in front of a movie editing device for eight hours a day; I can do it pretty easily for six, though. I feel my attention is on it and I can do a good job keeping up with it. I like to play music in a studio situation – that can also hold attention for six or eight hours. If I’m on the road, I’m not doing anything during the day; I’m playing evenings. So during the day is a time which is convenient to compose. I might sit around an hour a day just playing the guitar and practicing and maybe learn something and maybe some ideas would come out that are like songs. That represents maybe two or three hours a day on the road where nothing else is happening but television and a gig that night. Usually a gig will take maybe four or five hours, total time actually playing maybe two of those or two-and-a-half. It may look like more, but it isn’t really that much” (Simon 1975, 54). This is a great #adayinthelife #1975

The interviewer is impressed with his productivity, which Garcia explains away: “I’m crazed. I’m obsessed.” “People see you as a musical junkie,” the interviewer continues. Garcia: “Yes, that’s as good a description as any” (Simon 1975, 54).

JG: “I prefer playing live for sure, just as an experience, it’s definitely richer, mainly because it’s continuous. You play a note and you can see where it goes, you can see what the response is, what the reaction is. It’s reciprocal”, and a different energy than you get back from fellow players, which is like “a room full of plumbers” (Simon 1975, 54).

Studio vs. live: “Because we play music, one of the forms that music can go out in is the  record, but it’s a distinct form and not necessarily a reflection of what we do, so we just treat it for what it is. If you’re an artist, you might prefer to work in lithographs, … though sometimes you do a water color [despite the fact that] lithographs still might be what you get off on the most. But if you have to do a water color, you do a water color” (Simon 1975, 54). #official releases

Why did GD stop touring. The amount of gig money was not enough to move the band around, develop what they wanted to develop, and pay everybody. “We had a huge organization with a colossal overhead on a weekly [54-55] basis. So, past a certain point, we were really working to keep the thing going, rather than working to improve it or working because it was joyful. … We were interested in doing stuff that’s joyful or fun, y’know, then how could we reconcile that with economic survival, how could we work and have a good time and also pay the bills? We didn’t have that together.” Also the remoteness and anomie of playing large venues, “creating an unpleasant situation for the audience” … “We don’t want people to be busted at our concerts, we don’t want them to be uncomfortable or any of those things …” “Also, it’s basically sort of de-humanizing to travel [jgmf yes! air travel dessicates the human soul] the way you have to travel in a rock-and-roll band, and the quality of life on the road is pretty slim.” (Simon 1975, 55). #hiatus

More on hiatus: “Mainly, however, , it has to do with economics and the fact that we’ve been doing it for ten years, and we haven’t spent any time away from it. That’s a long time to do anything. So we’ve just decided to stop before it overwhelms us. Now we’re trying to consciously see what the next step is for us. We don’t want to go into the success cul-de-sac … we don’t like that place. Yet, it’s not possible for us to really do something that would be totally altruistic, like going and playing free everywhere. What we really need is a subsidy.  The government should subsidize us and we should be like a national resources” (Simon 1975, 55). #hiatus

Refers to Kezar benefit “recently”, so after 3/23/75 (p.55).

GD wants to play live again, but trying to figure the format. “One possible fantasy that we’ve thought of is moving toward playing at a more or less permanent musical fixture with the possibility of eventually building a place that could be like a permanent performance center that could be designed around us and our specific ideas” (Simon 1975, 55). Maybe do it two months out of the year. Prefiguring “Terrapin Station” and, now, Leshtopia.

Again mentions filming in Deadtopia and selling canned concerts (Simon 1975, 55) #The Movie

These ideas of a fixed venue, filming, etc. might let everyone “live comparatively normal lives”, touring selectively. “It would be good for the music” (Simon 1975, 55).

Do you feel ripped off by tapers? JG: “Not particularly. I think it’s OK, if people like it, they can certainly keep doing it. I don’t have any desire to control people as to what they are doing, or what they have … there’s something to be said for being able to record an experience that you’ve liked, or being able to obtain a recording of it. Actually, we all have that stuff, too, in our own collection of tapes. My responsibility to the notes is over after I’ve played them; at that point, I don’t care where they go [laughs], they’ve left home, y’know?” (Simon 1975, 56) #tapers

Asked a question about signaling musical intuitions within the group, he offers a beautiful interpretation of creative collective action: “A lot of it is miracles and that’s part of what creating new forms has to do with; it has to do with creating a situation where miracles can happen, in which amazing coincidences can happen, so that all of a sudden you’re in a new musical space. That’s the challenge of coming up with structures that are loose-tight, you know what I mean?” [JGMF my goodness … Garcia is a sophisticated institutional theorist!] They have an element of looseness to them which means they can expand in any direction or go anywhere from anywhere, or come from anywhere, but they also have enough form so that we can lock back into something. It really has to do with the element of what’s knowable and known and what isn’t known and what isn’t knowable and what can be invented on the spot. There’s a delicate balance in there and since we’re dealing with several consciousnesses at the same time, everybody goes through their individual changes, that those times when everybody is up for it and everybody feels right about it and the form provides openings, then miracles can happen, amazing miracles. That’s what we’re in it for, that’s one of the reasons that we do it is for those moments of ahhh … unexpected joy, just amazing stuff. … Orchestrated twists of fate” (Simon 1975, 56) #creation #institutions #dualities #collective improvisation

Quick note about that nice line “orchestrated twists of fate”: Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks had some out January 1975, I think, so “Simple Twist Of Fate” seems to have entered Jerry’s consciousness right away. He’d start playing it xxx TJS. #songs-S

They took 19 or 20 days to complete Workingman’s, but that has been their most “significant” album, scare quotes Jerry’s (Simon 1975, 57). That was going on while the New Orleans bust scene was “hanging over our heads”. “With American Beauty there was a rash of parent deaths where everybody’s parents croaked in the space of about two or three months. We were working on that and it was just incredible. It was just like tragedy-city --  bad news every day, really” (Simon 1975, 57). #official releases, #GD #dualities

Working with Hunter. Garcia’s a better editor than writer. Hunter finds the words for Garcia. “We don’t clash in terms of our egos and we both tend to focus on our work rather than on ourselves so it works out to be very comfortable.” #Robert Hunter

“I have this hangup about songs. I’m fascinated by fragments because of my involvement in traditional music – there’s a lot of things around that are fragments of songs, and they’ll be this tantalizing glimpse of two or three verses of what was originally a thirty-verse extravaganza, and there will be two or three remaining stanzas in the tradition and you read them or hear them and they’re just utterly mysterious and evocative for odd reasons at different times” (Simon 1975, 57) [jgmf think Whiskey In The Jar] #songs

What musical influences interests? “Everyone, everything, all music. I’m not particularly attached to any one idea or format, I just appreciate whatever is good. It’s whatever I hear, endless numbers of anonymous musicians whom I don’t know on the radio and stuff have influenced me, not to mention all the people who are well known whose names I do now. They’ve influenced me, too. I listen to everything” (Simon 1975, 57). Such a sponge.

In his playing, there’s a sound he is wishing he could hear, a sound he is searching form, “maybe just a little snatch of a guitar player on some record or just a moment … and there’s something about it that says ‘that is a door to something’ – I can’t really explain it, it’s emotional and it goes back to my earliest years, it’s that deep. It just is me really selecting out of the Universe stuff that’s part of that sound. It’s a thing that sometimes I hear very clearly and sometimes I Don’t hear at all, but it has produced by whole development” (Simon 1975, 58). #sounds

Early musical learning: I think Troy 1994 is wrong when he says Garcia had piano lessons, but I need to double-check. Here Garcia responds to a question about early picking up a guitar: “No, I didn’t, unfortunately; I wish I had. I got my first guitar when I was fifteen” (Simon 1975, 58).

“I didn’t really start .. working at the guitar until I was about twenty-three” (Simon 1975, 58). This dates it to electric period, ca. 1965.

“Feel that I’m a person that doesn’t have a great amount of talent. What I’ve learned, I’ve had to really work at learning. It’s been a hassle, basically. That’s one of the reasons I play a lot. I need to play a lot just to keep myself together, just to keep my chops together” (Simon 1975, 58). #workaholism

Question about channeling the Universe. Garcia: “I can’t say that there’s a certain sense when I am transformed, you know, in the sense that all of a sudden God is speaking through my strings … It’s more like if you’re real lucky, and practice and play a lot and try to feel right and everybody wants for it to happen, then there’s a possibility that special things will happen” (Simon 1975, 58). #workaholism

NAJ: “Do you have much ego identification with Jerry Garcia as a rock star or is music your main form of meditation?” Garcia: “Music is my yoga. If there is a yoga, that’s it. Practicing and keeping my muscles together, that is like what I would relate to a physical yoga, a certain amount of hours every day. Life is my yoga, too, but I’ve been a spiritual dilettante off and on through the years, trying various things at various times, and I firmly believe that every avenue that leads to higher consciousness does lead to higher consciousness. If you think it does, it does. If you put energy into it on a daily basis, no matter what it is, some discipline … I believe it will work. I believe that it’s within the power of the mind and consciousness to do that” (Simon 1975, 59).

Question about interviewing: “I can’t really do anything but lie, all talking is lying, and I’m lying now, and that’s true, too. … go and hear me play, that’s me, that’s what I have to say, that’s the form my thoughts have taken, so I haven’t put that much energy into really communicating verbally. It’s all open to misinterpretation” (Simon 1975, 59).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

RN Sandy Troy's Captain Trips (1994)

Reading Notes

Troy, Sandy. 1994. Captain Trips: A Biography of Jerry Garcia. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press.

JG devoted to music Troy 1994, xiii

JG was into all kinds of music: folk, bluegrass, country, acid rock, R&B, gospel, jazz. But he never dabbled, he always “plunged in” Troy 1994, xiii

Jose Ramon Garcia emigrated from La Coruna, Spain in 1919 Troy 1994, 1

Ruth Marie Clifford - married 1934  -- 121 Amazon Avenue, San Francisco, in the Excelsior District -- Ca. 1937 Jose’s music career came to an end -- 1937 Jose bought a tavern Four Hundred Club at 400 First Street, corner of Harrison near Bay Bridge (Troy 1994, 2).

8/1/42 JG born at SF Children’s Hospital (Troy 1994, 3)

surrounded by music. Father played clarinet. Mother listened to opera. Maternal grandmother loved country music. Troy 1994, 3

Ruth played piano, JG took piano lessons Troy 1994, 3

87 Harrington Street with grandparents for five years. William and Tillie Troy 1994, 5

Tillie listened to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights. Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs Troy 1994, 6

Ruth marries Wally Matusiewicz 1952. Family moved to Menlo Park, 286 Santa Monica Avenue. Troy 1994, 6:: lived in Menlo Park for three years. Troy 1994, 10

aged 13, move back to SF, attend Denman Junior High School Troy 1994, 10-11

Balboa High School Troy 1994, 11

Turned on to MJ at age 15, with a friend Troy 1994, 11

Attending Saturday classes and summer sessions at the California School of Fine Arts in North Beach (beatniks!) Troy 1994, 11-13

heard and liked Big Bill Broonzy. Troy 1994, 13

JG’s first guitar idol was Chuck Berry Troy 1994, 15

Ca. age 15, moved to Cazadero, attended Analy HS in Sebastopol. Played a gig: piano, two saxes, a bass, and his guitar. Won a contest and got to record a song. Did Bill Doggett’s “Raunchy”. Troy 1994, 15

age 17, enlisted in military. Basic at Fort Ord, then stationed at Fort Winfield Scott in the Presidio. Lasted nine months, discharged 1960. Troy 1994, 16

while at Presidio, met a country guitar player who got him into finger-picking. Troy 1994, 17

“it was not in his nature to have several girlfriends at one time.” ST says this lasted until present. “This is a trait that he seems to have maintained to the present … he has been married three times and has had a number of affairs, but when the relationship has been right, he has stuck with it.” Troy 1994, 25

early girlfriend Charlotte Daigle. Her girlfriend Chris Mann dated Hunter. Troy 1994, 25

Charlotte Daigle: “he really did things on his own terms, the way he wanted to, without a lot of concern about what he should do or what people wanted him to do. He listened to his inner voice.” Troy 1994, 26

February 1961 Paul Speegle death. Studebaker Golden Hawk. Jerry had switched places with Paul just before the accident. P. 27: JG: “That’s where my life began. Before then I was always living at less than capacity. I was idling. That was the slingshot for the rest of my life. It was like a second chance. Then I got serious.” And he got serious about music, giving up art. Troy 1994, 26-27 #1961

“He chose music because he liked the interaction with other people that it provided.” Music had other players and an audience. Later on, Garcia would say that “the symbiotic relationship of band and audience was integral to his musical experience, what made it come alive for him” (Troy 1994, 27).

Marshall Leicester got him back into bluegrass. Introduced him to the New Lost City Ramblers. Troy 1994, 28

NLCR. Early influence on Jerry. Troy 1994, 28 Also influenced by Joan Baez (Troy 1994, 29). Summer 1961 Garcia went to see Joan Baez at Palo Alto HS. Troy 1994, 29: Watching her, Garcia noted that he could play better guitar than her. (Corry: The girlfriend in question is probably Phoebe Graubard.; this in response to ““A friend of mine, who was Garcia’s girlfriend in 1961, recalls sitting with him in the front row of Joan Baez’s concert at Palo Alto High that summer. He watched Baez intently, saying ‘I can do that! I can beat her technique.’” Kahn, Alice. 1984. Jerry Garcia and the Call of the Weird. West (SJ Mercury News) (December 30), pp. 14-17, 20-22. reprinted in Dodd and Spaulding 2000, pp. 196-203), quote from p. 202 of the reprint. Dodd, David G., and Diana Spaulding. 2000. The Grateful Dead Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.)

summer 1961, Garcia met David Nelson at Kepler’s. Troy 1994, 30

September 1961 JG goes to see Monterey Jazz Festival. NB 9/22-23-24/61. JG went two days with Charlotte Daigle. Troy 1994, 34

summer 1962, Jorma meets him at a place called the Folk Theatre, on First Street in San Jose (became the Offstage). Troy 1994, 38

Hart Valley Drifters Troy 1994, 41

another girlfriend, Diane Huntsberger, classmate of Daigle’s. Then Sara Ruppenthal, also Paly HS. Troy 1994, 46

Heather born 12/8/63. Troy 1994, 48

GD split into two camps: Gar and Lesh more improvisational, Weir and Pigpen on the other side, more structured and song oriented. Troy 1994, 119

“to play the music that he had decided on, Garcia formed the group Mickey Hart and the Hartbeats”. Troy 1994, 120

TC: “Mickey Hart and the Hartbeats was a period of time when Garcia and Lesh were into a more extended improvisation trip, which was exactly what Weir and Pigpen were less into.” Troy 1994, 121

“The Hartbeats was an interesting side trip for Garcia, but it wasn’t enough by itself to hold his attention.” Liked the GD dynamics. “However, the short break opened his eyes to the advantages of playing with other musicians when his schedule would allow it, and in 1969 he began doing more of that. This extracurricular performing allowed Garcia to scratch his musical itches in a way – he could play music he liked that the Dead didn’t ordinarily do, and he could try out new instruments and new techniques.” Troy 1994, 121

TC was brought in as part of the GD’s move toward more experimentation. Troy 1994, 122

LAG strike, 8/1/69. Garcia couldn’t cross the picket line because of his union sympathies, inherited from his grandmother. When asked why he didn’t cross, he told McNally: “My grandmother.” Troy 1994, 126

JG credited CSN with helping the GD’s vocal harmonies. Troy 1994, 133

JG: “I play music because I love music, … and all my life I’ve loved music.” Troy 1994, 135

“one of his joys was simply putting together an impromptu group, finding a willing watering hole, and filling the space with music. He explained ‘I’m a total junkie when it comes to playing. I just have to play. And when we’re off the road I get itchy, and a bar’s just like the perfect opportunity to get loose and play all night.” Troy 1994, 141

“he clearly preferred playing with other musicians in front of an audience. ‘Rather than sit home and practice, scales and stuff, which I do when I’m together enough to do it, I go out and play because playing music is more enjoyable to me than sitting home and playing scales.” Troy 1994, 142

Merl signed with Fantasy Records in 1965. Troy 1994, 143

PERRO as cross-pollination. Troy 1994, 145

“Another reason for Jerry to spend time away from the Grateful Dead was that he could work out his own personal musical dreams that the other members of the band might have stunted.” Togotigi. Troy 1994, 146

JG got $10k advance for the Stinson Beach house, paid by the solo album. Troy 1994, 147

6/30/72 was Fred Herrera’s swan song at Keystone Korner. Troy 1994, 153

9/22/72: “Playing with Saunders meant so much to Garcia that he even flew back from New York in the middle of a GD tour to play a benefit concert with him at BCT on September 22 [1972].” Troy 1994, 153

Rakow’s plan in So What papers approved on 4/19/73. “In April 1973 Grateful Dead Records was set up, co-owned by all the voting members of the organization, with Rakow as president and general manager. A second label, Round Records, owned fifty-fifty by Garcia and Rakow, was set up to [156] handle solo projects” (Troy 1994, 155-156)

OAITW Troy 1994, 158

JG quotes (maybe from splendor in the bluegrass or something) early 1973 re OAITW: “we got together a little over a month ago, started playing, and then decided, ‘Shit, why don’t we play a few bars and see what happens?’ We’re thinking about finding a fiddle player and then doing some of the bluegrass festivals this summer. … That’d be a lot of fun.” NB the “Bluegrass at Grisman’s” thing confirms that this is more or less exactly how it happened! Troy 1994, 158

“In 1972 and 1973, the Garcia and Saunders Band did three albums for Fantasy Records –Heavy Turbulence, Fire Up, and Live at Keystone.” Troy 1994, 159

JG is the one who pushed Merl to sing! Merl: “He also got me singing. We’d come off a tour and he’d say, ‘Man, you gotta help me out singing.’ I didn’t think I could sing, but I figured if Jerry could sing, I could sing. … That’s how I started singing.” Troy 1994, 160

re GD hiatus. JG: “It had turned into a thing that was out of our control, and nobody was really doing it because they liked it. We were doing it because we had to.” NB solo stuff would always more or less be in his control. Troy 1994, 167

airport porter: “Oh my God, what kind of band is this? You’ve got a hippie [Garcia], a black guy [Saunders], a white guy [Kahn], an Indian [Fierro] and a Super Fly [Humphrey, who dressed in sharp flashy colors].” JGMS Mention of Golden Bear shows, October 1974: “sold-out house” Troy 1994, 168

The “Imagine” story, per Merl: Fall 1971, “I was at Fantasy Records that fall with Garcia, Tom Fogerty, John Kahn and Bill Vitt to record my album. This guy at the studio had a promotional copy of the record.” This is consistent with them playing it September 1971. Troy 1994, 169

no details on end of LOM: “in the summer of 1975 the two musicians decided to go their own way.” Troy 1994, 169

Deborah Koons. JG had met her in Cincinnati during a tour (December 1973?). Troy 1994, 170

“The majority of Garcia’s third solo LP, Reflections, was also recorded at Weir’s studio in 1975.” I don’t think so – His Master’s Wheels. Troy 1994, 173

Jerry Garcia Band. Troy 1994, 175

Keith and Donna join JGB. Kahn: “Keith lived over on Paradise Drive [in Corte Madera], and we used to play over there all the time. He had a room downstairs that was set up so we could just go in and play … we’d get together just about every night and [176] play. … We had Dylan songbooks and we’d do stuff like play everything from Blonde on Blonde. Then we’d do all sorts of Beatles songs. It was great.” Troy 1994, 175: 1975,

“Playing with this group [JGB] was like sitting in a favorite old easy chair for Garcia. He claimed, ‘I haven’t been as happy with any little performing group since Old and In the Way in terms of feeling this is really harmonious.” Comfort, JGB as harmonious. Contrast with GD: challenge, dissonance. Troy 1994, 176

late 1978, Jerry’s voice ragged, “a condition exacerbated by the three packs of unfiltered Camels he smoked every day and by his chronic use of central nervous system stimulants.” Troy 1994, 190

Reconstruction “played primarily black music – funk, jazz, soul, blues and reggae. … But Garcia’s desire to have his own band as a creative outlet was strong”, so we got the Ozzie JGB. Troy 1994, 193

Seals “was suggested to Garcia by Kahn, who had met Melvin through Maria Muldaur. A Bay Area native, Seals had spent much of his life involved with the music of the black Baptist church. … his roots were firmly in gospel music, and he found inspiration in the music of the church. The gospel influence that Seals brought to the Garcia Band was very much to Garcia’s liking” Troy 1994, 199

“Soon after Garcia completed the drug diversion program”, the GD had their 20th anniversary stuff. Troy 1994, 205

GD played 71 shows, sold out all but six, and grossed $11.5 million in 1985. Troy 1994, 205

Merl says that he was on a beach in the Caribbean, and suffered some kind of heat stroke at precisely the same moment that Jerry was short circuiting (July 10, 1986). Troy 1994, 207-208

more on friends and the coma. David Nelson. Merl: “I started walking with him every day from the house out to the road and back to the house. [211] We started practicing five minutes a day.” Troy 1994, 210

Graham on Garcia wanting to play Broadway: “One month prior [Garcia was] playing five sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden … that’s 100,000 people. For the lead guitarist of that same group to play eighteen shows at a 1,400 seat theater, obviously there’s a desire to do this, not a need to do this. Since the very first day I met him, he has not changed his seemingly unquenchable thirst to just play.” Troy 1994, 223

Blues from the Rainforest began recording March 1989. Troy 1994, 231

Midland “had been fighting a drug problem for more than a year and had been rushed to the hospital when he almost overdosed the prior December [1989].” Troy 1994, 233

Garcia/Grisman earned a Grammy nomination and sold more than 100,000 copies. Troy 1994, 239

JG, ca. 1992: “Ideally I’d have the Dead play two nights a week, play bluegrass two nights a week, and play with my band two nights, and on the other day go to a movie.” That doesn’t seem like too much to ask for! Such simple tastes! Troy 1994, 239

1991, GD grossed $34.7 million. Troy 1994, 245

“for a couple of months in early 1993 Garcia was seeing Barbara Meier … but in the spring he reconnected with Deborah Koons.” Troy 1994, 250.

RN Sandy Troy's One More Saturday Night (1991)

Troy, Sandy. 1991. One More Saturday Night: Reflections with the Grateful Dead, Dead Family, and Dead Heads. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Reading Notes

“by the fall of 1974 the band’s business ventures began to unravel” (Troy 1991, 27). #business

JG and MG moved in together early 1967 (Troy 1991, 68). #women

#v-Carousel as described by MG: “It was a beautiful place; nobody could believe it. It had wooden floors, a fairly low ceiling, plus sets of French doors that opened to let in fresh air. It also had beautiful gold framed mirrors, strange 50’s light fixtures, weird old tables, and red push sofas. It even had a great kitchen and we served dinner, too. (MG in Troy 1991, 91).

#Chet Helms knew Phil first, through the Mime Troupe, though they had a totally non-musical relationship. They’d hang out, smoke grass, and talk politics. (Troy 1991, 98).

#houses #Olompali interview with Rock Scully says when they left Haight they went to Camp Lagunitas, then moved to Olompali. But I think he’s confused. “Olompali was a big old Spanish estate that had a swimming pool, some outbuildings with bedrooms, and enough space so that we all could live there and have a good time. We would [122] get the word out that we were having a party and people would come and jam. It wasn’t a set thing where the Dead would play, but it was a jam session where musicians from the Airplane, Quicksilver, the Charlatans would jam with us. It was a chance for all our friends from the City to come and hang out with us outdoors in the sunshine. We’d set up the stage between the house and the pool and people would being [sic] doing acid and hanging out by the pool naked. Sometimes there would be several hundred people partying” (Rock Scully in Troy 1991, 120, 122).

“Garcia, Lesh and Weir really enjoyed Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies and I think Crosby’s influence helped the band improve their harmonies” (Rock Scully in Troy 1991, 122).

ST: How did the concept of AEWTGD come about? Rock: “It came about because Jerry was playing pedal steel, and digging it. John Dawson knew Jerry and asked him to play pedal steel in the New Riders. “An Evening With The Grateful Dead” worked conceptually because the music of both bands went well together. It stopped being a concept when Jerry realized that playing pedal steel was screwing with his electric guitar playing. The instruments were so different from each [other] that his guitar playing was suffering” (Rock Scully in Troy 1991, 124). #NRPS #pedal steel

Rock on #NRPS: “There wasn’t really one [New Riders] manager.” Rock involved first album and Powerglide. “I remember when the New Riders were living in my house. That picture on the back of the first album, when the band is leaning on the banister, was actually in my house in Kentfield. I guess you could say I was managing them at the time because pretty much all their gigs were with the Dead because Jerry was playing with them. When they got Buddy Cage they started doing shows on their own. Then Dale Franklin and Jon McIntire became their managers for a time” (Scully in Troy 1991, 125).

Chateau d’Herouville 6/21/71 “was Jon McIntire’s baby” (Rock Scully in Troy 1991, 125).

#v-Carousel Healy “It held about eight hundred people … though we would put as many in there as we could get. It was an old ballroom left over from the Swing era. It was owned by an Irishman.” JG: “They had Irish music there on Thursday nights.” DH: “That’s all they had in there. Aside from that it was closed all the time, and had been closed down right after the Swing [145] era. It was still in its original state, right out of the ‘20s, right down to the chandeliers in the place. The interior was beautiful. It wasn’t at all torn up: it was in mind condition.” (in Troy 1991, 144-145).

Lesh on Watkins Glen, the Dead had to run the show, in spite of promoters. “The biggest hassle was convincing the Band to come out and play. Hey man, it’s just down the road a piece, come on out and play. What can you lose? They played great!” (Lesh in Troy 1991, 153).

Constanten: “That’s a chance you have to take in courting serendipity – sometimes serendipity comes to grace your performances and sometimes not” (TC in Troy 1991, 156).

The John “Marmaduke” Dawson chapter (Troy 1991, 164-175) is very important material.

Dawson says he was around in 1958-59, taking guitar lessons from a lady in Palo Alto, when Jerry was with Sara. So that would be 1963. “They dropped in at a guitar thing that my guitar teacher was having at her house one night. I didn’t really meet him until later on at a club called The Tangent” in Palo Alto (Dawson in Troy 1991, 165).  Met Nelson at the Tangent (Troy 1991, 165).

Dawson: Rancho Olompali is a “place where all the Indians used to hang out. There’s an Indian burial ground nearby. It’s quite a lovely place. It had a big old mansion of a ranch house that they lived in for a while” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 167).

Dawson got serious in spring of 1969: “I went with a bunch of guys down to a place called Pinnacles National Monument, … and a group of us ate a bunch of what we thought was mescaline but was some weird little chemical cocktail that had some LSD in it. I had an experience on that particular occasion and I made up my mind that I wanted to write songs more seriously and learn how to sing more seriously. I liked the idea of being a country-western singer and started picking up Buck Owens and Merle Haggard records to try to learn how they were doing it.” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 167).

“Hunter was going to try to be the bass player for a while but he didn't have that many chops together. Bob Matthews tried out but he wasn't able to pick up on the instrument quickly enough because all of the rest of us had been playing for a long time. That's when Phil Lesh finally stepped in and played bass with the New Riders.” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 167). #NRPS

“What had happened is that I invited myself over to Garcia's house one day after he had come back off the road with a brand-new pedal steel guitar. He had stopped in Denver at a music store that had a bunch of pedal steels in it. So he bought one and brought it back. I [[168] bumped into him at the Dead's practice place in Novato near Hamilton Air Force Base. I asked Jerry if I could come over to his house and listen to the steel guitar that he just bought. He said I could come over later if I wanted to hear it. I brought my guitar when I showed up so he would have something to accompany. I showed him a couple of tunes that I had been working on and I got to listen to the pedal steel. That little duet worked into a thing where Jerry asked me if he could come down and practice his pedal steel at my coffee house gig in Menlo Park. I think it was called The Underground and it was a hofbrau kind of thing where they would carve you up a sandwich from a fresh cut of meat, right on the spot.” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 167-168). #NRPS

“they just added Nelson and me to the Grateful Dead tour and we came along with them that way. That's when we first got started on the national scene and you heard us back there in 1970 on the East Coast at the Fillmore - "An Evening with the Grateful Dead featuring the New Riders of the Purple Sage” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 170). #AEWTGD

“That's when you only had to add Nelson's and my ticket to the tour and you had a whole new five-piece band to open, which made it quite handy. That got my songs exposed to a national audience a lot sooner than they would have been otherwise. We also had a gospel quartet that did some stuff. Nelson would play an acoustic and Bob Weir, Jerry, and I would come out and would sing a couple of gospel tunes.” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 170). I love he says “they had a gospel quartet”. A self-contained hippie hootenanny. #AEWTGD

“Phil at some point said, "Hey, I don't want to do it any more:· So that's when David Torbert joined the band.” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 170). #NRPS

“When we finally met another pedal steel guitar player in the person of Buddy Cage on the ride across Canada in 1970, that gave Garcia a chance to go back to just the Grateful Dead” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 171). #NRPS

Festival Express: “The Band was supposed to be on [the train] but the only person from the Band that actually showed up and rode the train was Rick Danko” (Dawson in Troy 1991, 171).

Port Chester February 1971 run Howard Stein painted the Cap performance surface, and they were the New Riders of the Purple Stage! (Dawson in Troy 1991, 173). #NRPS

Dawson: Garcia “is a picking junkie, first and foremost. He would rather be playing than anything else” (Troy 1991, 174).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

RN Abbott 1979 Dead Reckoning and Hamburger Metaphysics

Abbott, Lee. 1979. The Jerry Garcia Feature: Dead Reckoning and Hamburger Metaphysics. Feature (March): 32, 34-37. Also reprinted in Dodd and Spaulding 2000.

Reading Notes

Tags: 1978, Atlanta, interviews, drugs, Army, why, death, fascism, reading notes, GA

Took place in Atlanta 12/18/78, at the Colony Court’s Savannah Suites hotel. Not sure the name address.

Jerry, with his “chemically lit” eyes, is grooving in this interview.

Doesn’t want to talk about himself. He’s old news.

“Jerry is in a self-described ‘state of happiness’ (Abbott 1979, 34).

''I was a fuck-up in high school," Jerry says, easing himself onto the couch. Outside, a hard rain threatens. Inside, Garcia is in high animation, giggling and working over the past with a bantamweight's vigor. "When I was a kid, I was a juvenile delinquent. My mom even moved me out of the city to get me away from trouble. It didn't work. I couldn't stand high school 'cause I was burning my bridges as I went along. But I didn't have any way to go. I don't think I did any more than anybody else. It's just that I was always getting caught-for fighting, drinking, all the stuff you're not supposed to do. … I was involved in more complex ideas. I started reading Schopenhauer, Heidegger and Kant when I was in the seventh grade. After that, school was silly” (Abbott 1979, 34).

Unfiltered Camel

“there were gunfights in the halls, but I didn't fit into that either. I was happening on a different plane entirely. That's one of the reasons I got into drugs. In all that teenage craziness, it was the only good trip around" (Abbott 1979, 34). #drugs

"I had been court­martialed twice and had tons of extra duty and was restricted to barracks. I was just late all the time. 1 would miss roll call. I had seven or eight or nine or ten AWOLs, which is a pretty darn serious offense in the Army. So one day I'm called to the CO's office. No heavy trip or anything. He says, 'Private Garcia, how would you like to get out of the Army?' And I said, ‘I’d like it just fine.' Two weeks later I was out" (Abbott 1979, 34). #army

Car accident changed his life, no more coasting.

"I was in a good automobile accident." Jerry grows anxious. "I was with four other guys in an old Studebaker Golden Hawk- supercharged engine, terrible suspension, ninety-plus miles an hour on a back road and we hit these chatter-bar dividers. It was just Wham! We went flying, I guess. All l know is that I was sitting in the car and that there was this ... disturbance ... and the next thing, I was in a field. I went through the windshield and landed far enough away from the car where I couldn't see it. It was at night. It was very, very quiet, you know. It was like a complete break in continuity-from sitting in the car roaring down the road to lying in a field wondering what had happened- nothing in between." Anybody get hurt? "Yeah," Garcia says with genuine awe. "One guy did die. He happened to be the most gifted of our little group. It was like losing the golden boy, someone who had a lot of promise, the person who had the most to offer" (Abbott 1979, 34).
"You were lucky," I suggest.

"Oh, yeah," Garcia agrees. "The car was like a crumpled cigarette pack. It was almost unrecognizable. And there were my shoes in it, dig? I had been thrown out of my shoes and through the windshield." He pauses over the memory of a pair of scuffed Army-issues lying on the floorboards of a violence sculpture. "That's where my life began." He breathes. "Before then I was always living at less than capacity. I was idling. That was the slingshot for the rest of my life. It was like a second chance." [#why] He looks at me hard, his expression earnest, grateful, dead. "Then I got serious.” Another toke. A deep suck of mortality. "I dig the affirmation side of death. Death is one of those things that's been taken from us as an experience. We hide it. As a result, it becomes fearful, scary, because it's unknown. Really, man, it's the other side of being born" (Abbott 1979, 34). #death

“Garcia is on his knees, praying to the coffee table. The toot is vicious, cut with meth, not with quinine, and it’s enough to rip your sinuses out. It goes straight to the forebrain – a howling blizzard of Insight and Truth. The rush is, well, chilling; your scalp tingles, a hospital sourness scours the back of your throat.  Then a Con Ed generator of electricity sizzles your synapses … Your smoke is tasty. You are ready to Talk.” (Abbott 1979, 35). #drugs

“my most palpable experiences have all been psychedelics” … there was one in particular, the ne plus ultra trip, the apocalypse” at the end of what Jerry describes as his psychedelic period” (Abbott 1979, 35). #drugs

"It featured countless-thousands, millions-- births and deaths. The phoenix trip, you know. And in my consciousness, it went all the way from, uh, insects to vegetables to mammals to civilizations-to organisms of every sort."  What happened? ''Everything," Garcia barks, drawing closer, the glint of his eyes grave and dear. "For me, my trips began to take a different kind of form. The first ones were visual, you know, patterns, colors, profound revelations, 'Yeah, I get it'- the standard stuff. Then I started going to the Acid Tests and experiences were happening to more than one person at a time. They had this telepathic quality. Then into that stepped another level which was between and amongst the telepathic explosions. Between the flashes and surprises was this 'You're almost getting it.' An urging. Then there was a presence which I think of as the Teacher, which represents a higher order. There would be this feeling of déja vu. All these little bits of input-people talking, certain sights-would start to coalesce: 'Damn, You Got It! BOOM!' It took on this teacher-pupil relationship: Me and my other mind! … It scared the shit out of me, man. It was like, What do you believe?' It removed everything I was certain of. And in its place was a new set of circumstances. And these circumstances were like pages in a book. They started moving until I was living out a whole lifespan with all the intricacy of one's life, all the way up to the moment of one's death. The final realizations, the summation” (Abbott 1979 35).

"Cosmic is the only word for it," he sighs. "Nothing has happened in my life since then, man. Nothing was as climactic, as complete as that." (Abbott 1979, 36). Everything after was anticlimax.

Story of a tripper with a big knife threatening JG on stage at a ballroom (Abbott 1979, 36). The power of the crowd “comes somewhere close to losing your will” (Abbott 1979, 36). #fascism

Rock Scully is onetime cellmate of Bob Haldeman (Abbott 1979, 37). JGMF: is this true?

"I don't want to be a leader because I don't want to be a mis-leader. I haven't put any safeguards there. I haven't paid the dues to be responsible for leading people. The most I would want to do would be to indicate, using my life as a model, that it's possible for you to, uh, go for it. But following me is like a dead end street. There's nothing here but me. I can't multiply fishes and loaves and turn water into wine” (Abbot 1979, 37).

"I remember going down to Watts Towers after the Watts Acid Tests. It had been a hard night, I'd gone through a lot of heavy changes, and it was dawn. I remember looking at this stuff. It was just junk. Nobody could tear it down, so they made a monument out of it. I remember thinking that I'd rather have a life that gets me off while I'm living it and leave nothing and not litter the world with concrete relics or ideas or things that will hang you up” (Abbott 1979, 37).


Dodd, David G., and Diana Spaulding. 2000. The Grateful Dead Reader. Oxford: Oxford University Press.