Archive for July, 2006

Dead to the World 7/12/06

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

Mississippi Halfstep
Picasso Moon
Row Jimmy
Desolation Row
To Lay Me Down
Promised Land
Grateful Dead 9/18/90 Madison Square Garden, New York City

Below RadarParticle, Transformation Live for the People (Particle and Ozric Tentacles perform at the Fillmore on Saturday, July 15)

Cumberland BluesThe Waybacks w/ Darol Anger 10/2/05 Hardly Strictly Buegrass, San Francisco

Down to EugeneJim Page, Whose World Is This?

FranceKettle Joe’s Psychedelic Swamp Review 6/8/06 Shoals Theater, Florence AL

Black and white photos

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

GD 3/27/83

Grateful Dead at Irvine Meadows 3/27/83. This photo captures a certain aspect of the band’s dynamic range.

With the kind assistance of John Rottet, I’ve been posting black and white photographs to my flickr site. So far I’ve posted pictures of Marin Mull, Mimi Fariña, John Cipollina, Bobby and the Midnites, George Carlin, Ozzy Osbourne, Dolly Parton, and others; more to come.

Pete Wernick on Jerry Garcia

Monday, July 10th, 2006

This was posted on DeadNet Central today. It was taken from the BGRASS-L Archive.

Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2006 03:35:07 EDT
From: Pete Wernick
Subject: eyewitness to J. Garcia, banjoist, 1963

Interesting to hear people recounting what they know of Jerry as a bluegrasser back in the pre-Dead days. I’ve never put my own recollections in writing, so this is as good a time as any.

I met and played a bunch with Jerry during the summer of 1963 in Palo Alto. By weird coincidence, I was out there with my family for the summer (my first time west of Pennsylvania), at the age of 17, due to my dad working on writing a math book at Stanford. I fell in with the bluegrass crowd, which I found surprisingly developed considering the distance from the source. Jerry, David Nelson, Eric Thompson and others were as deeply steeped in bluegrass records available then as anyone I knew back east. They’d been trading tapes with folks like Grisman and Mike Seeger, and would make long trips to Berkeley to a record store that carried bluegrass albums, and they studied them. Monroe had come to CA a few months previously, and Jerry, the most advanced banjo player there at the time, had studied Bill Keith’s technique and was working hard to develop that part of his picking. He had a lot of it pretty well mastered, at a time when few others did.

I was about the first bluegrass-playing easterner these guys had had a chance to meet and pick with, and they welcomed me and my banjo picking. Garcia and Nelson and Robert Hunter (later famous as G. Dead lyricist) had had a band called the Wildwood Boys. Their band photo was patterned after a shot of the Greenbriar Boys (wearing white shirts with vests, and Garcia posed just like Bob Yellin was on that first GB album cover), and were highly regarded. I saw their last gig, just before Hunter left for S. California to be part of supervised research on LSD. Soon after, Nelson and Garcia and I put together a little band we called the Godawful Palo Alto Bluegrass Ensemble. Jerry switched to mando since I could only play banjo. We did a few gigs at the folk club the Tangent and other places. I headed back for college in NYC before the end of summer.

At this time Jerry had recently married. His wife was pregnant, and he was making his living mainly giving lessons at a music store in Palo Alto. He had quite short hair and interestingly, was rather scornful of people who used pot. I clearly recall him arriving for a band practice, noticing that one picker was not straight, acting disgusted, and turning right around and leaving. Imagine my surprise when a few years later he had turned into Captain Trips, with long hair and a top hat.

Jerry was already great musician then, with a real spark for the music. He sang a lot of Stanley material and was always strong and soulful. He was very fired up to develop his music, and wanted to know everything I could tell him about the scene around New York City.

I later found out that the following summer he took off for points east, on a bluegrass quest that others on the list have recounted. I know he and Grisman met that summer, I believe at Sunset Park in Pennsylvania, and started an alliance that in many ways was pivotal for the development and popularization of bluegrass.

The whole “taping” aspect of the jam band culture today is an outgrowth of the Dead’s open policy toward “tapers”, and I assume this in turn grew out of the eagerness of that early west coast bluegrass scene to hear any tapes of live shows they could get hold of. There were very few bluegrass LPs back then, and live show tapes of Monroe, Jim & Jesse and other important bands really expanded their knowledge of the music and who was making it. Monroe was at that time possibly the only eastern bluegrass artist who’d performed in California, so the tapes helped fill a large gap.

The last time I saw Jerry was ten years later, summer of ’73, when I spent a day with him at his house, picking banjo, reminiscing about those early days, and talking about all sorts of subjects. This was around the time of Old and In the Way, and he was up on his banjo chops and wanting to learn new licks, etc. He was a very special person, a complete music devotee, very well informed on a lot of different kinds of music.

It had taken quite an effort to reach him, as there already was a wall of protection around him as a celebrity, but when I finally did make contact, he was eager to rekindle our friendship, as he said he felt most comfortable with the people he knew before he was famous. Later that night I went with him to a recording studio and saw the Dead attempt to record something they wound up finding too complicated, and gave up on.

I would make it to Dead concerts now and then up to that point, but when they started drawing huge crowds, the security became so tight, it seemed too much of a challenge to try to penetrate that, just to say hi. So I stopped trying, stopped going to see the Dead, and never did see Jerry again. Seeing him and Grisman in the sweet movie Grateful Dawg gave some touching tastes of Jerry as an acoustic musician, and I recommend it for anyone curious about this very important musician, one of the most influential ever in America.

Hard to imagine what might have happened had there been a place in the world for Jerry as a full-time bluegrass musician.

Pete Wernick

GD -> Rhino

Monday, July 10th, 2006

From today’s New York Times, story by Alan Light:

A Resurrection, of Sorts, for the Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead, one of rock ‘n’ roll’s longest-lasting institutions, has announced a licensing agreement with Rhino Entertainment to manage exclusively all of the band’s intellectual property.

Rhino, a subsidiary of the Warner Music Group that is best known as a premier reissue label, will oversee everything from the band’s vast archive of live recordings and its Web site to its merchandise and use of its likeness. Grateful Dead Productions will retain creative control, and the deal does not include the band’s music publishing.


Bralove on Welnick

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Dear Friends,

I am still in shock over the loss of our friend Vince. With the rest of my life moving in high gear and the recent feeling that every time I stand up something knocks me down, it has taken some time to absorb the reality of his passing. Now that the tears are beginning to stop I am moved to share some reflections of my friend whose’ absence is felt every day.

I first met Vince when he auditioned for the keyboard position for the Grateful Dead. As Brent’s technical support it was down to me to help the auditioners plug into the existing scene. Some of them brought their own keyboards others didn’t. Vince played Brent’s old rig and so asked me to provide the sounds for different songs. He got the gig and continued to ask me to provide him with sonic options for different songs. As Vince worked his magic with the Grateful Dead our channels of communications continued to expand and we found ourselves writing songs together. I remember one morning when the Grateful Dead was playing Cal Expo, Vince and I spent hours, in my hotel room before the show dubbing down a rough cassette of our first song for Robert Hunter.. Hunter added his genius and “Way to go Home” was born. Vince was generous enough to spend some of his off time from the GD as a member of my band Second Sight and every time he played with us the energy expanded. When he was looking for songs for Missing Man Formation Vince, Barlow, and I got together for “The Devil I Know”.

In the last few years Vince and I had become even closer friends than we were before. Recently we had been working on several musical projects together including the Psychedelic Keyboard Trio (Tom Constanten, Vince and myself), a CD and performances of the Trio with orchestra. Vince and I were also in the middle of two dozen new songs in various stages of completion. He approached every project we did together with the utmost clarity, openness and professionalism always looking for his contribution to resonate with a larger intent. Knowing he was on a project gave me freedom. The freedom to take chances and go for the gold. He was there and knew how to help you go just a little bit further.

Writing songs with him was a joy. We would start with what Vince would call a “dumb shit” groove. “You know, kick and snare ‘dumb shit, dumb shit, dumb shit, dumb shit”. We would pick a tempo and begin recording. We would jam and jam, double keyboards, trying new things out until we both looked up and said, “That was it”. At which point we would immediately go to vocals. Tracking to the jam we had just performed. Starting with syllables and melodies songs would evolve. First single words suggested by the music, then phrases and eventually verses and choruses. It was true fun. I felt I could grab for any emotion or thought and when Vince shined his light on it, its powers would be revealed. When I worked with him he offered total artistic support. And when he carried the torch it was bright.

When he delivered full Vince Welnick in performance the energy in the room changed. He was able to emit a golden love vibe wrapped up in a party. Any one lucky enough to have seen him light up a room in a live performance saw a great Rock and Roll show. I consider it a great privilege to have shared the stage with him in every configuration in which we worked together. He was a constant inspiration to me and I will miss him more than I can say. It is the love that he was able to express that we must remember and try to keep shining. Take it home and spread it around in his honor.

Bob Bralove

Thin White Puke, cont’d

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

She was an hour and a half late calling in to Adam Carolla’s radio show; Carolla gave her her due.

Grateful Dead Hour #929

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

Week of July 10, 2006

Part 1 28:21
Missing Man Formation 7/6/96 Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco

The Tubes World Tour
Interview: Vince Welnick 2/13/92 by Gary Lambert
Grateful Dead 12/31/91 Oakland Coliseum Arena
JAM w/ Branford Marsalis

Part 2 28:29
Interview: Todd Rundgren
Grateful Dead 12/28/91 Oakland Coliseum Arena
Interview: Vince Welnick 3/25/98
Missing Man Formation 4/25/98 Humboldt State University, Arcata CA
Grateful Dead 9/30/93 Boston Garden

This is the first of four programs saluting Vince Welnick, who took his own life on June 2. These four hours are derived from six hours of tribute programs I broadcast on KPFA June 14 and 21; the interviews are seriously shortened, and there’s a lot more music in the originals. You can hear the unedited versions here and here. Playlists: June 14, June 21.

There are some “outtakes” – music I prepared for the KPFA shows but didn’t have time to play – here and here.

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from the Gathering of the Vibes, August 17 – 20 in Mariaville, New York, featuring 3 days of music with Bob Weir & Ratdog, Rhythm Devils, Yonder Mountain String Band, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Hot Tuna, Zen Tricksters featuring Donna Jean Godchaux, Zero, Keller Williams, David Gans and more than twenty other acts.

And from Fantasy Records, presenting Well Matched: the Best of Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia – ten tracks of live and studio material, highlighting the mid-70s pairing of Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders with guests David Grisman, Vassar Clements, Bill Kreutzmann, Tower of Power horns and many others. Well-Matched includes rare photographs, and liner notes by Blair Jackson.

Additional support comes from Sunshine Daydreams, presenting the 21st Annual Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash August 4 and 5 at the Sunshine Daydreams music campground in Terra Alta, West Virginia with Blues Traveler, 2 nights of Keller Williams, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Grateful Grass featuring Keller Williams and the Keels, ekoostik hookah, Herring/Rodgers/Sipe and many more.

Broken Angels with Phil Lesh (1997)

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

David Gans and Phil Lesh
Photo by Bob Minkin

I was going through my archives today, looking for a few rarities, and I found these two songs I thought would be worth hearing again:

Sultans of Swing 11/6/97 Maritime Hall, SF
David Gans – guitar, vocals; Bob Nakamine – guitar; Alan Feldstein – guitar, vocals; Jennifer Jolly – keyboard; Phil Lesh – bass; Clayton Call – drums; Anthony Aversano – percussion

Bird Song 12/27/97 Maritime Hall, SF
David Gans – guitar, vocals; Chuck Garvey – guitar, vocals; Jennifer Jolly – keyboard, vocals; Phil Lesh – bass; Clayton Call – drums

These shows were benefits for the Unbroken Chain Foundation.

More Gans music on the tunes page.

Phil Lesh’s oral history project

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

I know nothing about this beyond what’s on the web site, but Phil Lesh is doing an oral history project for Deadheads, starting this weekend at Jones Beach.

Why do the Sixties remain so devilishly fascinating to us today? Is it the sense of an opportunity lost, or a vision brought to life? For our elders, is it nostalgia for a golden age?

I’ve always thought of that period as a second Renaissance; where in 15th century Florence the lost knowledge and art of the ancient Greece and Rome was reintegrated into Western culture, in San Francisco in the 60s the introduction of non-Western ideas and philosophies began to widen our culture into something truly global; a very necessary development, if we want our species to survive the next century without self-destructing.

The Thin White Puke

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Ann Coulter: Deadhead

… I really like Deadheads and the whole Dead concert scene: the tailgating, the tie-dye uniforms, the camaraderie – it was like NASCAR for potheads. You always felt like you were with family at a Dead show – a rather odd, psychedelic family that sometimes lived in a VW bus and sold frightening looking “veggie burritos.” But whatever their myriad interests, clothing choices, and interest in illicit drugs, true Deadheads are what liberals claim to be but aren’t: unique, free-thinking, open, kind, and interested in different ideas.

Ann Coulter: smut peddler

Her fans may enjoy hearing her talk about poisoning Justice Stevens or say that it’s a pity Timothy McVeigh didn’t park his truck next to the New York Times building. But that’s not because the remarks make either Stevens or the New York Times seem particularly ridiculous. It’s because Coulter seems to be able to get away with unbridled aggression by presenting it as mere mischief, leaving her critics looking prim and humorless. (“Perhaps her book should have been called `Heartless,’ ” said Hillary Clinton after Coulter’s remarks about the widows, inviting the response, “Oh lighten up, girl.”)

That rhetorical maneuver doesn’t really have a name, but it’s a close relative of what we think of as smut. In the strict sense, of course, smut is the leering innuendo that veils sexual aggression. But in a broader sense, smut can be any kind of malice that pretends to be mere naughtiness. It might be a leering vulgarity, a racial epithet, or simply a venomous insult — what makes it smut is that it’s tricked out as humor, so that if anyone claims to be offended you can answer indignantly, “Can’t you take a joke?”

Ann Coulter: tool of evil

Who benefits when smut dominates the public sphere? Smut, having no other purpose or effect than gratifying base impulses, provides no platform on which to build. But its effect is more pernicious: when it crowds out that which is not smut, nothing gets built.

We are in a time of great decadence. Our nation has turned its back on its greatness and its destiny. Our legislature is corrupt and depraved, and its depravity has made it weak and cowardly. Our judiciary is inept and marginal. Our executive branch is in the hands of men who have seen clearly that all they needed in order to seize imperial power from this situation was the will.

Reasonable people who have access to the facts are this administration’s worst enemy. And as this administration and its allies take great pains to suppress the facts, they also takes great pains to suppress reason.

And there is why Coulter has received her reward. Why we have a Fox News. How we have come to have a mainstream media that consistently fails to follow arguments to their logical conclusions and insteads presents “both sides,” as though truth and falsity are of equal weight. How it is that our national discussion about the education of our people focuses on the obsessions of a religious sect.

Reason is the enemy of the men in power and their friends, and they have dedicated themselves to extirpate it from the public sphere.

And lastly, Ann Coulter: the Musical