Archive for April, 2008

Dead to the World 4/30/08

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

The Golden RoadRatdog 3/24/08 The Pageant, St Louis
I Need a MiracleRatdog 3/25/08 Madison Theater, Covington KY
Been All Around This WorldRatdog 3/29/08 Landmark Theater, Syracuse NY
Franklin’s Tower (acoustic) – Ratdog 4/3/08 Beacon Theater, NYC
Turn On Your Lovelight w/ Dana FuchsRatdog 4/3/08 Beacon Theater, NYC
The River Song w/ Chris Burger, Zachariah Mose, Dana Fuchs, Dred Scott, George Garzone, Doug Yates – Ratdog 4/4/08 Beacon Theater, NYC

Among other credits, Dana Fuchs plays a Janis Joplinesque singer in a wonderful movie called Across the Universe, a musical built around Beatle songs.

Regarding the personnel on “The River Song,” Gary Lambert has the info I was lacking:

“Jay, Kenny and Jeff are all in Alphabet Soup, along with Chris and Zach, DJ Tyko (I think that’s the right spelling) and a rotating cast of friends. Dred is a Bay Area expat — co-founder of Alphabet Soup, President’s Breakfast and other cool bands from the early days of jazz-hiphop fusion. Now lives in Brooklyn and plays regularly with Kenny and many other local hepcats. Garzone and Yates are both highly respected, if not all that well known to the public, saxophonists. George is a well-known jazz educator as well, and was one of Kenny’s primary teachers at the New England Conservatory.”

One More Saturday Night
Bird Song
– Grateful Grass

Keller Williams, Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain, and Keith Moseley (String Cheese Incident) played Grateful Dead songs in NYC to benefit the Rex Foundation, and they’ve released the show online with the proceeds also going to Rex. More info at and on Keller’s site.

Eric Thompson live in the KPFA studio, talking about Kleptograss and other stuff.

Barefoot Nellie – Black Mountain Boys 1964

Jerry Garcia, banjo; Eric Thompson, guitar; David Nelson, banjo

Jibaro Hoedown
Kleptograss 2/3/08 Verdi Club, San Francisco

Little SadieKleptograss 10/05 reight and Salvage, Berkele CA

Lleveme al Cielo
Viper’s Dream
La Arboleda
Louisiana Blues
Kleptograss 2/3/08 Verdi Club, San Francisco

Viva Michelle Obama

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Oh man, Michelle Obama! On Countdown just now, a clip of her shutting down Meredith Vieira’s vacuous question about Rev Wright:

“I think Barack has spoken so clearly and eloquently about this… We gotta move forward. This conversation doesn’t help my kids, you know, it doesn’t help kids out there who are looking for us to make decisions and choices about how we’re going to better fund education.”

It’ll be on The Today Show tomorrow morning.

Then Keith had another clip of her saying, “I’m the cynic in the family. This is the hope guy” – jerking her thumb at her husband, sitting beside her. “You really do believe this stuff, don’t you! …. I’ve spent my life trying to convince him not to be a politician. Teach! Write! Sing, dance! I don’t care what you do, just don’t do this. These people are mean!”

She’s great. The clip is here.

Thank you, Dr. Hofmann

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

New York Times obit of Albert Hofmann

Dr. Hofmann first synthesized the compound lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938 but did not discover its psychopharmacological effects until five years later, when he accidentally ingested the substance that became known to the 1960s counterculture as acid.

He then took LSD hundreds of times, but regarded it as a powerful and potentially dangerous psychotropic drug that demanded respect. More important to him than the pleasures of the psychedelic experience was the drug’s value as a revelatory aid for contemplating and understanding what he saw as humanity’s oneness with nature. That perception, of union, which came to Dr. Hofmann as almost a religious epiphany while still a child, directed much of his personal and professional life.

From the obituary in The Telegraph:

…. Sandoz, keen to make a profit from Hofman’s discovery, gave the new substance the trade name Delysid and began sending samples out to psychiatric researchers.

By 1965 more than 2,000 papers had been published offering hope for a range of conditions from drug and alcohol addiction to mental illnesses of various sorts.

But the fact that it was cheap and easy to make left it open to abuse and from the late 1950s onwards, promoted by Dr Timothy Leary and others, LSD became the recreational drug of choice for alienated western youth.

An outbreak of moral panic, combined with a number of accidents involving people jumping to their deaths off high buildings thinking they could fly, led governments around the world to ban LSD.

Research also showed that the drug taken in high doses and in inappropriate settings, often caused panic reactions. For certain individuals, a bad trip seemed to be the trigger for full-blown psychosis.

Hofmann was disappointed when his discovery was removed from commercial distribution. He remained convinced that the drug had the potential to counter the psychological problems induced by “materialism, alienation from nature through industrialisation and increasing urbanisation, lack of satisfaction in professional employment in a mechanised, lifeless working world, ennui and purposelessness in wealthy, saturated society, and lack of a religious, nurturing, and meaningful philosophical foundation of life”….

One of the greatest crimes of the War On Some Drugs is the suppression of LSD as a tool for introspection. In his entirely worthwhile memoir/cookbook PIHKAL, Alexander Shulgin wrote: “It is essential that our present negative propaganda regarding psychedelic drugs be replaced with honesty and truthfulness about their effects, both good and bad.”

Shulgin also wrote: “Our generation is the first, ever, to have made the search for self-awareness a crime, if it is done with the use of plants of chemical compounds as the means of opening the psychic doors. But the urge to become aware is always present…”

I had a hard time with LSD when I was a kid, because it threw the doors of my subconscious a little too wide open and a little too abruptly. When I came back to it a few years later, after having done some work (with the help of Alice Miller‘s The Drama of the Gifted Child and an excellent psychotherapist) to untie some knots in my character, I found that an occasional dose could be an opportunity for aesthetic enrichment and a realignment of emotional and spiritual priorities.

I am not advising anyone to take drugs. But I will fight for everyone’s right to choose for ourselves whether or not to do so.’s typical mainstream-media take:

Hofmann’s hallucinogen inspired — and arguably corrupted — millions in the 1960’s hippie generation. For decades after LSD was banned in the late 1960s, Hofmann defended his invention.

On a more positive note, Steve Gimbel (editor of Grateful Dead and Philosophy) has a post that quotes a letter from Hofmann. An excerpt from the letter:

I must admit that the fundamental question very much occupies me, whether the use of these types of drugs, namely of substances that so deeply affect our minds, could not indeed represent a forbidden transgression of limits. As long as any means or methods are used, which provide only an additional, newer aspect of reality, surely there is nothing to object to in such means; on the contrary, the experience and the knowledge of further facets of the reality only makes this reality ever more real to us. The question exists, however, whether the deeply affecting drugs under discussion here will in fact only open an additional window for our senses and perceptions, or whether the spectator himself, the core of his being, undergoes alterations. The latter would signify that something is altered that in my opinion should always remain intact.

Read the rest on Steve’s blog.

Relix article on GD->UCSC

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008


UC Santa Cruz Library will be Grateful Dead Central

by Rich Simon

….Chancellor Blumenthal drew intellectual parallels between the psychedelic rock band and the University.

“The Grateful Dead and UC Santa Cruz share a common history,” he explained, in prepared statements that drew sometimes awkward references to Dead culture.

“Both were founded the same year, 1965, and grew up together. Both evolved from the rich intellectual, social, and cultural atmosphere that blossomed in Bay Area in the 1960s. Both are innovators. … The Grateful Dead and UC Santa Cruz share freely with their followers, and are truly open-source. The Dead began with free concerts and are famous for encouraging fans to record shows, allowing them to plug directly into the soundboard. The Dead showed that by sharing music freely, the music would spread. And it really did. UC Santa Cruz will share the archive freely, using a state-of-the art archiving program, to make it accesssible to researchers and the public worldwide.” ….

Rubber Souldiers w/ Robin Sylvester

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Rubber Souldiers 5-7-08

Lorin and Chris and I are delighted to have Robin Sylvester – a genuine English rocker who grew up on the Beatles – joining Rubber Souldiers on bass at the Iron Springs Pub and Brewery on Wednesday, May 7. Showtime is 8pm, and there’s no cover charge! Come to Iron Springs (765 Center Blvd., Fairfax CA) and enjoy a fine meal and some award-winning brews, plus our exuberant and jammy take on the Fab Four.

Bobby’s cutoffs not going to UCSC

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

SF Weekly tackles the important question:

It was initially unclear whether one famous item of apparel would be part of the archive: Bob Weir’s famous cutoff denim shorts. While Catherine Bach may have introduced them into pop culture in her role as the leggy cousin of Bo and Luke Duke in The Dukes of Hazzard, if there’s one person who is responsible for bringing Daisy Dukes — the outrageously short cutoffs — to rock ‘n’ roll, it’s Weir.

2002 Gans interview with German radio

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

On March 9, 2002 I did a telephone interview as part of a Grateful Dead Marathon on Radio FSK in Hamburg. Frank Poppe just published the transcript:

Interview with David Gans (DG)
Lange Nacht der Grateful Dead, Radio FSK, Hamburg
Saturday, March 9 2002
Moderators: Nobat (N), Arne Heinen (AH), Frank Poppe (FP)

Donna the Buffalo to release a new CD in July

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Donna the Buffalo are scheduled to release a new CD, reportedly called Silverlined, on Sugar Hill Records. It’s expected to be available in early July.

New Railroad Earth CD “Amen Corner”

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Railroad Earth Amen Corner Website Launches April 29th, 2008

Railroad Earth and SCI Fidelity Records are pleased to announce the launch of the new website for the forthcoming Railroad Earth studio release, Amen Corner – in stores nationwide on June 10th, 2008!

The website will live at: and will feature streaming audio & video, photos of the band in the recording studio, news and other information, all centered around the release of Railroad Earth’s remarkable new album.

The first single from the album, “Hard Livin’,” will be available for free download, and we’ll be updating the site regularly with new songs, as well as videos of the band recording them…plus information on how to purchase Amen Corner!

Stay tuned for news about online listening parties, webcasts, and special content only available through this site!

Jerry Garcia interview

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Thanks to Pat Lee for sending the link.

Jerry Garcia Speaks, vol. 1

A 38-minute interview from NBC.

More Press Conf photos

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Bob Minkin posted some great shots from last week’s GD/UCSC press conference.

Grateful Dead Hour #1023

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Week of April 28, 2008

Part 1 39:16
Grateful Dead 8/5/89 Cal Expo, Sacramento CA

Part 2 17:39
Diga Rhythm Band, Diga
Mickey Hart, At the Edge
Mickey Hart, Planet Drum

Info on the Mickey Hart reissues here. Info on the Mickey Hart Band’s summer tour here.

Support for the Grateful Dead Hour comes this week from:

Grateful Dead Productions, announcing the release of Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings, a 9-disc set containing every note recorded at the legendary San Francisco venue on November 9, 10, and 11, 1973. Mastered in HDCD from the original 2-track reels using a state-of-the-art restoration technique, Winterland 1973 captures the post-Pigpen Dead at a creative peak on their home turf. Audio samples, historical documents, message board, and details of a limited-edition bonus disc are available now at

The 10,000 Lakes Festival, July 23 through 26 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. 10KLF features Phil Lesh & Friends, Mickey Hart Band, Dark Star Orchestra, The Flaming Lips, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and over fifty additional acts. More information and tickets for the 10,000 Lakes Festival are available at

Woodstock Trading Company, a brick-and-mortar as well as an online store offering clothing, posters, incense, tye dyes, and gifts from the Grateful Dead and numerous other bands. The store is located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and online at

Rex Foundation acknowledges the support of us musician types

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

Rex Foundation ad

GD-UCSC press conference

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

I missed the press conference because I’m in New York, but I made arrangements to have it recorded so I should be able to get it on the air at KPFA, the GD Hour, and Sirius soon.

Here’s a link to UCSC’s own web page about the archive. They’re already accepting donations to “keep the Grateful Dead Archive alive and share the resources with others.”

Paul Hoffman’s notes

Paul Hoffman’s photos

San Francisco Chronicle article by Regan McMahon

New York Times article by Jesse McKinley

Robin Sylvester to join Rubber Souldiers on May 7

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Robin Sylvester, bassist of Bob Weir and Ratdog and a dyed-in-the-wool Beatle man, will join Rubber Souldiers (Chris Rowan, Lorin Rowan, and David Gans) at the Iron Springs Pub on Wednesday, May 7. Hooray!!

This is a Beatle jam not to be missed!

(Mark Karan may also sit in for a few.)