Category Archives: Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia

Remembering Jerry Garcia

Happy birthday
August 1, 1942

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

Jerome John Garcia was born in San Francisco, CA. His father was Jose “Joe” Garcia, his mother, “Bobbie” Garcia. Brother "Tiff."

Joe Garcia loved music, especially jazz, and played woodwinds and clarinet.

In the spring of 1947 when Jerry was four, his brother Tiff accidentally chopped off a large part of Jerry's middle right finger. Later that year, Joe Garcia drowned  while on a fishing trip.

Jerry and brother Tiff moved in with Bobbie's parents, Tillie and William Clifford. While living with them the boys enjoyed great autonomy. It was also during this time that Jerry's third grade teacher encouraged the artistic side of Jerry. Jerry started to play the banjo.

Bobbie remarries…

In the early 50s, like so many other young Americans, Jerry discovers early rock 'n' roll: Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, BB King,  and others.

In 1957 for his fifteenth birthday, his mother and step-father gave Jerry an accordion. Not what he wanted, he complained until they exchanged the accordion for an electric guitar.

Brief military career and 1961

He joined the Army  in April, 1960, but the Army and he realized they were incompatible. He left that December.

In 1961, Jerry met a couple of people who would have a big impact on his future: Robert Hunter and David Nelson.

More people & Mother McCree’s

In early 1962 Jerry met Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and, in December, Bob Weir.

Jerry continued to play and by 1964 Jerry, Pigpen, and Weir form Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions (with Dave Parker, Tom Stone, and Dave Garbett).

Warlocks > Dead

In 1965, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann joined Jerry, Pigpen, and Bob to form The Warlocks. Their first show is at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park, CA.

In December, The Warlocks changed their name to Grateful Dead and performed their first of many shows as the house band at a Ken Kesey Acid Test in San Jose, CA. . Garcia was 23; Lesh, 25; Pigpen, 20; Weir, 18; and Kreutzmann, 19.

Long strange trip

The Grateful Dead would play over 2300 shows until their last on July 9, 1995, at Chicago’s Soldier Field. A month later, on August 9, 1995 Jerry Garcia died.

Over his life, Jerry Garcia was addicted to several things. Luckily for us, one of those addictions was music. In addition to the 2300 Dead shows, Jerry seemingly played continuously with his own band (Legion of Mary, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Jerry Garcia and Friends, Jerry Garcia Band, and many more) or sat in with other bands (Mickey and the Heartbeats, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and many more).

Happy birthday Jerry. We thank you for your eternal music.
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Big Rock Pow Wow

Big Rock Pow Wow

May 23 -25, 1969
Aum..."Mississippi Mud"

Big Rock Pow Wow

           The third of the 1969 Memorial Day weekend festivals is perhaps the most interesting of all. It wasn't filmed so pictures of the event are hard to come by. It wasn't recorded either. Well, mostly. 

           Fortunately for us today, the Grateful Dead played the Big Rock Pow Wow that weekend (twice) and as they typically did recorded themselves. Today that recording (and an excellent one it is!) is available as Road Trips Vol 4 #1. Both shows are available to listen to via the Internet Archive: Friday 23 May 1969 & Saturday 24 May 1969. The shows were recorded by the legendary Owsley “Bear” Stanley.

Big Rock Pow Wow

           The festival attracted only a few thousand people, but the line-up was a solid one. One of the performers I want to point out is Johnny Winter. The reason I want to do that is because as we move through the calendar and I blog about the many other 1969 festivals, one should note how many times you see his name. He is all over the place. Actually at the end of April, Woodstock Ventures had signed him ($7,500) to play at their upcoming middle-of-nowhere festival in Wallkill, NY.

Big Rock Pow Wow

           Sweetwater would also appear at that august event.

Here is advertised line-up by day:

Big Rock Pow Wow

           According to the Grateful Dead site: "There was Seminole dancing and chants onstage and off—and the adjacent restored Seminole village was bustling with native crafts-makers (and sellers), as well as various hippie merchants peddling their wares. Because the festival took place on Seminole land, there were no police or conventional security. Timothy Leary’s “people” were somehow involved in putting on the event and Dr. Tim wandered the grounds and occasionally spoke from the stage. “Orange sunshine” acid was everywhere." 
           The band Aum from San Francisco played also. Another of those pretty good bands that came and went but had the eye of people like Bill Graham who put Aum on his record label for their second (and last) album. It is their "Mississippi Mud" you hear a piece of at the top of today's entry.

Big Rock Pow Wow

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Phil Lesh

Phil Lesh

Grateful Dead
Woodstock alum
Born March 15, 1940
Happy birthday to you!
The music never stopped
The Grateful Dead-Summer Solstice-Shoreline Amphitheatre 06/21/1989
photo from: http://www.philzone.com/leshlinks/phil-lesh-bio.html
photo from: http://www.philzone.com/leshlinks/phil-lesh-bio.html
               We could simply say that Phil Lesh was the one and only bassist for the Grateful Dead and leave it at that. Is there more that you need to know?
               He was born in Berkeley, California and his first instrument was the violin, In high school he switched to the trumpet.  He eventually met Jerry Garcia and they became friends. Five years later, Jerry asked Phil to join the Warlocks and play bass.
               Since no one had instructed him on  how to play the bass, he developed his own style based on his musical preferences such as classical music and jazz.
               His contributions to the band were limited vocally and he composed few songs, but his musicianship was always an integral part of any Dead show.
               Because of technical issues, the Dead's contribution to the lore of  the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was more symbolic than actual. They felt their performance was sub-par and so that has become the description. Having said that, the show was not terrible in any sense. The Dead simply didn't have the chance to fly that night.
Phil Lesh discussed his early influences and more in the following video.

               In 1994, he was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Grateful Dead.
               In 1995, after Jerrry Garcia died, the Grateful Dead stopped as a band, but each of the members continued to play music. Sometimes together, sometimes as solo artists.

Phil Lesh

               Phil Lesh played with The Other Ones and The Dead, as well as his own band collection, Phil Lesh and Friends. Check the link below to see all of his credits since 1995.

Still playing…

On March 12 this week Lesh teamed with The Terrapin Family Band to kick off a run of two shows at Brooklyn Bowl in New York City. Tonight, the group returns to the Bowl with special guest Eric Krasno, who also sat-in on Sunday, and they will play the same setlist the Grateful Dead did at a famed concert from 1977.

As Jambands.com reports, Phil Lesh and The Terrapin Family Band with Eric Krasno will re-create the show the Grateful Dead performed at San Francisco’s Winterland Arena on June 7, 1977. Look for Phil and his ensemble to play each and every song the Dead did at the start of a historic three-night run this evening in Brooklyn. 

The Sunday concert saw Phil, The Terrapin Family Band and Krasno perform a varied mix of material including Grateful Dead gems and classic rock standards. The Terrapin Family Band features guitarists Ross James and Grahame Lesh, drummer Alex Koford and keyboardist Jason Crosby.

Here’s a look at what the band played: 

Set One: Truckin’, Shape I’m In, Feel Like A Stranger, Down By The River, Reuben & Cerise, West LA Fadeaway, Tumbling Dice, Casey Jones

Set Two: Mason’s Children, Bad Moon Rising, Werewolves of London, New Potato Caboose, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Dark Star v2, Caution, Sugaree

Encore: Ripple
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