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Please God, make it stop! 90 minutes of the Grateful Dead tuning up
09:36 am


Grateful Dead

On his “chat show,” Kevin Pollak has told the story more than once of a bit by the comedy troupe of Barry Levinson and Craig T. Nelson from some unspecified moment in the late 1960s or early 1970s when earnest folk duos were dominating coffee houses up and down the west coast. For one of their “songs,” Nelson and Levinson simply tuned their acoustic guitars for nine minutes. According to Levinson, after a minute or two the audience would cotton to the gag and kind of murmur in an abashed way. Around minute four, however, the audience would grow restless and hostile, as if to say, “NO. You are NOT doing this!” But sticktoitiveness has its benefits, after weathering the rough patch in the middle, more often than not the audience would find it even funnier than at the outset. Every time they did the gag, it would take everything that Levinson and Nelson had not to bail on the bit during the tough middle minutes. Hanging in there usually paid dividends, even if it was tough in the moment.

One wonders how “Tuning ’77,” a 90-minute supercut of the Grateful Dead tuning their instruments while touring in 1977, would go over if it were played live. For this unusual audio file, Atlanta-based artist Michael David Murphy sifted through a number of Grateful Dead live recordings on the Internet Archive that surely would tax my patience after ... well, twenty minutes maybe. And yet I find that listening to “Tuning ’77” is kind of pleasing in a background-music kind of way.

As Murphy states, the audio file is “a seamless audio supercut of an entire year of the Grateful Dead tuning their instruments, live on stage. Chronologically sequenced, this remix incorporates every publicly available recording from 1977, examining the divide between audience expectation and performance anxiety.” “Tuning ‘77” is available on, which also hosts the files that constituted its source material.

Here it is, go crazy:


via AV Club

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Henry Rollins covers the Grateful Dead

At first blush, the linkage of Henry Rollins, who came out of D.C.‘s straight edge scene—he’s obviously tight buddies with Ian MacKaye, the man who wrote the song “Straight Edge”—and Jerry Garcia, one of the most drug-friendly musicians who ever lived, seems more than a little bit odd. But maybe that’s just your square categories, maaaaan! Artists go where artists wanna go, and there’s no predicting where they’ll end up.

It turns out that even though he desists from using drugs, including alcohol, Rollins doesn’t really identify as a straight edge. (In that interview, Rollins discusses the handful of times he’s used marijuana, LSD, and mushrooms, and it’s a pretty entertaining read.) Discussing his penchant for tangents in his spoken-word appearances—and the occasional necessity for the audience to guide him back to the original fork in the road—Rollins in a 2008 invoked the atmosphere at Grateful Dead shows as a comparison: “It reminds me of when I’d go see the Grateful Dead, and Jerry Garcia would make a mistake and everyone would applaud: ‘Yeah, nice one, Fat Boy!’ It’s a very friendly environment.” So Henry Rollins likes Grateful Dead shows—here’s hoping that he dispensed more miracles than he received!
Wartime (Henry Rollins and Andrew Weiss)
Rollins former Black Flag band member Greg Ginn told Rolling Stone in 1985 that he dreamed of the group opening for the Grateful Dead and Dead tee-shirts were reportedly commonly seen worn by Black Flag’s roadies. As a working musician in California, it’s wouldn’t be all that unlikely that Rollins would meet Jerry—indeed, he probably did. In 1987, while working on Life Time, the first Rollins Band album, his studio was in the same building as the space the Grateful Dead was using when they remastered their back catalog for CD, and they hung out a little bit:

I was in L.A., mastering my first band album, Life Time, at a place I believe was called Digital Magnetics. The Grateful Dead were across from me, working on their first batch of CDs. I was told that all the way down at the end of the hall, a member of The Doors and their producer, Paul Rothchild, were working on remastering the band’s catalog for CD. ... I had someone relay a message to Paul and company that I was in the building. ... Moments later, Paul came into my small room and asked if I wanted to come in and have a listen to what they were doing. Uh, yeah!

Henry Rollins and Grateful Dead
In 1990 Rollins and his longtime bassist Andrew Weiss (who, incidentally, producer of several Ween albums) released an EP under the name Wartime called Fast Food for Thought. The EP’s fifth and final track was a cover of “Franklin’s Tower,” off of the Grateful Dead’s 1975 album Blues for Allah. Since Wartime consisted only of a vocalist and a bassist, it sounds very different from the Dead’s melodic guitar jamming. But the lyrics are entirely unchanged, and, at around eight minutes in length, it’s nearly twice as long as the original album cut, and honors the Dead’s jammy legacy.
In 2009, asked in an email interview “What made you want to cover a Grateful Dead tune?” Rollins replied, “We thought it would sound good with a go-go beat.” As it happens, a block away from my Cleveland apartment is a building with the words “Franklin Tower” written prominently above the entrance, and I think of Wartime’s cover every time I walk my dog. Here’s the original cut and Wartime’s take on it. It’s not for everyone, but I enjoy it.

The Grateful Dead, “Franklin’s Tower”:

Franklin's Tower by Grateful Dead on Grooveshark

Wartime, “Franklin’s Tower”:

Franklin's Tower by Wartime on Grooveshark


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Grateful Dead on Hugh Hefner’s ‘Playboy After Dark,’ 1969
06:44 am


Grateful Dead
Hugh Hefner

The Grateful Dead perform a delicate “Mountains of the Moon” and a rip-snortin’ “St. Stephen” from their 1969 Aoxomoxoa album on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy After Dark TV show. Aoxomoxoa is considered a highlight among the group’s studio output by fans, but “Mountains of the Moon” and “St. Stephen” were thought to be too hard to play live by Jerry Garcia—there were only thirteen live performances of “Mountains” and after 1971 “St. Stephen” was only pulled out on rare special occasions.

Despite this, Garcia remarked that “Mountains of the Moon” was “one of my favorite ones. I thought it came off like a little gem.” It does, like something you’d hear at a Renaissance fair. And if I had to pick just one song by the Dead of this vintage to see them do live, it would be “St. Stephen” (no, “Dark Star,” no, “St. Stephen”...). Even with the hatchet-like unsubtle edits this is still fantastic.

Eagle-eyed culture vultures will spot the gorgeous English Playmate Dolly Read who would soon be cast as “Kelly MacNamara,” the lead role in Russ Meyer’s Beyond the Valley of the Dolls to Jerry’s left during the interview. You’ll want to skip directly to 3:30 to avoid the boring introduction and a brief flash of NSFWishness.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Live Dead: Epic Grateful Dead TV appearance from their legendary 1972 European tour
12:14 pm


Grateful Dead

Although the Grateful Dead had already played one memorable gig in France in June of 1971 at the (“Honky”) Château d’Hérouville recording studio, that was more of a spontaneous hippie “happening” than a concert performed in front of a ticketed audience. It wasn’t until 1972 that the group properly toured Europe. By then there was a lot of pent up demand to see the Dead and the band was inspired by the reception they received from their non-English speaking fans.

One stop, well two, along that legendary trek occurred at the Tivolis Koncertsal in Copenhagen. The band played the Tivolis on April 14 and then three days later they returned for a second concert that was broadcast live—part of it, at least—on Danish (some sources say French) television, with the remainder of the material shot that night getting an airing in August of that year.

As “formal” visual recordings of earlier Dead shows in their entirety (or close to it) are not exactly in abundance, this show has long been prominent among tape traders in varying levels of quality (As seen here it’s very, very fine). It’s probably the final professionally videotaped show of Pigpen playing with the band.

Although it starts off slowly—the group’s improvisational nature seems hampered slightly due to having to fit their set into the allotted TV time frame—stay with it,  the energy level rises as the set goes on.

Me And Bobby McGee
Chinatown Shuffle
China Cat Sunflower >
I Know You Rider
Jack Straw
He’s Gone (first time for this onstage)
Next Time You See Me
One More Saturday Night
It Hurts Me Too
Ramble On Rose
El Paso
Big Railroad Blues

Eventually all of the Grateful Dead’s 1972 European tour was released as the 73 disc box set, Europe ‘72: The Complete Recordings. It ain’t cheap…


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Live Dead: Wild footage of legendary Grateful Dead set at the ‘Honky Château’ in France, 1971
02:33 pm


Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia at Château d’Hérouville, photo (c) Rosie McGee

Château d’Hérouville is a residential recording studio in Hérouville, France made famous by Elton John, who recorded three albums at the studios, (Honky Château, Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player and Goodbye Yellowbrick Road).  Marc Bolan, Gong, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Bad Company, Iggy Pop, Fleetwood Mac… there is a long, long list of groups who have recorded there. It was once home to Chopin and Vincent van Gogh apparently painted part of the building.

The Grateful Dead did not record in the famous studio, per se, but they did perform a locally legendary impromptu gig there on June 21, 1971, as Jerry Garcia explained to Rolling Stone:

We went over there to do a big festival, a free festival they were gonna have, but the festival was rained out. It flooded. We stayed at this little chateau which is owned by a film score composer who has a 16-track recording studio built into the chateau, and this is a chateau that Chopin once lived in; really old, just delightful, out in the country near the town of Auvers-sur-Oise, which is where Vincent van Gogh is buried.

We were there with nothing to do: France, a 16-track recording studio upstairs, all our gear, ready to play, and nothing to do. So, we decided to play at the chateau itself, out in the back, in the grass, with a swimming pool, just play into the hills. We didn’t even play to hippies, we played to a handful of townspeople in Auvers. We played and the people came — the chief of police, the fire department, just everybody. It was an event and everybody just had a hell of a time — got drunk, fell in the pool. It was great.

In The Dead Book: A Social History Of The Grateful Dead, Hank Harrison (Courtney Love’s estranged father), briefly a manager of the group, wrote:

The Dead started to play just before the sky got dark, but their entire set was illuminated by bright lights from the Paris socialized television station Link Two, which rebroadcast the event the next week. Their film technique was flawless, as one would expect from a French film team; the camera people were completely unobtrusive on the musicians; the lights bugged Phil a little. Pig Pen just barely recovered in time to sing after downing his two bottles of duty free Wild Turkey… Weir was in fine primal scream voice, and Garcia settled into his trancelike lassitude from which emanates the famous electronic genius that is particularly his.

They played for three hours, and during this time the workers and the fire department and little children lit hundreds of candles and placed them around the pool as if it were a religious shrine… a Lourdes or place of healing waters. As the party progressed, the candles were extinguished by the bodies of of various drunken celebrants being thrown in the pool by other drunken celebrants. The Dead played louder and louder; the locals had never heard anything like it before and they were delirious.

Some parts of the Grateful Dead’s show at Hérouville were broadcast by ORTF on the Pop 2 TV show on July 24, 1971. A second portion from the set was broadcast on November 27, 1971. The video below is from a bootleg compilation of those two broadcasts that’s been going around for the past few years on Dime a Dozen and other torrent trackers. You can listen to the entire set (audio only) here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
If you think you hate the Grateful Dead, give ‘Terrapin Station’ 16 minutes of your time

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The death of Jerry Garcia as it was reported on ABC’s ‘Nightline’
04:26 pm


Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia was a tie-dyed human symbol of the survival of the ideals of the hippie generation. Accordingly, when he died, a lot of people were very cut up about it, as this report reminds us with its live shots of grief-stricken fans in Washington, DC, New York and San Francisco on August 9, 1995.

I remember the day it happened. A guy I was friendly with from taking cigarette breaks outside of my office building—a fellow who always wore a suit, crisp white shirt and a tie, maybe mid to late 50s at the time and the manager of a big Hollywood sound stage—told me that he’d locked the door of his office and cried like a baby behind it for 20 minutes before regaining his composure.

He’d gotten into following the Dead around (and ‘shrooms) as a way to stave off a mid-life crisis after a divorce blind-sided him. He had a sort of “On the Road” moment as a Deadhead and that was really a liberating thing for him. Jerry Garcia’s death represented the end to something that was of huge emotional importance in his life, something that obviously a lot of people also felt.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
If you think you hate the Grateful Dead, give ‘Terrapin Station’ 16 minutes of your time
12:02 pm


Grateful Dead

I’ve noticed how posting something about the Grateful Dead on Dangerous Minds tends to bring out both very pro and very con views about the band, or rather, when you look a little bit closer, their fans.

The fans, the Deadheads themselves, it seems to me, were always the stumbling point for a lot of rock snobs who might otherwise have loved what the Dead had to offer.

I, too, was one of those snobs who turned up my nose at going to see Dead shows many a time (which I now regret) even though I loved them on record. The whole hippie thing felt terribly anachronistic to me, a PiL, Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, Nina Hagen, Residents, Psychedelic Furs-loving kid, during the postpunk era (There was also the factor that I might meet the sort of girls I wanted to meet at, say, a Siouxsie and The Banshees show, but never at a Dead show, if that makes sense). It felt even more dated in the 1990s.

Nevertheless, I’ve been going through quite a bit of a Grateful Dead phase lately, and I’ve found over the years, that this journey always comes full circle for me to their 1977 masterpiece, Terrapin Station. As great as American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead are, Terrapin Station is the one that stands out. It’s truly a remarkable album, but especially the title 16:27 long title track that takes up all of side two.

Have you ever heard it? If not, what are you waiting for? Press play.

“Terrapin Station” is one HELL of an AMAZING song suite, isn’t it? The choir and orchestration—arranged by the great Paul Buckmaster who’s worked with Elton John, Lloyd Cole and on “Space Oddity” for David Bowie—see this song depart from the folk/blues/psych of the Dead’s normal sound for something more akin to say, Yes, Moody Blues or Genesis.

But seriously, what kind of crazy fuckin’ Jerry-hater are you if you can’t dig this???

“Terrapin Station” became a staple in the band’s set list, getting over 300 plays throughout the years, but never the full thing. The most complete live version was performed on March 18, 1977 at Winterland Arena. 

This live version, also at Winterland on New Year’s Eve of 1978—the night the venue closed—is a fine, delicately rendered performance, but the majestic studio recording, in my opinion, is still way better. If you happen to be new to this material, start with the clip above then move on to the live versions.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Stones and Grateful Dead killing time, waiting for helicopter to Altamont, 1969


What is going on?”

Also seen in this outtake from Gimme Shelter is a fellow unknown to all but the most hardcore Stones freaks, original member Ian Stewart, the “sixth Stone” who didn’t really fit in on a looks level with the rest of the band, and who became their dedicated, meticulously organized, golf-loving road manager.

Stewart, who died of a heart attack in 1985 at the age of 47 in a doctor’s waiting room, played organ and piano on key Stones tracks such as “Honky Tonk Woman,” “Brown Sugar” and “Sweet Virginia.” He was an offstage keyboardist on many Stones tours as well as playing piano on Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” and “Boogie With Stu” (which is named for him, obviously). When the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they asked that Ian Stewart’s name be included as a member of the group.

With thanks to Todd Philips!


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Owsley ‘Bear’ Stanley has died

Owsley “Bear” Stanley the 1960s counter-culture figure, who “flooded the flower power scene with LSD and was an early benefactor of the Grateful Dead” has died in a car crash in his adopted home country of Australia on Sunday, his family have said. He was 76. The National Post reports that Owsley was:

..the renegade grandson of a former governor of Kentucky, Stanley helped lay the foundation for the psychedelic era by producing more than a million doses of LSD at his labs in San Francisco’s Bay Area.

“He made acid so pure and wonderful that people like Jimi Hendrix wrote hit songs about it and others named their band in its honor,” former rock ‘n’ roll tour manager Sam Cutler wrote in his 2008 memoirs “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Hendrix’s song “Purple Haze” was reputedly inspired by a batch of Stanley’s product, though the guitarist denied any drug link. The ear-splitting blues-psychedelic combo Blue Cheer took its named from another batch.

Stanley briefly managed the Grateful Dead, and oversaw every aspect of their live sound at a time when little thought was given to amplification in public venues. His tape recordings of Dead concerts were turned into live albums.

The Dead wrote about him in their song “Alice D. Millionaire” after a 1967 arrest prompted a newspaper to describe Stanley as an “LSD millionaire.” Steely Dan’s 1976 single “Kid Charlemagne” was loosely inspired by Stanley’s exploits.

According to a 2007 profile in the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanley started cooking LSD after discovering the recipe in a chemistry journal at the University of California, Berkeley.

The police raided his first lab in 1966, but Stanley successfully sued for the return of his equipment. After a marijuana bust in 1970, he went to prison for two years.

“I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for,” he told the Chronicle’s Joel Selvin. “What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different.”

He emigrated to the tropical Australian state of Queensland in the early 1980s, apparently fearful of a new ice age, and sold enamel sculptures on the Internet. He lost one of his vocal cords to cancer.

Stanley was born Augustus Owsley Stanley III in Kentucky, a state governed by his namesake grandfather from 1915 to 1919. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 18 months, studied ballet in Los Angeles, and then enrolled at UC Berkeley. In addition to being an LSD advocate, he adhered to an all-meat diet.

A statement released by Cutler on behalf of Stanley’s family said the car crash occurred near his home in far north Queensland. He is survived by his wife Sheila, four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Here is a rare interview with Bear Owsley by Bruce Eisner .

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Petulia: Julie Christie & the Grateful Dead star in the great lost film of the ‘Summer of Love’

Richard Lester’s criminally obscure 1968 film, Petulia, starred Julie Christie (at the height of her international fame and considerable beauty) as a neurotic San Francisco socialite who abruptly comes into the life of a recently divorced surgeon (George C. Scott) and basically ruins it. After watching Dr. Archie Bollen (Scott) gently care for an injured boy, Petulia Danner—who is married to a violently abusive man (Richard Chamberlain)—becomes smitten and is determined to have an affair with him. (When they first meet she says, “I’ve been married six months and I’ve never had an affair.”). When her husband finds out about the affair, he savagely beats her. In a shocking turn of events, she spurns Archie, who wants to protect her, and returns to her husband.

Petulia is a complex, daring film about disappointments in relationships, gorgeously shot against the backdrop of hippie-era San Francisco by Nicolas Roeg, with a score by composer John Barry. Richard Lester uses one of cinema’s first examples of flash-forwards and jump-cuts. (The film’s complicated non-linear structure becomes much clearer during a second viewing which is highly recommended). Critics at the time were fairly sour on Petulia (Pauline Kael famously called it Lester’s “hate letter to America”) but some 40 years later, this mostly unseen movie seems far, far ahead of its time, truly a stylistic breakthrough that added much to cinema’s evolving vocabulary. Ironically, at the same time Petulia is very much the ultimate Hollywood time capsule of “The Summer of Love.”
I’ve seen Petulia at least ten times and I think it’s an absolute masterpiece, one of the greatest American films of the 1960s, right up there with The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde and Easy RIder. There are many, many incredibly powerful and emotional scenes in Petulia but one in particular sends chills down my spine: Scott’s Archie and his ex-wife (Shirley Knight) still feel intense pain over their divorce, and still care for each other, but they simply cannot stand to be in the same room together. They parry back and forth, each jabbing at the other, at first passive-aggressively and then ramping up the emotional violence until Scott finally just explodes. Every time I’ve ever watched this scene with someone else, the reaction is always the same when it’s over: “Wow.”

George C. Scott is just fantastic in Petulia, giving one of the best performances of his career. The same can be said of Julie Christie in the title role. I’d even give her work here the edge over her Oscar-winning 1965 role in Darling. The ending, when Petulia, who is about to give birth to Chamberlain’s baby, thinks Archie is there with her in the delivery room, reaching up to touch what she thinks is his hand as she goes under, is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. I really can’t recommend this film highly enough. If you love film and you’ve never seen Petulia, you owe it to yourself to see it.
Petulia was set to premiere at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, but the May riots in Paris saw the festival cancelled that year. Petulia used to be really difficult to see and wasn’t released on DVD until 2004. It’s out of print again, but used copies are easy to come by. The film features musical cameos by Janis Joplin with Big Brother & the Holding Company (doing “Down On Me”) and the Grateful Dead (The Dead actually has more than one appearance in the film, as the band and their entourage play the on-looking hippies as Petulia is taken out on a stretcher after she’s been beaten).

After the jump watch a very young Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia doesn’t even have a beard yet) play “Viola Lee Blues.”

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Grateful Dead - Dark Star live in Veneta, Oregon 8-27-72

Is it controversial to post an over half hour version of Dark Star by the Dead here on the DM? I guess I’ll find out. The Dead have grown on me over time. Hated ‘em as a kid, perhaps you have to be a decrepit old hippy to “get” them. Whatever, they sound great to me now, maaaaan. Here’s some footage of them at their exploratory best that I was never before aware of that I found whilst stumbling around the series of tubes (as you do). Some delightfully acid-fried “you are there” scenes and some Gilliam-esque animated interludes as well as the crystal clear sound coming off the stage. Evidently this is from a film that was considered even too lysergic by the band themselves to bother completing.

Much more after the jump…

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
The Eccentric Ecclesiastical Architecture of the North San Fernando Valley

Frank Ehrenthal (1964) The Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society sanctuary, widely known asThe Onion for its unique, bulbous shape, was designed by Frank Ehrenthal, a student of Richard Neutra. The contoured wood beam building features a circular shape with a flat point at the highest peak of the roof, resembling the tapered end of a giant onion. In February, 1966 The Grateful Dead along with Ken Kesey and various Merry Pranksters staged an Acid Test here !
Hal C. Whittenmore (1966) The ultra-modern Knollwood United Methodist Church is defined by its swooping, asymmetrical white walls, including a soaring fin-like tower that evokes a traditional Mediterranean campanile (bell tower).
A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons (1962) Built as a pyramid, this church’s sanctuary appears infinitely solid on the outside yet equally light and airy inside. The interior’s exposed beams soar to a skylight at the apex, while hanging cylindrical light fixtures float throughout. Walls of glass integrate outdoor gardens with plantings along the inside perimeter. A below-grade entrance and garden wall minimize street noise. After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the building was deemed one of the safest in the San Fernando Valley.
(thanks L.J.Williamson !)


Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment