Grateful Dead

Welcome to My (Blog) World!

Why a weekly blog? Well, for a while now I’ve wanted to have a place where I can talk about music, issues, events and people related to the Grateful Dead and the post-GD world on a regular basis — and also hear what you have to say about this unique and fascinating universe we’re all wrapped up in to varying degrees. Basically, for the past few decades, much of my mind and spirit have been dominated by my interest in the Dead and the many tangents that have led from that incredible source of light and life. Of course, I’ve held jobs that have nothing to do with the Dead, raised two great kids, led what for all intents and purposes is a “normal” life, and listened to thousands upon thousands of hours of non-Dead music. But the Dead have always been at least in the background, and often in the foreground, of my life ever since Live Dead came out in November of 1969 and I subsequently saw my first show at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York, March 20, 1970. As Bob Weir sang (of a woman, I presume) in “Lazy Lightning,” “it’s an obsession, but it’s pleasing.”

I suspect most of you have seen my byline around this site on stories or product promos, have read liner notes I might have penned for various Road Trips and other releases, and some may go back to my days as editor/publisher of The Golden Road Dead fanzine, or even further to my years at BAM, the free Bay Area music magazine I worked for between 1976 and 1983. If you went to Pelham (New York) High with me in the very early ’70s, you might’ve read my first-ever Dead review—of the Vintage Dead album.

Golden Road magazine publishers
Regan and Blair on duty
at Red Rocks, 1987
I moved to the Bay Area from suburban NY in the fall of ’73, arriving just in time to catch the 11/11 Dead concert at wonderful Winterland — quite a contrast from my previous GD show at giant and decrepit Roosevelt Stadium in Joisey on Jerry’s 31st birthday. For a few years, I’d felt I was destined to live in the Bay Area someday. Then, spending some of the summer of ’73 living with my older bro in the Oakland Hills and going to see several Garcia-Saunders and Old & in the Way shows (not to mention Van Morrison and all sorts of other faves who played in clubs here), pretty much convinced me to transfer to UC Berkeley for my last two years of college. I got my degree in Political Science (was and still am a political junkie), then went to the graduate School of Journalism there, with an eye toward being a rock critic. That segued into my long tenure at BAM, and that’s what allowed me to write my first book about the Dead, The Music Never Stopped (which, at the time, 1983, was the only history of the band available). The following year, my wife, Regan, and I started The Golden Road, which took me even deeper in the Dead world and gave me the opportunity to interview and write about so many of the cool folks who have been part of the scene through the years. We put out 27 issues between the winter of ’84 and the middle of ’93, by which point we were about to have our second child and didn’t have the time or space in our house to keep putting out a magazine. During that time my main gig was being a writer and editor at Mix, the leading U.S. sound and recording magazine, and I continue to write for Mix to this day.

After Jerry died, I spent a couple of years working on the book Garcia: An American Life (published by Viking in 1999), co-produced the So Many Roads box set with my buddies David Gans and Steve Silberman, and also got involved with helping put out posthumous Garcia releases, including the All Good Things box. When Rhino took over the management of the Grateful Dead’s archival release program a few years ago, I signed on to work occasionally for the re-vamped Dead.net website and joined with Vaultmaster Supreme David Lemieux to play a small role in shepherding the Road Trips series.

So, that’s who I am. In coming weeks, I’ll be bringing up various issues connected to the Dead world that we can bat around and (hopefully) have some fun with, I’ll talk about some recent books and films (good and bad) that have connections to the scene, no doubt take a trip or two down memory lane, and we’ll see where it all leads. If there are issues or questions you’d like to see addressed, let me know. Don’t be shy! We’re all friends here…

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Joined: Jun 6 2007
Tha answer man...

Simonrob, I'm the last guy to ask about the techical things about links and such. Seems to me the best way to keep a thread going might be for everyone to just navigate over to the new blog discussion every Wednesday when it goes up, 'cause it's going to very complicated if some people are talkin here, some people are talkin' there as we move through time.

GRTUD, that was not me in your dining room in 1990. I think the last time I was in Maryland was something like 1975. I toured Edgar Allen Poe's house with a very creepy and morbid tour guide.

The mix-your-own-Dead thing is an interesting idea... but I can't imagine it happening for some reason. I know other groups have done that, though.... Personally, I think it would be more fun to mix some Mickey Hart percussion extravaganza....

Not sure what the state of various video possibilities is, so I have no comment on that. I know a couple of things are being looked at, so to speak...

Most of '91 is in the JGB vault, Providence included...

simonrob's picture
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Joined: Jun 7 2007
Link this?

Would it be possible to place a permanent link to this blog thang in the "Table of contents" (top left on the homepage) under "Features" for example so that it will be easy to find in the future, once it inevitably disappears from "The latest" (top right on the homepage) where the link is currently to be found. It would be a shame for it to get lost amongst the hundreds of other topics that require lots of effort to find. I get the impression, or at least I hope, that this will be an interesting place to visit on a regular basis, hopefully for a long time to come.

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Joined: Feb 6 2008
JG vault

Hey Blair-do they 11/19/91 Providence in that there vault thingy? What a GRATE show that Iwas lucky to have been able to attend. Youtube has "Lay Down Sally" from that night posted-I remember that song very well. It was in my HO much better version than the Clapton radio version. Jerry was shuffling, sweating and smiling all night long. What a great, great musical and Jerry memory. I took my future wife to the show and she and I had wonderful time.

GRTUD's picture
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Joined: Jun 4 2007
I (Do) Know You Rider...!

Well I think I know you... the picture helped put some strands in Ole Duder's mind in order. Did you ever interview anyone in Maryland around 1990? If memory serves, you sat at my dining room table and we talked (you even recorded me at times - I felt so special) for a couple hours. I remember how you liked the "X" Factor idea and that I wasn't the only one that had described it.

Now I suppose in a life like yours a guy like me would certainly be forgettable but you might remember the rug in that room. It was a hideous green like a golf putting tee only more... green! Yuck... I hated the color (it came with the house when we bought it) but it really, really tied the room together.

Of course the memory may have well been just a dream but if that is the case, it was one damn fun dream.

In any event, and as I've told you previously; the Garcia book was off the chart! He may not have been good at certain aspects of life (as is the case for most of us - myself included) but he was good on his word to me. I bought the ticket and he brought the ride!

Take care Blair and thanks for this blog thing... I've gotten a real kick out of it already.

"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're un-cool." ~ Lester Bangs

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Joined: Nov 1 2010
Hi!

Hi Mr. Jackson!

Just wanted to say a few things... first, I absolutely loved "Garcia: An American Life," it's probably the most insightful biography around about Jerry and the Dead (Phil and McNally's books are really outstanding, too, of course). Having a blog here is a great idea! Your contributing essays to the releases are always a great read. So thanks for all that.

Just a few annoying suggestions and questions, though, seeing as you're "in the loop": First, do you have any notion of whether or not the Europe '72 shows will be available for individual download at any point? It'd almost seem unethical (not really, of course) to have all that great music only available in a limited edition CD release at $450 a pop.

Second, and this is just a dumb idea, but wouldn't it be cool to have some rough multitrack files to download for those of us who'd like to make our own mixes of shows? Like, maybe just to give people an idea of the kind of work that goes into making a multitrack release (I'm thinking here of the bonus material with David Lemieux on "The Grateful Dead Movie" that explicates the process), it would be cool to make available the unmixed multitracks for a single song, so interested parties with the appropriate software could "mix" their own music. Maybe I'm just jealous of Jeffrey Norman's job, but some interactive content like that would be totally awesome.

Anyway, the blog is a great idea. Good luck with "Feed Your Head," I really look forward to reading it!

Eric

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Joined: Jun 4 2007
I used to have those socks...

...in red and in blue stripes. Nice.

johnman's picture
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Joined: Dec 26 2007
what I would really LIKE to see.....(hear)....

Is any existing copy of the show that Jerry did on board USS Carl Vinson in the '80's. I was serving onboard her at the time but had to rush home on emergency leave (lost my mother to cancer) so I missed the show. I have a raggedy tape that a close friend recorded for me on a walkman, but it's almost not worth playing. Wonder if there is anything in the vault....

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Joined: Jul 4 2007
GD Videos

There are so many videos of the Grateful Dead floating around in various formats and qualities, but so little officially released. Durham, NC 1978, Passaic, NJ both 1977 and 1978, Denmark, 1972. Then there's all that prime footage from Winterland 1974 on 16mm that most of us would die to own in its entirety. Any chance that we may get to see all this amazing footage from the Dead's best years any time in the near future? If at all? This is a gold mine of joy waiting to come home. If the Europe '72 box is any indication, we're out here and we're ready to put our money where our mouths are. Let's see some of this amazing footage. And full shows please! Compilations just won't do when you've got entire shows filmed and videotaped. Even if the video quality isn't up to hi-def standards, the audio is exceptional and available. The Closing of Winterland footage wasn't pristine, nor was the Egypt footage, but no one cared. We got to watch and listen. It's the rarest of all treats. And it's time. Just my two cents...

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Joined: Jun 23 2007
Your mission, Mr. Jackson, should you choose to accept it....

is to hit a whole lot of shows on the spring Furthur tour and compose some of your peerless show reviews. They were always my favorite part of the Golden Road.

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Joined: Jun 6 2007
Now, now...

...be nice, imcndbl! Schabs has a nice side... or so I'm told. ;-)

(For those of you who don't know who we're talking about... don't ask! You don't need to go there!)

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