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 4 2007
Internet Habits

"I'd bet they don't sit around reading about themselves on the net and wading through the insults and blather on so many sites."

((((( Schabs )))))

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Joined: Sep 4 2007
I hope this can give us some great insight on the band

You ve written some intriguing stuff in the past . And i take the time to send along a greeting

I hope this space can be used by you and fans to debate the greatness of this music , amongst other things

I also hope that in the future this band and its remaining members can decide to release this music ;not so much from a lucrative perspective ( they know they can sell out a box set in 4 days etc etc ] . Of course lucrative ventures are important if you re in some sort of business . And this band's business is music . But there - I think - is so much great stuff not released . And we re just waiting for the moment that they need ' something ' to come in aide . Its the truth

At least theres tape trading and Internet archive . Maybe I ll just pass on what I just suggested in the previous paragraph . Good luck Mr Jackson with your Blog , and many - and myself included - hope that this can help strengthen our GD literary boundaries

Captain Stormfield's picture
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Joined: Nov 4 2007
Good point

Ah, fair enough.

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Joined: Jun 6 2007
Sorry, Cap'n...

...I have no idea about the personal Internet habits of any of the band members. If I had to guess, I'd bet they don't sit around reading about themselves on the net and wading through the insults and blather on so many sites. (Not this one, of course!) But I'm just guessing...

Captain Stormfield's picture
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Joined: Nov 4 2007
Late Era JGB & Stuff

There were some really good late-era JGB shows, notably Halloween '93. A very typical set list for the time, but it has my all-time favorite version of "Shining Star" (despite Gloria and Jackie being a bit out of tune in places). There is also a hauntingly beautiful version of Daniel Lanois's "The Maker".

On another note, I sometimes wonder how often Billy, Mickey, Bobby or Phil visit Dead.net. I'm assuming most or all of them use the internet, and I'm curious if they ever take a peek at the site just for the heck of it. Has one or more of them ever commented to you about the site or the contents of it? Curious. Of course, you may not want to share, which is fine. But I found myself during the "30 Days of Dead" give away a few months back wondering if any one or more of the core four ever poke around these here parts.

simonrob's picture
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Joined: Jun 7 2007
Always good to find out...

...more about what is in the vault. From what has already been posted here it is obvious that there is a lot of interest in Jerry releases. Whether or not this is due to a lack regular Jerry releases lately whilst Dead releases continue to pour out I don't know. What I do know is that with Jerry's various aggregations, there is much more stylistic variation than with the Dead which in a way makes it more interesting. I get the idea that David Grisman is open to releasing stuff - as for the estate of Jerry it is less obvious. I am very happy to learn that there is a good Reconstruction show in the vault and hope it sees the light of day soon.

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Joined: Jun 4 2007
Thanks for the info!

Thanks for the info!

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Joined: Jun 6 2007
First of all...

Thanks to Jeremy for the vivid descriptions of life as an English Deadhead. Sounds like you had some great times! May they continue... I've been buried in the Europe '72 tour, writing some liner notes, so it's great having a little first-person glimpse of that world!

On some other questions:

There is at least one "Front Street Sheiks" tape in the JG vault; the little I've heard is extremely rough, probably not releasable (though I've only heard a bit, as I said).

The Garcia/Grisman live stuff (the masters of which are in the JG vault) is jointly controlled by both camps so would require an agreement. I would love to see some of that come out, of course, and I would think that it will be worked out at some point.

Yes, I could see a late-era JGB release, there are quite a few really good '93 shows and at least one great one from '94 (2/6).

As for a "rational reason" for the paucity of downloads... I can't think of any, but it's not my call...

Finally, there is exactly ONE Reconstruction show in the vault.... but it's a good one!

Underthevolcano's picture
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Joined: Feb 6 2008
Jerry vault

I vote for "Reconstruction"

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Joined: Jul 17 2007
Digitized Jerry Vault

Best news I've heard in years. Could you see some late era releases from the Jerry Vault such as Fall '93 or maybe even '94? I thought I read somewhere that you have heard some stuff from Garcia/Grisman circa '94 and it wasn't pretty. The stuff they did in '92 deserves an official release with such tunes as "She Belongs To Me" and "Down Where The River Bends". Anyway, just rambling, if you could give some thoughts as to what eras might be considered for release, we're all ears!!

Also, could you give any rational reason as to why new GD downloads have ceased to exist? It is the quickest and easiest way to get shows out as fast as possible to our grubby little hands. Maybe some Garcia downloads for the future??

Thanks Blair for all you do, any response would be appreciated.

Yes, please release Twilight, the one from 4-19-91 would suit me just fine!

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