The Grateful Dead’s relationship with St. Louis went deep as the new Listen To The River box set and this Deadcast prove, featuring promoter Tony Dwyer, offstage jams at Scotty’s Music, and the time the Dead crashed Richie Gerber’s bar mitzvah.
by Jesse Jarnow
The Grateful Dead’s relationship with St. Louis went incredibly deep, which the music on the new Listen To The River box set proves perfectly well, but taking a close look at their December 1971 shows at the Fox Theatre shows just how deep.
One reason for the Dead’s love of St. Louis was Jerry Garcia’s love of Scotty’s Music, the world’s premier pedal steel guitar store and host of an annual steel guitar convention. We spoke with Michael Scott, son of the late DeWitt “Scotty” Scott about the store’s history, Garcia’s unlikely friendship with Scotty, the Dead’s jam there in December 1971 (taped by Scotty himself), and the archives of the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame (currently looking for a home).
Tony Dwyer helped bring the Dead to the Fox Theatre for the first time in February 1970 and became part of the Dead’s family in St. Louis, hanging out with the band and crew when they were through town, and sometimes when they weren’t, and co-promoting the shows in 1972 and 1973. Tony was hanging out with Garcia and Mountain Girl at Scotty’s in December 1971 when this photo was taken.
Jerry Garcia and Tony Dwyer, December 1971, courtesy Tony Dwyer
Thanks to Joe Schwab, owner of the fantastic St. Louis record store Euclid Records (in New Orleans, too), for tipping us off to one of our new favorite all-time stories: the time the Dead crashed Richie Gerber’s bar mitzvah. We have the full story with Richard Gerber himself and the members of the Spring Rain, the high school band from whom the Dead--minus Garcia and Pigpen--borrowed the stage. Thanks to Spring Rain bassist Mark Slosberg for the clipping from the Ladue High School Panorama.
For much more on the bar mitzvah saga, check out the always-crucial Grateful Dead Guide’s post about the band’s history with the city.
The December 10th, 1971 show was broadcast on KADI, part of the Dead’s ambitious schedule of 14 complete concert broadcasts from their fall 1971 tour, paid for by Warner Bros. as part of the promotion for the new live album known as Skull and Roses. The Dead scholar Corry Arnold has written a multi-part series on the Dead’s progressive and pioneering relationship with FM radio.
Pigpen scholars unite and check out Aric Ahrens’ examination of the phrase “box back nitties,” as deployed by Pig in the December 10th, 1971 version of “Good Lovin’.”