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  #46  
Old 03-09-2007, 08:48 PM
RickI RickI is offline
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well... im not a deadhead... never seen them play...

but i like their music...

thats all that counts for me...



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  #47  
Old 03-10-2007, 06:06 PM
macfawlty macfawlty is offline
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I understand why many people here say they never "got" the Dead. I am not old enough to have grown up listening to them in their early years 68-72. And I wasn't really going to concerts until about '77, my first one being Santana. The strongest periods for The Dead were 68-72 and 77-78 give or take. During the 80's and 90's I was deep into jazz collecting and even though I listened to other stuff my friends listened to, The Dead to me were a cool band with some good songs but the ones played on the radio from studio albums just got tired for me. If I had more of a preference for a similar band, Jefferson Airplane was it. Better composed songs IMO.

I saw The Dead a couple times in the 80's but I wasn't paying that much attention and the fact is, big venues and an overblown scene together with not really their best playing period and I still didn't really get it either. (I have some friends that have seen 200-300 Dead shows.)But then, when the Dick's Picks series came out, I got a couple and really started to "get it". I ended up buying about 15 or more of the Dick's Picks and then a friend of mine turned me on to the Live Music Archive (http://www.archive.org/details/etree) where the Grateful Dead community posted about 2,600 of their live shows (soundboard and matrix recordings in most cases) posted for downloading ALL FOR FREE. Now, they were one of about 2,000 bands on the LMA but I spent most of my time downloading only the Dead shows from the late 60's and early 70's as well as '77 and '78. Jerry's playing and the intense extended jamming really drew me in particularly with some of the favorite tunes for jamming. You see, studio recordings just were not what the band was about, not at all. You can't listen to "Truckin" and other tired tunes on the radio and "get" the Grateful Dead.

So, I downloaded all those shows from LMA and listened to The Dead almost exclusively for a year and I really got the opportunity to appreciate what The Dead were about. And as it relates to the music, it was about improvisation and the ability to travel so far in a song exploring far out musical boundaries and come back together to segway into the next song. That's an oversimplification of course and doesn't even begin to address the whole Dead experience traveling with the tour. In that sense, I was never a Deadhead, because I had a job and just couldn't take a bunch of time to be a Deadhead and I would have been too late for their best musical periods anyway. The whole scene got so overblown in the 80s anyway. Same with Phish in the 90's, just happened faster as it was like a whole new generation trying to get into the same thing. But hey, that's cool. I'm glad that people can be that much into music. There's worse things.

The Dead from the beginning were just sort of a homegrown product of the 60's, just a band doing what they do for nearly 20 years. They were certainly a flawed band in many ways. Bobby Weir's voice is not anything close to a natural singing voice. Jerry's voice is so fragile and weak but I love hearing it. They made a lot of mistakes in their shows. Throughout most of their time they were on a various assortment of drugs and alcohol. One of the best music bio's I have ever read is "Living with the Dead" that tells so many great tales about the things the band did and what they were always trying to do. The Dead started many things that many, many bands followed. They were committed to the best quality sound experience. They produced very high quality soundboard recordings from back as far a 1968 and allowed people to tape shows. They even encouraged trade-friendly live recordings and had a community of tapers that lived up to the rules. They started the whole traveling with the band thing. There was a lot they originated that most people do not know about.

So people who say they never "got" the Dead, I understand. I could imagine a similar thread called "I never 'GOT' jazz". Reminds me of something Miles Davis said when someone mentioned they didn't understand his music. He said "I been working on this for 20 years and you expect to understand it in 15 minutes..."

Bob Wier tours with his group, Ratdog and they sound great freshening up those Dead tunes. You can still get some of his shows from the LMA. Phil Lesh tours with his band that sees many people guest touring and playing with the group and while I wish he wouldn't sing, the band still sounds great.

Oh, and before you try to get the Grateful Dead shows on the LMA, you should know that they pulled the SBD recordings although you can hear any one of 2,600 or so shows streaming and that ain't bad.
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  #48  
Old 03-11-2007, 02:50 PM
laughingskunk laughingskunk is offline
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I didnt get the Dead for a long time. Then I heard Ripple being used in the movie "Mask" and started to get into them. While their harmonies and guitars may have been off key at times they did put out some good music. Ripple, Uncle John's Band, Friend of the Devil, Box of Rain, etc. I regret never having a chance to see them in concert. I do understand others views though. I have seen Dave Mathews Band several times , and while some moment have been truly transcendant(without chemicals) at times their music meanders and seems to lack focus. Now U2 and Bruce are totally different for me. Going to see them in concert is a spiritual thing for me. Their music can uplift me and move me beyond most church choirs. Singing along with 60,000 other fans in the Silverdome to "40" and "Pride" or with the E Streeters to "Land of Hopes and Dreams", "Badlands", and "Thunder Road". Rock music or music period doesnt get much better than that IMHO. Patrick
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  #49  
Old 03-11-2007, 09:23 PM
FLDavid FLDavid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoder View Post
. . . To fully understand the Dead, one has to also understand the culture that they were a part of. They cannot be pulled out and scrutinized as an individual entity. To fully understand them, you need to look at Jack Keruoac, Neil Cassidy, Ken Kesey, etc. Their music was not great, but it was good, and it was a reflection of what was going on at the time. . .
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. . . Ken Kesey, Merry Pranksters, Tom Wolfe's book, "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test"...it's all part of the culture of a Grand Dream some of us had. . .
I think Yoder and Bluepoet make a good point. I think music in general is (and always has been) a reflection of the life and times

I'm another who never really "got" 'em
And I am not taking *anything* away from any individual musician in the group ~ there is no doubt that they were all good players

I think the thing that turned me off (or against them, really) was a quote by Jerry Garcia after Watkins Glen (1973), where they performed on the same bill as The Allman Brothers Band and The Band

In one of the music magazines of the era, maybe Creem, he said something to the effect of "We're happy for the Allman Brothers' success; after all, we taught 'em everything they know"


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  #50  
Old 03-11-2007, 09:34 PM
dthumb dthumb is offline
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Originally Posted by FLDavid View Post
I think Yoder and Bluepoet make a good point. I think music in general is (and always has been) a reflection of the life and times

I'm another who never really "got" 'em
And I am not taking *anything* away from any individual musician in the group ~ there is no doubt that they were all good players

I think the thing that turned me off (or against them, really) was a quote by Jerry Garcia after Watkins Glen (1973), where they performed on the same bill as The Allman Brothers Band and The Band

In one of the music magazines of the era, maybe Creem, he said something to the effect of "We're happy for the Allman Brothers' success; after all, we taught 'em everything they know"


i would agree. i think the dead were more icons than masterpieces.

i remember the watkins glenn thing but, it had no bearing on my take of the dead. i was, at that time, deeply steepd in an odd mix of john fahey, leo kottke, keith jarrett, john coltrane and dylan...go figure???? what a great time that was!!!
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  #51  
Old 03-12-2007, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLDavid View Post
I think Yoder and Bluepoet make a good point. I think music in general is (and always has been) a reflection of the life and times

I'm another who never really "got" 'em
And I am not taking *anything* away from any individual musician in the group ~ there is no doubt that they were all good players

I think the thing that turned me off (or against them, really) was a quote by Jerry Garcia after Watkins Glen (1973), where they performed on the same bill as The Allman Brothers Band and The Band

In one of the music magazines of the era, maybe Creem, he said something to the effect of "We're happy for the Allman Brothers' success; after all, we taught 'em everything they know"


I think Garcia was joking, there...one example of this was an interview I saw of the Grateful Dead...this was in the 90s, when drugs were back to being the 400-lb. gorilla in the room, as polite conversation...the interviewer asked something about, "So, did you guys really do drugs?"

Garcia replied, "Oh, no, man...we didn't do that--that's just a rumour!!!"

There was about 15 seconds of "dead air", while everyone was trying not to laugh out loud...and Jerry was hiding his smile inside his beard, while his eyes were twinkling in merriment!

The interviewer moved on...
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  #52  
Old 03-12-2007, 08:05 AM
dthumb dthumb is offline
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might want to keep your eyes peeled for this little film about the dead's cross country canadian trip by train with janis, buddy guy, the band and a boatload of greats and others from the era..very entertaining and some great music as well.
of course, janis steals the show...go figure!
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  #53  
Old 03-12-2007, 10:38 AM
JohnZ JohnZ is offline
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Originally Posted by dthumb View Post
might want to keep your eyes peeled for this little film about the dead's cross country canadian trip by train with janis, buddy guy, the band and a boatload of greats and others from the era..very entertaining and some great music as well.
of course, janis steals the show...go figure!
'Festival Express'

You'll see my F-50R Special's brother in the film as well, played by Bob Wier.
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  #54  
Old 03-12-2007, 10:52 AM
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Guyute Guyute is offline
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Ah, the inspiration for the song "Might as Well"

Might as Well

Great North Special, would you all board
You can't find a ride like that no more,
The night the chariot swung down low
Ninety-nine children had a chance to go.
One long party from front to end
Tune to the whistle going round the bend,
No great hurry, what do you say?
Might as well to be every way.
Might as well, might as well, might as well, might as well,
Might as well, might as well, might as well, might as well,
Might as well, might as well, might as well.
Ragtime slowly for twenty-five miles
Then switch over to the cajun style
Bar car blowing rhythm and blues,
Rock 'n' roll wailing in the old caboose.
Long train running from coast to coast
Bringing home a party when you need it the most
Work on the box car, beat on the bell
Nothing else shaking so you might just as well.
Might as well, might as well, might as well, might as well,
Might as well, might as well, might as well, might as well,
Might as well, might as well, might as well.
Never had such a good time in my life before
I'd like to have it one time more
Whoa! One good ride from start to end,
I'd like to take that ride again, again!
Ran out of track and I caught the plane
Back in the county with the blues again
Great North Special been on my mind
Might as well, might as well, might as well, might as well,
Might as well, might as well, might as well, might as well,
Might as well, might as well, might as well
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  #55  
Old 03-12-2007, 11:50 AM
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Chicago Sandy Chicago Sandy is offline
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It is absolutely NO secret that the most hardcore of the Deadheads slammed and dissed them when "In the Dark" was released PRECISELY because production values and being in tune finally mattered to the Dead. (I know because so many of my friends were traveling Deadheads who griped endlessly about their "selling out," and I read Rolling Stone magazine and Billboard cover-to-cover every week back then). Now I know that I don't have the best voice and I certainly will never be able to achieve the technical brilliance on guitar of many, many AGF members. It's just a particular idiosyncrasy of mine that very pitchy vocals---and especially badly out-of-tune instruments and out-of-sync timing between band members--ruin my enjoyment of the best compositional and performing artistry. I never "got" the Replacements live for the same reason that they seemed (and prided themselves on being) sloppy in the name of "spontaneity," but I liked their studio albums and love Westerberg's solo stuff. It's one thing to be a great writer and performer with less than stellar technical chops and a flawed voice: the passion, genius and entertainment still shines through. But when an act who are instrumental virtuosi don't bother to play in tune or in time to each other, that sloppiness conveys an impression that they just don't CARE enough. The band Soul Coughing's first single is like fingernails on a blackboard to me for that very reason (horribly out-of-tune, perhaps even deliberately so, guitar intro), though frontman Doty's later stuff is quite listenable; CSNY is one of my all-time favorite bands but I still cringe at many of the live cuts on "Four-Way Street." (It's one thing--and acceptable to me--in the context of a jam or party, but quite another at a concert for which audience members may have paid considerable money and traveled quite a distance to attend). I feel that I am being disrespected as an audience member--that the band just doesn't feel it's worth the effort to do justice to not only their fans but to their art and their G-d-given talent.

Can you listen to Beethoven's Ninth played live by a junior-high-school orchestra (assuming you don't have a kid or know a neighbor's or friend's kid playing in the concert) or an out-of-tune amateur orchestra and enjoy it as well as when you hear it at a live concert by the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago or Boston Symphony Orchestra or NY, or L.A. Philharmonic, St. Paul Symphony or professional-caliber community orchestra? Call me a snob, but I can't.

That being said, studio cuts of "Uncle John's Band," "Ripple," "Truckin'," "Scarlet Begonias,"etc.---recorded before the band sounded tight and with Garcia's shaky voice but still played in tune--are still quite enjoyable to me. I get the sense that the chief appeal of the pre-1987 recorded Dead and their concerts was the sense of community and the evocation of an era that brings pleasant memories of that time (which is why boomers will listen to other even older boomers, but only if they happened to be famous back in their youth and provided the "soundtrack of their lives"). Fine for some, but as a listener I need more than that.
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  #56  
Old 03-13-2007, 05:04 AM
Earthworm Earthworm is offline
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I saw the Dead 30 times and they had a huge influence on me musically. I am not a Deadhead any longer and in retrospect believe that the whole scene was entirely unhealthy. There was a darkness underneath the facade of peace/love. One bad trip at a Dead show turned my life around. Ahhh, but that is another story...
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  #57  
Old 03-13-2007, 07:29 PM
mikeguthro mikeguthro is offline
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Never owned a Dead album because none of their songs caught my ear enough to get me singing it in my head for days - one exception being Friend Of The Devil. But Touch Of Gray is one of my favorite pop/rock songs and one of the memorable videos of the last 25 years. I admired their committment to music and their populist approcach. "Grisman and Garcia" is one of my favorite albums.

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  #58  
Old 03-14-2007, 09:24 AM
Shredkratcher Shredkratcher is offline
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Well said!

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Originally Posted by nubjamin View Post
i'm not a huge dead fan, but i do appreciate their compositional skills (i don't know how anyone could not like a song like "terrapin station") and their legacy, particularly as it has been carried on by other bands like phish. they were the first band that i am aware of that really cared about their fans, and went out of their way to make every show a unique and multi-faceted experience. in particular, allowing free taping and trading of their shows was a stroke of genius, in my opinion. rather than bankrupting them, it allowed them to get their music out to the widest audience possible, and turned them into one of, if not the biggest touring acts of all time.

say what you will about the fans (and some of the people in this thread have been a bit close-minded and condescending, imo), but the deadhead/phishhead/hippie community has always been very tight-knit, accepting, and just overwhelmingly positive. i'll take a stoner deadhead crowd over a drunken fratboy crowd any day of the week, and twice on tuesdays.

some of the jams were bad, no doubt, but that's what happens when you take chances on stage. i think a lot of people just go to concerts to hear note-for-note reproductions of the songs they've already heard on the radio countless times. deadheads are the opposite: they expect something new every night. they demand it, in fact. and the band delivered. in effect, the jamming and crowd reaction becomes a kind of two-way conversation that makes the concert experience a lot more interesting and rewarding for everyone.

oh, and jerry really is a great guitarist. he played jazz, bluegrass, rock, folk... but he always sounded like jerry. he had a very personal, emotional style that people could really identify with.
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  #59  
Old 03-14-2007, 11:53 AM
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I never quite got The Dead either. While I did admire Jerry Garcia's musical ability and there are a few of thier recorded songs that I do like, in concert they never really grabbed me.
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Old 03-14-2007, 12:23 PM
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I saw the Dead 30 times and they had a huge influence on me musically. I am not a Deadhead any longer and in retrospect believe that the whole scene was entirely unhealthy. There was a darkness underneath the facade of peace/love. One bad trip at a Dead show turned my life around. Ahhh, but that is another story...
Totally agree with that. But I don't think that was the band as much as it was the fans. I'll never forget walking by a VW bus and seeing some guy shooting up in the back like it was no big deal. That kind of stuff is pretty scary.

The unfortunate result of the Dead and the links to the psychedelic scene is that a lot of people (a few of whom I knew) who wanted to get more inside the scene ended up with serious drug problems. I'm glad that I never ventured that far into the inner circles of the fanbase.
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