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  #61  
Old 03-15-2007, 05:03 AM
Earthworm Earthworm is offline
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Totally agree with that. But I don't think that was the band as much as it was the fans.
Read the Dead's bassist Phil Lesh's book--the darkness existed within the band as well. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are two Grateful Deads--the one that appears at first glance all positive and sunshine/peace/love/good vibrations and the other Grateful Dead--dark, hedonistic, drug saturated. I was a huge fan in the early 1980s--saw them 30 times.

I have some thoughts and ideas about this band/phenomenon that are religious in nature and potentially devisive and won't share them in this thread but would gladly talk about it through PM. I'm not a kook, either (at least I hope not)
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  #62  
Old 03-16-2007, 02:37 PM
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I think it is pretty clear from my reading all of the posts here that most of those commenting have not heard enough of the live recordings of the Dead to really make a good judgement. I felt pretty much exactly the same way before I found enough recordings to listen to and get a good representation of what they were about. I think they were masters as musical improvisation as represented even as early as 1968-70. They really jammed hard. When I hear those recordings, it takes me to a time before me. It puts me in a place and time of magical musical history. You can hear similar things with other bands of that period if you are lucky enough to be able to listen to LIVE recordings of shows. Studio records don't mean CRAP. The best bands are at their best live, and when they are good, they can be transcendent.

I came from a VERY solid jazz background. I collected a lot and I saw a lot of jazz musicians even though I didn't even start listening to jazz until the 70s. I missed many decades of music and was determined to catch up. I never though of the Dead as jazz in any way, but I am able to put the Dead into the context of history and appreciate what they did very well. I never really preferred the first set songs but their jam songs can take you places. I am not sure some people are able to get there. I don't know if their minds are set up for it. I see this when I go to jazz shows. I don't think most of the people that go really get it. I will notice a few in the audience that really feel it, but most of the show-goers are clueless.

The most important thing I have found with music is that YOU HAVE TO GO TO SEE IT LIVE. It is the only way to build the appreciation and context. I have listened to albums of some musicians and not really gotten it until I saw them perform live. I can't explain it, but it is what it is.

This year I have put much more emphasis on seeing live music. It takes a little effort and it's easy to just not bother, but when you do go, you almost never regret it. Most of the time, it ends up being the highlight of the month, or week or whatever. All you old people (present company included) need to get out of the house and remind yourself how much fun it is to see live performance. These bands and venues need your support a lot more than broadcast TV and pop radio and hollywood.

You don't "get" the Dead, fine. Go "get" something else.
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  #63  
Old 03-16-2007, 03:59 PM
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Ah, the venerable debate.

Perhaps the highlight of my college years was taking my own mother, now 80, to see the Dead - at her request. I'd left a bunch of records at her house in storage and went home at some point to find that she had been playing them - gasp! Not only that, but she's organized them into the following categories: Classical, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Grateful Dead. Ha! They merited their own category.

So she asked to go see them live and we did. She dug it - she was about 55 or so at the time, an unprepossessing elementary school art teacher, but she rocked. And she was not particularly the kind of person who rocked under normal circumstances. I really think she enjoyed it to the hilt.

Things only got dicey when a smoldering pipe started making its way down a long row of stoned college kids, closing in on her. The kid next to her took a hit, looked her up and down, decided she was alright and offered it to her. She took it, and, and, and....

Passed it to me. Ah well, you can't have everything.

And now my musical two cents...

- Jerry Garcia improved a lot over the years as a guitarist but I have always suspected that his signature style, which hinged IMHO on playing almost every chromatic note in a given run, evolved from the fact that he couldn't remember which notes were in key and which were out - so just play all of 'em and you'll be safe! Having said this snarky thing, I will also say that he really worked hard at it, later, and became a very sound guitarist.

- He always had one of the great voices, so full of character - he would have been a great musician if he were just a singer.

- Bob Weir is an excellent rhythm guitar player.

- I was never a Deadhead but I thought they were pretty good live, especially in a small venue like the old Uptown Theater in Chicago where I saw them in the late 1970s.

PS: I just bought Blues for Allah on CD to replace my old vinyl, so what does that tell ya. Ever hear Joe Gallanti's take on it? It's a lot of fun.
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  #64  
Old 03-16-2007, 04:00 PM
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Get a copy of the Pizza Tapes. Grishman, Garcia & Rice
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  #65  
Old 03-16-2007, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by woodyboyd View Post
Get a copy of the Pizza Tapes. Grishman, Garcia & Rice
For me, the funny thing about the Pizza Tapes is that a college buddy of mine used to deliver pizza to Garcia right around the time that tape went missing
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  #66  
Old 03-17-2007, 03:46 PM
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Only saw the Dead twice. Neither show was that good. Did have all the LPs/CDs and about 50 live shows at one point.

While they could be a good band, most of the time they just didn't seem to connect.

I have a tougher time with folks who don't like something because it isn't presented "professional" enough. The music I choose to play is not considered to be high-quality professional music. It's more kitchen music. To be played by and for friends. If others end up listening to it, great. But the music was and is passed on in a social context. If one fiddler plays a little flat, but is still a nice guy, great. Just get used to the wider range of tuning "standards".

But thank goodness for the portable electronic tuner
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  #67  
Old 03-17-2007, 05:58 PM
macfawlty macfawlty is offline
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What I think about most when I hear the Dead is really Jerry Garcia. The other members brought a lot to the game, but Garcia was the leader. His guitar playing is just so fluid. Yes, the noodling went on too long at times, but he was a consumate, possessed musician. He HAD TO PLAY constantly, never really taking a break. When the Dead weren't playing, he would find some other folks to play. He was tireless. He could play banjo and played wicked pedal steel. Who doesn't love the pedal steel on those early New Riders of the Purple Sage albums?

I don't think you have to be a Deadhead to "get it". I was never a Deadhead. To me, it's just another large body of music worth exploring. I just found that I could listen to a lot more of it than I would with many other bands. The times I saw the Dead, it didn't do that much for me, but I came late to the game. Seemed like too much hype by the 80's. I do like Phil Lesh & Friends and Ratdog. If you want to experience some of the early feeling of the Dead, go see some of the bands like Zen Tricksters and Dark Star Orchestra.

I do like going to shows with some of these old bands and seeing all the old hippies and just regular folks in their 40's, 50's, 60's enjoying timeless music of the 70's. I also see younger kids enjoying these old bands. I see some of parents bring their sons and daughters. I dabbled in the 80's music a little, but it went poppy-disco pretty quick. My heart is in the 60's and 70's. Could be Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Neil Young, Little Feat, NRPS, Jefferson Starship, Allman Bros., Richie Havens, Zappa, or whatever. I don't spend a whole lot of time judging it. All those groups hold a lot of value for me and as old as they are, they can still bring it and take you back. I just can't get enough music altogether. It's like anything else, the more you experience it, the more you want, the more you appreciate it.
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  #68  
Old 03-17-2007, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Eric View Post
I have a tougher time with folks who don't like something because it isn't presented "professional" enough. The music I choose to play is not considered to be high-quality professional music. It's more kitchen music. To be played by and for friends. If others end up listening to it, great.
But you're not a superstar band signed to a major label and charging beaucoup de bucks for tickets. I don't require--or expect--professionalism at a song circle, guitar pull, or music party either. But a concert? Sheesh, at least TUNE UP!
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  #69  
Old 03-19-2007, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
But you're not a superstar band signed to a major label and charging beaucoup de bucks for tickets. I don't require--or expect--professionalism at a song circle, guitar pull, or music party either. But a concert? Sheesh, at least TUNE UP!
Probably you and I just look at things differently. I cut them a lot of slack. Mainly because I hear more of the band's influence than the band itself. I try to listen past the band back to the influence.

If that makes any sense at all.
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  #70  
Old 03-20-2007, 04:14 PM
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um, i actually don't understand this whole "out of tune" complaint. most of the dead i've heard seems to be perfectly acceptable by live standards. i don't know what y'all are listening to that would indicate otherwise. is it just because jerry liked to play a lot of chromatic "outside" notes?
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  #71  
Old 09-21-2007, 02:45 PM
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The best garage band I've ever heard.

I'm not surprised that a lot of you don't 'get' them.

At one point in time they were the pinnacle of Americana.

There is a whole lot more music you have to understand before you can understand what The Grateful Dead were doing.

I think the cult like following of their fans left them with a black eye. I'm not surprised that a lot of 'straights' don't get it.

There's a lot more there than what's heard on the surface.

Those of you the don't get them, as musicians, you should really examine the chord structures of their songs. .. absolute genius and I challenge any of you to try and learn one of Garcia's parts on one of their songs. I would also advise a good look at their lyrics and the history behind so many of there phrases.

Best garage band I ever heard.
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  #72  
Old 09-21-2007, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Womack View Post
What did one Deadhead say to another at the Greatfull Dead concert, when their drugs ran out?




"Hey! This music SUCKS!"
My initial thoughts as well, Bob.
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  #73  
Old 09-21-2007, 04:19 PM
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No question DeadHead. The boys were students of music for their entire lives. Not many people performing today would list as diverse a group of influences either.
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  #74  
Old 09-24-2007, 02:33 PM
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How about other groups "I don't get" (I love the Dead) I am of the age when they were new and extremely relevant when I was a part of the scene!

1. U2 (The lyrics and poetry are OK, but the music.......)
2. Smashing Pumpkins
3. Neil Young and Crazy Horse (that ought to do it!)

Let the flames begin!!!!
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  #75  
Old 09-24-2007, 03:23 PM
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Most of the good Dead songs I've listened to were performed by other bands ... with tight vocals by competent musicians. One band in particular in this area was especially good. Never had the inclination to see the Dead live, though
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