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  #31  
Old 03-07-2007, 06:57 AM
kensmith kensmith is offline
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Okay, so I guess someone has to stick up for Jerry and the boys.

As stated previously, the Dead are a love em or hate em type of thing. I hated them before I loved them. My brother used to play dead albums and I would plead with him to stop before my ears started bleeding. I could not stand the endless droning music seemingly without point, purpose or destination. In fact, I think I hid those records from him from time to time .

Then something happend around the late 70s. My friends and I started thinking they were "ok" and then we went to a concert. After that I was hooked. I think I saw 40+ shows over the coarse of 10 years. As they used to say, it is not a concert, it is an experience. I disagree with earlier statement that it was not about the music. For them in many ways, it was ALL about the music. They had no stage show, no fancy theatrics (unless you consider Jerry standing there rocking back and forth fancy). They just came out and "let the music play the band". The pioneered new thoughts about improvisational style music, they did some very interesting cover songs, as well and innovative new stuff. How many bands can you go see 4 nights in a row and never see the same song twice!!!! It is certainly not the norm. They were one of the first to allow taping of their concerts, and were not hung up on "protecting" their revenue. They had their challenges with record labels and management, but this "over-rated" band was at times the top grossing touring band in the country (even during years when they had not done a new album in years). In fact in 1995 (the year of Jerry's death) they had four of the top 20 grossing concerts in North America....still going strong after 30 years!!!
They treated their staff and fans as family and were loved for it. Their experiementation with stage sound, equipment, effects, dual drummer setup (with big drum circle too) were also pushing into new directions.

In later years, Jerry was cherished for his raspy voice, his ongoing health issues (some self induced) and "comeback" from his diabetic coma. Jerry did do some great things on his acoustic guitar (as referred to earlier wtih David Grisim). My favorite concert of all was probably seeing Jerry on acoustic guitar with John Kahn on stand up bass at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. A pretty special show. All the concerts were fun, and all very different. I don't listen to them much anymore as I am doing more Christian music and have become very involved in our praise band, there is still a place in my heart for the Dead. Not at all over-rated in my mind, if anything "underappreciated".
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  #32  
Old 03-07-2007, 12:25 PM
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I don't know as I'd consider myself a true "Deadhead", since I didn't get on a bus and travel to all their concerts, but thanks for the apellation and the sympathy...now, excuse me, while I turn on my blacklight, stoke my hookah, and listen to "Dark Star/St. Stephen", and then listen to "Me & My Uncle", while coming down from some Orange Sunshine...anybody seen my tie-dyed peace symbol shirt?

Yeah, "Truckin'" was probably that hit I was lookin' for...

Did you ever travel outside your local area to see them play? If so, you're a deadhead

I remember the summer of '91 when my girlfriend and I travelled from South Carolina, up to DC, then over to Michigan and Chicago all to follow the Dead around. It was a wonderful time and an adventure that I will recall fondly for the rest of my life.
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  #33  
Old 03-07-2007, 12:48 PM
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Did you ever travel outside your local area to see them play? If so, you're a deadhead
Hah, sounds like the redneck jokes!!

Well, yes, under that criteria, I guess I'm a Deadhead...I traveled a hundred miles to see them the first time, in 1970--Salt Lake City--at a little ballroom. I had only heard them once, on a record, playing "Morning Dew", and I loved it...that concert was so surreal...they had put out steel folding chairs, for everyone to sit on, but, within seconds, all the chairs were stacked in a big pile, and everyone was dancing...to tell the truth, for the first half hour, I thought they were tuning up, but it was just a slow-build jam that got everyone moving...and, they did have a light show, which, back then, was just a screen with some amoeba-like shapes moving about in changing colors, in time to the beat...Farm out!!
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  #34  
Old 03-07-2007, 01:07 PM
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Growing up in the Bay area during the 60s, I got introduced to a lot of music. The Dead were just a small part of the entire scene at the time.

There is a long history to the Dead, beginning with Ken Kesey. The Dead are a culture, and have done many good things in the wake of their existence. Jerry Garcia was the driving force, and a musical genius of sorts. But, the true driving force of the Dead was Robert Hunter. He was, IMO, one of the greatest lyricist of the 60s and 70s. In fact, I put his poetry alongside Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. Consequently, to begin appreciating the Dead you have to listen to the lyrics...it is poetry. But then, you will only get a glimpse of what the Dead were about.

American Beauty and Workingmans Dead have the greatest audience, but I feel that Blues for Allah and Live From the Mars Hotel albums are two of their finest works. Garcia was a folk singer in the beginning, but he definitely was migrating towards jazz on Blues for Allah. JG could also hold his own with a steel guitar and his second solo album is a classic. Though the other band members were not great, they were very good musicians that could hold their ground.

Garcia was very influential in driving the creation of Alembic Basses and Guitars...his guitars were technological wonders, and works of art. They also had the "Wall of Sound" that they toured with. At the time this was quite an accomplishment. The Dead also pioneered live digital sound.

Some of the best music to come out of the Bay area was created around 1970. This is when Garcia, members of Quicksilver, Jefferson Airplane, CSN, etc., would get together and have their jam sessions. Sunfighter is one of the finer recordings to capture them together. If you were lucky, you caught them live. Here the Dead were a part of a large extended musical family.

One of the greatest accomplishments of the Dead was the extended family that they supported all of those years, and even today. Their wives, children, and friends were all taken care of...the Dead of course were close to bankruptcy. But, they built a community that is still alive and well.

Micky Hart (drummer) has one of the greatest percussion collections in the world, and has an organization that is working to preserve the world's percussion instruments and sounds...he also has a museum. The Dead also supported the Lithuania Olympic team, and they give a lot of money back to the SF community.

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. More importantly, a lot of non-musical good came out of the Grateful Dead, and some of their social work will continue far beyond my stay on this planet.
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  #35  
Old 03-08-2007, 08:26 AM
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Little do any of know that the Dead's bass player, Phil Lesh, was a classically trained musician before getting involved with the Dead. He plays bass like no one else. He plays the bass like a guitar. Every member could hold their own and essentially the Dead was a very improvisational, rock jam band!!

And as we all know .... jamming is not perfect and either were the Dead ... But on a good night, they could rock the house!!!

Long live the Dead !!!!
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  #36  
Old 03-08-2007, 10:24 AM
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The Dead's first pianist, Ted Constatine, was also trained in classical music and moved on "to bigger things."

I have always considered Bob Weir as one of the best rhythm guitarist around.
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  #37  
Old 03-08-2007, 11:55 AM
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Yes...! About the extended family aspect...one of my favorite recordings is "If I Could Only Remember My Name", with David Crosby. Many of the Bay area musicians contributed to this, and, if one really listens, can pick out Neil Young, Jerry Garcia, Joni Mitchell, Grace Slick, and a bunch of others...

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...
Reality may have overcome most of the innocence, but the Dream still lives on...
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  #38  
Old 03-08-2007, 12:15 PM
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...one of my favorite recordings is "If I Could Only Remember My Name", with David Crosby.
I remember that album. I picked it up for $1.98 in a record store in 70-something and I loved it !!!
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  #39  
Old 03-08-2007, 12:20 PM
macmoondoggie macmoondoggie is offline
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I never really cared for the Grateful Dead, but I wish i could play as well as Jerry Garcia.
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  #40  
Old 03-08-2007, 02:46 PM
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Hi All,

There is not a lot to add to this thread as Chris said it quite elequently. The Dead were wonderful. I consider myself a Deadhead, even though I only got to see the 7 times (not bad for someone of my vintage and across the Atlantic).

I think the problem with the Dead is that album stuff you may hear on the radio or stuff on the TV (mainly from the 80's), isn't too hot. They wern't a great studio band. In fact to me Gracia's best studio stuff was always on other peoples LP's. Try Kantners 'Blows Against The Empire', or Kantner, Slick and Frebergs 'Barron von Tollboth'.

For me the real magic is the early 70's, but you just not going to hear great stuff from this period (live), you need to look into the Dead's 'Dick's Pick's' series. It's interesting how many muscians here pick up on the tuning and timing, but I think the point is missed that those 'rules' didn't matter to the Dead like it did to other bands.

ta

nige.
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  #41  
Old 03-09-2007, 03:27 PM
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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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  #42  
Old 03-09-2007, 05:35 PM
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I like the dead, but there was a time when I didn't. During that time, I hadn't given them an honest listen, just heard a couple of there songs and dismissed them as having no talent. But then I started getting involved in jam bands. Loved it, and the Dead were/are a major part of that community here.The more I listened, the more I found I had misjudged them sorely.And about their fans: I never went to a live show of theirs, but I have been to several Phish shows(best live band I've EVER heard), and if their fan base is similar,druggies or not they're good folk.
I was at one show in particular where we had gotten to the venue several hours early, and as a consequence spent some time in the field where the cars were parked.I am a diabetic, and during all that time, had not had anything to eat. By the time we got around to seeing the show, I wasn't feeling very well. There was food available there, but I had no money. To make a long story short, I collapsed. Now, there were several thousand people around me jumping up and down and dancing.In any other setting I would have been trampled, and likely killed. But these people took care of me. I came to consciousness with my head laying in a young girl's lap as she brushed my hair from my forehead and asked if I knew what was wrong. Then one of them lifted me up to my feet, put my arm around his shoulders, and took me to the food court, where he purchased food for me, made sure I stayed conscious and ate it, and stayed with me until I was able to return to the concert. All the while missing most of it as he took care of me.
I've been to a lot of concerts.That doesn't happen at very many of them.While i don't approve of drugs personally, I'm eternally grateful to those "druggies" who had the presence of mind and compassion to help me when I could not help myself. I am alive today because of them.
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  #43  
Old 03-09-2007, 06:17 PM
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As to the Stones, well, every band can have a bad night (fortunately, none of them happened on the ones I attended).
Can't get past Mick Jagger's lips. Just.....can't......
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Old 03-09-2007, 06:43 PM
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Can't get past Mick Jagger's lips. Just.....can't......
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  #45  
Old 03-09-2007, 07:39 PM
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2. I agree that their appeal is probably harder to understand if you've never done LSD,
So, is that a PROMOTION of using LSD, or a warning?
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