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House band for Ken Kesey's acid parties, the Warlocks were the larval stage of the butterfly which became the Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia had already undergone several career metamorphoses-as a folk/bluegrass enthusiast he'd done stints with the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers, Hart Valley Drifters, Wildwood Boys and Black Mountain Boys--to name a few. By July '64, he, Bob Weir and Ron (Pigpen) McKernan-formerly of the Second Story Men--were playing together as Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions at the Tangent in Palo Alto, CA. At McKernan's insistence, Mother McCree's "plugged in" and by July '65 were performing as the (electrified) Warlocks.
On November 3rd, with bassist Phil Lesh and drummer Bill Kreutzmann in tow, the Warlocks entered San Francisco's Golden Gate Studios to record an LP for Autumn Records tentatively titled, "The Emergency Crew." The Six songs were committed to tape: I Can't Come Down [2:59] ; Mindbender [2:39] ; The Only Time Is Now [2:47] ; Caution (Do Not Stop On The Tracks) [3:14] ; I Know You Rider [2:37] ; and Early Morning Rain [3:14]. The session was never released, though bootlegged soundboard recordings have circulated (e.g. Mason's Children). After Lesh claimed he'd encountered another group of musical "Warlocks," the moniker was dropped. With the new year came a new name-the Grateful Dead.
Rock's longest, strangest trip, the Grateful Dead were the psychedelic era's most beloved musical ambassadors as well as its most enduring survivors, spreading their message of peace, love, and mind-expansion across the globe throughout the better part of three decades. The object of adoration for popular music's most fervent and celebrated fan following -- the Deadheads, their numbers and devotion legendary in their own right -- they were the ultimate cult band, creating a self-styled universe all their own; for the better part of their career orbiting well outside of the mainstream, the Dead became superstars solely on their own terms, tie-dyed pied pipers whose epic, free-form live shows were rites of passage for an extended family of listeners who knew no cultural boundaries.
The roots of the Grateful Dead lie with singer/songwriter Jerry Garcia, a longtime bluegrass enthusiast who began playing the guitar at age 15. Upon relocating to Palo Alto, CA, in 1960, he soon befriended Robert Hunter, whose lyrics later graced many of Garcia's most famous melodies; in time, he also came into contact with aspiring electronic music composer Phil Lesh. By 1962, Garcia was playing banjo in a variety of local folk and bluegrass outfits, two years later forming Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions with guitarist Bob Weir and keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan; in 1965, the group was renamed the Warlocks, their lineup now additionally including Lesh on bass as well as Bill Kreutzmann on drums.
The Warlocks made their electric debut that July; Ken Kesey soon tapped them to become the house band at his notorious Acid Tests, a series of now-legendary public LSD parties and multimedia "happenings" mounted prior to the drug's criminalization. As 1965 drew to its close, the Warlocks rechristened themselves the Grateful Dead, the name taken from a folk tale discovered in a dictionary by Garcia; bankrolled by chemist/LSD manufacturer Owsley Stanley, the band members soon moved into a communal house situated at 710 Ashbury Street in San Francisco, becoming a fixture on the local music scene and building a large fan base on the strength of their many free concerts. Signing to MGM, in 1966 the Dead also recorded their first demos; the sessions proved disastrous, and the label dropped the group a short time later.
As 1967 mutated into the Summer of Love, the Dead emerged as one of the top draws on the Bay Area music scene, honing an eclectic repertoire influenced by folk, country, and the blues while regularly appearing at top local venues including the Fillmore Auditorium, the Avalon Ballroom, and the Carousel. In March of 1967 the Dead issued their self-titled Warner Bros. debut LP, a disappointing effort which failed to recapture the cosmic sprawl of their live appearances; after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival, the group expanded to a six-piece with the addition of second drummer Mickey Hart.
Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia took up guitar at 15, spent nine months in the Army in 1959, then moved to Palo Alto, where he began his long-standing friendship with Robert Hunter, who late became the Dead's lyricist. In 1962 he bought a banjo and began playing in folk and bluegrass bands, and by 1964 he was a member of Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, along with Bob Weir, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, and longtime associates Bob Matthews (who engineered Dead albums and formed the Alembic Electronics equipment company) and John Dawson (later of New Riders of the Purple Sage).
In 1965 the band became the Warlocks: Garcia, Weir, Pigpen, Bill Kreutzmann, and Phil Lesh, a former electronic-music composer. With electric instruments, the Warlocks debuted in July 1965 and soon became the house band at Ken Kesey's Acid Tests, a series of public LSD parties and multimedia events held before the drug had been outlawed. LSD chemist Owsley Stanley bankrolled the Grateful Dead — a name from an Egyptian prayer that Garcia spotted in a dictionary — and later supervised construction of the band's massive, state-of-the-art sound system.
The Dead lived communally at 710 Ashbury Street in San Francisco in 1966–67 and played numerous free concerts; by 1967's Summer of Love, they were regulars at the Avalon and Carousel ballrooms and the Fillmore West. MGM signed the band in 1966, and it made some mediocre recordings. The Dead's legitimate recording career began when Warner Bros. signed the band. While its self-titled 1967 debut album featured zippy three-minute songs, Anthem of the Sun (Number 87, 1968) and Aoxomoxoa (Number 73, 1969) featured extended suites and studio experiments that left the band $100,000 in debt to Warner Bros., mostly for studio time, by the end of the 1960s. Meanwhile, the Dead's reputation had spread, and they appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969.
Garcia, Jerry (1 Aug. 1942-9 Aug. 1995), rock band leader, guitarist, and singer, was born Jerome John Garcia in San Francisco, California, the son of Joe Garcia, a ballroom jazz musician and bartender, and Ruth (maiden name unknown), a nurse. Garcia was raised in a home filled with Spanish relatives and music. An active boy, he lost the third finger of his right hand in a childhood accident. Although he sang at an early age, he first aspired to become a painter.
At the age of five Garcia saw his father drown. After his mother remarried, the family moved to Menlo Park, California. At age thirteen, after being influenced by George Orwell's novel 1984, Garcia rebelled, left school and his family, and went back to San Francisco, where he learned to play the piano. He idolized the rocking sound of Chuck Berry and in 1957 bought a Danelectro guitar and a small Fender amplifier upon which he learned to play rhythm and blues. Inducted into the U.S. Army in 1958, Garcia practiced acoustic guitar in his San Francisco barracks. He was dishonorably discharged in 1959.
In 1960, after he survived a car accident that took one life, Garcia concluded he was put on earth for a specific purpose. He quickly formed a bay-area bohemian band named the Thunder Mountain Tub Thumpers. He learned to play a five-string banjo proficiently, and with Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, a harmonica player, keyboardist, and vocalist; Phil Lesh, a trumpeter, bassist, and composer; and Bill Kreutzmann, a drummer, Garcia concentrated on bluegrass, blues, and northern California folk music. In 1963 he was briefly married to Sarah Katz, with whom he had one daughter. Garcia then married Carolyn Adams, with whom he had two daughters. They divorced in 1987.
In December 1964 Garcia joined guitarist and songwriter Robert Hunter and guitarist Bob Weir in Palo Alto, California, and formed the cover band Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. Playing Rolling Stones hits and the blues, the band rejected acoustic instruments for electric and combined rock music with rhythm and blues. They added Dan Morgan on bass and renamed the group the Warlocks.
In 1965 the Warlocks joined Ken Kesey (author of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest) and his band of Merry Pranksters to live communally in La Honda, California, and experiment with the hallucinogenic drug LSD during parties called "acid tests." Garcia's drug problems escalated during these parties, and the music of his band changed from jug-folk-blues to psychedelic rock.
Renamed the Grateful Dead in 1965, the band's long performances were free-form events with improvisory, intense, highly amplified sound. While fans flocked from the new drug culture to hear the Grateful Dead, chemist Stanley Owsley (a manufacturer of LSD) became the band's financial benefactor.
The Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane performed at San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium in 1965. That same year the group moved to the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, where a distinct counterculture was thriving. Playing hybrid music of rhythm and blues, jazz, and rock, Garcia performed on a pedal-steel guitar, dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt, and always wore sunglasses. He expressed his feelings through music without inhibition. He and the Grateful Dead rejected advertising, promotional videos, and media attention, and they performed without elaborate light or stage shows to a growing crowd of fanatical fans.
Garcia's nonconformist, utopian vision of total independence and freedom (in mind and body) appealed to "hippies" and other young people who denounced the Vietnam war, monogamy, parental or authoritarian guidance, formal education, and conformist jobs. Because fans believed the band's music brought listeners to a psychedelic state of mind, John Tobler observed in Guitar Heroes (1978) that the Grateful Dead originated "a soundtrack for the drug experiments of a generation."
Giving long, free concerts at a local bar called the Family Dog, the band refused numerous record deals until Warner Bros. guaranteed it artistic control in 1967. The first album, The Grateful Dead, was released in March, and the group rose to national attention as the sovereigns of psychedelic groupies (named "Deadheads") when they performed at the Monterey Pop Festival (Aug. 1968); the North California Rock Festival, with the Doors (May 1968); and at Woodstock (summer 1969).
The band refused to cut single records to increase their popularity or earn more money. Warners released the LP Aoxomoxoa in 1969 and their first nonstudio album, Live/Dead, in 1970, but by that time the band was deeply in debt. While Lenny Hart managed the group, his son Mickey joined it as a second drummer, and Tom Constanten played keyboards for a season.
The band was near financial ruin because of drug addictions, police arrests, poor management, and unorganized concert tours. Workingman's Dead and American Beauty (with "Sugar Magnolia" and "Truckin' ") were also released in 1970 to help pay bills, but the band and Garcia were still close to bankruptcy. When McKernan became ill in 1971 (and died of a liver ailment in March 1973), he was replaced by Keith Godchaux, whose wife Donna became a vocalist for the Grateful Dead. Garcia cut the solo album Hooteroll in 1971 on the Douglas label and the LP Garcia in 1972. After touring Europe in 1972, the band released a triple album, Europe '72, and members of the group dispersed to do individual projects.
Like several other bands during this time, the Grateful Dead allowed their fans to record their shows. For many years the tapers set up their microphones wherever they could. The eventual forest of microphones became a problem for the official sound crew. Eventually this was solved by having a dedicated taping section located behind the soundboard, which required a special "tapers" ticket. The band allowed sharing of tapes of their shows, as long as no profits were made on the sale of their show tapes. Sometimes the sound crew would allow the tapers to connect directly to the soundboard, which created exceptional concert recordings. Recently, there have been some disputes over which recordings archive.org could host on their site. Currently, all recordings are hosted, though soundboard recordings are not available for download, but rather in a streaming format. Of the approximately 2,350 shows the Grateful Dead played, almost 2,200 were taped, and most of these are available online. Concert set lists from a subset of 1,590 Grateful Dead shows were used to perform a comparative analysis between how songs were played in concert and how they are listened online by Last.fm members. In their book Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn From the Most Iconic Band in History, David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan identify the taper section as a crucial idea in increasing the Grateful Dead's fan base.
Grateful Dead Lineup June 1965 – September 1967:
♦ Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
♦ Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
♦ Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
♦ Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
♦ Bill Kreutzmann – drums
SoundQuality: A to A- (Excellent all over)
Golden Gate Studios, San Francisco, California 11/03/65
Autumn Records Demos
01. Can't Come Down
03. The Only Time Is Now
05. I Know You Rider
06. Early Morning Rain
The Warlocks - Unknown Early Material 1965
08. Mason’s Children
09. Uncle John’s Band
11. Cold Rain & Snow
12. You Don’t Have To Ask
14. I Know You Rider
15. Don’t Ease Me In
16. Cardboard Cowboy
17. Mason’s Children
18. Turn On Your Lovelight
Grateful Dead - Ivar Theathre
Los Angeles 1966-02-25
01. She's On The Road Again
02. Next Time You See Me
03. I Know You Rider
04. Hey Little One
05. Cold Rain & Snow
06. King Bee
09. Stealin' (Late 1966)
10. Good Morning, Lil' School Girl
11. You Don't Love Me
12. Good Morning, Lil' School Girl (Late 1966)
Grateful Dead - Fillmore Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 1966-07-03
01. Dancin' In The Street
02. I Know You Rider
03. He Was A Friend Of Mine
04. Next Time You See Me
05. Viola Lee Blues
06. Big Boss Man
07. Sittin' On Top Of The World
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link