Aug 20, 2014

October 23, 1970: McDonough Gym, Georgetown U, Washington DC

GRATEFUL DEAD SHAKE MCDONOUGH

 The Grateful Dead and their family of supporting musicians, sound men and friends showed up at Georgetown last Friday night, and from start to finish their appearance was filled with excitement. It all started when, instead of being left at McDonough Gymnasium, they were dropped off at the main gate. Their resultant walk around the campus undoubtedly shook up a few of the alumni who had returned for Saturday's Homecoming game. It is doubtful that they were ready for a confrontation with the Dead.
The audience, however, was ready and waiting to encounter the amazing Grateful Dead, who have a reputation for putting on long and powerful performances. They had to wait quite a while though, before the Dead actually went on. Conditions were hectic and chaotic in the gym, and the concert was delayed until a semblance of order appeared. At this point it was deemed safe to begin the concert, and The New Riders of the Purple Sage took the stage.
The Grateful Dead show consists not only of the Dead themselves, but also of their subgroup the New Riders. The New Riders contain some members of the Dead (Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart), but also include three other musicians. Unlike the Dead whose speciality is good old rock and roll, the New Riders of the Purple Sage are a country and western group. Unfortunately, the Riders were not at their best on Friday night, and their set at times was dull and lifeless. They started off well, with "Six Days on the Road," but after that there was a long period during which they went downhill. During this time, the much vaunted Grateful Dead sound system did not seem to be working, and the rapport with the crowd that is a Grateful Dead trademark was notably lacking, perhaps because the house lights were shining brightly and drawing the attention of the audience away from the band.
Nevertheless, things began to cook again when the Riders started "Lodi," a number originally recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their next selection was equally good. Entitled "Take a Long Sad Look at the Last Lonely Eagle," it featured beautiful country harmony and some fine pedal steel guitar played by Jerry Garcia. Their versatility, however, was illustrated by their last section, which was a rock classic done in the country style. "Honky-tonk Women" really moved, and again it was Jerry Garcia who provided the spark that got the group going. His pedal steel guitar was consistently excellent all evening, and it provided one of the few highlights of what was a generally disappointing set.
But the Dead came back to make up for it. Garcia was again the one who set things in motion. Already warmed up from having played with the Riders, he got things off to a flying start by playing "Casey Jones." This song is featured on Workingman's Dead, one of the finest albums of the year. It would be hard to duplicate the excellence of the recorded version, but the Dead managed to do it. The Rhythm section was perfect, and as the song progressed, they sounded more and more like a train roaring down the tracks to certain destruction. They quickly shifted gears, moving right into an old Merle Haggard country standard called "Mama Tried." The band's harmony was stunning and remained so throughout the evening.
The next few numbers were new material, and they showed the Grateful Dead's steady drift towards the country sound. One song featured some fine country yodelling by Pig Pen, the group's organist and sometime vocalist. Other songs during this part of the show were equally mellow in their sound. "Goin' Down by the River" and "Goodbye My Child Again" featured fine guitar by Bob Weir and Garcia. The sound system by this time was working excellently, and the band's fine playing was boosted by the best sound system ever seen at Georgetown.
When the first note of "Good Lovin'" echoed through the gym, the whole tone of the concert changed. The subdued country sound gave way to the madness of Grateful Dead rock and roll. The transmogrification of "Good Lovin'" was something which would amaze the Young Rascals. A drum duet between Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman began the song, and when the rest of the band came in, the audience reacted quite excitedly. Playing primal rock and roll, the Dead managed to drive the audience almost to the point of ecstasy. After doing a number from their second album, Anthem to the Sun, they launched right into an old Buddy Holly and Rolling Stones number, "Not Fade Away." That did it: mass insanity ensued as the Dead sang on.
This song went on for close to 20 minutes, during which time the Dead wandered through all sorts of startling improvisational themes, only to suddenly be right back where they started. It was a stunning example of musical virtuosity, and the audience knew it. They responded warmly, and persuaded the Dead to come back for an encore. They chose "Uncle John's Band," a perfect way to calm down the crowd but still let them go home feeling satisfied. The Dead poured it on, and they were gone. They left, however, the memories of one of the most unusual musical evenings that Georgetown has ever witnessed. McDonough will never be the same again, and for this we're all grateful to the Dead.

(by Larry Rohter, unknown publication, October 27, 1970)

https://archive.org/details/gd1970-10-23.aud.wolfson.motb-0004.85071.flac16

Thanks to Uli Teute.


* * *


The Georgetown university paper The Hoya mentioned the upcoming show in the October 22 issue:

"Homecoming '70 arrives on the Hilltop tomorrow... The activities get underway tomorrow evening, when McDonough arena will be the scene of a four to five hour concert by the Grateful Dead, the famous San Francisco rock group. Led by guitarist Jerry Garcia, the Dead will feature the fine country rock sound that made their latest LP, Workingman's Dead, such a tremendous success. Kevin Moynihan, chairman of the weekend, announced that tickets will be sold today and tomorrow from 10 to 4 at the Tree, and reminds concert-goers to bring a blanket."
[The Homecoming dance on Saturday featured local group Claude Jones and the "Baltimore soul" group Tommy Vann and the Professionals.]
("Manhattan, Dead at Homecoming '70," 10/22/70 Hoya) 

Another article in the October 22 issue:

THE GRATEFUL DEAD, HERE? YES, HERE!

At one time, it would have been impossible to conceive of the Grateful Dead playing at Georgetown as they will tomorrow night; Homecoming two years ago, after all, gave us Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Seemingly, Georgetown has come a long way...or has it? Even if the selection of the Dead were accidental, and even if the "Hilltop" hasn't significantly altered, things will be different after the Dead perform.
The Grateful Dead are really coming, say the Homecoming people...(pinch me)...for their first concert in D.C. As early as 1966 (illustrated in the Vintage Dead live LP released recently), the group was into good things. In spite of the predominance of Tommy James and the "Hanky Panky" on the radio, the Dead were turning on people in San Francisco to the amazing togetherness and totality of their live music, incorporating such innovations as light shows and playing at informal, but large, ballroom dance concerts. Their first studio album for Warner Brothers (as their latest, Workingman's Dead) is unpretentious, good, amazingly well-produced and together rock...(if this claim sounds like a hype, contrast The Grateful Dead, Warner Bros. #1689, to any other LP issued during the earlier half of 1967). In between these first and latest efforts, the band added a second drummer (their music always contained opposition: vocal to organ, acoustic to electric guitar, drum to drum) and experimented with sophisticated recording, editing and adding of psychedelic things (Anthem of the Sun, Aoxomoxoa and Live Dead, to a degree).
It is, however, through the medium of live performance that the Grateful Dead establish their most intense communication with an audience. Word of their concerts, and not radio airplay, accounted for their initial success. When the Dead play in concert, their music is distinct from their recording; they allow the potential for live performance to be attained: full, long sets, intricate arrangement and harmony, a truly wide selection of music (including steel and country, with the Riders of the Purple Sage, an intra-Dead band which usually precedes the full set).
The Grateful Dead at Georgetown promises to be a set of contrasts: a San Francisco rock phenomenon, a family of sorts, playing for a Hoya homecoming; the D.C. freaks it is certain to attract and the Hoyas... Yet the experience of the Dead should turn on everyone present. The hype and bad sound system which marred the Poco concert, even the horrendous acoustics of McDonough "arena," may be overcome. The PA for the Dead will be provided by Hanley Sound, recognized as the finest for Woodstock and the last Stones' tour.
With the Grateful Dead, American rock music approaches an art form; their albums, and often their concerts, are beautiful. Nothing remains to be said except you had better not miss it.
(by Peter Barry Chowky, 10/22/70 Hoya)

The November 5 issue of the Hoya reported the dire results of the Dead's show on the front page:

"Violations of fire regulations and drug laws have prompted University officials to suspend future concerts in McDonough Gymnasium - pending a report by a newly established commission entrusted to study the problems.
However, the Traffic concert, scheduled for Nov. 15, will be held as planned.
The decision to suspend future concerts was made by the Vice President for Student Development, Dr. Patricia Rueckel.
In explaining the decision, Dr. Rueckel noted that after the Grateful Dead concert Oct. 24, "a number of questions and complaints were raised both within and outside the University community."
Dr. Rueckel also pointed up the fact that during the Dead concert, local fire department officials requested that the concert be stopped. This request was made, according to Dr. Rueckel, because of "overselling of tickets and general havoc within the gymnasium."
Over 6,000 people attended the concert - 2,000 more than fire regulations will admit.
In addition, Dr. Rueckel stated that both she and the University's attorneys had "questions concerning the flagrant violation of drug laws during the concert."
Accordingly, Dr. Rueckel has appointed a commission composed of students, faculty members and administrators to study [...]  events in the gymnasium which attract crowds that are not preponderantly Georgetown students. [...] 
The Traffic concert was not cancelled because the University and the concert promoters had entered into a contractual agreement with the English rock group, Dr. Rueckel stated."
("University Suspends Concerts Indefinitely." 11/5/70 Hoya)

The November 12 issue of the Hoya followed up: "[A] newly created commission to study the feasibility of future campus concerts [was created] in the wake of the controversial Grateful Dead concert Oct. 24." Although "concerts in the gym would not be financially possible without the attendance of non-Georgetown students," university policy held that "the preponderance of the audience must be from the Georgetown University community." Clearly the Dead's show drew many non-students from around the area.
The Director for Student Activities noted that "McDonough provides practically the only facility that can handle concerts in the D.C. area, with the exception of Washington Coliseum. Constitution Hall has had a policy forbidding rock bookings for almost a year." One commission member said that "the Administration is not interested in eliminating concerts, but just alleviating the problems."
"Such problems include the great amount of traffic in the Georgetown area, fire hazards in McDonough gym, violation of drug laws by concert-goers, and even complaints from trans-Potomac residents of Virginia concerning the outdoor speakers through which those who could not be admitted for the Grateful Dead concert listened outdoors."
The next scheduled show in the gym was Traffic, November 15, and the campus commission claimed that "it would be an improvement over the Dead affair...extra security precautions, as well as improved ticket distribution methods." It was warned that the conduct at the Traffic show would determine whether concerts could continue at the gym. 
("Concert Seen As Test For Future Gym Events," by Rich Hluchan, 11/12/70 Hoya)

The bad news followed on the November 19 front page:

UNIVERSITY CANCELS ALL ROCK CONCERTS

All University sponsored rock concerts have been cancelled following the incidents during last Sunday's appearance of Traffic at McDonough Gymnasium.
The official announcement was made Sunday evening by the Vice President for Student Development, Dr. Patricia Rueckel. Her decision came in the wake of the concert, following an evening marked by excessive vandalism to the entrance passage to the gymnasium.
In making the announcement, Dr. Rueckel noted that approximately ten percent of the audience was composed of members of the University community. "If ten percent of the audience were from Georgetown University, I'd be surprised," she stated.
She also added, "I don't think we have a primary responsibility to offer entertainment to all of the teeny-boppers in Washington."
In addition, Dr. Rueckel recalled the fact that the conduct of the Traffic concert was considered a "test" for future concerts. To that point, she observed, "obviously the test has failed." ...
[It's also noted again that rock concerts on campus could violate university policy that "a preponderance of individuals at social events must be from the University community."]
Dr. Rueckel extended her apologies to members of the student populace for the decision. "Rock concerts of this nature are considered a meaningful experience by a certain segment of the student populace, and I am sorry for them," she stated.
In addition, damage to the windows [in the gymnasium] has been estimated at $3,000.
In addition, major damage was reported inside the gymnasium itself. One fibre-glassed backboard fell to the floor because it was being used by several individuals as a vantage point to observe the concert. However, no injuries were reported concerning the incident.
(11/19/70 Hoya)

The same issue also carried a complaint from the Library Cataloger in the Letters to the Editor:

"I ask whether it was worthwhile having the Grateful Dead rock concert at McDonough Gymnasium Friday night, Oct. 23, considering the damage and the litter.
About 9 a.m. Saturday morning "Sarge" Wilson, equipment manager at the Gymnasium, told me that 6,000 persons had been at the concert - obviously an overcrowding. There was litter everywhere, even though at that hour the maintenance personnel had made a good beginning to clear it up. There was a fetid, barroom smell in the air. The newly painted lobby had many black smears which were not there before.
As a result of too little parking available for such a large crowd on Friday night, the two wooden barriers to the lot behind the Library were broken overnight... Again ask, was it worthwhile?"

https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/handle/10822/552780/discover

Aug 14, 2014

July 16, 1967: Jerry Garcia Interview & Electric Be-In

INTERVIEW WITH JERRY GARCIA

I: “Grateful Dead,” that has a nice sound to it. How’d you happen to come by it?
G: Well, we were looking—we were trying to think of a name. We’d gone through a whole big thing, lots of cute phrases, anything. And we were about three weeks, I guess, without a name. I was over at Phil’s house, the bass player’s house. And there was this huge dictionary, the Oxford New World Dictionary or something. I just like opened it up, and the page that I turned to, the first thing my eyes fell on when I looked at the page was “the grateful dead” in big black lettering. And it was so, it was such a flash…
I: Yeah, sure. Was it a quote then from something?
G: No, in that particular context it was an ethno-musicological term. It’s a genre of ballad, the ballad type, y’know, like there are “murdered girl” ballads. Well, there are “grateful dead” ballads. So it tied in nicely, in a way. Plus the fact that lots of people have mentioned the Tibetan Book of the Dead in connection with it, although I don’t know whether that particular phrase ever appears in it. I don’t think it does.
I: It also seems to fit in with sort of ironic, anti-war stuff. I know there’s a cummings poem, for example, that talks about “these happy and heroic dead” or something sarcastic.
G: Right, right. It’s that, plus it’s also like a very brief phrase you could describe as being the psychedelic condition. If you wanted to talk about it like that. It’s any number of things. It’s just a loaded phrase. It looks good in print, it sounds good, it’s got a sort of euphonic thing going for it.
I: Are you, well I don’t know, is your record selling well on Warner’s? Then I imagine they’re looking already to cut a second one, or have you…
G: Right, right. I think we’re going in recording probably in about 4 or 5 months. I don’t anticipate we’ll have an album out in less than seven months.
I: That’s too bad.
G: Well, we’re starting to think differently about music now, I mean we’re taking it in different terms. And we want to like get settled comfortably in the new thing that we’re trying to get at before we start to record again. And our next recording will be more purely a recording for the sake of producing a finished work. It won’t be our material the way we perform it, it’ll be something else; it’ll be our material but with more sophistication.
I: Oh, you mean something like the Beatles’ latest album where there’s a lot more studio stuff in it?
G: Yeah, there’ll be a lot more stuff in it, right. We’ll spend more time in the studio, more time on production.
I: It’s clear to everybody that the psychedelic drugs are connected with the music now or at least with the scene around San Francisco, and I assume it’s being taken up everywhere else where this kind of music is happening.
G: Well, it’s not as though the music produces the scene, and it’s not as though the drugs produce the music. The way it is instead is that musicians as a body, young musicians who are interested in expanding their horizons musically and every other way…I would say it’s because the young people nowadays I think are interested in finding out what there is to find out about themselves. It’s a matter of like concern about spiritual development. But that’s just a phrase, y’know, that’s just a word, those are just words. There’s really more to it than that, but I think that whatever it is, for a musician anyway, it’s a valuable experience: anything that makes you more aware is a valuable experience, for an artist of any sort. Y’know I think that the drugs are like, kind of like a gift to man, in a way. They’re a way of finding out things, y’know, finding out things about yourself.

(Grateful Dead Interview Continued)

Having now left San Francisco and moved to New Mexico where they can “make new music” outside of the haight hassel [sic], the GRATEFUL DEAD will likely be in tribal retreat for a time. The below portions of an interview with Jerry Garcia, lead guitar, are continued from the last issue.

I: How long have you been involved with music?
G: I started playing the guitar when I was 15… I stayed in school for maybe another 2 years. And when I was 17 I dropped out completely. And devoted my energy to music. I also was turned on first when I was 15, when I was a kid in school in San Francisco.
I: To what?
G: Grass. And, y’know what was going on in those days. The 15-year-olds in the school were all drinking. Drinking is an awful thing, it’s a bad physical experience. So I was interested in anything new. When somebody offered it to me – grass – I smoked it and got just greatly high…it made everything much funnier.
I: So drugs are just part of your…
G: They’re just part of our life style, right.
I: You don’t need them for the music?
G: No, no, no. Only incidentally. They’re both a part of my life. But so is everything else, eating, breathing… The thing that happens when you get high and play is like new ideas present themselves, new possibilities. You’re more open to the changes in the music, but more important, you’re more open to the changes in the people. There’s a very real kind of communication going on between the dancers and the musicians, you’re working with each other. If you’re a little stoned, you’re less into yourself, less into demonstrating your ability, you’re less into your own thing and more into the total thing… Playing itself is a high, playing is in fact the best high that I know… There’s no comparable experience in drugs. Nothing like it.
I: Do all of you live in the Haight?
G: …We’re moving to the Southwest… You know, we’re concerned about our productivity. And what we’re going to do is like get away from the, well, from just this kind of thing.
I: Talking, you mean?
G: Right, right. Get away from a lot of people and a lot of action and a lot of energy and just go out and do our own thing for a while.
I: Have you made any connections with the Hopi Indians?
G: Some of the people in the Haight went down there and made a very bad impression… They acted more like American tourists than people who were trying to represent any brotherhood.
I: Your music, is it rooted in the blues? I mean a lot of them on the album are at least.
G: Yeah, the album, at that time we were mostly doing blues-oriented things. Now we’re starting to get into a different thing. Although the blues is like, you know, blues is something we all grew up with. But we all come from very different musical trips. Pigpen’s background is very heavy country blues…Phil’s is heavy classical. He played violin and trumpet and then he composed for a while…… (Phil plays the bass.)
I: You have the same five then that you’ve had all along?
G: Right… There’s so much new music and so much good music. And it’s getting better all the time. Things are getting better all the time.
I: Quoting a Beatles song? I came up through rock when I was 16 and all that. When I got to be 20, I stopped listening to the radio because the music just sounded like it was played out. Now suddenly the last two years…
G: New Energy…
I: Look around the crowd here today. Certainly these people aren’t all hippies. (The Golden Gardens Be-In)
G: No, but they’re all people. Like the more straight people that come to these kind of scenes, the easier it’ll be for them to see that hippies aren’t going to hurt them. The whole scene is like good-natured……

(from the Helix, issues v1n8, date unknown, & v1n9, 16 August 1967)  

* * * 

The Grateful Dead played the Electric Be-In at Golden Gardens Park on the afternoon of July 16, 1967, before playing the Eagles Auditorium that evening. Here are two short newspaper notices.


HIPPIES, ‘STRAIGHTS’ ATTEND BE-IN

About 2,000 hippies mingled with “straight” sun-bathers yesterday afternoon to hear six hours of rock music at the Electric Be-In at Golden Gardens.
The free show, arranged by United Front Productions and Overall Cooperative Structure (O.C.S.), was highlighted by a visit from The Grateful Dead, a San Francisco band.
Other groups playing in the outdoor concert were The International Brick, The Karma, The Daily Flash, The Time Machine and Papa Bear’s Medicine Show.
Concessioneers always seem to show up when a crowd gathers. The Be-In was no exception.
Bearded salesmen had a profitable day peddling hippie magazines and plastic flowers to the crowd.

(from the Seattle Times, July 17, 1967)



THE COOL BRAVE HEAT FOR 'GENTLE SUNDAY' 

The cool sounds of the International Brick failed to lower the temperature of the heat-haze hanging over a Golden Gardens Be-In yesterday.
A crowd of 2,000 squares and hippies gathered on the brown grass of the "straight" beach to hear the "new sounds" of six acid-rock groups. 
It was easy to distinguish the hippies.  They wore clothes.
San Francisco's Grateful Dead, in Seattle to play for a dance in the Eagles Auditorium last night, performed last. 
Their manager, Rock Scully, says the Dead are Number Two in the Bay Area.
Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia describes the Grateful Dead sound as "loud and somewhat unpredictable," influenced by almost everything. 
The 5-piece band performed on the bed of a truck with electricity furnished by a small, portable generator.
The crowd sat or stood in the blazing sun four hours to listen to the Brick, Karma, The Daily Flash, The Time Machine, Pappa Bear's Medicine Show and The Grateful Dead, in that order.  The Chrome Syrcus was there, too, but it took the day off and just listened.  The rock groups, with the exception of the 'Dead', are Seattle natives.
Tim Harvey of Overall Cooperative Structure and Jerry Mathews of United Front Productions arranged the beach Be-In. 
The show was free –a 'Gentle Sunday' gesture by hippie performers who "know the people love music so they play for them."
Harvey noted that the Seattle police and the Park Board had been especially cooperative. 
But the local Be-Inmates aren't as hip as their Bay Area brothers.  Scully explained that in San Francisco everybody brings a child's toy to a Be-In – helium filled balloons on strings, for instance.
One Class of 1980 hippie was with it, however. 
Jackie Delay, two-going-on-16, toured the scene in the altogether on the shoulders of a tall, hippie friend.  When an International Brick spotted a police helicopter and yelled "Everybody wave," Jackie did.  His pants.

(by Hilda Bryant, from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 17, 1967)

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com

Aug 5, 2014

October 1966: The San Francisco Sound



THE SAN FRANCISCO SOUND  (excerpts)

The Fillmore Auditorium, the gravitational center of the astonishing new San Francisco rock scene, at midnight on a Saturday night:
An enormous red globe of light gurgles liquidly on one thirty-five-foot-high wall, glowing like a hydrogen fireball. On another wall, infinitely complex green light globules flow into each other and pulsate explosively. On a third wall, moire patterns, giant eyeballs, de Kooning-like abstracts flash past in swift alternation next to an endlessly repeating film of one small boy after another eating jelly bread.
On the floor, two thousand people are watching, listening, and moving. None of them appear to be older than thirty. Many are “straight,” like the crew-cut blond boy in chinos and poplin jacket, whose brunette date wears a plaid skirt and knee socks. But most are “hippies,” part of the growing society within a society that centers around Berkeley and the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, and, though their tastes obviously tend toward the informal, the bizarre, and the flamboyant, none of them look alike. There are wide mod ties, wispy string ties, and one fellow with a solid aluminum tie. There are boys in silk frock coats, top hats, suede boots, red sweatshirts emblazoned with the zouave who decorates packages of Zig-Zag cigarette paper. There are girls in miniskirts and net stockings, capes and candy-striped pants, paisley socks and bare feet. A few people have adorned their faces with curlicues of phosphorescent paint. The beards range from the trimmed and Schweppesian to the full and piratical to the shaggy and rabbinical. The hair ranges from the merely long to the shoulder-length and beyond. Some people are sitting or standing, but most are dancing. They are not doing the frug, the monkey, or any other particular dance. They are just dancing – any way they like. And from the platform at the far end of the auditorium, electronically escalated through a two-hundred-watt amplification system, filling every corner and brain in the room, comes the San Francisco sound, played on this particular Saturday night by one of its principal purveyors, the Grateful Dead.
The Fillmore is the most important part of the San Francisco rock scene, but it is merely the tip of the iceberg. According to one estimate, there are some two hundred and fifty rock and roll bands in the San Francisco Bay area, and of these, in the judgment of at least one record company executive, perhaps forty are of professional quality. Rock and roll is growing all over the country, but here, where the growth is greater than anywhere else, there are differences.
For one thing, as the jazz critic Ralph J. Gleason puts it, “San Francisco bands are oriented toward playing for people. In Los Angeles, the pattern is for a group to practice and practice in a garage until it’s good enough to record.” There are plenty of places for bands to play for people. Rivaling (though never surpassing) the Fillmore in decibels, imaginative light shows, and general atmosphere is the somewhat smaller Avalon Ballroom, where a group of hippies who call themselves the Family Dog produce weekend dance concerts. Besides the Avalon and the Fillmore, big rock dances are held at California Hall and Longshoremen’s Hall in San Francisco, in college gyms, and in big rooms around the Bay Area – places like the San Leandro Rollerena and the San Bruno Armory. Then there are the pure rock clubs – the Matrix in San Francisco, the Jabberwock in Berkeley, the Arc in Sausalito – where people listen to rock and roll as if it were jazz, except that the music is too loud for casual chitchat. Finally, there are the endless go-go and dance clubs, at least one in every little suburban town and all of them hiring live rock music.
The scope of the rock scene in San Francisco sets it apart from other cities. But there are more important differences.
Rock and roll is a field which is subject to an enormous amount of manipulation. A few men – record company executives, radio station programmers, tour promoters, key disc jockeys – exert terrific power. And even when there is no hanky-panky, it is a chancy business. A radio program director who must choose one or two singles out of the two hundred or so sent him every week is bound to make arbitrary or whimsical choices sometimes. The record-buying public, like the television-watching public, by design or not, is frequently gulled into liking the worst kind of trash.
But in San Francisco, no one is pulling the strings. There are no shadowy fingers lurking in the background in sharkskin suits and smoked glasses. The discriminating, attentive audiences who attend the big rock-dance concerts have not been told to like the San Francisco sound, but they like it anyway. As a result, groups like the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, neither of which has ever had a hit record, are able to earn upward of two thousand dollars for a weekend’s work.
Bill Graham, creator and manager of the Fillmore Auditorium, learned the hard way that San Francisco audiences can’t be fooled. In a moment of weakness last August, Graham booked a hokey group called Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, whose record, “Little Red Riding Hood,” was a big national hit at the time. “Only three hundred and eighty-seven people came, and I lost eighteen hundred dollars,” recalled Graham. “The people – my people – stayed away. It was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

The music appeals to a broad range of people, but it is a definite part of the “hippie scene,” San Francisco’s new bohemianism. Unlike the sullen Beats of the fifties, who sat around in coffee houses complaining about how rotten and meaningless everything was, the hippies, much more numerous than the Beats ever were, accentuate the positive. They dress wildly, individualistically, colorfully – “ecstatically,” they would say. Like the Beats, they are dropouts from the conventional “status games,” but, unlike them, they have created their own happy lifestyles to drop into. “In a way,” says Jerry Garcia, twenty-four, lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead and one of the culture heroes of Haight-Ashbury, “we’re searching for respectability – not Ford or GM respectability, but the respectability of a community supporting itself financially and spiritually.”
Not many hippies have ever heard of Marshall McLuhan, and fewer have read him, but McLuhan’s analysis is useful in understanding them. The old “Gutenberg-era” values of privacy, prestige through money and job, and linear, cause-and-effect logical thinking are out the window. The hippies have embraced the new, “electric” tribal values of total involvement. They are for freedom and “honesty,” against categorization, even, in a sense, against language itself. “Maybe the tyranny of the written word is something that is going out,” muses Jerry Garcia. “Language is almost designed to be misunderstood.”
Psychedelic drugs such as marijuana and LSD are very important to the hippies. Through these drugs the hippie achieves the total involvement, sensory and emotional, that he seeks. On marijuana, he sees, hears, and feels colors and sounds more vividly. On LSD, his ego dissolves and is replaced by an abiding love and appreciation for all people and things. He becomes more existential than the existentialists, because his total immersion in the present is untainted by any sense of the absurdity of the future.
In the light of the hippies’ approach to life and sensibility, it is easy to understand why the most creative of them have turned to art forms that offer immediate sensory involvement: experimental films, colorful poster art, abstract light shows, and rock and roll. Unsurprisingly, the hippies have produced little in the way of good writing.
There is no such thing as a hippie who favors the war in Vietnam, but few hippies are political activists. They tend to think in moral and personal, not political, terms. When their lapel buttons are remotely political, they tend to relate political issues to personal ones, as in the slogans “Make Love Not War,” and “Keep California Green – Legalize Grass.” More often, though, their buttons say things like “Nirvana Now,” or simply, “Love.”
This is not to say, though, that hippies are uninterested in social change. They take the long view. Their approach is to create their own society of love and light and then wait for everybody else to join up.
Anger is uncommon among hippies. Last month, when California’s new law outlawing the possession of LSD went into effect, a group of Haight-Ashbury heads decided to stage a protest. But then they decided that a protest would be “too negative,” so they staged a celebration instead. It turned out to be a pleasant afternoon in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park, with rock bands playing, children finger-painting on the ground, and people wandering among the trees with cans of beer. “Our attitude is strictly laissez-faire,” says Jerry Garcia. “Nobody throws rocks at the cops anymore, because we’re all human beings in this together.”
The hippies don’t even hate the undercover narcotics agents, whom they call “narcos” or “brain police.” A few weeks ago, one such agent, whose picture had appeared in the paper when he received a departmental honor, walked into the Fillmore in his customary hippie disguise. He was applauded.
The benevolent tolerance of the hippie world is obvious to anyone who has ever visited the Fillmore Auditorium on a Friday or Saturday night. Those who go in suits and ties, as many parents, journalists, curious citizens, and record company representatives have done, find absolutely no hostility whatsoever. No one jostles them and hisses, “Get out of our place, you square,” or some such. No one is made to feel that he is intruding. “We don’t want you to freak out,” Bill Graham says. “We want you to melt. A lot of people come in here like blocks of ice against the nasty beatniks. We want you to break down so your pores are open, so you’ll look, you’ll listen, you’ll enjoy.”
The breaking down begins as soon as you pay your admission price ($2.50 to $3.50, depending on the talent), walk up the wide, rather dingy staircase, and enter the lobby. The first things you see are a couple of big boxes with a hand-lettered sign on them: HAVE ONE…OR TWO. The boxes are filled with apples and lollipops. Graham gives away 2,376 apples and 2,160 lollipops every weekend. “If a guy walks in here worried about what kind of nutty scene he’s getting himself into and the first thing that happens to him is somebody gives him an apple,” says Graham, “he’s bound to loosen up a little.” The lobby’s walls are covered with signs (ONCE INSIDE, NO OUTSY-INSY), posters, and clippings about Lenny Bruce, Jasper Johns, and Pat Boone.
What the Fillmore does is to have so much going on that the visitor can vary the intensity and quality of his pleasure. It is next to impossible to be bored there. If the visitor gets fidgety listening to the music, he can dance. If he gets tired, he can watch the ever-changing, mesmerizing light show. Or he can look at the fantastic variety of people doing their fantastic free-form dances. Or he can retire to the relative quiet of the lobby for an apple and some browsing among the things posted on the wall. Or he can go upstairs for a hamburger and survey the scene from the balcony. If he feels like a nap, he can find a quiet patch of floor off in a corner somewhere and go to sleep. No one will mind.

[omitted paragraphs on Bill Graham's biography]

…In February of 1964, Graham [went] to work as business manager and producer of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a New Left theatre group which was (and is) raising the ire of the city fathers by performing bawdy commedia dell’arte in the public parks and producing an anti-everybody updated minstrel show called “Civil Rights in a Cracker Barrel.” The rock dance scene was three weeks old when Graham got into it. The first dance, sponsored by the Family Dog and entitled “A Tribute to Dr. Strange,” had been held on October 16, 1965, at Longshoreman’s Hall near Fisherman’s Wharf. On November 6, Graham threw a rock benefit at the Mime Troupe’s Howard Street headquarters. Some three thousand people showed up to pack the room, whose official capacity was six hundred, and Graham had to soften up a police sergeant by blandly calling him “lieutenant” to keep him from closing the whole thing down.
Clearly a larger place was needed. Graham nosed around and found the Fillmore Auditorium, a run-down old ballroom at Fillmore Street and Geary Boulevard in the city’s biggest Negro ghetto. He rented it for sixty dollars, and on December 10 threw another wildly successful rock and roll benefit. Shortly thereafter, Graham and the Mime Troupe parted company, and Graham decided to go it alone. He went back to the Fillmore and found that eleven other promoters had already put in bids for it. Graham got forty-one prominent citizens to write letters to the auditorium’s owner, a haberdasher named Harry Shifs, and Shifs gave him a three-year lease at five hundred dollars a month. Graham isn’t a zillionare yet, but he’s making a comfortable living (he’ll probably take home well over fifty thousand dollars this year), and he is beginning to be regarded as a San Francisco institution, like the cable cars, Chinatown, and the topless. “The hippie community,” says Jerry Garcia, “has turned out to be something the man from Montgomery Street can point to with pride, in a left-handed way, and say ‘these are our boys.’”
It was not always so. Back in April, official San Francisco seemed determined to put Graham and the Fillmore out of business. First the police department turned down Graham’s application for a dance permit. The rock impresario took his case to the City Board of Permit Appeals. The police responded by producing a petition of complaint from twenty-eight local merchants.
Graham went through the ceiling. He charged that the police had collected the signatures by accusing Graham of being a “pusher” whose extravagance attracted “the bad element.” He went around to the merchants himself and got retractions from twenty-three of the twenty-eight, plus a statement of support from Rabbi Elliot Bernstein of the neighboring Congregation Beth Israel, who had earlier been heard to complain that hippies were urinating on his synagogue.
The appeals board turned Graham down anyway. At this point, when all seemed lost, the San Francisco Chronicle came to the rescue on April 21 with an editorial, “The Fillmore Auditorium Case,” and a cartoon of a blubbering police officer captioned, “They’re dancing with tears in my eyes.” “The official hostility is not yet satisfactorily explained,” opined the Chron. “The police say the dance halls attract disorderly crowds and generate fights – but have reported none at the Fillmore Auditorium since Graham took over.”
The police were groggy but still on their feet. An officer showed up in Graham’s office, waved the paper at him, and told him the editorial was a “personal affront.” The next evening, the police invaded the Fillmore and arrested Graham and fourteen under-eighteen patrons. The charge was violation of a city ordinance prohibiting minors from going unchaperoned to dance halls. The ordinance, passed in 1909 and unenforced for half a century, had been designed for an earlier, wilder San Francisco, when young girls ventured into the Barbary Coast at their peril.
The Chronicle struck back with another editorial, “Certain Questions About a Police Raid,” which asked, among other things, “Was the Friday night raid vindictive or punitive or the result of police prejudice against the neighborhood? We hope not.” Three weeks later, the City Board of Permit Appeals gave Graham his permit.
Since then, police interest in harassing the Fillmore has dropped to zero. Order is kept by seven private policemen, six male and one female, whom Graham calls “swinging cops who know what’s happening.” One of the joys of the Fillmore is to watch one of these policemen standing quietly in a corner, rocking back and forth to the music, or joking with a long-haired, bead-wearing hippie. But they do their job. “If one of my regulars comes around obviously smashed on pot or booze,” says Graham, “the cop’ll say, ‘Not tonight, man. Come back when you’re straighter.’ The kid’ll say, ‘Aw, come on,’ but he’ll go.” Very few police are needed, because the hippies will tell them if anyone is smoking pot, picking a fight, or otherwise misbehaving. “It’s not ‘cause they’re stoolies,” explains Graham. “It’s their scene, too. They know that if we get busted, they lose their scene.”
That the Chronicle defended the Fillmore so resoundingly was largely the doing of Ralph Gleason. Gleason and entertainment reporter John Wasserman had for months been treating the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom as places of serious artistic endeavor. “Some of the Chronicle’s editors who had teenage kid had been to the Fillmore to see for themselves,” recalls Gleason. “At the editorial meeting, the science editor and a sports columnist came along to urge a strong stand. They knew it wasn’t just that nut Gleason, and this made an impression.”
Bill Graham himself is a wiry man with light brown eyes, a perpetual five o’clock shadow, and black hair combed in to a modified version of old-style Presley rocker. He has a craggy face and a wide mouth that make him look a little like the late Lenny Bruce. He spends most of the day at the Fillmore in his tiny, cluttered office, which looks like the inside of a chimney. He is a gesticulating, nonstop, New York-accented talker. Sometimes his monologues take on the character of a rant. Sometimes he is unnecessarily curt. (“In my conversation,” he says, “the ‘fuck you’ replaces the ‘please.’”)
Graham can – and frequently does – talk for hours about the Fillmore and his role in it. His philosophy boils down to the following: “Art in America can only survive within the framework of a sound business structure.” He likes making money, but he prefers the challenge of creating a good scene. “If I were to say to you that I don’t give a damn about the dollar, I’d be lying,” he says. “But the dollar is second to the result. I have my orgasm at one in the morning when I go up to the balcony and see everyone having a good time.”
A lot of people dislike Graham for his toughness, but in his management of the Fillmore he has shown taste, imagination, and courage. He combined a dance-concert played by the Jefferson Airplane with a reading by Andrei Voznesensky, the Soviet poet. When he booked the Byrds, the well-known Los Angeles folk-rock group, he combined them with a production of LeRoi Jones’s play The Dutchman. Lenny Bruce made one of his last public appearances at the Fillmore on June 24 and 25.
Graham has run benefits at the Fillmore for such causes as SNCC (the Student Nonviolent Co-ordinating Committee), the Delano grape strikers, the North Beach children’s nursery, the San Francisco Artist’s Liberation Front, and the Both/And, an experimental jazz nightclub. There was even, once, a wedding at the Fillmore. Between sets one Saturday night, a young man named Lee “Thunder Machine” Quanstrum married his blonde fiancee “Space Daisy” (many hippies affect comic-book-type nicknames), in a Unitarian (what else?) ceremony conducted on the bandstand. Graham later got a thank-you note from the couple. Here is its text: “Dear Bill, Thank you for making it possible for us to be married in the style to which we are accustomed.”
On the weekend following last month’s racial disturbances in San Francisco, when virtually every establishment in the Fillmore District was padlocked after dark, Graham brought off his dance-concerts on schedule. In doing so he went against the advice of his attorneys and many friends (and lost a pile of money), but he succeeded in proving that the Fillmore Auditorium could remain a place of peace and light despite the tribulations of the world outside.

In addition to their social and artistic role in presenting the new bohemianism and the new music of San Francisco, the Fillmore Auditorium and the Avalon Ballroom have pioneered an essentially new art form, the big light show. Light displays in conjunction with rock music have been used before, and are being used now in other cities (as at the Cheetah in New York). But these efforts have been comparably primitive. The light shows that go with – and in a sense are part of – the San Francisco sound are unique in scope, brilliance, and technique.
The Fillmore’s light man, a twenty-nine-year-old painter named Tony Martin, has led in working out the new methods, both at the Fillmore and at the Tape Music Center of Mills College, Oakland, where his experiments are financed under a two-hundred-thousand-dollar grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Martin uses a wide variety of equipment to produce his extravaganzas: slide projectors and slides, both conventional (photographs of things like trees and statues of Marc Antony) and handmade (patterns painted directly onto the transparency); movies of every description, including the endlessly repeating type, which are accomplished by running a circular strip of film through a projector bicycle-chain style; colored, flashing footlights, which project elongated, el Greco-like silhouettes of the musicians onto the screen behind them; ordinary theatrical gels and spotlights; and all these in combination.
The most impressive part of the light shows are the bubbling, pulsating, exploding liquid projections, and the technology of these is strikingly simple. The basic piece of equipment is an overhead projector, the kind that college lecturers use to show maps and diagrams to their students. Using a shallow glass dish (actually the crystal of a large clock), the artist mixes vegetable color and water, oil, alcohol, and glycerin. The possibilities are nearly infinite. By tilting the glass, the artist can make the patterns ebb and flow. By raising and lowering the glass, he can squeeze explosions of light in and out of existence. By putting his hand between the light source and the mirrors which project to the screens, he can vary the intensity of the light or block it off entirely. Even the artist’s cigarette smoke adds a subtle touch.
The other main offshoot of the San Francisco sound has been the poster art used to advertise the dance-concerts. The poster style, originated by Wes Wilson, twenty-nine, who does the Fillmore’s posters, eschews conventional type faces, no matter how unusual. Lettering, photographs, drawings, and abstract design are woven into a continuous whole, with the words undulating around each other or around photographs or drawings. In their ingenuity and use of distorted lettering, the posters recall their French and German forebears of the 1880s and 1890s. Wilson’s posters are coveted by collectors, professional and amateur. The Oakland Art Commission has a complete collection, which it plans to display in its new museum. Graham gives away three thousand posters a week to his patrons at the Fillmore, but even that fails to satisfy the demand. One day last summer Graham put up a hundred and fifty posters along Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue and then stopped at the Forum for a cup of coffee. By the time he got up to go back to his car, only three of them were left.

None of these things, however – the lights, the friendliness, the posters, the Avalon and Fillmore “scenes” – could exist without the music.
The San Francisco sound is played by a profusion of groups whose impressionistic, tongue-in-cheek names reflect their determination to make a new kind of music. Generally acknowledged as the best of the San Francisco groups are the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. The other prominent bands include the Quicksilver Messenger Service, the 13th Floor Elevator, the Sopwith Camel, Country Joe and the Fish, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Moby Grape, the Loading Zone, the Mystery Trend, the Wildflower, William Penn, the Harbinger Complex, Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, the Chocolate Watch Band, and the Sir Douglas Quintet. There is even a group called the Five Year Plan, which played its most recent (and perhaps only) gig at the annual picnic of the People’s World, the West Coast Communist weekly.
The San Francisco sound is a very hard-driving folk-rock with strong blues and electronic influences. A San Francisco band usually consists of three electric guitars (lead, rhythm, bass), drums, and voices. Frequently another instrument (harmonic, electric organ, fiddle) is added. An equally important part of the instrumentation is the electronic amplifying equipment and its accoutrements – microphones, speakers, amplifiers, pickups, tape loops, echo-makers, and reverberators. This equipment can create an energy level that is astonishing. The Fillmore Auditorium’s sound system develops enough power to run a small radio station and ten times as much as the biggest home stereo equipment. The sound comes out at roughly a hundred decibels and sometimes ventures as high as a hundred and ten, only ten decibels under the pain level. In this situation the electronic equipment becomes part of the machinery of music, not simply a way of making it audible to people in the back of the room.
Elements of the music have been floating around for years. It’s rock dance-music, so the beat is always firmly there: a very basic thump thump thump underpinning the whole thing, a walloping electric bass and drum booming away. The drummers play out of a straight rock and roll bag, except that some of the best of them explode into intricate showers of rhythm that suggest they have been listening to the music of India. The guitarists chug-chug rock style, drone folk-style, twang country-style, and wail rhythm-and-blues style, but they too are increasingly falling into sitar-like improvisations of great color and intensity. Most of them own several Ravi Shankar records. The best guitarists are capable of extended jazzish statements. Instead of wrapping it all up in a three-minute, hit-recordable package, a San Francisco rock group is likely to devote fifteen or twenty minutes to a single number.
The influences which touch the San Francisco sound cover a big slice of the musical spectrum. The Beatles are a stronger influence than ever now that they have ventured into raga-rock and electronic sound processing, and even those San Francisco musicians not directly indebted to the Beatles musically are grateful to them for using their charisma to create a public taste for experimental rock and roll. Another immediate strand of influence is pure folk-rock – the lyrical, harmonic kind popularized by the Byrds, the Lovin’ Spoonful, and the We Five (itself a San Francisco group), and the growling, shouting kind popularized by Bob Dylan. Certain kinds of modern classical music have also been influential. Some of the San Francisco build their sound to a level of pure white noise, an aspect of the music that John Cage would appreciate. But the most important influence on the San Francisco sound is the blues. At the Fillmore and the Avalon, blues bands more often than not appear on the same bill with San Francisco rock bands. Chicago’s Paul Butterfield Blues Band and New York’s Blues Project have appeared frequently in San Francisco, and their blend of folk-rock and blues has become part of the San Francisco sound. An older generation of blues singers has exerted considerable influence as well. In the past month alone, three very great blues singers – Muddy Waters, Big Mama Willie Mae Thornton, and Lightnin’ Hopkins – have played dance-concerts at the Fillmore Auditorium.
All these strains have been synthesized into a unique sound that is San Francisco’s own. Ralph Gleason argues that “it is the first generation of white American musicians who aren’t trying to be Negroes. They admire Negro musicians like Otis Redding but aren’t interested in imitating them. They are producing something that cannot be dismissed as merely an imitation of any other kind of music.”

The most popular of the San Francisco groups is the Jefferson Airplane.
The Jefferson Airplane is further in a purer folk-rock direction than the other San Francisco groups. Its group vocalizings use folk-style harmony and have a lyricism generally lacking in the San Francisco sound.
The Airplane was organized two years ago by its lead singer, Marty Balin, twenty-three, and the group’s main asset is still Balin’s strong, clear alto voice. Balin slurs his sibilants, a fortunate speech defect which only adds to the liquid quality of his voice. Broad-shouldered, heavy-browed, and handsome, Balin writes most of the Airplane’s material. Like most other San Francisco groups, the Airplane performs largely original material. When it performs other songs (such as “Midnight Hour” and “Tobacco Road,” which have become standards among San Francisco rock groups), it uses original arrangements.
The Airplane’s five other members include one girl, a slim, lovely brunette named Grace Slick, whose huge, deep blue eyes flash under her bangs. Her throaty contralto and strong vibrato add depth to the group’s sound.
When the Jefferson Airplane plays at the Fillmore Auditorium, their set begins with a recording of a jet plane taking off. The sound builds from a low rumble; at the moment it reaches the screaming pinnacle of acceleration, the Airplane launches into its first number. Somehow they manage to maintain the excitement, creating a rolling, building head of steam with each song. They have a joyous sound even though nearly everything they play is in a minor mode. On a song like “My Best Friend,” Marty Balin and Grace Slick stare deep into each other’s eyes as they sing, and the electricity crackles.
“The Airplane has style,” says Ralph Gleason, “and all the people who really make it have got that.” And, indeed, it seems more than likely that the Airplane will “really make it.” RCA Victor signed them up with a fat twenty-five-thousand-dollar advance. Last week they were in Los Angeles recording their second album. And on January 1 they will appear on television’s Bell Telephone Hour in a segment taped at the Fillmore.
In preparation for the success its members fully expect, the Jefferson Airplane is polishing itself up and working hard on new material. But they retain a San Franciscan disdain for crass commercialism. “Sure, we’re tightening up,” says Skip Spence, twenty-four, the Airplane’s drummer. “But we’re still not showtime U.S.A. Like we don’t all dress the same. One guy’ll wear a suit and another guy’ll look like he just slept under a train.”
They have played in Chicago, Los Angeles, and points in between, but they prefer San Francisco. “It’s quiet here,” says Jack Casady, twenty-two, the bass guitar player, a dandyish dresser whose nose and pouty mouth are the only parts of his face visible under a Beatles-esque mop of fine hair. “There’s no big hassle. The audiences are more demanding here, and you get everybody, from high society to beatniks.”
“The thing about San Francisco,” adds Marty Balin, “is that everything that happens in the scene is run by the people on the scene. No outside sharpies, no big businessmen.”
“The competition here is all friendly,” puts in rhythm guitarist and singer Paul Kantner, twenty-four, who looks like a shaggy blond S.J. Perelman without the mustache. “None of that sneaky cutthroat stuff you get in commercial scenes.”
“----,” concludes Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen, twenty-five, who is tall and angular and has shoulder-length, wavy brown hair. He is quiet but is an exceptionally skillful lead guitarist.
The Jefferson Airplane has invaded territory previously untouched by rock and roll. They played the usually purist Monterey Jazz Festival this summer. More recently (October 19) they performed at the San Francisco Opera Guild’s “Fol de Rol,” an annual fund-raiser which is also one of the city’s most important society events of the season. The Airplane appeared on the same program with members of the San Francisco Opera, who sang pompous versions of 'Bess, You Is My Woman Now,' 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly,' and other favorites. Not all the gowned ladies and tuxedoed gentlemen who filled the Civic Auditorium appreciated the intrusion of hard-driving folk-rock - some even hissed - but the Junior Leaguers and their husbands were enthusiastic.

Every member of the Jefferson Airplane wears his or her hair long, but compared to the Grateful Dead, the Airplane looks like the freckle-faced kid next door.
The Dead, nearly as popular as the Plane, play a purer version of the San Francisco sound. Their music is harder, reedier, eerier, and hoarser. They are five very strange-looking young men. Jerry Garcia – nicknamed “Captain Trips” – is husky and leather-jacketed. He has frizzy hair, like Nancy of Nancy and Sluggo, a homely face, and a gentle smile. Bob Weir, nineteen, the rhythm guitarist, is ethereal and graceful, with light brown locks that wave gently down to his shoulders. Drummer Bill Sommers, twenty-one, and bass guitarist Phil Lesh, twenty-six, have Prince Valiant haircuts, black and blond respectively. Ron McKernan, twenty-one, the organist and lead singer, is commonly known as “Pig-Pen.” He has a build like W.C. Fields, a Jerry Collona mustache, and very long, curly hair, which he holds in place Apache-style with a headband. He always wears a black leather vest over a horizontally striped Polo shirt.
Because of the prominent role that LSD plays in their lives and art, the Grateful Dead’s music has been called “acid-rock.” It’s an appropriate tag; during the first months of their existence, the Dead were bankrolled by Owsley Stanley, who is said to have made more than a million dollars manufacturing and selling tiny, eggshell-blue capsules of LSD. Indeed, the name “Grateful Dead” is sometimes interpreted as a reference to the death of the ego under LSD. The Dead do not object to this interpretation, but Jerry Garcia says that in fact he found the name one day when he was leafing through the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary. It refers to a family of medieval ballads. Since adopting the name the Dead claim to have found a reference to it in the Egyptian Book of the Dead: “In the land of darkness, the voices of evil are dispelled by the ship of the sun, which is drawn across the heavens by the grateful dead.”
The Grateful Dead may not make it big commercially; they might be too freaky. But Warner Brothers is about to sign them for a record contract.
“I don’t think the live sound, the live excitement, can be recorded,” says Jerry Garcia. “Rather than trying to turn the living room or the car radio into the Fillmore Auditorium, we’ll use the resources of the recording studio – overtracking things, using other instruments.”
Garcia acknowledges the importance of LSD to the Dead’s development, but he denies that the group is especially drug-oriented. “Consciousness-expanding drugs are a part of the way of life of the community in which we choose to live,” he says. “We don’t construct our music to be drug music. The way we prefer to play is straight – relaxed and in a good mood. It’s always better when something’s natural rather than artificial or chemical or whatever.”
The Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, the literally thousands of other groups that are following in their footsteps or branching out on their own, the lights, the art, the dances: all of it adds up to a sound and a scene that is unique.
It is a sound and a scene that supports not one, but two, newspapers: the weekly Mojo Navigator-R&R News and the bi-weekly Deadly Excess, whose title comes from John Lennon’s pun on the London Daily Express.
It is a sound and a scene that might sweep the country. Or it might not. San Francisco is a very special kind of city, and things happen here that could never happen anywhere else. If it doesn’t, perhaps it will be because, in the words of one Los Angeles record company executive, “these San Francisco groups refuse to co-operate” – meaning they won’t make the basic changes in their music that this Angeleno believes are the key to commercial success. But if the San Francisco sound does become the American sound, and the San Francisco scene the American scene, it will be more than just another musical fad. It will mean that the new way of life that is developing in this city is becoming, in some sense, the way of life of the young men and women of the land. 

(by Hendrik Hertzberg, unpublished file for Newsweek, October 28, 1966)

The complete article was printed in Hertzberg's book of essays, Politics: Observations & Arguments 1966-2004.

* * * 

The article was rewritten and condensed to one page for printing in Newsweek. Here is the printed article: 

THE NITTY-GRITTY SOUND 

Until recently it was an underground sound, the personal and private expression of the hippies, the new Bohemians who have flocked to permissive San Francisco. Today, aboveboard, the San Francisco Sound is the newest adventure in rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a raw, unpolished, freewheeling, vital and compelling sound. And it’s loud. In Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium a tidal wave of overdriven, electronic sound penetrates the farthest corner, thunders off the walls and sets the vast floor vibrating.
With the emergence of the sound, San Francisco has become the Liverpool of the West, spawning some 1,500 bands. True hippies, long-haired, unkempt, psychedelic, the groups have adopted whimsical irreverent names – the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, the Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Sopwith “Camel,” the 13th Floor Elevator, Country Joe & the Fish, and the Loading Zone.
Every weekend in such immense halls as the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom, and college auditoriums like the Pauley Ballroom at Berkeley, the music assaults the ears; strobe lights, pulsating to the beat, blind the eyes and sear the nerves. Psychedelic projections slither across the walls in protoplasmic blobs, restlessly changing shape, color and size. Two or three thousand young people jam the floor, many in “ecstatic” dress – men with shoulder-length locks and one earring, cowboy outfits, frock coats, high hats; women in deliberately tatty evening gowns, rescued from some attic, embellished by a tiara and sneakers. Arab kaftans are worn by both sexes, who also affect bead necklaces, the high sign of LSD initiation.
Some of the crowd crouch close to the bandstand where the sound is most ear-splitting, listening as raptly as if Horowitz were playing Mozart. The majority (including a sprinkling of young mothers with infants asleep on their shoulders) dance, dropping their inhibitions like Salome her veils, inventing odd but apparently satisfying gyrations, the whole scene a dance-happening. “People are getting more into the nitty-gritty of emotional and personal life,” says 22-year-old guitarist Peter Albin. “They’re expressing themselves through physical movement and this creates a real bond between the musicians and the audience.”
The San Francisco Sound reflects this. It is a cheerful synthesis of Beatles and blues, folk and country, liberally sprinkled with Indian Raga. Most popular of the groups is Jefferson Airplane, led by 23-year-old Marty Balin. Balin’s clear, soft voice leads the group toward melodic folk-style harmonies in such songs as “My Best Friend,” included in their second RCA album to be released in January. The Grateful Dead, second in popularity, are blues-oriented, and so far unrecorded. Their hard, hoarse, screeching sound is pure San Francisco. “I don’t believe the live sound, the live excitement, can be recorded,” says 24-year-old lead guitarist Jerry Garcia.
One significant characteristic of the San Francisco songs is the length, often fifteen minutes or longer, ample time to build thunderous climax upon climax; to change the throbbing tempos, and within a single number to pass through the land of the blues, the folk, the country and anywhere else freewheeling invention beckons. Mostly untrained, the top groups boast skilled and intuitive musicians in whom a depth of genuine feeling and expressive originality is unmistakable.
The homespun texture, the spontaneity, the freedom of the San Francisco sound appeal forcefully to the hippie culture. Who are the hippies? NEWSWEEK’s Hendrik Hertzberg asked a number of them what they did. Typical answers included, “I just try to love everybody, man,” or “I take a lot of acid” [LSD], or “I don’t know, I try to keep open to all the beautiful things.” Tall, thin Chet Helms, the bearded 24-year-old patriarch who runs the Avalon Ballroom, says that San Francisco has become the focus of “a ‘now consciousness,’ instrumented by the growing of psychedelic chemicals as a tool for expression.”
Meanwhile more and more record companies are tempting the San Francisco groups, more and more clubs across the country are opening wide their doors. But so far the San Francisco Sound prefers the warmth of its hippies. “When we play out of town,” says 23-year-old John Cipollina, lead guitarist of the Quicksilver Messenger Service, “the out-of-towners have to be turned on to our message of freedom. The people out here are really open and the musicians are open. There’s a big love thing going around, you know.”

(by Hendrik Hertzberg, from Newsweek, December 19, 1966)

The Newsweek article has a couple pictures: a picture of the Airplane playing at the Fillmore, captioned: “A big love thing going around.” And a picture of the Dead glowering on the street, captioned: “A mixed bag.”

Aug 1, 2014

January 1968: Praise for the Dead

LIVE SOUND OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD

One of the most influential groups to emerge from the musically prolific city of San Francisco is the Grateful Dead. Universally recognized as the leading exponent of that city's sound, the Dead are taking over where the Airplane left off. Proving that is the fact that After Bathing At Baxter's, the Airplane's latest recording, is dying on the record stands, whereas the Grateful Dead's second album is being impatiently awaited.
The Dead's sound can be best described as the new blues. With raunchy chords and funky sounds, they grip their live audiences with a burst of sound that patrons of San Francisco's famed Fillmore Auditorium maintain cannot be duplicated on records.
Led by Jerry Garcia, who commands an almost religious respect among his copious followers, the Dead come on with hard, hoarse, screeching sounds that are almost unbelievable. Garcia himself admits, "I don't believe the live sound, the live excitement can be recorded."
Besides Garcia, who was born in Mazatlan, Mexico, there is Phil Leash on bass. Leash recounts his life: "born in a jail cell, the last of a line of at least three generations of horse thieves. Thereafter, history took over leaving me bewigged, lathered and ready for the axe."
Ron McKernan, better known to everyone as Pigpen, was born in San Bruno, California. Before joining the Dead, Pigpen was the leader of an all-organ blues band. He earned his nickname while still in high school. "I began singing at 16. I wasn't in school, I was just goofin'. I've always been singing along with records, my dad was a disc jockey, and it's been what I wanted to do." One noted San Francisco jazz/pop critic has called Pigpen "one of the major bluesmen in America."
Bill Sommers, who is their drummer, played in about ten bands until the Dead finally asked him to join them. Bill has a background in football at Stanford.
Their rhythm guitarist is one of the youngest guitarists ever to play with the Dead. Bob Weir was only 18 when he began playing with the group. Weir is also a fine artist whose rather interesting interpretation of Pigpen is being worn on thousands of tee-shirts across the city.
The group is extremely together. Working and living together has brought the group so close that it is almost impossible to tell where one mind stops and the others start. This closeness, this ability to become one being, is perhaps the greatest asset any group in pop music today can have. Through the closeness of sound and mind, they can make their individual achievements heighten considerably as a group.
They are at their best in front of an audience. They have fun while on stage, and it is evident that this is where they want to be. Garcia explains, "Audiences are where it's at. We get into a thing by ourselves, but if there's a few people listening it makes a big difference."
Phil Leash perhaps sums up the Dead's sound best when he states, "you just do what you do and we all kind of fell together. We orbit around a common center. It is impossible to define but it has something to do with making good music of any kind. That's the Grateful Dead."

(by Tony Leigh, from KRLA Beat, 27 January 1968) 

http://krlabeat.sakionline.net/issue/27jan68.pdf (p.19)

The KRLA Beat archive of issues from 1964-1968 is here: http://krlabeat.sakionline.net/cgi-bin/index.cgi

Jun 4, 2014

Summer 1969: Jerry Garcia Interview

This is an hour-long interview Michael Lydon taped with Garcia for his 1969 Rolling Stone article on the Grateful Dead. It is here presented in two versions: the first is more or less a complete and faithful transcription. The second is lightly edited to make it more readable. Most readers may want to skip down to the edited version.


MICHAEL LYDON INTERVIEW (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

(microphone feedback)
Garcia: Testing, one, two, is there a meter on there anywhere so you can judge level? You don’t want – if it’s distorted, it’ll be awful. Testing, one two three four five six seven eight… Okay, let’s see, there’s the meter – no, I think there isn’t any meter.
(Tape recorder set up – voices in background.)
Lydon: We were talking in the car about up til you became the Warlocks.
Garcia: Yeah.
Lydon: Can you go back?
Garcia: Before that?
Lydon: No, no, continue on from there.
Garcia: Oh, sure, from the Warlocks. Oh, we were the Warlocks for, oh, six months or so; and during that time we played like, you know, Big Al’s Gashouse and those kind of scenes; and bars, like you know, those Whiskey a Go Go kind of places, and with fake IDs and all that shit, like Weir was only 17, and Pigpen was 19; and you know, we had a whole hustle, you know, we had to join the union and all that, and it was – the thing that was mostly going on in the music business at that time, like we weren’t into the business part, we were just playing, and you know, just trying to get gigs and keep going, and the business at that time was like that whole Hollywood scene, you know, the whole beach trip, you know, with weird booking agents and all that kind of stuff; and we were like getting to the end of the rope in that scene, like we were playing, we were were doing six nights a week, five sets a night in those bars, you know; and we did it for – to the point where it was just impossible, I mean, you know when we’re finally tripping out all the regular clientele, there were no, hardly any more customers coming in, when they’d come in they’d leave clutching their ears, “Aaah shit!” – and you know, when you get – we grew into this whole like malicious thing, man, of just laying it on as thick as we could.
Lydon: What kind of stuff were you playing?
Garcia: Wild rock and roll, man; blues, you know, stuff like that, but it was like loud, you know, real loud; even, you know, for those days it was extremely loud, and for a bar it was ridiculous, you know like people had to scream at each other and all that, and that’s how we really started getting louder and louder; and then at that time –
Lydon: The numbers you put the people through.
Garcia: Yeah, right, right – just isolate ‘em. And at that time Kesey was doing his scenes up at his house in La Honda, on Saturdays they would all get stoned, and coming on to all that shit; and we had friends, you know, that were living up there and they had friends that were living down with us, and it was like back and forth, until finally it was, you know, “why don’t we get together and have a party, you guys bring your instruments and stuff and play,” you know, and they’d set up all their tapes and all that bullshit, and – we would all go and get stoned; and it would be – it was essentially formless, you know, there was nothing really going on, we’d just go there and make something of it, you know; and then we just sort of dropped out completely of the straight music thing; we didn’t take any more of those kind of gigs, we just played the acid tests, which was – the trip of the acid test was it was gonna be every Saturday night, it was gonna be a different place every time, and it wasn’t gonna have any plan; that was what the acid test was, in fact, and that’s the way it was through its whole thing; it lasted about six months, that particular trip, going various places, you know, and during that time we did the Trips Festival, acid test at Muir Beach, and Fillmore Auditorium; and also that was about the same time that they were having the first Family Dog shows and also the Mime Troupe benefits, which were like the first time, you know, there was like rock and roll scenes; the Trips Festival was the first time when all the heads around, you know, were like together in one place, everybody high, and nobody paranoid; so it was like, you know, that was the first time it opened out, you know, in any sense, you know. And during that time we became the Grateful Dead, you know, that became our name.
Lydon: How’d you get that name?
Garcia: Ohhh, looking for a name, looking for a name, you know, we abandoned the Warlocks, we just didn’t have a name for a while, you know, we were trying ones out to see how they fit the ear, you know; and we were smoking DMT over at Phil’s house one day, something like that, and he had a big Oxford dictionary, you know, opened it up, and there’s the Grateful Dead, it said the Grateful Dead, you know, just – That moment was one of those moments, you know, it’s just like everything else on the page went blank and diffuse, you know, it was the Grateful Dead in big black letters edged in gold, you know, blasting out – (laughter) – and it was such a stunning combination of words, you know, just the way, you know – and I said, “Well how about the Grateful Dead?” No, you know, some didn’t like it – Bill Graham didn’t want to advertise us, he didn’t want to say the Grateful Dead, he wanted to say the Warlocks, you know, we’d already played a couple of gigs and he thought we had a reputation as the Warlocks…
Lydon: It was already like a thing then.
Garcia: Oh, sure, yeah, sure.
Lydon: That maybe you wouldn’t last any longer [if you keep the wrong name].
Garcia: Right, right. See, it’s like, we didn’t give a fuck, you know. (laughter) So they just started calling us Grateful Dead as soon as we mentioned that it was a possibility, you know, that was the one, everybody just sort of gravitated toward it, and so that got to be it, you know.
Lydon: When did you move up to San Francisco?
Garcia: Well, we left – we started coming up to San Francisco pretty heavy during the acid test scene, to the Fillmore, and started meeting San Francisco people; and then we went to LA, the acid test went to LA, and we did two to three acid tests down there, and then the bus went to Mexico with the Pranksters, and we stayed in LA and just practiced and goofed and got really high a lot down in this house down there, and then we came back like three months later, back up to San Francisco where everybody had known us from the Fillmore gigs and somewhere, Longshoreman’s, all the Trips Festivals and so forth, and we came back and started playing gigs up here, we moved to Rancho Olompali, that was the first place we had up here; and then we moved from there, we were only there for about a month or so, we moved from there over to 710.
Lydon: Who owned that? Did McCoy own that?
Garcia: No, no, it was owned by just somebody, I don’t know who it was, whoever owned it then, you know, and they were thinking of putting up a historical monument, and stuff like that, and we managed to get it, you know, we got together enough rent for six weeks there; and that was like our first place, you know, because we needed a place to practice and all that.
Lydon: You were talking in the car before about Cassady and all that. Is it possible to tell what the whole thing with Kesey was like?
Garcia: Ohhh…well, it depended on who you were, when you were there, you know, it was like, it was one thing to me, there were always a lot of things to me, but I know that there are a lot of other people that it was a lot of other things for, if you know what I mean; it was like, it was open, it was a tapestry or something, you know, or a mandala or something like that, it was like, it was what you made of it, essentially; and that was the whole – the thing is, okay, you know, so you take LSD and you suddenly are aware of another plane, right, or several other planes, or whatever, and the question is to extend that limit, to go as far as you can go in that particular area, whatever it happens to be, and that, in the acid test it really meant do away with old forms, do away with old ideas, try something new; and that’s the way it was, and it was like no - nobody was doing something, you know, it was like everybody was doing bits and pieces of something, the result of which was something else (Lydon: Oh, wow), if you know what I mean, it was like, when it was, when the thing was really moving right, it was something you could sort of dig, that it was getting toward, you know, it was like some sort of ordered chaos, you know, some kind of chaos, and the way the acid test would be was it would start off, and there would be chaos, you know, everybody would be high and flashing and going through huge changes and there’d be just insane chaos during which everything would be demolished and spilled and broken and changed and affected, and after that another thing would happen, it’s like, the acid test went all night long til the next morning, and all these things would happen that would like smooth out within the chaos, if you know what I mean, so another form would happen; and it would all have to do with just everybody being there, sort of like being responsive, you know, so that – and there was like microphones all over, you know, like, there’d be like microphones all over, so if you were just anybody wandering around, there’d be a microphone, you could talk into it, and there would be somebody else somewhere in the building at the end of some wire, that would have a tape recorder and a mixing board and earphones and be listening in on microphones, and all of a sudden someone would turn it up because it seemed appropriate, you know, it would seem appropriate at that moment.
Lydon: So your rap wouldn’t get heard unless, like, someone decided –
Garcia: Well, the whole thing would be affected, you know, so you might say something into a microphone and you’d hear it come out maybe a minute later, in a tape loop somewhere else, some other part of the place, and all of a sudden there would be all this odd interchange going on, you know, and neural connections and weird sorts, you know, it would just be like – well, you know, it was like magic, you know, some far-out magic, and really a gas – (Lydon: Yeah!) The thing about it was, that there was, you know, it was people doing it all, you know, people doing it all; like the light show, I remember one time, when somebody was writing, like Kesey would be writing messages on a projector maybe, projected up onto a wall, and he would be writing what he was seeing, or what was going on, and he would write what was going on, it would go up on the board there, meanwhile somebody else would be making a comment about it on a microphone somewhere, and it would be ringing out of some speaker somewhere, and you know – there would be all this stuff happening, exchanging back and forth, you know. Oh, it was really far out.
Lydon: And you’d just be playing?
Garcia: Uh, yeah, we’d be playing, you know, we’d be playing when we were playing, when we weren’t playing we’d be doing other stuff, you know. And we wouldn’t do sets, like sometimes we’d get up and play, just play for two hours or three hours, sometimes we’d get up and play for ten minutes and all freak out and split, you know, and sometimes, you know, it was just like, we would just do it however it would happen, you know. I mean it wasn’t a job, you dig? (Lydon: Yeah.) It wasn’t a job, we weren’t going to do a job, it was the acid test, wherein, you know, anything is okay, you can do anything you want.
Girl: The thing about it is nobody paid any money and nobody ever had any money.
Garcia: Right, right, there was no money, period.
Girl: And you did it all without money. (Garcia: Right.) That was the neat part about it. Did it all without any […] of money coming in at all, except for the hassle part […].
Lydon: Before it all happened, you had been aware that maybe your music could get into that?
Garcia: Uhh, well, I’ve always been a musician, I’ve always loved to play, and it’s just, where is there a form which says that you can play all you want to, but you don’t have to do any bullshit to go along with it – you know like before that all there was was coffeehouses and things like that – I mean open to me as a musician. And so, you know, there they maybe didn’t take too kindly to, you know, 45-minute guitar solos or something – I mean, you know, it’s like, it’s a timeless experience, I think, you know, the thing about music, and like when we’re playing together, and the thing that we learned back there, you know, is that there is something happens after you’ve taken the step over the brink, you know, when you’ve gone past what you know, and then you’ve learned something new, you know, that’s where you learn something new, that’s the thing to see – that’s, like with our music, we’ve been pushing our music in that same way all along, you know, just to get past where we are, if you know what I mean.
Lydon: One thing that’s bothered me in the records is, it’s difficult to find a sense of continuity – but I mean, it must be there.
Garcia: Well, it depends what sort of continuity you’re talking about. What records are you talking about?
Lydon: Well, just from the first to second to third – the second seems more connected to the third (Garcia: Right), and the first is a whole different number.
Garcia: Well the first one, we never – it was the first record we ever made, and at the time, it was unreasonable for us to do what we did, which would have been one LP, two sides, one song, you know, like they would never have gone for it, you know, it was not the thing to do with the form, right? So we made the first record of short songs and stuff that we were doing, but they were like our little – they were like our warm-up numbers, you know – they were tunes, songs, you know, and like the thing we do isn’t really that, quite, you know; I mean we weave songs in and out, you know, but they aren’t really, you know, it’s not just – So anyway, the first record was songs, and that was because we were making a record, right – Viola Lee Blues, it was, you know, revolutionary for being ten minutes long, twelve minutes long, big deal – now, you know, big deal. And then, so when we came up to do the second record, we thought, you know, this time let’s do an LP record, let’s not make a record that’s gonna sell or that somebody in the record company is gonna like, and you know, we had to live with the first record for a year and we grew to hate it, you know – and so the second record, you know, like we kicked out the producer and got thrown out of a lot of studios for being too weird and all that shit, and finally when we settled down to do it ourselves, we were in effect learning how to make a record, we were learning about recording techniques and all that; so we assembled the thing that we were doing, we had a vision of sorts, you know, to do one unified trip, to do an LP record, in other words. And the Anthem of the Sun is that, but it’s like still too far, you know, it’s too far for the man on the street to dig it, you know. It’s a heads record, really – seems to be, I mean it has never been popular particularly, you know, just only with our fans, you know, with people who work at listening. (Lydon: Yeah.) People who work at listening dig that record – well, the new record now, it’s like, I’m in a different place than I was the last time, and this time, the songs, the words are Bob’s, but the melodies and all that – the way they grew, the way those songs grew and the way they happened is like, was really right, you know – like some of those songs on that album we wrote in the studio, we just went in and did it, you know…
Lydon (talking over him): What particular song?
Garcia: Rosemary, we did in the studio – we didn’t even have any such song, you know, we just – like in 15 minutes we had that song down, it was just there.
Lydon: Wow. Did you fuck around with it after that?
Garcia: No, that’s the way we did it, you know, that’s the way it came.
Lydon: The melodic thing that’s on Anthem of the Sun is still going in the new record.
Garcia: Right, right, well the feeling –
Lydon: That’s a nice melody in that, “he has to die” – 
Garcia: Yeah, right, right.
Lydon: Is that yours?
Garcia: Yes, that’s right, one of my melodies.
Lydon: [That’s a fine song….]   
Garcia: Well you see, the place that I was trying to get at with that, I mean, that’s like one of those things that just emerged, you know, I was just sitting around playing the guitar and all of a sudden bam, there it is, and it says something to you, just the air, you know, like certain airs say certain things to you, and that says a certain thing and there it was; and on the new record, all those songs are from that place, you know, they’re all – I don’t know how to explain it; they’re all true, if you know – I can’t think of any other way to explain it – but they came out effortlessly, they weren’t worked on particularly, you know what I mean, in just the conception of them.
Lydon: Your live show is so different though – in your live show…
Garcia (talking over him): Yeah well, see now – well in the next month or so, we’re releasing the next album – really, the one that’s out now, the new one, that one there, is one aspect of the two records that we’re putting out in the space of a couple of months – the next one is a double live album which is one of our live sets, it’s from the Carousel and from the Avalon – and it’s just us live –
Lydon: […]
Garcia: Right, two records, right.
Lydon: Wow. Did you jump from – is each one a thing, is each side a thing –
Garcia: Each side is a thing, and they’re also a thing all together.
Lydon: Right. Did you fuck around with that?
Garcia: No, not at all; we just did it like directly the way it happened, you know, just laid it out, and it’s the truest representation of us live, to date. You know, it’s us; I mean it’s us live, you know – on good nights, you know, on the nights when the spirit was there, you know.
Lydon: Was it that Sunday night at the Avalon?
Garcia: Yeah.
Lydon: Was that the Lovelight?
Garcia: Yeah, right.
Lydon: Oh, that was really too much.
Garcia: Right.
Lydon: Everyone get dancing.
Garcia: Right, oh, you oughta hear it, it was like – you hear everybody dance, you know, you hear, it’s like oh – I mean, it’s really that real thing, you know, which is – it’s mostly, for us, like when we go to do a live recording thing, it’s such a number, you know, just hassling all the equipment and getting it all set up and all like that, and everybody’s stoned, you know, like it’s a wonder, you know, that it gets done, and like what usually happens when we get a really good night, like when everybody gets really high, the recording is blown, you know, we didn’t get the recording; but this time it was just like fortuitous, you know, it just worked out.
Lydon: How did you work in the live bit on the second record?
Garcia: Ohh – a variety of ways, man, we did all sorts of things, we did – frequently we would take two or three performances of the same song, live performances of the same song, and take maybe 12 bars; like for example in “That’s It for the Other One,” just after the drum part, there’s a little drum part and then it comes in, and what there is there, what’s happening there is it’s like four different live versions of us doing the same song, simultaneously happening, and then kind of one fading out and another one fading in, you know, we’re sort of flipping ‘em like a deck of cards. (Lydon: Oh, wow.) So there’s that – that’s why the time is so weird, and it tumbles in those weird ways, you know – like we did a lot of things like that, you know, we sculpted, we used the live stuff as source material, if you know what I mean, and so Anthem of the Sun is really a tape composition as much as anything else, as much as like a musical composition – and then the way we mixed it is, we took each side and performed the mix, you know, we’d run through the tape, we’d be there over the 8-track, you know, Phil and I, and we would just play the tape, play the board –
Lydon: And getting together on it, so each one of you was doing different things – and both hearing…
Garcia (talking over him): Right, right, precisely; and we did it enough so we knew all the nuance and knew what was happening and knew kind of what we were after; and then we’d get really stoned and we’d mix it for the hallucinations. (Lydon: Oh, wow.) For what you see, for the place it takes you, you know. And so like that’s the same on the new record too – we’ve learned to do that, you know, to mix for the little world, you know.
Lydon: That – like when you play live, it’s –
Garcia: You have to do it a different way, because it’s happening right now – when you’re doing a record, it’s like doing a painting, you know, it’s like you’re gonna work on it and nobody’s gonna see you while you’re working on it, so your working on it is not the thing, the finished thing is the thing, so you have all that as a consideration; so it’s a low energy trip; we record in the wintertime. And then playing is like something that’s happening now, it’s an expression of the now, you might say, you know, because anybody who’s there when you’re playing is affecting the music, they can change the music by glancing at you or by dancing or by doing anything, you know, it’s all – you know – but a record is closed, it’s finished, it’s done, it becomes something else; it’s an other thing.
Lydon: I was thinking about the problem with communication in there – when you just play live, and it’s right there – and everyone senses a very generous invitation, you know, to come on in, everybody, [we just love to play.] (Garcia: Right.) On the record, by going a step, you know, or many steps further down, the communication thing isn’t as open.
Garcia: No it’s not, because the medium doesn’t allow it, see, it’s like when – if you include, for example, on a record, a question, you know, say there’s a question, you know, let’s say, “who are you?” – you put it on a record and put the record on, and this question will come out at you, say, “who are you?” but you don’t have anybody to tell it to, you know, except a record, you know, and you can’t, you know, so it’s not – a record doesn’t communicate that way, you know, it doesn’t take anything in; it’s just there, right?
Lydon: It puts you – you have to get onto the [board] –
Garcia: Right, it puts you into a place, is what it’ll do, because of the nature of sound, it’ll put you into a place, and so that’s another sort of language, you see, and the nature of – you know, I mean, communication is implicit in the whole act of playing music, I mean, it’s there on one level or some level or another, like Bob, Bob’s thing is that, you know, his stuff communicates also, on any level that you care for it to communicate to you, if you – you know, it depends also how you listen to it, you know.
Lydon: Can you describe some of the – like a verbal description of some of the places, or one of the places, or the place, on one of the songs on one of the records […] – I mean can you remember some – verbally.
Garcia: Oh, sure, sure, uh – Dupree is a good one, it’s a very specific sort of place – and uh, like Phil sees that place as being like – or that story as being told by the fool, you know, the tarot card fool, that guy, and that place he is, where he’s stepping off a cliff, you know. (Lydon: … ) Right, and you know, that whole thing; and that’s – it’s also the carnival, you know, the midway, you know, there’s calliope kind of going on back there, and it’s, you know, it’s that famous story place, you know, where that kind of mythic trip is going on, you know – that’s what I hear in it, you know, that’s what I hear in that melody, and that’s what the words are talking about, you know, the words are running down that story, you know – it’s a story, you know – but it’s a very particular one, you know.
Lydon: What do you see the story as?
Garcia: Well, just as the guy, you know, the guy who goes and robs the store, you know, the guy who goes and gets, you know, he’s gonna get the diamond for his honey, you know, and you know, the judge and all that, the famous confrontations, you know; it’s just another way of looking at that thing, and bringing a little of the sideshow into it, you know. I mean it’s like, you know, the thing that I say about it is just gonna be the place it puts me, but the point is that, if that is going on in the act of creation, if you’re thinking ‘this is gonna be a place, it’s gonna be a place to me,’ but you can’t know whether somebody else is gonna go to that same place; but you can at least say that it’s valid, it’s a valid place for me, you know, I mean, I experience it in a valid way, a real way, I mean, it really – I put on the earphones and there’s that – there it is, there it’s going on, you know, they’re going through their changes there; and somebody else will hear it different, but even so, that’s, you know, that’s where it is; I mean, if you can see yourself in something that’s put in front of you, you know, then it works, you know – it’s, you know, like objective art, if it’s really righteous, you know.
Lydon: It sounds like Peter Townshend’s blind dumb and deaf boy […] living in a place of music. (Garcia: Yeah.) And music losing its quality of being […], but being just a […] of some kind.
Garcia: Well that’s the thing, music is an aspect of sound, which is an aspect of your perception of, you know, what’s going on, you know; it’s the door out of yourself, you know; and it’s – like you hear all the shit that’s going on, little sounds here and there, and they’re all in places, and you hear ‘em because you have two ears, you hear ‘em, they’re a place, there’s a thing going on, so if you snap your fingers over here, you can identify it as being over there; do it over there, you can identify it there, cause you have two ears; and that’s the – when you have two sources of sound, stereo, you’re covering what hearing is, you know, and that’s like effectively painting a picture in your head. (Lydon: Yeah, right.) But, you know, the nature of the picture is up to whose head it is you’re painting in, you know, so anybody who listens to a record, you know, sees a different picture.
Lydon: Do you consider yourself playing rock and roll?
Garcia: Uh, it’s a label, you know, it’s just a label, it’s like, do I consider myself polite? I mean it’s just a label, but no matter what I consider it, it still is what it is, you know, it’s still – you still hear it, you know. I mean, I don’t consider it anything, I just consider it to be what I do, it’s just music, you know, whatever that is, and I don’t think of it in terms of being rock and roll or, you know, an idiom – I mean, rock and roll, man, is like the ultimate non-descriptive label, you know.
Lydon: Oh wow, I think… To me as a person, I think rock and roll isn’t a label, it’s a whole thing…
Garcia: Well what’s the thing, tell me about it.
Lydon: Wow, I think of it as a whole energy thing, a whole matrix kind of thing, like “Hail hail rock and roll, deliver us from the days of old.”
Garcia: Oh, right, right, right. Oh yeah, in that sense, yeah, we’re playing rock and roll, you know, yeah, we’re still playing rock and roll, I mean we’re still playing –
?? (interrupting): Deliver us from the days of Elvis! 
Garcia: Right! (pause) But yeah, I can dig that place – I don’t know whether it’s, you know – like, everybody in our – in the band has got their own idea about what we’re doing, you know, in terms of labeling it. Shit, I don’t know, I don’t think – I don’t find it convenient to think about it one way or another, you know. It really comes out – for me it comes out in the experience of doing it, you know – playing music, courting the muse, you know – it’s my work, you know, and so, I think of it as my work – although my work might very well be rock and roll, you know.
Lydon: What about the whole communication of good times, getting other people to break through – the whole impact of the Dead live?
Garcia: It’s something there for you to do, you know – and not everybody sees us that way, you know, it’s like in San Francisco everybody does, because everybody’s seen us so many times, everybody knows, you know, what it is we’re doing; people come mostly to get a chance to get loose – but like in the rest of the country, we play concerts and like people sit very politely and do all that shit – and a lot of times, you know, some kid gets up to dance and six cops are on him, and you know – it’s like different in the rest of America. It’s only really loose around here, the rest of America’s pretty weird still. But even so –
Lydon (interrupting): […] they don’t have an idea of the place that –
Garcia: They don’t have a model, they haven’t had a model, you know, and when we go there, the most effective thing is for – like, we go into a town, there’ll be a small amount of people who know us, because they’ve been out on the coast or one thing or another, you know, and they’ll come, and they’ll kind of like be the little microcosm to sort of instruct everybody else on what to do, but even so, man, it’s a form, you know, it’s really gotten to be a rigid – it’s stuck, it’s stuck, and the whole thing of playing in a hall, having a light show, band, and the orientation is, you sit down and you watch and, you know, the lights are behind the band so that you can see the band and the lights, and it’s like, you know, really there’s nothing happening mostly, it’s mostly watching television, large loud television; and that’s not really what we’re doing, you know – so what we’re trying – what we’re doing at this point in time is we’re trying to find a way to do another form, to seek another form, or other forms in which you can play music so it doesn’t have to be so rigid, you know, so rigid one way or another – like, this form is one that only started like three or four years ago, but it started as a misapprehension of the thing that was going on at the time – you see, like Graham was at the Trips Festival, he saw the things going on, and he saw a light show and band, which were the simplest and easiest things to identify, right, because it’s obvious it’s a band, it’s got – what do they got, instruments up there and drums and amplifiers, and here’s these lights on the screen, why, you know, that’s a light show, so, you take a light show and a band and that’s a formula, and that formula represents the form which has been going on now for three or four years, and it’s stuck! It’s stuck, it’s not going anywhere, you know, it’s not – it hasn’t blown any new minds, if you wanna – you know, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But really, the thing that was happening back then in the Trips Festival was not just a rock and roll band and not just a light show but a whole other thing; but the point was that if you were bustling around, taking tickets and hustling, you know, hustling to get a production on, you know, or to put a little order into the chaos, you didn’t observe the stuff that was going on, you know. It’s a sensitive trip, really, the way it was then; it’s unfortunate that all that’s been lost, see. The nicest thing about that was the formlessness, because it was an opportunity for something new to happen with a large number of people, you know, for them to be able to get together in one place, a lot of ‘em, helplessly stoned, you know, and find yourself in a room full of thousands of people, none of whom you were afraid of – you know, it was like really far out, you know, it’s a heavy thing – and that was the thing that really happened then, that was the start of the large scenes, you know, people getting together and feeling good about it, you know, which ultimately led to the be-ins and so forth, and scenes that are still going on, you know, a good night at Winterland and all that.
Lydon: Yeah. You’ve been – I always kind of think the Dead have been working very consciously to try to keep that thing going.
Garcia: Uh, well, we’ve been just consciously going, trying to keep our thing going – whatever it is, you know. It’s like, you can only lend so much of your energy to something that’s going on, and if nobody picks up on it, it’s not righteous, you know. We just try and do what we can do as well as we can do it, and stay as high as we can get, you know, so – on the level of, when we go onto the stage to play music, it’s an important thing, it’s an important moment, and that’s the way we enter into it, because that’s the realest, you know – like if you take the long view – say for example, the long view has been one of our [problems], we’ve taken the long view, okay what are we trying to do, we’re trying to make it so things are a little cooler, so people can get along a little, you know, people can have a little more fun, you know, whatever, all those things that are missing, seem to be missing; but that view doesn’t aid you when it comes down to the moment of playing; the thing that aids you when it comes to the moment of playing is thinking your music, you know, thinking of who you’re playing with and the music that you’re about to make, and your hands, how well are they working, you know, how much time you’ve put in practicing and all that – it’s like a real yoga thing, you know what I mean, it’s something that you really do do when you’re doing it, and the thought comes way later, you know – you know, the intellectualization of it, you know, where you say ‘this is what it was’ or ‘that’s what it was’ or you know, cause it’s not really like that, you know; and the thing that we’re following around is something that’s no farther away than the end of your nose, you know, we’re just like close behind our noses, following along, and, you know – there, you know, like I say, it’s nothing that we – the thing about the whys and whats of it, you know, probing it and stuff like that, man, there’s just nothing to say ultimately about it, you know, except that we do it, and it seems to work the way it works, and that we don’t do it by ourselves, it’s not something – it’s not us generating an enormous amount of energy that we can do at any time, it’s us going to a place and being aware of the people there, and the people being aware of us, and us feeding back and forth, you know, it’s an interactive thing, and that’s the thing, that’s the experience, you know, really; the rest of it is talk.
Lydon: Yeah. (laughter)
Garcia: It’s really a difficult thing to talk about, I mean, like I’m in this music so long that, for one thing, my only thing about music is like way back, you know – it’s just like, I just, you know – I’ve spent the last ten years of my life in music, man, and it’s – I’m covered with it, you know; I can’t really talk about it, you know; it’s all over, all around, you know; it’s really hard, really hard to exteriorize it.
Lydon: How does it – handling the business of it all, and [working that into the framework], is that a constant […]?
Garcia: Yeah, it is, with everything, I’m sure, just because – well, for us, like we take a huge amount of equipment and four equipment guys, plus the band, plus your road manager, and that adds up to quite a few people, and like our operating overhead is real high, just to move our stuff and just to get it there and just to play, so on the practical level, we don’t really make any money, you know, we just don’t make any money at all. You know, but what else does money do, you know, the only thing it does is further the trip. And also, like the whole business thing is like, who wants to take care of business? – in our whole scene, everybody in the Grateful Dead has been for the last three years nothing but heads, not a straight soul in the whole thing, you know; certainly nobody who’s capable of taking care of business, you know. So our business scene has always been a calamity, man, you know like, it’s not even a shock to hear that you’re $60,000 in debt, you know – “huh, $60,000 in fucking debt,” you know. But it’s just, you know, it’s all going on in the paper universe, you know, where it doesn’t – you know, that’s another thing, if you want to go along with it and believe it and everything, there it is, as real as can be, you know, you can go and fight with it and hassle with it and hassle with bankers and pay bills and do all that, or you can just let it go; and what we did is let it go, and so here it is, you know, $60,000 in debt; and like, our whole manager thing is, Mickey’s father is now doing it, you know, he’s like fronting our whole manager thing, he’s taking charge; we’ve given him the power to do what he wants to do; his whole trip is to straighten it all out, you know, and make it so that all is feasible, and also to help us with ideas for new forms and so forth. So right now, things are looking good, but you know, like the whole thing about money is still something weird, you know. It’s not really what we’re doing, you know, we’re obviously not out to make money because we aren’t even working at it, you know; we’re out to keep ourselves happy with what we’re doing, you know, to do what we’re doing and make it so that we dig it, so it isn’t work – so rather than work, go out for 60 days on the road doing a gig every other night, you know, jumping all over the place like those guys do, and then coming back and dying, you know, it’s like –
Lydon: Why do you think they do it?
Garcia: Um, managers don’t understand about pace, about musicians and pace, or they aren’t, they don’t – the business world as a whole doesn’t understand what it is to be someone who does something and that everybody has their own pace at which you do stuff, and that it’s not always – you can’t continually put out without having it – without losing it, you know what I mean, if you’re a musician. If I had to play 60 days in a row, gigs every night, and didn’t have a chance to practice or to listen to new music or to get some new ideas, I’d hate what I was doing, you know, by the end of that time; you know, it would make me crazy, it really would; and it’s because I’m aware of the pace that I have [behind learning things].
Lydon: A lot of other bands, for one reason or other, accept the pace; I mean, do do that trip.
Garcia: Um – maybe it’s because of the bread, maybe because they dig it, you know – you know, some people dig it, you know, dig the high energy thing.
Lydon: Do you think Janis does?
Garcia: Probably, probably. You know, it’s like, I don’t know, I can’t speak for anybody else, you know, but I dig for it to be – I mean, you know, like music is something I expect to be doing as long as I am doing anything, you know, and it’s just – I see it in waves, you know, like there’s downhill slumps, and uphill rises, and plateaus, and all sorts of levels, all of which you go to in their turn, you know; and it represents the large, you know, picture of what it is like to be going through your life creating stuff.
Lydon: How do you feel about the fact that you haven’t become super big time, popular, […]. 
Garcia: I’m glad. (laughs) I’m glad. It’s a big hassle to be popular, just because of the attention – and all that stuff is weird, you know, the whole thing of, that there’s a thing set up that says that because you play music, you’re better than somebody else, or it’s fashionable, you know, and that – all those levels of consideration, the hierarchy, you know, all that stuff is bullshit – but people continue to buy that theory, you know, and continue to accept musicians as a hierarchy, you know, and really, you know musicians are just people, just doing people stuff, you know; so like, you know, there I am in St. Louis, Missouri or something like that, and some cat is talking to me about, you know, about rock and roll and about, you know, something he read in a magazine, something like that – I don’t know what the fuck he means, you know, and it’s like, it’s not – it makes it so that it’s more of a burden for you to be able to communicate with anybody, you know what I mean, it’s just there’s a whole lot of shit you gotta cut through, because they think you’re somebody you’re not, you know.
Lydon: What about the – you were saying earlier that one time you wanted to be a rock and roll star.
Garcia: That happened when I was 15, you know. I mean that’s when I started playing, when I was 15, you know; and that was the thing that attracted me to it, you know, I loved the sound of the guitar and all that, and all that shit was really far out, you know – you know, but the reality of playing the guitar and getting into music and all that, all of a sudden you’re different, you’re doing something different, you’re not after that thing, that initial thing, or, you know, that’s not where you are anymore, you know; you get older, go through your changes, and pretty soon music is what you do, and you know about it, you know – you’ve changed your energy from the one level to the other level, you know – and like, the rock and roll star thing is just a drag, you know; it never helped anybody, it never made anybody a better musician, you know (Lydon: Right, right), I don’t think – with the possible exception of the Beatles, maybe, who had they not been – if they hadn’t been encouraged by success may not have continued to create music which has been a gas, you know.
Lydon: Or someone like Jagger, who plays the role like an instrument, plays the whole –
Garcia: Right, well in that case, you know, that’s the matter of dealing with that in a certain way, that’s a way to deal with it, but I personally don’t wanna devote my energy to playing a role, I would rather devote my energy to music, you know, and be able to deal with people on some simple human level – you know, I don’t wanna be – it’s really, when you get that kind of stuff, you know, like distant cousins and stuff hitting on you, you know, somebody comes up and says, “listen, I’m your cousin 17 times removed and my family knew yours back in - ” you know, all of a sudden here you are, you’re somebody, you know, whereas without that title you’re just another anybody, you know; and it’s much easier and cooler to be anybody than it is to be somebody. (Lydon: Yeah, right.) Somebody’s just a big drag, I mean, it’s just more shit you have to do, you know, which like makes it harder for you to do the thing you’re trying to do.
Lydon: Yeah. One thing – like in the beginning of that Solomon Burke record ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,’ “If everybody listened to my song tonight, I believe it would save the whole world.’ (Garcia: Right.) How… Do you think that way? It seems – I’ve thought that you do […] like that, […]. [you’d be on his trip kind of thing] (Garcia: Right.) So how do you connect the music thing with making people feel good, the social thing, [so that the…]   
Garcia: Uhh – I don’t connect it, period; I mean, I know – I realize that there is a connection, and I can dig it, but like I say, being conscious of that as a fact is nothing – like, you can’t translate that idea into music; you can’t say, “this is this idea, I can concretely translate it into music and make it come out thus,” see; that you cannot do, music doesn’t say those kind of things, see.
Lydon: A lot of musicians have tricks, or one thing or another, like with BB King, he can just sort of – he knows how to do it (Garcia: Right), during the course of the first song he’ll hit a certain note that does translate the idea –
Garcia (interrupting): Right, exactly; well, that’s the thing, is finding those things – I think that the moments that translate the idea originally are pure, and that once you learn them consciously, they then become a device, and once it’s a device, it’s frozen, you know; it’s like – for me, that is, I’m talking about me – so like, I know the trick that you do to get everybody up and dancing, the trick that you do to get a standing ovation, you know, we’ve learned those things as a group, right; but you can’t rely on ‘em because they’re lies once you know ‘em. When you stumble into ‘em and everybody’s up, it’s the truth; when you know how to do it, man, it’s just like something you can do, it’s an exercise, you know; and it’s an exercise of will, which is a weird thing – instead, it’s like, if you have all that as part of what you know about what you’re doing, that’s a consideration of musicians now is to know all those things, that this thing will make it really exciting, and this other thing will make it another way, and it’s like, they’re only there to use if it’s true and right and boss to use ‘em, and that’s only if it’s going in such a way so that that’s what happens, you know – I mean, I don’t know if you can understand any of that – but those moments are really precious to me, man, you know; they really are far out, you know, when the place becomes one thing – everything, everybody in there is one thing, and it’s all really going down beautifully; it’s nothing that you want to resort to as a trick, you know; it’s something heavier, in my opinion.
Lydon: [It’s still always…] further. 
Garcia: Yeah, further, man, I mean, I don’t see any sense in doing the same thing over and over again, no matter what it is, no matter how boss it is; it’s like, to me, being alive means to continue to change, you know, to continue to learn and continue to grow and to do all that, and to not be where I was last week or two months ago or a year ago or any of that; because, you know, you can’t, I mean – it’s just not interesting, you know, to me; and I think that that’s the way – I think anybody who’s into music, or who’s a musician, and is in the process of teaching themselves about music and how to play, which as far as I can see, is a process that lasts as long as you’re alive; it’s like that’s the thing, that’s the thing you’re doing, you know – I can’t; you know – again, this is a difficult thing to talk about.
Lydon: Did you read in Rolling Stone a long time ago the whole Mike Bloomfield […] thing? 
Garcia: No I didn’t…
Lydon: Oh. They really put you down – I think Bloomfield particularly.
Garcia: Oh, I didn’t read it, no, what did he say? 
Lydon: Well, just said it was shit.
Garcia: Well he’s entitled to his opinions, you know.
Lydon: [… think that he could know better.] 
Garcia: Who knows, man – I mean, it might very well be that that interview might have been after he might have seen us on a night when it was shit, or, you know, depending what he was referring to, you know, maybe he, maybe, you know – I don’t know, I don’t know where Mike’s head is at, really. I know that he feels very strongly about purity, a certain kind of purity it seems, because like the things – not necessarily his playing, but when he does arrangements and stuff like that, and does production and stuff like that, he gets it so it’s right, for what he’s doing, you know, I mean really righteous; and it might just be that what we do violates his aesthetic, you know – I don’t know, I can’t really tell, you can’t know about things like that. But you know, the thing about interviews and the thing about music is that you can say anything you want, man; it’s cool, you know; it’s cool because the experience is such that you can like it or not like it or you know, say, you know, go out of your mind or leave in a rage or any fucking thing, I mean, it’s cool to do it, you know – music is something you can hang any fucking thing on, you know, and it’s okay. (Lydon: Yeah.) Yeah, I mean like […] Rolling Stone now, because of music, Rolling Stone has something to talk about – it’s like half the battle of life in this world is something to do, you know, something to just pass the time away, man, just something to do, you know – and it’s like, talking about stuff is doing something. (Lydon: Yeah.) You know, so providing an excuse for talking, man, is okay. It just means that somebody’s gonna have something to talk about, you know, it’s all right. And so if you’re gonna put stuff out like a record or something like that, put something out that anybody can say anything about, so that – you know, so that it leaves a big open door for stuff to talk about instead of a little narrow door, you know, or lots of things to talk about instead of one thing to talk about, you know, whatever.
Lydon: Do you recall saying before about starting out in blues and country, you never got one […] thing down, like blues, the way Mike Bloomfield’s done blues?
Garcia: Um, no, no, only – yeah, bluegrass music I got down, bluegrass music is the thing that I was – and traditional music, those were the things that I was into heavy enough to be able to play them pure and righteously. When I was playing five-string banjo, like, I went the whole way with it, you know; I went all the way through the body of music that existed as an example of it, and learned everything that I could from it, and played with the guys that I could play with, and – you know, that’s how I began to understand what an idiom was, what style was, and what kinds of music, you know, like that – yeah, I’ve done that, I’ve done that; in fact –
Lydon: How could you leave it?
Garcia: Because there was nobody to play with, and because there was no place to play – not on the west coast, you know.
Lydon: Did you ever […] like going to Virginia or Nashville?
Garcia: I went to all those places.
Lydon: You did?
Garcia: Sure.
Lydon: Just on your own?
Garcia: Yeah.
Lydon: Did you find stuff to do?
Garcia: Oh, I recorded bluegrass shows, and stuff like that, me and a friend of mine, Sandy Rothman, who went on to play guitar with Bill Monroe, who’s the guy who invented bluegrass music; and, you know, I got to know a lot of musicians and played with a lot of people and, you know – I did it to my satisfaction.
Lydon: You had a personal odyssey kind of […].
Garcia: Yeah, yeah.
Lydon: How long’d you do it for?
Garcia: Oh, three months, four months, something like that. I mean actually travelling in the south and being… [mumbles] 
Lydon: Wow. And then you came [from doing] that back into the folk stuff?
Garcia: No, no, that was like out toward – you know, I mean, all these things are happening more or less simultaneously, overlapping, I mean like, started rock and roll, went to acoustic guitar, from acoustic guitar into folk music, like – by folk music I mean traditional music, which in this country is country music, and like old-time country music from the twenties and like that – and that’s where I got into the guitar, fingerstyling the guitar, and from there into the banjo, old-style banjo playing, and then into Scruggs-style bluegrass music. You know, but like, but you know, it’s like, you can’t live in the United States and not hear all kinds of music, you know, you hear all kinds of music as you’re just going through your changes, you have a car radio, you know, you hear all kinds of music; so none of it escapes you, if you know what I mean; so like while I was into one kind of music, I was hearing all other kinds of music, and that was all having an effect on me, you know, and you just – you know. It’s all music, is what it boils down to, you know, there’s all kinds of music, all kinds – there’s people on the street corners making music, you know, all over – weird old fiddlers in bus depots and shit like that, they’re all over, people like that all over, so it’s like, you know, music is everywhere; just people playing, making music of some kind or another, people on the back porch, people in church singing, that’s a big thing, music going on all around; and it’s all going on, you know. That’s why, you know, the thing about, that all those idioms and styles and different worlds of music are all melting away, man, because nobody is isolated from all the different kinds of music there are, you know; everybody’s hearing it all now. So like the guys in the Band who undoubtedly learned how to play and how to approach their instruments from rock and roll records and country music records and Ray Charles and the blues and stuff like that, do their songs like the way Aretha Franklin, you know, gospel singer from that tradition, does one of their songs, and Bob Dylan’s in Nashville with Johnny Cash, and you know, it’s like really mixing it up, you know, they’re really mixing it up, and music is getting that way, you know.
Lydon: Yeah. Is this the first record you used a Moog on?
Garcia: Yeah, right. The first time I’ve ever used one.
Lydon: How do you think the accessibility of electronic music will come about?
Garcia: Oh, the accessibility of electronic music is a fact; they’ve been accessing electronic music for some time now – and popular, man, I’m talking about popular, I’m talking about, let’s say underground radio, FM; every city in the United States has some kind of underground FM radio, at least one, and a lot of them have two and three; so that’s something that’s happened in the last couple of years – all those stations play at least somebody who does some amount of electronic stuff – the Beatles on their last album had that thing, Revolution No. 9 – it’s electronic! (Lydon: Yeah, right.) You know, like people are hearing that, you know; they aren’t hearing the heaviest of it, they aren’t hearing all of it, and maybe the heaviest of it is a trifle too heavy, but it’s out, you know, it’s out, like people – it’s not, it hasn’t been ignored; and you can hear bits and snatches of it on the top 40 radio, you know – the Monkees, everybody, you know. Those things are the tools now, you know, for everybody, for every musician, you know, has all of music historically to choose from, because it’s all here right now in the form of records – go into a record store, man, you can pick a century, you know; and it’s all there, you can hear it, you know, you don’t have to hassle with musty old documents and, you know, funky old scores and shit like that, you can hear it. (Laughter.) And that’s the thing, you know, that’s the thing, what you can hear, you hear, it goes into your brain and it’s in there, man, you know, the stuff that you hear is – you know how a melody gets in your head, or some song that you heard once or twice on the radio, and it’s, you know, there it is, and it’s locked in your brain, [until] you retain it, you catch it, you get it, you know, and it happens to […] part of yourself; that’s how well your hearing transmits shit.
Lydon: When I first met you it was during the summer of ’67, and I spent the night – I guess I knew Danny, and I talked to Danny […] – a very ambivalent thing about the Haight-Ashbury – wanted to say “why don’t you keep it going somehow,” but not sure it could ever get that going again there… (Garcia: Right.) I’d really appreciate it if you could sort of talk about the changes in Haight-Ashbury, how you saw that, and how you saw the Dead [in relation] to it, and your eventually leaving, and the Carousel…
Garcia: Well, originally when we were there, we were just there, you know, we were just other people on the street and around, you know, like – and that’s the way it was with everybody, the guys that were doing the posters, all the other musicians, we were just, you know, we were just freaks, just like always, and it was – there was no distinctions made. Then, behind all the publicity in Time magazine and all that shit, the tourist hordes started coming, and the out of town kids and all that kind of stuff, and pretty soon there was a big traffic problem on the street, so the people who were on the street who wanted more freedom on the street started hassling the tourists, and the cops started hassling the people on the street, and the tourists were hassling the cops, and back and forth; and then, you know, there were confrontations and hassles and guys were putting out, you know, firebrand bullshit – and all of a sudden it was just, there was – it was a political trip, you know, all of a sudden there was cops and National Guard and all that bullshit – who needs it, you know? I mean, you know – like, who wants to live in that? You know, like where you’re living, you know; I mean, you might want to go there to hassle, but you don’t want to live in it particularly; you know, at least I don’t, and none of us did, so we just split, because it was, you know, it’s not – it’s not a righteous fight, you know, it’s just some bullshit, it’s just something to do, you know, it’s another kind of something to do, but it’s the kind of something to do that I don’t care to do, and I used to – you know, I did all the fighting I wanted to do when I was a kid; and I didn’t dig it then either, you know, I mean, it was never a gas, it was never a good trip, and it’s never a good trip to find yourself surrounded by National Guard cats with guns and all that shit, man, and police all over the place and cats throwing bottles and – you know, all that, all that shit was coming down, coming down real heavy, you know – it was mostly happening on the cops on one hand who didn’t really live there, have too much to do with it, you know, the tax squad and stuff like that, and the people from out of town who weren’t even – who didn’t live there, so didn’t have to pick up broken glass or didn’t have to, you know, keep the kids out of it, you know, or, you know, any of that; I mean, there was a lot going on. So shit, we just split.
Lydon: Did you […] as long as you could…
Garcia: Oh yeah, yeah, we stayed there as long as we could, and we did, you know, we did what we could, but it got to be where any kind of […] any kind of thing happening was some kind of hassle, you know, some kind of meeting or political kind of thing, that was – you know, it just wasn’t [called for], it wasn’t necessary; it was crazy. You know, we would go down and play on the street, and we’d go down and play in the park, you know, just to get everybody off the streets, and the tourists – if the tourists don’t have anything to look at, they go home, man – that was like, there was a lot of easy ways to solve all those problems, I think, just by being cool, you know, not by – and so you can avoid the whole problem of having to hassle somebody, and having to be hassled yourself, and maybe eventually ending up in the joint, you know, which is where all that shit inevitably leads, you know.
Lydon: Did you feel at least a sense of, to some extent, political responsibility, a sense of community that was endangered that you could – did you feel a community sense then, that eventually became impossible?
Garcia: Well, most of the people who were – like our friends, most of our friends, were splitting anyway, you know, I mean, just getting out of town and everything, it’s like – the community is larger than the Haight-Ashbury; the community that is concerned with itself, and concerned with each part of itself, is way bigger than the Haight-Ashbury, you know, it’s bigger than the Be-In, bigger than any of those scenes, there’s a lot of people; and most of the people are cool enough to be able to find a way it is that’s groovy for them to live, they don’t need to be told or pointed the way or any of that bullshit; and anybody who does that is just calling attention to themselves and their own trip, which is just another trip, as far as anybody’s concerned, you know; everybody’s trip is as good as everybody else’s, you know; so some cat comes up and tells you “let’s get the heat out of the Haight-Ashbury,” you know, it’s like, “go ahead, man, (laughs) I’d rather leave myself, you know, you guys can have the Haight-Ashbury” – you know, because like now, the result is the Haight-Ashbury is just another neighborhood, but heads are everywhere, man, all over San Francisco, all over Marin County, and all over the peninsula, you know, the east bay, everywhere, you know - and then the hassles are, of course, big – like in Berkeley there’s that hassle going on – there was the hassle at San Francisco State, and it’s like anybody who wants to hassle can find something to hassle about, and they can be righteous or, you know, however you want to go into it, you know. It seems like, to me, the way it seems is that anything you’re doing is okay as long as it’s not making you uptight, or endangering you, I mean, you know, unless that’s what you wanna do; and why put yourself in a position of, you know, being about to go to jail – jail’s a terrible place, man. There’s nothing much but bummers to be learned in jail. (Lydon: Yeah, right.) And all that, you know. And it’s like, unless you think you have – if you think you have something that’s really important, you know, that really merits leading people, using whatever you are to lead people, you know, that’s cool too, I guess, you know; but that’s certainly not my trip, you know; and there was – see, the groovy thing about the Haight-Ashbury and about that whole thing was, there was something spontaneous happening there, it didn’t have any leaders, man, it didn’t have any spokesmen, it’s like the spokesman was whoever you stopped, you know, and talked to was the spokesman; and like any spokesman was as righteous as any other spokesman, you know what I mean; and it’s like, there was none of that stuff going on, no hierarchies, no bullshit, you know; and all that – all those kind of things came later, and they’re still, you know – it’s like around here it’s cooler than it is anyplace else, cause mostly nobody […] on you, too fake; but the rest of the country is still operating on that celebrities and autographs and all that – a lot of that’s still going on.
Lydon: Right, right – do you get the celebrity rock and roll band […]  
Garcia (talking over him): Yeah – we don’t get it too heavy, right, we don’t get it – I mean, we don’t – you know, we discourage it, you know, and mostly any appearance by us is such a left-handed event, you know, that – you know. (laughs) 
Lydon (inaudible, moving tape recorder): Do you have to […] soon?
Garcia: Pretty soon, yeah, I got a meeting at –
(Tape ends.)


* * *


MICHAEL LYDON INTERVIEW (EDITED)

(microphone feedback)
Garcia: Testing, one, two. Is there a meter on there anywhere so you can judge level? If it’s distorted, it’ll be awful. Testing, one two three… Okay, let’s see, there’s the meter – no, I think there isn’t any meter.
(Tape recorder set up – voices in background, can’t make out.)
Lydon: We were talking in the car about up til you became the Warlocks.
Garcia: Yeah.
Lydon: Can you go back?
Garcia: Before that?
Lydon: No, no, continue on from there.
Garcia: Oh, sure, from the Warlocks. Oh, we were the Warlocks for, oh, six months or so; and during that time we played Big Al’s Gashouse and those kind of scenes, and bars, those Whiskey a Go Go kind of places, with fake IDs and all that shit – Weir was only 17, and Pigpen was 19. We had a whole hustle, we had to join the union and all that. The thing that was mostly going on in the music business at that time – we weren’t into the business part, we were just playing, and just trying to get gigs and keep going – and the business at that time was that whole Hollywood scene, the whole beach trip, with weird booking agents and all that kind of stuff. And we were getting to the end of the rope in that scene. We were playing six nights a week, five sets a night in those bars; and we did it to the point where it was just impossible; when we were finally tripping out all the regular clientele, there were hardly any more customers coming in. When they’d come in they’d leave clutching their ears, “Aaah shit!” We grew into this whole malicious thing, man, of just laying it on as thick as we could.
Lydon: What kind of stuff were you playing?
Garcia: Wild rock and roll, man, blues, stuff like that; but it was loud, real loud; even for those days it was extremely loud, and for a bar it was ridiculous – people had to scream at each other and all that. And that’s how we really started getting louder and louder. And then at that time –
Lydon: The numbers you put the people through.
Garcia: Yeah, right, right – just isolate ‘em. And at that time Kesey was doing his scenes up at his house in La Honda; on Saturdays they would all get stoned, and coming on to all that shit. And we had friends that were living up there, and they had friends that were living down with us, and it was back and forth; until finally it was, “Why don’t we get together and have a party, you guys bring your instruments and stuff and play?” And they’d set up all their tapes and all that bullshit, and we would all go and get stoned. And it was essentially formless; there was nothing really going on, we’d just go there and make something of it. And then we just sort of dropped out completely of the straight music thing; we didn’t take any more of those kind of gigs, we just played the acid tests. The trip of the acid test was it was gonna be every Saturday night, it was gonna be a different place every time, and it wasn’t gonna have any plan. That was what the acid test was, in fact, and that’s the way it was through its whole thing. It lasted about six months, that particular trip, going various places, and during that time we did the Trips Festival, acid test at Muir Beach, and Fillmore Auditorium. And also that was about the same time that they were having the first Family Dog shows and also the Mime Troupe benefits, which were the first time there were rock and roll scenes. The Trips Festival was the first time when all the heads around were together in one place, everybody high, and nobody paranoid; so that was the first time it opened out, in any sense. And during that time we became the Grateful Dead; that became our name.
Lydon: How’d you get that name?
Garcia: Ohhh, looking for a name… We abandoned the Warlocks; we just didn’t have a name for a while; we were trying ones out to see how they fit the ear. And we were smoking DMT over at Phil’s house one day, something like that, and he had a big Oxford dictionary; opened it up, and there’s the Grateful Dead; it said the Grateful Dead. That moment was one of those moments – everything else on the page went blank and diffuse, it was the Grateful Dead in big black letters edged in gold, blasting out – (laughter) – and it was such a stunning combination of words… And I said, “Well how about the Grateful Dead?” No, some didn’t like it – Bill Graham didn’t want to advertise us, he didn’t want to say the Grateful Dead, he wanted to say the Warlocks. We’d already played a couple of gigs and he thought we had a reputation as the Warlocks…
Lydon: It was already a thing then.
Garcia: Oh, sure, yeah, sure.
Lydon: That maybe you wouldn’t last any longer if you keep [the wrong] name.
Garcia: Right, right. See, we didn’t give a fuck. (laughter) So they just started calling us Grateful Dead as soon as we mentioned that it was a possibility; that was the one, everybody just sort of gravitated toward it, and so that got to be it.
Lydon: When did you move up to San Francisco?
Garcia: Well, we started coming up to San Francisco pretty heavy during the acid test scene, to the Fillmore, and started meeting San Francisco people. And then we went to LA, the acid test went to LA, and we did two to three acid tests down there; and then the bus went to Mexico with the Pranksters, and we stayed in LA and just practiced and goofed and got really high a lot down in this house down there; and then we came back three months later, back up to San Francisco where everybody had known us from the Fillmore gigs and Longshoreman’s, all the Trips Festivals and so forth; and we came back and started playing gigs up here. We moved to Rancho Olompali, that was the first place we had up here. And then we moved from there - we were only there for about a month or so - we moved from there over to 710.
Lydon: Who owned that? Did McCoy own that?
Garcia: No, no, it was owned by just somebody, I don’t know who it was, whoever owned it then. And they were thinking of putting up a historical monument, and stuff like that, and we managed to get it - we got together enough rent for six weeks there. And that was our first place, because we needed a place to practice and all that.
Lydon: You were talking in the car before about Cassady and all that. Is it possible to tell what the whole thing with Kesey was like?
Garcia: Ohhh…well, it depended on who you were, when you were there. It was one thing to me, there were always a lot of things to me; but I know that there are a lot of other people that it was a lot of other things for. It was open, it was a tapestry, or a mandala or something like that; it was what you made of it, essentially. The whole thing is, okay, so you take LSD and you suddenly are aware of another plane, or several other planes, or whatever, and the question is to extend that limit, to go as far as you can go in that particular area, whatever it happens to be. And in the acid test it really meant do away with old forms, do away with old ideas, try something new; and that’s the way it was. Nobody was doing something - everybody was doing bits and pieces of something, the result of which was something else. (Lydon: Oh, wow) When the thing was really moving right, it was something you could sort of dig that it was getting toward. It was some sort of ordered chaos. And the way the acid test would be was it would start off, and there would be chaos, everybody would be high and flashing and going through huge changes, and there’d be just insane chaos, during which everything would be demolished and spilled and broken and changed and affected; and after that another thing would happen. The acid test went all night long til the next morning, and all these things would happen that would smooth out within the chaos, so another form would happen; and it would all have to do with just everybody being there, sort of being responsive. And there were microphones all over; so if you were just anybody wandering around, there’d be a microphone, you could talk into it, and there would be somebody else somewhere in the building at the end of some wire, that would have a tape recorder and a mixing board and earphones and be listening in on microphones; and all of a sudden someone would turn it up because it seemed appropriate at that moment.
Lydon: So your rap wouldn’t get heard unless someone decided –
Garcia: Well, the whole thing would be affected; so you might say something into a microphone and you’d hear it come out maybe a minute later, in a tape loop somewhere else, some other part of the place; and all of a sudden there would be all this odd interchange going on, and neural connections and weird sorts… It was magic, some far-out magic, and really a gas – (Lydon: Yeah!) The thing about it was that it was people doing it all…like the light show. I remember one time, when somebody was writing, Kesey would be writing messages on a projector maybe, projected up onto a wall, and he would be writing what he was seeing, or he would write what was going on; it would go up on the board there, meanwhile somebody else would be making a comment about it on a microphone somewhere, and it would be ringing out of some speaker somewhere, and there would be all this stuff happening, exchanging back and forth. Oh, it was really far out.
Lydon: And you’d just be playing?
Garcia: Yeah, we’d be playing. We’d be playing when we were playing; when we weren’t playing we’d be doing other stuff. And we wouldn’t do sets - sometimes we’d get up and just play for two hours or three hours; sometimes we’d get up and play for ten minutes and all freak out and split; and sometimes we would just do it however it would happen. I mean it wasn’t a job, you dig? (Lydon: Yeah.) It wasn’t a job, we weren’t going to do a job. It was the acid test, wherein anything is okay, you can do anything you want.
Girl: The thing about it is nobody paid any money and nobody ever had any money.
Garcia: Right, right, there was no money, period.
Girl: And you did it all without money. (Garcia: Right.) That was the neat part about it. Did it all without any […] of money coming in at all, except for the hassle part […].  
Lydon: Before it all happened, you had been aware that maybe your music could get into that?
Garcia: Well, I’ve always been a musician, I’ve always loved to play. Where is there a form which says that you can play all you want to, but you don’t have to do any bullshit to go along with it? Before that, all there was was coffeehouses and things like that – I mean open to me as a musician. And so, there they maybe didn’t take too kindly to 45-minute guitar solos or something… It’s a timeless experience, I think, the thing about music. And when we’re playing together, the thing that we learned back there is that there is something that happens after you’ve taken the step over the brink, when you’ve gone past what you know. And then you’ve learned something new; that’s where you learn something new, that’s the thing to see. With our music, we’ve been pushing our music in that same way all along, just to get past where we are, if you know what I mean.
Lydon: One thing that’s bothered me in the records is, it’s difficult to find a sense of continuity – but it must be there.
Garcia: Well, it depends what sort of continuity you’re talking about. What records are you talking about?
Lydon: Well, just from the first to second to third – the second seems more connected to the third (Garcia: Right), and the first is a whole different number.
Garcia: Well the first one, it was the first record we ever made. And at the time, it was unreasonable for us to do what we did, which would have been one LP, two sides, one song. They would never have gone for it; it was not the thing to do with the form, right? So we made the first record of short songs and stuff that we were doing, but they were our little warm-up numbers. They were tunes, songs; and the thing we do isn’t really that, quite. We weave songs in and out, but they aren’t really - it’s not just… So anyway, the first record was songs, and that was because we were making a record, right? Viola Lee Blues was revolutionary for being ten minutes long, twelve minutes long – now, big deal. And then, so when we came up to do the second record, we thought, this time let’s do an LP record; let’s not make a record that’s gonna sell or that somebody in the record company is gonna like. And we had to live with the first record for a year and we grew to hate it. And so the second record, we kicked out the producer and got thrown out of a lot of studios for being too weird and all that shit; and finally when we settled down to do it ourselves, we were in effect learning how to make a record; we were learning about recording techniques and all that. So we assembled the thing that we were doing. We had a vision of sorts, to do one unified trip; to do an LP record, in other words. And the Anthem of the Sun is that, but it’s still too far for the man on the street to dig it. It’s a heads record, really – seems to be; I mean it has never been popular particularly, just only with our fans, with people who work at listening. (Lydon: Yeah.) People who work at listening dig that record. Well, the new record now, I’m in a different place than I was the last time; and this time, the songs, the words are Bob’s, but the melodies and all that, the way those songs grew and the way they happened was really right. Some of those songs on that album we wrote in the studio, we just went in and did it…
Lydon (talking over him): What particular song?
Garcia: Rosemary, we did in the studio – we didn’t even have any such song. We just – in 15 minutes we had that song down, it was just there.
Lydon: Wow. Did you fuck around with it after that?
Garcia: No, that’s the way we did it, that’s the way it came.
Lydon: The melodic thing that’s on Anthem of the Sun is still going in the new record.
Garcia: Right, right, well the feeling –
Lydon: That’s a nice melody in that, “he has to die” – 
Garcia: Yeah, right, right.
Lydon: Is that yours?
Garcia: Yes, that’s right, one of my melodies.
Lydon: [That’s a fine song…]
Garcia: Well you see, the place that I was trying to get at with that, that’s one of those things that just emerged. I was just sitting around playing the guitar and all of a sudden bam, there it is; and it says something to you, just the air - like certain airs say certain things to you, and that says a certain thing and there it was. And on the new record, all those songs are from that place, they’re all – I don’t know how to explain it; they’re all true – I can’t think of any other way to explain it. But they came out effortlessly, they weren’t worked on particularly, in just the conception of them.
Lydon: Your live show is so different though – in your live show…
Garcia (talking over him): Yeah well, see now – in the next month or so, we’re releasing the next album. Really, the one that’s out now, the new one, that one there, is one aspect of the two records that we’re putting out in the space of a couple of months. The next one is a double live album which is one of our live sets, it’s from the Carousel and from the Avalon – and it’s just us live –
Lydon: […]
Garcia: Right, two records, right.
Lydon: Wow. Did you jump from – is each one a thing, is each side a thing –
Garcia: Each side is a thing, and they’re also a thing all together.
Lydon: Right. Did you fuck around with that?
Garcia: No, not at all; we just did it directly the way it happened, just laid it out; and it’s the truest representation of us live, to date. It’s us live, on good nights, on the nights when the spirit was there.
Lydon: Was it that Sunday night at the Avalon?
Garcia: Yeah.
Lydon: Was that the Lovelight?
Garcia: Yeah, right.
Lydon: Oh, that was really too much.
Garcia: Right.
Lydon: Everyone get dancing.
Garcia: Right, oh, you oughta hear it – you hear everybody dance… It’s really that real thing… When we go to do a live recording thing, it’s such a number, just hassling all the equipment and getting it all set up and all, and everybody’s stoned; it’s a wonder that it gets done. And what usually happens when we get a really good night, when everybody gets really high, the recording is blown, we didn’t get the recording. But this time it was just fortuitous, it just worked out.
Lydon: How did you work in the live bit on the second record?
Garcia: Ohh – a variety of ways, man, we did all sorts of things. Frequently we would take two or three live performances of the same song, and take maybe 12 bars - for example in “That’s It for the Other One,” just after the drum part; there’s a little drum part and then it comes in. And what’s happening there is it’s four different live versions of us doing the same song, simultaneously happening, and then kind of one fading out and another one fading in; we’re sort of flipping ‘em like a deck of cards. (Lydon: Oh, wow.) So there’s that – that’s why the time is so weird, and it tumbles in those weird ways. We did a lot of things like that; we sculpted, we used the live stuff as source material; and so Anthem of the Sun is really a tape composition as much as anything else, as much as a musical composition. And then the way we mixed it is, we took each side and performed the mix; we’d run through the tape, we’d be there over the 8-track, Phil and I, and we would just play the tape, play the board –
Lydon: And getting together on it, so each one of you was doing different things – and both hearing…
Garcia (talking over him): Right, right, precisely; and we did it enough so we knew all the nuance and knew what was happening and knew kind of what we were after; and then we’d get really stoned and we’d mix it for the hallucinations. (Lydon: Oh, wow.) For what you see, for the place it takes you. And so that’s the same on the new record too – we’ve learned to do that, to mix for the little world.
Lydon: Like when you play live, it’s –
Garcia: You have to do it a different way, because it’s happening right now. When you’re doing a record, it’s like doing a painting - you’re gonna work on it and nobody’s gonna see you while you’re working on it, so your working on it is not the thing; the finished thing is the thing; so you have all that as a consideration. So it’s a low energy trip; we record in the wintertime. And then playing is something that’s happening now; it’s an expression of the now, you might say, because anybody who’s there when you’re playing is affecting the music. They can change the music by glancing at you or by dancing or by doing anything… But a record is closed, it’s finished, it’s done, it becomes something else; it’s an other thing.
Lydon: I was thinking about the problem with communication in there – when you just play live, and it’s right there – and everyone senses a very generous invitation to come on in, everybody, [we just love to play] (Garcia: Right.) On the record, by going a step or many steps further down, the communication thing isn’t as open.
Garcia: No it’s not, because the medium doesn’t allow it. See, if you include, for example, on a record, a question – let’s say there’s a question, “Who are you?” You put it on a record and put the record on, and this question will come out at you, “Who are you?” But you don’t have anybody to tell it to except a record, and you can’t… So a record doesn’t communicate that way, it doesn’t take anything in; it’s just there, right?
Lydon: It puts you – you have to get onto the [board] –
Garcia: Right, it puts you into a place, is what it’ll do. Because of the nature of sound, it’ll put you into a place, and so that’s another sort of language, you see. And communication is implicit in the whole act of playing music - it’s there on one level or another. Bob’s thing is that, his stuff communicates also, on any level that you care for it to communicate to you - it depends also how you listen to it.
Lydon: Can you describe like a verbal description of some of the places, or one of the places, or the place, on one of the songs on one of the records […] – I mean can you remember some – verbally.
Garcia: Oh, sure, sure – Dupree is a good one, it’s a very specific sort of place.  Phil sees that place, or that story as being told by the fool, the tarot card fool, that guy, and that place he is, where he’s stepping off a cliff. (Lydon: […]) Right, that whole thing; and it’s also the carnival, the midway; there’s calliope kind of going on back there, and it’s that famous story place, where that kind of mythic trip is going on. That’s what I hear in it, that’s what I hear in that melody, and that’s what the words are talking about; the words are running down that story. It’s a story, but it’s a very particular one.
Lydon: What do you see the story as?
Garcia: Well, just as the guy who goes and robs the store, the guy who goes and he’s gonna get the diamond for his honey, and the judge and all that, the famous confrontations. It’s just another way of looking at that thing, and bringing a little of the sideshow into it… The thing that I say about it is just gonna be the place it puts me - but the point is that, if that is going on in the act of creation, if you’re thinking, “this is gonna be a place, it’s gonna be a place to me,” but you can’t know whether somebody else is gonna go to that same place. But you can at least say that it’s valid, it’s a valid place for me - I experience it in a valid way, a real way. I put on the earphones and there it is, there it’s going on, they’re going through their changes there. And somebody else will hear it different, but even so, that’s where it is. I mean, if you can see yourself in something that’s put in front of you, then it works – it’s like objective art, if it’s really righteous.
Lydon: It sounds like Peter Townsend’s blind dumb and deaf boy […] living in a place of music. (Garcia: Yeah.) And music losing its quality of being […], but being just a […] of some kind.
Garcia: Well that’s the thing - music is an aspect of sound, which is an aspect of your perception of what’s going on; it’s the door out of yourself… You hear all the shit that’s going on, little sounds here and there, and they’re all in places, and you hear ‘em because you have two ears - you hear ‘em, they’re a place, there’s a thing going on. So if you snap your fingers over here, you can identify it as being over there; do it over there, you can identify it there, cause you have two ears. And when you have two sources of sound, stereo, you’re covering what hearing is, and that’s effectively painting a picture in your head. (Lydon: Yeah, right.) But the nature of the picture is up to whose head it is you’re painting in, so anybody who listens to a record sees a different picture.
Lydon: Do you consider yourself playing rock and roll?
Garcia: It’s a label, it’s just a label - it’s like, do I consider myself polite? It’s just a label, but no matter what I consider it, it still is what it is…you still hear it... I don’t consider it anything, I just consider it to be what I do. It’s just music, whatever that is, and I don’t think of it in terms of being rock and roll or an idiom – I mean, rock and roll, man, is like the ultimate non-descriptive label.
Lydon: Oh wow, I think… To me as a person, I think rock and roll isn’t a label, it’s a whole thing…
Garcia: Well what’s the thing, tell me about it.
Lydon: Wow, I think of it as a whole energy thing, a whole matrix kind of thing, like “Hail hail rock and roll, deliver us from the days of old.”
Garcia: Oh, right, right. Oh yeah, in that sense, yeah, we’re playing rock and roll…we’re still playing –
?? (interrupting): Deliver us from the days of Elvis! 
Garcia: Right! (pause) But yeah, I can dig that place – I don’t know whether it’s…  Everybody in the band has got their own idea about what we’re doing, in terms of labeling it. Shit, I don’t know – I don’t find it convenient to think about it one way or another. For me it really comes out in the experience of doing it – playing music, courting the muse. It’s my work, I think of it as my work – although my work might very well be rock and roll.
Lydon: What about the whole communication of good times, getting other people to break through – the whole impact of the Dead live?
Garcia: It’s something there for you to do. And not everybody sees us that way – in San Francisco everybody does, because everybody’s seen us so many times, everybody knows what it is we’re doing; people come mostly to get a chance to get loose. But in the rest of the country, we play concerts and people sit very politely and do all that shit. And a lot of times, some kid gets up to dance and six cops are on him… It’s different in the rest of America. It’s only really loose around here, the rest of America’s pretty weird still. But even so –
Lydon (interrupting): […] they don’t have an idea of the place that –
Garcia: They don’t have a model - they haven’t had a model. And when we go there, the most effective thing is – we go into a town, there’ll be a small amount of people who know us, because they’ve been out on the coast or one thing or another, and they’ll come, and they’ll kind of be the little microcosm to sort of instruct everybody else on what to do. But even so, man, it’s a form; it’s really gotten to be rigid. It’s stuck, it’s stuck; and the whole thing of playing in a hall, having a light show, band, and the orientation is you sit down and you watch, and the lights are behind the band so that you can see the band and the lights, and really there’s nothing happening mostly - it’s mostly watching television, large loud television. And that’s not really what we’re doing. So what we’re doing at this point in time is we’re trying to find a way to do another form, to seek another form or other forms in which you can play music so it doesn’t have to be so rigid, one way or another. This form is one that only started three or four years ago, but it started as a misapprehension of the thing that was going on at the time. You see, Graham was at the Trips Festival, he saw the things going on, and he saw a light show and band, which were the simplest and easiest things to identify, right - because it’s obvious it’s a band – what do they got, instruments up there and drums and amplifiers, and here’s these lights on the screen - why, that’s a light show. So, you take a light show and a band and that’s a formula, and that formula represents the form which has been going on now for three or four years, and it’s stuck! It’s stuck, it’s not going anywhere – it hasn’t blown any new minds. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But really, the thing that was happening back then in the Trips Festival was not just a rock and roll band, and not just a light show, but a whole other thing. But the point was that if you were bustling around, taking tickets and hustling to get a production on, or to put a little order into the chaos, you didn’t observe the stuff that was going on. It’s a sensitive trip, really, the way it was then; it’s unfortunate that all that’s been lost. The nicest thing about that was the formlessness, because it was an opportunity for something new to happen with a large number of people – for them to be able to get together in one place, a lot of ‘em, helplessly stoned, and find yourself in a room full of thousands of people, none of whom you were afraid of. It was really far out, it’s a heavy thing – and that was the thing that really happened then; that was the start of the large scenes, people getting together and feeling good about it; which ultimately led to the be-ins and so forth, and scenes that are still going on, a good night at Winterland and all that.
Lydon: Yeah. You’ve been – I always kind of think the Dead have been working very consciously to try to keep that thing going.
Garcia: Well, we’ve been just consciously going, trying to keep our thing going – whatever it is. You can only lend so much of your energy to something that’s going on, and if nobody picks up on it, it’s not righteous. We just try and do what we can do as well as we can do it, and stay as high as we can get. On the level of, when we go onto the stage to play music, it’s an important thing, it’s an important moment, and that’s the way we enter into it, because that’s the realest… If you take the long view – say for example, the long view has been one of our [problems], we’ve taken the long view: okay, what are we trying to do, we’re trying to make it so things are a little cooler, so people can get along a little, people can have a little more fun, whatever, all those things that are missing, seem to be missing. But that view doesn’t aid you when it comes down to the moment of playing – the thing that aids you when it comes to the moment of playing is thinking your music, thinking of who you’re playing with and the music that you’re about to make, and your hands, how well are they working, how much time you’ve put in practicing and all that. It’s a real yoga thing - it’s something that you really do do when you’re doing it, and the thought comes way later, the intellectualization of it, where you say ‘this is what it was’ or ‘that’s what it was;’ cause it’s not really like that. And the thing that we’re following around is something that’s no farther away than the end of your nose – we’re just close behind our noses, following along… The thing about the whys and whats of it, probing it and stuff like that, man, there’s just nothing to say ultimately about it, except that we do it, and it seems to work the way it works - and that we don’t do it by ourselves. It’s not us generating an enormous amount of energy that we can do at any time; it’s us going to a place and being aware of the people there, and the people being aware of us, and us feeding back and forth. It’s an interactive thing, and that’s the thing, that’s the experience, really; the rest of it is talk.
Lydon: Yeah. (laughter)
Garcia: It’s really a difficult thing to talk about. I mean, I’m in this music so long that, for one thing, my only thing about music is way back… I’ve spent the last ten years of my life in music, man, and I’m covered with it. I can’t really talk about it; it’s all over, all around. It’s really hard to exteriorize it.
Lydon: How does - handling the business of it all, and [working that into the framework], is that a constant […]?
Garcia: Yeah, it is - with everything, I’m sure, just because – well, for us, we take a huge amount of equipment and four equipment guys, plus the band, plus your road manager, and that adds up to quite a few people; and our operating overhead is real high, just to move our stuff and just to get it there and just to play. So on the practical level, we don’t really make any money; we just don’t make any money at all. But what else does money do? The only thing it does is further the trip. And also, the whole business thing is, who wants to take care of business? In our whole scene, everybody in the Grateful Dead has been for the last three years nothing but heads, not a straight soul in the whole thing - certainly nobody who’s capable of taking care of business. So our business scene has always been a calamity, man - it’s not even a shock to hear that you’re $60,000 in debt. “Huh, $60,000 in fucking debt.” But it’s all going on in the paper universe, where it doesn’t – that’s another thing: if you want to go along with it and believe it and everything, there it is, as real as can be. You can go and fight with it and hassle with it and hassle with bankers and pay bills and do all that, or you can just let it go; and what we did is let it go. And so here it is, $60,000 in debt. And our whole manager thing is, Mickey’s father is now doing it; he’s fronting our whole manager thing; he’s taking charge. We’ve given him the power to do what he wants to do. His whole trip is to straighten it all out, and make it so that all is feasible, and also to help us with ideas for new forms and so forth. So right now, things are looking good, but the whole thing about money is still something weird. It’s not really what we’re doing; we’re obviously not out to make money because we aren’t even working at it. We’re out to keep ourselves happy with what we’re doing, to do what we’re doing and make it so that we dig it, so it isn’t work. So rather than work, go out for 60 days on the road doing a gig every other night, jumping all over the place like those guys do, and then coming back and dying, it’s like –
Lydon: Why do you think they do it?
Garcia: Managers don’t understand about pace, about musicians and pace… The business world as a whole doesn’t understand what it is to be someone who does something, and that everybody has their own pace at which you do stuff, and that you can’t continually put out without losing it, if you’re a musician. If I had to play 60 days in a row, gigs every night, and didn’t have a chance to practice or to listen to new music or to get some new ideas, I’d hate what I was doing by the end of that time. It would make me crazy, it really would; and it’s because I’m aware of the pace that I have [behind learning things].
Lydon: A lot of other bands, for one reason or other, accept the pace, do do that trip.
Garcia: Maybe it’s because of the bread, maybe because they dig it – some people dig the high energy thing.
Lydon: Do you think Janis does?
Garcia: Probably… I don’t know, I can’t speak for anybody else, but… Music is something I expect to be doing as long as I am doing anything… I see it in waves – there’s downhill slumps, and uphill rises, and plateaus, and all sorts of levels, all of which you go to in their turn; and it represents the large picture of what it is like to be going through your life creating stuff.
Lydon: How do you feel about the fact that you haven’t become super big time, popular, […]?
Garcia: I’m glad. (laughs) I’m glad. It’s a big hassle to be popular, just because of the attention – and all that stuff is weird, the whole thing that there’s a thing set up that says that because you play music, you’re better than somebody else, or it’s fashionable. All those levels of consideration, the hierarchy, all that stuff is bullshit. But people continue to buy that theory, and continue to accept musicians as a hierarchy; and really, musicians are just people, just doing people stuff. So there I am in St. Louis, Missouri or something like that, and some cat is talking to me about rock and roll, and about something he read in a magazine, something like that. I don’t know what the fuck he means – and it makes it so that it’s more of a burden for you to be able to communicate with anybody. It’s just there’s a whole lot of shit you gotta cut through, because they think you’re somebody you’re not.
Lydon: What about – you were saying earlier that one time you wanted to be a rock and roll star.
Garcia: That happened when I was 15. I mean that’s when I started playing, when I was 15. And that was the thing that attracted me to it; I loved the sound of the guitar, and all that shit was really far out. But the reality of playing the guitar and getting into music and all that - all of a sudden you’re different, you’re doing something different, you’re not after that initial thing, or that’s not where you are anymore. You get older, go through your changes, and pretty soon music is what you do, and you know about it – you’ve changed your energy from the one level to the other level. And the rock and roll star thing is just a drag; it never helped anybody, it never made anybody a better musician (Lydon: Right, right), I don’t think – with the possible exception of the Beatles, maybe, who if they hadn’t been encouraged by success may not have continued to create music which has been a gas.
Lydon: Or someone like Jagger, who plays the role like an instrument, plays the whole –
Garcia: Right, well in that case, that’s the matter of dealing with that in a certain way; that’s a way to deal with it. But I personally don’t wanna devote my energy to playing a role; I would rather devote my energy to music, and be able to deal with people on some simple human level. I don’t wanna be… When you get that kind of stuff, distant cousins and stuff hitting on you – somebody comes up and says, “Listen, I’m your cousin 17 times removed and my family knew yours back when.” All of a sudden here you are, you’re somebody; whereas without that title you’re just another anybody; and it’s much easier and cooler to be anybody than it is to be somebody. (Lydon: Yeah, right.) Somebody’s just a big drag, I mean, it’s just more shit you have to do, which makes it harder for you to do the thing you’re trying to do.
Lydon: Yeah. One thing – in the beginning of that Solomon Burke record ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Love,’ “If everybody listened to my song tonight, I believe it would save the whole world.’ (Garcia: Right.) Do you think that way? It seems – I’ve thought that you do […] like that, […]. [you’d be on his trip kind of thing] (Garcia: Right.) So how do you connect the music thing with making people feel good, the social thing, [so that the…]   
Garcia: I don’t connect it, period. I realize that there is a connection, and I can dig it, but like I say, being conscious of that as a fact is nothing – you can’t translate that idea into music. You can’t say, “this is this idea, I can concretely translate it into music and make it come out thus,” see. That you cannot do; music doesn’t say those kind of things.
Lydon: A lot of musicians have tricks, or one thing or another, like with BB King, he can just sort of – he knows how to do it. (Garcia: Right.) During the course of the first song he’ll hit a certain note that does translate the idea –
Garcia (interrupting): Right, exactly. Well, that’s the thing, is finding those things – I think that the moments that translate the idea originally are pure, and that once you learn them consciously, they then become a device; and once it’s a device, it’s frozen – for me, that is, I’m talking about me. So, I know the trick that you do to get everybody up and dancing, the trick that you do to get a standing ovation. We’ve learned those things as a group, but you can’t rely on ‘em because they’re lies once you know ‘em. When you stumble into ‘em and everybody’s up, it’s the truth. When you know how to do it, man, it’s just like something you can do, it’s an exercise; and it’s an exercise of will, which is a weird thing. Instead, if you have all that as part of what you know about what you’re doing, that’s a consideration of musicians now is to know all those things -  that this thing will make it really exciting, and this other thing will make it another way. And they’re only there to use if it’s true and right and boss to use ‘em, and that’s only if it’s going in such a way so that that’s what happens. I mean, I don’t know if you can understand any of that – but those moments are really precious to me, man; they really are far out, when the place becomes one thing – everything, everybody in there is one thing, and it’s all really going down beautifully. It’s nothing that you want to resort to as a trick; it’s something heavier, in my opinion.
Lydon: [It’s still always…] further.
Garcia: Yeah, further, man, I mean, I don’t see any sense in doing the same thing over and over again, no matter what it is, no matter how boss it is. To me, being alive means to continue to change, to continue to learn and continue to grow and to do all that, and to not be where I was last week or two months ago or a year ago or any of that; because…it’s just not interesting to me. And I think that that’s the way – I think anybody who’s into music, or who’s a musician, and is in the process of teaching themselves about music and how to play, which as far as I can see, is a process that lasts as long as you’re alive – that’s the thing you’re doing… I can’t – again, this is a difficult thing to talk about.
Lydon: Did you read in Rolling Stone a long time ago the whole Mike Bloomfield […] thing?
Garcia: No I didn’t…
Lydon: Oh. They really put you down – I think Bloomfield particularly.
Garcia: Oh, I didn’t read it, no, what did he say? 
Lydon: Well, just said it was shit.
Garcia: Well he’s entitled to his opinions.
Lydon: […think that he could know better.] 
Garcia: Who knows, man – I mean, it might very well be that that interview might have been after he might have seen us on a night when it was shit, or depending what he was referring to. Maybe he…I don’t know. I don’t know where Mike’s head is at, really. I know that he feels very strongly about purity, a certain kind of purity it seems, because the things – not necessarily his playing, but when he does arrangements and production and stuff like that, he gets it so it’s right, for what he’s doing, I mean really righteous; and it might just be that what we do violates his aesthetic. I don’t know, I can’t really tell; you can’t know about things like that. But the thing about interviews and the thing about music is that you can say anything you want, man; it’s cool. It’s cool because the experience is such that you can like it or not like it or go out of your mind or leave in a rage or any fucking thing, I mean, it’s cool to do it – music is something you can hang any fucking thing on and it’s okay. (Lydon: Yeah.) […] Rolling Stone now, because of music, Rolling Stone has something to talk about – half the battle of life in this world is something to do, something to just pass the time away, man, just something to do. And talking about stuff is doing something. (Lydon: Yeah.) So providing an excuse for talking, man, is okay. It just means that somebody’s gonna have something to talk about; it’s all right. And so if you’re gonna put stuff out like a record or something like that, put something out that anybody can say anything about, so that it leaves a big open door for stuff to talk about instead of a little narrow door; or lots of things to talk about instead of one thing to talk about; whatever.
Lydon: Do you recall saying before about starting out in blues and country, you never got one […] thing down, like blues, the way Mike Bloomfield’s done blues?
Garcia: No, only – yeah, bluegrass music I got down. Bluegrass music and traditional music, those were the things that I was into heavy enough to be able to play them pure and righteously. When I was playing five-string banjo, I went the whole way with it; I went all the way through the body of music that existed as an example of it, and learned everything that I could from it, and played with the guys that I could play with, and that’s how I began to understand what an idiom was, what style was, and what kinds of music… Yeah, I’ve done that; in fact –
Lydon: How could you leave it?
Garcia: Because there was nobody to play with, and because there was no place to play – not on the west coast.
Lydon: Did you ever […] going to Virginia or Nashville? 
Garcia: I went to all those places.
Lydon: You did?
Garcia: Sure.
Lydon: Just on your own?
Garcia: Yeah.
Lydon: Did you find stuff to do?
Garcia: Oh, I recorded bluegrass shows and stuff like that, me and a friend of mine, Sandy Rothman, who went on to play guitar with Bill Monroe, who’s the guy who invented bluegrass music. And I got to know a lot of musicians and played with a lot of people; and I did it to my satisfaction.
Lydon: You had a personal odyssey kind of […].
Garcia: Yeah, yeah.
Lydon: How long’d you do it for?
Garcia: Oh, three months, four months, something like that. I mean actually travelling in the south and being… [mumbles] 
Lydon: Wow. And then you came [from doing] that back into the folk stuff?
Garcia: No, no, that was out toward – I mean, all these things are happening more or less simultaneously, overlapping. I started rock and roll, went to acoustic guitar, from acoustic guitar into folk music – by folk music I mean traditional music, which in this country is country music, and old-time country music from the twenties and like that – and that’s where I got into the guitar, fingerstyling the guitar, and from there into the banjo, old-style banjo playing, and then into Scruggs-style bluegrass music… You can’t live in the United States and not hear all kinds of music - you hear all kinds of music as you’re just going through your changes. You have a car radio, you hear all kinds of music; so none of it escapes you. So while I was into one kind of music, I was hearing all other kinds of music, and that was all having an effect on me… It’s all music, is what it boils down to; there’s all kinds of music, all kinds – there’s people on the street corners making music all over – weird old fiddlers in bus depots and shit like that, people like that all over, so music is everywhere; just people playing, making music of some kind or another, people on the back porch, people in church singing, that’s a big thing, music going on all around; and it’s all going on. That’s why…all those idioms and styles and different worlds of music are all melting away, man, because nobody is isolated from all the different kinds of music there are; everybody’s hearing it all now. So the guys in the Band who undoubtedly learned how to play and how to approach their instruments from rock and roll records and country music records and Ray Charles and the blues and stuff like that, do their songs like the way Aretha Franklin, a gospel singer from that tradition, does one of their songs; and Bob Dylan’s in Nashville with Johnny Cash…they’re really mixing it up, and music is getting that way.
Lydon: Yeah. Is this the first record you used a Moog on?
Garcia: Yeah, right. The first time I’ve ever used one.
Lydon: How do you think the accessibility of electronic music will come about?
Garcia: Oh, the accessibility of electronic music is a fact. They’ve been accessing electronic music for some time now – and popular, man, I’m talking about popular; I’m talking about, let’s say underground radio, FM. Every city in the United States has some kind of underground FM radio, at least one, and a lot of them have two and three; so that’s something that’s happened in the last couple of years. All those stations play at least somebody who does some amount of electronic stuff – the Beatles on their last album had that thing, Revolution No. 9 – it’s electronic! (Lydon: Yeah, right.) People are hearing that. They aren’t hearing the heaviest of it, they aren’t hearing all of it, and maybe the heaviest of it is a trifle too heavy, but it’s out…it hasn’t been ignored. And you can hear bits and snatches of it on the top 40 radio – the Monkees, everybody. Those things are the tools now for everybody; for every musician has all of music historically to choose from, because it’s all here right now in the form of records. Go into a record store, man, you can pick a century; and it’s all there, you can hear it; you don’t have to hassle with musty old documents and funky old scores and shit like that, you can hear it. (Laughter.) And that’s the thing, what you can hear, you hear, it goes into your brain and it’s in there, man, the stuff that you hear is – you know how a melody gets in your head, or some song that you heard once or twice on the radio, and there it is, and it’s locked in your brain, [until] you retain it, you catch it, you get it, and it happens to […] part of yourself - that’s how well your hearing transmits shit.
Lydon: When I first met you it was during the summer of ’67, and I spent the night – I guess I knew Danny, and I talked to Danny […] – a very ambivalent thing about the Haight-Ashbury – wanted to say “why don’t you keep it going somehow,” but not sure it could ever get that going again there… (Garcia: Right.) I’d really appreciate it if you could sort of talk about the changes in Haight-Ashbury, how you saw that, and how you saw the Dead [in relation] to it, and your eventually leaving, and the Carousel…
Garcia: Well, originally when we were there, we were just there; we were just other people on the street and around. And that’s the way it was with everybody, the guys that were doing the posters, all the other musicians; we were just freaks, just like always, and there was no distinctions made. Then, behind all the publicity in Time magazine and all that shit, the tourist hordes started coming, and the out of town kids and all that kind of stuff, and pretty soon there was a big traffic problem on the street, so the people who were on the street who wanted more freedom on the street started hassling the tourists, and the cops started hassling the people on the street, and the tourists were hassling the cops, and back and forth; and then there were confrontations and hassles and guys were putting out firebrand bullshit. And all of a sudden it was just a political trip; all of a sudden there was cops and National Guard and all that bullshit – who needs it? I mean, who wants to live in that? Where you’re living – you might want to go there to hassle, but you don’t want to live in it particularly; at least I don’t, and none of us did. So we just split, because it’s not a righteous fight; it’s just some bullshit, it’s just another kind of something to do, but it’s the kind of something to do that I don’t care to do, and I used to – I did all the fighting I wanted to do when I was a kid. And I didn’t dig it then either; I mean, it was never a gas, it was never a good trip. And it’s never a good trip to find yourself surrounded by National Guard cats with guns and all that shit, man, and police all over the place and cats throwing bottles. And all that shit was coming down real heavy – it was mostly happening on the cops on one hand who didn’t really live there, didn’t have too much to do with it, the tax squad and stuff like that, and the people from out of town who didn’t live there, so didn’t have to pick up broken glass or didn’t have to keep the kids out of it, or any of that. I mean, there was a lot going on. So shit, we just split.
Lydon: Did you […] as long as you could…
Garcia: Oh yeah, yeah, we stayed there as long as we could, and we did what we could; but it got to be where any kind of thing happening was some kind of hassle, some kind of meeting or political kind of thing, that just wasn’t [called for], it wasn’t necessary; it was crazy. We would go down and play on the street, and we’d go down and play in the park, just to get everybody off the streets, and the tourists – if the tourists don’t have anything to look at, they go home, man. There was a lot of easy ways to solve all those problems, I think, just by being cool… And so you can avoid the whole problem of having to hassle somebody, and having to be hassled yourself, and maybe eventually ending up in the joint; which is where all that shit inevitably leads.
Lydon: Did you feel at least a sense of, to some extent, political responsibility, a sense of community that was endangered – did you feel a community sense then, that eventually became impossible?
Garcia: Well, most of the people who were our friends, most of our friends, were splitting anyway, just getting out of town and everything. The community is larger than the Haight-Ashbury - the community that is concerned with itself, and concerned with each part of itself, is way bigger than the Haight-Ashbury; it’s bigger than the Be-In, bigger than any of those scenes. There’s a lot of people; and most of the people are cool enough to be able to find a way that’s groovy for them to live. They don’t need to be told or pointed the way or any of that bullshit; and anybody who does that is just calling attention to themselves and their own trip, which is just another trip, as far as anybody’s concerned. Everybody’s trip is as good as everybody else’s. So some cat comes up and tells you, “Let’s get the heat out of the Haight-Ashbury.” It’s like, “Go ahead, man. (laughs) I’d rather leave myself. You guys can have the Haight-Ashbury.” Because now, the result is the Haight-Ashbury is just another neighborhood - but heads are everywhere, man, all over San Francisco, all over Marin County, and all over the peninsula, the east bay, everywhere. And then the hassles are, of course, big – in Berkeley there’s that hassle going on; there was the hassle at San Francisco State; and anybody who wants to hassle can find something to hassle about; and they can be righteous or however you want to go into it. To me, the way it seems is that anything you’re doing is okay as long as it’s not making you uptight, or endangering you…unless that’s what you wanna do; and why put yourself in a position of being about to go to jail. Jail’s a terrible place, man. There’s nothing much but bummers to be learned in jail. (Lydon: Yeah, right.) And all that… If you think you have something that’s really important, that really merits leading people, using whatever you are to lead people, that’s cool too, I guess; but that’s certainly not my trip. And there was – see, the groovy thing about the Haight-Ashbury and about that whole thing was, there was something spontaneous happening there. It didn’t have any leaders, man, it didn’t have any spokesmen; whoever you stopped and talked to was the spokesman; and any spokesman was as righteous as any other spokesman. And there was none of that stuff going on, no hierarchies, no bullshit; and all those kind of things came later, and they’re still… Around here it’s cooler than it is anyplace else, cause mostly nobody […] on you, too fake - but the rest of the country is still operating on that celebrities and autographs and all that – a lot of that’s still going on.
Lydon: Right, right – do you get the celebrity rock and roll band […] 
Garcia (talking over him): Yeah – we don’t get it too heavy… We don’t – we discourage it; and mostly any appearance by us is such a left-handed event that... (laughs) 
Lydon: [inaudible] Do you have to […] soon?
Garcia: Pretty soon, yeah, I got a meeting at –