Jam – 2013-12-30 – Carroll’s

ds131230“Freaking Since 1990” is what the sign a top the Terrapin’s cabin says and this jam, the night before New Years Eve 2014, was a jam to commemorate not only the new year but also the longevity of Deadstein itself. Still playing Deadstein into 2014 has a nice ring to it. Happy New Years and a freaky 2014 from Deadstein to all the freaks out there.

Deadstein is going strong after all these years and the 53rd jam of the year is a testament to it. This holiday season was a challenge to keep the freak parade going with everyone’s busy schedules, but some how we did it and didn’t miss a beat from a scheduling perspective. Not skipping a beat while playing is a whole other matter. Scott was our only missing person this week as he was busy filming one of the many shows he has been to over the season.

While Scott films, I continue to record the jam sessions with my Mackie MDR 24/96 multi-track hard disk recorder. While you think 53 jams is going strong, how about 20 multi-track recordings since August. That is quite a bit of high quality music to remember 2013 with.

Deadstein has long been a believer in archiving its music and the merriment that accompanies its weekly jams ever since day 1. Over the past week or so, the Deadstein.com jams database has been updated with reference to adding the remaining Deadstein blog posts since the first days of blogging beginning in July 1996. Some say Deadstein invented early blogging, but I think it is only Al Gore and Kevin who make that claim. Previously, the database had only gone back as far as 1998. With this update, I was also able to find and include classic Kevin setlist artwork from the second half of the 1996 time-frame. These setlists had previously only existing on paper and never included on the web at Deadstein.com. Look for some of this new-old-stock (N.O.S.) artwork to pop up randomly throughout your Deadstein.com travels. Finally, speaking of archives, I continue to trickle in and update some of the classic recordings from the earliest days of Deadstein as I find time to digitize and upload the original cassettes. This week I uploaded 11-5-90 jam from 162 Perry Street.

Getting back to the end of 2013, with New Years Eve falling on Tuesday night, a Monday night jam or Thursday night jam were the only hopeful nights to jam so we selected Monday without Scott. Lee filled in quite nicely by himself. We were already in this Monday jam mode from the previous week as we were impacted the same way by Christmas. It did kind of force us into one last jam of the year, number 53, which I like, but it also pushes of the first of 2014 up a little. We are going to have to keep our focus in 2014 to keep the jam frequency up at 2013 levels.

Getting into the jam seemed easy this evening as it seemed none of the world was working. I was working but was able to get in early and setup seemed quick and easy, not much moved from the previous week in Studio B. Getting out of the jam was not nearly as easy for me. It was a frigid night in the metropolitan area and I was psyched to be in my warming car after the at 12:20 heading to the Lincoln Tunnel down 11th Avenue, when – BOOM – I hit a giant pothole. That woke me up a bit. Just before I was to pull into the Lincoln Tunnel entrance I decided to pull over at the Javitz Center to just check on my tire. Sure enough, it was hissing louder than my 1990-cassettes . Changing this flat in 20-degree weather was a real awakening. After about 30 minutes of very difficult work in the cold I was off and running with my doughnut The ride home was exceptionally squirrelly but I made it home by 1:45 and was fortunate to get the tire(s) changed the next morning before the place closed at 1pm for New years and before the impending snow and cold weather pattern to follow. “When life looks like easy street there is danger at your door.” Let’s be careful out there in 2014 and remember it’s not 1990 anymore.

Speaking of 1990, like our first jam in 1990, we opened this one up with a Jack Straw and it felt pretty good and that feeling continued through the El Paso. The misplaced first set Scarlet had trouble garnering the respect it deserved and the Fire even less so as it took Kevin probably 1/2 the song to remember that Fire typically does follow a Scarlet. With this said, it had its movements, which it better have had some, because at 26 minutes, if it doesn’t have any moments, I mean, WTF? Minglewood Blues brought us back into form and Push Comes to Shove knocked us right out of it. The Cats, You Win Again into Music Never Stopped was the closer of the first set which ended up being pretty hefty. I think my resolution for 2014 should be to learn how to jam on Music Never Stopped correctly. I always feel so inept while jamming that song.

We took a very long break, I think we all felt a bit satiated with our accomplishments of the evening and 2013 and felt as if there was little else to prove. In many respects we are right and the second set seemed a bit difficult to muster up the required enthusiasm. The Estimated into Terrapin was well executed for the most part, but another mini-break after the Terrapin meant whatever was reaming for the year (Gomorrah, Evangeline and Midnight Moonlight) would be petifores at best, as all the beef for the year had been devoured long ago. Not to fret because the butcher has a load of fresh bloody meat to deliver for our consumption in 2014.

For 53 jams in 2013, Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/12-30-13

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Jam – 2013-10-23 – Carroll’s

ds131023With Scott back from his 2-week hiatus is Italy, Deadstein was back to its 2-drummer roots. At least for half the night. It may take Scott a week or two to get his Deadstein legs under him once again as he spent much of the second set checking out the lumbar support of the couches in the lobby of Carroll’s. Not a big worry, because Lee is in tip-top shape after drumming solo for the previous 2 weeks. In addition, I picked up Scott’s sticks for two songs toward the end of the night (Stop That Train and Come Together) to join Lee in the rhythmic duties. That was a lot of fun from my perspective, but it did leave a gaping hole in the guitar lead position on the recordings. Donna, had to catch up on paper-work during this jam and was unable to join us.

I had initially crafted a setlist days prior to this jam in an effort to capture several songs I have yet to capture in my recent mult-track recording mode that I have been in. We pretty much stuck to the setlist but did omit the Tomorrow is Forever as Donna was not there to sing the duet with Rich. Likewise, we finished the songs of the first set about 30 minutes quicker than anticipated, so the first set was modified and expanded to fit into the time allotted at the time. As such, we aborted the playing of the Midnight Hour to close the first set, that one was intended to be played with Donna’s help, and instead, played a Victim or the Crime in its place. This was a pretty cool Victim for Us as I learned a couple of Jerry parts to the song, which were new to me and therefore Deadstein. We threw in a late first set Baby Blue to setup the Weather Report Suite to close the first set. The first half of the Weather Report Suite was a disaster but with the help of modern mixing and editing techniques, I was able to patch something together that was at least listenable. The same couldn’t be said of the Come A Time which we tried to play two or three time but which came tumbling down like a house of cards. In finishing up on comments on the first set, I thought several of the short songs were well done, including the opener of Operator. Ballad of Casey Jones was surprisingly requested by Stagger Lee and it was a really nice rendition. The Sailor Saint was also one of our better ones as we keep getting closer and closer to its heart and sole. This week we used the 4-6-82 Philadelphia Spectrum version as a template to get us going in a bouncy manner with out all the mud and drudge of the tempos we typically start on our own. The quick tempo quickly turning into a correct, and easy to play, tempo. I think referencing the beats of songs before we start is a big help.

The second set was more about survival than recording so we kept playing songs that kept most of us going. Scott was the only casualty but it didn’t mean other were teetering and about to fall. Actually, with this stated, the When I Paint My Masterpiece, a Deadstein A-List tune, was really nice and solid. Mr. Charlie had its moments on both ends of the Spectrum and the Thin Man was pretty good except for the fact that I skipped over the 3rd verse, but I don’t think anyone noticed. Maybe Scott Bayer, out only guest of the night, who I dedicated the Ballad of Thin Man to. After leaving the drum throne we finished with a Mason’s Children which was pretty good and closed with a Day Job which was just okay at best. nevertheless and good thought and a good way to end another night of Deadstein. Just to note, Kevin brought in his Carlos Robelli hollow body electric to show off this week.

Until we freak again, Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/10-23-13

Jam – 2013-10-14 – Carroll’s

ds131014Another freakin’ week of Deadstein on a Monday night and once again we have Lee solo on the drum as Scott is still on vacation. Otherwise, the whole band was there until Donna left just after halftime. Like the past several weeks, I once again dragged my multi-track recording equipment into the room to capture the music. Also like last week, I made a stupid error in not verifying the setup before we started to play. As such, during the I realized that I had failed to plug in the connection for Rich’s piano and vocals as well as Alan’s vocals, but I was able to get the plugged in half way through the Way You Do the Things You Do. The direct feed from Kevin’s bass was also missing for the entire first song and half way through the second song, Catfish John. I don’t think it was my fault as far as missing something with respect to Kevin’s issues, but somehow his bass kicked in half way through the Catfish John and remained present for the rest of the night.

We didn’t have a plan for the song selection at all, but I was still trying to figure out songs which we needed to capture a good version of, so I was trying to be a bit creative. That’s what guided me to the GarBand opener. After we, especially Kevin and Lee ,became totally befuddled on the 3-chord That’s What Love Will Make You Do, I decided to go back to some Grateful Dead in order to wipe those cob-webs out. The Queen Jane served its purpose in this role nicely. Too bad because the beginning of the TWLWMYD had a nice feel to it and during the break, it broke us.

There were lots of nice easy grooves throughout the evening including the Queen Jane, I felt like Lee was nice and easy and relaxed on the drums. This carried through into some of the slower numbers including the To Lay Me Down and the Lost Sailor.

When it came time for Donna to do a Beatles song she asked to do I’ll Follow the Sun, which was short and sweet, so short that we played it a second time in an attempt to get a better version out of it. That’s It For the Other One was meant o get us into a nice jamming sequence after Donna left but we had problems finding our way in the Other One. Much like the Women are Smarter from the previous week, the Other One should be a Deadstein staple with an easy groove that we should all latch on to but we seem disparate while we play it not providing it with the foundation it deserves.

The world is round, what more needs to be said. Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/10-14-13

Jam – 2013-10-07 – Carroll’s

ds131007With Scott on a sojourn in Italy, it looks like Lee is our solo drummer for two weeks until Scott returns. This certainly makes it easier on me to setup the recording of the band as I do not have to place microphones all around Scott’s kit. Besides Scott missing, we had the whole band in tow including Donna for the first set, who left us to our own devices after departing to a Truckin’. We had no guests on this Monday night.

While I was setup to record and everything seemed to be working perfectly, the recording session doesn’t work unless you actually hit the record button. Unfortunately, I missed capturing the first two songs of the night, Slow Train Coming and Scarlet Begonias, due to my failure to implement the pressing of the record button sequence. This left the recordings to begin with the Women are Smarter, the 3rd song of the night.

The Candyman that followed was our first where Donna sang lead vocals and it was commented that this Candyman was one of Deadstein’s best versions. Rich described some of the songs as having better than usual texture, even if some of the grooves were misplaced and off. Second That Emotion had such a texture. The Help on the Way was a bit straining but in the end we salvaged something in the final MP3. Somehow, the end of the evening was strong with a pretty assertive Valerie and closing with an opener, the Mississippi Halfstep. Considering this October 7 represented Deastein completing its 23rd year of freakin jamming since commencing on October 9, 1990 and our next jam on October 14 will begin the 24th year of Deadstein, closing with an opener only seemed appropriate. I can’t wait to see what the next 23 year will bring us. Wow, I guess it’s time to Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/10-07-13

Jam – 2013-10-01 – Carroll’s

ds131001It was another multi-track evening with Deadstein. The whole band was together including Donna for the first set. We had no guests. Carroll’s didn’t even haven us in their schedule but fortunately Kevin was there early and got them to set up the studio in plenty of time.

While I was setting and tweaking the recording session everyone played a great version of the newly minted Wednesday Morning Blues written and belted out by Donna. Wow, throwing in Morning Dew references throws it over the top.

To open the second set we counter balanced the Brokedown closer of the first set with a Ripple. For the Ripple Kevin broke out his 4th guitar/bass of his recent coming out display, a 4-string Guild bass. From there we launched into a threesomes with the Here Comes Sunshine –> China –> Rider followed by a Truckin’ which died a quick and painless death. This was followed by another big threesome of Uncle John’s Wharf Rat and Sugar Magnolia, without a Sunshine Daydream to close. We finished with the figurative encore of US Blues. Surprisingly enough, another pretty solid night of music, all things considered.

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/10-01-13

Jam – 2013-09-26 – Carroll’s

ds130926It was another multi-track evening with Deadstein, this week commemorating the great Buffalo 9-26-81 show by playing its setlist. We had the whole band there and Donna was scheduled to play but had to cancel at the last minute.

There are more comments to come so hang in there and don’t Freak Out.

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/09-26-13

Jam – 2013-09-03 – Carroll’s

ds130903On this Tuesday night,, Deadstein found itself jamming at Carroll’s without Rich or Donna. What we were missing in musicians we made up for with recording equipment. For the 4th week in a row, I managed to haul all the mutli-track recording gear into a jam to capture the “goings on.” That was a good thing because the “goings on” were worth capturing, working on and remembering.

You would think it would be scary to have to listen to a full night of Deadstein where I was singing all the songs including a bunch of Jerry songs typically sung by Rich. I did my best and the result was at least a recording I could stomach. Not a ringing endorsement, but considering everything involved, being able to stomach is a compliment., In the end the music was much better than this a a true joy to listen to overtime. As Kevin described it, so much wrong with the music yet so much right about it also. If you listen to it enough, there is plenty to freak out over, so from me to you, Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/09-03-13

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