Jam – 2013-07-03 – Carroll’s

ds130703With the 4th of July holiday hitting 2013 on a Thursday, it broke the week up into two. It also meant Scott and Lee were vacationing with the families this week leaving us without a rhythm section. Alan was also unable to make the jam.
Fortunately, we were able to call in one of our subs, in the form of Bill Sloan. Sometimes he plays bass sometimes he plays drums. This week he was behind the drum kit holding down the fort by himself. With Bill came a new keyboardist to Deadstein in tow named Scott. He brought his B3 sounding keyboard to the jam and plugged it into one of the Fender Twin Reverbs and we had B3 sounds from him all night long. Scott seemed to be into the New Orleans music scene more so than the music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead and therefore seemed to have a strong penchant to the Aiko and Hey Pocky Way that we did.

Since we were playing on July 3, the day before a vacation day for all us, we seemed to be a bit more relaxed than usual, not having to worry about getting up for work in the morning. This meant we had a late start, just after 8:30, a long break and a later than usual quitting time of around 12:25. It also meant that Donna was with us for the entire jam instead of her usual, one set and out.

Instead commemorating the 4th of July holiday with the predictable salutes to patriotic like US Blues, Liberty, etc. we decided to pay tribute to the 4th of July by playing some of the songs written in 7/4 time. This included the Uncle John’s Band jam, Estimated Prophet and our venture into Pink Floyd’s wallet with Deadstein’s version of Money.

We had played the Breathe, Time, Breathe reprise from Dark Side of the Moon last week as a lark, but after practicing it at home this week, I was ready to give it a second attempt. Our Pink Floyd cycle this week included heading over to the Great Gig in the Sky where Donna let loose some fireworks and belted out a strong rendition bringing the music almost to a halt. We had do our best just to keep playing music to support her as she whaled across the Great Gig in the Sky. The other elements to this Pink part of the night were also fun as the Breathe, Time combo were a big improvement over last week’s efforts and the Money was another great song, in 7/4, from which Deadstein may derive some fun into the future. This music has a lot of the Dark Star elemental type of sounds associated with it and may provide a vehicle for Deadstein to shuttle to the Dark Side of the Moon where you can sense but no see a Dark Star.

As far as guests, we had our two guests musicians, Scott and Bill as previously mentioned. Additionally, Steve also showed for half the night and some of Rich’s neighbors, Paul, Sheila and a clogger whose name I forgot, also seemed to get a kick out of our music.

Donna also belted out a Positively 4th Street followed by a Music Never Stopped to close the first set. Donna had two good “Donna” moments in that one. We then did a nice Uncle John’s into Gimme Some Lovin and back into Uncle John’s combo. I thought we would take advantage of the presence of organ in the room and play the Gimme Some Lovin. We got back into more of that Cajun sound with the Aiko and went right back to the good ols USA celebrating 7/4 with an Estimated into a New Speedway Boogie to close out Donna’s night.

We needed a closer to cap off the evening, but we were already 15 minutes over time. Thank the lord we didn’t have to work the next morning so we took the opportunity to close with some gusto. The Feel Like a Stranger fit the bill and we played purposefully and concisely during the Stranger. We were playing as if it was the last song of the night on a night when we want to go one further. With the final notes of the Stranger hitting, it brought another freakin’ evening of Deadstein to a close. So until we freak again, freak out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2013-04-16 – Carroll’s

ds130416T-Woos-day night in the middle of April and Deadstein is marching through its spring season. This week we marched without Alan, who called in sick, and played with just one guitarist. This gave me an opportunity to play a bit more Jerry Garcia Band than we would have typically played if Alan was there. Rather than having a surprise guitarist, the night’s surprise was a surprise drummer, in the form of Bill Sloan. He came to hang with us and worked on the PA system throughout the night. Additionally, he did a bit of the round-robin with both Scott and Lee, playing drums with us on several of our songs.

Shortly after 11pm, Bill left with Donna leaving the rest of us to close out the night. Scott Bayer, was our only other guest arriving late in the night only the have Carol listen to a song or two before the 12-midnight time hit us.

Trying to think of an opener at the time was a challenge and I snuck in the Slow Train Coming to get us going. I thought it was pretty good and definitely got us moving down the line. We all expected Rich to call for the Next Time You See Me Next, but we were surprised when the You Win Again Came out of his mouth. We began a Love in the Afternoon to get on the Garcia Band roll and that is about when Donna entered. From then on we performed lots of Jerry songs including a That’s Alright Mama which Rich brought in the lyrics for. That had a nice feel to it although I lack the necessary dexterity to pull that one off too well.

I think the It’s No Use had a real nice groovy feel to it, I know Donna and I don’t necessarily agree to the definition of groovy, but I think this song may have approached it. Truckin’ was Donna’s last song with us as she left at the beginning of the end of the Truckin’ jam and we explored that for a while after she left, taking it into the Other One. We didn’t have too much time left at that point but we made the best of it with the Catfish and the Taxman in honor of April 15 which just passed us by. To close I happened to open right to the Good Night Irene and it was an omen. A good one at that as I really enjoyed that song.

For this week’s music, Rich forwarded me the raw MP3 files from his 2 recorders and I did my best to mix them together. Hopefully I’ll get back to some previous week’s music that he gave me at the last jam. Till then, Freak in not out.

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2013-03-27 – Carroll’s

ds130327With Kevin out of town celebrating his parent’s 50th wedding anniversary, we called upon Bill Sloan to fill his shoes. Bill was totally expected and I was looking forward to playing with him, keeping the SUNY Albany spirit alive. While I knew Bill was playing bass, Carroll’s evidently didn’t know, so I got Jules to change out Kevin’s normal monster bass rig for a standard Hatke amp and cab setup. I’m sure Bill appreciated the switch, although Jules was offering to get the necessary splitter box Bill would have needed. Bill was set for the night and rolled with the flow, thinking he was loud, but to us a respite from the pounding we usually get from Kevin’s rig.

While we had no guest spectators for the night, the band’s lineup was filled with them. I was the there first and then in walks Mark. He was a friend of Rich’s, as well as other’s, who was a surprise sit-in guitarist for the night. He plays with Rich and Coffee-Boy in Brooklyn and was making his Deadstein debut.

Trying to make it easy, open and jammy for the Bill and Mark combo at the beginning of the night I decided to open with an 18-minute Eyes of the World, reminiscent of the 6-17-91 Giant’s Stadium show. From that we did the whole 1974 Eyes of the World jam at the end which left us in Dm leading me to a bold decision to play Morning Dew when I noticed Donna had entered the studio by the end of the Eyes. Donna’s good a Morning Dew and got her into the flow right away. A good decision and the intro to the night was a great springboard for things to come.

Donna was making her return after her week off eager just be like one of the boys. Alan got there earlier than expected and was raring to go. Lee was psyched as always as a night of Deadstein is better than virtually anything else. Then, Scott and Rich rolled in with news that Terez was going to be our second big, or should I say “Mini”, surprise of the night.

All of this was surprising good news, too bad Kevy was there to join in on the fun. We got going pretty much on time and from the first few moment I at least felt good. I think the band had a nice aura to it. We got Alan from Carroll’s to tweak the board a bit after Donna’s first song and after that, the PA sounded better than usual for the rest of the night. That helped us as Terez arrived a little later, and for a Deadstein first, we had a true set of Jerryettes to sing with us. How exciting is that?

With our Jerryettes in tow, we focused on a lot of Garcia Band music , to take advantage of the situation. Terez and Donna worked through singing backup harmonies for us and at times was inspiring to think we had a Jerryette thing going on. Some was good like the Harder They Come and I think Rich choked on the Night They Drove ‘ol Dixie Down as he was a tad anxious.

Eventually, Deadstein’s sad reality set in when we had indecision about the time signature in Comes A Time. Though we started the song with trepidation and a lack of confidence, it actually felt pretty good in the end. Tot bad due to Deadstein’s own internal issues we kind of robbed Donna from enjoying singing Comes a Time.

Mini T’s time ended too quickly at 11pm, but it was great while it lasted. I had a lot of fun trying to conduct the Jerryettes and it was lots of fun playing with this lineup. I really hope we have additional opportunities to do it again. With Donna singing solo we did play a nice New Speedway Boogie which took advantage of our two harmonica players (Mark and Alan) whose harp solos sandwiched by guitar lead. This is probably the only song with two harmonica solos in it and I guess we took advantage of it.

We played the Good Lovin through midnight and everyone yet clambering for more. That’s how you know you like a night of music. Time to try it again and thanks to everyone involved.

To listen tosome of the music, go to the links below

Jam – 2012-08-29 – Carroll’s

Being the end of summer it is always tricky to get a jam going and this week would prove to be such a trial.  With Scott and Kevin scheduled to be away on away vacation and bringing kids to school, it was questionable as to whether would could get a band of critical mass.  Fortunately, with Stagger Lee in the Deadstein Utility Belt, we have half of the rhythm section already there. We turned back to our SUNY Albany roots and grabbed Bill Sloan to man the bass.  You see me there at my SUNY graduation in 1985.  In the SUNY Albany days of the early 80’s, Bill was an institution on the drums at State Quad, but in the 21st century Bill has transformed into a bass playing institution.  Well maybe not an institution but he brought his convenient little effects rig in a box and covered the bass for us for the jam.

Alan additionally was not available so it left an uncore-4 of me, Rich, Lee and Bill to fill Studio 2.  We had a little help with our guests Ryan, 33-year old Maggie and Steve.  Ryan was thrown into action as he picked up the sticks with us during a That’s What Love Will Make You Do.  Short of that, Lee was all by his lonesome back there all night.

I was eager to play in this configuration to see what would materialize.   Since we were four with one guitar, Jerry Garcia was going to be the flavor of the night, more specifically; Rich was thinking a mid 1970’s version of the band.  We stuck to that for a bit but strayed when necessary.

Speaking of straying, my mind was playing right-down, left-up tricks on me all night long.  I think my fingers thought they were too confident for my minds good, and the two didn’t connect and cooperate all night long.  For the most part I was able to internalize my inner struggle and blow out some music, but if felt like an opportunity lost.  Too bad, because the room sounded good and the vibe was good.

Rich had his whole video set up charging while recording the happenings.  Hopefully, something came out good.  I’m kind of not too eager to hear or see what I did, cause it can’t be pretty.  I guess there are nights like that, but I felt like a pitcher with a spent arm just lobbing soft-balls over the plate.

I guess I will have to wait for Rich’s audio and video files, until then enjoy what you got and Freak out!  Well, lo-and-behold, there are the MP3s with some video to boot.  Three cheers for Rich.


Jam – 2012-04-23 – Carroll’s

This was a difficult week to organize a jam with changing and conflicting schedules keeping us all on our toes.  Alan was scheduled to be away and Trister was to fill in for him.  All was a go until Monday when Andy bailed on our jam.  This left me alone as the only guitarist.  Andy had asked me to bring a guitar to lend him for the night so I was to bring my black Epiphone Les Paul for him.  Since I had just changed string on the guitar for him the day before, I decided I might as well play the black Les Paul.  While I was never really comfortable with the powerful mix of the Les Paul and the Fuchs-modded Fender Twin Reverb, it was pretty good for what t was to me.  My missing the subtleties of my Strat grew as the night waned.

From a drum perspective, Scott and Lee we to be our drummers for the night, by Scott called in sick.  This provided Ryan, of Meg Ryan, an opportunity to sit in for a song or two, but it was nice that Bill Sloan was able to accompany Stagger Lee to do some of the rhythmic heavy lifting for the night.

Since there was only one guitarist in the room, we started with some Jerry Garcia Band to get us acclimated to each other.  It worked pretty well and the difficult to open with Cats Down Under the Stars got us to proverbially jump into the waters and get used to the cold.

As far as guests we has a few, besides Ryan we had Meg (Maggie), Stevie and Lindsey and a few more that I don’t know their names.  By set #2, only Scott Bayer was to wander in and Bill and Lee remained for all the drumming duties.

After the Garcia Band opened, we slowly faded into more of a Grateful Dead pattern which didn’t have much of a pattern to it.  The one song it did have in it was The Weight, which we never do well and this was one of our more coherent versions.  With the passing of Levon Helm this week, it was the least we could do as his life and music were on our minds.

Looks like the Alan and Scott should be back for next week while Rich will be away.  On schedule to fill in for Rich is Bill Siegel, so that is something to look forward to as he hasn’t played with us in years.

In the world, mourning continued for Levon this week as well as for the Ottawa Senators who the Rangers beat in game 7 at the Garden to advance to round 2 of the play-off.  The Rangers now play the Capitals which pushed me to begin a flaming-war on the “80’s Tour Veterans Group” on which is better, the Cap Center or the Garden.  The typical comment about the Cap Center defending it was that it was okay because it was the scene of someone’s first show in 1991, not a convincing argument compared to the greatness the Garden imparted upon us all.  Go Rangers!

To hear what we did for the week, go to the MP3 links below:


Jam – 2011-08-18 – Carroll’s

This Thursday night was a tough Deadstein to get together, but we pulled it off.  With Scott no able to play and Alan on the mend, it was not easy to find people to play.  Fortunately, Rich was all over it and got Bill Sloan to play drums while Bayside Mitch filled in for Alan on rhythm guitar.  He was playing his nice, sweet Gibson Les Paul Studio.  Short of these two guests, we had no others on this night with the exception of Scott Bayer.  He brought a bag of popcorn for us to munch on and that was the beginning of the end  of Kevin.

Some stuff toward the middle of the night approached our best including the Althea, Jack Straw and Fire.  By the ed of the night the limitlessness of it all just about knocked the socks off of everyone, but it seemed to hit Kevin the hardest as we completed the last song and a half without him.  It was a fun night though that had a different feel than usual.

If you want to hear the song we played, go to the links below:


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