Jam – 2011-08-11 – Carroll’s

This week in Deadstein we were celebrating Alan’s birthday, which actually fell on this August 11.  In typical Deadstein tradition, it was both Alan’s privilege as well as obligation to select the songs to play. This was both a blessing and a curse.

Alan had a plan that he wanted to pull off which was first playing Skull and Roses followed by Live Dead.  It was a plan with a path and we started off on the right track with a Bertha.  With Hook once again as a guest musician for the night, Alan decided to take the first exit off the road into Blues County to accommodate Hook’s projected desire to eat there.  It seemed a little too early in the trip to hit an exit and eat and in the end; we never really got back on the road that we set out on.

It’s not that we didn’t take a nice little journey into the hinterland along side the highway, because we did, it just seemed that every time we approached getting back on it, we decided to jump right back off.  I am so preoccupied with the highways because I was in the car for some many hours getting to and from this week’s jam.  It took me almost 3 hours to get there with miserable traffic in New Jersey and Obama on the West Side for a fund raiser.  Couldn’t he just raise the debt ceiling a little more? We got to drive this guy out of town!  On the way home the Lincoln Tunnel, named after an actual great president Abraham Tunnel, was backed up so I headed down to the Holland which was no better.  I didn’t get into the tunnel until 1:00am meaning I pulled into my driveway around 2:00.  It was a long night.

One big surprise of the night was the ultra-rare appearance of Lisa Gibson with two friends to check out the festivities.  They provided sandwiched and cookies for the jam, excellent addition, and all we gave them were two songs we don’t play; Neil Young’s Down by the River and the Band The Weight.  The Weight was the weight around their necks that eventually drove them from the studio and back into the streets.  Hook was scheduled to play the Weight with Levon Helm’s Ramble this weekend and thought practicing it with Deadstein would be helpful to him. That will teach him.  Just playing it as transcribed would have been a train wreck but switching it up ½ step to B-flat was an unmitigated disaster that drove everyone from wanting to hear or play that song ever again.  I thought the Down by the River was pretty good though.  I’m not sure if Rich didn’t hit record or not as to the reason I don’t see the MP3s, but I recall that being pretty good.  I would like to hear it.

I think coherency hurt the night a bit as we were all over the place and never got our footing.  I think we were most solid during the Playing and the Dancing once again proving why we are a jam band and not the blues band that some portray to go hand-and-hand with rock and roll.  I think blues comes with a liquored-up up-bringing that just did not sink into Deadstein’s Jewish, suburban, middle-class up-bringing.  It’s the yoink-ying of it all turned on its head; time to get back to a little more ying-yoink.  I hope we can get it together this week, if not, see you in two.

To hear most of what we played during the night, go to the links below:




Jam – 2011-08-03 – Carroll’s

Wednesday, August 3 was this week in Deadstein and right in the middle of Jerry Week; the week between his birthday and the day he died.   Deadstein had never really celebrated Jerry Week before but for some reason in 2011, it seemed to have some momentum.  It may have been Facebook and all the mentions up there.  In any case, I decided we should try to play all Jerry songs as the theme for this jam.

We started with the typical 5 of us playing a few songs before Larry Brent joined us and other guests began to arrive.  I chose to open with a Stella Blue and Gomorrah.  I recall in some interview with Jerry in the 80s he said those were his two favorite songs he and Hunter composed.  The Stella Blue was a mistake as it was incoherent, but the Gomorrah was nice.  Larry joined us during the Althea and Hook arrived much later and played during the end of the night.

Other guests for the jam include Michael B who was spinning to the groove like no one else can.  We also had 3 friends of Scott who also dug us.  They seemed into us, Michael was way into it and so was the band.  It made for a momentous evening commemorating the songs of Jerry Garcia.

We played on-and on, never really taking a break and as such, it proved to be a pretty exhausting evening.  We went strong for good 3 and one-half hours.  We broke our adherence to the Jerry only theme late in the night and played an Other One out of the He’s Gone which opened up the flood gates to play the subsequent Morning Dew.  This was followed by a bunch of other songs which were more conducive to the harmonica and the stylings of Hook. We did some real good stuff with him to end the night.

There was lots of good fun stuff this jam, with lots of pos and good energy.  More ying than yoink.  Let’s keep the ying going!

To hear the first set on MP3s use the links below.  The second set’s MP3s are not publicly available due to licensing restrictions we are Hooked into, believe it or not.


Jam – 2011-07-27 Carroll’s

Raising the Limit on the Freak Ceiling – While theUnited States is fighting to raise its debt ceiling to pay its bills, the freak ceiling at Deadstein seems to be getting higher and higher, almost to the point of seeming unlimited.  The ying-yoink of it all.

This week’s ying and yoink was the coupling of two new musical guests to Deadstein, Anath and Hook.  We only jammed with Hook last week for the first time and had never played with Anath.  Rich could fill you in on how he met Anath, her story etc.  (http://www.anathmusic.com/) I did a mix of a video recording session of hers with her own original music, but never played with her.  With her not knowing too much Grateful Dead and steering toward Beatles music, we were headed toward disaster since it’s not Deadstein forte, but from the first line of our first song, Come Together, we knew it was gonna be pretty good, and it was.

Not that this night did not have its own difficulties.  Of the three Fender Twins they gave us, two were electronically unplayable.  Fortunately, Carroll’s is Carroll’s so we swapped the two bad Twins for two new Fender Supers.  One developed a terrible hum, but the one I ended up with eventually sounded good.  It was a rough start though.

We had enough time to play a nice set just with the 5 of us with serious meaty Dead songs.  The opening Getaway was a throw away as the amps were not cooperating.  We therefore restarted the night with a Bertha and got going in good fashion ending the set with a stand alone Playing in the Band and Shakedown Street.  The Playing was pretty adventuresome.

The only guest was Scott’s old time bud Andrew. He stopped by prior to attending a show at the adjacent Terminal-5.  He poured a couple of shots of some tequila he was hawking and left one on the piano for Elijah as requested by Scott.  As Scott was eyeing that shot all night long, Elijah had the last laugh as Scott ended up spilling it on the piano before getting a sip of it.  I don’t think Elijah was coming anyway.

Anath and Hook arrived at around the same time but we gravitated toward doing the Beatles songs and Anath’s leaning vs. Hook’s.  Nevertheless, we initially got through the Beatles stuff, some was hard to do and some was successful.  I thought Hook and I jammed nicely in combining Harmonica leads and guitar leads during both the Come Together and While My Guitar Gently Weeps.  Kevin totally blew the second version’s lead after denying missing it on the first one and discussing what to do at nausea prior to the second crack at it.

We jammed a few songs which loosened us up as we eventually ran out of non-jam type of songs.  The LaBamab à Good Lovin à LaBamaba was a great mix between Anath and Hook; probably the highlight of the night.  I liked Anath’s tambourine, as it helped with the tempos.

I left the room with Hook holding school with Anath and Alan on how to play Harmonica.  For all I know they are still there.  So it was another excellent night at Deadstein; never exactly knowing what is going to happen.  A musical adventure and exploration that you just don’t get any where else.  It’s why you show up every week.


Jam – 2011-07-19 – Carroll’s

Another interesting night of Deadstein awaited us on this very hot July evening.  Being Tuesday, the traffic wasn’t as bad as it could have been, so parking and getting in and out was easy as easy as “that’s what she said.”  With Alan unavailable this week, we took the opportunity to invite LLB to the jam and to get back on that Deadstein bicycle for some jamming like it was just old times, just at a higher level and a lot older.  So many of the songs we really don’t play too much any more we we chose to play with Larry.  After fumbling through the first verse each of the newer Grateful Dead songs, they got better and better such as the Picasso Moon and the Victim.  That was a really nice surprise.  The first set was classic Deadstein and pretty good. Loud at time but as I said, classic Deadstein.

Scott and Larry both met Hook Herrera (http://www.myspace.com/hookherrera or http://www.hookherrera.net/) through the Almans I assume and Scott has been trying to get him to a jam with us ever since.  Our first set was without  Hook and played a really cool second set with him.  He was rocking on both the harmonica as well as his bluesy/BoDidley telecaster guitar style, for the most part leading our band.  It was pretty fun and exciting and not too much of a challenge to play along with this type of music.  At least for the most part, if there was an actual chord change it was a simple pattern to grasp.  So it all went very well and I look forward to the MP3s and some of the video that was shot.

Scott Bayer showed up with new bongo in hand and I had to deny him playing with us at all due to the presence of Hook playing with us, at least that was a good excuse and it worked.  In addition, I got him to video the performance for us, which is something I assume he is good at.  The only other guest for the night was a friend of Hook’s named Ross, who was simultaneously video recoding us also.

We played a few minutes past 12 and left the hot room and am now waiting and wondering what next week will bring us next.  More material that is more of the same yet completely different.  The Ying-Yoink of Deadstein.

To hear the MP3s from the jam, click the links below: