Jam – 2014-07-01 – Carroll’s

ds140701Leading up to the playing of this Tuesday night of Deadstein Kevin asked if I was going to get there early so we could work on some of the new songs I had prepared earlier in the week. Unfortunately for him, I was going to be hanging out in New Jersey beginning at 4pm through about 6:30pm watching the US men’s World Cup soccer match versus Belgium. I was therefore going to be racing from New Jersey after the game to make the jam on time, so I thought. While the US men’s soccer team made it into an overtime defeat versus Belgium, they were lucky to do so and without the valiant effort of their goalkeeper they would’ve been blown out in this game, so it was a little disappointing on the way into the jam but at least there was no traffic and I got there right about 7:25, earlier than I could have hoped for. I actually ran into Scott and Rich on the street before the jam so we walked in together to meet the rest of the band who had already assembled in studio B.

Once there I saw that Stagger Lee brought a friend of his, Billy, to the jam to enjoy the sounds of Deadstein and he hung around through most of the first set. Likewise, Scott had three of his concert going friends show up and enjoy the band for about the same timeframe as the other Billy. I think their names were Billy Noah and Jeff, if I’m not mistaken. Things were pretty much set and we were ready to go. We began to play just after 8 o’clock but it was a little on the late-side.

As far as instruments go, Kevin was using a new bass set up which included an actual base cabinet to use for his treble portion of his sound versus his typical guitar amp. I don’t know if he liked the sound or not or was happy with it or not, but at least we didn’t have any technical problems with it throughout the night. I had my Mesa Boogie Mark IV amp and Alan was using the Roland JC-120. The drums were the standard good drums and the PA sounded pretty “meh” and so as it initially sounded boxy and it had poor actual tonal quality of it, but it got us through the night and seemed to get better as we went on.

So when I walked into the studio Kevin thought I was really bummed about the soccer team losing, but I really wasn’t. I was just focused on trying to get into the jam and to start playing and getting lost in the music. I had prepared four new songs for the band to play that had I just figured out, maybe the day before, so I was a little focused on trying to keep my mind on how to play those songs without letting them fade from my consciousness.

In commemoration of the pending Fourth of July celebration as well as the summertime here in the United States as well as the United States loss in the World Cup soccer competition, we opened with the US Blues. Typically an encore, this time it was an opener who would of thunk we would then close with a Music Never Stopped as an encore which it typically isn’t. With the US Blues, I thought we had some tonal quality issues with the big sound of the band the PA sounding so bad so I tried to settle it down a bit with the CC Rider that followed. I do think it helped a bit to just stabilize our sound to a place where we could seek it out. The same with Ramble on Rose. While both songs weren’t stupendous in their quality, they did get us comfortable enough to pursue the rest of the evening. I don’t think brother Esau helped in any way and that was pretty much of a mess for most of the song. I mean we barreled our way through it but it really wasn’t too good and had many structural issues. Direwolf on the other hand had a nice “chirpy” tone to it. I had change my strings before the jam so they were brand-new and they were certainly popping and bright and “chiroy” as I’m calling it. In many respects, I was enjoying the tone of my guitar even though it was a bit hot and difficult to handle but it was singing for me.

Although we did have some guests in the room, the next part of the evening we tackled the four new songs I had brought in. I say “four new songs” because I don’t think Deadstein has ever played any of them in the past. We first started with some acoustic songs from the Old and In the Way era of Jerry’s banjo career. The Panama Red to begin with could’ve been better. I was a little flustered in my ability to keep my hand and eye coordination synchronized with my sight reading. I was having difficulties at the time but we got through it and the same with Old and In the Way. While it’s too bad and I consider it a lost opportunity, the songs are now in the book and ready to be done again and they both were good, fun enjoyable tunes to play. Next we try two serious Jerry Garcia band songs. First Tough Mama, which really had a nice authentic feel and sound to it followed by the Road Runner which also had a good sound and feel to it. Both were pretty good considering they were the first times we played them and really rocked out so that was enjoyable. I look forward to doing all four of these songs again. Can’t wait till I actually get my ass off the ground and get the new book printed so we all have all these new songs I’ve been preparing over the last month or so on paper and in front of us for easy access, but until that time, they are on our Deadstein cloud so you could always look them up, practice them and play.

Although not recorded, I recall playing a Playing in the Band into Come Together into Shakedown Street which I think ended the first set at 10 o’clock after which took about a 30 minute break. Too bad me missed the recording of this because I think it was pretty good. I remember being impressed with our transition into Shakedown Street.

We begin the second set with a Big Boss Man, Dark Hollow which was a good way to get us back into the music. Get Out of My Life Woman was one of our better efforts on that song. I think once again, getting some of that nice shiny chirpy sound coming out of my guitar. The Lost Sailor into St. of Circumstance was also pretty good. We keep getting more and more comfortable with that combination and as such, we are able to play it with a little less stress involved in getting through it. Robbie Robertson’s Broken Arrow was to follow which Rich sang and we had to kind of started over as we lost our tempo in playing it. Once we got it going in the second part of it was pretty good. In my supplemental book Brown-Eyed Girl follows Broken Arrow so I decided to have us try that song. That’s a song I don’t think we have ever played before either and although we didn’t play it in a Van Morrison style as it was more of a Grateful Dead style, it was still fun and a cool sort of thing to get through and to play. Here’s to playing new music a new songs, woo!

It was time to start thinking about bringing this night to a close and with that, we began with a Sugar Magnolia it was okay. It was followed with a Hard to Handle which was also okay and to finish off the whole shebang off, we did the Music Never Stopped. This is ironic because right afterwards the music definitely stopped.

This was to be our second to last week with our standard drum setup with Lee and Scott. Unfortunately, the day after the jam Scott injured his other arm and he is apparently out the next week and then he’s going in for shoulder surgery thereafter and will be out for many weeks to come. We now have to prepared ourselves to take on the new Ganbarg era of solo drumming at Deadstein. It’s one week too early which I feel bad about and pray for and wish Scott the best and quickest recovery so that we can see him in the studio with that new shoulder ready to bang away and fall asleep at those drums. Until then and right now, Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2014-06-24 – Carroll’s


On this comfortable week in the studio and Deadstein, Rich was not going to be with us. This makes for a very different type of evening in so many respects. It was my birthday show which does mean I get to pick the songs of the evening which is nothing really new since I typically do that anyway, but the fact that Rich wasn’t going to be there also meant that I was going to sing virtually every song. That makes things pretty uncomfortable for everyone involved but nevertheless it got us through the evening with a full 20-song set list.

Right off the bat, Kevin was having problems with his equipment as we started with a Here Comes Sunshine directly into China Cat Sunflower –> I Know You Rider and through the whole thing Kevin was banging on his amp trying to figure out what was going on with the guitar amp on top of the bass cabinet that was messing up during the entire performance. He eventually switched out the Fender for a Vox but problem still seem to persist no matter what he did.  Whether it was actually a equipment issue or a Kevin issue still was an issue throughout the evening. I would say pretty much by the second set we fell into a more comfortable zone and we were just playing more so than figuring out what was going on.

With Ryan and Maggie in the room we were required to play with just a little more respectability and Ryan joined us for the Candyman on drums at the beginning of the second set. We tried a few never played by Deadstein before George Harrison songs which I had the charts for at the beginning of the second set. The Isn’t it a Pity was done twice because the first time the recorder wasn’t on and the second time we played it sounded pretty good and was a fun song to play. On the other hand, we did Give Me Love and my brain was just not syncing with what I had to do at the time and it was a total mess.  This was a bummer for me cause I really enjoy playing that song and can do it well.  It is simple and easy and I just needed not to look at my chart, which I really don’t need for that song,  because that thing was just messing me up like there was no tomorrow. Wasn’t it a pity is all I could think about that which was a shame because I think eventually we could do that song pretty well once I learn the slide parts.  Oh well, hopefully we won’t give up hope.

After that little foray into the George Harrison stuff we hopped right into a whole big segment including the Crazy Fingers –> Other One into the big Morning Dew to close. With time dwindling down it was funny and frustrating when Maggie came back into the studio with a bad full of munchies which was immediately attacked by Kevin and it was really kind of a bummer because there was so little time left to play and we were just starting to play well and this meant that there were to be a big change in what we could finally do to close the night with teased tummies and desires to eat more. We settled on a Terrapin Station, which had its ups and downs, but was still fulfilling. At the end of it 12-midnight encroached yet it didn’t seem like the proper closer at the time. As such, we finish with a crazy Gloria where I actually mocked Hillary Clinton in it quite a bit. I probably don’t want to listen to it but at the time it seemed pretty funny.

I’m enjoying the writing of this blog post because I’m dictating it into Microsoft’s OneNote using my iPhone’s microphone and it’s working pretty well, maybe it has a different flow and feel to it. Nevertheless just want to say that I also updated the blog postings for the last two months.  You will probably see all the postings and the songs up on the blog so if you want to go up there and look at it or comment on it, feel free to indulge yourself and others.   We’ll probably be repeated on the Facebook Deadstein page so you could check us out there also, so expect to see a whole bunch of old postings popping up in the social world.

Just one last thing to think about and to say is at this time miraculously the United States made it into the final tournament of the World Cup this year. Though they gave up a goal with about two seconds to go in stoppage time to tie Portugal and then lost to Germany in the preliminary round of the World Cup somehow it was ugly it didn’t feel good but there still playing. Which is just like Deadstein so let’s go USA and let’s go Deadstein and Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2014-06-18 – Carroll’s

ds140618When we arrived at Carroll Studios for another week of Deadstein on this very hot Wednesday evening, the guy in the studios said we were lucky because they almost had to cancel us because the air conditioning wasn’t working, but since they got the repairman in at the last moment, we were okay to play. I guess the repairman left his “repair” portion of his moniker at home that day because there was no air conditioning so to speak and within minutes of all of us in the room with amps on, it turned into a mucky sweatfest.

It’s not that we haven’t played in un-air conditioned studios before. We have spent many years sweating while playing and in some respects it keeps you on your toes and keeps enables your hands to melt into your guitar neck, but as we age, it seems more and more difficult to sustain an effort through all the heat. Alan was our first and only causality as he left after the first set. During the second set Kevin was dying to take a little break for a little nap but we convinced him to sit instead and going horizontal and he made it through the whole night.

After a tough week for me and my family when we said good bye to both my Aunt Arlene and Uncle Stanley on the same day, they were weighing heavy in my heart. I decided to start with two “Uncle” songs, Uncle John’s Band and Me and My Uncle with “Cause when life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door” being the key line in the whole thing. With Lee taking us into Big River out of the Uncle, it seemed to knock us onto track as the heat began to build. Althea to following, kept us on that path. The nice, easy Operator cooled us down a little but the Stranger turned the temperature way up. The “on-it-toes” Friend of the Devil was less thick than usual and also provided some cooling sensations. The stand-alone Truckin’ to close the set was pretty good, hot and was the last song played before we all needed a much deserved hydration break.

This was all Alan could take and we proceeded thereafter with 5 and took on some Garcia Band tunes to begin the second set. Scott reminded us of the tremendous heat Jerry had to play through in 1983 at Roseland and 1984 at Good Skates, so if Jerry did it, there is no reason we couldn’t sweat a bit for the privilege to jam on these tunes. After four JGB songs the Death Don’t Have No Mercy was drawn up and brought me back to those we lost. We continued with a few songs from that era that also sings of life and loss with an Attics and Brokedown. The Wake Up Little Suzie and Till the Morning Comes seemed like little refreshing larks to get us prepared for the tiring drive home. It think it worked and we made it back from the Dead looking forward to resurrect another week of Deadstein as summer officially rolls in. Freak Out.

The audio files are provided in the following folder:


Jam – 2014-06-11 – Carroll’s

ds140611With the Rangers down 3-0 in a rare appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals against the LA Kings, I wanted to start the night with Not Fade Away into Loser to provide some metaphysical luck for the Rangers. As I have for several of the Ranger playoff games during this run for the Cup, I recorded the game on my DVR, to be watched at home after the jam. Being down 3-0, I had no real expectations that the Rangers would win the Cup, but I did think they would win this game at the Garden since they really could and should have won both of the two overtime games in LA at the beginning of the series. Throughout the playoffs, I was able to keep news of the game away from my ears so watching the game afterwards on DVR would be exciting. Anyway, at the end of some song late in the night, Lee’s Bother-In-Law, Maier, blurted out to the room in the same timing and fashion as Scott Bayer’s idiotic, “Live from Hell’s Kitchen It’s Deadstein,” that “The Rangers Won the Game.” I guess things could have been worse if the lost and got swept. Nevertheless, watching the game after the jam was still thrilling. I may have had a coronary if I hadn’t know the outcome because the Rangers hung on for dear life in the 3rd period, staving off eventual defeat which occurred two days later in another double overtime loss in LA. What a great exciting and exhausting year of Ranger Hockey it was. Let’s Go Rangers and Let’s Go Deadstein.

The audio files are provided in the following folder:


Jam – 2014-06-04 – Carroll’s

ds140604After being sick for a week, Lee was psyched to get back on to the throne and drum away on the skins. He was able to join the rest of us for a full jam. This week, like many of our recent weeks, the Band had no agenda and nothing to play for and we ended up playing a bunch of non-transitional types of songs and it ended up being not our most complete night of music.

We had a few guests including Ryan that checked us out. Scott took a little break during the beginning of the second set allowing Ryan to drum for a song or two while Scott regained his energy. Although I have been charting out lots of new songs and sending them to band-mates, I really had practiced too much leading up to the jam and hadn’t printed out charts of these news songs. Therefore, for the first time in weeks, we didn’t play any new songs, and I don’t even think we played any songs that weren’t part of the Jerry Garcia Songbook. I recall that for the most part, I didn’t need to refer to my book except on a few occasions.

Once again I enjoyed using a Mesa Boogie Mark III to play out of in lieu of my standard Fender Twin. In a similar vein, Alan used a Roland JC-120 instead of his usual Twin. These ended up being pretty loud and the PA had trouble competing with the guitars, bass and drums until it was tweaked throughout the night. It eventually was okay.

The first set was a bit shorter than our usual in that Rich had some work he had to attend to which he did prior to our 10pm first set closing time. That was okay because we started the second set corresponding early to make up for the early first set closing.

The audio files are provided in the following folder:



Jam – 2014-05-27 – Carroll’s

ds140527This week’s Tuesday night jam took a turn when Lee announced the day before that he was sick and wouldn’t be able to make the jam. This left us to cancel one drum kit and to leave Scott on his own to carry the load. The remaining five of us arrived fairly early and we were ready to get going just before 8pm. The result was another jam with over 20 songs in it.

This week we would tackle a few new songs, as I have been charting out several new songs in preparation of an eventual release of a new song book(s). They will include two volumes this time; the Jerry Garcia Songbook V.9 and the Deadstein Packet v.4. Look for the release sometime in the near future.

We had some new Beatles songs to do, Garcia Band, the Grateful Dead and even a Brent song. There is nothing like a song you have never played before. We did the You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, Rain, Someday Baby, Blow Away early in the night and saved the Dead’s encore duo of Baba O’Riley –> Tomorrow Never Knows to close out the night. It was all pretty good stuff, even the bluesy Someday Baby. The encore of Bab O’Riley could have been terrible at that time of the night, but it wasn’t. It was a fun effort.

I was a bit preoccupied during the night as the Rangers were playing game 5 in the Eastern Conference Cup against the Canadiens while we jammed. I recorded the game so I could watch it when I got home and spent the night worried that someone would spill the beans and tell me score. Some how I was able to remain oblivious to the score throughout the night and was able to enjoy their defeat the next day, watching it as a recorded program. No big deal because the Rangers did win game 6 in the series to win the Eastern Conference and a right to fight for the cup in the championship series. Last time they were in this position Jerry Garcia was still alive.

As Kevin was feeling a little slow for the night he asked for something that wasn’t too taxing to start the night and we decided to select the Let the Good Times Roll. We followed this up a typical Feel Like a Ranger and we were on our way. As far as guests, we saw Ryan and Maggie for the first time in months and they were accompanied by their friend Rich who seemed to dig us. They were there for the Eyes through the end of the first set.

The second set started with a typical TWLWMYD, but the proceeding Playing went into a Hey Pocky Way that transitioned into an unexpected and very rare Supplication. After a few odds and ends Rich wanted to Play a Black Peter, so we did and that gave us a nice excuse to finish the second set with the Playing in the Band reprise. It was a nice first set and a nice second one with the aforementioned Bab O’Riley –> Tomorrow Never Knows closing the night.

The audio files are provided in the following folder:



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