Jam – 2014-02-26 – Carroll’s

ds140226It being February 26, Deadstein took the opportunity to “play homage” to the great Swing Auditorium show from this very evening 37 years ago. It was a great show that both premiered and opened with a Terrapin Station as well as premiering Estimated Prophet. Also featuring a great Minglewood, Playing Wheel Playing first set closer and a second set filled with Help Slip Franklins, Music, Eyes, Dancing and so much more, this Swing Auditorium show was a 100% pure Angus beef.

Unfortunately for us, by bum ankle is keeping me from multi-tracking and Rich’s MP3 recorder is pale in comparison. Then again, if you don’t hit the record button, it doesn’t matter how bad it is. Rich didn’t hit the record for the first four songs, so we pick up the recording starting with the Sugaree and it goes for the rest of the night. It is too bad because we played the beginning of the night pretty well

Larry Brent, the day after his birthday joined us for the night bringing his newly setup blond Strat and a new 1997 Strat he recent acquired. Other guests included LeeJ for a few seconds as he is requesting Deadstein play his wedding later on this summer. Also in attendance was Howie Weiner who we discussed GarBand, the Swing and his new book, which he gave Scott and I a copy of.

In the world as the Oscars are coming up Harold Ramos just passed away as did Jim Lange at the Dating Game. The more things change the more they stay the same. Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2014-02-18 – Carroll’s

ds140218The winter of 2014 has been a very difficult one for the entire east coast but Deadstein typically prevails and finds its way to jam no matter what. With a jam scheduled for Thursday, February 13 and a big 24-hour snow storm brewing for our area, this week’s jam would prove to be very difficult to pull off. As a matter of fact, a few days earlier, I had slipped off my stoop and sprained my ankle and my abilities to make it to the jam in even good weather would have been questionable. The plus 12″ of snow just prior to the Thursday jam pretty much decided the fate of Deadstein for the week, which was an extremely rare cancelation. This was some how good for me, because with the condition of my leg, I don’t think I would have made the Feb. 13 jam.

With Deadstein canceled for a week, we were all ready to get back on our horse and attack a jam on the next available Tuesday, February 18. I was still recovering from my fall and hobbled into Deadstein, but lugging in and setting up the taping equipment was definitely out of the question, just standing up and playing would be hard enough.

I stood and played for the first set but I would pay for that in the days to come as the bottom of my foot really began to throb with the music and continued for the next several days. The combination of moving at work and jamming with Deadstein was a bit more than my injured foot should have bared. For the second set I was I little smarter and sat in a chair while I played, which happened to be very comfortable. Something to look forward to as I age.

Unfortunately, this ended a nice long streak of multi-track recording for us and we had to accept the recording from Rich’s 2-track MP3 recorder as opposed to the multi-track recordings I had been producing. Not too big of a deal as we have lots of high quality material to look back upon.

The music at times felt very good including the opening Bertha. we followed with another couple of songs that began with “B” including the rarely performed Bight Side of the Road. This was not an evening with a typical first set/second set but was more of a melange. We had the first set Sailor Saint and a Peter to close the first set. The highlight of the second set was the big That’s It For the Other One which was a good version for us. After that, we got through a Mission in the Rain, but the remainder of the night was not much to write home about.

Although, the night could have been better, it was still great to get out and jam, no matter how much pain I was in. I cannot wait to do it one more time. Until that time comes, Freak Out!


The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2014-02-05 – Carroll’s

ds140205With the entire band in the house and ready to jam, we hit this night hard with a 22-song assault on the setlist. While we had not preconceived notions about what to play for the night, we started with a fairly traditional Grateful Dead set including the Alabama Getaway opener and 12 songs later, concluding with the Music Never Stopped set closer.

The Scarlet into Hard to Handle was a nice long endeavor into the second set, but it was disrupted by the Masterpiece, which may have been one of our best numbers of the night. The Crazy Fingers lead into a drum solo which seemed to knock Kevin out. When it was time to get back into playing music after drums Kevin was AWOL. I traditional Deadstein fashion, we went on without Kevin and the bass for the post drums segment of Going Down the Road and One More Saturday Night. I dubbed in a bass part at home for these two songs to provide a deep sound to the songs. Somehow, Kevin struggled to make it back for the last tree songs, but he did make it back and we finished the night on a positive note. The entire evening was captured using my Mackie MDR 24/96 multi-track recorder. Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2014-01-29 – Carroll’s

ds140129Deadstein is in a real Wednesday groove these days and on this Wednesday, we had the whole band back together again, feeling good and ready to go. We were so ready to go that we decided to start with a second set feel to the night. The long and rewarding (TWSS) Here Comes Sunshine moved nicely into a hot China Rider. This was a long and serious opener to the night.

No one was there too early as the city is still filled with snow and the Super Bowl is being played in New Jersey in a few day just a few miles to the east of us. There was a lot of traffic getting into town and as such, we were parked on 55th instead of 54th, since we didn’t get there before 7pm. This meant with the set up time and relaxing, we didn’t start the Here Comes Sunshine until 8:15.

As far as recording, I had the typical Mackie MDR 24.96 and Behringer ADAT 8-Preamp unit. Scott got there late so I was waiting for the arrival of his microphones. I have confirmed that one of his Neumanns is messed up as it was shorting out providing bad noise on lee’s overheads during the Other One, I had to cut those part out manually. Good thing I noticed the levels going crazy during the break after the Cold Rain and I switched out the faulty Neumann for a AT 4033 on Lee’s overhead.

Carroll’s was booked this day with Pat Methany in one room and Winton Marsalis in the other room, relegating Deadstein to the large Studio 4. Scoot felt all out of skew all night. From the beginning of the night things needed a little tweaking because we were in a different room and our mixing board was different than usual. I have been getting too used to having the same setup week-after-week without having to even change a knob. I guess the holiday season is over and things will be changing over the week from here on.

Not being quite ready to record was a mistake I made this week and with a 25 minute opener mean I had to adjust the levels during the Here Comes Sunshine. When the first song began Kevin’s bass was way too loud, the guitars were too soft and Scott Snare drum was not located properly. Lee’s little clip on AKG snare mic apparently came de-clipped about 10 seconds into the Here Comes Sunshine and remained on the ground until we discovered this issue before the Jack Straw. With all this said the drums were captured less than optimally and I did my best to merge in the flaws with the rest of the music so not have become too much of an issue. In the end, the recordings sound good. I have a pretty clean mixdown without any real wacky stuff going on.

With the 3-song followed by 4-song second set first set opener, we didn’t have a traditional 1st set, second set thing going on and we took a small break at around 9:45 but started up right again to play a few more songs for the mid-set feel with a hot Let It Grow to close. Getting everything going for a traditional 3rd set would be difficult and it was and we ended the night with a whimpering Little Sadie. Nevertheless, the Little Sadie showed promise much like the jam and the freaky ride we call Deadstein. Time to get off the ride and say, “Freak Out!”

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

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Jam – 2014-01-22 – Carroll’s

ds012214For this week’s Deadstein jam we were expecting a lot of freak to take place, and for the most part, the freak seemed a bit contained. For one thing, Alan was due to be on vacation and we were expecting Larry Brent to play lead guitar for the night. Since the day leading up to the jam had a challenging snow storm, Larry decided not to venture into the cold and stay at home in NJ. This was probably a mistake as the trip into the city was quick and easy. The only real weather issue was a continuation of 2014’s bitter cold.

Both Kevin and I got there early and got the room setup for recording. When I found out the news that Larry wasn’t coming, and I was going to be the only guitarist, I disassembled the microphone I had setup in front of his amp. This did give me the ability to add the second microphone to record the piano which I did use as an SM-57 under the piano.

Lots of our songs began with small jams to get us acclimated to the beats and the Feel Like a Stranger opener was such a song. This resulted in it being a nice long 12-minute version. I applied some wacky synth filters on Kevin’s bass during the Stranger and for a few songs in the first set. This gave the whole thing a pretty cool sound. I think we were playing pretty well for the most part for both the beginning and end of the night. Unlike most jams, Deadstein really kept up its energy and focus through the last notes of the jam. The Sugar Magnolia to close the night was pretty surprisingly good.

As far a guests, we had Deadstein’s good old friend MB join us for the second half of the jam. Michael usually brings a few guests to ride his coat-tails to experience the Deadstein vortex and we had a few of them that we didn’t know. People were busy at the jam never really getting enough time to get up and do a good quality spin job at Deadstein.

Toward the end of the night we were having GarBand requests blurted out to us and we took on each of those challenges and responded with some good versions. It’s No Use, Valerie and Stop that train after 11:30 could be a recipe for disaster, but this week it was a recipe for success and the quality Sugar Magnolia was jsu the icing on the cake. The second set Sailor Saint has some nice relaxing vibes to it, more so than usual. Considering all the distractions we had, we still managed to play a healthy 18 songs, which is pretty respectable night of music. Respectable is usually not a word associated with Deadstein, freak tends to be our word, so word and Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

Jam – 2014-01-15 – Carroll’s

ds140115It was good to get all six of us back together for this week in Deadstein. When we got there we didn’t have a play list or a plan but it was January 15th and that meant two things. It was Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday and it was the 35th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s great show at the Springfield Civic Center, MA. What we decided to do was to perform the show from 1/15/79, but since we were missing our Donna and since we don’t know From the Heart of Me, we decided to substitute a Lost Sailor Saint of Circumstance instead of the From the Heart of Me. It is a great substitute, fitting perfectly in the time slot, but it is also a song Kevin said he wanted to do again, and without the swap-a-roo, we wouldn’t have gotten to it.

The Springfield ’79 show has always been one of my favorites. Making its presence know from its tremendous I Need a Miracle into Shakedown Street to open the second set. While both songs are really hot, it is the transition between the two that makes this show one of a kind. Jerry is creative and aggressive as he forges into a Shakedown. Unfortunately Deadstein couldn’t match the effort from 1979, but it was fun to try. While the second set has no slow Jerry ballad, the post drums jam and Playing make up for it. This is one of those great Playing in the Band sets with the closing jam of it just before going into Casey Jones is my personal favorite. You can tell Jerry was hot because hit Casey Jones is also my personal favorite. Deadstein isn’t scum on the shoes of the Dead and to compare us to them is disheartening. Nevertheless, I invite you to check out this great show at the Archives.org by clicking here and I also invite you to check out Deadstein’s covering the jam.

While all my taping equipment and recording techniques seemed to work at the outset, Kevin did have a high-end buzz in his bass, probably a bad batty, so I had to cut out and hide those frequencies, more so than usual. Likewise, Alan had a distortion issue in the first set with his amp, so that also had to be tamed to whatever extent it could. I was able to get 2 microphones to record the piano (PZM and an SM-57), so I think the piano was sounding real good. This week’s recording I tried to cut the drums back a bit and to narrow the sound stage a bit by bring Alana and I closer to the middle. I also spread out the kick a bit while bringing the rest of the drums to the middle a little more. I think this gives us a bit more of a whole band flavor without as many discrete parts.

All in all, the inspiration and the vibe performing an actual show provides us is strong and it resulted in a great night of music. We played 22 songs, including time for 2 Beatles numbers at the end, which were surprisingly fun. Lots of good stuff. Shakedown, Lost Sailor Terrapin and Playing are all very good. There aren’t too many bad points at all and the recordings back that up. Let’s not forget that Pat Metheny was setup to rehearse in the studio next door, though he wasn’t there when we were.

While the Freak is out now, next week promises to bring even more to our little jamstein. Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:

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