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
http://deadstein.com/audio/03-27-13

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Jam – 2013-02-28 – Carroll’s

ds130228It was a little more “Wow” that “Woo” in the wacky, wide, woo of freak that is Deadstein. Alan called out sick earlier in the morning so Scott’s friend, who was scheduled to make his Deadstein debut that night on guitar for a few songs, was called in for the long haul. Not everyone, not even Scott on most nights, can survive a full night of Deadstein, let’s see how he would fare.

As an Albany Alum, like several of us, he fit in with the music pretty well as he was doing a admirable job of recalling how to jam these songs from his time of playing in bands in Albany in the mid-1970’s. He came with a nice Gibson with a whammy bar and a big bottle of Irish whiskey. The whammy bar provide a nice subtle touch while the Irish whiskey delivered the knock-out blow just after 11pm. All that was left by the end of the jam was an ever expanding ring around the collar passed out in a chair. Not a pretty sight. Somehow Scott had to scoop his fat a$$ out of Carroll’s and get him back home. For all I know he is still passed out in Studio 3.

With all that going on, we still had music to play and Donna was there to see the good, the bad and she left before the real ugly. We therefore got some good stuff in with her. The I Shall Be Released, Jack Straw, Tomorrow is Forever was probably the highlight of the first set as Donna is getting more and more comfortable with singing with us. Jack Straw is almost second nature so we are getting more familiar with each other with each passing jam.

Speaking of familiar with each other, just after Donna left and as we were about to embark on second set of the night, getting a sense of where the rest of the night was heading, a Playing in the Band was just called for. We were getting the 10-count in and then to the surprise of everyone, in comes Mini-T giant Kiss boot and all.

During a jam, Kevin called her two weeks ago on a lark to see if she was around, and two week later she shows up. I guess Terez responds to phone messages in the two ways I respond to email, either in two seconds or two weeks. In any case it was a great surprise, giving us a great boost for the second set which otherwise, was destined for a great fall.

In lieu of the Playing in the Band, Terez insisted she was ready to go, so she grabbed the microphone as soon as her coat came off and lead us into a Tore-Up. Thereafter we ripped through 10 Mini-T songs in a row with some good momentum and sound. It carried us forward with a take no prisoner’s attitude and we only left one behind, oh well. It was a lot of fun and such a ying to the yang that was there in the second set. Always great to have the ying counter the yang. From the looks of it all you would not think the ying could counter-balance the yang but in the game of ying-yang, it is all about where you place the fulcrum.

The second set was long and tough, but with the revitalizing energy of Mini-T we made some good of it. Ryan jumped in a for a couple of songs for both Scott and Lee and Ryan and Steve were our only guests until a few others showed up late night to enjoy the sultry sounds of Deadstein. As the night ended we played a real nice, under control Sitting Here in Limbo that ended at 12-midnight. Thinking we didn’t want to end on the Sitting Here in Limbo we played a Deal to close, but it was pretty ugly as we obviously overstayed our welcome. All there was to do was to haul yang into the elevator and get home and get set whatever may be next on the Deadstein’ freakin’ horizon. Whoa! Time to get back to the mighty “Woo.”

To hear what we did, go to the MP3links below:

http://deadstein.com/audio/02-28-13/

Set 1

Set 2

Jam – 2012-04-11 – Carroll’s

It was 30 years ago to the day, Easter Sunday, which I attended my first Grateful Dead show on April 11, 1982.  It was a show at the Nassau Coliseum and in many respects, I was already a Deadhead by the time I saw the band hit the stage.

It was spring break of my freshman year at Albany so I had already been indoctrinated into the Dead by the time this show hit.  I saw Jerry the first time at the Palace Theater earlier that fall in Albany on November 11, 1981 and then I was fortunate enough to get tickets to see Jerry play solo acoustic the night before at the Capitol Theater in Passaic.  By the time Easter Sunday rolled around to see my first Grateful Dead show, my life path was set for me, and this show would be more of a confirmation rather than an indoctrination.  To put it in perspective, I recall studying the setlists the band had played earlier in the spring tour, the great Spectrum shows (4-5 and 4-6), Syracuse and Rochester and predicting from these lists that the Dead would open up at the Coliseum with a Halfstep, Franklins opener; and I was right on with this prediction.  Cool enough was the fact that I had met Lee Ganbarg at the show and we sat together and took in the experience of my first show together. Afterwards, he drove me back to his house in Rockland where we slept and picked up a bus to Albany to catch Monday classes.  We were counting down the hours when we would pick up another bus that left from State Quad and delivered a bunch a SUNY Deadheads to the 4-14-82 Glenns Falls show in a couple of days.  I was discovering how wonderful spring time could be based out of Albany, NY. Yet I was not experienced enough to know to blow off Monday classes and see the Monday show at the Coliseum instead of heading back to Albany after only one show; but that’s another story.

Yoink forward 30 years and here I find myself in Carroll’s Studio playing the same setlist the Grateful Dead played to me for my first show.  It is a standard, fun show, nothing too crazy, and presents a great vehicle for Deadstein to hop onto for great inspiration for the night.

I had forwarded a copy of the music for everyone to listen to and play prior to the jam, and I took advantage by practicing some of the songs a bit.  It really helps get prepared for the evening by playing the songs a few times at home and getting a few riffs under my belt.  I was well prepared for the Halfstep, Franklins opener and this got us going for the night.

It isn’t a giant setlist, so completing didn’t seem as if it would be too much of a hassle, so we were relaxed about its execution.  The songs were solid and well played and got us through the first set before the standard 10pm break time.  What I do remember from 1982 was that I really didn’t know Let It Grow to be the kick-ass tune that it was at the time of my first show, but seeing it as a set closer when all the power and energy of what is a live Grateful Dead show was beginning to swarm in on me and cemented Let It Grow as one of my all time favorite songs.  I think I also understood the greatness of the halftime break at that moment. It was during that Let It Grow that I discovered the greatness of what Mickey and Bill brought to the Grateful Dead.  I was really able to get the gist of how this music was unique and a living being that lived off of the energy of the audience as much as it did from the hands of the musicians.  I miss those Grateful Dead shows and would love to be at the back corner of the Coliseum’s floor once again watching Jerry lead the band.

Halftime hit for Deadstein and our first set guests of Stevie and Lindsey left while our surprise guest, Terez joined us.  She and Rich found some quiet time to serenade us for a few songs during halftime. Terez then joined us for the entire second set; singing backup with the band and elevating us to a higher level.

I was glad I resisted the temptation to modify the planned setlist and commemoration of the 4-11-82 Coliseum show to accommodate Terez and the songs at which she excels.  The seconds set provided many songs with substantial harmony opportunities, and they were songs that were pretty standard and relatively familiar to Terez.  As a result, I think we sounded really good together and she accompanied the band.

The only real new song to her, as well as to us, was the Good Time Blues (Never Trust a Woman).  Deadstein had never played it before, but I charted out the non-standard blues pattern and I belted out this Brent tune.  I think we did a real solid job on this song for it being a first time of trying it.

Terez sang He’s Gone with us the first time we played together and she always sounds great on that, so that worked.  Truckin’ was a mess as I always make it, but at least I did get the whistle beginning of the song, just like Bobby did in 1982.

The show called for a true drums space and we got into that this week.  I enjoy the mini-break drums/space provides and each week as we do drums, I see Lee and Scott getting better and better at it, hopefully making it a worthwhile experience.  We had a little space going and then we railroaded through the ending of the show.  The vocal jams at the end of He’s Gone, Not Fade Away and Good Lovin’ all work well with our addition of Terez to the mix and made those segments of the songs worthwhile for us, where they are traditionally throw-aways.

Since it was a quick post drums show, we finished in plenty of time.  It gave us some time to play additional songs of our choice which we geared toward Terez.  It resulted in a Mini Beatles set that finished with energy and exuberance.

It was great to play my first show, especially to share it with Lee and to share to stories of the show with him once again.  It is amazing how we both remember all of it.  It was great to get that two drummer thing happening again, and it is really paying dividends as our beats are much more solid than they used to be.  Rich thought our Beat It On Down the Line was a Deadstein best, and I think it was due to the drumming.  Scott and Lee serve each other well with all their strengths and weaknesses to make them a great combo, because they are so different yet have the same goal in mind.

Next week we dive back into 1971 and we will attempt to play the great 4-17-71Princeton show.  This has a much different vibe than the 80’s shows we have recently played and is dominated by several great Pigpen songs.  That is something new, yet old but always worth looking forward to, so look forward to it.  Until we freak again, Freak Out.

If you want to hear what we did, go to the links below:

http://www.deadstein.com/audio/04-11-12/

Jam – 2012-02-17 – Carroll’s

In the rarest of occurrences, Deadstein had to play on a Friday night. Schedules dictated that we had to play this Friday night and we made the best of it. Rich broke out the candles Scott broke out the tequila we said a little prayer and we were on our way.

This being February 17 we decided to tackle the infamous Oswego, New York Jerry Garcia band show. February 1980 has always been one of my favorite Jerry Garcia months in his history. And that show on February 17 may have been the best of the tour. It taught me the greatness of a Money Honey and Positively Fourth Street and the other versions of the songs are just filled with immense energy and excitement. So, 2-17-80 was our mission for the night.

Without Alan around for the night, it was going to be Core-4, which was appropriate for doing the Jerry Garcia Band music, but Rich had a surprise for all of us.

Just as we were about to finish the first set of the JGB show incomes Mini T surprising us all with her presence. Who would’ve expected her? Not me and it was a tremendous surprise.

We quickly finished up the first set when she arrived, throwing down that Positively Fourth Street with some of the respect it was due and then we embarked upon a full Terez set of classic Terez numbers.

I think the Come Together into Hey Pocky Way really got us going and put us on the path of finishing up many a good song with Terez. The fact that we were on a predominantly Jerry Garcia Band evening I think got us warmed up and tuned up to do many of those good Jerry Garcia Band types of songs. And the Tore Up got us going in that direction. This coupled with That’s What Love Will Make You Do really gave us some good material to enjoy for the future I am sure. One of the nicer moments was the Oh darling which we actually did two times and gave us an opportunity to really get it down and I think we got some pretty good music out of that one.

Finally with respect to the to new book stuff, stuff let’s not forget some of the fun we have. We did an attempted a very fun and cool Pinball Wizard a Deadstein first and I think we did a really good job of it was a lot of fun. And then we closed with the classic Carpenters song Sing which we did with Terez many many years ago and it was great to do it again and I think we also did that some good justice so that’s going to be one for the ages. In closing on Terez, it was great to see your a lot of fun to play with her and hopefully you do it again real soon.

As far as guests we had the couple of Meg Ryan, or something like that, came in the room hung out for a few songs enjoyed us and requested that He’s Gone that we did and they were on their merry way, that’s an understatement. Then we had the ever so annoying Scott Bayer joined the room with his bongos, that I will hit him over the head with one day so that’s another guest of some ill repute, and that is an understatement.

In finishing up the 2-17-80 show we were able to get most of it done because Sitting Here in Limbo and After Midnight, or both songs, we have done with Terez. so we were able to incorporate her with finishing up this classic show which was a lot of fun. Actually, we weren’t able to finish it up but came pretty darn close. As choppy as the After Midnight Ellen Rigby After Midnight was, it was still quite a journey and a nice adventure to undertake and to come out the other side on.

In closing, the new book version 8 had a very precarious opening introduction to the band. Since we were playing this show I’ll Take a Melody was to open it and as we started playing I had a brand-new write up of the song that is new to the new book. As we were playing it I just noticed several errors in it that were comical in the fact that they were so present in the new write up. Fortunately for the most, part we know how to play that song and no one followed the errands symbols in the book but nevertheless, as I was playing it was killing me to see such blatant mistakes in the book. Additionally, That’s Alright Mama is scheduled to be played in the second set and it’s a song that is not in my book. It’s is a simple song E-A-D and I knew the lyrics anyway but we would’ve gotten through it without any issue. For night that I expected my book to shine and be highlighted, it was really a night dominated by February 17, 1980 and the return of Terez, both being exceptional moments in our path of playing all this music weekend and week out. The Friday jam was fun, even with the terrible traffic on the way in, the freedom afforded by playing on Friday versus during the week has something to be said for it. Till we do it again, Freak Out.

For those that want to listen to the happenings, check out the MP3 links below.  Thanks as always to Rich for doing the recordings.

http://www.deadstein.com/audio/02-17-12/

Jam – 2010-06-30 – Carroll’s

What a nice night a Carroll’s we had tonight as we had the return of Terez after several years of not jamming with Deadstein.  The impressive thing is that we seemed to be able to play all her songs and that she was able to lead Deadstein through and entire night of  music.  I think we played the stuff well and in many respects it could have been our best Terez music to date.  One could only imagine how much better it could be  if we did it more than once every 4 years.  It was a lot of songs considering.

We had al sorts of speaker PA issues early in the evening but those were ironed out and it sounded pretty good.  We played relatively softly and dynamically so it was some good sounding stuff.  There was a hodge-podge of recordings since Rich’s MP3 recorder lost it’s charge.  Some of the music was recorded on my iPhone and some on video tape.  Scott Bayer was there to video the Come Together and the video was also used to record some of the songs while Rich was desperately trying to charge his MP3 recorder in the meantime.  At least we got some YouTube.

To listen to most of the songs from the night go to the following ink or just click the MP3s below:

http://www.deadstein.com/audio/06-30-10/