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!

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The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/02-18-14

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:
http://deadstein.com/audio/02-05-14

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:
http://deadstein.com/audio/01-29-14

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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:
http://deadstein.com/audio/01-15-14

Jam – 2013-12-30 – Carroll’s

ds131230“Freaking Since 1990” is what the sign a top the Terrapin’s cabin says and this jam, the night before New Years Eve 2014, was a jam to commemorate not only the new year but also the longevity of Deadstein itself. Still playing Deadstein into 2014 has a nice ring to it. Happy New Years and a freaky 2014 from Deadstein to all the freaks out there.

Deadstein is going strong after all these years and the 53rd jam of the year is a testament to it. This holiday season was a challenge to keep the freak parade going with everyone’s busy schedules, but some how we did it and didn’t miss a beat from a scheduling perspective. Not skipping a beat while playing is a whole other matter. Scott was our only missing person this week as he was busy filming one of the many shows he has been to over the season.

While Scott films, I continue to record the jam sessions with my Mackie MDR 24/96 multi-track hard disk recorder. While you think 53 jams is going strong, how about 20 multi-track recordings since August. That is quite a bit of high quality music to remember 2013 with.

Deadstein has long been a believer in archiving its music and the merriment that accompanies its weekly jams ever since day 1. Over the past week or so, the Deadstein.com jams database has been updated with reference to adding the remaining Deadstein blog posts since the first days of blogging beginning in July 1996. Some say Deadstein invented early blogging, but I think it is only Al Gore and Kevin who make that claim. Previously, the database had only gone back as far as 1998. With this update, I was also able to find and include classic Kevin setlist artwork from the second half of the 1996 time-frame. These setlists had previously only existing on paper and never included on the web at Deadstein.com. Look for some of this new-old-stock (N.O.S.) artwork to pop up randomly throughout your Deadstein.com travels. Finally, speaking of archives, I continue to trickle in and update some of the classic recordings from the earliest days of Deadstein as I find time to digitize and upload the original cassettes. This week I uploaded 11-5-90 jam from 162 Perry Street.

Getting back to the end of 2013, with New Years Eve falling on Tuesday night, a Monday night jam or Thursday night jam were the only hopeful nights to jam so we selected Monday without Scott. Lee filled in quite nicely by himself. We were already in this Monday jam mode from the previous week as we were impacted the same way by Christmas. It did kind of force us into one last jam of the year, number 53, which I like, but it also pushes of the first of 2014 up a little. We are going to have to keep our focus in 2014 to keep the jam frequency up at 2013 levels.

Getting into the jam seemed easy this evening as it seemed none of the world was working. I was working but was able to get in early and setup seemed quick and easy, not much moved from the previous week in Studio B. Getting out of the jam was not nearly as easy for me. It was a frigid night in the metropolitan area and I was psyched to be in my warming car after the at 12:20 heading to the Lincoln Tunnel down 11th Avenue, when – BOOM – I hit a giant pothole. That woke me up a bit. Just before I was to pull into the Lincoln Tunnel entrance I decided to pull over at the Javitz Center to just check on my tire. Sure enough, it was hissing louder than my 1990-cassettes . Changing this flat in 20-degree weather was a real awakening. After about 30 minutes of very difficult work in the cold I was off and running with my doughnut The ride home was exceptionally squirrelly but I made it home by 1:45 and was fortunate to get the tire(s) changed the next morning before the place closed at 1pm for New years and before the impending snow and cold weather pattern to follow. “When life looks like easy street there is danger at your door.” Let’s be careful out there in 2014 and remember it’s not 1990 anymore.

Speaking of 1990, like our first jam in 1990, we opened this one up with a Jack Straw and it felt pretty good and that feeling continued through the El Paso. The misplaced first set Scarlet had trouble garnering the respect it deserved and the Fire even less so as it took Kevin probably 1/2 the song to remember that Fire typically does follow a Scarlet. With this said, it had its movements, which it better have had some, because at 26 minutes, if it doesn’t have any moments, I mean, WTF? Minglewood Blues brought us back into form and Push Comes to Shove knocked us right out of it. The Cats, You Win Again into Music Never Stopped was the closer of the first set which ended up being pretty hefty. I think my resolution for 2014 should be to learn how to jam on Music Never Stopped correctly. I always feel so inept while jamming that song.

We took a very long break, I think we all felt a bit satiated with our accomplishments of the evening and 2013 and felt as if there was little else to prove. In many respects we are right and the second set seemed a bit difficult to muster up the required enthusiasm. The Estimated into Terrapin was well executed for the most part, but another mini-break after the Terrapin meant whatever was reaming for the year (Gomorrah, Evangeline and Midnight Moonlight) would be petifores at best, as all the beef for the year had been devoured long ago. Not to fret because the butcher has a load of fresh bloody meat to deliver for our consumption in 2014.

For 53 jams in 2013, Freak Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/12-30-13

Jam – 2013-12-23 – Carroll’s

ds132319As is always the case, getting people together during the holiday season is always a challenge. Deadstein still perseveres as our 52nd jam of the year is a testament to. This year is a little strange in that Chistmas and New Years Day both come on Wednesday. In essence, this makes the opportunity to jam to only be on Monday or Thursday. No matter what we do, we cannot seem to get Lee and Scott together but fortunately we have both of them and we haven’t missed a week. This week, Lee couldn’t make the jam but Scott was ready to go and away we went.

We were supposed to be playing as a quartet, as Rich was supposed to have a practice with his other band, but to our surprise, he showed up with Scott. A yoink and away we went. China Cat Rider was the opener for the night and a good one it was. It set us up for a large successful evening of music. This was one of our better China Cats. The first set seemed to flow from there. The only real hiccups were the Big River opening but it isn’t too bad. Otherwise the first set is beefy and solid. The Garcia Band segment of Van Morrison songs was really nice, including one of our better He Ain’t Give You None. The Let It Grow, as is its role, was a very hot exciting was to close the first set at 10pm.

The second set was characterized by two 3-song segments with our little Beatle thing to close. The Viola Lee is still a lost cause and the Stephen Eleven requires rehearsal before playing to give it the respect they deserve, but no one is perfect, so we play and do the best we can by the seat of our collective pants. With this said, there is more good than bad and it’s better to play and try than not to play at all. Fifty-two Deadstein jams in a year shows the Freaks are Out!

The audio files are provided in the following folder:
http://deadstein.com/audio/12-23-13

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