Dear Dead People:
As you read this, the Grateful Dead will be in the studio recording a new album. You've no doubt heard the Dead are taking an indefinite break from touring. The reason for this is simply that the megagig form is sort of bankrupt; devoid of dignity for either the listener or the player. There are three plans under study which could make it possible for the band to perform. The fact is the Dead won't go out again unless the situation is groovey.
As an ongoing creative organization, there are several things we should be doing:
I. Expand the quality in all areas in which we interface with our own means of expression.
c. Musical Performance
II. Remember to go after the big one-------all limitations are self-imposed.
III. Bring on tomorrow (at least be helpful) our emphasis in this regard is going into holography about which Anton Round will have some words in this same communique.
A description of the activities of each band member will give the clearest picture of how we move toward these goals.
Jerry along with Merl Saunders on organ, John Kahn on bass, Martine Fierro [sic] on saxophone and flute, and Ron Tutt on drums, have formed the "Legion of Mary", a band that gigs on a rather regular basis. "Legion of Mary" is planning to play all the major cities in '75.
Jerry just finished producing Robert Hunter's new album, "Tiger Rose". He played the guitar, the pen and the voice on the "Keith & Donna" album, guitar and vocals on the Ned Lagin & Phil Lesh album, "Seastones". He just finished producing a Blue Grass album called "Pistol Packin' Mama" which was a session of Blue Grass giants, Chubby Wise, fiddle; Don Reno, banjo; Frank Wakefield, mandolin; Dave Nelson, guitar; Pat Campbell, bass. You'll find it on Round Records sometime in the Spring, it's a continuation of Jerry's interest in Blue Grass evidenced by the "Old & In The Way" album.
Garcia has undertaken the responsibility of supervising the editing of the Grateful Dead movie shot at the last five night gig at Winterland in San Francisco. The film should be released sometime before Christmas.
In his spare time he's preparing material for a solo album which will be recorded in the Spring and released in the Summer.
Keith & Donna recently finished an album appropriately called "Keith & Donna". The cover is a photo of their now one year old son, Zion Rock. Interesting because we consider the musical form Neo-Gospel.
Keith & Donna are going to be performing before too long and have, for some reason, asked us not to say any more about it. They have been getting into working on the completion of the film.
Billy has been doing studio work with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He's going to be playing with Steven Stills on his solo album.
In addition, Bill has gotten involved in trying to make a given amount of land yield more produce through Hydroponics. Hydroponics being the science of growing plants in solutions or moist inert materials containing the necessary nutrients instead of in soil. Bill's current theory is that 18" square can yield 1 1/2 tons of alfalfa. We, of course, are interested in the outcome of his experiments since the implications are incredible.
Phil along with Ned Lagin are taking their art slowly but surely to the further reaches of its limitations which, of course, are impossible for the human intelligence to define. Fortunately, they have been invited to share the capacities of the world's largest artificial intelligence network. Not understanding any of this is unimportant because over a period of time a body of work will be produced which your own senses will make clear. "Seastones" is, of course, the first of these works.
Bobby is working locally in Northern California with a band named "Kingfish" consisting of Robbie Hoddinott, lead guitar; Matthew Kelley, harp; Dave Torbert, bass guitar; Chris Herold, drums. "Kingfish" will be playing many cities later this year.
Bob has been working hard on the completion of his studio which is being christened now by the Grateful Dead. He's also preparing material for his solo album which will be out in the Summer.
These changes have caused us to make major shifts in our structures, we employ far fewer people now and do everything as economically as possible; including the operating of this communication network. While we can't handle things as personally as before, we will keep in touch somewhat regularly using the magic of computerization. We'll also make available, at a reasonable price, the stuff you most often request.
The Grateful Dead record being worked on now is planned to take a longer time than usual so that these additional activities can have the attention they need and so that fresh input to the Dead can result in ? ? ? ? ? ?
Grateful Dead Records
P.S. If you change address, we need the old and the new.
* * * * *
Dear Dead Folks,
Enclosed you'll find samplers of our new offerings. This time they're really collector's items since only the Old & In The Way cuts are the same as the ones on the album. Just a few words about each. The first two will be out by mid February and the second two around mid March.
"Old & In The Way" features
Vassar Clements - Fiddle
Jerry Garcia - Banjo
David Grisman - Mandolin
John Kahn - Bass
Peter Rown - Guitar
Playing America's own musical form, Blue Grass, recorded live by Owsley Stanley.
The "Keith & Donna" sampler contains what's called a rough mix of "Every Song I Sing" in order to show how vastly different a final mix is from a rough. The album has 9 songs; 7 written and produced by Keith & Donna, and features performances of a bunch of our old friends like Garcia, Merl Saunders, John Kahn and a host of new friends all listed clearly on the back of the album.
Robert Hunter's "Tiger Rose" sampler has the title cut and a song by his cat (that's what he told us) called "Talking Money Tree"; the album was recorded at Mickey Hart's studio and produced by old iron fist in velvet glove, Jerry Garcia.
"Seastones", the Ned Lagin and Phil Lesh sampler contains only the basic structure of this portion of the piece. You'll be blown away by the difference. The music is interestng as it's really a union of music, biology and physics. The effect that it's having on the studio personnel and musicians is amazing. It makes people act as if they were high (exactly as Ned predicted years ago). I believe the word is stoning. The album will have vocals by David Crosby, Grace Slick, Jerry Garcia and David Freiberg.
We hope you'll enjoy these samplers. Last time we mailed out free samplers, so many people wrote to say thanks it thrilled us (a mail truck came to our office with a truck load of thanks). Now, however, with the Dead off the road and the necessary personnel cutbacks, we can't handle the thank you notes.
Instead of writing us, please just play these sides for 15 people who haven't heard them; have a party!
When he heard that this request was being made, Garcia said "these are our folks, don't try to get them to do anything without telling them why." We ask you to do this so that we can sell enough of these albums to be able to finance our next major step: the replacement of records and tapes as musical reproduction forms and the change over to holographically encoding our music on a one inch pyramid to be read by an optical fiber. This would have the advantage of no surface noise, no pops, scratches, skips or any of the baloney about present day records and tapes. The pyramid's musical quality wouldn't change until it is broken clean through which wouldn't be easy even on purpose.
Technically, it is possible to make a small player (same size as two packs of cigarettes) to retail in stores for about $13.00. Of course, we have lots of music to listen to over such a device, and the pyramids would cost no more than a record and perhaps less.
Another important reason for our doing this is realizing the other potentials of holography, such as retraining the eyes of people who wear glasses, or getting more efficient in terms of energy usage (Einstein's formula E=MC2 means one pound of coal per month should supply the entire energy requirement of the U.S.) or dozens of other potentials so farout it's dangerous to write them down.
The first step is the one we're closest to now--music better presented than anyone ever thought possible. To do this we only have two things to depend on:
I. Our good music.
II. Your sincere effort.
We'll do our part and know you'll do yours.