Sep 16, 2013

April 1967: Garcia & Lesh on KMPX


(Beginning of show missing.)

DJ: OK, that’s by the Swan Silvertones, it’s a VeeJay LP. Some of the first music I really got with was gospel music, and as a matter of fact, the first record I ever made was with a gospel group in Charleston, West Virginia – it’s a super bad record, man, I’ll have to play it for you… [Garcia laughs]
Lesh: …[??] first record.
Garcia: Yeah, …[??] first record?
DJ: Yeah, I knew about some of the first records, I was trying to get clearance on playing some of the other stuff on the air, but we’ll get around to that some other night because [you’ll be up here]. I know the immediate reaction of most groups, you say look, man, I like to play [the early stuff] – don’t do that…
Garcia: It’s interesting.
DJ: Yeah, some of it’s interesting because you can see the differences. I was talking about writing album liner notes last night, and I said that I finally figured out the way to do it was to sign a different name to them all, so that years later my name wouldn’t be on it for I know how ridiculous it’s gonna look [Garcia laughs] not much further on. I noticed you didn’t have any liner notes on your album.
Garcia: No, it’s because none of us can read very well.
Lesh: None of us can write either.
Garcia: Yeah. Right.
DJ: And you know, what would you want to say in liner notes?
Lesh: Well, the only person who could have particularly written any liner notes would have been Kesey, and by the time that the album came out, it just didn’t seem right…[??]…so we decided not to do it.
Garcia: After all, it is a record, not a magazine.
DJ: That’s right, it’s not a magazine. [Garcia laughs]
Garcia: Right. However though, if anybody wants to peel back the label, there’s hieroglyphics engraved in the wax.
DJ: …You may be tearing LPs apart all over the city. Have you had any talk about bookings in, let’s say faraway places as a result of the LP?
Garcia: Yeah, we’re going to New York…
Lesh: We are?
Garcia: Yeah.
Lesh: Huh. [excited] We’re going to New York!
Garcia: We’re going to New York the first of June.
DJ: First of June – where are you gonna work there?
Garcia: I’m not sure, I think the Café au Go Go.
DJ: Yeah. I’ve heard that – I like the sound system there to the extent that I dig some of the things that’ve been recorded there, because they recorded things live and they seem to work pretty well.
Garcia: Yeah, they recorded like the Blues Project, but they have a lot quieter scene going than we do. I don’t know, I hope to just go there and turn up real loud and play real loud and just, you know…lethal doses.
Lesh: Did you hear about the sound gun?
DJ: No, tell me – oh yeah, sound guns that they’re doing things with, there’s a whole article –
Lesh: Seven cycles a second.
DJ: There’s an article in Playboy magazine –
Lesh: This is different, that’s high frequencies; this is low frequencies, they use a police whistle eighteen feet across.
Garcia: Right, and a common air compressor, whatever the heck it is, and it puts out this seven cycle per second thing which starts your insides vibrating and you eventually die.
Lesh: Kill a man five miles away with the sound.
Garcia: Imagine it.
DJ: Well, how about if they only had it on you for a little while now, does that make any –
Garcia: Make you sick. In fact, when they were testing it out – when they were trying whatever they were doing with it to see what would happen, everybody got sick for miles around, they all got sick, they had headaches you know – and everybody was very unhappy with the [whole thing of course] – nobody as unhappy as us musicians.
DJ: OK, let’s get back to your top forty.
Lesh: Here’s number two. This is another gospel thing which is a little more crazy than the first one – less discipline, you might say. It’s by Charlie Mingus, and…
Garcia: And it’s called?
Lesh: Oh, that’s right.
Garcia: Out with it.
Lesh: ‘Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting.’
Garcia: That’s it.


DJ: That’s Charlie Mingus, ‘Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting;’ this is Tom Donahue at KMPX, 107 on your FM dial, we’re playing records until midnight. Our guests tonight are Jerry Garcia & Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, who have the number one bestseller in San Francisco with their current Warner Brothers LP. They’re shaking hands, but they don’t have the money yet – it’s that kind of thing, right? And the album’s done unbelievably well outside of town. I haven’t checked your list completely, are you gonna play anything from it?
Garcia & Lesh: No, no…
DJ: We don’t get a chance to tear it apart or anything like that and say –
Lesh: Well we can talk about it, sure.
DJ: ‘Why’d you blow that note there.’ [laughter] How do you feel about the album yourselves, personally?
Lesh: I feel like it’s a turd.
DJ: Not where you wanted to be.
Lesh: Well no, it was where we were at the time.
Garcia: Yeah, right; it was something we did, it’s all over with, and –
Lesh: The next one certainly won’t be anything like that –
Garcia: No.
Lesh: In any way.
Garcia: The way we sort of – It’s like that one is sort of an attempt to try and sound like the way, the stuff that we do live, with the same instrumentation and everything. There’s not really anything unconventional for us in there.
Lesh: But that’s impossible to do in a recording studio.
Garcia: Right. So we’re not going to try - we’re not going to bother doing that anymore, we’re just gonna like, from now on when we go and record, since the first album is doing so nicely, we hope they’ll let us have a lot of time in the studio, and next time we’ll do a lot more studio stuff, and try and get it [??] which is a whole other thing.
DJ: Because the whole problem of trying to take what live sounds like and put it on tape or disc –
Garcia: You can’t do it in the studio. You might be able to do it if you could record a rock & roll band live, you know with the volumes that we play at like at the Fillmore or something like that, and maybe after two or three months of every night at the Fillmore, we’d start to get, you know, good cuts, good enough for an album I mean, in terms of how clean they were, and how much we like the performance on ‘em, and then we’d have something, but it would be such an expensive undertaking, and long and everything; and the studio facilities are so incredible that we should do something with them. So we’re gonna go in there, you know, and try something different.
DJ: Approaching from a different angle.
Garcia: Right, right.
Lesh: Well, there are people who practice the art of recording, being Phil Spector, who practice the art of recording. When we went in to do the album, we didn’t know anything about the art of recording; we knew a little bit about music.
DJ: Well I think there is a potential of this though, and that is the art of interpretation –
Lesh: Interpretation of what, the recording?
DJ: Of which nobody has been done – no, the art of interpretation of the sound of the group. I think in time it’s conceivable that engineers will come along who actually hear what groups are doing and know how to transplant that sound.
Lesh: Wouldn’t it be more likely to assume that the groups would be able to take over the function of engineer?
DJ: Oh yes, that’s very possible. But I think –
Garcia: [??] would hate it
DJ: I think that’s what every group hopes to do, to get to that point where they can do it, because, you know, he, in the main is another brain between you and what you want to do, and so it’s a jump you have to make into his head and then out onto whatever’s recorded, and I don’t think it’s ever been done successfully, really.
Garcia: I’d say the Beatles –
DJ: Except with the [??] – well, once again, with the Beatles doing their thing though, they’re not doing it through a producer’s head or an engineer – well, the engineer obviously [??] [Garcia: Right, yeah.] But who knows, man, after the Beatles walk out of the studio, they may be saying to themselves, ‘Didn’t get it again.’
Garcia: Right, who knows.
DJ: Because you don’t know what they want, right?
Garcia: Sounds mighty good to us, of course.
DJ: How about Blind Willie Johnson?
Garcia: Blind Willie Johnson, yeah. This is Blind Willie Johnson and his wife Angelina, and Blind Willie Johnson is a particularly interesting slide-style guitarist. He played nothing but sacred music during, I guess the ‘20s and ‘30s and so forth like that, you know, on the streets and all, and his records are valued by old-time record collectors; and this particular song the Blues Project also does; anybody who’s heard the Blues Project record that has ‘Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying Sometime’ on it, it’s the same song, and this is I guess where they got it, Blind Willie Johnson.


DJ: OK, that’s by Blind Willie Johnson, ‘Lord I Just Can’t Keep From Crying;’ our guests tonight are Jerry Garcia & Phil Lesh from the Grateful Dead. Ray Charles is next on your schedule, is this early or late?
Lesh: Late. Very recent, it was the last single.
DJ: Last single –
Lesh: Or the latest.
DJ: You think the stuff he’s cut with ABC has been as good as some of the things he cut with ABKCO? I think he was in a much heavier blues bag, I think, earlier.
Garcia: Yeah, I always liked the seven-piece stuff with the Raelettes and all like that, it was a real nice sound.
Lesh: Well his big band is one of the tightest bands.
DJ: Yeah, there’s some good big bands. I like the sound that Bobby Bland Group gets.
Lesh: Theirs is a lot more funky, I think, than Ray Charles.
DJ: Yeah.
Lesh: James Brown I think actually has the best big band. The tightest. [beats]
Garcia: They’re real snappy.
DJ: Super-disciplined.
Lesh: They use two drums, too.
DJ: Smoke on stage during rehearsal, ten bucks; late for rehearsal, twenty-five bucks. James keeps them in line.
Lesh: Oh I bet he does.
DJ: Have you thought about that, Jerry?
Garcia: Uhh… [laughter] Keeping the boys in line, you mean?
DJ: This is by Ray Charles, ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor.’


DJ: ‘I Don’t Need Your Doctor,’ we’re going along with selections tonight from Jerry Garcia & Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, and James Brown, who we were talking about a moment ago, is on the list at the moment. You’re picking some fairly recent stuff of James’s too.
Lesh: Yeah, the ‘Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ is the one that seemed to me to use the strings first in the new way. Like, lots of people made records with strings, even jazz musicians, Charlie Parker, [??] Brown, and there’s all mostly like [??], and records [in the background] – but James Brown’s –
Garcia: The harder stuff.
Lesh: And this is a recording that uses the strings in a kind of percussive way.
Garcia: Yeah, very groovy.
Lesh: It sort of seems to me that after that, then the Beatles came out and started using that stuff too, only it wasn’t with the instruments playing, it was with manipulation of the tape, like on ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ its violins: it’s tape manipulation, loops, spirals.
DJ: OK, let’s do ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.’


DJ: That’s James Brown, ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s World’ – let’s skip right to the next one, OK? James in ‘Ain’t That a Groove.’
Lesh: This one’ll speak for itself.
Garcia: It’s a groove.
DJ: All the way. This is Tom Donahue with KMPX, it’s 107 on your FM dial in San Francisco, playing records 8 until midnight; our guests tonight, Phil Lesh & Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, and here’s James Brown.


DJ: ‘Ain’t That A Groove,’ that’s James Brown, and that’s from a very recent LP of his, let’s see if we can give the exact title. ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,’ amazing sensational thrilling soul brother number one, whew, doesn’t really have a title, just James Brown. Working out on stage, doing his entire thing. He’s a fantastic showman; lay another one on you. The act hasn’t changed much.
Lesh: Everybody has the same act…
DJ: Right. I saw the basic act [in] ’56 at the Apollo, you know… But I think that’s one of the things people dig about it, because they know they’re going to get that, and that’s what they want to see. And he’s had a lot of imagination, because in his particular area of R&B singing, there are very few who would depart to sing the kind of songs he has on occasion. He’s picked up some strange ballads and done them and, you know.
Garcia: Well, ‘It’s a Man’s World’ is a really far-out thing.
DJ: Well, James is thinking in his own area.
Garcia: But is he really happy?
DJ: Is he really happy? [laughter] Smiles a lot, man… [mumbles]
Garcia: Seems happy.
DJ: You done any Dylan tunes?
Garcia: Yeah, we do Baby Blue, ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue.’ We also used to do ‘She Belongs To Me’ too. Bob used to croon it.
DJ: This one was –
Garcia: Oh this is Bob’s request incidentally too, he said that we should play it.
DJ: Yeah this particular record had an R&B recording as a matter of fact, ‘Maggie’s Farm’…
Garcia: I heard, I heard –
DJ: Yeah, Solomon Burke, that’s right. Far out.
Garcia: I heard, let’s see, what – James Cotton’s Blues Band do it, Sam Lay sang it, the drummer sang it. It was very interesting.
DJ: OK, let’s get with Maggie’s Blues, as recorded by Bob Dylan.


DJ: That’s Bob Dylan, ‘Maggie’s Farm,’ on KMPX, this is Tom Donahue, with you until 12 midnight. KMPX is at 107 on the FM dial, we play records 8 until 12, and if you have an opportunity to listen to the station in stereo here in San Francisco, it’s a good way to hear it. Stereo is not necessarily a faithful reproduction, but it’s a small thing of its own.
Garcia: Right, right. [mumbles]
DJ: Do you – have you listened to – I guess you’ve listened to your LP in both mono and stereo and –
Garcia: Yeah.
DJ: Probably heard it a lot of times.
Garcia: Right, well, we [were] the ones that mixed it, the mono mix and the stereo –
Lesh: And we had a rider on it.
DJ: Where? Western, with the exception of –
Lesh: No, RCA; RCA with the exception of the single which was cut at Coast. And the single, I think sounds more like us than the album does. It sounds dirtier.
Garcia: And fuller.
Lesh: And more stuff going on.
DJ: Maybe because you cut in San Francisco, maybe it did something to your mind.
Lesh: I don’t know, they did something.
Garcia: Well we did a lot more stuff on the single too, like we put a lot more, you know, we overlaid a lot of stuff.
Lesh: It’s a recording rather than a transcription.
Garcia: Right, right, and somehow it comes out sounding more like the way we sound live, just because of the enormous amount of confusion involved. And maybe, you know, it’s like we’re used to playing in a big –
DJ: And there were more people jammed in the studio at Coast that night.
Garcia: Oh that’s true –
DJ: ‘Cause I came in and there were a lot of people.
Garcia: Right, a lot of people.
DJ: Because there’s only two ways you can record, one is no people, or the other one is everybody. There’s no in between, it just doesn’t work.
Garcia: That’s true, that’s true, it doesn’t work.
DJ: And I guess you would rather have a lot –
Garcia: Well, when we were in LA, we tried to, you know, we were going to have a big closed session, absolutely no admittance and so forth, big sign and everything, but, you know –
Lesh: Everybody showed up anyway.
Garcia: Yeah, everybody came, so –
DJ: ...brings your old lady and she’s getting in and I’m getting in and before you know it, man, you’ve got a studio full of people.
Garcia: It’s OK, it turns out it doesn’t really seem to make too much difference, you know. The difference that it seems to make is that like, the better you feel, the better you do. And if there’s a lot of people around and it’s kind of a nice, you know, everybody’s kind of in a good thing – [DJ: ??] - or at least moves a little faster.
DJ: This was recorded in –
Garcia: It was recorded in France, as a matter of fact, and it’s the Bulgarian folklore scene, you know, something like the Folklorica de Mejico thing, only Bulgarian. And it’s all these people who are just, like, people of Bulgaria, you know, farmers and what have you, workers and so forth, who also are into music, like I guess everybody is, in some way or another; this is the music of their own country, like –
DJ: The women who sing on this, some of them are quite old you know, sixties and seventies; they’ve been singing this stuff for years.
Garcia: Right, it sounds like it.
DJ: I have a – there’s a weird thing that happens when I listen to this album. There was a a group around many years ago called the Devore Sisters. [I don’t know if you remember] – they had a record called Teach Me The Night [??], successful 45; and their voice quality is such that they sound very much like a lot of the women on this record…
Garcia: …strange vibrato.
DJ: Yeah, right. Albert Grossman picked this album up originally.
Garcia: The thing that I like about this particular cut is the singing is unaccompanied two-part singing, and it’s like semitones –
Lesh: Microtones.
Garcia: Microtones, and it’s just the weirdest intervals that you ever heard.
DJ: This is from an RCA Victor album that I don’t think is available anymore. The album is entitled Music of Bulgaria and the cut is ‘The Moon Shines.’


DJ: And that particular cut is entitled ‘The Moon Shines.’ We played some of this on the air here, because a lot of people reacted very favorably to it. It’s a great sound to listen to, we’ll get some other cuts on eventually. You worked with Charles Lloyd at any of the gigs you’ve done?
Lesh & Garcia: Yeah, Rock Garden…
Garcia: We had a really good time with him too; in fact, we’ve been, there's been a little bit of, there’s been some communication between us and Charles Lloyd just recently, he's been talking to our managers and we're gonna maybe work something out where we're working together in some other situations, cause we had a good time together.
DJ: He’s great to listen to and he’s building a tremendous audience among a group of people he might never have reached if he hadn’t played those dances, because that has exposed him to people who ordinarily would never have come across Charles Lloyd in their experience. And they listen to what he’s doing.
Lesh: They dance to it too.
DJ: And they dance to it, yeah, and they like him. OK, this is Charles and ‘Dream Weaver.’


DJ: OK, we’re listening to Charles Lloyd and ‘Dream Weaver.’ Tom Donahue at KMPX in San Francisco.
[Ad: “This weekend, at the Avalon Ballroom, Sutter & Van Ness in San Francisco, the Family Dog presents the Chambers Brothers – also at the Avalon this weekend, the Iron Butterfly. It’s the place, baby!” The ad uses a clip from the Beatles’ ‘Day in the Life;’ the shows were on April 28-29.]
DJ: That’s a thing for the Avalon that Bob McClay produced; our guests tonight are Jerry Garcia & Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, and Charles Lloyd’s someone they’ve worked with, they’ve also worked with Junior Wells. Where was that?
Garcia: Yeah, we worked with Junior Wells at the Fillmore Auditorium
Lesh: When he was there though, he wouldn’t do his blues stuff at the Fillmore.
Garcia: Right, and the band wasn’t, you know – the band that he uses with Buddy Guy, he just – Like on this particular record, he’s just got a little three-piece band backing him up, and it’s just so tasty. This particular cut is – I think it’s one of the finest single blues-band recordings, you know, I mean just musically, the way the stuff happens is so nice.
DJ: OK, this is Junior Wells, ‘Ships on the Ocean.’


DJ: Junior Wells and ‘Ships on the Ocean.’ And then – I know you played with Charles Lloyd and I know you played with Junior Wells. [laughter] But where’d you play with Leopold Stokowski?
Garcia: Don’t laugh, man.
DJ: Someday…
Lesh: We’re gonna do a thing [??] with a guy named Luciano Berio at the Lincoln Center in September, and be an opera.
DJ: Yeah, somebody else told me about that.
Lesh: …Berio was also my teacher when I was studying classical –
DJ: Tell us a little bit about Berio and some of the things he’s done.
Lesh: Well, Berio is Italian, and he’s composed a lot of music and he’s been played a lot, and I can’t tell you anything about his music except it’s all beautiful.
Garcia: Mostly Italian marches.
Lesh: Italian marches? [laughter]
DJ: OK, well this particular is not Berio, it’s a composition of Charles Ives, Symphony Number Four, and we’re gonna play the second movement from it.
Lesh: If you expect it to sound like a symphony –
Garcia: Forget it.
Lesh: - you’ll be disappointed.


DJ: And somebody just called to make a comment. Phil, come over here and tell me what he was saying; he was saying it was like the Beatles’ new record?
Lesh: Well, what he thought was that it sounded like the Beatles’ new records, and I was saying that I thought that…you know, we could say whether or not the Beatles had heard this stuff from Ives or any of the people who did it before or not, I kind of think that they thought of it for themselves, ‘cause it’s possible for you to discover stuff that other people have done, for yourself.
Garcia: Right, like a lot of people discovered, you know –
Lesh: Radio…
Garcia: Yeah, something like that…
Lesh: All at the same time, right… [Everyone talks at once.] Those things are in the air, and the Beatles have taken the lead in bringing it to popular music, and I for one am glad.
Garcia: Right, and they do it in their own way, it’s pure Beatles. You know, it’s still the Beatles and –
Lesh: And so, so tasty.
DJ: And [constantly] changing and never hung up in one particular thing.
Garcia: Oh, yeah.
DJ: You know, we’re in no hurry, we aren’t going anywhere or anything, but just in case anyone panics, man, you know. We would [??] we both hung up on him and turn off his radio. [laughs] “Sorry about that thing!”
Garcia: Pigpen, we’re sorry.
DJ: Public apology. I would call Ian & Sylvia a little variety from what we’ve had up to now. Anything you care to say about ‘em or why you like ‘em or why you picked ‘em?
Lesh: [There’s a singer,] mostly, and these particular songs, Sylvia sings the one, ‘Jealous Lover,’ by herself, and it’s enough to chill your bones, and the next one is a fine desperado ballad, in a great tradition, with some nice guitar playing on it.
DJ: OK, let’s try Ian & Sylvia and the ‘Jealous Lover.’

DJ: All right, another one by Ian & Sylvia, ‘Four Rode By,’ Phil said it’s a desperado song.

DJ: Ian & Sylvia and ‘Four Rode By.’ Skip James is the next thing you got, tell me about Skip James.
Garcia: Oh, he’s a famous Delta blues singer, as it says right here on the cover. [Lesh: ??] But, and everybody thought he was dead for the longest time, and everybody said, ‘Skip James, yeah, he’s dead,’ but his old 78s were around, and people would listen to them and all. You know, it’s really good, is what it’s all about.
DJ: Then they found out he was alive.
Garcia: Right, they found out he was alive –
DJ: Glenn Miller will turn up the same way. [Laughter, everyone talks at once.]
DJ: OK, this is Skip James and ‘Hard Times Killin’ Floor Blues.’


DJ: That’s Aretha Franklin from her new Atlantic LP, ‘I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You.’ We were talking about Phil Spector a little while ago and the kind of record producing he does, which is a totally creative thing from the beginning as a producer. This is one of the great examples of that thing, this Righteous Brothers thing we’re about to play. Someday I’m gonna get Phil on the show and there’s one thing I’m gonna get him to play, and that is a tape of the track for this record.
Lesh: The instrumental track?
DJ: Yeah. With him singing the parts.
Lesh: Does it exist?
DJ: Oh yeah. I’ve heard the record, he played it for me one night at his house…that strange baronial mansion he lives in in LA. And I’d heard about the record from Bobby Dale and Tommy [Lapuno], the producer down there, about the tape, and it’s, you know, a strange, strange sound. Spector’s voice is a really peculiar voice, in singing. It has not been heard on record since ‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’ – last appearance.
Garcia: Was he singing parts in that?
DJ: Yeah.
Lesh: [???] But Mojo Navigator has a thing about him, all his records.
DJ: Yeah, they do a nice discography on him. He was – Phil had a record out that was probably the first S&M record anybody ever came along with called ‘She Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss,’ or ‘He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss,’ remember that?
Lesh: Oh, right.
DJ: And they finally had to pull it off the market because [there were so many protests] – and on and on. Here’s the Righteous Brothers, ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.’


DJ: ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin,’ record [sly disguise because] you’ve been playing it in the middle of the night again. Spector has not done anything for a long time. He keeps saying, “I’m old-fashioned, I’m old-fashioned, I’m totally out of it now, I’m not gonna make any more records.”
Lesh: I hear he’s making some strange movie in Mexico.
DJ: He wants to; he never got down there, the whole project blew up just as everybody was getting ready to get on the boat. But he has been in the studio with Ike & Tina Turner again.
Garcia: Oh, far out, good.
Lesh: If the results of that one are as good as the last one –
Garcia: This one, the one coming up, ha ha ha.
DJ: [We have] the one record that was a complete success in England – ‘River Deep, Mountain High,’ which I think got to number four on the English charts.
Garcia: Too much.
DJ: And Phil took an ad in Billboard at the time, you remember? With the British flag, and the line was something about “King George was right.” [laughter] ‘Cause none of the radio stations in this country would play it at that time. Ike & Tina Turner – Ike Turner’s one of the great minds of all time. You ever talk to Ike in any period of time?
Garcia: No.
DJ: I’d love to get him on the show some night. Let him tell the world how he got started – he’s got a great success story. This is the very record we were just discussing, Ike & Tina Turner in the Phil Spector production, ‘River Deep, Mountain High.’


DJ: And that’s by Ike & Tina Turner, ‘River Deep, Mountain High,’ I don’t think that record has ever been played in this town before.
Lesh: Really?
DJ: I know it’s never played in any radio stations –
Lesh: That is a crime!
DJ: I think we should start playing it every now and then.
Garcia: I think so.
Lesh: I will give you the record if you’ll play it every night!
DJ: Fine, good, I’ll play it every night.
Garcia: Too much, please do.
DJ: And maybe people will go out and buy it and we’ll put Phil back in business and get him up here and [whistles].
Garcia: That’ll be nice.
DJ: One interview with Phil Spector and it might be all over for the radio station. [Laughter.] You know? Lou Rawls, he’s one of the younger blues singers around, does a thing that’s, I think very peculiarly his own.
Lesh: This is the only record of his that I ever heard, except for ‘Blues for Four-String Guitar’ which seemed a little ostentatious.
Garcia: Lame, you might even say. But he had – he did –
Lesh: This is really tasty with [??] –
Garcia: - that other famous song – what was that -
Lesh: ‘Tobacco Road.’
DJ: I saw him working one night, opened with Bobby Bland and Jimmy Witherspoon.
Lesh & Garcia: Oh, wow.
DJ: Which was a fine, fine trio for an evening. This is Lou Rawls and ‘Trouble Down Here Below. ‘

DJ: Tom Donahue at KMPX, 107 on your dial in San Francisco, we’re playing records 8 until 12 midnight, our guests tonight are Phil Lesh & Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead.

DJ: ‘Gotta Get Away,’ that’s by the Rolling Stones. Tom Donahue here with Phil and Jerry. Let’s see you talk a little bit about Otis Redding.
Lesh: Oh, we worked with Otis.
Garcia: Yeah.
Lesh: And it was kind of scary to work with Otis.
Garcia: Yeah, Otis is really heavy.
DJ: I thought he would do better here than he did.
Lesh: He tore it up!
Garcia: He tore the place apart.
DJ: I mean, as far as people were concerned, I don’t think he had the number of people that he could’ve had.
Lesh: Well maybe nobody knew Otis –
Garcia: Yeah, maybe not too many people knew about it, that could’ve been it. But boy, he had one of those standard [shots] where the band would get up and play some numbers and a girl singer would come up and, [mumbling] you know, some group and stuff like that, whole show, you know.
Lesh: The standard show.
Garcia: Yeah, like, when he came on stage, it was like the whole place got about six times as big, and the band just got real snappy, you know; it was so fine and the music was really good. And like, when you go to those shows, most the time, like the James Brown show, the music is like not really where it’s at with the James Brown show, the circus part is what it’s all about, kinda – and with Otis Redding, the music is still what’s happening, you know, and it’s just so good, really, wow.
DJ: This is from the LP entitled “Complete and Unbelievable, the Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul,” and it’s ‘Day Tripper.’

DJ: That’s Otis and ‘Day Tripper’ and this is Tom Donahue with Jerry Garcia & Phil Lesh and we’re gonna play something from the Grateful Dead album, I figure it’s about time.
Garcia: Til the police get here.
DJ: Right. And the one that Jerry picked out is ‘Cold Rain and Snow.’

DJ: [Vince,] if you turn that over, I’m gonna play my selection from the LP as we get outta here. I wanna thank you fellows for coming around to talk to us, [it was very interesting.]
Garcia [emphatic]: Oh sure, Tom, that’s all right, anytime!
DJ: Anytime, right? [Laughter.] And we can have Pigpen back and –
Lesh: That’ll be fun.
Garcia: That’ll be good. If you can get him out of the house it’ll be – [long pause, laughter] […] revolutionary, at the least.
DJ: […] that you guys take care of that part of it.
Lesh: Well, if we can [get him up earlier] –
Garcia: Get him [buy shoes are] big enough.
DJ: You get him down here and I’ll find a way to hold him in the studio.
Lesh: I think you can do it!
DJ: OK, we’re going out of here with something by the Grateful Dead called the ‘New, New Minglewood Blues.’



  1. I was debating whether to post the messy full transcript of this, or a cleaned-up edited version omitting the less intelligible comments, fixing the rambling sentences, etc. But I decided to post as full & faithful a version as I could, and others can edit it if they want.

    Some things are omitted: I cut out "uh"s, a lot of agreements (Garcia says "yeah" or the DJ says "uh-huh" a lot), repeated words, and a lot of crosstalk & interjections. (Garcia & Lesh often talk at the same time.)
    I left in "likes," "you knows," and most of the false starts to sentences.

    The talking isn't always that clear - Tom Donahue tends to talk fast & skip words, and Phil Lesh tends to talk fast & mumble. Writing it down reminded me that often we hear what people mean to say rather than what is actually said - conversation's more messy than what appears on the page, or in our minds.

    [??] means I couldn't make out a few words, [phrases in brackets] I was not sure of. It would be neat if anyone could fill some of these in!

  2. A couple peripheral comments:

    Based on the Avalon ad, this show took place during the week before April 28. (See )

    You can tell how dominant the Beatles were at the time. Over a month before Sgt Pepper's release, a track is already being played on San Francisco FM (and being used in ads), and Jerry & Phil keep referring to them as the benchmark of studio innovation in pop.

    It's odd how much Phil loves "River Deep, Mountain High" (presumably for the production). Another Spector fan was, of course, Brian Wilson, who nicked the bass-line & band sound off that record for his own "Heroes and Villains" - in the previous months, Wilson had been taking Spector's production techniques in a new direction. Ironically, Jerry & Phil would likely never have heard the SMILE tapes except for the 2 singles that got released, and they might have been biased against it as "LA music" anyway. (Earlier that month, though, admirer Paul McCartney had visited Wilson & done some recording with him.)

    Phil's reference that they were planning to do something with Luciano Berio that September at the Lincoln Center is tantalizing - Tom Donahue's heard of it, too. Evidently it never happened, but I wonder what it was supposed to be?

  3. So, Has anyone ever peeled the label on the first GD Album to see if there really are hieroglyphics engraved in the wax, as per Jerry's comments? Sounds like a joke......

  4. The Seattle Helix ran an article praising KMPX, mentioning this show:
    "San Francisco has a new radio station: KMPX-FM broadcasting total environment to the entire bay area 21 hours a day.
    When I first heard of KMPX in Seattle, I was told of the large amount of good rock and the small number of commercials which the station played. ... And it is a good rock station. But it's also a lot more: from 10-15% of the music played is non-rock. Blues - from Robert Johnson to Dave Ray - jazz, Ali Akbar Khan, and Karl Stockhausen all come dribbling, booming, humming, whining, and singing from the radio between 1 PM & 10 AM.
    Somewhere KMPX manages to pick up private tapes of performances which would otherwise be known only to the tape's owner and his friends. People with collections of rare recordings drop by and let the station borrow the recordings. And shortly before I arrived, the Grateful Dead came by the station with a stack of things and spent a couple of hours playing whatever they felt like.
    Coltrane and James Cotton are more than just names to thousands of Bay area high school kids, from Marin to Santa Clara. Dave Van Ronk, who doesn't think too highly of rock, probably has his first bunch of teenage fans as a result of the electric guitar. Three or four years ago, in the middle of the folk thing, most of the same kids would have been digging the Kingston Trio.
    And KMPX appears to be prospering. The commercials, sometimes coming once a song and sometimes coming once every other side, appear to be bought by relatively straight advertisers; and if they are expanding to 24 hours a day, they can't be in too much financial trouble. You can hardly walk into an apartment without hearing them. Today SF, tomorrow Puget Sound. I can't see any reason why at least three or four of these stations couldn't be supported around the country right now. ...
    A couple of dozen musical idioms are now found on the radio and even on the same station, where six months ago, when they were found at all, they existed as occasional quaint cultural side trips or once a week KPFA (listener supported) programs with what was assumed was a limited audience.
    In five years kids in Iowa may grow up digging sitar and bottleneck. Certainly the effect of KMPX - and its seeming success - should have a major effect on the musix being thought and played around the nation."
    (untitled article, Helix v1n8, Aug '67, p.4 & 11)

    This article emphasizes a point I hadn't thought about much when listening to this show - that freeform rock programming on KMPX (or any station) was a brand-new concept, and the idea of playing a random bunch of favorite records from different genres on a radio show was quite novel at the time. (KPFA is mentioned, but considered to have niche programs for limited audiences.) Tom Donahue's first show on KMPX had been on April 7, and the new format rapidly attracted young listeners. Small wonder you could "hardly walk into an apartment without hearing" the station.