Sep 1, 2014

December 1972: The Dead & Dylan


We had a chance to yak with Jerry Garcia for a few minutes the other morning at City Hall, where he was waiting for the trial on a three-year-old lawsuit to begin. (The Dead were being sued by Pacific Recorders for about $125,000; Pacific had given them a discount in exchange for credit on the Aoxomoxoa album; the Dead had not given credit, claiming inadequate mixing facilities drove them elsewhere to finish the album.) The suit was later settled for $14,000.
Anyway, we asked Jerry about all those New York rumors about the band meeting with Dylan, maybe playing and recording with him later. "No," Jerry said. "I think he wants to get out of the music world. He says he doesn't think it's right to go pick on a stage and get paid for it.
"You gotta remember, too, he's in a house now with five kids in it, has no time to write, no solitude." When Dylan showed up at Dead shows in New York, Jerry said, "We just sat around and talked and picked. And with Sir Doug he didn't have to do a Bob Dylan trip. But with us - well, we're on two different coasts, so there's that problem of adjusting to each other's schedules. Anyway, he's into movies."
Couple days later, Garcia was on the witness stand patiently explaining to His Honor the advantages of 16-track recording over eight-track, and how Aoxomoxoa was made and mixed. The judge later complimented all the witnesses, Dead manager John McIntire said. "Especially Jerry."

(from Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972)


  1. It's funny to read about a time when Bob Dylan said "he doesn't think it's right to go pick on a stage and get paid for it."
    Aside from a couple guest appearances in 1971, though, Dylan didn't do any live appearances between 1969 and 1974 - he was extremely uneasy about returning to live music. He'd turned up at the Dead's 4/27/71 show at the Fillmore East (where he sometimes saw shows), but when it was suggested that he appear onstage, he fled. He was also spotted at the 7/18/72 Roosevelt Stadium show, trying to look anonymous; and the rumors flew that he and the Dead were going to record together.
    I don't know exactly when he first talked to Garcia; but after the Band's NYE '71 show, Levon Helm asked him, "When are we gonna go on the road together again?" and he replied, "I'm thinking of touring with the Dead." An odd statement! It would take another 16 years before he acted on that idea.
    I don't know which "New York" shows are mentioned here (could be a slip for New Jersey), but it's interesting that Garcia mentions Sir Doug (Doug Sahm), who evidently was hanging out with them (or Dylan) as well. In October '72, Dylan guested in the sessions for the Doug Sahm and Band album.
    (There's another personal connection as well: the Dead had played on Dave Bromberg's Demon in Disguise album in June '72 - Bromberg accompanied Dylan to the Roosevelt Stadium show in July, and he also played on Doug Sahm's album in October. Whether Bromberg helped Dylan & the Dead connect is unknown.)
    Whether Garcia was right that Dylan "wants to get out of the music world," at this point Dylan hadn't recorded an album since 1970; but as Garcia said, "he's into movies" - in November '72 Dylan went to meet Sam Peckinpah to start work on Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

    As an aside, it's also curious that Garcia claimed that the Dead didn't credit Pacific Recorders on Aoxomoxoa in '69 because "inadequate mixing facilities drove them elsewhere to finish the album." Apparently the judge bought it, since the settlement was for a much-reduced amount. I wonder if Garcia's account of the Aoxomoxoa mixing sessions still exists in the San Francisco court archives?

    1. We need some lawyers in the scene to start doing their thing and blogging. Think about all of the civil court records, property records, contract law issues, criminal proceedings, trademark and other IP aspects, and all the rest that are out there.

    2. Old but Dylan did play one off concerts in 68 and 69.

  2. A heart filled thanks for this site and the work being done