Jun 23, 2016

Pigpen Interview, 1970

Pigpen Interview with Hank Harrison and Bobby Petersen

[There are many little gaps [...] and missing words in this transcription from the tape. Some editorial notes are included.]

Bobby: …but that’s a little more expensive than I had in mind, I had one of them $20 [wonders]. It would be the same kind of weight thing, you know, and space thing – [I could] stick it in that suitcase.
Hank: You should call Phil.
Bobby [to Hank]: We should call Phil. Why don’t you call Phil and I’ll get him [Pigpen] started telling his Joe Novakovich stories… Is this recording now?
Hank: Yeah, it’s okay.
Pigpen: Joe Novakovich stories…
Hank: Charlie Parker stories!
Bobby: Right, all about Joe Novakovich and others.
[Pigpen mumbles.]
Bobby: Gotta have a little whiskey first, huh?
Hank: …give me Phil’s number.
Bobby: Oh all right…let me look…wait a minute…Lesh…453-4052. He may be at the office, though, ‘cause I think he said to call him there instead of at home.
Pigpen: That’s 457-1830.
Bobby: […] We went to the bar and had a couple of CC on the rocks and I was pretty blasted, I finally got to bed.
Pigpen: Are you guys headed for –
Bobby: We’re headed to San Francisco, yeah. [Pigpen: ...] Well I was thinking about maybe calling Hunter.
Pigpen: […] Jerry.
Bobby: Yeah, I know, I got their number – I was thinking after we left here we might be able to call Hunter so we can find another cassette – or maybe he even has some over there.
Pigpen: It’s possible.
Bobby: I never thought of that when I was looking for tape recorders, ‘cause I know Jerry’s got a couple. I got one of Jerry’s, but it don’t work, and it’s a great big one Jerry gave me. I don’t have any mikes for it [is what’s wrong with it, really.] But I was thinking about calling Hunter, and Hunter would be able to tell me where Willy is too, maybe, probably. He might even be there, as a matter of fact. [Willy Legate – ed.] Where are you off to?
Pigpen: I don’t know, like anywhere. I was thinking maybe go down to the local bar, and shoot a little pool, and have a couple drinks. I don’t know if they’re open yet, […]
Bobby: You got a local pub that you go to?
Pigpen: Oh yeah...the Town Club and the Viking [...] they're only a half a block apart [...] and every Monday night there's a pool tournament.
Bobby: Yeah, we got one like that that’s sort of a college pizza bar.
Pigpen: Well, this is older […]
Bobby: We got one of those too, that’s the Boot. And then there’s the college place, which is the [Keg]. And that’s always pool, they play pool 24 hours a day.
Pigpen [mumbles]: Put your quarters out on the table, baby. You want to shoot doubles with me, all right, [--] a quarter.
Bobby: I shot a little pool for the first time when I was up in Oregon […] I haven’t shot pool in a long time. Okay, Joe Novakovich stories though, […]
Pigpen: Joe Novakovich stories, good grief, those old East Palo Alto trips?
Bobby: Yeah.
Pigpen: Ask me a question, Mr. Interviewer.
Bobby: Okay – well, what I asked you before, was you know, when did you first meet him, you know, and under what circumstances?
Pigpen: The circumstances are pretty vague. I was about 15 or 16 years old, I had myself a […] I was [working] at a Texaco gas station […]
Bobby: You’d already dropped out of school?
Pigpen: No, I was still in school, and I’d get off early from school, and I’d go work through the afternoon til about 7:00 at night. And I didn’t have any lights on my bike, and when the winter started coming around, it began to get dark before I got off work – oops. You know, so I’d tape a flashlight to the handlebars, just so I wouldn’t get busted on the way home. And when David X was living over on Ramona Street, and the whole early Kepler’s scene, and that’s when I met Jerry and I was always bothering Jerry about playing some blues. And he’d just gotten out of the army and everything, and he had a little brown Epiphone guitar, and Sherry Huddleston was around. I remember one night we had a party over there, and it was the first time that I ever drank WPLJ – white port and lemon juice. And Sherry was there, she was sitting there playing the guitar with her blouse off, […] haha, and all that; so me and Danny [Chrisman] – oh, Page was there. [Page Browning – ed.] One night, Page had a bullwhip, and he was out in front of the house on the street cracking his bullwhip, and somebody thought that he was shootin’, you know, somebody thought that they had a gun. And so the cops came, and me and Danny [Chrisman] split out the backyard, over the fence, and ‘pshew’ – yeah, just made. That was really a trip, so we ended up – we walked all the way back home, we went up to Rinconada Park and ended up having a footrace and both falling on our faces. And we just continued to walk home, and that was that; David was living there, and Page with his bullwhip; and that’s when I first started to hang out with Troy too, and got into the band that way.
Bobby: You weren’t playing harp until you met Novakovich, right?
Pigpen: I met Novakovich right around that time, I remember one time he was going up to the Chateau, he was getting a harmonica; I had heard […] and dug it, so he gave me one, he said ‘okay, see what you can do with it,’ I was bompin’ on it.
Bobby: What did you play before?
Pigpen: Before that? Oh, ha – there was this guy, what was his name – John [Ogilvie], he lived on Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto right almost directly across the street from Leroy [Milavich], who was a friend of ours, and John had this white electric guitar and a little amplifier, and he loaned it to me, and so I went over and I started to play, […] and my father bought me a $15 little funky guitar that was about a hundred years old – it was a scroungy old funky little guitar. So that’s how I got started on the guitar trip. And then I went up to San Francisco State where Danny was studying at the time, and he was taking, of all things, Chinese – and he was really hung up between whether he should study Mandarin or Cantonese, you know and all that.
Bobby: Danny [Chrisman] was […]?
Pigpen: He did, yeah.
Hank: As well as the Chinese language institute at San Francisco State, because it was a Maoist movement, a DuBois club at the time.
Pigpen: Was it?
Hank: Yeah, because I was on campus then too. And that was one of the first – many years ago, this was like ’61, right, ’62, spring of ’62, maybe?
Bobby: No, a little earlier than that.
Pigpen: Yeah, more like ’63.
Hank: Yeah, right, that’s when I was on campus, and that’s when it happened, that’s when the Sheraton Palace riot was happening, and the Cadillac Row demonstration took place. [March/April 1964 – ed.]
Pigpen: Right, that’s when Rock Scully got busted, and then years later his sentence finally came down, and he had to do time for it.
Hank: Remember I was telling you about the head of the pharmacology department at the university, Nate Burbridge, at Cal, at […]? He was leader of all that, see, and the DuBois Club was in a Chinese language institute thing – what they were doing at that time, we still had some way to get into China, you know like training people to go to China, […] I don’t know what it was, it was a Peking thing… [mumbles] [Nate Burbridge - ed.]
Pigpen: Hey, that’s my dipstick there.
Bobby: Your ju-ju stick […] 
Hank: What do you dip it into?
Pigpen: I dip it into that jug there to see how much liquor is left; and I made it out of a manzanita crate.
Hank: What jug, the leather-covered jug there?
Pigpen: Yeah.
Hank: What liquor do you keep in there?
Pigpen: I don’t keep any liquor in it now.
Hank: Did you use to –
Bobby: Hey Pigpen, how’d you like me to make you a skinning knife? I’ve been making knives up there – yeah, I made some kitchen knives, I made hunting knives – [Someone else comments.] – well I just made that for the kitchen, to experiment with.
Pigpen: Sure, I wouldn’t mind a free knife.
Bobby: I was gonna make some manzanita handles; they’re really pretty and good hard wood too.
[Unknown]: I’m gonna show you a picture…
Pigpen: To see if I can recognize who that chick is?
Bobby: But anyway, how long was David X around here? I think, within this, that those cats ought to really be mentioned strong, man. You know, David X and Lester and those guys, because they told us something, you know? [David McQueen & Lester Hellum – ed.]
Pigpen: Oh boy, this is an old picture, too. I think this picture was taken in San Jose. That’s not Casady because he’s too tall.
Bobby: Is Jorma from San Jose? I mean, that’s where he came up?
Pigpen: Jorma was born in the Philippines […] spent a lot of time there.
Bobby: Yeah, I know he was born somewhere else, but that’s where he –
Hank: Remember a chick named Ellen Cavanaugh?
Pigpen: I remember her.
Hank: St Michael’s Alley. […]
Pigpen [looking at picture]: Far out. Boy, that’s a long time ago.
Hank: Margareta Kaukonen?
Pigpen: That’s her right there –
Hank: They weren’t married then though, were they?
Pigpen: No, sweethearts. She had nice tits. [Laughter.]
Bobby: Long live Margareta’s tits!
Hank: I think Jorma dug ‘em.
Pigpen: Oh, you know that old silver National steel guitar I’ve got?
Hank: Yeah, sure.
Pigpen: That used to be Jorma’s.
Hank: Yeah, remember I told you about this [friend], Andy [Pioli] […]. I think he used to play that guitar. He used to tell me about this little silver National –
Pigpen: The way I found out that it was Jorma’s guitar – that was like years ago, like ’63, ’64, something like that – there was a party in San Jose, because we always used to hang around – what was the name of that place?
Bobby: In San Jose?
Pigpen: Yeah, on First.
Bobby: I never went to San Jose much.
Pigpen: That folk music place, I forget the name of it – Paul Foster used to run it.  [The Off Stage – ed.]
Hank: The Masque? [Pigpen: No.] The Masque was a jazz club – did it have anything to do with San Jose State at all?
Pigpen: I doubt it – I’m not sure. Anyway, Paul Foster used to run this place, and it was during that time that Jorma would play there a lot, and Paul Kantner would show up, and Casady you know, would be around, and shit like that – that was before they ever met Gracie.
Hank: Which – Neal Cassady?
Pigpen: Jack. And so one night after everybody played there, we went over to this party in San Jose, and there was this incredible silver guitar, right, National steel guitar; and everybody had a whack at it, you know, to see what they could do with it. Okay, now later, Jorma went to the east coast and was carrying it, and it fell off a motorcycle, and it got a couple of dents in it.
Hank: The BMW?
Pigpen: I don’t know what motorcycle it was.
Hank: The one in that picture, maybe.
Pigpen: Possibly. Anyway, Jorma was on the east coast with this guitar, it fell off the motorcycle and got some dents in it; and then years later when we were living on Ashbury Street, who should show up but Jack Casady and say, ‘That’s Jorma’s guitar! Where’d you get it?’ I said, ‘Well, Curly-Headed Jim sold it to me.’ [Everybody laughs.] And he had gotten it from somebody else, and somebody else… [“Curly Jim” was Jim Staralow – ed.]
Hank: He ripped it off from the Airplane somewhere.
Pigpen: No, that was a long time before the Airplane was really hittin’ it.
Hank: It was hanging around in some basement somewhere.
Pigpen: Some guy had it, Curlyhead Jim bought it, brought it over to me and said, ‘Wanna buy it?’ I said, ‘Well, okay,’ then a few days later, a week or so later, Casady comes over, comes into my room and sees the guitar and says, ‘What? That’s Jorma’s old guitar!’ It was the same guitar that I had played for the first time in San Jose years before.
Bobby: Page – make a note to find out the name of that coffeehouse… [Page Browning? – ed.]
Pigpen: What the hell was the name of it… 
Bobby: You can find out from Foster, if we can find him.
Pigpen: Oh, that was right during the period that I perpetrated an incredible farce. Yeah, I convinced everybody that me and Judy [Pence] was married. [Laughter.]
Bobby: Why?
Pigpen: I just did it; I scored a ring and […] and I just told everybody that we had just got hitched – ha ha, and everybody went for it!
Hank: Everybody, who’s everybody?
Pigpen: Oh, the guys down there, you know – who’s that guy, Paul…
Bobby: Mittig?
Pigpen: No, that other guy Paul - used to play 12-string guitar, Bob Dylan style, harmonica…
Bobby: I know who you mean, yeah.
Hank: Did Jerry know you were running with Jorma Kaukonen in those days?
Pigpen: I had known Jerry for longer, you know, for like –
Hank: Did Jerry know Jorma?
Pigpen: Yeah.
Hank: So you all ran around together, then.
Bobby: We didn’t run around, really, but sort of –
Pigpen: But we knew each other, we didn’t –
Hank: In those days, if you’d have said, ‘Jerry Garcia says hello,’ Jorma would’ve known who you were talking about?
Pigpen & Bobby: Yeah.
Hank: All right. That’s all I want to know.
Pigpen: Well see like, Jerry was down there too, and Jerry was into blues, and I was there, and Pete Albin and Rod Albin –
Hank: Pete Albin and Rod Albin were hanging around down there?
Pigpen: No, the Boar’s Head. San Carlos.
Hank: San Carlos, I know, but…Pete Albin and Rod – that’s right, Rod Albin had a bluegrass group and he could play fiddle.
Pigpen & Bobby: Right.
Hank: Psych major, see – but I knew him because he was a psych major – I knew there was a folk scene going on ‘cause they used to do gigs in the Gallery Lounge, he used to play fiddle, and I don’t know what else, he had a trio usually, a guitarist, used to sing really down-home screamin’ bluegrass music.
Pigpen: He had a song about George and the IRT or something like that, that was real good.
Bobby: Wasn’t that a Kingston Trio song?
Pigpen: It was a takeoff on the Kingston Trio.
Bobby: Oh, that one, yeah.
Pigpen: And George is there, and he doesn’t have his lunch, and every time the train comes by, you know, somebody tries to hand him his lunch or something. Quietly he gets off and then he gets back on again, and tries to get in, and (sings) ‘da-da-da-da, […], the conductor shut the door on him and cut poor George in half.’ [Laughter.]
Hank: The thing that impressed me about Rod Albin so much was that he really looked the part, you know. He looked like a [cat] from the Ozarks, right out of the Smoky Mountains.
Pigpen: He was really concave.
Hank: Oh yeah, very thin and gaunt, but he had to have about a 150 IQ or something, see.
Pigpen: Oh, the cat was no dummy, that’s for sure.
Hank: Dummy? This guy was brilliant, you know, and he and I were sort of the only hippies in the psych department. Maybe one or two other people were really into psych. And he and I used to sit around and rap, we never rapped about psychology, you know, ‘cause that was just something we were doing, it had no interest to me, but we were always interested in each other, and Rod would always turn me on to his trip – he used to have a ‘52 Studebaker with a painting on the front with a blade, a propellor. [Laughter.] He was a far-out cat, he always used to wear a black overcoat, see, long black overcoat, looked like something out of R. Crumb.
Pigpen: You know, he’s still in charge of a pair of French paratrooper boots –
Bobby: Yours?
Pigpen: Mine.
Bobby: Liberated from Pigpen, heh!
Pigpen: And I left them at his house when he used to live on Divisadero Street.
Bobby: You’ve gotta find him, man, you really gotta find that cat –
Hank: …you left it at his house before 1090 Page –
Pigpen: Before 1090 Page.
Hank: That’s when he was just starting at San Francisco State… He’s always had a run of old ladies, too – Rod Albin, as homely as he is, had some knockout old ladies hanging around all the time, which always used to terrify me ‘cause –
Bobby: [Rod was] a heavy guy.
Hank: He was a very heavy cat, that’s like looking back ten years ago.
Bobby: You think back about some of these freaks…
Hank: Bobby and I realized there were only about 500 of us to begin with, and it was inevitable that we would all meet. [??: Here we are.] Right. And since Bobby and I are writers, it was inevitable that we would write something about it, and you would play some music about it, somebody else would, you know, do some computer programming about it, [and everything]. But you know like Bill Graham, for instance – we realized, we remembered that Bill Graham was one of the people that was in the Mime Troupe originally, all that shit came out of the – there’s a cat [in] Herb Caen’s column today, Alan Duskin, who put up a lot of money for the Mime Troupe originally [Possibly Alvin Duskin – ed.] – did you know anything about that scene, were you in on that Mime Troupe thing at all?
Bobby: Phil did things with the Mime Troupe a long time ago.
Pigpen: He […] the Tape Music Center.
Bobby: Yeah, right, we got that in there.
Pigpen: Steve Reich – but I wasn’t in on it quite then, because Phil had been in –
Hank: When did you first meet Phil? Tell me that.
Pigpen: When did I first meet Phil? I met him at the Chateau. I never got to know him – I mean, the first time I really met him and really started to know him was at Sue Swanson’s parents’ house when he was working for the post office in San Francisco –
Bobby: Oh yeah, okay, you guys [were playing].
Pigpen: It was practice on the cabana…
Hank: You got a little mixed up there, ‘cause Phil wasn’t working for the post office then.
Pigpen: He had just quit.
Hank: He split the post office, he was living on Baker Street with Ruth Pakhala, but that was after Dana Morgan.
Pigpen: No, it wasn’t Dana Morgan’s, it was Guitars Unlimited. […] still living in the city at that time, because when him and Stubby, and I think –  [‘Stubby’ was Paul Stubbins. – ed.]
Bobby: Me, and him – 
Pigpen: And you – [Both referring to Hank.]
Hank: I brought you all –
Bobby: And Jane – [Petersen – ed.]
Pigpen: - walked into Magoo’s. And Dana was still playing bass at the time. […]
Bobby: And Ruth and Skip were with us – we brought a whole contingent! And they left with us […] –
Hank: And I had a bag of [--] acid in sugarcubes, in a paper bag –
Bobby: We all took acid and went and saw you guys and we all went to Jerry’s after, remember?
Hank: That was the night that Jerry couldn’t figure out where we were ‘cause he hadn’t taken acid yet.
Bobby: Yeah, he’d taken acid, but remember he said that night that he would never take acid and play.
Hank: Oh, lots of luck.
Pigpen: That was where Ju– that was right about the time that Eric Thompson was married to…
Bobby: Julie? Not married, he wasn’t married then.
Hank (very excited): Eric Thompson! That’s the guy, man, Eric Thompson!
Pigpen: What about him? We talked about him last night.
Hank: I got her name right here, man – Connie was his old lady’s name, Connie.
Pigpen & Bobby: Connie? No, Connie was Swanson’s friend, but that wasn’t Eric’s –
Hank: Who was the guy that she – okay, who was the guy that [cut] up with Connie?
Bobby: I don’t know.
Pigpen: Oh, who’s that chick –
Hank: Connie’s still around, huh, she comes around.
Pigpen: Judy inherited some money – her and [Nettie] were living together, and Judy inherited some money and she broke this guy’s jaw in a gym or whatever, she bought him a Peterbilt tractor when she inherited the money, and then –
Hank: He’s a trucker now somewhere.
Pigpen: He’s been – last I heard he was, like you know, doin’ jobs, hire himself out – […] So Eric was living with [Nettie], I think – don’t remember exactly – but it was over on Forest – no, one of those other streets, it was like Kingsley or one of those –
Hank: What was the name of the house, when I first came up to Palo Alto, just after the Magoo’s gig – it was just behind the post office, you could walk out on the front porch and see the back of the post office.
Bobby: That was Waverley Street. The big old funny-looking house?
Pigpen: Gray house on the corner?
Hank: No, that was later.
Bobby: Oh, Hamilton Street?
Hank: Hamilton Street. Small pad, relatively small, one floor, no upstairs –
Bobby: Had a barn in the back? Oh no, that’s not –
Hank: All that was in back was a garage. And it was just a little pad, and Willy Legate I think lived in the front room.
Pigpen: Oh, that was on Ramona Street.
All: Ramona Street!
Pigpen: Yeah, with a green door –
Bobby: Yeah, lots of people lived in there – Cully lived in there, too.
Hank: It was just a one-floor house, it wasn’t a Victorian.
Pigpen: And in the back there was a little driveway, a little garage, it had a little apartment in the back where Bill – was it Bill Shuman?
Bobby: Yeah, Bill Shuman, right, the guy with the red beard – he’s still living on [Skyline].
Hank: That’s the place where I first came and crashed. And then Ruth and Phil were living on High Street, and then I moved in with them, and then the way Ruth got rid of me was to fuck Phil so loud that it scared me.
Bobby: Oh you know man, that’s just the way she fucked, you know!
Hank: That was [put on] to get rid of me – no, I’m hip to that too, but she did it extra loud to scare me out. Do you remember, I was sleeping –
Bobby: Oh, well, it doesn’t scare me. [Laughter.] Didn’t scare me!
Hank: Ruth knew what to do.
Pigpen: That was when Page had that clunky old 1956 Mercury convertible –
[??]: Right, the car from hell!
Pigpen: - that thing was a goddamn deathtrap –
[Everyone talks at once about the car.]
Pigpen: It was that clunky old Mercury convertible. And you could turn the steering wheel like three and a half turns before the wheels would move.
Bobby: I remember one night, H and I and Laird, we were up at… [Interrupted by inaudible little exchange.] 
Hank: Me and Page and Laird, anyway, we shot some acid, and we drove, Page drove us over Highway 17 to Palo Alto in that car.
Bobby: From Aptos?
Hank: From Aptos, from my house way up the mountain on acid. [Bobby?: Oh, good grief.] And that was an experience, my friends. [Laughter.] And that was my first psychedelic experience too, mind you now.
Pigpen: Hey you know, what was that time that we went down to shoot down at [Short Lakes] – Larry’s?
Bobby & Hank: Larry [Koskela’s].
Hank: Yeah, that was recently.
Bobby: That’s where I was living, that gray house.
Pigpen: Do you remember coming back that night, it was so foggy? [All: Yeah.] It was so foggy that I was just, oh boy. Two miles an hour […]
[Everyone mumbles.]
Bobby: Anyway, yeah, the guy that I’m trying to think of – we talked about it last –
Hank: Where’d you first meet Neal Cassady?
Bobby: Oh yeah, Cassady – when did Cassady first come to Kesey’s, do you know? When did I first meet him?
Hank: No, when did Pigpen first meet Neal Cassady.
Pigpen: Oh, good grief... I don’t know – a long time ago. Neal was around –
Bobby: I first met Neal –
Hank: What is your first impression that comes to your mind when I say Neal Cassady, that you think of?
Pigpen: Beautiful.
Hank: But you were impressed by the guy?
Pigpen: I thought he was kind of nuts, and then I got to know him better, and –
Hank: He is nuts, (that goes without saying.)
Pigpen: - he’s still nuts, but he kind of got me, you know like, hey wait a minute, what’s this guy up to?
Hank: He’s got a method to his madness.
Pigpen: Until I talked to him, and got to know him and got to love him, and got into him more.
Hank: Where was that, was that the Chateau?
Bobby: No, Neal was in the joint then. He was doing time for dope in San Quentin. [Cassady was released from San Quentin in 1960, and met Kesey in 1962. – ed.]
Pigpen: I think one of the major times that I was with him was at the Trips Festival, Longshoreman’s Hall.
Bobby: Well see now Neal, if my memory serves me correctly –
Pigpen: And also the Watts acid test – the original acid test in, where was it, down in Santa Cruz –
Bobby: San Jose – oh yeah, Babbs’s place.
Hank: In Babbs’s house in Soquel.
Pigpen: Babbs’s, right. And then the next one was at Big Nig’s in San Jose. And then Portland was so far out – that was really great.
Hank: We figured out – Phil and I figured out there were actually eleven acid tests. That make sense?
Bobby: Okay now Neal, see, I first met Neal in about, well, when I was going – in 1961, I was at a party at Bob Stock’s house – you know Bob Stock the poet, he used to work at the bagel shop in the Beach? That was that whole ‘nother North Beach literary scene thing, you know, with Robin Blaser, and […], McClure –
Hank: Robin Blaser and McClure – magazine called the Under… [Blaser and Michael McClure were San Francisco poets - ed.]
Bobby: Yeah, right, […], that whole trip. And then Neal –
Hank: […]
Bobby: And then Neal went to the joint, and he got out of the joint while I was in the joint, and then I met him right after I got out of the joint, which would be early ’64, again, in another whole scene, at [Austin Keith’s] house in Palo Alto. [Pigpen: ...?] No, it was on Ramona Street, but on the other side of the university, by where Jerry used to live.
Pigpen: Over by […]. Well like, I remember one time, on the way to the Portland acid test, we all got in the bus.
Hank: It was icy on the road, right?
Pigpen: We roared up, you know, he was heading for Portland in the bus.
Hank: This is Further, the bus?
Bobby: Yeah – THE bus.
Pigpen: Our bus, everybody’s bus.
Hank: Neal was driving.
Pigpen: Neal was driving and he was rapping in the microphone like he always does, you know, [giving sights] and all. [Laughter.] Going through the tollgate, you should’ve seen them toll-takers look at us […] And so we went up, and up by Maxwell, California, we burned out a back wheel bearing and had to stop at a gas station, we were stuck there for nearly 24 hours.
Bobby: Maxwell was stuck with you for 24 hours! [Laughter.]
Hank: […]?
Pigpen: It was not a very big town, it was sort of on the outskirts a little bit, you know, but the guys at the gas station, shit, they didn’t know what to say.
Hank: How’d you get a bearing – did you happen to have a bearing for it?
Bobby: […] – go ahead.
Pigpen: What happened was, we were trying to get some kind of back end bearing for the bus and fix it and enough equipment to lift it up to fix it and all that shit – didn’t work. So during that time we were waiting there, we took a couple electrical cords and threw them out the windows and plugged ‘em into this outlet they had on the side of the gas station, and turned on the tape recorders and the guitars and you know, the whole thing, and you know, did the whole shtick. And so finally we decided it wouldn’t work, it would take too long, we had to get there, the bus couldn’t get fixed – so we rented a truck.
Bobby: Yeah, I remember this –
Pigpen: One of these big Avis or Hertz trucks with the big box on the back. And it had like a slide thing that came out the back end like so you could slide it out, it turns into a ramp, so you can load things into the truck. So we put everybody and all the equipment and everything inside the truck –
Bobby: In a blizzard.
Pigpen: Well no, it wasn’t a blizzard yet. And we had a generator, and we tied that to the back of the slide, we left the slide sticking out a few feet and tied that to the back, turned on the power, rigged up lights on the inside of the box on the back of the truck, rigged an intercom system between the cab and the back –
Hank: All in one day?
Pigpen: All in a few hours, and took off – 
Bobby: Yeah, oh yeah. They were amazing. You should have seen those cats mobilize, man, it was one of the most fantastic things to watch in the world.
Hank: These cats are amazing, efficient! […]
Bobby: Fuck yeah, because everything is pure chaos, man, you know, and bang, and it’s done, you know.
Pigpen: Then you have workable chaos.
Bobby: Portable chaos! [Laughter.]
Hank: Chaos with control […]
Bobby: Oh shit yeah, on the hoof.
Pigpen: So we split from the gas station and continued our journey to Portland, leaving the bus there.
Hank: With some freaks.
Pigpen: No, just left it – we took everything out, there’s nothing anybody could steal, and the bus wouldn’t move... [Laughter.] And so we started heading up, we got up by Redding and then we were heading up through Grants Pass, up by […], and there was a blizzard, and I was sitting up in the front with Neal, who was driving; and we had this big speaker in the front so we could rap back and forth with the guys in the back, who were cramped up like sardines in the back, with all [the equipment] and everything.
Hank: [Phil told me about this.]
Bobby: Yeah, there are tapes of this too, I think, parts of it.
Pigpen: I bet.
Bobby: Yeah, Kesey’s got a bunch of stuff.
Pigpen: Anne Murphy was – [Laughter.] She was sittin’ in the middle. [Cassady’s girlfriend – ed.]
Bobby: She was through Oregon when I was up there.
Pigpen: Oh yeah?
Bobby: She’s down here in LA, I think, somewhere.
Pigpen: She was sitting between me and Neal, and I had my feet up on the speaker; and so here we were, roarin’ up through this, you know, winding mountain road with like snowdrifts eight or ten feet high on the sides, you know, and icy roads and blizzards and all that stuff, and Neal was there with, like you know, one hand on the bottle of wine and the other hand poppin’ speed and the other hand’s playing with Anne and the other hand talkin’ [to everyone] and the other hand driving this truck, and you know…on and on! And there I was, man – ‘Aah, give me some of that wine, quick!’ And it was a good trip, we finally got to Portland, and found the place and went in and it was still snowing, and we went in there and set things up, and I spent quite a bit of time in a cloakroom, sleeping on the floor with about nine other people, you know, flopped. And then they kicked us out at 12:00. […] with Walt [Sands] and Randy [M--]. And Walt had that green Cadillac, about ’53 or ‘4 Cadillac, something like that, and we got lost, and they said –
Hank: This was in Portland?
Pigpen: Yeah. And there’s this guy – I still can’t remember his name – it took me about, I’d say 12 hours to remember his name, he was the guy that had a place for us to stay, […] I think his name was, or something like that. So finally we drove around Portland forever, and I was supposed to go to this place called [Gotham City]. [Probably the Gotham Building in north Portland – ed.] And [--] we get there, you know, we drive around, drive around, finally come back to the hall and there’s a bar on the corner, and it just opened up, and I was just still rackin’ my brain on this guy’s name. I finally get it, call him up, and he says, ‘Go to Gotham City,’ and gives me directions; we get lost eight or nine times, you know, end up at Gotham City, which is like a burned-out maternity hospital, is what it used to be – this big brick building, you know, with no windows and everything, it was a big [people pile] – and so I finally get there, you know, about 6 in the morning – ‘Pshew, far out, I gotta fall out,’ so I break out my sleeping bag and put a couple of tables together and lay down on ‘em, and like 15 minutes later or something: ‘Okay you guys, time to go!’ Oops. You know, I put on my sleeping bag, get in it, I immediately get out of it, roll it up –
Bobby: And go to San Francisco.
Hank: Who said it’s time to go?
Pigpen: I don’t know who said it was time to go, but it was time to leave, it was time to drive back.
Hank: The acid test was over.
Bobby: And you had just gotten there.
Pigpen: Yeah, and I’d been up all night.
Hank: Who was playing – was Phil and those people up there playing in this building –
Bobby & Pigpen: No, they were all sleeping somewhere else.
Hank: This is the party [--].
Bobby: This was another scene, yeah, it was just a [--].
Hank: How long did you stay up in Portland that time, three or four days?
Bobby & Pigpen: Two days, yeah.
Hank: Then when you came back, was the bus ready by then?
Pigpen: Well we finally got back – I rode back in Walt’s Cadillac with a couple other guys, and Jerry was there I think, and who’s that chick…anyway, some people. We got back to the gas station at Maxwell finally, to get the bus, stopped, and they tried to put us under arrest because there was a police car that was parked next to the bus, and he’d gotten his radio stolen [Laughter], and they accused us of stealing the radio; and we said, ‘Hey wait a minute, we ain’t been here for two or three days, what are you talkin’?’ you know. […]
[The tape ends.]

Hank: Question is, what was the most memorable musical gig that you ever played? […]
Pigpen: The most memorable musical –
Hank: Yeah, whatever turned you on the most.
Pigpen: Millions of ‘em.
Hank: Well, list them in some kind of, you know, A,B,C order, or if you can, like the top three [Bobby: That’s impossible.] – or in any order, list me the top three. Can you do that? Three or four, or five?
Pigpen: Do you mean, like –
Bobby: Well, in any terms, you know…
Hank: You tell me, then I’ll ask you what turned you on about […]
Pigpen: Well, there’s a few cities that I can remember, but not necessarily musically, hee hee. [Laughter.]
Bobby: See, that’s pretty much all afterwards though, man. I mean those kind of gigs where you guys really got to playing.
Hank: No – in the early days, like when the Warlocks were playing the acid tests – of all the acid tests, Watts, you said, was the most turn-on for you, right? Musically.
Pigpen: Yeah, it was about the weirdest – well, not musically.
Hank: You were the only one who wasn’t stoned on acid there, for one thing.
Pigpen: That’s right.
Hank: And that must’ve been very [--], just a question of [--] acid […]
Bobby: How about the […]? [Laughter.] 
Hank: ‘Cause people [--] psychology – you know I mean, from a shrink’s point of view, that’s very – like from a Hindu’s point of view, or a yoga’s point of view, it would be very interesting to see the difference between you standing there [and singing] juiced a little bit, but not smashed out [--] on acid – [??: ...] Well, still, [see all these freaks] going around you, you know, he wasn’t juicing that much in those days.
Bobby: Oh, yeah? [Pigpen: Yeah…]
Hank: No he wasn’t, ‘cause I was with him, I know […].
Pigpen: Now the Watts acid test was I think one of the weirder ones – the most bizarre. By the time that Bear got all his stuff set up, and everything was, you know, halfway working, it was like one in the morning or something like that [--] started. And so we finally [--] to play – we played, you know, for a while, so [--] then we got into kind of a gospel thing, I was doing a gospel rap, you know, just by myself, everybody was gettin’ into it, [some kind of rhythmic way], and then, there was this chick in the other room, and it was like this old kind of beat-up [--] garage – you know, it was really funky, covered with dust… [2/12/66 (see tracks 6-9) – ed.]
Hank: Was this before the Watts riot? [August 1965 – ed.]
Bobby: Yeah.
Pigpen: Which one?
Hank: The one that burned Watts down. The big Watts riot, the famous one, where Dick Gregory got his knees shot and all that shit.
Bobby: That’s before the Watts riot…
Pigpen: Uh, let me think…
Bobby: See, the Watts riot was ’65, and this was ‘sixty…well, that was about the same time.
Hank: That’s what I’m asking, was it just a few weeks before –
Bobby: It was before, though, it was in the spring, early spring or late –
Hank: Just a few months before the Watts riot, right?
Bobby: Yeah, it was before the Watts riot.
Pigpen: I think so, [I know] we came back to the city and did some stuff, then we moved down [--] Watts later, when we were down there in that big pink house on Third.
Bobby: The one that the lady said, that lived next door to you, was like it had a freight train going through your house 90 miles an hour all the time! [Laughter.]
Pigpen: Yeah, that’s the one. One time we would – Anyway, when the Bear finally got his system set up finally so it worked, we got into kind of a gospel thing [and that], but there’s this chick in the other room, and Babbs and all the Pranksters up in a little control room had a tape loop going, and she was freakin’ out on acid because of this big –
Hank? [whispering]: You never […]?
Pigpen: - like a big, what was it, big plastic garbage can full of punch, which was loaded with acid, and so she was freakin’ out and she was [saying] ‘Who cares? Who cares?’ and stuff like that, and somebody took a microphone into the other room and it went through the tape loop, so everything she said echoed back at her, and she got weirder and weirder and weirder.
Hank: Do you remember – you telling us about that when I started running LSD rescue [--]? That girl – I used that technique on kids – [Bobby: That’s far-out, man.] – on bad trips, and it works, you reverse that technique, you de-loop it, ‘cause they get into these loops, see, and it’s a very common thing, and when you told me about that, I had just had [--] – you remember Mary?
Pigpen: Mary who?
Hank: Mary, the girl Mary, the chick that we were both [--] at one time.  The chick you met at San Francisco State.
Pigpen: Mary Corot?
Hank: Mary Corot.
Pigpen: Oh, yeah.
Hank: Have you seen her at all lately?
Pigpen: No.
Hank: Mary Corot – you told me that at Mary Corot’s pad, she was living with a girl named Ginny Good who I also used to [look after].
Pigpen: Ginny? Yeah, I was sort of looking after her myself.
Hank: Oh, well we don’t have time to talk about it right now – [Laughter]
Bobby: The sex life […] is something else!
Hank: That’s a whole other case and a half! But Ginny Good finally freaked out on me and flushed her diamond ring down the toilet and ran off in the snow in her bare feet and all that shit, I don’t know where she is now, her dad was in Boulder Creek; but Mary Corot – you were at Mary Corot’s house one day and I walked in, we were sitting around rappin’, and I was running LSD rescue thing, and that particular story about the girl with the loop thing, is one of the things that turned me on to a technique for helping these kids on the telephone, ‘cause a telephone’s a [--] loop, telephone talkin’ to you, see, and I got into that thing, and it was very – I didn’t tell you at the time, ‘cause I didn’t flash it til after I got home, that that would be a good trip, but you remember telling me that?
Pigpen: Yeah, I told you about the chick […]
Hank: Now, in addition to that, I also got the flash that that scared the shit out of you, in regards to acid – made you think that acid was kind of weird shit.
Pigpen & Bobby: It is weird shit.
Hank: […] established that […]
Bobby: It is indeed weird shit.
[A girl comes in.]
Hank & Bobby: Hi.
Pigpen: Welcome to interview city.
Bobby: But Watts acid test – see, I can see – I wasn’t down there for that, but there was a bunch of people, all those LA people, you know, Parks and all those freaks, Hugh Romney, and you know, that, see – [Pigpen: Them guys, yeah.] – who eventually became with the Hog Farm, right, were into that shit, ‘cause I remember I heard feedback from that from other channels.
Pigpen: Well you know, when the thing was finally over, it was like eight in the morning, you know, it had already gotten light, and everybody was just sort of hangin’ out wondering what to do.
Bobby: And Foster was in jail.  [Paul Foster, a Prankster – ed.]
Pigpen: Well, Foster was [out there] – the cops were there, man, there was cops all over the place.
Hank: They didn’t drink any [--], did they?
Pigpen: Oh, I don’t think they did, but I don’t know. But they were all over.
Bobby: That was fun, too, man, because like –
Pigpen: Walking around, you know, seeing what was happening. And so finally –
Bobby: Yeah, and they hadn’t the vaguest idea what was happening. That was so beautiful, that was one of the most beautiful thing about the acid tests.
Hank: [--] and I were conducting [--].
Bobby: And those cats were completely mystified, man.
Pigpen: Yeah well, listen, you know how –
Bobby: They had to know something was – we were up to no good, right?
Pigpen & Bobby: But they didn’t know what it was.
Hank: You know something’s happening, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?
Pigpen: Right, and like Foster was acting really stoned, and he was acting weird, but they couldn’t figure out quite why, so they busted him for being drunk and disorderly. [Laughter.] And he got out, you know, soon after […] sure, ha, take a blood test, [he passed, not a bit of alcohol]. And so after that, after everything was over, we went up to the Watts Tower, over by the [--]
Hank: Simon Rodia. [Built the Watts Towers – ed.]
Bobby: Me and Simon Rodia! [Laughter.]
Hank: You know – Bobby? Bobby?
Bobby: What?
Hank: Do you remember Don McCaslin, who we’re gonna see tomorrow? He and I and a bunch of other freaks made a film called ‘Watts Flowers,’ a tribute to Simon Rodia, it’s a 27-minute color film, you’re gonna see it tomorrow.
Bobby: Oh yeah, you did, didn’t you?
Hank: Yeah, 16-millimeter color film, in the wheelchair, the cat sat in a wheelchair, went around the Towers –
Bobby: Simon? Oh, [--].
Hank: It’s a beautiful – no, Simon’s been dead for –
Bobby: Yeah, I know – not too long –  [Died July 1965 – ed.]
Hank [to Pigpen]: Anyway, go ahead – so you went to Watts Towers.
Pigpen: We went to Watts Towers, yeah, [over] the railroad tracks, by the [--], and we couldn’t get in, because the –
Hank: City monument.
Pigpen: Yeah, they turned it into a thing where, you know, you gotta pay fifty cents or whatever, a quarter, to get in to see it.
Hank: [You can] see it from [--].
Pigpen: And the caretaker wasn’t there, so we just [--] wandered around, you know –
Bobby: And looked at it.
Pigpen: And it just got weirder and weirder – we were just walking around […] – and the people in the neighborhood were wondering, ‘What’s this?’ – you know, this weird-looking bus and two or three funky cars and a bunch of freaks wandering around, ‘What’s going on?’ We left […] and no trouble happened, but we could see people sort of peeking out their windows, you know, walking around, giving us weird looks…
Hank: I have access to that film, there’s only three copies of it extant – we’ll bring it up someday, if we can show it – if you want to see it, you could, it’s a far-out film – it was in the San Francisco film festival… But the reason I asked about that, you know, you were gonna say also about some trips that were happening on the way back down from the Portland acid test – you were in the car with Jerry –
Pigpen: On the way back down, yeah – well, it was pretty weird.
Hank: The police radio was stolen.
Pigpen: Yeah, but that was when we got to Maxwell; coming back between Portland and, you know, down out of the hills, ‘cross the border and all that, Walt was pretty weird, and the car was like, you know, doing a see-saw, and crossed the road all the time –
Hank: Still snowing, too, wasn’t it?
Pigpen: Yeah, it wasn’t icy, I mean, the pass was just re-opened –
Hank: But see, Phil told me about that too, you know – evidently the Avis truck that you rented was also rather wobbly on the way up, as far as being in the back.
Pigpen: That was wobbly all over.
Bobby: Oh yeah.
Hank: Phil was in the back, right?
Pigpen: Going up to Portland? Yeah, I was in the back for a while, then I was in the cab, you know, we changed around –
Bobby: [Laurie] has a famous tale about tending the generator.
Pigpen: Oh, the generator, it was – oh boy.
Bobby: It was precariously hanging off the back of the truck –
Pigpen: Right, going ‘grrrr’ all the time.
Hank: You mean, you had this generator plugged in, [peeled] up and running, to run the lights –
Bobby: Oh yeah, right, and all the speakers –
Pigpen: - on the back of the truck, just hanging there –
Hank: This provided the juice for the trip, and the intercom and the lights –
Pigpen: - and the amplifiers –
Bobby: All of it, yeah – tape recorders, everything.
Pigpen: And the generator was going ‘grrrr’ all the time.
Bobby: Was there movies taken of that?
Pigpen: Oh shit, it was too cold.
Bobby: Oh, it was cold, yeah. I don’t think they could’ve taken any movies on the inside. But there were movies taken of Maxwell, I know, the breakdown and that –
Pigpen: Yeah, there’s also –
Bobby: There’s footage of that, I know that for a fact, ‘cause I’ve seen some.
Pigpen: Yeah, [--] a couple, nice little pictures on the bottom of the […]
Bobby: Those guys up there in Oregon, man, have a wealth of shit –
Hank: Ginny Good went on the bus too.
Pigpen: Did she?
Hank: Yeah, I was driving her down to Boulder Creek one day, and we were going past La Honda, and she said, ‘Stop here, I wanna get out,’ and I said ‘Why?’ and she says, ‘Over there, I love the [--].’ [Laughter.] Fueled up at the Standard station at La Honda on the corner, you know – that’s the first time I ever saw it. I had seen it once in Davenport, fueling up, in Davenport one day –
Bobby: Yeah, I saw it in Berkeley one day.
Hank: But I didn’t know what the hell it was, see, ‘cause I wasn’t hanging with you people.
Pigpen: It was a bus.
Hank: I knew that, I didn’t know what [species] it was.
Bobby: Oh, I knew what it was – I had seen them working on it down there, you know, but I was just driving along the street in Berkeley one day, and all of a sudden right in front of me, coming across the street, was this bus, you know, Neal at the wheel – [Laughter.] […] That’s the first time I ever saw it on the road – the effect was devastating, man, just seeing it on the road… 
Hank: Ginny Good got off and got on. And I said, ‘Don’t you want to go down to Boulder Creek?’ ‘Nope, I wanna leave.’ And then she got on the bus, and with the [--] they all tried to hit on her, you know – and she didn’t want to ball anybody on the bus, see. But they dosed her on acid, [Barney …]. 
Pigpen: Oh, boy!
Bobby: Might know [Barney] had his hand in that, huh? 
Hank: But you see what happened, [Barney] wasn’t there in La Honda, they went up to the city and got [Barney]… Anyways – all of this is totally unimportant. However, there were a lot of gigs that took place, the time of 1965 to ’67, when you were playing either as an anonymous group, or the unrecorded Grateful Dead, which is a period of a lot of gigs –
Pigpen: You mean like the In Room?
Hank: The interim – no, the In Room was the Warlocks, this is after the Warlocks, when you were the house band for the original Fillmore.
Bobby: After the acid tests – yeah, you’re talking about Olompali time and that, and Lagunitas and 710, that’s all.
Hank: Yeah – but were there any musical trips in that period that [turned you on a lot]?
Pigpen: Mm.
Bobby: Oh, lots of those I think, that was a good period.
Hank: Well, I want to hear Pigpen.
Pigpen: There was one time when we tried ‘There Is Something On Your Mind’ at the original Fillmore, [with the] recitation [...] 
Bobby: Yeah, that’s the one I was talking about, the rap part, yeah.
Pigpen: [You know, it was a fun song to do] […] [Mumbling.]
Bobby: […]
Hank: Do you remember a later experience at Rio Nido or up the Russian River somewhere, in an outside pavilion or a pavilion that was open-sided, where you were playing a gig and nobody would dance, and you got down and tried to get everybody to dance?  [9/3/67 – ed.]
Pigpen: Oh, that was that one with the funky kind of rickety floor, at Rio Nido – yeah, I remember that.
Hank: All the kids were real square, and you tried to get everybody to dance and they’d never heard that particular music before and –
Pigpen: Yeah, I jumped off the stage and started to mess around with people. [Bobby: Boogieing.]
Hank: That was all on tape, that tape’s floatin’ around too.
Pigpen: Yeah?
Hank: A lot of those tapes [of Rio Nido] –
Bobby: Well, Bob Nelson’s movie was taken up there too, wasn’t it? ["Grateful Dead" - ed.]
Hank: Right, with […]. 
Bobby: Well, and the water scene.
Hank: With the canoe and the boat?
Bobby: Yeah.
Pigpen: [--] the canoe on the beach – that took so long; we’d all get in the canoe with the paddles, right, and he’d clip one frame or so, and then yell, and we’d get out and move the canoe forward a couple of feet and get back in it, with the paddle, it would look like we’re paddling madly down this rocky beach. [Laughter.] And Barney comes roaring out on his bike going around –
Bobby: That was an Angel bike, wasn’t it?
Pigpen: …the chopper that he had…he had so much [--] on that – when we were up there, he’d go out in the morning and –
Hank: Nelson finally cut the chopper part out.
Pigpen: I wish he wouldn’t have.
Hank: I know, but Barney wished he wouldn’t have either, but Nelson did.
Pigpen: But like Barney would come out there in the morning, you know, […], and he’d get on his bike and start it up, you know, clunk down on the seat, and all of a sudden that thing would short out and it would catch on fire. The way he had the wires from the battery and generator going were like right underneath the seat of the bike, and every time he’d clunk down, sat on the [--] it would just short the wires out. [Laughter.] And he’d go off –
Bobby: Poor Barney. [Laird Grant, who was nicknamed Barney. – ed.]
Hank: Do you remember “The Great Blondino”? – speaking of Bob Nelson.
Pigpen & Bobby: Yeah.
Hank: How did that go down, ‘cause that was in that period too, that was before you were recorded. [“The Great Blondino” was filmed in 1966, released April 1967. – ed.]
Pigpen: [I remember …] –
Bobby: Hey man, do you know where Lew Welch is?
Pigpen: Who? Lew Welch?
Bobby: He’s the poet that was in that movie, the guy that looked like the [seedy horse player] in the movie.
Hank: What movie?
Bobby: “The Great Blondino”! Lew Welch was in it. You know who I mean –
Hank: I do know who you mean.
Pigpen: I don’t even know –
Bobby: I think he’s out – he lives in Marin here somewhere.
Hank: [Illuminations, one and two, that poetry…]? Cedar Alley. [The Stanford cinema where the film premiered. – ed.]
Bobby: Yeah, he was a friend of Snyder and all those people, yeah. [Gary Snyder, another San Francisco poet. - ed.]
Hank: Anyway, do you remember making the soundtrack to that film? For “The Great Blondino?”
Bobby: Yeah, you did.
Hank: Do you remember making the soundtrack to that film, or was that just taken from tapes?
Pigpen: It was just taken from stuff, as far as I know, I mean –  [The soundtrack remains unknown. – ed.]
Hank: Okay, do you remember making the soundtrack to “Your Sons and Daughters” with Jon Hendricks?
Bobby: Yeah.
Hank: What kind of a thing was that?
Pigpen: It was easy.
Bobby: That was good too, huh – he’s a good guy.
Hank: That was recorded in Sausalito, right?
Pigpen: It was recorded at [Trident].
Hank: [Trident] Studios.
Pigpen: In San Francisco.
Bobby: Yeah, a little place. [Columbus Recorders was owned by Trident Productions. – ed.]
Bobby: The little place, that’s what I call it – ‘cause it was a really [truly] little place.
Pigpen: Jon was really a marvelous dude to work with – I mean. he knows what he’s doing and he’s not pushy but he –
Bobby: Is he here?
Pigpen: I don’t know where Jon is, I haven’t seen him for –
Bobby: - a long time.
Hank: Well, I’ll tell you a very brief story –
Pigpen: ‘Sons and Daughters,’ though – I liked that song.
Bobby: It’s a good movie, too.
Hank: It’s also a very far-out movie. Seen the movie? [Released April 1967 – ed.]
Pigpen: I haven’t seen it.
Bobby: It’s a good movie.
Hank: Yeah, it’s very far-out. Can I say one Charlie Parker story about that, that might stimulate […]. When I saw it – it was showing at San Francisco State, and that’s the first time that I’d known you were involved with the film, but at the same time, Lambert Hendricks & Bavan were playing, you know, doing a gig at [Barney Conrad’s] on Broadway, and I was going with a chick who was a straight-A chronology hooker – chronology major who was also a hooker, that was living up in Chinatown – no, in Japantown. Okay, the point was that we used to hang around Jimbo’s Bop City –
Pigpen & Bobby: Ohhh… [Bop City closed in 1965. – ed.]
Hank: And Jimbo’s Bop City was an afterhours hooker joint in 1963, ‘4, and 1965, and I was –
Bobby: Yeah, we know all about Jimbo’s. ’54 and ’55, too.
Hank: Yeah, I know that too, but I mean when I was there. And here’s the story – Dave Lambert was going with this girl // [Tape cut.] // double date [with] Dave Lambert. Now, I got them a car to go up to Seattle, because they had a gig to do in Seattle, and at the time I was running around with these automobiles that I had – I had hundreds of automobiles – I was working for a company that transported automobiles around from auctions and from used car lots and [all that], and so I got him a car. Now what happened was, about two years later, he was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike changing a tire, and he stuck his ass out in the road and got his pelvis knocked off.
Bobby: Got killed, yeah.
Hank: He died – Dave Lambert. And what I was wondering was if you knew if Jon Hendricks – if this was before or after Dave died. [Lambert died October 3, 1966; the Dead recorded with Hendricks later that month. Lambert Hendricks & Bavan had disbanded in 1964. – ed.]
Bobby: Funny how you hook [it] all up, because like when I was in New York in ’61 and ‘2, no, ’62 and ‘3 – we went from Seattle to New York with a guy named Don Ross who was Nina Simone’s ex-old man, and when we got to New York we stayed with this cat and […], but he was making it with Yolande Bavan, and we went –
Hank: Which pissed Jon Hendricks off.
Bobby: No, well yeah, but that was when they first got together, when Annie Ross first left that group and Yolande joined. [1962 – ed.]
Pigpen: Well she got kicked out, didn’t she?
Hank: No, she just overdosed once too often…
Bobby: Right, but she went to England to get free dope, you know – so like anyway, I remember going with Yolande Bavan and Don Ross and this cat who was a carnival pitchman – Don Ross and this guy were carnie pitchmen, that’s what they were. And we went to the United Nations to some sort of a fuckin’ reception, man, that Yolande, you know I mean, she got us in, you know – and we were just a bunch of hungry freaks, didn’t have any bread, and we went and [scoffed] and got drunk, you know and –
Hank: She was Ceylonese.
Bobby: Yeah, well she had some kind of connection with the political […] ‘cause there’s a whole underground in the United Nations in New York for office workers and shit, you know, that do weird things, you know, […]  
Hank: Which is probably why the Birchers […].
Bobby: Well sure, it’s obviously a communist plot, you know! //
[Tape cut.]
Bobby: Everybody knows everybody. That’s really getting amazing – you know, the more I go into this, the more I can see it. It’s strange, you know, where we all got hooked up, you know – yeah, ‘cause like going through all that was Steve Reich, and it ends up at Max’s old lady and Steve Reich’s old lady. Well like I say, the sex life –
Hank: Max who? [Bixby]?
Bobby: Yeah – Steve’s old lady became Max’s old lady –  and now she’s no longer.
Hank (singing): Your old lady, my old lady too.
Bobby: Yeah, right. Well the sex life of this whole thing is really and truly incredible, you know…
Hank: Anyway, the hookups that we found out at the College of San Mateo yesterday were out of sight – we went up there and dug in the files and came up with pictures of Phil running for vice president of the College of San Mateo.
Bobby: Yeah, the student body vice president with a crewcut.
Hank: See that one?
Bobby: Well, we showed them to you last night.
Hank: Did we show you that picture of Phil as the vice president –
Bobby: Yeah, we showed them to him last night.
Pigpen: Oh, yeah.
Hank: So the weird thing is, we were at the College of San Mateo yesterday afternoon, at 1:00 we left campus, and we get over to Marin, and there’s three freaks from the College of San Mateo in the office, the Grateful Dead’s office, […], as envoys from Dick Crest with tickets for Phil and whoever else wants to come along, you know like, gave us free tickets, […], to go down to CSM jazz band concert tomorrow night. Now how far out is that for a coincidence? I mean that was the same day. We thought Dick Crest was dead, but it was Bud Young that died.  [Crest & Young led the jazz band at CSM when Phil went there. – ed.]
Bobby: I can see man, that we’re gonna have –
Hank: Did you know those people, Tom, at all?
[Tom]: No.
Bobby: I can see, though, like we’re getting a lot of stuff from like later, but I’d like to get earlier man, you know like I said, […] Novakovich and that kind of stuff, because that was when it was all happenin’, man.
Hank: Well, Pig –
Bobby: ‘Cause everybody came in the same place at the same time, man.
Hank: You went to high school at a rich high school, right – did you go to Cubberley or Palo Alto high school?
Bobby: He went to Palo Alto high school.
Hank: Joan Baez went to school there.
Pigpen: Yeah, I know.
Hank: And you told me about two weeks ago, you told me that you used to have to go home [in] East Palo Alto.
Pigpen: No, [not at home] –
Bobby: You lived in Menlo Park, though, didn’t you?
Pigpen: No, I lived in regular Palo Alto, like right on – a couple blocks from the freeway.
Hank: …you were talking about the social status [problem], the transition [--].
Pigpen: No, that was in Menlo Park, in elementary school.
Bobby: Yeah, that’s different.
Hank: I want to hear about that.
Pigpen: ‘Cause I had to go across the tracks to go to school, ‘cause I was living in a street –
Hank: Literally?
Pigpen: Yeah, literally – I’d walk across the railroad tracks. I was living on a street that didn’t have no sidewalks, you know, and all that shit, and funky houses and all that, and I had to actually walk across the tracks down by the [hobos’ jungle] and then go through the rich neighborhood over to get to school. And so, you know, that’s where that [--] –
Hank: So essentially, the core of the Grateful Dead is half-poor, half-rich.
Bobby: Not really.
Pigpen: No, I wouldn’t say that. I don’t think any of us has had that [--]
Bobby: It’s just your sons and daughters, man, that’s all, you know – because yeah, you know, like it’s all –
Hank: Well, Weir is not what you’d call a poor kid.
Pigpen: No, that’s true. He’s had [--] –
Bobby: Well okay yeah, but Phil ain’t what you’d call a rich kid, but he ain’t a poor kid either, you know, and neither am I, you know – like I was never really hungry, man, until I got out and chose to be hungry, right? Really.
Hank: [--] folks are fairly well off.
Pigpen: Oh, yes, quite.
Bobby: Who?
Hank: Sue Swanson’s people are well off.
Bobby: Yeah, and Bill’s.
Hank: Bill’s folks are attorneys, sure – of course, Bill was working when I first met him at Stanford research center.
Pigpen: Yeah, he was doing […] –
Bobby: But that’s a point man, ‘cause none of us ever – I know I never got hungry really ‘til I chose to be; I mean I didn’t choose to be hungry, but I chose to go out there and meet whatever it was that was out there, you know.
Pigpen: And a lot of times it was getting hungry.
Bobby: And hungry was what it was, yeah. [Laughter.] So it ain’t that half and half, it’s like your sons and daughters, you know, whatever.
Pigpen: It’s sort of like [--], you know, like sometimes I’d come home and, ‘Rats, ain’t nothing to eat.’ I mean it was never a hassle, you know – nobody just got enough groceries.
Bobby?: […]
Hank: There was no snacks hanging around – a lot of caviar and pate […]
Pigpen: Eat three-day old hamburger and spaghetti – that’s what’s around.
[End of tape.]

From Hank Harrison’s book “The Dead”:

May, 1970, at his parents’ house in Palo Alto, the Interview:

HH: Okay, so tell me about the early days in Palo Alto. How did you meet Garcia and Phil and Bob Weir?
PIG: Well, I was hanging around the Chateau, around 1962, give or take a century, and we started to drink some wine once in a while – Ripple wine – then we graduated to Hombre and Thunderbird, Golden Spur…man, that stuff was horrid.
HH: So now you’re a gourmet on cheap wines, right?
PIG: Yep, I can tell you everything about the worst rotgut around. Joe was big on Bali Hai and I was big on Hombre…me and David X and Lester Hellum drank that Hombre. [Printed “Lester Helums” in the book – ed.] Lester Hellum was a saxophone player. We called him Yellow Kid Wild, and Two Dabs was another guy named Angel. We called him Two Dabs because he was bald…used to wear a wig…you know, “a little dab’ll do ya.” But this guy had to have at least two dabs.
At the Chateau we would answer the phone, “Chain Three” because there were three threes in a row in the number…that’s how weird we were on wine. I even saw Danny Barnett at Winterland…he’s in the drum business. He played at hoots and jams at the Chateau in 1962.
HH: What were those like?
PIG: It was the first real heavy commune I was ever in. Didn’t even know each other yet. Garcia just got out of the Army – no, actually he was still at the Presidio some of the time… Hunter and a bunch of people, and Sue Mayberry with big tits, and she was a friend of Donna Dowser who Phil got into a weird under-age scene with. I think something about her father getting the heat on him for corrupting his daughter and he really was innocent.
HH: That was during the Boar’s Head days, right?
PIG: Rod Albin and Peter had a club in San Mateo [actually San Carlos – ed.] somehow tied into the Jewish Community Center or something, with George the Beast, George Howell. See, John Winter and I have the same birthday – September 8, 1945 – so we would go to the Boar’s Head and play, and a lot of people did get through that little club, but Perry Lane was where the action really was.
HH: No, Homer Lane was where our action was. Perry Lane is where Kesey and the older people lived.
PIG: I used to go over there when Roy Seburn was livin’ in the barn next door. [Seburn was a Prankster. – ed.] That was a fun trip…total parties all the time. Roy used to make some kind of white wine and put grape juice in it, and Novakovich and I got off on it. Paul Mittig was hanging out and even Troy Weidenheimer came by…he ran Dana Morgan’s store.
HH: Did you know Troy well?
PIG: Sure, I was in a band with him. We had a band called the Zodiacs…I was sixteen. The Zodiacs were playing beer-drinkin’ fraternity parties at Stanford, and Troy played lead, his old lady Sherry [Huddleston] played rhythm, Garcia would occasionally sit in on Fender bass, and Ron Ogborn would play bass and drum, and I’d sing and play harmonica. This was before Off-Stage and the Tangent…more than a year.
HH: What year?
PIG: I don’t know. Give me a slide rule. In those days, we were living at the Chateau and playing these weird amorphous gigs. Then after the Zodiacs, we started into the jug band and that consisted of Garcia and Hunter and me and Bob Matthews in some capacity, and Dave Parker on washboard…he was married to a chick named Nancy then…it was an offshoot of all our friends.
But the Zodiacs played really wet gigs, man. Sure, we played Searsville Lake and they’d rent the men’s dressing room and we’d play in there with the showers and benches; and we met these three black guys and we’d play for these weird frat house parties and stuff, and the leader of the black guys was named Don Dee Great! And that would bring in R&B, and they changed their name to Dr. Don and the Interns. We played Playland, Roberts at the Beach…they’d do Coasters tunes, and we’d back them. Tents in San Jose fairgrounds… Troy got the gigs, he was the leader. In those days the leader got the gigs. Each of us would make twenty bucks per gig. But it ain’t worth havin’ to contend with two hundred football players. At one Stanford party, some fullback named Charlie hung by his ankles and fell from a rafter on his head, and it didn’t even faze him. Then, they filled a plastic raft with water and put it in the pool and all two hundred people got in with their clothes on and the water overflooded, and we got electrocuted. They thought we were strange long-haired freaks…
HH: What tunes did you do?
PIG: ‘Searchin’,’ ‘Walking the Dog,’ ‘Sen-Sa-Shun,’ ‘San-Ho-Zay’ (a Freddie King guitar instrumental), Jimmy Reed tunes. We played Gert Chiarito’s Midnight Special show on KPFA. Me and Jerry did one too. I played harmonica and Jerry played guitar. The scene was totally uncool and we were really hanging around waiting for something hot to happen…it did, eventually, because we stuck to our vision…or maybe we were just bored…I don’t know. That was in 1963.
HH: Yeah, I realize how boring it can be. For the last ten years, I’ve been trying to mix art with science, but all I can come up with is magic.
PIG: Hey, man, music is magic. I never took no acid, but I knew that.

Thanks to jgmf.blogspot.com


  1. This hour-long tape presented many problems in transcribing. Pigpen sat far from the microphone and was hard to hear; he tended to talk fast and mumble in sentence fragments, and sometimes the others talked over him; and often two people are talking at once. So I couldn’t pick up everything, and there are many little gaps in this transcript, especially proper names (there were many names I couldn’t make out).
    This is about as complete as I can make it - I omitted some repeated sentences and false starts, and a lot of “you knows” & “yeahs.” (Petersen in particular constantly backs up everything Pigpen says with a chorus of "yeah! right!" which I left out.) [Words in brackets] are uncertain or implied. A lot of corrections could still be made to the text here.
    The three speakers weren't alone - at least one other guy was in the room, and a silent girl comes in midway, but rarely is anyone else heard.

    Hank wrote in his intro to The Dead Book: In 1968 "I decided to write a book about my friends... In the fall of 1969, I saw the Altamont crisis on television and called Phil Lesh in Fairfax. I would live with the Dead in Marin and write the book."
    He seems to have pursued it intermittently in 1970-71, eventually publishing the first installment on his own in 1973. The spring 1970 date for this tape seems correct.

    Hank could be a pushy interviewer, often pressing for little details to get the story straight. It seems he was doing thorough research for his book, interviewing people and even digging up Phil's student records. I hadn't known that Bobby Petersen was helping him with the research, but Petersen was very enthusiastic about it - perhaps initially they were going to be co-authors.
    As an interview, this is a near-disaster. It turns from an interview into a three-way conversation where the others do most of the talking and keep digressing - we learn much about the interviewers, little about the Dead. Petersen keeps interrupting Pigpen & talking over him, answering Hank’s questions for him. (When Pigpen does tell an extended story, about the Watts acid test, the others interrupt him so frequently with their own random stories, it's almost comic.)

    One inevitable shortcoming is that since the interviewers both spent a lot of time with the Dead, they pass right over some topics as shared knowledge, and instead mostly talk about various friends they know. It's remarkable that both of them had gone with Phil to see the Warlocks at Magoo's, for instance, but the reminiscing about that night is soon cut short. A lot of time is spent with really inconsequential anecdotes and gossip, or trying to remember what happened when and who was where. (No one recalls dates very well.)
    So usually the most interesting information here tends to be in asides, or just briefly brought up before someone jumps in with a new topic.

    Hank & Bobby seem to have a good idea of what they're going for - Hank particularly wants to know when Pigpen first met everyone, and what shows stood out for him. Petersen wants to get into the early pre-Dead days, especially the Chateau era: "I’d like to get earlier...Novakovich and that kind of stuff, because that was when it was all happenin’... Those cats ought to really be mentioned strong, man - you know, David X and Lester and those guys, because they told us something."
    However, after all the digressions we end up not hearing any Joe Novakovich stories at all except that he gave Pigpen a harmonica! (Hank wrote a little bit about him in The Dead Book; he was still hanging out with the Dead at Olompali.) So we don't learn much about the Chateau days here, except from the piece printed in The Dead.

  2. This tape isn't complete - there must have been more Pigpen interview material I haven’t heard. The interview printed in The Dead Book evidently comes from another tape. (Hank may have tampered with Pigpen's quotes a bit, but it mostly sounds like the authentic Pigpen, full of names and random details.)
    The new book This Is All A Dream We Dreamed also has a short Pigpen quote on the Dead's LA visit, which is also said to come from a May 1970 Harrison tape:
    "We moved into the place in LA and started trying to promote our band. Which worked okay, except the cops ordered us to take down the posters off the telephone poles we nailed them to." (p.38)
    So more might come to light someday.

    Some interview highlights:
    - The night Phil and his friends went to Magoo's, all high on acid. Garcia "said that night that he would never take acid and play." (This was months before the Acid Tests, and Garcia was still new to acid.)
    - Pigpen's response to Neal Cassady. They talk about Neal in the present tense, even though he'd been dead for two years. (Bobby also mentions seeing the bus Further on the road for the first time, with "Neal at the wheel...the effect was devastating.")
    - Pigpen's long story about going up to the Portland Acid Test and back. He doesn't say a word about the actual Acid Test, just the road trip! (But he does say a lot about the Watts Acid Test, the "who cares?" lady and his "gospel rap.") Bobby mentions that the Pranksters were recording on the road - "there are tapes of this," "there were movies taken...there's footage," "those guys up there in Oregon have a wealth of shit."
    - Pigpen has a fond memory of 'Something On Your Mind' at the "original Fillmore" in '66 (Bobby also remembers "the rap part"), and Hank asks about the Rio Nido '67 gig. More surprisingly, Hank has heard the Rio Nido tape, and implies that there are more tapes around before Bobby cuts him off...so Dead 'family' members were listening to these tapes even that early. (Probably more than survives today.)
    - Hank asks about "The Great Blondino" soundtrack, which Pigpen doesn't seem to remember. Unfortunately, the film is still unavailable so I don't know what the Dead did for the soundtrack. Pigpen has a much clearer memory of doing "Your Sons and Daughters" with Jon Hendricks in '66 (he liked the song, too).

    1. The 4/17/67 issue of the Stanford Daily had a review of "The Great Blondino":
      “Drone music is provided by Moving Van Walters and his Truck. The Grateful Dead, who have title if not talent, also get in on the act.”

      Wheeler Dixon wrote about the film in his book “The Exploding Eye”: “A drone-like musical soundtrack by the group Moving Van Walters and His Truck accompanies the dreamlike footage… Nelson’s Super Spead (1967) is a 13-minute multi-screen light-show film, with an original soundtrack performed by the Grateful Dead.” (The Exploding Eye: A Re-Visionary History of 1960s American Experimental Cinema, p.131)

      It's hard to say whether these soundtracks will ever come to light. See the comments here:

  3. Happy news! With the help of another Dead scholar I'll be able to transcribe the other Pigpen/Hank Harrison tape, which I'll post next.

    1. Here's some stuff about Hank and Pigpen and Ginny Good from a book called "Ginny Good." G.




      Thanks. G.

  4. A very fine interview indeed,...........Thanks!

  5. Very minor footnote: Pigpen mentions a comic song that Rod Albin used to sing about George and the IRT: "the conductor shut the door on him and cut poor George in half."
    This was 'Georgie and the IRT,' a parody of the Carter Family's 'Engine 143' which was on Dave van Ronk's 1961 album "Van Ronk Sings."