Feb 16, 2016

A Stoned Radio Rap, 1970

From a partial tape of an unknown radio show, thought to be from 1970. 
Featuring Jerry Garcia, Sam Cutler, and another member of the Dead's team, thought to be Robert Hunter. 
The tape was heavily edited, edits noted by //. 
Words or phrases I'm uncertain about are [in brackets], or if I couldn't make them out, [ ... ]. 

Hunter: [imitating stage announcer] …‘Let’s hear it for the Grateful Dead! Ladies and gentlemen, the Grateful Dead! And there they be, man, the Grateful Dead!’ [ … ] – except you stopped doing it at the point when whenever you do it, they continue tuning for fifteen minutes.
Garcia: Right! [Laughter.] //

DJ: …to me, why it seemed to me that it would be interesting to do this kind of interview which I’m doing, is an interview about what is an interview – like what is more immediate in an interview than an interview, it’s like when you’re hitting a hammer with a nail, there’s a physics of the hammer and the nail, and there’s a physics of interview; and I wouldn’t listen to any interview which is questions and answers, [ … ] Today we were doing this interview, and the guy said, “[noises],” and we’d go, “[noises],” and then the telephone would ring and some guy would go, “[noises].”
Cutler: [Just interview like that], you see – you’re not the Grateful Dead unless you get on – like, the only time I ever really think of you as a musician, this is really true man, is when I see you and all those other guys I know get up there, man, and do it – and then, right, you’re the opposite. [Voices: Right.] But that’s why interviewing you about the Grateful Dead is, in a sense, a bit of an absurdity. //

Cutler: How much do you feel when you’re playing, or just when you’re living generally, that you’re being, you know, how much do you feel that you freely associate, and how much do you feel that what happens to you is, you know, in every sense, the result of outside –
DJ: How much do you feel that you fit in the [ … ], as well?  //
Garcia: Well, that’s an interesting question. If I could tell you how it was, I wouldn’t need to play. //

Garcia: …Now, participation in a grand adventure, I mean that’s something that we have constructed for ourselves to do as a [problem] in this life.
Hunter: [talking fast, rambling]  I want to run down something on that, we’ve called you Charybdis and we had no problem about that, there was also, we were in the realm – Charybdis is the maelstrom, where you think it’s totally mixed up and you’re out of the maelstrom, [ … ], Ulysses… [trails off] Circe, who turns men into pigs; [like we’ve] at any time in the last couple years, anytime we wanted to put out like a record album or just sell one zillion copies and be just the hardest old driving rock ‘n’ roll record ever possible like that, and we’d just clean up and step back – anytime that this is open to us if we feel like doing that nonsense, then that seriously changes the men into pigs. Now the thing that we’re sitting on right now, we’ve been into like for about a year or two, is the sirens – like there’s something over there calling – it’s fame, the “I am” that’s gonna [become] somewhere, the individual being – we’re sailing past that and we’re almost clear of it, I’d say in another six months we are clear of it; it’s the trip of strapping yourself to the mast, so that you can’t… Give yourself one thing you won’t do, ‘okay, man, I’m not gonna pursue fortune or fame.’ But in between times comes something like an interview – an interview seems to be pursuing fame, cause people are gonna hear it. ‘No, we can’t do that!’ All right, if we’re gonna do an interview, then we gonna get down and do something or anything like that, but nothing open-ended, if you…oh, I don’t know what’s the next thing he runs into, I think it’s the one-eyed monster – what’s his name…Cyclops.
[Garcia keeps interjecting comments in the background during this speech, which I can't make out.]
Garcia: No, as a matter of fact, it has to do with the danger of the sirens, and the danger of the sirens is that everyone goes [“poof” noise] crazy.
Hunter: Yeah, and energy disperses and you run off –
Garcia: The next thing that we’re looking to avoid is energy dispersal. //

Cutler: Forgetting about rock & roll music and all that stuff, cause every one [of] you musicians rap about it, outside of that, rock & roll music, what would you see as a contributory factor to that general okayness, as it were, of your situation? What things have made, you know, you dig what I mean? What made you come in, as it were, as impulses [coming in]?
Garcia: I would say the thing of having polar referral points around in the form of other humans, thus other universes. Well, the thing that happens is that if you find yourself going out on a limb, or your universe is getting warpy, or something like that, if there are enough more or less clear people around who are conscientiously looking to keep everybody straight, it’s like impossible to deviate for too long before somebody tells you about it.
Cutler: That’s right, the instant vocal comic response.
Garcia: Exactly.
Hunter: Right, and at the same time there’s an impulse on the individual’s part in this situation to rise to the point where he who can tell him about it can no longer affect him. And that’s a part of the game, to see if you can ace out as well as ace in. [Garcia: Mm-hmm.] Yeah, because if you don’t do that, then there’s no power generated in [ … ] – in what you’re doing.  // 

Hunter: Writing a song about writing songs – one of the hangups that a songwriter can get into is [that his] experience after a while, [becomes] successful especially, is that he can – his experience becomes being a successful songwriter, then he can get into writing songs about writing songs about writing songs, [sniffs] and uh – Oh, man, I had the bossest idea there, and then I started into it and that was the analogy and I gave the analogy rather than the idea.
Cutler: What was the idea?
Garcia: He forgot.
Hunter: Money is almost the crux of the whole situation – if you can, like you do in the airport, let’s say give that guy twenty dollars cause he said that somebody ripped his money off; I wouldn’t – I might have done it if he hit on me, I don’t know, there’s a quality to the ability to give away money which is analogous to the qualities you give away like whatever you can give away in music, or anything like that, it’s the ability to actually give it away rather than saving it man, sitting on it – it’s a quality.
Cutler: It’s just a tool, right, another tool that you use. [Garcia: Right.]
Hunter: But it’s a symbol, and it’s got a number on it, 1, 5, 20, 3… [Cutler: Yeah, you’re right.]  And if you can give away your symbols, you can give away anything that can refer to those symbols.
Garcia: All those symbols have…[he has trouble talking]…referral points, kind of like – I mean, that is to say that it works temporarily, so like in giving somebody money yesterday, I passed along the money that somebody gave me ten years ago. [Cutler: Right.] You know, I’m passing along the good fortune, you know, insofar as – or whatever, I don’t think that everything that has come to me one way or another, that it’s up to me to stop it at that point.
Hunter: It’s the other side of shoplifting. [Garcia: Yeah.]
Cutler: Do you see yourself kind of as a redistributor of…
Garcia: Why not – I also see being ripped off as being that also. The thing that, one time when we got off the road and I came back home and everything in the house was gone.
Cutler: What, someone had broken in and stolen –
Garcia: Yeah, right, everything, and then, you know, I realized, I mean – that’s when I realized that sure, that’s what happens, you accumulate a certain amount of stuff and [ … ].
Cutler: After you reach a certain point –
Garcia: So why not implement that, since it’s only – I mean, it’s not really going anywhere, it all stays in this universe.
Hunter: It almost seems that you can, if you get enough money, like if you don’t have much, if you have 20 dollars a week then you know, one dollar’s precious, if you have 200, then 20 is – ohh… [trails off] You can actually do it, man, you can actually take money and put it in places and it can free energy rather than taking it and putting it in another person’s insisting energy.
Cutler: Well to me, you know, the thing that I’ve always valued about money, which of course I still value, is that money… [mumbles]
Garcia: Tastes good – ooh, yummy money, mmm! 
Cutler: It equals mobility, man, you know, and mobility nowadays without money is a very difficult thing, but with bread, especially for us, right, we can do things like have people in Miami and San Francisco and Chicago and in New York, and within 24 hours we can all get together, anywhere we like. That’s far out.
Garcia: That’s true, but it isn’t the money that makes that possible, it’s our willingness to do it. I mean, the thing is that it’s a problem that we have solved, and the way we’ve solved it is to use the tools that are available to us, which in this instance is money. [Cutler: Right.] And it’s like had we no money, I’m certain that we would have solved that problem, I’ve seen it done. The trip without a ticket, where Rock and Emmett and all those people went to England – they didn’t have any money, and still they did it. [Cutler: Right; yeah.] You know, and I think that fundamentally, that all action comes from the will to act, rather than the availability of tools and so forth, I think that the will thing is the thing that happens. You see, the way I see it, the uh…[long pause]…the whole ghetto scene could make itself happen, you know what I mean? But it keeps getting blocked off at its energy sources – it keeps getting blocked off at its energy sources. Motown, the Motown record company in Detroit, could have put the ghetto together. [Lady: Right.] It could have done it. [Hunter: It was a ripoff.] They took the money and spent it on big fucking houses and cars and you know. They could have made a fucking new town out of it, had they been really into it, you know. I know that’s so, man, because just the Grateful Dead alone, man, around the Bay Area, generates enough income – and we’re not that successful a band, nowhere near as successful as Motown – we’ve generated enough income to keep a lot of people going. [Cutler: And doing a lot of things.] And it all has to do with – it’s not a question of how much money there is, or how much energy flow there is, it’s a question of moving around real fast. And if the Motown people had just spent their bread in the ghetto, it could happen – it could happen. [Hunter: talks, cut off.] But it’s gonna take the people to make it happen there. And at this point, all that frustration, the riot-style frustration, the ghetto frustration, the incredible bleakness and oppressive quality of life, is now – that’s like the prime target for all the standard revolutionary political trips happening, which are all Marxism and stuff like that, they’re all old models. Marxism is an old model, it has to do with old England.  //

Hunter: But I mean, technology means you’ve got to have an awful lot of heads in the same place.
Garcia: I think that an awful lot of heads are in the same place. I think that cooperation is a natural human thing.
Hunter: Oh man, you know like we got a spaceship to the moon, and no one person could – knows how it was done; I doubt there’s a person on the face of the earth that knows all how it was done – but one guy knows how to make those rockets fire right on time, another guy knows how to just jack that charge up so it’s gonna blow.
Irish Lady: What’s been laid on us [ … ] is that we don’t naturally cooperate, this has been laid on us from the time we were kids. (At least there’s no proof for it.)
Garcia: I know, and that’s why – let’s start calling that lie by its name, let’s start saying that is a lie, that’s a misconception that we’ve been falsely living under, and we don’t really need it. What we need to know is the things that are beneficially useful or positive, we don’t need to be constantly throwing out negative charge, because all those things that we’ve learned are all – what they all were originally is, ‘Get the kids off the streets.’ How do you get ‘em off the streets, well let’s have schools, and in the schools we’ll teach ‘em how to behave and teach ‘em the proper way to think so that when they get out of the schools we’ll have little deprived people [Cutler: Drones.] who work here, and that’s what we’ve all been sold. //

Garcia: Living is not a question of freedom, it’s a question of understanding the larger interaction and the larger thing that’s happening – it has to do with responsibility, not freedom. Freedom doesn’t contain responsibility the way that’s been conceptualized. And I think that word is misleading, I think that the concept is misleading.
Hunter: The only survival form is the one that takes freedom and for no reason under the sun, no good reason, takes responsibility, uh… Like, I take responsibility for you just because, like to see you go down, it would probably bug me more than it would to see me go down.
Garcia: And vice versa. [Hunter: Yeah.] And we are responsible to each other, and for each other.
Cutler: Well that’s because for our own survival we find that ‘each other’ seems to work.
Garcia: And survival is the key. [Cutler: Is where it’s at, right.] Survival is what life is about, man, life wants to continue to survive and to continue to live, and as the conscious representatives of life on this planet, that we know about, we’re trying to decide to survive, and how do we do it, why here’s a way, okay. [Cutler: Right.] 
Hunter: Corn survives.
Garcia: It’s got its way, too.
Hunter: Yeah, corn survives because it’s good for people to eat, and so we cultivate it. [Garcia: Right.] 
Cutler: Do you ever hope to add dimensions to the quality of people’s survival?
Garcia: Sure, but I would first – I think that the initial, major material [problem] is still survival. [Cutler: Feeding the belly, right.] Right, it hasn’t been done, it hasn’t been done – there’s people starving everywhere – and that’s the first priority probably. [Hunter: Yeah, we got a heavy responsibility.] …pro-life, you know, for a long life, otherwise we don’t have a chance, the game will play itself out in ten years.
Hunter: People have already starved – like, who could have been okay and worked out. [Garcia: That’s true.] There’s a responsibility for each one of those. 
Cutler: Yeah, but you see you could could look at it like this… [people talking over each other] …ten thousand dollar sound system, right.
Garcia: …when it all could have been easy four hundred years ago, you know, when everything was much more manageable and containable, but now, at this point now, it’s like this is the result – what we’re living in now is the result of inactivity or misled individuals in the past, or, you know, weird motives and so forth, you know.
Hunter: I don’t know if, like, if you could come down and say that anybody ever did it wrong.
Garcia: And like the classic example that we can all relate to real easily is Altamont, is a classic example of a mistake.
Cutler: Right, the golden red herring.
Garcia: Exactly, it’s a mistake which we all approached.
Hunter: Whose mistake [ … ].
Garcia: It was everybody’s mistake that was there to have it clearly illustrated for them how large of a mistake it was.
Hunter: What was the mistake there?
Garcia: I’m not sure, man, it might have been youthful folly, you know, lack of complete responsibility concerning all the things, unwise use of power, any number of things, black magic – [Cutler: I think – yeah, right.] – there’s a million possibilities of what could have been wrong. Probably for everybody there, there was something vague could conceivably -
Hunter: It might be like laying high voltage power lines without adequately shielding them, you know – there has to be a first time, ‘oh, we can’t do this again.’ [Garcia: Right, right.] But what it was that we did – 
Cutler: But it’s interesting that from the mistake –
Garcia: I don’t think it’s so much a question of what we did as to avoid anything that comes on looking like that in the future, [Cutler: Right.] and it took a lesson that palpable to learn it, and it’s like my whole [ … ] has been a series of those kind of recognitions.
Cutler: Don’t murder me, I beg of you. [Garcia: Right.]  //

Hunter: People are afraid of the Hell’s Angels, I guess, because Hell’s Angels are [freedom], or if you deserve to have your head bashed in, well I’m not gonna do it. The Hell’s Angel would come along, and you deserve to have your head bashed in, then there’s your head bashed in.
Garcia: Karma soldier. [Laughter.]
Hunter: And if you don’t deserve to have your head bashed in, you wouldn’t even understand that the Hell’s Angel is the sort of person who’d bash your head in. [Garcia: Right, exactly.] Except, somehow –
Garcia: Except there’s always the possibility that you’d get your head bashed in when you’re walking amongst head-bashers. [Cutler: Right, whoever you are.] It becomes a question of respect, on one level, and dealing with Hell’s Angels, I always thought of it as having tigers on the streets.
DJ: Is there some that are [ … ]?
Everyone: No.
Hunter: Hell’s Angels are Robin Hood, man, as far as I can see, I had a flash… Hell’s Angels are Robin Hood, and like the people who’ve all read Robin Hood think, ‘oh, that great old Robin Hood,’ like that…they don’t understand that Robin Hood was a Hell’s Angel, and they can’t take in the Hell’s Angels, but they could dig Howard Pyle’s version or Walt Disney’s version of Robin Hood as being, ‘good, those guys are good.’
Cutler: Right. That’s very far out, we know [a] person, in the one club that we know, who’s, I mean, by any definition a really far out person, he’s a trapeze artist – [Garcia: An amazing leader.] – I mean, a great leader of men.
Garcia: And they’ve got a form that works – [Cutler: Right.] I thought of them as being one of the old brotherhoods, like in the Gateless Gate –
Hunter: Yeah, they’ve been there from time immemorial, there’ve always been Hell’s Angels.
Garcia: Samurai warriors. //



  1. If it isn't clear from reading this how stoned they all were, it's certainly clear from hearing it - there's lots of coughing, and they frequently have trouble talking clearly, stumbling over words or barely forming coherent sentences. (Garcia is noticeably more understandable and composed than the others.)

    I don't know who the third person is - if anyone recognizes the voice, let me know; I'm guessing he's one of the Dead's managers.
    His voice sounds very similar to the DJ's, to the point that I wasn't always sure who was speaking, so some of the "unknowns" could be the DJ again.
    A woman also speaks at one point.

    The station, date and city are unknown - sometime after Altamont; the tape was only labeled 1970. I don't know how much more complete the broadcast was (it had Dead music interspersed with the chat), but this is very cut-up and only part of the whole conversation. Maybe a more complete tape will turn up sometime.

    The transcription faced the usual radio-show problems of a noisy tape, microphone noises, and people talking over each other (who were sometimes barely understandable in the first place). Some of the rapping here is almost gibberish, so I didn't strive for 100% accuracy - a lot of repeated words, false starts, incomplete sentence fragments, and interjections were left out, though this could still be edited more rigorously to make it more readable.

    A few topics of interest come up: the Dead's desire to avoid the sirens of fame & fortune; Garcia's theory of moving money around to sustain a community; the mistake of Altamont; and the qualities of the Hell's Angels.

    At the end Garcia mentions the Gateless Gate - that was a book collection of Chinese Zen koans, which doesn't seem to have any connection to what he's talking about. I think he was probably thinking of some samurai film and misremembered the name. In the Howard Smith interview from early '70, he also compares the Hell's Angels to samurai.

  2. I think one of the guys is Hunter.

    I have actually touched on this one, too: http://jgmf.blogspot.com/2015/07/garcia-cutler-hunter-unidentified-woman.html.

    The trapeze artist referenced at the end is Sandy Alexander, who was president of the Angel's NYC chapter.

    1. Hunter, hmm... I'll correct this when I get a chance.

  3. The next post will be in May... I'm sorry about the long wait, I just haven't had time.