Thursday, March 9, 2017

Album Economics: Skeletons From The Closet (The Lost Door)

The cover of Skeletons From The Closet-The Best of The Grateful Dead, released in February of 1974 on Warner Brothers Records. It is the best-selling Grateful Dead album ever, having certified sales of over 3 million units (Triple Platinum)
Ask anyone--what was the best selling Grateful Dead album of the 1970s? Some may argue for the persistence of Workingman's Dead or American Beauty over the immediate popularity of 1971's Grateful Dead (aka "Skull And Roses"), but it doesn't matter, because none of those were it. The best selling Grateful Dead album was a February, 1974 release on Warner Brothers Records called Skeletons From The Closet-The Best of The Grateful Dead. The album went Triple Platinum, which means that 3 million units were sold. Even In The Dark only went Double Platinum, so Skeletons seems to be the best selling Grateful Dead album of all time. I am not concerned with the final tally, however, notwithstanding I have no reason to believe record company assertions in any case. Rather, I am interested in focusing on the forgotten fact that Skeletons From The Closet was the introduction to the Grateful Dead for a legion of suburban young people who very well may have forgotten it.


The Eagles-Their Greatest Hits (1971-75), released in February 1976 on Asylum Records. It is the best-selling ablum of the 20th century. As of 2009, the RIAA had certified sales of 29 million copies, only behind Thriller. The album didn't even include "Hotel California," which hadn't yet been recorded. The members of The Eagles were not happy it was released, and had no input.
"Best Of" Albums
In the universe of the 1960s music industry, artists didn't have much leverage. One way in which artists were beholden was that they had no direct control of the repackaging of previously released material. If a band had put out a couple of albums and then changed labels, for example, their old label would put together a "new" album of their best known songs as a "Greatest Hits" or "Best Of" (if they had no hits). The "Best Of" album inevitably competed with any newly released material, thus punishing artists for changing labels. 

Even into the 1970s, the Best Of album still had a lot of leverage for record companies. While records-only retailers like Tower Records, Sam Goody's and others were opening stores in major markets, and while hip college towns and downtown neighborhoods had sophisticated independent record stores, the majority of albums were still sold in department stores and the like. They would have a few hundred pop albums, mostly current hits, rather than the thousands of albums at a place like Tower. Particularly out in the suburbs, younger rock music fans had to take what they could find at the music departments of stores like Macy's or Payless. If you liked a group, and a Best Of was the only available album at the store, buying the record was often your only choice.

Truth be told, back in the early '70s, buying a Best Of album might have been your best choice, too. Information about rock albums was surprisingly hard to come by, unless you lived in some college town, read Rolling Stone every week and made a study of it (not that I am referring to anyone in particular). For example, if you somehow heard some Canned Heat on the local FM station and got intrigued, you might not have had a lot of choices at your local JC Penney's record section. If it was 1973, should you buy their current album, One More River To Cross, or Canned Heat Cookbook: The Best Of Canned Heat? Typically, those might be your only two choices, It's easy to say that you should have wanted 1967's Boogie With Canned Heat or 1968's Living The Blues, but you might never see those albums without moving to the big city. The fact was, Canned Heat had changed labels, and One More River To Cross was their first album on Atlantic, and it was pretty weak. All the good stuff was on Liberty, so you were better off with Canned Heat Cookbook.

Wake Of The Flood, released October 1973 on Grateful Dead Records. It was the band's first release, and the current album when Skeletons was released several months later
State Of Play, Grateful Dead 1973
Let's set the stage. In mid-1972, the Grateful Dead were coming to the end of their Warner Brothers contract. The Dead had released three successful albums in a row, and Warners were interested in re-signing them. Columbia (CBS) was also interested, as label head Clive Davis had always been a fan of Jerry Garcia and the Dead. The Dead were an increasingly popular touring act, which meant that any new albums would not be solely dependent on radio airplay for success, although in fact Dead songs like "Uncle John's Band" and "Truckin'" got pretty good airplay on many FM stations. With two major labels bidding for them, the Dead were in a pretty powerful position. Of course, being the Grateful Dead, they chose instead to eschew any major labels and go completely independent. Warner Brothers was stunned, and not happy, either.

The Grateful Dead closed out their obligation to Warners with the triple-live release of Europe '72 in November of 1972, and the peculiar archival release The History Of The Grateful Dead, Vol 1 (Bear's Choice) in March 1973, assembled and produced by Owsley "Bear" Stanley. The strange Bear's Choice album was seemingly designed to insure that any momentum from Europe '72 and incessant touring would not accrue to Warners, since only the most devoted of Deadheads would buy the album. This, too, was par for the course in the early 70s record industry. If a band was leaving a label and owed an album, you just delivered some relatively uncommercial music to spite your old company.

Warners may have thought that there was a last-second chance to re-sign the Dead, but it was not to be. The Grateful Dead released Wake Of The Flood on their own label in October, 1973. Wake wasn't a bad album, and it had some pretty good songs, but the biggest problem for Grateful Dead Records was distribution. The entire subject is too hard to get into here, but the essence of it was that rock fans were mostly young teenagers in the suburbs, and when they went to their local Macy's or Payless, they were going to buy something that was available in the record store. If it wasn't a Grateful Dead album, it might be Shootout At The Fantasy Factory (by Traffic), Close To The Edge (by The Yes) or Brothers And Sisters (by the Allman Brothers) because that's what was in the store. It was all well and good for teenagers in Greenwich Village, Berkeley or Palo Alto to have their own wide, snobby choices, but that was a relatively rare privilege. Most teenage rock fans bought the best available album at whatever time Mom drove them to the store. That was how albums went Gold, and Warners excelled at making sure their albums were in every imaginable outlet, through WEA, their mighty distribution arm.

The back cover of Skeletons From The Closet
Skeletons From The Closet-Grateful Dead (Warner Brothers Records, February 1974)
The Grateful Dead don't really talk about Skeletons From The Closet, but the truth was that they participated in its production. There isn't any doubt, as house engineers Betty Cantor and Bill Wolf were credited as editors. That means that Warner Brothers allowed the Dead to put the album together, subject to Warners' approval of course. This, too, was a common arrangement. Given that Warners was going to put out some kind of Best Of The Grateful Dead album, it made sense to give the Dead at least a little input into the album itself. The hidden hammer was that Warners could spite the band by putting out a bad album, and the Dead would lose out on the potential royalties. There was actually a lot of money riding on the album, and the Dead were sensible enough to participate.

I'm not aware of any interview with Betty about the subject, but it's not hard to figure out the parameters of her participation:

Choose the songs, subject to Warners approval
  • This meant that popular FM songs like "Truckin'," "Uncle John's Band," "Sugar Magnolia," "Casey Jones" and "Friend Of The Devil" were mandatory, or Warners would reject the album. Within reason, the other songs were probably Betty's choice. I have no idea if she consulted with band members
Sequence the album
  • Note that the album is not in time order. "Golden Road" is first, but "Friend Of The Devil" is last.
Possibly some technical input, though not remixing. 
  • Betty may have had some say about making sure the volume levels for each track were in sync, but it appears that nothing was remixed, as it would be too expensive, and arguably inappropriate (since buyers would have wanted the original sound of each track).
If you think about the song choices for the album, Betty's hand can be seen. It's all well and good to say "how could you reduce the nine Grateful Dead albums (with 13 lps) to a single album?" But that is what the 70s record industry did, because it was good business. All of the released material (and actually, the unreleased material) was controlled by the record company. Betty Cantor, on behalf of the Dead, could participate or let some stranger do it. So clearly, the Dead at least wanted their own spoon stirring the pot.

While the five songs mentioned were clearly mandatory, the rest were not. Length had to be a factor, so a 23-minute "Dark Star" was out of the question, however important we think it was. It is plain that the goal was to have a broader spectrum of shorter songs that gave some idea of the Grateful Dead's range, beyond the basic appeal of their "hits." Here is the track list:
  • The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) (Garcia/Lesh/Weir/Kreutzmann/McKernan)
  • Truckin' (Garcia/Lesh/Weir/Hunter) [from American Beauty]
  • Rosemary (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Sugar Magnolia (Weir/Hunter) [from American Beauty]
  • St. Stephen (Garcia/Lesh/Hunter) [from Aoxomoxoa]
  • Uncle John's Band (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Casey Jones (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Mexicali Blues (Weir/Barlow) [from Ace]
  • Turn On Your Love Light (Malone / Scott) [from The Big Ball]
  • One More Saturday Night (Weir) [from Europe '72]
  • Friend Of The Devil (Garcia/Dawson/Hunter)
A few details stand out: 
  • Only Betty Cantor, and perhaps Bob Matthews, would have included "Rosemary" (from Aoxomoxoa) on a Best Of The Grateful Dead album. It's not a bad song, but most Deadheads, myself included, do not recall the melody or the lyrics. Bob and Betty were the engineers on the original recording.
  • The studio "St Stephen" was shorter than the Live/Dead version, even if it wasn't as good
  • The track list includes writing credits for all the existing band members, save Keith and Donna Godchaux, who had none on Warner Brothers. Kreutzmann and Lesh would have got royalties from "The Golden Road" and (in Lesh's case) from "Truckin'" and "St. Stephen." For what turned out to be a triple platinum album, this was no small thing
  • Including a song from Ace insured a writing credit for John Barlow
  • Mickey Hart was not a working member of the Grateful Dead in 1973, so he got no writing credits. Granted, there were few choices, but note that Barlow and Kreutzmann got credits 
  • There were no tracks from Anthem Of The Sun or Grateful Dead {Skull & Roses}
  • The album was sequenced like a mini-concert, with a "Lovelight" rave-up and a "One More Saturday Night" encore, and a soothing "Friend Of The Devil" finale. The point of this was to make the album fun to listen to, since an LP could hardly be put on Shuffle.
John Van Hamersveld's poster for the November 10-11, 1967 concert at Los Angeles' Shrine Expo, featuring Buffalo Springfield/Grateful Dead/Blue Cheer
Cover Art: John Van Hamersveld
Another non-trivial factor in the success of Skeletons From The Closet was the front and back cover art, by poster artist John Van Hamersveld. Album covers were far more influential in selling records back in the 1970s. For one thing, the album needed to catch your eye in the store. For another, albums are big, and people in your dorm room could see what you had. An album with a cool cover was often a talking point, but an anxious teenager would feel that an album with a dumb cover made you look like a dweeb. Many "Best Of" albums, while full of good music, had cheap text or bad pictures on the cover, and they weren't appealing to teenagers who thought that albums were a form of self-expression. But Skeletons had a clever, appropriate cover, the kind that would have been in contention even if the Dead had been picking the cover. It was no accident.

John Van Hamersveld was a legendary psychedelic poster artist. Among many other things, Van Hamersheld had made the iconic movie poster for the 1964 surfing movie Endless Summer, and famous album covers like Magical Mystery Tour and Jefferson Airplane's Crown Of Creation. He had also made the wonderful posters for concerts at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles in 1967 and 1968. He even made one for the Grateful Dead/Buffalo Springfield concerts on November 10-11, 1967 (above). So although Van Hamersveld had been contracted by Warners, he was the sort of artist the Dead would have hired themselves. The front and back covers are excellent, and they insured that Skeletons looked cool in any dorm room record collection, no small thing in 1974.

The Big Ball, a double lp album from Warners featuring 30 different artists, including the Grateful Dead
The Big Ball-Warner Brothers Records (1970)
The one edited track on Skeletons was a shortened version of "Turn Your Lovelight," from Live/Dead, reduced to 6:30 from the 15:30 minute version on the original album. Whether or not you thought an edit was sacrilegious--I thought so at the time--it was a necessity in order to fit onto the album. What was not widely known was that the edited version of "Lovelight" had already been released in 1970, on an interesting Warner Brothers promotional album called The Big Ball. The Big Ball was actually a pretty creative approach to record promotion, and the edited "Lovelight" probably helped spread the sound of the Dead to people who had never heard them. I myself had owned The Big Ball since 1972, and although I had already known about the Dead, I discovered a lot of acts from that album.

In 1958, Warner Brothers Records had been established as the recorded music division of Warner Brothers Pictures. Studio head Jack Warner was not actually interested in the music business, however, so while Warners released some soundtracks and the like, it was considered the most backwards and least creative of the major record labels. In 1963, Warners merged with the failing Reprise Records, which had been Frank Sinatra's label. More importantly, Reprise head Mo Ostin became President of the new Warner/Reprise Records, and Ostin turned out to be far more important than Sinatra.

Under Mo Ostin, Warner Brothers took steps to catch up with the times. When rock music hit Los Angeles hard, Ostin and Warners dived in. One reason that Warners VP Joe Smith could sign the untamed, anti-commercial Grateful Dead in 1966 to Warners was that the label was desperately trying to be hip. Signing the coolest, most anti-establishment band from the hippest rock city was designed to give Warner Brothers industry credibility, not sell records. Warners made a similar move at the end of 1967 when they signed Frank Zappa away from Verve. They even gave Zappa and his manager two labels of their own, Bizarre and Straight. Once again, this was to look cool to other rock bands, rather than a commercial proposition (although in the end it worked out very well for Warners).

By 1970, Warner/Reprise had signed a lot of rock artists, and put out a bunch of records. Some of them were good, and some of them were even successful. Warners, however, like every other label, was pretty much dependent on AM or FM radio to publicize their artists. If records didn't get played, no one heard them. Even when a record was reviewed in Rolling Stone or elsewhere, there was literally no way to hear even one song, unless you heard it on the radio. Every teenage consumer had spent their allowance money on some album by a cool looking band with a great cover, only to hate it from the first note, so we were all cautious about buying albums where we hadn't heard any song at all.

Warner Brothers attempt to break the radio bottleneck was to release a series of double albums that were sold for only $2.00, when a typical double-lp was $5.99 or so. The album had one track by multiple artists on Warner and Reprise, with a little blurb about each one, along with a picture of the album. For a teenage record buyer, this was a very good deal. The first and most famous of these was The Big Ball, released sometime in 1970. I heard the record in 1972, because a friend of my sister's had it, and I got it for one song. However, as a result, I discovered numerous Warners artists, and probably bought albums by them far sooner than I would have otherwise.

The song which caught my attention was from Truckstop, a solo album by Ed Sanders of The Fugs. The song was called "The Iliad," although we called it "Johnny Piss-Off." It would never, ever be played on the radio. Once I got the album, however, I could contemplate the other 29 artists (see the appendix below for the list of tracks). The lp sides were divided thematically: side one was "folk-rock," side 2 was all English bands, side 3 was "singer-songwriters" and side 4 was "freaks." I of course gravitated to side 4. Other than the Sanders track, there were 5 tracks from different artists on Zappa's labels (The GTOs, Captan Beefheart, The Mothers, Pearls Before Swine and Wild Man Fischer) and the shortened version of "Turn On Your Lovelight." In my case, I had already heard the long version, as my sister had Live/Dead, but just as I discovered Captain Beefheart and the Mothers "WPLJ," not to mention "Johnny Piss-off," other fans must have discovered the Dead. Since the track was already edited, Betty Cantor could use it for Skeletons since she wouldn't accrue any additional expenses by having to re-edit.

A framed copy of the RIAA-certified Gold Album for American Beauty

Gold And Platinum
Hundreds of thousands of people saw the Grateful Dead in the 1970s, and even more in the 1980s and 90s. Yet the historical record is skewed by those Grateful Dead fans--Deadheads--who saw the Grateful Dead many times over the decade, and indeed have remained dedicated fans unto this day. I am certainly among that number. Because of the unique scope of Grateful Dead fan devotion and attention, it is commonplace to read an article, blog or discussion group post from someone who first saw the Dead in the 60s and 70s, saw them numerous times thereafter, and paid scrupulous attention each time (this blog is a typical example). In fact, however, the persistent diligence of hardcore Deadheads gives a narrow picture of who actually saw the Dead. Nothing illustrates this more than the fact that Skeletons From The Closet outsold every other Grateful Dead album.

In February of 1974, when Skeletons was released, the rock audience was mostly young. Sure, a few groovy people had been rock fans since the Beatles hit, and maybe they were in their late 20s. But most rock fans were high school and college age. In particular, the booming rock concert market was getting bigger and bigger because more and more people wanted to see popular bands in person. A rational look at the Grateful Dead's touring schedule tells us that outside of San Francisco and Manhattan, the overwhelming number of people who saw the Grateful Dead were seeing them for the first time, or at most the second. 

Of course, we read stories of a group of hippies from Brooklyn--very often Brooklyn, but that is a different topic--who made some pilgrimage to see the Dead in Tennessee or Virginia, but remember, they were the exceptions. It is an odd skew of the Grateful Dead that the outliers, the hardest core of fans, are the ones defining the historical Grateful Dead experience. The truth is, most people who saw the Dead in Madison, WI or the Jai Alai Fronton in Miami had never seen them before. Seeing the Dead was like seeing Dave Mason or Ten Years After when they came to town. It was fun, but rock concerts were a thing you did with your friends or a date. Sure, the Dead toured for so long that many of them may have ended up seeing them again a decade later or something, just as they saw Mason or Alvin  Lee in the 80s.

If people saw a band and liked them, what did they do? They went and bought an album. The Dead had no revered classic like Dark Side Of The Moon or Rumors, so fans were on their own. If you were just planning to buy one album, then why not buy the album with the most songs that you knew? Most Deadheads don't even own Skeletons, and often don't know it exists, and yet it is the best-selling Grateful Dead album of all time. Since it shifted at least 3 million copies, that tells us how many people out there saw a Dead concert or wondered what the fuss was, and grabbed the record.

Skeletons was certified Gold (500,000 units sold) on March 14, 1980. On December 15, 1986 it was certified Platinum (1 million sold), which means it was still selling long before "Touch Of Grey." It was certified Double Platinum (2 Million) on June 27, 1994) and Triple Platinum (January 31, 1995), as many cassette and cd copies must have been sold as well. Note that the last threshold was reached before Jerry Garcia died. RIAA Certifications (Gold, Platinum etc) are notoriously vague, but the sheer volume of record sales means that the album was a huge seller by any marker. Skeletons was the album of choice for casual Grateful Dead fans, and it turns out there were a lot of those. Sure, lots of fans bought Skeletons and then "got on the bus," but they got the album when they were still thinking of the Dead as a regular rock group,

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been, a double-lp compilation of Grateful Dead music released on Warner Brothers in October, 1977
What A Long Strange Trip It's Been-Grateful Dead (Warner Brothers Records, October 1977)
It is often difficult for regular rock fans to grasp the frustration and bitterness with which Classic Rock musicians viewed their former record companies. After all, the company would have signed the band, financed their rise, and made them rich--why all the vitriol? "Best Of" albums bring those old relationships into focus. The Grateful Dead had decided to go independent in Fall of 1972, but had to release the triple-lp Europe 72 and Bear's Choice to exit the deal. They had released Wake Of The Flood in November of 1973 on their own Grateful Dead Records label. The album had done alright, but not great. But the Grateful Dead were working on another album, and they were prepared to tour hard throughout the summer to support it.

Yet come February of 1974, what Grateful Dead album was easiest get? Skeletons From The Closet, because the Warners distribution arm made sure that it was in every department store music section in the country. When the Dead started playing big places in May, expanding their audience in Reno and Montana and Santa Barbara, what album were the newbies most likely to buy? Even when Mars Hotel was released in late June, Warners distribution far outpaced the new, independent Grateful Dead operation. All those great shows in Miami, Springfield and New Haven were selling Skeletons, not Mars Hotel. The Dead's touring was supporting Warner Brothers Records more than Grateful Dead Records.

Even when the Dead signed with Arista Records at the end of 1976, they found themselves up against Warner Brothers again. The Grateful Dead had released Terrapin Station in July of 1977, and toured heavily throughout the year. Once again, Terrapin was popular, but not a huge success. The Dead missed out on Summer touring because of Mickey Hart's auto accident, but they had numerous dates lined up for October and November 1977. And Warner Brothers? They just released another Best Of The Grateful Dead album.

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been was a double-lp released by Warners in October of 1977. This time, nobody from the Grateful Dead seems to have been involved.  The album mostly featured live tracks. There was also a genuine rarity, a re-release of the "Dark Star"/"Born Cross-Eyed" single from 1968. Warners were shrewd, too, about who might be buying the album. Deadheads like me only had to decide if we wanted to buy the album for the rare single, since we had all the albums. The most likely buyers probably already had Skeletons, so save "Truckin" from American Beauty, there were no repeats from Skeletons, making it a nice purchase from that point of view.

WALSTIB didn't have Skeletons numbers, but it still was a fair success. By 2001 it had gone Platinum. It may seem that the Dead should have been happy with the royalties they were going to get from the albums, and they surely were, but it was a decidedly mixed blessing. Record companies were notoriously slow and stingy about remanding any money to acts who had left the label, generally forcing them to sue the company. This was one reason that labels were slow to "certify" Gold and Platinum Best Of albums, because they didn't want to even acknowledge the sales. WALSTIB was certified Gold and Platinum on the same day in 2001, a clear sign that Warners had not been doing the Dead any favors.

So after 1973, the Dead found themselves in competition with their own label. Since Warners distribution was the best in the industry, they could out-do Arista as well as Grateful Dead Records, and it would have been something that rankled. As if that wasn't enough, the Dead, like any group, wanted to name albums or projects after phrases associated with the band name, and Warner Brothers had used two of the best choices. 

Biograph, the 5-lp set of classic and unreleased Bob Dylan music released in 1985. It established the Boxed Set as a viable commercial proposition
Biograph, The CD Revolution and the Afterlife of Skeletons
The late 20th century record industry kept finding new ways to make money, but the artists who made that music were not always included. For a variety of reasons, the Grateful Dead managed to evade some of the record industry trends at the end of the century. Bob Dylan's Biograph, a five-lp set, was released in 1986, and it ushered in the era of the boxed set. The Grateful Dead were rare amongst major 60s bands in not releasing a multi-album set in the early 90s with classic tracks, rarities and live cuts (they released So Many Roads after Garcia died). It was Warners who would have benefited, and the Dead weren't particularly interested.

Similarly, the record industry made a lot of money re-selling everyone their own record collection on compact disc. The Dead were in no hurry to assist Warners in this enterprise, although once again they did so after Garcia's death. It seems to me that the beginning of Two From The Vault and Dick's Picks, which featured music from the Warner Brothers period, indicated a rapprochement between Warners and the Dead. Ultimately, after many mergers, Rhino Records, owned by Warner Music, a successor to Warner Brothers Records, took over the Grateful Dead catalog, and everyone seems to have benefited.

Incredibly, the audience for Grateful Dead music has continued to expand into the 21st century. Downloads, archival cds and newly performed and recorded music have continued to generate millions of dollars in sales every year. Yet the audio cd of Skeletons (released 1990) still has non-zero sales on Amazon, so it has continued to sell over the years, at least to some degree. The sheer volume of released Grateful Dead music, not to mention the extraordinary availability of "unreleased" Dead music, appears to still leave an opening for the new or casual fan to dip their toes in the water, and Skeletons From The Closet yet remains poised to provide that entry point, even if few Deadheads recall that the best-selling Grateful Dead album even exists.

Initial release : February 1974
Warner Bros. W-2764

Single LP compilation of tracks from the Grateful Dead Warner Brothers albums plus one tack from Bob Weir's album Ace.

  • The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) (Garcia/Lesh/Weir/Kreutzmann/McKernan)
  • Truckin' (Garcia/Lesh/Weir/Hunter)
  • Rosemary (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Sugar Magnolia (Weir/Hunter)
  • St. Stephen (Garcia/Lesh/Hunter)
  • Uncle John's Band (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Casey Jones (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Mexicali Blues (Weir/Barlow)
  • Turn On Your Love Light (Malone / Scott)
  • One More Saturday Night (Weir)
  • Friend Of The Devil (Garcia/Dawson/Hunter)
Credits for the compilation;

  • Editing - Betty Cantor, Bill Wolf
  • Artwork - John Van Hamersveld
  • Art Direction - Bob Seidman
Certification
Date
Gold[4]
March 14, 1980
Platinum[4]
December 15, 1986
Double Platinum[4]
June 27, 1994
Triple Platinum[4]
January 31, 1995


Initial release : 1970
Warner Brothers PRO 358

A Warner Brothers/Reprise double LP loss leader sampler that includes an edited version of Turn On Your Lovelight from Live/Dead. 

Tracks / Musicians 
Side 1
Nice Folks - The Fifth Avenue Band
Red-Eye Express - John Sebastian
This Whole World - The Beach Boys
New Orleans Hopscotch Blues - Geoff & Maria Muldaur
Coming in to Los Angeles - Arlo Guthrie
I Was the Rebel, She Was the Cause - Eric Andersen
Jubilee - Norman Greenbaum
Ivy - Savage Grace

Side 2
Caravan - Van Morrison
Oh Well (Parts 1 & 2) - Fleetwood Mac
Sally Go Round the Roses - The Pentangle
Nothing Is Easy - Jethro Tull
Flying - Small Faces
No Mule's Fool - Family
When I Turn Out the Living Room Light - The Kinks

Side 3
I'm on My Way Home Again - The Everly Brothers
Happy Time - Tim Buckley
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell
The Loner - Neil Young
Approaching Lavender - Gordon Lightfoot
Mama Told Me Not to Come - Randy Newman
Fire and Rain - James Taylor
Sit Down Old Friend - Dion

Side 4
The Illiad - Ed Sanders
Kansas and the GTO's; The Captain's Fat Theresa Shoes; The Original GTO's - The GTO's
Ella Guru - Captain Beefheart
WPLJ - Mothers Of Invention
The Taster and The Story of the Taster - Wild Man Fischer
Footnote - Pearls Before Swine
Turn On Your Love Light - Grateful Dead

Initial release : October 1977
Warner Bros. 2W-3091

A double LP compilation of music from the Grateful Dead recordings on the Warner Brothers label. 


  • LP 1 - side 1
  • New, New Minglewood Blues (McGannahan Skjellyfetti)
  • Cosmic Charlie (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Truckin' (Garcia/Lesh/Weir/Hunter)
  • Black Peter (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Born Cross-Eyed (The Grateful Dead)
  • LP 1 - side 2
  • Ripple (Hunter/Garcia)
  • Doin' That Rag (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Dark Star (Garcia/Hunter)
  • High Time (Garcia/Hunter)
  • New Speedway Boogie (Garcia/Hunter)
  • LP 2 - side 1
  • St. Stephen (Garcia/Lesh/Hunter)
  • Jack Straw (Weir/Hunter)
  • Me and My Uncle (Phillips)
  • Tennessee Jed (Garcia/Hunter)
  • LP 2 - side 2
  • Cumberland Blues (Garcia/Lesh/Hunter)
  • Playing In The Band (Weir/Hart/Hunter)
  • Brown-Eyed Woman (Garcia/Hunter)
  • Ramble On Rose (Garcia/Hunter)

Credits For the compilation;
  • Executive Producer - Paul L. Wexler

  • Art supervision - Paul L. Wexler
  • Art - Rick Griffin
  • Photography - Arthur Stern
  • Additional photo - Ed Perlstein
  • Tape assembly supervision - Paul L. Wexler
  • Tape assembly - Loyd Clifft
  • Engineering - Bob and Betty
  • Mix down - Bob and Betty
  • Honorable mention - Hal Kant, The Phantom Finger Cult and Taper Bob

Certification
Date :Gold, Platinum August 24, 2001




Friday, January 13, 2017

Kingfish Performance History January-August 1976 (Kingfish IV)

An ad for Joe Cocker and Kingfish at Golden Hall in San Diego, on Sunday May 23, 1976
One of my ongoing projects has been to untangle the web or relationships linking Grateful Dead spin-off bands that did not directly stem from Jerry Garcia. Garcia, understandably, is always the focus of Grateful Dead scholarship, but he is not the only axle on which the wheels turn. In particular, the maze of relationships with David Nelson, Dave Torbert and Matthew Kelly goes far beyond the Jerry Garcia connection.

As part of this, I have an ongoing series about Kingfish, with and without Bob Weir. The recent posting of an excellent summary of Bob Weir setlists  has reminded me that I have an unfinished gap in my series. From January to August of 1976, Bob Weir and Kingfish were making a genuine stab at rock stardom, producing an album on Round and touring heavily. In some ways, this was the least provocative, yet still the most productive period of the band's career. However, there has been no complete list of the shows during that time, and I myself still have not completed the research. However, in order to have continuity, I have decided to post my list as it currently stands. I am hoping that anyone with additional information or corrections can post it in the Comments and I will add the show to the list. I am particularly interested in finding out the names of any opening acts. Ultimately this should be aggregated to the Weir list linked above.

A complete list of my extensive posts on the Performance History of various non-Garcia Grateful Dead spinoff bands is presented in Appendix 2 below.

Kingfish Performance History January-August 1976
This list is focused on Kingfish performance dates and venues, with opening acts. For setlists, see the Weir setlist site . Anyone with additional information, about previously unknown shows, opening acts or eyewitness accounts (or lacking that, interesting rumors and speculation), please post them in the Comments.

Kingfish kicked off 1976 with four nights at the legendary Golden Bear in Huntington Beach
January 16-19, 1976 Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, CA: Kingfish [Friday-Monday]
Kingfish had had a successful East Coast tour with the Keith And Donna band, culminating with a two shows at Winterland (on December 19-20 '75) headlined by the Jerry Garcia Band. After a break, Kingfish played four nights at the Golden Bear in Southern California. The Golden Bear was at 308 Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach, an Orange County town midway between Long Beach and Newport Beach.

January 25, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish/James And The Mercedes [Sunday]
Thanks to Commenter JGMF for this date.

January 31, 1976 La Paloma Theater, Encinitas, CA: Kingfish [Saturday]
Encinitas was near San Diego. Phil Lesh and Ned Lagin had played a show at this theater on November 22, 1975, and the promoter booked a few other Dead-related shows as well. Since January 31 was a Saturday, I suspect there may be another booking in Southern California on this weekend.

February 6, 1976 Civic Auditorium, San Jose, CA: Elvin Bishop Group/Kingfish/Carrie Nation [Friday]
February 7, 1976: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Elvin Bishop Group/Kingfish/Carrie Nation [Saturday]
Unlike Jerry Garcia, Kingfish was willing to play second on the bill at conventional local rock shows. Bishop was a headliner based on his hit "Fooled Around And Fell In Love." Carrie Nation were a band from Nevada City, CA, who had moved to Atlanta, and then back to the Bay Area, who played in a style broadly reminiscent of the Allman Brothers.

February 19-21, 1976 Electric Ballroom, Atlanta, GA: Kingfish  early and late shows all nights [Thursday-Saturday]
The Grateful Dead always had a good following in Atlanta, so it's no surprise that Kingfish could play three nights there without even a record.

Feb ??, 1976 Lisner Auditorium, GWU, Washington, DC: Kingfish
I have to think there are more dates than just three in Atlanta and one in DC. However, I don't know how long this East Coast tour actually was.

The cover of the debut album by Kingfish, released on Round Records in March 1976

>>March 1976 saw the release of the Kingfish album (Round RX-108) on United Artists/Round. Release dates were not exact in the 70s, but I think an approximate date of Tuesday March 9 seems likely. Some record stores would probably have already had the album by then, and FM stations would already have received promo copies.

March 7-8, 1976 The Savoy, San Francisco, CA: Kingfish [Sunday-Monday]
The Savoy was a tiny club in North Beach, on Grant Street. I think the band was just using these shows to get warmed up. Weir was not typcially inclined to schedule a lot of rehearsal time, so I think playing a few quiet local gigs was a way to get in shape.

March 10-13, 1976 The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA: Kingfish [Wednesday-Saturday]
The Roxy was Los Angeles' premier showcase club, out on the Sunset Strip (at 9009 Sunset Boulevard). It was standard practice for bands with a new album to play some dates at the Roxy, so that their record company could invite every dj and promo man, and buy them free drinks (which would ultimately be charged to the band). The fact that Kingfish took this route meant that they were trying for conventional rock success.

The March 11 early show was broadcast on KMET-fm. Former KSAN-fm dj Thom O'Hair was the host. United Artists would have subsidized this. There were probably early and late shows for every night, although there may not have been separate admissions.

March 15-16, 1976 Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, CA: Kingfish [Monday-Tuesday]
Thanks to Commenter GratefulSeconds, we know that Kingfish returned to the Golden Bear

March 19-20, The Backdoor, San Diego State College, San Diego, CA: Kingfish [Friday-Saturday]
Thanks to Commenter JGMF.

March 23, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish [Tuesday]
The Keystone Berkeley was perhaps the biggest of the Bay Area rock clubs, but the big dates were on weekends. Bands like Kingfish that could bring a good house on a weeknight were always welcome. The exact attendance did not matter as much as the amount of beer sold. Kingfish would play multiple sets, and the fans would get all hot from dancing, so the bar must have been busy indeed.

March 26, 1976 Masonic Temple, Scranton, PA: Kingfish (early and late shows) [Friday]
Kingfish seems to have played the Eastern seaboard to support their new album, but I do not think we have all the dates. Scranton was a few hours north of Philadelphia (the I-476 was not yet complete, so travel times were longer). The Grateful Dead and various members had played Scranton numerous times in the 1970s.

March 27, 1976 Calderone Theater, Hempstead, NY: Kingfish (early and late shows) [Saturday]
Hempstead, NY, in Long Island, was the home base of WLIR-fm, a station which emphasized live broadcasts. Many WLIR broadcasts were from a club called My Father's Place in nearby Roslyn, but they also broadcast from a local studio (Ultrasonic) and sometimes from the Calderone Theater. The early show was broadcast on WLIR, apparently on a delayed basis.

An ad for the Kingfish show at Princeton University on March 30, 1976, from the student newspaper (The Princetonian March 29, 1976)
March 30, 1976 Alexander Hall, Princeton U., Princeton, NJ: Kingfish [Tuesday]
The Princeton show was a midweek gig on a Tuesday night. Princeton had a lot of rock shows on campus during this era. I have to think there was one or two more shows during this week, as the Beacon show wasn't until Friday.

The cover of the 1996 cd of Kingfish Live In Concert, recorded by the King Biscuit Flower Hour at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan on April 3, 1976
April 3, 1976 Beacon Theater, New York, NY: Kingfish (early and late shows) [Sunday]
A professional photographer took some great photos . Both shows were recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The Biscuit probably broadcast their usual 25-minute highlight around June, on their syndicated FM radio show. Ultimately, both shows were released as a double cd in 1996, which stands as the definitive official live Kingfish release.

April 4, 1976 Bridges Gymnasium, New England College, Henneker, NH [Sunday]
Bands featuring members of the Grateful Dead were always welcome in small New England colleges (and still are, I believe).

April 6, 1976 Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA Kingfish/Les Dudek [Tuesday]
Les Dudek was a guitarist who had made his name in Florida playing on the Allman Brothers Brothers And Sisters album (on "Jessica" and "Ramblin' Man"). He had later moved to the Bay Area, where he toured with the Steve Miller Band and then Boz Scaggs. By 1976, he had released his first solo album on Columbia.

April 25, 1976 Student Union Ballroom, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT: Kingfish [Sunday]
The Grateful Dead had probably played this same ballroom in 1969. It does raise the question of whether Kingfish had toured all the way from Boston to Utah, and we are missing numerous dates, or whether they were just flying out for a Mountain West booking. I am more inclined to the latter. Since April 25 was a Sunday, I do suspect that there are Friday and Saturday booking (for April 23-24) somewhere as well, perhaps in Colorado.

April 28-29, 1976 River City, Fairfax, CA: Kingfish [Wednesday-Thursday]
After Kingfish returned home from their Eastern tour, they returned to playing local clubs.

May 13, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish [Thursday]

May 14, 1976 River City, Fairfax, CA: Kingfish [Friday]
River City was a small club in the Marin County town of Fairfax.

May 16, 1976 The Savoy, San Francisco, CA: Kingfish [Sunday]

May 18, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish [Tuesday]

May 23, 1976 Golden Hall, San Diego, CA: Joe Cocker/Kingfish [Sunday]
Since Kingfish opened for Joe Cocker on a Sunday, there may have been another Southern California show that weekend. Joe Cocker was probably backed by Stuff, the great band of New York session men.

An ad (probably from the SF Chronicle) for the Kingfish/Charlie Daniels Band/Cate Brothers show on Friday, May 28, 1976 at Winterland. Charlie Daniels had a national profile, but San Francisco was still the Grateful Dead's town.
May 28, 1976 Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Kingfish/Charlie Daniels Band/Cate Brothers [Friday]
The Charlie Daniels Band current album would have been Saddle Tramp, on Epic. Earl and Ernie Cate were Levon Helm's nephews. They had recently released their debut album on Asylum Records (JGMF suggests that The Rowans may have replaced the Cate Brothers). Based on the newspaper ad, it appears that Kingfish were the headliners. Charlie Daniels had far more of a following nationally, but this was San Francisco, and Weir and Torbert had the home court advantage. Note, however, that Kingfish was not headlining both weekend nights, as Winterland was dark on Saturday, although that may have been because Bob Marley was at The Paramount, along with Roy Buchanan and Firefall at Berkeley Community Theater. Nonetheless, Jerry Garcia could have drawn against Bob Marley and Roy Buchanan, but Bob Weir and Charlie Daniels did not.

Keep in mind that there is a circulating tape of a Grateful Dead rehearsal at The Orpheum on the night of May 28. It seems that Weir would have rehearsed, and then he and any relevant crew members--Rex Jackson was Kingfish's road manager--would have gone over to Winterland.

The Grateful Dead were on tour from June 3 through June 29, followed by a week of July shows at the Orpheum in San Francisco (July 12-18). Kingfish did not perform during this period.

July 21, 1976 Roxy Theater, Northampton, PA: Kingfish [Wednesday]
Weir and Kingfish seem to have gone out for one final push the week after the Orpheum shows.

July 23, 1976 Auditorium Theater, Chicago, IL: Kingfish [Friday]
Given that this was on a Friday, I would have to think there was another Kingfish date in the Midwest on Saturday night (July 24). The Dead had just played the Auditorium Theater the previous month as part of their "Return" tour.

July 28, 1976 Pinecrest, Shelton, CT: Kingfish [Wednesday]
The Pinecrest Country Club in Shelton, CT, was a semi-regular concert venue in the 1970s. This was a Wednesday night, so a suburban place like Pinecrest was a good place to pick up a paying booking on the road. Apparently a professional photographer has some pictures, although I have not seen them.

July 30, 1976: Wollman Rink, Central Park, New York, NY: Kingfish Schaeffer Music Festival [Friday]
The Schaeffer Music Festival was a month-long series of rock shows in Central Park, sponsored by Schaeffer Beer. The festival is fondly remembered by New Yorkers of a certain era.

July 31, 1976 The Casino, Asbury Park, NJ: Kingfish/Flying Burrito Brothers [Saturday]
The Casino at Asbury Park has been made famous by the lyrics of the first few Bruce Springsteen albums (Madame Marie was probably still telling fortunes  in person at this time). The Casino was the smaller venue on the boardwalk, as Kingfish wasn't big enough for the much larger convention center nearby.

The Flying Burrito Brothers had reformed, again, and at this time the only original member was pedal steel guitarist Sneeky Pete Kleinow. Other members were Joel Scott Hill (guitar, vocals), Gib Gilbeau (fiddle, guitar, vocals), Gene Parsons (drums, vocals) and ex-Rider Skip Battin (bass, vocals). The band had just released the Columbia album Airborne. I saw the Burritos around this time and they were a terrific live band, even if their album was run-of-the-mill compared to the groundbreaking music of earlier years.

August 1, 1976 Calderone Theater, Hempstead, NY: Kingfish [Sunday]
Bob Weir's initial run with Kingfish ended with a Sunday night show in the well-conquered territory of Long Island, where Kingfish and The Grateful Dead had played many times before. The next night the Grateful Dead would play Colt Stadium in Hartford, CT, and Weir would not play with Kingfish for about four more years.

Appendix 1-Album Credits
Kingfish
Released March 1976
  • Lazy Lightnin' (Weir / Barlow)
  • Supplication (Weir / Barlow)
  • Wild Northland (Torbert / Hovey)
  • Asia Minor (Carter / Gilbert / Quigley / Hovey)
  • Home to Dixie (Kelly / Cutler / Barlow / Weir)
  • Jump For Joy (Carter / Gilbert)
  • Good-Bye Yer Honor (Torbert / Hovey / Kelly)
  • Big Iron (Marty Robbins)
  • This Time (Torbert / Kelly)
  • Hypnotize (Torbert / Kelly)
  • Bye and Bye (Traditional arr. Weir / Barlow)
Kingfish;
  • Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
  • Dave Torbert - bass, vocals
  • Matthew Kelly - guitar, harp, vocals
  • Robby Hoddinott - guitar, slide guitar
  • Chris Herold - drums, percussion
Additional musicians;
  • J.D. Sharp - string symphonizer (This Time, Lazy Lightnin' and Hypnotize)
  • Pablo Green - percussion (Hypnotize)
Credits

  • Producer - Dan Healy, Bob Weir
  • Arrangements - Kingfish
  • Recording - Dan Healy, Kingfish
  • Engineer - Rob Taylor
  • Mastering - George Horn
  • Technical consultants - Jim Furman, Furman Sound Service, Tim Hovey
  • Production assistance - Richard Hundgren, Dean Layman
  • Cover painting - Philip Garris
  • Trident logo - James A Nelson III
  • Photography - Bob Marks
  • Special thanks - Frankie, Rondelle, Otis, Frank, Bruce
  • Recorded at Ace's

Appendix 2:
David Nelson>Dave Torbert>Matt Kelly>Bob Weir Performance History Posts
I have an ongoing project to sort out the histories of the various Grateful Dead spin-off bands that played multiple shows but did not include Garcia. Some of these posts have complete lists of shows, and others just emphasize the personnel changes and time frames. In this list, I have not included posts about individual shows or events that feature some of these bands.

The Good News Performance History 1966
--The Good News were from Redwood City, CA, and featured Dave Torbert and Chris Herold

New Delhi River Band Performane History Summer 1966 (David Nelson I)
--Palo Alto's second psychedelic blues band, The New Delhi River Band, featured David Nelson, Dave Torbert and Chris Herold
New Delhi River Band Performance History Fall 1966 (David Nelson II)
New Delhi River Band Performance History July 1967-February 1968 (David Nelson IV)
David Nelson Musical Activities February 1969-May 1969 (David Nelson V)
--After the demise of The New Delhi River Band, David Nelson lays fairly low

New Riders Of The Purple Sage Personnel 1969-81
--I have numerous posts about the New Riders, but this post has a complete list of their personnel changes from 1969-1981. Jerry Garcia's last performance as a member of the New Riders was on October 31, 1971

Shango, Horses and Matt Kelly 1968 (Matt Kelly I)
--The backstory to Matt Kelly's links to the Grateful Dead start with his band Shango, with Torbert and Herold, back in 1968.
Gospel Oak/Mountain Current/33 1969-73 (Matt Kelly II)
--The Matt Kelly story goes to England, the Santa Cruz Mountains and throughout the United States
Lonesome Janet>Kingfish Performance History 1973-74 (Matt Kelly III, Kingfish 0) [in development]
--Matt Kelly returns to the Santa Cruz Mountains with the predecessor to Kingfish, and then Dave Torbert joins up in early 1974

Bob Weir and Kingfish Tour History Fall 1974 (Kingfish I, Matt Kelly IV)
--Bob Weir joins Kingfish, as the Dead have stopped performing
Bob Weir and Kingfish Tour History January-August 1976 Kingfish IV, Matt Kelly VII) [this post]
Kingfish Performance History 1977-82 (Kingfish V, Matt Kelly VIII)  [in development]
--after Weir's departure, and until his return, Kingfish had a strange, complicated history

Bob Weir Band Beginnings 1977 [in development]
--an overview of the connections between the Bob Weir Band and Bobby And The Midnites
Kingfish with Bob Weir 1984-87 (Kingfish VI, Matt Kelly IX)
--Weir began to re-appear regularly, though not permanently, with Kingfish in late 1984

In the interests of completeness, here are the other spinoff group posts:



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Lost "Jerry Garcia Bands" 1968-92 (Dept. Of Might-Have-Been)

The David Nelson Band, which was formed in 1994, now includes Pete Sears on bass, due in no small part to some undisclosed plans of Jerry Garcia

Creative people are famous for their ideas, and that is as true of Jerry Garcia as any other artist. The Grateful Dead, Old And In The Way, "Dark Star," Round Records and many other famous and infamous Garcia endeavors were the end products of a fertile, creative mind. Yet we all know creative people, in every profession and avocation, and for every good idea that sees the light of day, there's several more that never got executed.

Jerry Garcia, a wealthy and successful 20th century rock star by any accounting, had numerous bands on the side, far more than any other peer from his era. For all his success, Garcia had the endless energy to play bars and smaller auditoriums with a variety of ensembles playing a wide variety of music. Remarkable as that was, that wasn't even the whole story. This post will look at some planned "Garcia Bands" that saw the light of day but never got off the starting line, with just an odd jam session or album track to show for it.

On March 11, 1968, the Grateful Dead opened for Cream in Sacramento. Jerry Garcia and Jack Casady were so impressed with the Cream that they considered forming their own power trio
"Power Trio" with Jack Casady (ca 1968)
Cream was the biggest thing to hit rock music in the Summer of '67, and they had only gotten better when they came back in March of 1968. Garcia saw Cream a number of times in August 1967 and March '68, and the Grateful Dead even opened for Cream on a Monday night in Sacramento (March 11 '68). The story goes that Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady chartered a Lear Jet so they could get to the Sacramento show.

Afterwards, it seems that Casady and Garcia talked about forming a power trio. There was no talk about leaving their bands, just some kind of side exercise. Casady, a phenomenal bass player by any standard, had a style far more appropriate for a power trio than Phil Lesh. Of course, there were no junior Ginger Bakers on the San Francisco scene, but the idea was out there. Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart appear to have been dually recruited to equal one Ginger. The story goes that Jerry and Jack asked Janis Joplin to front the band, and she said "do I have to look at your ugly mugs?" or words to that effect.

Of course, while Janis was a close friend, she was still relentlessly ambitious. She might have even been willing to form a band with Jerry and Jack, but not a side band. Janis would hang with her friends, but she wasn't going to put her energy into playing the Matrix on a Tuesday night. More's the pity. The one whiff of this ensemble seems to be a photo of Garcia and Casady jamming at Rancho Olampali on July 28, 1968 (I'm not certain who played drums). Somehow this idea morphed into Mickey And The Hartbeats, which had an intriguing but ultimately unsatisfying history. Still, it's a thought--do you think Jerry and Jack could have burned up "Down On Me?" Yeah, I think so.

Collaboration with David Crosby (ca early 1970s)
From their debut in 1969 and throughout the 1970s, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were one of the biggest groups in rock. So David Crosby hardly "needed" Jerry Garcia to help his career. Yet in the spring of 1970, when asked if he would like to work with Garcia, he said
"Man, I would. Now I think Jerry Garcia probably needs me like he needs a third eye. Excuse me, a fourth. He has a third. But I would be just so knocked-out to play, or sing, or do any kind of music with that dude...and he’s not the only one. What about Lesh?" 
As 1970 wore on, CSNY, the Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and others recorded almost daily at Wally Heider's studio in San Francisco. These became known as the "PERRO" sessions (for Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra). Among the many recordings from that period were Garcia's initial solo album and David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, where Garcia and other Dead members played prominent roles. More or less uniquely amongst the PERRO crowd, Garcia and Crosby, along with Lesh and Kreutzmann, actually performed. They played three weeknights at The Matrix, probably December 14-16 (Monday thru Wednesday) and also at Pepperland in San Rafael on December 21, 1970. I have written about these shows at length, so I won't recap it all here, but within the context of the post some summarizing is still in order.

Based on the material played and Crosby's comments on the 'rehearsal' tape, the Matrix excursion seems like a Crosby project. It appears that Crosby wanted to play some of his new material live, and encouraged Garcia, Lesh and a drummer to back him. From that point of view, Garcia's participation is reminiscent of the New Riders--someone else's material, with Jerry as a sideman. However, unlike Garcia's tenure in the New Riders, he leads the band on a few songs clearly of his own choosing. I have no doubts that Crosby would have been amenable to whatever Garcia wanted to perform, and would have been more than willing to split vocals evenly with him if that had been what Garcia wanted. Whether or not Garcia saw the Matrix enterprise as a 'Crosby venture' or a 'joint venture,' Garcia would have been free to step up to the microphone to whatever extent he felt like it. Thanks to CSNY, music business orthodoxy was less fixated on the supposedly unbreakable partnership of a rock group and heading towards looser, temporary solo or duo arrangements.

Garcia and the Dead were always in a cash squeeze--what if Garcia, Crosby and Nash had decided to tour for a few dates? Crosby and Nash, as members of CSNY, were huge, and Garcia was at least a genuine rock star himself. If they had played some new material along with "Long Time Gone" and "Casey Jones," not to mention "Teach Your Children," it would have been very popular indeed. Do you think Crosby and Nash could have handled the harmonies on "Uncle John's Band?" Garcia could have made a ton of money playing a half-dozen dates with Crosby and Nash, and he would have made really good music besides. Certainly the record company would have loved it (Warner Brothers and Crosby and Nash's label, Atlantic, were linked corporately). Yet Garcia took the opposite tack of every other rock star in the 1970s, and kept his solo career separate.


Electric Band with Pete Sears and David Nelson (ca. 1988)
Pete Sears was an English musician who played bass and keyboards for a number of pretty obscure English bands in the lat 1960s (Google if you want to know--they were really obscure). By chance, he became friendly with Leigh Stephens, the former guitarist of San Francisco's infamous Blue Cheer. Stephens was living on a houseboat on the Thames River in London in 1969 to get away from the madness of Blue Cheer (surely you remember Stephens' album Red Weather? You don't?). Sears and Stephens became jamming partners, and when Leigh Stephens struck a deal with Tom Donahue of KSAN, Sears and Stephens formed Silver Metre. Silver Metre recorded one OK album and played some Fillmore West gigs, thanks to Donahue (there's even a live tape from July 10 1970), so Sears got a taste of the West Coast.

Another result of the Donahue connection was that Sears ended up in Stoneground--the Medicine Ball Caravan, with Bob and Betty and Alembic doing the sound, was in London, another long tangent-- and came back to San Francisco with the band. In the early 1970s, Sears had alternated between playing with West Coasters like John Cipollina (he was in Copperhead) and Kathi McDonald (he produced her Insane Asylum album) and doing session work in London with the likes of Long John Baldry and Rod Stewart (Sears played on Gasoline Alley,  Every Picture Tells A Story and Never A Dull Moment). Jefferson Starship had reformed in early 1974, but Peter Kaukonen (Jorma's brother) was not a fit in the band (although he was an excellent player), and Sears took his place in Jefferson Starship in mid-74. Sears finally left the Starship after a 13-year career with the band where they were phenomenally successful. In 1988, however, Sears was only playing in a few local Marin ensembles. Enter Jerry. Sears tells the story on the David Nelson Band website:
At one point Jerry Garcia suggested I get together with a good friend of his and form a band…his friend was David Nelson of the old "New Riders of the Purple Sage". I had just left "Jefferson Starship" after 13 years [around 1987]. At Jerry's urging, David came over to my house in Mill Valley and we spent a wonderful afternoon talking about music and the worlds problems. However we didn't get the band together…the time wasn't right.
This quote is pretty remarkable. Here it is 1988 or so, and Garcia is talking to Pete Sears and David Nelson about putting a band together. It's unclear from the syntax whether Garcia intended to be a "member" of that band. Around the middle of 1988, Garcia seemed to have lost interest in the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band. Neither Nelson nor Sandy Rothman had lost their interest, but Jerry had a way of simply moving on when he was done with things. However, it appears that Jerry had some other plans that we were not aware of at the time. My own assumption is that Garcia wanted to find something else for Nelson to do, something that maybe Garcia could drop in on from time to time. Sears, like Garcia, had been a successful rock star who would be fine with a part-time group. What would a band with Garcia, Sears and Nelson have looked like? By all means, please put your speculation in the Comments, but here's my line of thinking.

  • Since Garcia would not have been full-time--obviously--perhaps the idea was that Nelson and Sears would have a band, with Nelson as the lead singer, and Garcia would have just dropped in on occasion. Maybe Kahn would have still played bass when Jerry wasn't there, which would have made economic sense.
  • If Garcia had still wanted to have done an acoustic thing (which Sears could have handled), I think he would have been more likely to keep the JGAB together, not get a new group, so I think the Nelson/Sears pair was seen by Jerry as an electrical connection
  • Sears invited to Garcia to make a rare Golden Gate Park appearance on July 16, 1988, the afternoon before a Greek Theatre show, so the contact fits the 1988 time frame (Garcia sat in with Zero, and Sears was a member). So we know that Garcia and Sears were definitely in touch at the time
  • The other time Sears played with Garcia was on April 29, 1990, with Nick Gravenites (at the South Of Market Cultural Center in San Francisco). Although outside the time frame, Sears played piano, and that leads me to think Garcia liked Sears as a piano player. Remember, during this period Sears was playing piano with Hot Tuna as well.
  • Garcia did everything with John Kahn, so I'm assuming Kahn could have been in this new band, which also makes Sears a keyboard player. Sears can play anything--he's not a bad guitarist as far as I can tell, besides bass, organ and piano--but my assumption is that the lineup would be Garcia and Nelson-guitars and vocals, Sears-piano and keyboards, maybe Kahn on bass and then a drummer.
  • The 1988-era Jerry Garcia Band was pretty much an R&B ensemble, although obviously one with a unique Garcia twist. Melvin Seals' gospel influenced organ and the twin vocalists added some soul mojo to even the most hippiest Dylan and Hunter songs, much less Smokey Robinson covers.

All this leads me to think that the Garcia/Sears/Nelson band would have played American honky tonk music. In some ways, it might have found a sweet spot between the current David Nelson Band and the Nicky Hopkins configuration of the JGB. If or when Garcia showed up, it might have given him a chance to play some Chuck Berry and New Orleans numbers that had kind of fallen out of the Garcia Band rotation. Nelson as a guitarist and possibly singer suggests that some California country music was in order, too (since, of course, all they had to was "Act Naturally"). Maybe Nelson would have been the lead singer, with Garcia as a special guest. Can anyone think of a mutual friend who might have helped Nelson write some original material? Hmmm...

Your mileage may vary, but it makes sense to me. Garcia decides to let the JGAB fade away, and starts thinking about jamming out some honky tonk with Nelson and an Englishman who was actually reliable this time,  Now, maybe Garcia never intended to participate in the Sears/Nelson band, but I can't help but think that if Garcia had been the musical godfather of the band, he would have dropped in when he could. The key fact to me is that Garcia--always a busy man--found time to facilitate a meeting between two musician neighbors. A casual favor? Not in my book. Garcia didn't get to be a rock star by accident, and the Sears/Nelson meeting was no accident, even if we can only guess at Garcia's reasoning.

Still, it was not to be. However Garcia may have conceived of any role in a Nelson/Sears band, it got pre-empted by his ongoing partnership with David Grisman, who filled Garcia's need for a "third way" separate from the structured worlds of the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band. And who was responsible for the return of David Grisman into the Garciaverse? Amusingly, it turns out to have been Pete Sears. In 1988, Sears had left Starship, and made the album Watchfire to publicize the human rights crisis in Central America. He invited the finest musicians in Marin County to join him. Since Sears had been busy touring, he did not know that Garcia and David Grisman had not spoken for over a dozen years, due to financial disputes relating to Round Records royalties for the Old And In The Way album. Thus, Sears invited both of them to the same session, and a rapprochement followed. Garcia found a daytime home at Grisman's garage studio, and he did not need a "third" band. Whether or not Garcia had intended a Nelson/Sears ensemble as a part-time endeavor for himself, the new partnership with Grisman superseded any other ideas. Sears joined Hot Tuna, and Nelson started tour with Zydeco artist Al Rapone.

Improvisational Trio with Rob Wasserman and Edie Brickell (ca. 1993)
The late, great bassist Rob Wasserman (1952-2016), a musical partner of Bob Weir's for many years--"the John Kahn of Bob Weir," for regular readers of this blog--had recorded an album of duets in 1988 (Duets on MCA Records), so he followed it up with an album of trios. The record was recorded over a few years. Each track was a specific trio. The songs "Zillionaire" and "American Popsicle" were recorded with Jerry Garcia and former New Bohemians singer Edie Brickell.

In the liner notes, Wasserman wrote: 
This was the first trio I recorded and I feel it set the tone for the entire record. I first met Edie when I picked her up at the San Francisco airport. My car door wouldn't open, so she proceeded to climb in through the window! - I liked her immediately. Later, when we jammed at Jerry's house, he and I were both astonished by her ability to spontaneously create a song at the very moment she was singing it. "Zillionaire" was the first song that we came up with that night. Jerry played a grand piano as we were writing the song so he decided to record with it as well - a very rare occurrence. Several hours of music were recorded during that session. In fact, we all agreed that someday, just for fun, we would perform as an all improv band - no set list, no material!
The rumor mill had the Wasserman/Edie/Jerry tour occurring around 1993. Edie Brickell dropped in at a Grateful Dead show at Madison Square Garden on September 20, 1993. Some versions of this story have Bruce Hornsby as part of the crew along with Edie and Wasserman, although it's hard to tell if this was really plausible or just wishful thinking. Nonetheless, the consistent story is that a tour was considered, but never occurred because Edie Brickell's husband, Paul Simon, objected. Edie had married Simon on May 30, 1992. The exact timing of the reputed tour is unclear.

Deadheads are full of theories about why Simon didn't want Edie to tour with Jerry. Was he jealous? Was he worried about the notorious bad scene around the Dead? We may never know. However, there's an easy way to get an idea of Simon's thinking. Just go into the other room and tell your Significant Other, "hey honey I'm going to go on tour with the Grateful Dead for a few weeks." The look your S.O. gives you? That's what Paul Simon looked like, and it's hard to blame him. Paul and Edie have three kids, and Edie still records and even performs once in a while, and Jerry doesn't, and I'll leave it at that.

[update] Scholar and Commenter DLeopold has even more information, including a band name:
But it does not appear to be Simon who pulled the plug on any touring, but rather Garcia's partner at the time, Manasha. In McNally (p. 601) he discusses her vetoing "one of Garcia's better and more fanciful music ideas, Garcia's Mystery All Star Darkness and Confusion Band, which would have taken him, Branford Marsalis, Bruce Hornsby, Rob Wasserman and Edie Brickell out on tour with no material, relying totally on improvisation, because she was convinced that Jerry had romantic as well musical eyes for Edie."
Still, Manasha was the same as any other S.O. when told "honey I'm going on tour."

Zillionaire;
Edie Brickell - vocals
Jerry Garcia - piano, electric guitar
Rob Wasserman - electric upright bass

American Popsicle;
Edie Brickell - vocals
Jerry Garcia - midi guitar
Rob Wasserman - electric upright bass

Coda
Jack Casady is still playing with Jorma, as he has been since New Year's Eve 1959, which is as it should be. Crosby has no band at all, except occasionally when Crosby, Stills or Young plays with him, depending on who has embittered whom most recently. Edie Brickell and Paul Simon still appear to be married and raising their family in the Northeast somewhere, and good for them.

Pete Sears has a final observation, He didn't form a band with David Nelson, but eventually some other guys did, and they were a really good band. Sears occasionally filled in for the keyboard player of the David Nelson Band (Mookie Siegel), and ultimately he was called in to sub for and later replace bassist Bill Laymon, who had some health issues. Now, to this day, 20-odd years on, Sears is the bass player for the David Nelson Band, along with various other ensembles. Sears reflects on the past:
Anyway, I often think about Jerry wanting David and I to get a band together back in the late 1980's, which didn't end up happening, and here we are playing together. David and I have a good laugh about it once in a while…we still miss him.
We have so much fun it's like Jerry's up there looking down with that wry smile of his, and saying, "See, I told you guys".
Thanks Jerry, you were right.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Dinosaurs With Robert Hunter 1982-84 (Fossil Record)

An Alton Kelley poster for Dinosaurs at Keystone Palo Alto (Jan 22 '83) and Cotati Cabaret (Feb 18 '83)

Around 1973, Robert Hunter slowly surfaced from a decade-long hiatus as a performer. Initially, he appeared under the Nom Du Rock "Lefty Banks," playing with some old folk pals in a rock band called Roadhog. Hunter also released two albums on Round Records, although initially the fact that he was performing was a kind of secret. By 1976, Hunter was appearing under his own name with Roadhog, who played in a sort of honky-tonk style. Although Roadhog skidded to a halt, Hunter came back on stage a year later with another band, Comfort. They recorded, though did not release, an entire album, and toured the East Coast with and without the Jerry Garcia Band. Comfort was a little more fluid than Roadhog, but still a songwriter-focused aggregation, appropriate for the mid-70s. Yet after the demise of Comfort, while Hunter continued to perform as a solo act, he mostly stepped away from performing in a rock group.

Yet the electric Robert Hunter did make another major landfall. Starting in the Fall of 1982, he started to appear with some old psychedelic Fillmore peers in the aptly named band Dinosaurs. All of the other members were veterans of now-retired legendary Fillmore bands, and although the group formed without Hunter, he joined for their second real engagement, and thus could be called a founding member. Hunter's presence provided a Grateful Dead bloodline to the Dinosaurs. While the other band members played old songs they had already written years before, Hunter provided his usual steady stream of new material. And while Roadhog and Comfort had been more in a "folk-rock" vein, Dinosaurs--not "The" Dinosaurs--was a true, lumbering psychedelic beast. Hunter knew a little about writing those kinds of songs too. This post will look at the formation of Dinosaurs, and Robert Hunter's two years in the band. Appropriately, it was Hunter's last meaningful foray into playing in an electric rock context.

Hunter remained a regular member of the Dinosaurs through the Summer of 1984. Throughout the whole period, Hunter continued to perform as a solo act, particularly in East Coast nightclubs. He left Dinosaurs on amicable terms, and The Dinosaurs continued on until 1996. This post will review the performance history of Robert Hunter and The Dinosaurs from 1982 to 1984. Anyone with any recollections, corrections or reflections should put them in the Comments. Besides correcting any errors, I am particularly interested in any missing shows with Hunter, as well as opening acts and any guests who may have sat in at each show.

The Dinosaurs only album was released on Relix in 1988. Robert Hunter had left the band in 1984, but he returned to sing on one song
Overview and Fossil Record of Dinosaur Formation
In July of 1982, Barry "The Fish" Melton, formerly of Country Joe and The Fish, invited former Big Brother and The Holding Company bassist Peter Albin and Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden to play a one-off gig at the Russian River. The band Dinosaurs acquired its name from an off-the-cuff remark by Barry "The Fish" Melton at an early gig when he responded to an audience request as to whether they knew a specific song by saying "No, we're just a bunch of old Dinosaurs." Although Melton, Albin and Dryden were under 40, they felt a long way from the Avalon and Woodstock, when their bands headlined and their albums were bestsellers. This inspired Melton to form a group of players from that era to play occasional gigs in the style that brought them to fame in the first place. Their first shows were in August and September of 1982. The lineup of The Dinosaurs was
Barry Melton-lead guitar, vocals (ex-Country Joe and The Fish)
John Cippolina-lead guitar (ex-Quicksilver)
Robert Hunter-acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals
Peter Albin-bass (ex-Big Brother)
Spencer Dryden-drums (ex-Jefferson Airplane)
The band was regularly joined by a variety of guests of similar vintage, who would generally sit in for a song or two. Hunter was not initially a member of the band, but he did make a guest appearance at their first "official" show, and seemed to have decided to stay. Hunter's presence gave Dinosaurs a connection to perhaps the five most iconic San Francisco bands of the 60s.

For the most part, Dinosaurs played in the loose style we associate with the Avalon and Fillmore of the 60s. This wasn't exclusively just a conscious choice by the band--it was who they were. Most Dinosaurs material was blues based, from Melton's various albums and also from the general zeitgeist of folk and blues covers that were characteristic of Avalon bands. The difference with Dinosaurs, other than their formidable pedigrees, was Hunter's original songs. Hunter would play the occasional Dead song, songs recorded on various albums in the 1970s, and even new material. Roadhog and Comfort had played in fairly intricate styles, but Dinosaurs weren't like that. The assembled Dinosaurs were great musicians, but they just counted to four and kicked off a shuffle, because that's how they had done it in the old country. It turned out that Hunter had a good feel for writing that kind of song, and performing them with a minimum of rehearsal. Who would have guessed?

In the early 1980s, psychedelic music seemed to be down for the count, and free form blues jamming was going to go with it. Only the Grateful Dead and their satellites were really out there making a success of playing that way, and they seemed to be the last of their breed. Sure, many artists from the old days, like Jefferson Starship and Steve Miller Band were still drawing good crowds and selling records, but they weren't playing what they had played at Fillmore. The ironic, unapologetic Dinosaurs seemed to the last of their kind. All that remained were the Grateful Dead, the Brontosaurus of psychedelia, and Dinosaurs as some sort of Triceratops. Hunter was actually writing new songs, but he was Hunter, and when the boys from Big Brother, The Fish, the Airplane and Quicksilver played them, it had that Cretaceous feel to it.

In the early 80s, Dinosaurs strictly played the West Coast. For practical reasons, most of their gigs were around the Bay Area, but they played some shows in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest. Although Dinosaurs were not directly involved in the rise of jam bands in the 80s, they did show that there was a market for that sort of music at the time. The difference between the West and other parts of the country, however, was that just as the likes of Phish, Moe and Widespread Panic were establishing themselves in their own regions, the West Coast still had the not-yet-extinct creatures of prior epochs.

July 5, 1982 Marin County Fairgrounds, San Rafael, CA: Dinosaurs (billing uncertain)
The story of the Dinosaurs was told best in Dinosaur manager Steve Keyser's liner notes of the 2005 Acadia Records double cd release of Dinosaurs music called Friends Of Extinction:
Like many of the good things in life, the band formed pretty much by accident in July 1982. Dinosaurs played around 130 shows until they called it quits in June of 1996. Melton and Albin had known each other for many years and still play together on a regular basis. In fact, all the members had many years of high profile experience, but more than that they didn't bring an attitude with them. Melton recalls the early days, "I was on the board of directors of this organization called The Freedom Foundation which met inside the San Quentin State Prison. The chairman of the organization was this guy called Dennis Jones who was doing life for three counts of conspiracy to commit murder - he is out now. Well, he was promoting concerts at the time, and Spencer was also on the board of directors along with Norton Buffalo. Peter and I had a trio and we booked ourselves a gig on the Russian River, this was 1982 and our drummer fell out, so I asked Spencer if he still played as he'd been half managing the New Riders. He said sure." It was at this show that the "Dinosaur" quip came and afterwards they decided that what they had was probably part of some bigger idea or concept. "When we got back we called Cipollina to see what he was doing." John, of course was in a half dozen bands at the time and as Melton jokingly remembers "The offer to be in another band was more than attractive to him, so he joined up." By the time they played their second gig things were beginning to take shape. "We booked ourselves as a quartet and we called ourselves Dinosaurs, just Dinosaurs. There never was a "the" in front of the name."
The July 5 show is generally believed to be the first Dinosaurs show, but I don't know how it was advertised, nor how the band was announced. Still, the timing fits. The performance is somewhat unlike subsequent Dinosaurs shows. The dominant instrument is tenor saxophone, played by someone announced as "Beans Banaka." Peter Walsh plays guitar along with Melton and John Cipollina. Walsh was probably a regular member of the Barry Melton Band at the time, but three lead guitars and a tenor sax makes for an odd sound. Still, the existing tape is enjoyable, if not really revealing of what is to come. When Melton ends the tape, he announces Mickey Hart, Airto and Vince Delgado, presumably all sitting in on assorted percussion instruments.

The Marin County Fairgrounds in San Rafael is part of the same complex as the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium. All the shows at the Fairgrounds were on a formal stage, but outdoors.

August 10, 1982 Uncle Charlie's, Corte Madera, CA: jam
I have a note that there was some kind of "jam" with the Dinosaurs crowd at Uncle Charlie's in Corte Madera. Most likely, this was a sort of stealth warmup gig. August 10 was a Wednesday, so an unpublicized show would have been easy to pull off. It is possible that Hunter played on some songs here or at Cotati two nights later--see the comment below on the August 13 Old Waldorf show from a former roadie.

August 12, 1982 Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA: Dinosaurs
The Cotati Cabaret was at 85 La Plaza in Cotati. Cotati's first rock venue had been the venerable, if tiny Inn Of The Beginning at 8201 Old Redwood Highway (aka CA-12). The club had opened in 1968, and all the Marin musicians played there. It had been a good place for the New Riders of The Purple Sage or Old And In The Way to work on their chops, or for Janis Joplin to sit in with Big Brother even though she had left the band two years earlier. In 1966, Sonoma State College had opened in nearby Rohnert Park. However, Cotati was the nearest town to Sonoma State College, so it was both a college town and a hippie enclave. Calling Cotati "bucolic" almost does it a disservice--even today, it is so much nicer than just bucolic.

At some point in the 1980s, Mark Bronstein, the manager of the Inn Of The Beginning moved the action to the Cotati Cabaret, a different building that was still within walking distance of the old site, at the same downtown plaza. His partner was Ken Frankel, who had played mandolin in the Hart Valley Drifters back in 1963 with Garcia, Hunter and Nelson. All of the members of The Dinosaurs had played the Inn Of The Beginning at one time or another, in various incarnations.

The Alton Kelley poster for the Dinosaurs show at San Francisco's Old Waldorf on August 13, 1982. At the time, Kelley was as much a Dinosaur as anyone in the band
August 13, 1982 Old Waldorf, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs/Flamin Groovies
The Dinosaurs made their official debut at the Old Waldorf in San Francisco. The Old Waldorf, at 444 Battery Street in the Embarcadero Center, was opened in 1975 by restaurateur Jeffrey Pollack. It was a new type of rock club for San Francisco, similar to places like The Roxy in Los Angeles or The Bottom Line in New York. Large for a club but much smaller than any concert venue--it probably held around 600 patrons--the Old Waldorf generally featured up and coming bands that were rising on FM radio. The club sold a lot of drinks, often to invited guests on the record company tab. The waitresses were intimidatingly pretty. It was not a rowdy downtown beer joint like the Keystone Berkeley, but rather a more expensive place with good parking, for rock fans with a good job who wanted to take a date to a nice place. There was a tiny dance floor off to the side, but to get near the stage you had to get there early and sit at long tables running perpendicular to the stage, which meant you had to buy drinks. There was a two-drink minimum.

In 1981, Pollack had sold the club to Bill Graham Presents. In general, the same sorts of bands appeared, salted in with a few old Graham staples. In the case of Dinosaurs, all their bands had played for Bill Graham many times. Another old-time San Francisco act, the Flamin' Groovies, opened for them, and there was even a light show, an all but unprecedented attraction for the Old Waldorf. The Dinosaurs were advertised as Melton/Cipollina/Albin/Dryden. As it happened, Robert Hunter was invited out of the crowd to sing "Jesse James." Joel Selvin reported this in the Monday SF Chronicle review. Also stepping on stage at The Old Waldorf for a number or two were ex-Charlatan guitarist Michael Wilhelm, ex-Stained Glass (and High Noon) organist Jim McPherson and ex-Quicksilver drummer Greg Elmore.

There was also a poster for the show by Alton Kelley. More from the liner notes:
Manager Steve Keyser elaborates "Barry pointed out that there were a lot of Dinosaurs and it would be very presumptuous to say that they were "The Dinosaurs." There were many other Dinosaurs, and one of the nice things about about their live shows was they would do whatever they could to get other "Dinosaurs" to sit in, which happened a lot." In fact, it happened right from the first show! Melton takes up the story again. "I wrote up a press release for a gig at the Old Waldorf, Alton Kelley did up a poster. "We did it the old way. We went through the city and distributed the posters and the first night we played tons of people showed up. It sold out. A lot of our musical contemporaries showed up, Bob Hunter among them. Garcia was there but didn't play. Hunter jumps up on stage and starts playing harmonica." 
Of course, there was no call for psychedelic rock posters anymore, either, so Kelley was as much of a Dinosaur as his musician friends.

Now, an Archive commenter does say that Hunter was already a "member," , which contradicts everyone else's memory, so perhaps a more complicated plan was afoot.
Robert Hunter WAS actually a member of the band at this time. This was "The Dinosaurs" First actual gig. I had worked with Barry and the boys previously and had done 2 rehearsal type shows with Hunter prior to this, but this was the First Dinosaurs Gig, complete with the red and green Poster from Kelley.
September 16, 1982 Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, CA: Dinosaurs
Hunter joined the Dinosaurs for some dates in Los Angeles. The Golden Bear was on the Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County, and was in its second decade as a folk and rock nightclub. The Dinosaurs were also listed as being at KRLA-fm in Los Angeles, but I don't know if they actually played, or just talked on the radio. I think the latter is more likely. A friendly dj would certainly take the time to interview some rock legends for a few minutes, but there was no record company to organize a live broadcast.

Alton Kelley's poster for Dinosaurs and Canned Heat at The Roxy on September 17-18, 1982.
September 17-18, 1982 The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA: Dinosaurs/Canned Heat
The Roxy was Los Angeles' premier rock showcase club, on the Sunset Strip. Usually the bands that played there were heavily backed by record companies, but of course The Roxy had to fill up every weekend date, and a band of aging rock legends--all of them just around 40 years old, mind you--was the next best thing to some up and coming band. On the first night (Sep 17), legendary pianist Nicky Hopkins sat in for some numbers, as did Bay Area pals Righteous Raoul (piano) and Dave Getz (the drummer for Big Brother). To close the September 17 show, Hunter performed his newly-written "theme song" for the band, "Dinosaur." This wasn't insignificant--it meant that Hunter was taking the Dinosaurs seriously, because he was writing original material just for the band.

We don't have a tape or eyewitness account for September 18, to my knowledge, so I don't know who showed up or what the band played. Canned Heat, Dinosaurs themselves, was a band from way back in the day, but at this point the only Jurassic member from the 60s was drummer Fito Parra.

September 21, 1982 Uncle Charlie's, Corte Madera, CA: Dinosaurs
The Dinosaurs returned to Marin county for a show at Uncle Charlie's. Uncle Charlie's was mainly a hangout, although bands did play there regularly.[update] Guests apparently included Nick Gravenites, Elvin Bishop, Scott Lawrence (Youngbloods pianist) and Merl and Tony Saunders.

October 2, 1982 The Saloon, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs
The Saloon was a tiny bar on 1232 Grant Street in North Beach. It first opened in 1861. Barry Melton probably played there shortly afterwards. The Barry Melton Band played there literally hundreds of times over the decades. During this period, the Barry Melton Band often included Cipollina, Peter Albin and Dryden, along with other players.

November 19, 1982 Sweetwater, Mill Valley, CA: Dinosaurs
[update] Dinosaurs played a stealth show in downtown Mill Valley, per a Commenter, probably as a form of public rehearsal. Mickey Hart was present, apparently.

November 20, 1982 KFTY-TV studio, Santa Rosa, CA: Dinosaurs
November 20, 1982 KVRE-fm, Santa Rosa, CA: Dinosaurs
The Dinosaurs did make some "media appearances" in Marin. KFTY-tv, UHF Channel 50, was a local station in Santa Rosa, whose signal did not go very far. I assume that the band played a few songs in the studio. I also assume that the songs were broadcast--possibly simulcast--on KVRE-fm. These dates are from very old listings that I cannot confirm, but that seems to make sense.

November 21, 1982 Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA: Dinosaurs
The Dinosaurs began the steady habit of becoming regulars at Marin and Sonoma clubs. I think they used these gigs to warm up before more high profile shows. I doubt they rehearsed much, if at all.

December 8, 1982 KTIM-fm studio, San Rafael, CA: Dinosaurs
An old listing has The Dinosaurs playing on KTIM-fm in San Rafael. KTIM was the leading rock station in Marin County, but it didn't have a strong signal. It was just barely audible in Berkeley and San Francisco. Another old listing has the Dinosaurs at the Hun Sound studio in San Rafael. My suspicion is that the band played Hun Sound for a broadcast on KTIM, as KTIM had no facilities for a real live broadcast.

Dinosaurs returned to the Old Waldorf on December 10, 1982, and Kelley made a new poster for it
December 10, 1982 Old Waldorf, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs/Dan Hicks
Since many of the older San Francisco musicians were hardly working anymore, it turned out that they were very available for guest appearances. One of the perhaps unexpected dynamics of the Dinosaurs was that the concept was a perfect platform for old friends to get together on stage, since the fan base of all those groups was by now largely the same.

Although the five Dinosaurs, now including Hunter, were the core group, both Old Waldorf shows featured numerous guests who each sat in for a number: Merl Saunders, Country Joe McDonald, Mickey Hart, David Nelson, Greg Elmore, Dave Getz (Big Brother drummer), Sam Andrews (ex BB guitarist, now playing saxophone) Michael Wilhelm, drummer Harold Aceves and pianist Righteous Rauol. Nicky Hopkins sat in on piano for the entire late show. Old friend Dan Hicks (an ex-Charlatan himself) opened the shows. Given that almost none of the band members or guests had record contracts or current albums at the time, there was a fair amount of attention given to the Dinosaurs. There were early and late shows, but although the night was well attended, I don't believe that either show sold out.

Hunter sang "Franklin's Tower," a critical indication that Grateful Dead songs would not be off-limits for this endeavor.

There is a spurious tape listing for an Old Waldorf show on December 18. The Dinosaurs did not play the Old Waldorf that night. The booked bands at the Waldorf were Steel Breeze, The Payolas and The Silhouttes. The Old Waldorf wasn't like Marin--bands didn't just casually substitute on a Saturday night. Probably this tape is a mis-dated set from the previous weekend (Dec 10).

Another confusing issue for tracking Dinosaurs shows was that all the band members would regularly play without Hunter, under different names. Not only was there the Barry Melton Band, but Cippolina played in numerous local bands, sometimes with other Dinosaurs. Sometimes there were more casual aggregations, too. For example, on December 21, 1982, at Uncle Charlie's, there was a benefit for The Freedom Foundation. The show was billed as "Freedom Foundation Jam." At least based on the surviving tape, the lineup was Cippolina, Melton, Albin, Dryden, Bob Weir and Norton Buffalo. It is sometimes listed as a Dinosaurs show, which strictly speaking it wasn't, though it was part of the same evolutionary tree.

December 31, 1982 Oakland Auditorium Arena, Oakland, CA: Grateful Dead/Dinosaurs
In a unique occurrence, Dinosaurs with Robert Hunter opened for the Grateful Dead at Oakland Auditorium on New Year's Eve, 1982. This was the only time that Hunter opened for the Dead. A whole spectrum of Dinosaurs made guest appearances onstage, including Nicky Hopkins (who played electric piano most of the show), Kathi McDonald, Country Joe McDonald and saxophonist Stevie "Teenage" Douglas.

I attended this show--it was great--and wrote about it elsewhere at some length.

January 20, 1983 Phoenix Theater, Petaluma, CA: Dinosaurs
The Dinosaurs settled into the steady habit of playing a couple of shows a month, mostly around the Bay Area, but occasionally elsewhere. Melton and Hunter shared the vocals, although both Cipollina and Peter Albin would each sing a number, too. Melton's material was mostly his own, blues-based songs from prior albums. Hunter would mix in songs that Deadheads recognized (like "Fire On The Mountain," "Promontory Rider" or "New Speedway Boogie") with new material. Guests were routine. Although Dinosaurs were a jamming band rather than a rehearsed one, they were more like Quicksilver than the Dead, in the sense that the jams stayed within a safe scope.

January 22, 1983 Keystone Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA: Dinosaurs
One attraction for local promoters was that with the Jerry Garcia Band and Bobby And The Midnites regularly playing well attended local gigs around the Bay Area, the Dinosaurs added another option. The Dinosaurs played many of the venues that Garcia and Weir played during this period.

February 15, 1983 Mabuhay Gardens, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs
The Mabuhay Gardens was not a typical venue for any Dead related bands, nor any bands remotely like that. The Mabuhay Gardens was a Filipino Restaurant on Broadway, just across from The Stone. Since the mid-70s, the basement of the restaurant hosted punk rock shows, and the "Fab Mab" was a foundational venue for both local and touring punk and new wave bands. It was still around in the 80s. All of the Dinosaurs had a good sense of humor, and probably enjoyed reminding themselves that once they were the outlaws in town with the scary hair.

February 18, 1983 Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA: Dinosaurs
Matthew Kelly was a guest at this show (on "Lawdy Miss Clawdy"). Although Kelly was slightly younger than the Dinosaur crew, by the '80s, this hardly mattered. Kelly went back to the day with the rest of them.

February 22, 1983 Recreation Center, Corte Madera, CA: Dinosaurs
Although the Corte Madera Rec Center was probably a small gig, it was prime hunting ground for Dinosaurs. Guests this night included Matthew Kelly, Norton Buffalo, David Nelson, Kathi McDonald, Michael Wilhelm, David Cohen, Michael DeJong, Richard Olsen, Greg Anton and Mark Unobsky. David Cohen is listed as a sax player, which is either a mistake, or else it wasn't that (the CJF) David Cohen. The intriguing name is Mark Unobsky, a pretty good slide guitarist who was a key figure in the Red Dog Saloon way back In The Day, but had chosen to make a living in a profession besides music.

March 24, 1983 Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, CA: Dinosaurs
March 25, 1983 Country Club, Reseda, CA: Dinosaurs
In Southern California, there were far fewer opportunities to see either members of the Grateful Dead or former Avalon legends like Cipollina, and Dinosaurs filled that need. The Country Club was out in the suburbs, and Deadheads who were a little bit older were happy to go buy a few drinks at a nearby club rather than make some giant trek.

Kelley's poster for Dinosaurs at the Kabuki in San Francisco on April 9, 1983
April 9, 1983 Kabuki Theater, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs
The Kabuki Theater was in Japantown, right across from the old Fillmore, appropriately enough. The parking was great, which mattered to a Dinosaurs audience. Old friends included  Greg Elmore, Charley Musselwhite, Pete Sears, Richard Olsen and Michael Wilhelm.

April 20, 1983 Barbary Coast Room, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs played an afternoon show at San Francisco State. Guests included some pretty obscure friends, drummer Chuck Bernstein (from It's A Beautiful Day) and horn player Richard Ralston from The Charlatans (neither of whom rings a bell with me, and I'm good with obscure names).

May 20, 1983 Porter College, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA: Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs played Porter College--College Five for you old-time Banana Slugs--, probably in the Dining Commons. A commenter says it was "the night before Kresge Day '83." New Hunter songs like "Amagamalin Street" were starting to turn up in Dinosaurs sets. Keyser:
We only rehearsed about twice and with Bob Hunter we really needed to rehearse. Sometimes on stage with Hunter he would start a song that we that we had never heard. He wouldn't even say what key it was in, what the tempo was or the feel was. He would just start a song and just go for it. In a way I liked that kind of concept but for putting out recordings it just didn't work."
June 17, 1983 Keystone Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA: Dinosaurs/New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Mark Castro Band
June 18, 1983 Phoenix Theater, Petaluma, CA: Dinosaurs/New Riders Of The Purple Sage
By this time, the New Riders were just John Dawson and some other guys, with multi-instrumentalist Rusty Gauthier being the key player. Still, they were Dinosaurs too (Mark Castro, as I recall, was a blues harmonica player--update: apparently he's a guitar player).

July 3, 1983 Civic Center, San Rafael, CA: Dinosaurs
This is a very old listing, which I cannot confirm. It could either be the Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium or the Marin County Fairgrounds, which are actually right next to each other. Or it could be a canceled or never-held event.

When Dinosaurs first played the Pacific Nothwest, Kelley made a poster for the three shows (Apr 14-16, 1983)
July 14, 1983 Starry Night, Portland, OR: Dinosaurs
July 15, 1983 4th Avenue Tavern, Olympia, WA: Dinosaurs
July 16, 1983 Paramount Theater, Seattle, WA: Dinosaurs
The Dinosaurs went out for a weekend tour in the Pacific Northwest. The Dead were as popular as ever there, but save for the occasional Garcia show, spinoff bands never played there, and the other Dinosaurs didn't play there much either. As a result, Dinosaurs could headline the Seattle Paramount, where the Dead had headlined a decade earlier.

September 16, 1983 Rainbow Music Hall, Denver, CO: Dinosaurs
Denver was another place where Deadheads were legion, but the spinoff bands didn't play there much. I have no idea whether this was well attended, but my guess would be that it did pretty well. [update] A Commenter reports that this show was well attended.

September 17, 1983 Salt Air Pavilion, Salt Lake City, UT: Dinosaurs
With a Friday show in Denver, it made sense to play a Saturday show within striking distance. According to an Archive commenter, it may not have been a financial pleasure:
I was living in SLC at the time...remember seeing a small poster for the show at the Smiths in the Ave's. I do not think more than 50 people showed up...funky hall out on a jetty in off the great salt lake...they had everyone arm in arm doing the hokey pokey at the end.
David La Flamme was a guest Dinosaur this night. I believe he had family ties in Utah.

September 24, 1983 Wolfgang's, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs
Wolfgang's was Bill Graham's new San Francisco nightclub, more or less superseding the Old Waldorf. While Jerry Garcia still played The Stone, in SF the Dinosaurs mostly played for Graham, just as they always had.

Wolfgang's was at 901 Columbus, formerly the site of The Village, and later a disco (Dance Yer Ass Off), and then the New Boarding House. Wolfgang's (called after Bill Graham's birth name, Wolodia in Hungarian, but Europeanized to Wolfgang) was mostly filled with hip rock acts, but it had to be open all the time, so the old Fillmore guys got their shots.

October 13, 1983 Phoenix Theater, Petaluma, CA: Dinosaurs
October 14, 1983 Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA: Dinosaurs
October 15, 1983 Keystone Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA: Dinosaurs
All three of these Bay Area venues regularly booked the Jerry Garcia Band. Outside of Graham's SF territory, Dinosaurs were the next-best-alternative to a JGB show (Bob Weir drew many Deadheads, of course, but his appeal was less to the old hippie demographic).

At the October 15 Keystone Palo Alto show, the legendary Skip Spence made an appearance. Skip didn't really have it anymore, but by this time just saying that you saw him was worth something.

November 5, 1983 Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA: Dinosaurs
David Nelson was guest Dinosaur at the Cotati Cabaret. His regular number was "Crooked Judge."

November 9, 1983 Last Day Saloon, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs
The Last Day Saloon was at 406 Clement, near between 5th and 6th Avenue, in the Inner Richmond between The Presidio and Golden Gate Park (it's still a live venue, but now called Neck Of The Woods).

December 2, 1983 Cabo's, Chico, CA: Dinosaurs (early and late)
Dinosaurs played two shows in Chico. There is a tape, but other than that I know nothing about it.

December 1983 MuSiC
In December 1983, Cippolina, Melton, Albin and Dryden started playing shows with Merl Saunders on keyboards, but without Hunter. They used the name MuSiC for these bookings. Saunders gave them a Dead connection, and a different sound as well. Several months later, Saunders would "replace" Hunter in Dinosaurs, but in fact he had been playing with the crew for several months.

There is a studio rehearsal dated December 1983, but the first publicly advertised show that I know about was Keystone Berkeley on February 11, 1984. I attended, and the old fossils sounded great with Saunders on organ. Given that each Dinosaur, save for Hunter, tended to perform the same numbers, it was nice to both hear some new songs and a different feel on some of their regular material.

Kelley's poster for Dinosaurs appearance at the Corte Madera Rec Center, at the Arista Records Christmas Party on December 17, 1983

December 17, 1983 Recreation Center, Corte Madera, CA: Dinosaurs Arista Records Party
The Grateful Dead were still on Arista, even if they weren't really doing anything with them at the time. Still, there must have been a convention--East Coast labels liked to go California in the Winter--and presumably the Dead still had enough clout with Clive Davis to get their friends hired.

December 22, 1983 Union Square, San Francisco, CA: Nobody For President Rally
Wavy Gravy had a sort of comedy/activist routine called "Nobody For President" ("which politician is going to look after your needs? Nobody!"). Wavy would headline and emcee these sort of Rally/Protests around the Bay Area. The Dinosaurs were supposed to perform at a noontime rally in the tony San Francisco shopping district of Union Square, but rain interfered. The rally was still held, and Robert Hunter played a solo set instead.

January 28, 1984 Wolfgang's, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs/Country Joe McDonald
Country Joe McDonald, a true Dinosaur, had already made several guest appearances with the band. Now he started being booked with them. He would open the show with a solo acoustic set, and then join the rest of the band later in the show for a few numbers. Once again, for fans who had already seen them several times, this made for a nice change.

February 4, 1984 Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA: Dinosaurs

February 17, 1984 KFOG-fm, San Francisco, CA.
I have an old listing for Dinosaurs on KFOG on February 17. I have no idea if they performed or were interviewed, or if the listing is spurious. Since February 17 was a Friday, I'm more inclined to think it was an interview.

February 18, 1984 Keystone Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA: Dinosaurs

March 2, 1984 Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA: Dinosaurs

April 26, 1984 BJ Kelly's, Eugene, OR: Dinosaurs
April 27, 1984 Hub Ballroom, U. of Washington, Seattle, WA: Dinosaurs/County Joe McDonald
April 28, 1984 Starry Night, Portland, OR: Dinosaurs/County Joe McDonald
Country Joe joined Dinosaurs for the two big weekend shows in Seattle (Friday) and Portland (Saturday).

May 26, 1984 Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA: Dinosaurs

June 1, 1984 Wolfgang's, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs

June 8, 1984 Palace West, Phoenix, AZ: Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs made a little foray into the Southwest. I don't know anything about the Palace West in Phoenix. June 8 was a Friday.

June 9, 1984 Dinosaurs Cafe, Santa Fe, NM: Dinosaurs
Very appropriately, Dinosaurs played Dinosaurs Cafe in Santa Fe. Once again, I know nothing about the venue. On one hand, the various Dinosaurs would almost never have played Santa Fe, so it might have been exotic. On the other hand, there may not have been an audience for them, either. There are still a lot of old hippies in Santa Fe, even now, but I don't know if they were the sort who went out to see touring bands.

June 10, 1984 Peggy's Hi-Lo Bar, Boulder, CO: Dinosaurs
The Southwest excursion ended with a Sunday night show in Boulder. My notes come from some very old listings that the venue was either the Blue Note or the Olympic Lounge. Regular Commenter CryptDev, however, says that it was Peggy's Hi-Lo Bar, a roadhouse outside of town that mostly booked country acts.

July 15, 1984 Marx Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA: Dinosaurs/others
Robert Hunter had decided to leave Dinosaurs. All of the band remained friends, but Hunter's musical interests didn't really fit in with Dinosaurs at this time. It was announced, probably in BAM Magazine, that Hunter would be replaced with Merl Saunders, and that the show in Golden Gate Park would be Hunter's last appearance with the band.

Appropriately, given the history of the band members, Hunter's final Dinosaurs show was a free concert in Golden Gate Park, at Marx Meadows. Hunter, in fact, was the only Dinosaur who had not already played for free in Golden Gate Park. Michael Wilhelm was the guest Dinosaur that afternoon.

>August 10, 1984 Cotati Cabaret, Cotati, CA: Dinosaurs
Dinosaurs first gig without Hunter was once again in an out of the way venue, appropriate for a band that used live gigs as rehearsals. Along with Merl Saunders on organ, old friend David LaFlamme joined the group on electric violin, along with occasional vocals and electric guitar. LaFlamme, too, was announced in BAM as a permanent addition.

August 28, 1984 Wolfgang's, San Francisco, CA Dinosaurs/Jerry Garcia and John Kahn/Country Joe McDonald and Friends/David Nelson/Rick and Ruby Rodney Albin Benefit
Robert Hunter had left Dinosaurs, but sadly and appropriately he appeared with them one final time. Rodney Albin, not only Peter's brother but an absolutely essential figure in the careers of Jerry Garcia, Hunter, Big Brother and The Holding Company and many others, had died far too soon of stomach cancer in 1984. All of his friends came out for a memorial and fundraiser for him, headlined by Jerry Garcia. The whole night featured dinosaurs of every stripe, and I have written about both Rodney Albin and the benefit concert at Wolfgang's at great length.

For the only time, Hunter played the whole Dinosaur set with both Merl Saunders and David LaFlamme, along with the original quartet. Dinosaurs closed the show and rocked the house hard. Hunter's career as a performing electric Dinosaur ended on this night, but of course the community of old lizards remains intact to this day.

In 2005, Dinosaurs released the Friends Of Extinction cd. Disc one was the Relix album, and disc two was live material from the late 80s, after Hunter had left the band (although he guested on occasion, and thus sings on one track of the live album as well)
Dinosaurs: The Post-Hunterazoic Era
Dinosaurs continued on without Hunter, generally quite successfully. Merl Saunders was a great addition, and songs like "Sugaree" kept the Dead connection alive. However, John Cipollina died in June 1989, and that left a hole in the band. Still, there were still plenty of Dinosaurs around. Initially, electric violinist Papa John Creach took over Cippo's slot, amusingly appropriate since he was an even older Dinosaur than the rest of them. The music sounded great, but ironically enough, with the rise of cds, the Dinosaur appeal shrunk somewhat. For one thing, many old bands like Big Brother and The Holding Company got resuscitated, and that conflicted with any Dinosaur gigs. Guests still regularly dropped in on Dinosaur gigs, including, at least once, Robert Hunter himself (he sang "Amagamalin Street" at Keystone Palo Alto on October 25, 1985. I don't know if Hunter sang or played on other songs).

After Hunter left Dinosaurs, and even before, numerous other bands existed in tandem with them. The most famous, of course, was the reformed Big Brother And The Holding Company, which featured the original quartet, along with various singers. Another band was the Melton-Cipollina Band, usually billed as Fish And Chip. It initially featured the original Dinosaur quartet (Cipollina, Melton, Albin, Dryden), although in later years Doug Kilmer and Greg Elmore sometimes held down the rhythm section. Yet another configuration was the Barry Melton Band, sometimes called Fish Stu, which featured Melton, Albin, Dryden and keyboard player Stu Blank. Fish Stu mostly played The Saloon, and at times various other old friends participated or substituted.

Dinosaurs finally went into the studio in 1988, and released a self-titled LP on Relix Records later that year. The album mostly featured songs that had not been released on other albums. Robert Hunter reappeared to share vocals on the song "Who Makes The Moves" that he had co-written with Barry Melton. It had been a fairly regular part of the Dinosaurs repertoire when Hunter was in the band. Hunter also co-wrote a song with Merl Saunders, "Resurrection Rag." The album got a certain amount of attention, but like all Relix releases its footprint was not large.

Dinosaurs: Decline and Extinction
Even after the unfortunate death of John Cipollina in June, 1989, Dinosaurs soldiered on. Papa John Creach joined the group and the band continued to play. After a while, Papa John stepped down and was more or less replaced by Jerry Miller, formerly of Moby Grape, bringing another species into the band's DNA. At a certain point, however, the larger pool of fans interested in Dinosaur music had seen the band a few times, and since the group didn't rehearse, the fact that Dinosaurs didn't really vary their sets much started to weigh on fans' interest. Albin recalls 
"When we first started as Dinosaurs we definitely had a following with Dead Heads but when they realized we were playing the same songs over and over again they stopped coming. We did the same set all the time. Barry didn't want to do a set list, he refused saying that every audience was different and that he had to feel out the audience and then pick the song, well he picked the same songs all the time!"
Dinosaurs casually ground to a halt in 1996. There was no announcement or plan that I am aware of, only bookings became fewer and fewer and the band just stopped playing. Something might have been said in Relix, but even then it was pretty casual. All Dinosaurs, including Hunter, generally remained good friends and periodically appeared with each other when the opportunity arose. As the band members aged, their desire to go on the road, or even stay out late at night, faded somewhat.

In 2005, Acadia Records released a double cd of Dinosaurs material. All the songs from the Relix lp were included, along with two unreleased bonus tracks, and there was a variety of live tracks from 1987 to 1989 (for exact details, see the Appendix below).

Appendix: Officially Released Dinosaurs Material
Dinosaurs (Relix 1988)
Friends Of Extinction (Acadia 2005, double cd, original LP plus live tracks 87-89)

Dinosaurs
Initial release : 1988
Relix 2031 (US) / Big Beat WIK83 (UK) / Line Records (Germany)
  • Robert Hunter performs on one song and co-wrote two of the song on this album.
Lay Back Baby (Saunders / McPherson)
Strange Way (Melton / Zimmels)
Do I Move You? (Simone)
Butcher's Boy (Traditional arr. Melton)
Good Old Rock 'N Roll (Melton)
Resurrection Rag (Saunders / Hunter)
Who Makes Moves? (Hunter / Melton)
Mona (I Need You Baby) (McDaniel)

The CD release includes two extra tracks;
Fossil Fuel (Cipollina)
Motel Party Baby (Cipollina / Philippet)

Musicians
John Cipollina - guitar, vocals
Barry Melton - guitar, vocals
Peter Albin - bass, vocals
Spencer Dryden - drums
Merl Saunders - keyboards, vocals
Robert Hunter - vocals (Who Makes Moves? only)

Credits
Producer - John Cipollina, Merl Saunders and Dinosaurs
Engineer - Tom Flye, Bob Hodas, Bob Skye
Remix - Tom Flye
Mastering - George Horn
Post-production - John Hadden
Project coordinator - Steve Keyser
Front cover - Dennis Nolan
Graphics - Alton Kelley
Back cover photo - Alan Blaustein
Graphics - Mike Dolgushkin
Liner notes (Linosaur Diner Notes) - Robert Hunter
Many thanks to - Avrom Ash, Kevyn Clark, Sindi Cooper, Thad Cordes, Greg Elmore, Charlie Kaiser, Kenn Roberts, Hal and Sandy Royaltey, Mike Somaville, Dan Watham, Wally Watham, Debbie Wilensky and especially Rick Hubbard
This project was recorded at Tres Virgos Studios, San Rafael; Studio D, Sausalito and remote recording by The Plant Studios at The Cabaret, Cotati
Remixed at Prairie Sun Recorders, Cotati and Fantasy Studios, Berkeley

Friends Of Extinction-Dinosaurs
Initial release : 2005
Acadia Records

Double CD comprising a remastered version of the Dinosaurs only studio album plus previously unreleased live material. Robert Hunter, Merl Saunders and Barry Melton perform and contribute to the song writing.

Disc 1 (Original album);
Lay Back Baby (Saunders/McPherson)
Strange Way (Melton/Zimmels)
Do I Move You? (Simone)
Butcher's Boy (Traditional arr. Melton)
Good Old Rock 'N Roll (Melton)
Fossil Fuel (Cipollina)
Resurrection Rag (Saunders/Hunter)
Motel Party Baby (Cipollina / Philippet)
Who Makes Moves? (Hunter/Melton)
Mona (I Need You Baby) (McDaniel)
Honky Tonk Jekyll & Hyde (Cipollina)
Overnight (Cipollina)

Disc 2 (Dinosaurs Are Alive);
The Dance (Aceves)
Amagamalin Street (Hunter)
No More Country Girl (Creach)
The Love Machine (Melton)
I Can't Get Started With You (Gershwin / Duke)
Built For Comfort (Dixon)
Blind Man (Traditional)
Codine (Saint Marie)
Closer (Melton)

Musicians Disc 1:
John Cipollina - guitar, vocals
Barry Melton - guitar, vocals
Peter Albin - bass, vocals
Spencer Dryden - drums
Merl Saunders - keyboards, vocals
Robert Hunter - vocals (Who Makes Moves? only)

Musicians Disc 2:
John Cipollina - guitar, vocals
Barry Melton - guitar, vocals
Peter Albin - bass, vocals
Spencer Dryden - drums
Merl Saunders - keyboards, vocals
Papa John Creach - violin, vocals
Stu Blank - organ (on The Dance)
Greg Elmore - drums (on Love Machine)
Doug Killmer - bass (on The Dance and Love Machine)
Kathi McDonald - vocals (on Blind Man)
Robbie Hoddinott - guitar (on Closer)
Robert Hunter - vocals (on Amagamalin Street)

Credits
For the original album (Disc 1)
Producer - John Cipollina, Merl Saunders and Dinosaurs
Engineer - Tom Flye, Bob Hodas, Bob Skye
Remix - Tom Flye
Mastering - George Horn
Post-production - John Hadden
Project coordinator - Steve Keyser
This project was recorded at Tres Virgos Studios, San Rafael; Studio D, Sausalito and remote recording by The Plant Studios at The Cabaret, Cotati
Remixed at Prairie Sun Recorders, Cotati and Fantasy Studios, Berkeley
Honky Tonk Jekyll & Hyde and Overnight were recorded on February 5, 1985.

For the live disc (Disc 2);
Producer, mastering - Mick Skidmore
Executive producer, tape archivist, project coordinator - Steve Keyser
Track selection - Steve Keyser, Mick Skidmore, Barry Melton
The tracks on disc 2 are live recordings from the following sources;
The Dance - Chi Chi Club, San Francisco, October 17, 1987
Amagamalin Street - Keystone, Palo Alto, October 25, 1985
No More Country Girl - The Backstage, Seattle, August 12, 1989
The Love Machine - Chi Chi Club, San Francisco, December 5, 1987
I Can't Get Started With You - The Backstage, Seattle, August 12, 1989
Built For Comfort - Starry Night, Portland, October 22, 1988
Blind Man - Parker's, Seattle, November 1, 1987
Codine - Chi Chi Club, San Francisco, April 8, 1989
Closer - Mabuhay Gardens, San Fransisco, June 22, 1985