Brent Mydland was always in the shadow of the other members of the Grateful Dead, because he was always "the new guy." One of the many interesting aspects of the Grateful Dead was that fans could see the musical interests and abilities of the individual musicians in their various side projects, and then see how those sounds were integrated or excluded from the Dead's sounds. Most Deadheads, however--and I am certainly including myself--paid little attention to Brent's individual activities outside the band because they were too busy following Garcia or Weir.
Certainly, if you were a Bay Area resident, and you had a chance to see Jerry Garcia or Brent Mydland in a club, you would generally pick Jerry. Also, like most Dead fans I liked many kinds of music, and being fortunate enough to see the Grateful Dead regularly, I made a point of seeing other groups rather than the spinoff bands. As a result, Brent Mydland projects tended to be quite obscure. Kokomo was a group that only existed for the Summer of 1985. Although all the players are recognizable, I know of no circulating tapes, no reviews, don't know anyone who saw the band and can only guess exactly what they played. I'm not suggesting that the band was world changing, or even any more than a solid bar band, but one of the purposes of this blog is to document little known performances of the Grateful Dead and its members.
Kevin Russell-guitar, vocals
Brent Mydland-keyboards, vocals
David Margen-bass, vocals
Kevin Russell had been in an "arena rock" band called 707 from 1977-83. They had a hit called "I Could Be Good For You" on Casablanca Records, and three albums on Casablanca and Boardwalk. Despite some success on tour opening for larger acts like REO Speedwagon, the band broke up in 1983. Kevin Rusell, originally from Detroit, had moved from Southern California to Marin County during his time in the band.
David Margen was a Berkeley musician had played bass for Santana for several years (1977-82), as well as playing bass in a variety of other groups.
All the dates come from contemporary newspapers or the Grateful Dead hotline recorded messages.
July 26, 1985: River Theater, Guerneville, CA
July 27, 1985: Keystone Palo Alto, Palo Alto, CA w/Zero
July 30, 1985: Wolfgang's, San Francisco, CA w/Zero
July 31, 1985: Cabaret Cotati, Cotati, CA
August 1, 1985: New George's, San Rafael, CA
August 5, 1985: Toad's Place, New Haven, CT
August 6, 1985: The Casablanca, Rochester, NY
A Commenter writes:
I was at that show! - the venue was called The Casablanca - it was a small nightclub on East Henrietta Rd. - there is now a T.G.I.Fridays in that location ;)And true to his word, here it is (front and back)
I met Brent briefly in the parking lot before that show. I had a "Hot F***ing Jorma" sticker with me (Hot Tuna was also on the bill that night), and he signed it on the back, asking "you're not gonna just stick this somewhere and throw away the backing, are you?" I assured him I wouldn't (and haven't) - I think I got fellow bandmembers Billy Kreutzmann and Santana bassist David Margen to sign it also, not sure, since that sticker is in a box somewhere in the house!
|Brent, Billy and David Margen signed the back of the Jorma sticker|
August 8, 1985: The Living Room, Providence, RI
August 9, 1985: The Chatterbox, Seaside Heights, NJ
August 10, 1985: The Metro, New Brunswick, NJ
August 11, 1985: The Bayou, Washington, DC
August 13, 1985: Paradise Club, Boston, MA
August 14, 1985: Club Casino, Hampton Beach, VA
August 15, 1985: The Ritz, New York, NY
August 18, 1985: [venue], Norfolk, VA
August 19, 1985: Chestnut Cabaret, Philadelphia, PA
September 13, 1985: Major Pond's, San Francisco, CA
September 19, 1985: New George's, San Rafael, CA w/Zero
My notes (now twenty-three years old) say Bob Weir and Merl Saunders played with them.
September 28, 1985: River Theater, Guerneville, CA
If anyone can direct me to an online tape, or has a setlist, or went to a show, or knows someone who went to a Kokomo show and recalls the description, please put them in the comments.
In the next Summer and Fall, with Jerry Garcia out of commission, band members played a lot of shows in local clubs. Kreutzmann and Margen started The Kreutzmann/Margen band, which involved into Go Ahead, which will be the subject of future posts.