Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grateful Dead Tour Itinerary January 1968

Poster for the January 17, 1968 GD/QMS show at The Carousel
I have been constructing tour itineraries for the Grateful Dead for brief periods of their history. There is so much information circulating on websites and blogs (including my own) that go beyond published lists on Deadlists and Dead.net that these posts make useful forums for discussing what is known and missing during each period. So far I have reviewed

Rather than go in strictly chronological order, I am focusing on periods where recent research has been done by myself or others. Over time I hope to have the entire 1965-70 period. My principal focus here is on identifying which dates have Grateful Dead shows, which dates might have Grateful Dead shows, and which dates are in dispute or may be of interest. Where relevant, I am focusing on live appearances by other members--mostly Jerry Garcia, as a practical matter--in order to get an accurate timeline.

What follows is a list of known Grateful Dead performance dates for January, 1968. I am focused on which performances occurred when, rather than the performances themselves. For known performances, I have assumed that they are easy to assess on Deadlists, The Archive and elsewhere, and have made little comment. As a point of comparison, I am comparing my list to Deadlists, but I realize that different databases may include or exclude different dates (I am not considering recording dates, interviews or Television and radio broadcast dates in this context).

My working assumption is that the Grateful Dead, while already a legendary rock band by 1968, were living hand to mouth and scrambling to find paying gigs. Most paying performances were on Friday and Saturday nights, so I am particularly interested  in Friday and Saturday nights where no Grateful Dead performances were scheduled or known.

Grateful Dead Tour Itinerary January 1968
The Grateful Dead had ended 1967 with a show at the Psychedelic Supermarket in Boston on December 30, 1967. They had flown home to San Francisco, expecting to jam with Quicksilver on New Year's. The story goes that after returning from a long flight, band members ate some special brownies, and--due no doubt to chocolately goodness--fell asleep. There are no known Grateful Dead performances for the first two weekends of January 1968, and there are a number of possible explanations for that: the Carousel Ballroom and the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper strike.

The principal source for concrete information about the Grateful Dead, the Fillmore and the whole psychedelic ballroom scene has been the San Francisco Chronicle, specifically the columns of Ralph Gleason. Gleason was one of the Chronicle's leading columnists, writing about music on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Gleason was one of the first writers to take "popular" music seriously as Art--Gleason had interviewed Hank Williams in Oakland in the 1950s, and he was a big fan of anything new and good: Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Elvis Presley or the Jefferson Airplane. Gleason was a big supporter of Bill Graham and the Fillmore, and indeed he was instrumental in getting Graham a Dance Permit, without which the Fillmore would not have survived.

Since the influential Gleason wrote extensively about the Fillmore bands, the Chronicle regularly filled out the Entertainment section with promotional photos and press releases of bands playing the local ballrooms and elsewhere. In the Chronicle Entertainment listings, little rock clubs like The Matrix got equal footing with art galleries and hotel ballrooms, an invaluable boon to researchers like me. The other major papers in the Bay Area had no Gleason, and were not so invested in covering the San Francisco scene in any detail.

All of the most thorough writers about the Dead and the San Francisco scene--Blair Jackson, Dennis McNally and Charles Perry, most prominently--leaned heavily on a thorough study of the San Francisco Chronicle microfilm archives. In particular, Gleason's insightful and detailed coverage has been essential in tying dates to various bits of folklore. A story retailed by Bill Graham or Jerry Garcia that might be hard to pin down to a specific time could be compared to Gleason's regular notes and observations, and it would be possible to triangulate when certain things were most likely to have occurred. Without the Chronicle, much of San Francisco's rock history would just be a smoky legend.

On January 6, 1968, the writers and staff of the San Francisco Chronicle went on strike. They remained on strike until about February 15. A brief "scab" version of the Chronicle was put out, but regular columnists like Gleason and Herb Caen went out with their fellows. As a result, there was no record of the doings of the San Francisco rock world for about a six-week period. The Berkeley Barb covered Berkeley and periodically mentioned goings on in the City, but the paucity of information for January 1968 stems from the Chronicle strike. Besides covering all the local events, Gleason usually remarked in passing when the major San Francisco bands were on tour, but no such information was forthcoming during the strike. This has left a critical gap in our knowledge of the Dead's activity during the months of January and February 1968.

The Carousel Ballroom, 1545 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
Throughout late 1967, the Grateful Dead and the other San Francisco bands had felt that the profitable ballroom operations of Bill Graham and Chet Helms were profiting on the back of the local bands. The groups began to look for a venue of their own, an early attempt to take control of their own destiny. Searching for a venue to rent for a Halloween concert in 1967, Dan Healy came across the former El Patio Ballroom at Market and Van Ness. The Dead and Quicksilver put on a concert there, and in conjunction with the other major Bay Area bands (Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and The Holding Company and Country Joe And The Fish) made plans to run their own ballroom. 

The Carousel was owned by Bill Fuller, an Englishman who owned a string of ballrooms in America and England. In the 1960s, they mostly catered to an Irish clientele. The Carousel featured a dance band (jazz orchestra) most weekends, but various special acts played concerts, particularly Irish performers. At some point in early 1968, the San Francisco bands made an agreement with Fuller to lease the hall. Without Gleason and the Chronicle, its hard to determine the exact chronology of events. In March, Gleason reported that the bands had taken over the hall and would put on regular performances. Since there was no Chronicle during the previous several weeks, it's hard to be certain whether the first two shows at the Carousel were "contract" shows where the bands rented the hall or whether the collective of groups had taken hold of the operations. I know there was at least one show at the Carousel that was a contracted show (Buck Owens played the Carousel on March 9, 1968), but I cannot tell if that was the only one.

January 17, 1968: Carousel Ballroom, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service
Ron Rakow has commented that the bands were absolutely clueless about promotion when they first took over the Carousel. The Grateful Dead and Quicksilver were planning a big tour of the Pacific Northwest, so they kicked it off with a Wednesday night show at the Carousel. No San Francisco bands played the Carousel for another month, thus diluting the value of the inaugural performance. Of course, I have no idea if anyone else played the Carousel in the intervening time, either. A fine tape of this show endures, but we know nothing else about the performances. On the tape, Jerry does say (approximately) "it's nice to be back in San Francisco after a long while playing in other places."

What were the Dead doing from January 1-16? Did they not perform at all on the weekends of January 5-6 and 12-13? Keep in mind that without Gleason we have no good source. Since the band was planning on competing with Chet Helms and Bill Graham, it's no surprise that they didn't play the Avalon or the Fillmore (those bookings are known from posters). I wouldn't rule out a performance out of town, however, in a place like Sacramento, San Jose or Stockton. I'm sure the Dead were rehearsing during this time, but that wouldn't have taken up all 15 days. The Dead had no money at the time, and could not have turned down a paying gig. In my mind, January 12-13, 1968 is a likely candidate for an as-yet unfound show.

handbill for the January 20, 1968 GD/QMS show in Eureka, CA
January 20, 1968: Eureka Municipal Auditorium, Eureka, CA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service
The Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service began their Pacific Northwest tour with a Saturday night concert in the coastal city of Eureka, CA, 272 miles North of San Francisco, and the County Seat of Humboldt County. The Eureka Municipal Auditorium, located on 1120 F Street and completed in 1936, was a delightful little hall with a capacity of 2,300. Because the Dead were working on what would become Anthem Of The Sun, tapes of the concert endure.

Although far Northern California is a hippie paradise now, it was probably not such a place then, and I don't think the town of Eureka was too happy with the concert, as the Dead never played there again. At the time, the area's economy was driven by logging and fishing at the time, rather than growing certain crops (ahem). There was a thriving 60s rock scene in the Northern California/Southern Oregon scene, with some pretty good groups (such as The Neighborhood Childr'n, from Ashland, and The Living Children, from Fort Bragg), but the far Northern circuit stayed pretty isolated from the Portland and San Francisco scenes.

In 1998, Bob Weir and Mickey Hart wanted to play a Benefit concert at the Eureka Municipal Auditorium, but the permit was denied. The Eureka police chief had been a patrolman working security at the 1968 concert. He explained
Look back in the archives of the Eureka paper and you'll see there was a big bust at the Grateful Dead dance. I was an officer at the time...We had people all over the outside and so many inside the fire marshal was getting the hiccups," the chief recalled. "We had people selling and using marijuana that night. I caught one guy selling LSD tabs. After that we wouldn't allow the Grateful Dead to come back to Eureka."
The ironies of the Grateful Dead being banned from Eureka after 1968 are too immense to list here, so I will leave you to contemplate them for yourself.

January 22-23, 1968; Eagles Auditorium, Seattle, WA--spurious
Some fine tapes have circulated for many years, ostensibly from Eagles Auditorium with the dates January 22 and 23. Without recapping research already done excellently, there is no sign of concerts at Eagles Auditorium in Seattle on these days, and every sign of shows on the weekend (January 26 and 27). The 22nd and 23rd were a Monday and a Tuesday, nights when it was very unlikely to have a concert.

However, the dates beg an important question: what were the Grateful Dead doing from Saturday January 20, when they played Eureka, until Friday January 26, when they played Seattle? Where did they go? [update: this is a fine hypothesis I have here, but it turns out to be completely without merit. Thanks to some Commenters, we know that the Dead flew to Eureka, and in fact there was commercial air service from SFO to McKinleyville, near Arcata. This means that the band flew to the Eureka show and returned, and then flew to Seattle, so they never spent any time at large in the Northwest between Jan 21 and Jan 25]: Some things to consider:
  • Driving the equipment back to San Francisco (272 miles) and then North again to Seattle (800 miles) makes little sense
  • There was no meaningful commercial air service out of Eureka at the time, and
  • The band was dead broke, so they hardly could have afforded to put up 10 or so people in hotels, and closer to 20 if you include the Quicksilver boys
The band must have gone to Oregon or Seattle, where someone put them up. But where? Ken Kesey's family farm in Pleasant Hill, OR seems like a likely choice, but Kesey's probation may have made him hesitant to turn the place into an impromptu party. However, whether the band hung out in Eugene, Portland or Seattle, they were there with all their equipment (and Quicksilver). They must have rehearsed, if not played some sort of party or something...why haven't we heard anything about this? Even if they just laid low for a week, shouldn't someone in Oregon or Seattle have a story about it? [there are no stories because the Dead were back home in San Francisco]

handbill for the GD/QMS show on Jan 26-27, 1968 in Seattle, WA
January 26-27, 1968: Eagles Auditorium, Seattle, WA: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service
The Quick and The Dead played Eagles Auditorium on the weekend. Eagles was Seattle's own version of the Fillmore, and all the touring bands played there. Built in 1924 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles as “Aerie #1.”  The order was popular in the early 20th century.  The building is now known as Kreielsheimer Place and mostly hosts Theater performances of the Seattle ACT.

I have always assumed that the tapes from January 22-23 have always properly belonged to January 26-27, unless you want to take the hypothesis that the Dead were camped out at Eagles and played for themselves on Monday and Tuesday. The Tour Of The Great Pacific Northwest was, to my knowledge, the first and last time that the Dead followed the conventional promotional practice of printing a blank posters and handbills and filling in the date and venue for each stop.

January 29, 1968: College Center Ballroom, Portland State College, Portland, OR Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/PH Phactor Jug Band
Portland was a major hippie outpost, and had a thriving concert scene, even if it mostly featured out of town bands working their way up and down the coast. The main venue was Portland's Crystal Ballroom, where the Dead would play a legendary weekend on February 2-3, but prior to that they played some weekday college shows. I concede that the confirmed Portland shows on a Monday (29) and a Tuesday (30) put the "mystery" tapes of Jan 22-23 in a different light. Perhaps the band played college dates in Seattle on January 22-23, and the tapes were mislabeled as Eagles? It's an interesting hypothesis, but no research supports that.

The College Center Ballroom, at 1825 SW Broadway, was built in 1957. It has been remodeled various times, but it is still in use, currently called the Smith Memorial Student Union (SMSU) Ballroom. The capacity must have been under 1,000. PH Phactor Jug Band were a hippie jug band.

Handbill for the January 30, 1968 U of O. Dead/QMS show
January 30, 1968: EMU Ballroom, University Of Oregon, Eugene, OR: Grateful Dead/Quicksilver Messenger Service/PH Phactor Jug Band
The tour continued on at the University of Oregon the next night. The bands played the Erb Memorial Union Ballroom, at 1222 E. 13th St in Eugene. Depending on the configuration, the official capacity was either 765 or 965, although more may have been packed in there. The show was presented by SDS, but that means less than it may seem. Any campus event would have required a sponsor, and Students For A Democratic Society was probably the best-organized group on campus. I doubt there were any political implications to the event, beyond the usual hippie solidarity. The casual handbill suggests that this event was organized at the last minute.

The next Dead/Quicksilver show was Friday, February 2, at Portland's Crystal Ballroom. What did the Dead do? Where did 15-20 hippies and a truckload of equipment go for three days? This is not so casual a question as it might seem. Cops liked to bust hippies, and Portland cops were no exception, and the notorious Grateful Dead were a tempting target. Portland in the Winter isn't New Jersey, but it isn't Malibu either. Somebody had to be willing to put the bands up, and most hippies were poor and could not absorb such a crew. Once again, many of the signs point to Kesey's farm, but that is only a hypothesis on my part.

The Tour Of The Great Pacific Northwest is fondly thought of by Deadheads, since it formed the basis of side 2 of Anthem Of The Sun, and so many great tapes survive. Those tapes form the clearest picture of the power of the early Dead on a nightly basis, showing how they must have gone from town to town and truly acted as a signpost to new space, as Garcia aptly put it some years later. Yet numerous questions remain, mainly about their itinerary. The Dead had as many nights off as booked shows on this tour, and their activities remain a mystery. I find it odd that given the amount of time and the expirations of various statutes of limitations no one has surfaced with a tale of some weeklong parties with in Oregon or Seattle with the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver, in their prime and ready for adventure.

17 comments:

  1. Always nice to see another addition to the tour itinerary.
    It's interesting to read about the Chronicle and this 'dark period' of Jan '68.

    A few comments from McNally:

    He says that the 1/17 Carousel show was a rented show, and the 3/15 Airplane/Dead show was the official opening, so it appears the lease didn't start until March.
    [As he says, "unfortunately, the venue was dark the second weekend [3/22-24] and lost momentum. For their next shows [3/29-31], they went to the Haight and gave away tickets, and then gave away ice cream at the shows."]

    McNally reports that the Eureka police were ready & waiting for the Dead when they came. Apparently, the Eureka paper did call the 1/20 show a "pot orgy," when police found leftover roaches after the show. The press elsewhere, of course, picked up on this.

    Rock Scully spoke to the Portland State Vanguard (1/26/68), telling them, "The Dead never played psychedelic music. We don't take drugs anymore."
    The paper also printed an ecstatic review of a "phenomenal" recent show: "Flash after flash, skyrockets, bombs... I've never seen anything like the Grateful Dead & Jefferson Airplane lightshow." [Which was provided by Jerry Abram's Head Lights.] The music "was loud enough that we didn't need ears. We could see and feel the music, it saturated the ballroom...they kept hitting climaxes, bursting, sense-tearing climaxes, until on some magic cue they relaxed, dropped back to reality, stringing us along."

    [Unless it's a typo, I am not sure what to make of the 1/26/68 date McNally gives this issue of the Portland college paper, and I haven't seen the paper. The Dead of course played a Portland ballroom on 1/29, and then came back and played another on Feb 2-3 - is it possible they ALSO played Portland during the week between 1/20 and 1/26?]

    And finally, McNally says that for the 1/30 show, "a good crowd somehow plowed its way through a major snowstorm to get to the EMU Ballroom." Which is evidence of the Dead's early reputation; although I would point out that in Eugene, it doesn't take much snow to make a "snowstorm"...

    ReplyDelete
  2. After some searching, I think McNally conflated two different issues of the Portland State Vanguard. (Treacherous notes!)
    http://e.dead.net/sites/deadbeta.rhino.com/files/images/19680126_0243.jpg

    Another tidbit about the Eugene 1/30 show -
    You mention that it looks like it was organized at the last minute. It appears the jug band might not have played.

    On the dead.net site, Jim Richmond says:
    "I was the lead singer for the Palace Meat Market. Four days prior to this show we were asked to open for the Dead. I had been with the band about 10 days and had never performed before more than 20 or 30 people as a folk singer. Imagine me stepping onstage to find some 2-3000 real strange looking people."

    http://pnwbands.com/palacemeatmarket.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. A few more things -
    We know that in Dec '67, the band established a place to stay (the house of a friend of Weir's in Englewood, NJ), and flew between California & NY while the equipment truck drove.
    Though on a smaller scale, it seems they did the same in this NW tour.

    McNally says the band flew to Eureka for the 1/20 show. A Seattle newspaper clipping for the 1/26 show says, "Thirty haunting humans have flown from San Francisco with Quick & the Dead to the Eagles Auditorium." McNally says that after the last show in Ashland 2/4, the band flew home while the equipment drove.
    (He doesn't, though, say what airports they used! There is an airport in Medford, though. The Eureka airport is tiny today, and may have been insignificant back then...)

    I know the Seattle newspaper blurb is not really "hard evidence" (between the Quick, the Dead, and the light-show & crews, were there really 30 people?) - but it does suggest that the band stayed in SF after 1/20 and flew up to Seattle. The equipment may have gone its own way...
    (Since the Dead were acting as their own promoters for this tour, perhaps we can't expect a sensible itinerary!)

    As for the downtime between the other shows, I find it very likely that the band must have known someone in OR/WA who could take them in. Kesey may be the main suspect, but there were probably others as well who've been lost in the veils of time.
    But possibly, a series of motels may still bear the scars of that tour...

    As a sidenote, the Eureka Times-Standard (1/19/68) said that also traveling with the bands was "Live Thunder, sound technicians who will record this first appearance in the Pacific NW tour for future release in a record album."

    And BTW, I've seen alternate accounts that the 2/14/68 show was the "official" opening of the Carousel. But that seems suspicious, if there were no known shows there for another month. [Jon McIntire's account in Jackson's book also jibes with a March opening.] McNally indicates that the new Carousel team remodeled & rebuilt the stage before the 3/15 show. (I suppose 2/14 could have been a quasi-opening...)
    The 2/14/68 CD booklet says that the show was put on by Headstone Productions (the company the bands put together). The Rolling Stone article later that year on the closing of the Carousel notes that 2/14/68 was the first show to finance Headstone.
    http://www.dead.net/sites/deadbeta.rhino.com/files/images/19680810_0289.jpg (love the picture)

    Also BTW, the PH Phactor Jug Band caught my eye, even if they only played one or two shows on the tour. A jug-band opening for the Dead is almost too perfect! They seem to have been fairly well-known at the time, as they opened for Jefferson Airplane now & then in '67 (and had played at the Fillmore). They also did their own version of Minglewood Blues.
    http://pnwbands.com/phphactor.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fascinating research. It appears, then, that the Northwest tour was mostly a plane tour, as opposed to a truck tour. The bands must have chartered a plane for Eureka. Very interesting indeed. That still leaves a couple of days between EMU and the Crystal, but it answers the question of the gap between Eureka and Seattle.

    ReplyDelete
  5. As always, it's a pleasure reading you folks.

    I have a note or two to add but it might not come for a few days.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is interesting reading. My first GD show was the Jan. 20th concert in Eureka. I was 13 at the time and a friend at school had given me a heads up that a band his cousin was in was going to play in Eureka. His cousin turned out to be John Cipollina. Soon it was out that the Dead and Quicksilver were going to play the Municipal Auditorium - nobody ever played Eureka. My dad gave me and a neighbor friend a lift and took us early as he thought we might be too young to get in. No problem there and we were so early that the place was empty. We took our seats at the very front/center of this low stage and just waited as the place filled up. I'll reiterate from earlier posts that Eureka and the rest of Humboldt county was not the place it became a little later. In fact I like to think that this event was the turning point, or at least a major one that helped transform this depressed logging/fishing community into the place it is today. 280 miles from SF was a long way and the SF scene was slow to arrive up there. Anyway, imagine that most of the audience was used to teen dances with local cover bands. This show could well have been from another planet. The amps spread across the back of the stage and some were painted. In addition to the 2 drum kits, there were also some large gongs. The light show (Jerry Abrams Headlights) was incredible and the recording crew and light crew with projectors took up the rear of the balcony. Needless to say, the Grateful Dead had a presence like no other rock and roll band that had played there before and they played LOUD. What an initiation! I came away in awe of the music both bands had performed along with the visual treat of a real light show.
    A few other notes:
    There was commercial air service from SF to McKinleyville (just north of Arcata) at the time. The airport probably hasn't changed much since then.
    Also, at that time I was already into collecting concert posters from SF and couldn't wait to grab one for this show from a shop window in Eureka. Not only did I score a few of those, I was able to purchase some 8x10, b&w photos that someone had taken from the balcony during the show. No idea who the photographer was, but I suspect he was a high school student with darkroom access. I still have this grainy photo of GD on stage with about 50 backs of heads. I can identify a hand full of people, including myself.
    In 2005, Grateful Dead Productions commissioned me to do a 40th anniversary poster. A couple of years later they asked me to design and illustrate the covers for the Road Trips series. I just completed my part of the Europe '72 box set last week. Funny how this stuff comes back around . . .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are those photos available for viewing? my email frankstinkfootzappa@yahoo.com

      Delete
  7. beadfarmer, thanks for the amazing eyewitness account. Are the B&W photos (grainy as they may be) posted or published anywhere?

    Its very interesting to find out that there was commercial service from SFO to McKinleyville. I had wondered if the bands had chartered a plane (per McNally above) but now it looks like they just flew commercial. That means my whole thesis that the Dead and QMS drove to Eureka and spent a week trolling around the Pacific Northwest was in fact, wrong. The Dead flew to Arcata, flew home to SFO, then flew to Seattle a week later. I'll put an update on the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Send me an email through my website
      scottmcdougall.net and I'll send you the photo that I have.

      Delete
  8. A few more recollections regarding this show/tour:
    I recall that there were some drug busts - and also a movie reel was supposedly confiscated by the authorities that featured a nude woman turning cartwheels outdoors and shown in slow motion. I remember this reel quite well(being a young teenager) and she must have been 20 feet tall on the screen behind the band.
    My guess would be that the band flew home out of Medford on their final return to SF as it's very near Ashland.
    Also, if you're up for the research, there is a review of the Eagles Auditorium show from this tour in the Helix (Seattle's underground paper during the 60's) that I read a few years back when I had a set of these. However, I don't recall any of the details.
    Also - the remaining photo that shows the band and a slice of audience hasn't been published.

    ReplyDelete
  9. An excellent article on an excellent tour.

    I just reread an old issue of Jackson's "The Golden Road" which contains some reminiscences of this tour by John Cipollina.

    He confirms they flew home from Medford but more interestingly he also gives us another stop, Pendleton. He does not say they played a show there, only that they stopped at a hotel.

    Here is the story from "The Golden Road" issue 5 page 20

    "The funniest thing about the tour was the narcotics chase. The cops chased us from one end of California, all the way through Oregon and Washington. The first show we played on that tour, the authorities found a couple of roaches in the building after the show, and that led to a big scandal in the local papers. They called the dance a "pot orgy"! The Oregon authorities were informed and they really dogged us everywhere. It was a real Keystone Cops caper. They were always one step behind us until Pendleton, Oregon. There they were a step ahead. They raided the hotel an hour and a half before we got there, and then left!

    We had no idea what was going on. As soon as we'd leave a place it seemed like all these guys would bust in, McCloud-style, and tear up the bedding, check under the light switches. Finally, the last day of the tour, we were all booked for a noon flight out of Medford, Oregon. Well, we ended up taking a 10:30 flight, so when they tried their last big raid, there was no one there again, except for the equipment guys, who never carried anything on them. The cops' warrant didn't cover the equipment truck anyway, so they just drove away, leaving these poor guys cursing again.

    Eventually, though, they got the correct search warrant and they stopped the truck out on the highway. The Dead have always carried a lot of equipment, and Quicksilver did, too, plus we had Jerry Abrams' light show equipment in there, too. So the cops took every single piece of equipment out of the truck and spread it out next to the highway. It must have looked awesome to people driving by. The roadies didn't care. They were going to get paid whether they were a day late or not, so they just sat there and made the cops do everything. After the search had failed to turn up anything, the roadies insisted the cops put everything back. The equipment guys wouldn't lift a finger! Now, when you go on tour for a few weeks with a big truck, you really learn how to pack it, but these highway patrolmen had no idea how to put all the stuff back in. They'd fill the truck completely and a third of the equipment would still be on the roadside, so they'd start again. It took them hours to do it. The Dead and Quicksilver came out smelling like a rose in the end. I'll bet some people got chewed out for that one!"

    John says "they were always one step behind us until Pendleton" so it does not sound like this happened early in the tour, it sounds like Jan 31 or Feb 1. If they didn't play a show in the Pendleton area why would they book a hotel there?

    My knowledge of Oregon is miniscule so I won't speculate further.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Pendleton, OR, isn't really on the way to anywhere that the Dead were going to or from. However, Ramrod was from a small town near Pendleton (Hermiston). In fact, a couple of other long time-roadies were from the same town, Rex Jackson and someone else (either Heard or Hagen, I don't recall).

    Do you think its a coincidence that the Dead stayed in Pendleton? I don't. Do you think its an accident some guys from around there joined Ramrod on the crew. Nope.

    Thanks for highlighting this.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the quote! I'd forgotten all about that piece. So they did use the Medford airport to go home.
    McNally briefly refers to the truck-unloading incident, mentioning that the police stopped it outside Ashland (the last show, 2/4).

    The Dead's Oregon shows (Portland, Eugene, Ashland) are pretty much in a straight north-south line, while Pendleton is some 200 miles east of Portland (and farther from the other cities). If you're going there, it's only because you're going to spend some time there.
    Pendleton's a cowboy town, best known for its rodeo.

    According to McNally, Rex Jackson and Joe Winslow (another crew member) were from Pendleton; Ramrod, John Hagen, and Sonny Heard all lived in Hermiston, the town next to Pendleton.
    Ramrod was the first to become a Dead roadie in '67; Jackson & Hagen followed in '68, (Heard I'm not sure when) and lastly Winslow in '71.

    Steve Parish talks a little more about these guys in his book:
    "Jackson, Heard, and Ramrod didn't even live in Pendleton; they lived in a little town called Hermiston, which was sort of across the tracks from Pendleton and was known to be even smaller and harder. So these guys had grown up tough together."
    Their initial connection with the Dead was through the Pranksters. But these guys were kind of authentic rough cowboy-types, and that definitely rubbed off on the Dead - Weir in particular idealized that kind of life.

    This gives a sense of what Hermiston's like & how far off the beaten path it is:
    http://rvfor5.blogspot.com/2011/07/hermiston-highlights.html
    "Hermiston is no place to visit for fun & relaxation..."

    Anyway, five Dead crew-members all from this little cowboy town in Oregon - there is definitely a story there, and some of that story may have happened in the first week of February '68. It seems Corry's speculation about the band hanging out somewhere was right...

    ReplyDelete
  12. You may or may not have heard, but Joe Winslow passed away on August 18th in Lake County, CA.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete