Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Rhythm Devils, Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael, CA February 13-14, 1981

In honor of JGMF's post about early Phil Lesh dates--and they are early--it seemed like a good opportunity to throw in my contribution to forgotten Dead spin-off dates.

February 13-14, 1981 Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael, CA The Rhythm Devils
Mickey Hart-percussion
Bill Kreutzmann-percussion
Mike Hinton-marimbas, percusssion
Airto Moreira-percussion
Flora Purim-vocals, percussion
Phil Lesh-electric bass, fretless bass, percussion
 plus various guests

Francis Ford Coppola spent many years making his great movie Apocalypse Now, released in 1979. He commissioned Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann to assemble a team of players to improvise soundtrack music to the footage, only parts of which were used in the movie. According to legend, Coppola and Jerry Garcia worked on the sound mix for the movie for an extended period of time.

in 1980, Passport Records released the album The Rhythm Devils Play River Music, an LP of music recorded for the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now. To promote the album, Mickey and Billy assembled a group that performed at the Marin Vets for two nights. I talked to someone who went, and it was apparently a very cool, laid back evening, kind of like an endless Rhythm Devils set. Phil Lesh was on stage most of the night, playing electric bass and--interestingly--fretless bass, and generally grooving along with everyone else.

In later years, as Mickey Hart became rightly recognized as an important figure in World percussion, such events occurred regularly, but this was the first one to my knowledge, and the only one with Phil Lesh onstage all night, both nights.


  1. I was in the front row. This was a fantastic show that ended with the audience clapping a complex rhythm for half an hour after the band left the stage.

    Steve Silberman

  2. Good grief! Are there any recordings of this available?

    1. The 14th was seeded on this morning!

  3. Anyone remember who the special guests were. I was there one of those nights, forget which, & I could swear that Hamza Al Din, Zakir Hussein & Ali Akbar Khan were there. Please tell me if I'm hallucinating! What I do remember is that it was an amazing show; Flora's wailing complementing the complex rhythmic patters being played out on the walls, floors, pots & pans, drums, whatever!