Sunday, March 20, 2011

John Kahn Live Performance History 1970 (John Kahn IV)

Jerry Garcia's musical history outside of the Grateful Dead is remarkable for its breadth and longevity. Notwithstanding the Grateful Dead's extensive touring schedule throughout its 30-year history, Garcia played a remarkable number of shows with his own aggregations for 25 of those years. Garcia's principal right hand man for his own endeavors from 1970-1995 was bassist John Kahn, who besides playing exceptional electric and acoustic bass also took care of the musical business of the Jerry Garcia Band. Kahn hired and fired musicians, organized rehearsals and often helped choose material. Although Jerry approved every move, of course, without Kahn's oversight Garcia could not have participated in the Jerry Garcia Band. In many respects, the Jerry Garcia Band (under various names) was to some extent the Jerry Garcia and John Kahn Band; if Garcia had not met Kahn he would have had to be invented.

Most Deadheads are at least generally aware of Kahn's importance to Garcia's non-Dead music. However, Kahn is usually viewed through the filter of Jerry Garcia and his music. For this series of posts, I am looking at Jerry Garcia through the filter of John Kahn. In particular, I am looking at John Kahn's performance history without Garcia. Kahn's extensive studio career has been largely documented on the Deaddisc's site, so I don't need to recap it beyond some specific references. The posts so far have been:

  • John Kahn I: Performance History 1967-68: A review of John Kahn's migration to San Francisco, his transformation from an acoustic jazz bassist to an electric R&B bass player and some history of his early live work.
  • John Kahn III: Performance History 1969: An analysis of John Kahn's participation in the somewhat casual Mike Bloomfield Band, with Nick Gravenites and others, who played regularly at Keystone Korner.
This post will focus on John Kahn's live performance history for the year 1970.

John Kahn, Early 1970
1970 was a critical year in John Kahn's musical history, because that was the year he started playing with Jerry Garcia. Despite many mutual acquaintances, Garcia and Kahn apparently had not met until they played together with Howard Wales. Appropriately, they seem to have met on stage.

In early 1970, John Kahn was a regular member of the Mike Bloomfield Band, who played more or less every other weekend at Keystone Korner. He also recorded with Bloomfield, and worked regularly with producer Nick Gravenites. As the record industry had moved into San Francisco, Gravenites found himself in demand as a producer. Gravenites produced Bloomfield (he was also Bloomfield's lead singer) and he also produced other acts, such as Brewer And Shipley. However, for John Kahn's career, the most important act that Gravenites produced turned out to be a San Francisco band called Southern Comfort. Although Southern Comfort's 1970 debut album was Kahn's first production credit, shared with Gravenites, the importance of Southern Comfort was of an entirely different nature.

Southern Comfort
Up until 1970, Kahn's principal musical partner had been drummer Bob Jones. Jones and Kahn were also close friends. Kahn had played bass and Jones had played guitar in the T&A R&B Band in 1967. When that group broke up, Kahn persuaded Jones to play drums at jam sessions, because the untrained Jones had a great feel and didn't overplay. Jones had gone along with it as a courtesy to his friend, but in fact once other musicians heard Jones play drums, he was very much in demand, and his career was made. Jones has summed up his career as "Kahned into drumming." Jones and Kahn had put together a group in 1968 called Memory Pain, but after it faded away both of them became Mike Bloomfield's rhythm section in early 1969.

In mid-1969, Bob Jones and Memory Pain guitarist Fred Burton formed the band Southern Comfort. I do not know why John Kahn did not join the group, but I suspect it was because Kahn had no interest in being a member of a "regular" band. Although Kahn had moved from Mill Valley to the Forest Knolls/Lagunitas area by late 1969, Kahn and Jones still got together regularly to write, jam and hang out, so Kahn was part of the social circle of Southern Comfort, even if he wasn't in the band. Southern Comfort wanted to play rock in a sort of Stax/Volt style, but they also had a plan to be San Francisco's "House Rhythm Section." similar to the role of Booker T and The MGs at Stax in Memphis. Southern Comfort's lineup was:
  • Fred Burton-lead guitar
  • Ron Stallings-tenor sax, vocals (later in Reconstruction)
  • John Wilmeth-trumpet
  • Steve Funk-keyboards
  • Bob Huberman-bass (later replaced by Art Stavro, then Karl Severeid)
  • Bob Jones-drums, vocals
Southern Comfort started playing around the Bay Area in June, 1969. They played the usual Bay Area clubs, like Berkeley's New Orleans House and San Francisco's Keystone Korner, and also opened shows at The Family Dog, Frost Amphitheater, and elsewhere. If there was a conflict between Bloomfield and Southern Comfort dates, another drummer played with Bloomfield. Southern Comfort's horn section sometimes played with Bloomfield. Since Bloomfield rarely rehearsed, these casual arrangements were plausible.

National record companies had moved into San Francisco in a big way, and many acts were sent to San Francisco to record. Nick Gravenites, a fine singer and songwriter in his own right, had established himself as a producer who worked well with musicians, sharpening up their songs and getting the best performances out of them. John Kahn worked with Gravenites, not only adding his excellent bass playing, but writing and arranging horn and string parts, a role that Gravenites background in a Chicago steel mill had not prepared him for.

In the late 1969/early 1970 period, Gravenites was producing an album for the songwriting duo of Brewer And Shipley, released later in 1970 on Kama Sutra Records as Weeds. All of Southern Comfort and the Bloomfield Band play on the album, along with a few other San Francisco regulars like Nicky Hopkins and Richard Greene (confusingly, Fred Burton was a Nom Du Rock: earlier albums credit him by his real name, Fred Olson). Meanwhile, Columbia had signed Southern Comfort in late 1969, and Gravenites was contracted to produce them as well. Kahn and Gravenites ended up sharing production credits on Southern Comfort's 1970 debut album. I don't know the actual history, but I assume the somewhat overcommitted Gravenites let Kahn do a lot of work on the Southern Comfort album, so he shared the credit with him. Kahn also co-wrote some songs on the album, and played a little piano as well, so he was an important part of the Southern Comfort album.

While Kahn's first co-production credit was an important professional milestone for him, the most important factor for Kahn's career turned out to be Bob Jones's advance for the album. All the Southern Comfort band members received modest advances, but for hand-to-mouth hippie musicians, 5 figures was real money. Jones's parents persuaded him that rather than buy a cool car or a bunch of gear--typical musician stuff--he should really buy a house. Jones took his parents' advice and bought a modest two-story house in Fairfax. Since Jones was single at the time, he needed a tenant. Thus thanks to his Southern Comfort advance and his parents' advice, Bob Jones ended up renting the downstairs of his house to fellow drummer Bill Vitt.

Bill Vitt
Bill Vitt was from the state of Washington, and had been in various bands in the Seattle area. Good drummers always work, and Vitt was apparently a busy studio musician in Los Angeles during the 1967-69 period, but for whatever reasons Vitt chose to relocate to the Bay Area in late 1969. I don't know the exact timing, but I know that Vitt was Bob Jones's tenant in early 1970. Vitt and Jones have different styles, but they are both excellent drummers who can play well in a wide variety of settings. Although in fact the upstairs and downstairs were effectively different units, two of the most in-demand session drummers in the Bay Area lived at the same address.

When Jones had a conflict with a Bloomfield gig, usually due to Southern Comfort, Vitt played the show in his place. Vitt and Jones apparently more or less alternated sessions for Gravenites projects like Brewer And Shipley, with Kahn holding down the bass chair, so both the Kahn/Jones and Kahn/Vitt combos were steady as a rock. Vitt was a jazzier, trained drummer, and Jones played simply and with great feeling, but they were both fine players.

Like most musicians, however, Vitt liked to play for his own sake. He seems to have worked steadily in the studio, but in order to have some fun on the side, he started playing regularly at the Monday night jam sessions at The Matrix. Monday night was the traditional musician's night off, and The Matrix had been San Francisco's hippie hangout since the day it opened (August 13, 1965), so The Matrix was the obvious place for musicians to jam. A few people would show up and the players would split the take, generally enough for cigarettes and gas, but jamming was its own reward. Generally the Matrix "billed" someone to lead the jam, but different musicians showed up. Certainly Jerry Garcia had showed up regularly, if only intermittently over the years. In early 1970, Howard Wales took over the role as bandleader for the Monday night Matrix jams, probably on February 16, 1970.

(a typical Chronicle listing for a Monday night jam at The Matrix. This one is from March 16, 1970. Howard Wales had taken over the jam by then, and Garcia may have already started to drop in)

Monday Night Jams At The Matrix, February-April 1970

Initially the Monday night jam was just Howard Wales on organ and Bill Vitt on drums. This may sound sparse, but in fact the organ/drums combo was a nightclub tradition. A true genius like Wales can fill a lot of space with a Hammond organ, and Vitt was a very interesting player when given the freedom. At some point, Wales seems to have invited Jerry Garcia to join in. Garcia had played the Monday night jams various times over the years, and he had jammed with Wales before (we have a record of the August 28, 1969 jam at the Family Dog), so it was a good choice. March 2 and/or March 9, 1970 seem like likely possibilities for Garcia guest appearances, and March 16 and March 23 less so, based on the Dead's touring schedule. Garcia would not have been billed at the Matrix, as he simply would have shown up at Wales's invitation.

Keep in mind that in March 1970, Garcia was finishing Workingman's Dead, touring frantically with the Grateful Dead, trying to find a bass player for the New Riders and dealing with the fallout of firing Lenny Hart. Its revealing that in what had to be his only spare time, Garcia chose to spend a Monday night or two at the Matrix jamming his brains out. It's easy to fret over Garcia's various habits, but its a working schedule like Spring 1970 that reminds you that the man was All Music, All The Time.

Wales and Vitt invited a symphony bass player named Richard Favis to sit in with them on at least one of the Monday nights. According to Blair Jackson, however (p. 186) it did not work out. Vitt then had the idea of inviting John Kahn. Vitt had played with Kahn in the Bloomfield band, and had played with him in the studio. Also, although most musicians were off Monday night anyway, and the Bloomfield band was irregular, Vitt must have known that Kahn would have been steadily available. Vitt was right. Vitt, Wales, Kahn and Garcia made a sympathetic band, if a somewhat avant one, and Kahn and Garcia's path were inextricably linked.

Garcia's first advertised billing at The Matrix in this period was Monday, April 20, 1970. I have to assume that Garcia had played at least some of the previous Mondays in order to figure out that he would make a permanent go of it. Thus the first musical meeting of Kahn and Garcia would probably have been March 30, April 6 or April 13.

I should note here that in 1990s interviews discussing Howard Wales, both Garcia and Kahn completely garble the timeline of their meeting. Garcia says that he and Kahn had played with Wales "for a year" before they talked to each other, and Kahn says that they were playing with Wales "back in like, 1968." I don' fault them for forgetting some dates from twenty-something years previously, but I have done a lot of research on this, and the memories of both of them were simply off the mark in these cases.

Garcia, Kahn and Vitt played most Monday nights for the next several weeks. Some of the music from the May 18, 1970 show was released on the 1998 Jerry Garcia/Howard Wales album Side Trips, and it is strange music indeed. In a 1991 interview, Garcia told David Gans
About half the set I'd be whispering to John, I'd be saying, 'Hey, man, what key are we in?' Howard didn't have tunings or anything, he just played. Sometimes he would do these things that were so outside that you just couldn't - unless you knew where it was going, you had no idea where to start.
Although weird jamming was one of the Grateful Dead's calling cards, it was pretty far from the straight ahead blues of the Bloomfield Band, so it must have been an enjoyable stretch for Kahn as well.

Merl Saunders
The Mike Bloomfield Band had stopped their biweekly residence at the Keystone Korner by the Spring of 1970. Although Bloomfield very much enjoyed the Keystone Korner, he was never comfortable with settling into too much of a routine. The group still played occasional shows in the Summer, but the Bloomfield band members were left to their own devices. Jones had Southern Comfort, and Kahn was spending more time in the studio with Nick Gravenites's various projects. I know that Kahn had met Merl Saunders in the studio, and I know it had to be in the Spring or Summer of 1970, but I'm not precisely sure which project it was.

Saunders had been an organ player in the Bay Area for some time. His organ trio had been popular in the area around 1968, and they toured Japan and Asia that year as well. He had spent time on Broadway in New York, working with singer Jon Hendricks. I believe that in 1970 Saunders was musical director for a show on Broadway in San Francisco, a sort of "performance musical" called Evolution Of The Blues. It had been Hendricks's show, but I think it now featured someone else (possibly Oscar Brown, Jr) (update: wrong. This was Melvin Seals, a few years later. No wonder I couldn't confirm it). In any case, Saunders was an experienced musician, and had played his share of sessions around town over the years, so its not surprising he would have found his way into the studio.

(a scan of the credits for Danny Cox's self titled 1971 ABC-Dunhill album)

I think that Kahn and Saunders met playing demos for an album by Danny Cox. Cox was an African American folk singer from Kansas City, and he shared management with Brewer And Shipley. Kahn had actually played a little on Cox's 1970 debut album Birth Announcement, but Kahn, Vitt and Saunders all played on Cox's 1971 album. Given the timeline, I think that the three of them were doing demos for Cox's album in 1970, whether as album preparation or to show a record company, I'm not sure. Demo sessions were quick run throughs of songs, with few or no overdubs, just to give an artist, an agent or a record company an idea of what the material sounded like. While Kahn and Vitt were the "A-team," presumably Mark Naftalin or Nicky Hopkins were unavailable, so Merl must have gotten the call instead.

In the Summer of 1970, Nick Gravenites was producing the Brewer And Shipley album that would be released as Tarkio (a great album, by the way). Kahn was the regular bassist, while Jones and Vitt alternated drum duties. The album was recorded at Wally Heider's in San Francisco during the famous PERRO sessions, with the Airplane, the Dead and others regularly in residence. Indeed, when Brewer And Shipley needed a pedal steel guitar player, they went down the hall and asked Garcia, who obliged them on August 21, 1970 by playing on two tracks ("Oh Mommy" and "Fifty States Of Freedom"). The recording of the two songs would have been the first time Garcia and Kahn appeared on a track together, although they were not likely to have been in the studio at the same time (only Garcia's part on "Oh Mommy" was used).

Merl Saunders has said that he first met Garcia at Wally Heider's while playing on a Danny Cox album. Since Cox shared management with Brewer And Shipley, I think Gravenites was producing both artists, and sharing studio time in some way. I think Saunders met Kahn on the demo sessions for the Cox album, and through Kahn, Garcia met Saunders.

Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders At The Matrix
According to Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales was not comfortable with success, and when people started to show up at the Matrix to see the Monday night jam sessions, he started to become uncomfortable. Also, as we have discussed at length elsewhere, somewhere around June of 1970 Alan Douglas of Columbia Records came around looking to sign up Howard Wales in order to get access to Garcia. In any case, Howard Wales dropped out of the Matrix shows with Garcia by the end of the Summer, as the last booked performance was August 24, 1970.

Garcia and Kahn were enjoying themselves, however. Although the Dead were touring as furiously as ever, and Garcia was in the New Riders as well, not to mention hanging out all day at Wally Heider's, finishing American Beauty and a hundred other things, Garcia still wanted a weeknight bar band. Kahn suggested Merl Saunders, and since Garcia had apparently already met him, the shows must have started up pretty quickly. Some detailed research has suggested that the first Garcia/Saunders show, with Kahn and Vitt on board, was at The Matrix on September 7, 1970. By October, Garcia and Saunders have gone beyond Monday nights, and the Garcia/Kahn partnership is underway, although it must not have seemed so prominent at the time.

Jerry Garcia and John Kahn
By the end of 1970, John Kahn was a member of two part time groups, the Mike Bloomfield Band and Garcia/Saunders. Both of them only worked according to the schedule and interests of their star lead guitarists, both of whom had a distinct interest in playing imaginative cover versions in San Francisco bars. Neither group even had an official "name," and neither had any formal recording plans. At the same time, Kahn was a first call bassist in the San Francisco recording scene, even playing the occasional Los Angeles date, and he had his first production credit on the Southern Comfort album.

According to Kahn's friend Bob Jones, while Kahn and Garcia were like-minded in many ways--well read, inquisitive, sociable--one thing that he thinks the two found particularly intriguing about each other was their knowledge about music that the other was interested in. Garcia loved jazz and blues, but had never played it, except in a Grateful Dead context, whereas Kahn had knowledge and experience of both. Conversely, Kahn enjoyed and was interested in bluegrass, which he had heard through Mike Bloomfield (Bloomers tastes ran wide indeed), but he hadn't known anyone who had really played it. Thus a life changing partnership for both men was formed out of The Matrix and Wally Heider's, but at the time it appeared to just be part of the exciting mix of the time.

Annotated John Kahn 1970 Performance List
Ralph Gleason column, Chronicle, January 23, 1970
January 23-24, 1970: Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA:    Mike Bloomfield-Nick Gravenites
The band was usually Mike Bloomfield (ld gtr), Nick Gravenites (gtr, vcls), Ira Kamin (organ), Mark Naftalin (piano), John Kahn (bs), Bob Jones (dr, vcls). Anyone, including Bloomfield, sometimes missed a show. If Jones was booked, then Bill Vitt took over on drums. If Kahn was unavailable, Doug Killmer (from Crowfoot) played the date. Other members weren't generally substituted for, and friends and guests often sat in.

January 30-31, 1970: New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA:    Mike Bloomfield-Nick Gravenites/Big Joe Williams
I wonder if the group backed Joe Williams? It's possible.

February 6-7, 1970: Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA:    Mike Bloomfield-Nick Gravenites

February 11, 1970: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA:    Paul Butterfield/Elvin Bishop/Mike Bloomfield-Nick Gravenites/Charlie Musselwhite   Magic Sam Benefit
Chicago blues guitarist Magic Sam had died unexpectedly, and this Wednesday night benefit was held for his family. Butterfield, Bishop and Bloomfield jammed at the end of the evening, reprising the classic lineup of the Butterfield Blues Band. I don't know if Kahn played for the jam.

February 21, 1970: Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA:    Mike Bloomfield

February 28, 1970: Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA:    Mike Bloomfield-Nick Gravenites

March 27-28, 1970: Keystone Korner, San Francisco, CA:    Mike Bloomfield-Nick Gravenites

March 29, 1970: Old Stable Grounds, Mill Valley, CA: Quicksilver Messenger Service/Mike Bloomfield & Friends
This was a casual outdoor show in Marin.

March 30, April 6 or April 13, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Monday Night Jam with Howard Wales and Bill Vitt
Wales and Vitt had been leading the Monday night Matrix jams since mid-February. Retellings are murky, but it appears that Garcia dropped in, and then became a regular, joined by Richard Favis and then John Kahn. Whether this happened over two Mondays or several is uncertain. Garcia could have appeared in early March, and then come back in late March (the Dead were on tour mid-month), or may not have played until April. Kahn could have played the Matrix as early as March 30 or as late as April 27. My own guess--speculation only--was that Garcia dropped in on March 30, Favis was tried on April 6 and then Kahn on April 13. I am assuming that Garcia was actually billed on April 20 because he had decided the Wales sessions were worth pursuing as an ongoing enterprise.

April 4, 1970: Exhibition Hall, Fresno, CA: Mike Bloomfield & Friends 
There may have been other Southern California shows for Bloomfield around this time.

April 10, 1970: Gym, Mt Tam High School, San Rafael, CA: Mike Bloomfield & Friends
SF Chronicle April 20, 1970

April 20, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales
This was the first date that Garcia was actually billed on a Monday night at The Matrix, although he had already dropped in numerous times over the years.

April 27, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales
Kahn had to be part of the ensemble by this time.

May 18, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales
Some of this evening's performance was released on the fascinating 1998 Side Trips cd.

May 25, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales

June 1, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales

>June 4-7, 1970: Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA: Grateful Dead/New Riders Of The Purple Sage/Southern Comfort
No one seems to have remembered to ask John Kahn when he first saw the Grateful Dead. However, at this Thursday-thru-Sunday stand at Fillmore West, not only was Kahn newly linked to Garcia, but Southern Comfort, the band he had co-produced, was opening the shows. I have to think Kahn was there at least one of the nights. 

June 8, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales & Friends

June 15, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales & Friends

June 19-20, 1970: Honolulu Civic Auditorium, Honolulu, HI: Mike Bloomfield & Friends/John Lee Hooker/Elvin Bishop/Boz Scaggs
I assume that John Kahn played bass for these Mike Bloomfield-headlined shows in Hawaii, but I can't yet confirm that. 

June 22, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia, Howard Wales & Friends
Update: We now know that Howard Wales did not appear to have played this Monday night show. This must have been when he started to get nervous about the number of people who were showing up. How do we know this? Well, Bill Champlin (of The Sons) recalls being invited to come play guitar by Bill Vitt, because Garcia spent so much time fooling with a new effects pedal that things got too loose, so Bil brought his Gibson and an amp.

Champlin was surprised to find out when he got to the Matrix that jazz great Vince Guaraldi was the keyboard player for the night. At the time, Guaraldi liked to play electric keyboards in a loud fusion style, and Garcia made a great foil. Other guests that night included soprano saxophonist Vince Dehnam and guitarist Curley Cooke.

June 29, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Monday Night Jam
The Garcia-centric research associated with Howard Wales and the Matrix (I'm the most guilty) has paid no attention so far to the fact that Wales seems to have had the date even without Jerry. I have to assume Kahn and Vitt played along with Wales, just as a trio or perhaps with guests.
Listing from the June 29, 1970 SF Chronicle
Update: Thanks to a hardworking Commenter, it appears that the listings should be
June 29, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Howard Wales, Terry Haggerty and Friends
June 30-July 2: The Matrix, San Francicsco, CA: Howard Wales and Harvey Mandel
It seems pretty likely that Kahn played with Haggerty and Wales, since he played with them six months later at Pepperland. At this time, the Sons Of Champlin were on hiatus. It's more speculative to assume that Kahn was also the bass player when Harvey Mandel was there, but it's still a reasonable proposition. Mandel would have been on a break from Canned Heat, or perhaps he had just left the band, but in any case it's unlikely he had his own band, so somebody would have sat in on bass--why not Kahn?

July 5, 1970: Brown's Hall, Mill Valley, CA: Mike Bloomfield & Friends
Once the Bloomfield band stopped appearing on weekends at the Keystone Korner, live shows were more infrequent. Brown's Hall was a small local auditorium.

July 6, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales

July 13, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Monday Night Jam

July 20, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Howard Wales & Friends
Howard Wales was actually booked on this date, so I assume that Kahn was there. Intriguingly, on Monday July 27 (and July 28) The Matrix advertised Mickey Hart And The Hartbeats with Jerry Garcia. I wonder who that was (surely a good subject for a different blog post)?

August 3 and 10, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Monday Night Jam
At this point, I'm no longer certain that Wales had the Monday night gig, but no one else seems to have been named (Monday August 17 was a benefit show).

August 24, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia & Howard Wales
I have a feeling that this show was the one where lots of people showed up at the Matrix to see Jerry Garcia, and Wales apparently got uncomfortable. Keep in mind that while the Dead had been on tour, KSAN and other stations would have been playing the heck out of Workingman's Dead, and interest in Garcia had probably increased exponentially.

September 7, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia & Friends
Extensive research has suggested that this is the night Merl Saunders first played with Garcia, Kahn and Vitt. It would be a perfect touch if they hadn't rehearsed, which seems likely for a Monday night at the Matrix.

September 14, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia & Friends

>September 20, 1970: Fillmore East, New York, NY: Grateful Dead
While not a John Kahn date per se, this is still important to the story. Garcia's old friend David Grisman had visited San Francisco in the Summer (and played on American Beauty), and Grisman and his producing partner Richard Loren came back stage to see Jerry at the Fillmore East. Grisman ended up on stage during the Dead's acoustic set, but more interestingly, Loren and Garcia had hit it off. Both Grisman and Loren would move West, and by Fall '71, Loren would become the manager of Garcia's non-Dead endeavours. Grisman, Loren and Kahn were the key participants in defining the parameters of Garcia's own music for the next 25 years.

October 12-14, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders & Friends
Garcia, Saunders, Kahn and Vitt played a Monday through Wednesday booking at the Matrix, a clear sign that Garcia saw the group differently than the Howard Wales Monday night jam-fest.

October 19, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders & Friends
This Monday night show was advertised in the Berkeley Barb, and hitherto we have dismissed it on the grounds that the Dead were touring the East Coast. I wouldn't be so quick to rule it out. Garcia seemed to be flying home every week, so it's possible the date was played.

October 26, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia & Friends
This Monday night show appears to have been with Howard Wales, rather than Saunders. It was related to the recording that Garcia and Wales (and Kahn, Vitt and others) were doing for the Hooteroll album.  It's not impossible the other players from the album (Curley Cooke, Ken Balzall, Martin Fiero) played this date as well.

November 2, 1970: Harding Theater, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia & Friends
The Grateful Dead seem to have flown home from the East Coast for Janis Joplin's wake. Garcia was billed as a performer at this two-day benefit for the nearby Both/And jazz club (at 350 Divisader--the Harding was at 616 Divis). If Garcia played, which he very well may have, Kahn would have been on board. 

November 3, 1970: The Matrix, San Francisco, CA: Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders

December 21, 1970: Pepperland, San Rafael, CA: Grateful Dead with David Crosby/New Riders of The Purple Sage/Howard Wales/others
The last live sighting of John Kahn in 1970 is also one of the most mysterious. The Grateful Dead headlined a show at San Rafael's Pepperland (a great story in itself). A reliable eyewitness reports that among the opening acts were an acoustic duo featuring Kahn and a bluesy guitarist. I have to presume this was someone Kahn was working with in the studio, but it's a mystery as to who he might have been (Howard Wales apparently did not play).


  1. A couple questions...

    1. This may be trivial, but in your 12/21/70 listing you include AB Skhy.
    But the poster just said "Howard Wales & Friends" (and it seems he didn't show up anyway). He had left AB Skhy back in '69, and the band broke up in '70, right?
    So the question is - who, if anyone, was Wales playing with in 1970? Was he mostly a studio-session player?

    (The Dead's American Beauty sessions went from mid-August to early October; so it seems that Wales must have been doing his studio tracks with them shortly after his last Matrix show with Garcia in August.)

    2. When did the Monday Night Jams at the Matrix start?
    Looking at your Matrix Shows list, there are Monday night "open auditions" in early '66, but then no listing until July '68. (Is this just a matter of infrequent newspaper listings?)

  2. Re: the mysterious July 27-28 Hartbeats shows at the Matrix.

    While absolutely nothing is known about these shows, we can take a few guesses...

    The last billed "Hartbeats" shows, back in April '70 at the Family Dog, were apparently expanded acoustic sets along with NRPS. The idea seems to have been to try out their whole acoustic repertoire (and a bunch of covers) in preparation for expanding their acoustic sets in later shows.

    July 1970 also sees several shows by NRPS at the Matrix...or does it?
    The NRPS site lists tapes dated 7/29 and 7/30 (when your Matrix Shows list shows Harvey Mandel playing).
    We even have a short Dead acoustic segment dated 7/30.

    Is it possible that these NRPS tapes actually come from 7/27 and 7/28? (They wouldn't be the actual "Hartbeats", though, just the openers.)

    We know the Dead played another all-acoustic show (with Nelson & Dawson) a week later, on 8/5 in San Diego.
    AND, we also know that the Dead were writing a bunch of new songs for American Beauty at this time - in fact, several are debuted (on tapes at least) at the Fillmore West shows a couple weeks later in August.

    So my hypothesis is that these August "Hartbeats" shows had much the same purpose as the April shows - a tryout, introducing a bunch of brand-new acoustic songs live to see how they played, in a small venue. (Maybe Pigpen played piano, like he did in the later acoustic sets. Heck, maybe Howard Wales played piano!)

    But that's just speculating....
    I'll probably turn this comment into a post, if it sounds plausible.

  3. LIA - You raise some good points about these late July Matrix shows and I must admit that my lists for this entire week have always made me somewhat nervous. The Matrix list currently shows:

    Mon July 27 - Mickey and the Hartbeats with Jerry Garcia
    Tue July 28 - Mickey and the Hartbeats with Jerry Garcia
    Wed July 29 - Harvey Mandel
    Thu July 30 - Harvey Mandel
    Fri July 31 - Smokestack Lightnin'

    The Jerry Site lists NRPS performing on July 29 and 30 and I have no doubts that these dates are spurious. There has never been anything that I have found to support these as valid dates. And to be honest, I have never been entirely convinced that the Mickey and The Hartbeats dates are correct either - although I have little to argue against the Monday listing. I have taken some time and been back though the old Matrix lists, handbills and the contemporary newspaper ads. I don’t know how, but I missed separate listings for the Matrix this week in the Berkeley Tribe (Vol 3, Number 3; Issue 55; July 24-31, 1970; pp28) that provides some alternate listings:

    Mon July 27 – Nothing Listed
    Tue July 28 - Mance Lipscomb
    Wed July 29 – Mance Lipscomb
    Thu July 30 - Smokestack Lightnin'
    Fri July 31 - Smokestack Lightnin'

    We know that Mance Lipscomb played short sets (say two 35 minute sets) and there would be no problem someone like Harvey Mandel playing a set as well. We also know that Harvey Mandel was a regular “filler” for the Matrix and may have played instead of Mance Lipscomb.

    An on-going mystery I am afraid.

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  5. Just remembered something you brought up about the February '69 Hartbeats shows - that they couldn't use the Grateful Dead name because they were playing the Matrix just days before the Fillmore run, so they could not advertise a Dead show elsewhere.

    Turning to 1970, we find that the April Family Dog Hartbeats shows came right after the Fillmore/Winterland run; and the July Hartbeats shows were 20 days before another Fillmore West run.

    So that may explain why they'd use the Hartbeats name - and, in a club as small as the Matrix, it may have been a necessity to avoid a Fillmore-sized crowd!

    It doesn't explain, though, why they'd try an acoustic "public rehearsal" almost 3 weeks before their next shows (something they never did, as far as I know). My guess could be wrong, maybe Garcia & co. were trying something else. Maybe Howard Wales really did play with them?

  6. Thanks for doing all this research. This is quite informative.

  7. Just saw Yellow Shark's post, and now I have to ask, what was the source for the Hartbeats dates? (The jerrysite just says "newspaper advertisement".) I could be speculating about shows that were never played!

    To speculate in a different direction -
    As far as the Wales/Garcia shows, you may be right that 8/24 show was when it all became too much for Wales. Kahn said, "We went there one night, and really out of nowhere the place was packed...Howard freaked. It got to be too much of a scene. Since it was fun, we decided to get another keyboard guy, and I knew Merl. Vince Guaraldi played for a while."
    (In another interview, Kahn said much the same thing: "For a while nobody ever came. Then finally one night there were a lot of people out there, and Howard realized that's not what he wanted to do, and he stopped doing it. So I got Merl Saunders...")

    Garcia remembered it similarly: "Periodically Howard gets this thing of where he can't deal with the music world anymore, and he just disappears. So we were stuck there, and we were supposed to play Monday night, and we didn't have a player. John said, 'Well, I just did some sessions with this guy Merl Saunders.'"

    A couple interesting questions are raised... For one, it's curious how desperate they were to get a new keyboard player to replace Wales. (Took them just two weeks!) Garcia's the last person I could imagine feeling "stuck" without an organ player around, but it seems in 1970 he wasn't comfortable holding the stage with just Kahn & Vitt.
    Kahn's comment also brings up a whole parallel band - the Garcia/Guaraldi/Kahn outfit, which we've never heard. I guess we don't know how many times they might've played together, whether it would've been during Guaraldi's Matrix dates or perhaps some of the "Garcia & Friends" dates...there is a whole invisible history here.

  8. Wow, even more to digest!

    One quick point. The "7/29/70" and "7/30/70" dates are based, AFAIK, entirely on tape labels. The TJS listings for 7/27/70 and 7/28/70 have the notation structure implying that Joey Newlander supplied dates based on listings in the Barb and/or the Phoenix. YS, I don't know derivative the listings are, but if you have access to the S.F. Phoenix you might check that, too.

    What's more, Ross and Corry have long emphasized the unreliability of Matrix tape labels.

    So doesn't Occam's Razor suggest that shows circulating on tapes dated 7/29 and 7/30 are actually from 7/27/70 and maybe the next night? Maybe Mance Lipscomb took the Tuesday night off ... can't imagine it was gonna be a big night, and maybe he a date or something. Anyway, 7/27 seems pretty likely. And in terms of the Matrix datings, maybe somebody happened across the tapes a few nights or a few weeks later and wrote estimated dates of 29-30 on them.

    So much more to go through, my goodness.

  9. A bunch more digging and it is clear that I may have been the source of the Micky and the H(e)artbeats dates via an ad in San Francisco Good Times (Vol III, Issue 28, pp16) which matches the existing Matrix master list. This is a drawn box ad that would have neen submitted sometime prior to the line ad classified contaied in the Berkeley Tribe that are mentioned above. I am taking the late entry classified as being more reliable and adjusting the Matrix list accordingly (whilst noting the conflict).

  10. Thanks to everyone for all the great comments and insight. I will try and deal with the various points in a series of Comments.

    For a little housekeeping, however, LIA thinks for correcting me on the Pepperland 1970 billing (fixed). I don't believe there were Monday night jams at the Matrix up until mid-68, but I think that is because jamming was more informal, at places like The Ark. Once bands got a little more established, and there were a few excess musicians around on Monday nights, then a Matrix jam became more plausible.

  11. The most intriguing thing here is LIA's citation of Kah--"Since it was fun, we decided to get another keyboard guy, and I knew Merl. Vince Guaraldi played for a while." We had known about Garcia and Guaraldi playing together, but had never been able to pin down the date (it came up in the Ned Lagin thread re Aug 14 '71).

    Various people have confirmed that Vince and Jerry jammed, and possibly Vince and the Dead, but it has been troubling to figure out when. Vince's longtime partner (Gretchen) worked in the Dead office, so there were plenty of opportunities.

    I had always assumed that Jerry dropped by the Matrix in 1969 when Vince played many dates there, and perhaps he did. But if Kahn played with them, then it had to be 1970. Maybe one or some of those dates in September wasn't Merl, but instead was Vince Guaraldi?

    I guess we should try and find Bill Vitt. Did you know he has an album out?

  12. I believe that the contractual "restriction" imposed by BGP for a Fillmore West (or East) show was 30 days and 50 miles, so a July 27 show at the Matrix was less than 30 days before the Fillmore West show in mid-August. Thus the Grateful Dead proper could not be advertised.

    On the other hand, since they played an acoustic show in San Diego on August 5, maybe they were trying out that configuration. One possibility that has struck me was that Matrix shows were used not so much to test the band but to test equipment, to see if it would work on stage.

    Of course, maybe the Hartbeats shows in July were with Vince Guaraldi. It wouldn't explain Kahn saying that the Monday night shows were with Vince, but if Vince was hanging out with the Dead, maybe they had a jam with him at the Matrix. Since there was a hand drawn ad that would have been submitted at least a week earlier, this was a planned event.

  13. As far as Garcia's urgency for a keyboard player, it seems to me that Garcia experimented with trio-like formats in 1968 with Jack Casady or Phil on bass (and often double drummers), I think after seeing Cream. Afterwards, he never played that way again, so I don't think he ever considered playing Monday night jams without an extra front line instrument.

    For the type of electric guitar playing Garcia wanted to do in the 1970s, a keyboard was essential, and the jazzier and more sophisticated the player was, the better. Merl wasn't quite the tiger that Wales was, but he had a vast experience in live jazz that Garcia could draw from.

    The most revealing thing to me about the quotes you found was that Garcia and Kahn went looking for a keyboard player rather than a guitar player. They could have gotten someone like Harvey Mandel or Elvin Bishop (or someone less well known) to sit in, but they went looking for a keyboard player. The need for a keyboard player tells us where Garcia wanted to grow.

  14. I'm a bit disturbed by Yellow Shark's findings "disappearing" the Hartbeats shows!
    But it looks like 7/27 is still open; that the performance schedule at the Matrix was flexible enough that anybody could appear (and contradictory ads could run); and as YS mentions, Mance Lipscomb probably wouldn't play all night, so it would be easy enough for NRPS (or whoever) to follow him on 7/28.
    And we do have those two NRPS tapes which must come from SOMEwhere...

    Re: Vince Guaraldi, the earlier comment thread was here -

    I think it's pretty clear that Guaraldi jammed with both Jerry (at the Matrix in '70, as Kahn says, and perhaps '69), and with the Dead (at unknown shows).
    Corry suggested that 'second-hand reports' may have conflated Jerry & the Dead, but our sources are scarcely second-hand. To sum up:
    1. Jerry says in an 11/7/71 interview that VG had jammed with the Dead some time ago.
    2. VG's website says the same.
    3. Dennis McNally also had knowledge of this.
    4. And Tom Constanten ALSO referred to it (suggesting that perhaps there was a 1969 Family Dog jam or two such as 8/28/69 with Guaraldi).
    We talked about Ned Lagin as a "ghost player", but at least he's on tape; with the Guaraldi jams, only faint memories remain...

    I would guess that if there were a Hartbeats guest on 7/27/70 (and it wasn't an all-acoustic affair), Howard Wales would be a more likely candidate though, considering he was usually there on Mondays anyway.
    Weir mentions in McNally's book that Wales had played with the Dead (as an 'audition') and that it was "too weird" - the chronology there suggested it was in mid-'71 (which would be after the Hooteroll sessions), but we could be looking at the occasion in question right here. It is, after all, shortly before he played on several songs on their album.

  15. I have been dwelling on all the interesting speculation about July 27, 1970, and here's my theory du jour: the Mickey and The Hartbeats July 27-28, 1970 show was intended as a "public tryout" for Howard Wales with the Dead. What really happened? I see three possible directions:

    The Dead played at least one of the dates (Monday, July 27), but found it "too weird" (Weir's term). The confusingly different ads for the Matrix can be written off as normal Matrix vagueness. The Hartbeats billing was (BGP obligations aside) not to raise expectations if the entire evening was just a big jam.

    The Dead jammed with Wales at their rehearsal space, found it too weird and canceled the dates. The confusing Matrix ads stem from the Dead's canceling of the dates.

    The Dead jammed and canceled out the Wales date, but played an acoustic set as a warmup for San Diego. The Matrix ads are confusing, but stem from the Dead going from two dates to one.

    No matter what the scenario was, the period where Garcia would have pushed the Dead to try out Wales would have been around July of 1970.

  16. Blair Jackson also mentions in the liner notes to the Legion Of Mary collection that Martin Fiero sat in with Garcia and Wales at least a few times in 1970. This would account for his presence on Hooteroll.

  17. I am finishing a Hartbeats-related post that should be up soon this week. It will address...well, none of the questions in this thread, actually...but I thought I'd give a heads-up.

  18. From an interview with Martin Fierro:

    “I met Jerry in Golden Gate Park, but I didn’t really understand who he was at first. I was there with a friend who was a conga player, and there were probably 40 other conga players there, pounding their drums and making a lot of noise. I would play along with them; a lot of horn players would do that. So this guy came up to me and said, ‘Hey, man, you play pretty good. Where are you from?’ I said ‘El Paso.’ ‘How long have you been in town?’ ‘Oh, about a week.’ And then he said, ‘I’m playing a gig at the Matrix, over on Fillmore. You want to come down and play with us?’ We’ve got this organ player, Howard Wales.’ And the funny thing is, I knew Howard from El Paso; he was hanging out there for a while! So I said, ‘Sure, I’ll be there.’ And it wasn’t until I got there that I really understood that this was Jerry! He had Bill Vitt on drums and John Kahn on bass. We had a great time, and Jerry said, ‘I’ll be calling on you.’ We became friends immediately."

    Martin thought this happened in '68 or so, but obviously it was 1970. (Actually, with all the Matrix jams, it's surprising that Martin hadn't jammed with Garcia earlier; but perhaps the Matrix just wasn't on Martin's circuit at that point.)
    And what's with so many people who played with Jerry saying they didn't know who he was when they met him? If true, the Grateful Dead seem to have had an awfully low profile among other SF musicians... (An interesting issue in itself. Garcia wasn't always famous, of course!)

  19. Here's a secondary question.

    Does anyone know how the Dead were billed for the 8/5/70 San Diego show?
    Was it, in fact, a Grateful Dead show? Or advertised as "acoustic Dead"? Or advertised at all? Did they tag along for an NRPS show, as at the Matrix in July?
    In fact, is there any evidence for an 8/5/70 show in San Diego?
    The NRPS site does not show anything.

    Our tape is cut between songs, so it's from a longer source, but impossible to tell what else they may have played.
    It's hard to believe that the Dead would make a trip to San Diego just to play an hour of acoustic songs. (I also hear only one drummer, presumably Hart.)

    And listen to the crowd noise, how close the audience is to the mikes. That is absolutely not from a large theater like the Golden Hall. In fact, it sounds exactly like the small crowd in the 7/30/70 Matrix tape.

    So I'm speculating that our "8/5/70" tape is actually one of the July Matrix shows; in fact, I'm all but positive and plan to write it up soon.

    I'm fishing for more thoughts & evidence, though, before I make a post out of it...

  20. LIA, I like your theory a lot. I've always been confused by the San Diego date.

    Here's a thought: a most reliable eyewitness (Michelle Mc) told me that the acoustic Grateful Dead played a number of shows at the Lion's Share. They played two or three nights in a row, on a weeknight in the middle of the Summer of 1970. She knows--she went. These shows were utterly unpublicized, and only friends of the band were given the heads up.

    Given the difficulties with the dating of the July 70 Matrix tapes, maybe they were actually from the Lion's Share. In any case, I look forward to whatever you may come up with.

  21. The date appears as a Grateful Dead only show on both my Community Concourse list (which is some years old) and in the San Diego Concert Archive. There was an August 71 show with the NRPS which was well advertised but I have not found anything to support the August 1970 date. Whilst we know many of the Matrix tapes are misdated, could the Lion's Share dates have been so far under the radar for so long?

  22. The answer is yes. I literally discovered these two days ago! There are listings for "New Riders of the Purple Sage & Grateful Dead, Lion's Share, 9 pm" for both July 31, 1970 and August 1, 1970, in the "George" (calendar) section of the Berkeley Tribe v3 n4 (no 56) (July 31 - August 7, 1970), back page.

    Serendipity is a funny thing.

  23. JGMF, this is pretty amazing. Do we suddenly seem to have a "mini-tour" on our hands? Matrix on July 29-30 (Wed-Thurs), then Lion's Share on 31/1 (Fri-Sat), then San Diego on Aug 5 (Sat)? Should we look for another SoCal show on Friday Aug 4?

    The Dead weren't touring with their own sound system at the time (right?), and Workingman's had just come out. Maybe they were experimenting with the idea of having an "unplugged" configuration where they could fly to gigs without having an equipment truck tagging along.

    The economics probably worked, but I know Garcia at least was unhappy with the amplification of acoustic instruments in 1970, which is one of the reason the band gave up acoustic sets until 1980.

  24. Per Yellow Shark, it's doubtful there were NRPS/GD shows at the Matrix on July 29-30, but I feel July 27-28 must be valid dates... (For that matter, how do we know NRPS didn't simply replace Harvey Mandel on July 29-30 in a last-minute substitution...though that may be a speculation too far. But in the alternate ad, Mandel disappears & is replaced by Mance Lipscomb and Smokestack Lightnin', so scheduling doesn't seem to have been very strict!)

    As for the SBD tapes, I have no doubt they're from the Matrix. The GD were NOT taping any of their own shows at the time. Who would've taped the Lion's Share shows? Nobody. Whereas SBD tapes were rolling all the time at the Matrix.

    So it seems there was a San Diego show without NRPS. Since our "8/5/70" tape has NRPS members on it, I think that further disproves it's from San Diego.
    (On the other hand - it's very surprising to see any Dead show from this time without NRPS; is it possible they just weren't listed, or were they always billed when they appeared?)

    Does anyone know the exact dates of the Medicine Ball caravan? Alembic had to go on that tour after the Dead pulled out; I think it was July/August but don't know the exact dates. It may partially explain why we suddenly see a bunch of acoustic shows just then. But I really doubt San Diego was an all-acoustic show.

  25. Gaah, I just drafted a longish comment which disappeared.

    Anyway, a few things.

    First, I think we are moving too fast away from the 8/5/70 San Diego dating on the tape. I am as skeptical of tape datings as anyone, but I don't have a theory as to how this identification could have attached to this tape unless it were accurate. I am ready to be persuaded, but I don't think we should start drawing conclusions too quickly. LIA, how sure are you of your ears on this one?

    Second, of course Lion's Share shows might have been taped. The soundman taped late 1971 - early 1972 shows, for example. Don't know about 1970, but it's not impossible.

    Third, the Medicine Ball Caravan tour was to run from Aug. 4 (Virginia City, NV) through most of the month of August, based on canceled shows identified in Deadbase IX. So this is consistent with an 8/5/70 all acoustic show, what with the Alembic gear being on the road.

  26. Medicine Ball Caravan tour dates from Deadbase IX.

    19700804 Virginia City, NV
    19700806 Albuquerque, NM
    19700809 Denver, CO
    19700811 Omaha, NB
    19700814 Bloomington, IN
    19700820 Wheeling, WV

    Plus possible free gig in DC on 8/22 and Isle of Wight Festival on 8/25.

  27. Also, Corry, you have your days of the week a bit off ... Aug 4 was a Tuesday, so I doubt we should look for a SoCal show that night.

    If anyone has access to the Underground Press Microfilm collection, he/she might want to check out the San Diego rag door for ads, reviews etc. of 8/5/70.

  28. JGMF - thanks for the Medicine Ball dates.

    I am absolutely certain our "8/5/70" tape is not from the Golden Hall. The tape is from a small club. Listen to a Golden Hall show - like say, 1/10/70 - the audience sound is completely different.

    Apart from the tape - I just feel that the Dead would not have done an out-of-town acoustic-only show in a large theater - at least not unless the show was advertised as something like "Acoustic Dead".
    But it is interesting that the show coincides with the start of the Caravan. (And the only other known August shows until Los Angeles on the 28th are at the Fillmore West.)

    I wonder, is there a list of available SBD tapes from the Lion's Share - are there any from as early as July '70?

  29. yeah, whoops on the day of the week. I kind of agree with the theory that a San Diego listing on a tape box is so unlikely that its more plausible that's its true (as opposed to say writing "Fillmore" for "Avalon"). I also like the concept that low cost stealth tours were required because Alembic was on the road. The band could use the Fillmore West sound system in August.

  30. "is there a list of available SBD tapes from the Lion's Share - are there any from as early as July '70?"

    I don't know of any dates earlier than June of '71 or later than January of '72 for in-house Lion's Share recordings.

    6/14/1971 Bola Sete
    7/4/1971 Mike Finnigan, Jerry Woods and Friends
    7/30/1971 Mose Allison
    8/4/1971 Van Morrison
    8/9/1971 Auditions
    8/22/1971 Mike Finnigan, Jerry Woods and Friends
    8/22/1971 Pendergrass, Kathy MacDonald
    9/10/1971 Sopwith Camel
    9/16/1971 Mike Williams
    9/24/1971 Garcia, Fogerty, Merl Saunders, Kreutzmann
    9/24/1971 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, Tom Fogerty, Bill Kreutzmann
    9/25/1971 Jerry Corbitt, Charlie Daniels, Jeffrey Myer, Earl Brigsby, Joe Palmer
    9/25/1971 Jerry Garcia, Merl Saunders, Tom Fogerty, Bill Kreutzmann
    10/8/1971 Mike Finnigan & In Your Own Back Yard
    10/24/1971 Clover
    11/14/1971 John Hammond, Jorma Kaukonen
    11/26/1971 Van Morrison
    11/27/1971 Van Morrison
    11/27/1971 Van Morrison
    11/27/1971 Van Morrison; Juke Boy Bonner
    12/23/1971 Sopwith Camel
    12/29/1971 Flying Circus
    12/30/1971 Joy of Cooking
    12/31/1971 Joy of Cooking
    1/15/1972 Sopwith Camel
    1/16/1972 Sopwith Camel
    1/19/1972 Garcia, Saunders, Kahn, Vitt

  31. Wow, I had no idea. Do any of these circulate? I'm particularly interested in the lesser known bands (I have both Clover albums, and the first two Mike Finnegan recordings as well).I had no idea there was a live Flying Circus tape.

    The Lion's Share may have changed its soundman. In the 1970-71 period, the soundman was Charlie Kelly, the once and future Sons Of Champlin road manager. I think he left the Lions Share when the Sons started to get serious again, in mid-71.

  32. The dates on that list are coterminous with the time at the Share of a particular sound guy.

    I think some of the Van stuff circulates, but AFAIK most of it is sitting on 7" 1/2 track reels and has not circulated.

  33. I am finishing up another post on these Hartbeats & acoustic shows... Many discoveries have been made!

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  36. To be clear, the reference for the Micky and the H(e)artbeats dates is via an ad in San Francisco Good Times (Vol III, Issue 28, pp16) dated July 24. This should be Issue 29 but the front page incorrectly uses the Vol/Iss from the previous week (July 17) meaning there are two issues with the same reference.

  37. I am wondering why I have never listed Monday 7/13/70 in my Garcia lists. Any positive evidence in favor of it?

  38. Well, the Dead played Fillmore East on July 12, 1970. Since Fillmore East shows ended at about 4am, if not later, Garcia would have had to have practically gone straight from SFO to the Matrix. Not impossible, however.

    On the other hand, its probably just one of those Matrix mysteries. Without a tape, we know nothing. Shows were never reviewed, and eyewitnesses can never recall anything specific, since they usually had been to the Matrix many times.

  39. I know Gary Jackson was long-gone by then. Who was managing the Matrix? I wonder if there are any ledgers, calendars, anything.

  40. Regarding your 6/29/70 Matrix listing, I have just changed mine to Boz Scaggs, and not a Monday night jam.

    "Boz Scagg's cooking organization is at the Matrix" -- Wasserman, John L. 1970. An Affluent Shift by 'Soul' Singers. San Francisco Chronicle, June 29, 1970, p. 39 ("Hither and Yon" item).

  41. D'oh!

    Then this unusual listing in the "opening today" box: "Howard Wales, Terry Haggerty and Friends at the Matrix".

    Now I am really confused.

  42. And get this, from the next day's (i.e., 6/30/70) "opening today" feature: "Harvey Mandell [sic] and Howard Wales at the Matrix".

  43. Great stuff. I updated the post. I don't know about the Boz Scaggs reference--he played there so much, I think that Wasserman just got crossed up.

    I actually saw Howard Wales and Harvey Mandel play together, opening for Government Mule at the Fillmore about 1997 or so. It was good, but not as powerful as I had expected.

  44. A recent interview with Bill Vitt covers his association with Garcia:

    BV: "It was ’69. There was a little club called the Matrix in San Francisco and it was just a show place. There was no dancing or anything. And they had a four-track studio built in the club...
    A friend of mine named Howard Wales, a keyboard/organ player; he and I were playing a duo there. Backed up Freddie King, James Cotton, people like that. Jerry Garcia came in one night and jammed with us. And he started coming in on a regular basis. Then, I got us a bass player named Richard Feebas [sic] who was signed with the Oakland Symphony at the time. Shortly after that, another bass player named John Kahn, who I was doing a lot of sessions with and playing in other bands with, he came and replaced Richard. Eventually, within a couple years Merl Saunders replaced Howard Wales. So, that was the core of the band, the four of us at that point.
    As we started playing more gigs, Tom Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival) played with us a lot and Armando Peraza, percussionist, Martin Fierro, horn player (saxophonist). It was still a jam thing. We never rehearsed. We just went out and played. So, that’s pretty much how it started.
    We did do one record with Howard Wales called Hooteroll? It was on Columbia...
    Howard and Jerry were good friends. I don’t remember exactly how it came down but it was probably Howard said, “Hey, come on down and sit in with us.” ...We had a lot of people coming to sit in with us from time to time."

    He also mentions his early work as a studio musician in LA, the reasons for moving up to the Bay Area, and his reason for leaving the Garcia/Saunders band in '74:
    "I played with the band for four years. I was playing with Bill Champlin at the same time, and I had to make a choice. I put a lot of energy into rehearsing with what was called the Sons of Champlin... There was a lot of time signature changes in Bill’s songs, really cool stuff. So, we rehearsed like eight hours a day. So, I put that time in and I thought, “You know what? I better stick with this band because I paid my dues…” Jerry was starting to work a lot with the Dead, also. At the end, before I left, we weren’t playing that many gigs ‘cause the Dead were really hittin’ then." [Garcia/Saunders did only play a few shows in Nov/Dec '73.]

    Vitt emphasizes, "I don’t remember any rehearsals. It was a jam band. We just got up and played. Sometimes, before we got onstage somebody’d say, “Here’s that Stevie Wonder tune. Why don’t we try that tonight?” Verbally, run down the chords and go out and play it."

    1. I see the [sic] after "Richard Feebas" - what is his actual name?

    2. I have it as Richard Favis. A symphony guy, not really sure for certain.

  45. Correction to the last comment - it's been pointed out that Vitt had actually left the Sons of Champlin in 1972, nor was he enthusiastic about going on tour, so his remarks about leaving the Garcia/Saunders band are very inaccurate!

  46. An ad in the Barb (January 30-February 6, 1970, p. 20) shows Southern Comfort at Mandrake's on Saturday 1/31/70 and Sunday 2/1. Saturday runs across the Bloomfield-Gravenites gig at NOH - thoughts on that?

    1. John Kahn was the producer of Southern Comfort, not the bass player, so Kahn would have played the Bloomfield gig. Bob Jones would have been drumming for SC, so Bill Vitt would have drummed for Bloomfield. Since Bloomfield never rehearsed, substitutions made little difference. Hmm, a familiar refrain...