Jerry Garcia was a tie-dyed human symbol of the survival of the ideals of the hippie generation. Accordingly, when he died, a lot of people were very cut up about it, as this report reminds us with its live shots of grief-stricken fans in Washington, DC, New York and San Francisco on August 9, 1995.
I remember the day it happened. A guy I was friendly with from taking cigarette breaks outside of my office building—a fellow who always wore a suit, crisp white shirt and a tie, maybe mid to late 50s at the time and the manager of a big Hollywood sound stage—told me that he’d locked the door of his office and cried like a baby behind it for 20 minutes before regaining his composure.
He’d gotten into following the Dead around (and ‘shrooms) as a way to stave off a mid-life crisis after a divorce blind-sided him. He had a sort of “On the Road” moment as a Deadhead and that was really a liberating thing for him. Jerry Garcia’s death represented the end to something that was of huge emotional importance in his life, something that obviously a lot of people also felt.
I’ve noticed how posting something about the Grateful Dead on Dangerous Minds tends to bring out both very pro and very con views about the band, or rather, when you look a little bit closer, their fans.
The fans, the Deadheads themselves, it seems to me, were always the stumbling point for a lot of rock snobs who might otherwise have loved what the Dead had to offer.
I, too, was one of those snobs who turned up my nose at going to see Dead shows many a time (which I now regret) even though I loved them on record. The whole hippie thing felt terribly anachronistic to me, a PiL, Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle, Nina Hagen, Residents, Psychedelic Furs-loving kid, during the postpunk era (There was also the factor that I might meet the sort of girls I wanted to meet at, say, a Siouxsie and The Banshees show, but never at a Dead show, if that makes sense). It felt even more dated in the 1990s.
Nevertheless, I’ve been going through quite a bit of a Grateful Dead phase lately, and I’ve found over the years, that this journey always comes full circle for me to their 1977 masterpiece, Terrapin Station. As great as American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead are, Terrapin Station is the one that stands out. It’s truly a remarkable album, but especially the title 16:27 long title track that takes up all of side two.
Have you ever heard it? If not, what are you waiting for? Press play.
“Terrapin Station” is one HELL of an AMAZING song suite, isn’t it? The choir and orchestration—arranged by the great Paul Buckmaster who’s worked with Elton John, Lloyd Cole and on “Space Oddity” for David Bowie—see this song depart from the folk/blues/psych of the Dead’s normal sound for something more akin to say, Yes, Moody Blues or Genesis.
But seriously, what kind of crazy fuckin’ Jerry-hater are you if you can’t dig this???
“Terrapin Station” became a staple in the band’s set list, getting over 300 plays throughout the years, but never the full thing. The most complete live version was performed on March 18, 1977 at Winterland Arena.
This live version, also at Winterland on New Year’s Eve of 1978—the night the venue closed—is a fine, delicately rendered performance, but the majestic studio recording, in my opinion, is still way better. If you happen to be new to this material, start with the clip above then move on to the live versions.
Also seen in this outtake from Gimme Shelter is a fellow unknown to all but the most hardcore Stones freaks, original member Ian Stewart, the “sixth Stone” who didn’t really fit in on a looks level with the rest of the band, and who became their dedicated, meticulously organized, golf-loving road manager.
Stewart, who died of a heart attack in 1985 at the age of 47 in a doctor’s waiting room, played organ and piano on key Stones tracks such as “Honky Tonk Woman,” “Brown Sugar” and “Sweet Virginia.” He was an offstage keyboardist on many Stones tours as well as playing piano on Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” and “Boogie With Stu” (which is named for him, obviously). When the Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they asked that Ian Stewart’s name be included as a member of the group.
Owsley “Bear” Stanley the 1960s counter-culture figure, who “flooded the flower power scene with LSD and was an early benefactor of the Grateful Dead” has died in a car crash in his adopted home country of Australia on Sunday, his family have said. He was 76. The National Post reports that Owsley was:
..the renegade grandson of a former governor of Kentucky, Stanley helped lay the foundation for the psychedelic era by producing more than a million doses of LSD at his labs in San Francisco’s Bay Area.
“He made acid so pure and wonderful that people like Jimi Hendrix wrote hit songs about it and others named their band in its honor,” former rock ‘n’ roll tour manager Sam Cutler wrote in his 2008 memoirs “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Hendrix’s song “Purple Haze” was reputedly inspired by a batch of Stanley’s product, though the guitarist denied any drug link. The ear-splitting blues-psychedelic combo Blue Cheer took its named from another batch.
Stanley briefly managed the Grateful Dead, and oversaw every aspect of their live sound at a time when little thought was given to amplification in public venues. His tape recordings of Dead concerts were turned into live albums.
The Dead wrote about him in their song “Alice D. Millionaire” after a 1967 arrest prompted a newspaper to describe Stanley as an “LSD millionaire.” Steely Dan’s 1976 single “Kid Charlemagne” was loosely inspired by Stanley’s exploits.
According to a 2007 profile in the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanley started cooking LSD after discovering the recipe in a chemistry journal at the University of California, Berkeley.
The police raided his first lab in 1966, but Stanley successfully sued for the return of his equipment. After a marijuana bust in 1970, he went to prison for two years.
“I wound up doing time for something I should have been rewarded for,” he told the Chronicle’s Joel Selvin. “What I did was a community service, the way I look at it. I was punished for political reasons. Absolutely meaningless. Was I a criminal? No. I was a good member of society. Only my society and the one making the laws are different.”
He emigrated to the tropical Australian state of Queensland in the early 1980s, apparently fearful of a new ice age, and sold enamel sculptures on the Internet. He lost one of his vocal cords to cancer.
Stanley was born Augustus Owsley Stanley III in Kentucky, a state governed by his namesake grandfather from 1915 to 1919. He served in the U.S. Air Force for 18 months, studied ballet in Los Angeles, and then enrolled at UC Berkeley. In addition to being an LSD advocate, he adhered to an all-meat diet.
A statement released by Cutler on behalf of Stanley’s family said the car crash occurred near his home in far north Queensland. He is survived by his wife Sheila, four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Richard Lester’s criminally obscure 1968 film, Petulia, starred Julie Christie (at the height of her international fame and considerable beauty) as a neurotic San Francisco socialite who abruptly comes into the life of a recently divorced surgeon (George C. Scott) and basically ruins it. After watching Dr. Archie Bollen (Scott) gently care for an injured boy, Petulia Danner—who is married to a violently abusive man (Richard Chamberlain)—becomes smitten and is determined to have an affair with him. (When they first meet she says, “I’ve been married six months and I’ve never had an affair.”). When her husband finds out about the affair, he savagely beats her. In a shocking turn of events, she spurns Archie, who wants to protect her, and returns to her husband.
Petulia is a complex, daring film about disappointments in relationships, gorgeously shot against the backdrop of hippie-era San Francisco by Nicolas Roeg, with a score by composer John Barry. Richard Lester uses one of cinema’s first examples of flash-forwards and jump-cuts. (The film’s complicated non-linear structure becomes much clearer during a second viewing which is highly recommended). Critics at the time were fairly sour on Petulia (Pauline Kael famously called it Lester’s “hate letter to America”) but some 40 years later, this mostly unseen movie seems far, far ahead of its time, truly a stylistic breakthrough that added much to cinema’s evolving vocabulary. Ironically, at the same time Petulia is very much the ultimate Hollywood time capsule of “The Summer of Love.”
I’ve seen Petulia at least ten times and I think it’s an absolute masterpiece, one of the greatest American films of the 1960s, right up there with The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde and Easy RIder. There are many, many incredibly powerful and emotional scenes in Petulia but one in particular sends chills down my spine: Scott’s Archie and his ex-wife (Shirley Knight) still feel intense pain over their divorce, and still care for each other, but they simply cannot stand to be in the same room together. They parry back and forth, each jabbing at the other, at first passive-aggressively and then ramping up the emotional violence until Scott finally just explodes. Every time I’ve ever watched this scene with someone else, the reaction is always the same when it’s over: “Wow.”
George C. Scott is just fantastic in Petulia, giving one of the best performances of his career. The same can be said of Julie Christie in the title role. I’d even give her work here the edge over her Oscar-winning 1965 role in Darling. The ending, when Petulia, who is about to give birth to Chamberlain’s baby, thinks Archie is there with her in the delivery room, reaching up to touch what she thinks is his hand as she goes under, is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. I really can’t recommend this film highly enough. If you love film and you’ve never seen Petulia, you owe it to yourself to see it.
Petulia was set to premiere at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival, but the May riots in Paris saw the festival cancelled that year. Petulia used to be really difficult to see and wasn’t released on DVD until 2004. It’s out of print again, but used copies are easy to come by. The film features musical cameos by Janis Joplin with Big Brother & the Holding Company (doing “Down On Me”) and the Grateful Dead (The Dead actually has more than one appearance in the film, as the band and their entourage play the on-looking hippies as Petulia is taken out on a stretcher after she’s been beaten).
After the jump watch a very young Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia doesn’t even have a beard yet) play “Viola Lee Blues.”
Is it controversial to post an over half hour version of Dark Star by the Dead here on the DM? I guess I’ll find out. The Dead have grown on me over time. Hated ‘em as a kid, perhaps you have to be a decrepit old hippy to “get” them. Whatever, they sound great to me now, maaaaan. Here’s some footage of them at their exploratory best that I was never before aware of that I found whilst stumbling around the series of tubes (as you do). Some delightfully acid-fried “you are there” scenes and some Gilliam-esque animated interludes as well as the crystal clear sound coming off the stage. Evidently this is from a film that was considered even too lysergic by the band themselves to bother completing.
SEPULVEDA UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST SOCIETY (THE ONION) 9550 Haskell Avenue
Frank Ehrenthal (1964) The Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society sanctuary, widely known asThe Onion for its unique, bulbous shape, was designed by Frank Ehrenthal, a student of Richard Neutra. The contoured wood beam building features a circular shape with a flat point at the highest peak of the roof, resembling the tapered end of a giant onion. In February, 1966 The Grateful Dead along with Ken Kesey and various Merry Pranksters staged an Acid Test here !
KNOLLWOOD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH 12121 Balboa Boulevard
Hal C. Whittenmore (1966) The ultra-modern Knollwood United Methodist Church is defined by its swooping, asymmetrical white walls, including a soaring fin-like tower that evokes a traditional Mediterranean campanile (bell tower).
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF NORTHRIDGE 9659 Balboa Boulevard
A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons (1962) Built as a pyramid, this church’s sanctuary appears infinitely solid on the outside yet equally light and airy inside. The interior’s exposed beams soar to a skylight at the apex, while hanging cylindrical light fixtures float throughout. Walls of glass integrate outdoor gardens with plantings along the inside perimeter. A below-grade entrance and garden wall minimize street noise. After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the building was deemed one of the safest in the San Fernando Valley.