Thursday, September 22, 2005

Gathering Of The Vibes

for the lowdown of this years vibes
click here

ahhhh my dirty hippie utopia.... this is THE hippest jamband music festival in the north east of the USA. I would live here at Indian Lookout Point just outside of Albany NY if i could. I have seen and met more great bands and musicians here than anywhere else. The communal family scene here is magical. 'strangers meeting strangers, just to shake their hand' Ive been going since Phil & Friends played in 2002. when the festival is not going on, the website has a large online community disscusion board.

from left to right: tony trishka, vassar clemmons, sam bush, peter rowan and bryn bright.

tony was bela flecks banjo teacher
sam is a pioneer of fusion jazz/rock/bluegrass
peter played with the father of bluegrass...a mr. bill monroe
vassar and peter played in a band with jerry garcia and david grisman called Old & In The Way.

This is a picture i took of vassar backstage at vibes 04'.
He was such a genuine soul and wonderful violinist.
Vassar gave in to his battle with cancer and died
in his home in Tennessee on August 16th 2005

Del McCoury and the boys.......
Ronnie McCoury -mandolin
Rob McCoury- banjo
Jason Carter-fiddle

Jamie Mansfield from
Jazz Mandolin Project

Railroad Earth
these guys are up and coming band soon to be BIG if they keep up the good work!

New Orleans Radiators

vibes 04'

vibes 04' saturday night all star funk jam with New Orleans George Porter on Bass and vocals (from The Meters) w/ Deep Bannana Blackout horns.

Bob Weir and Ratdog headlined on Friday night and former Grateful Deads' singer Donna Godchaux-MacKay showed up to help on a couple of numbers.....It was afterall a Jerry Garcia tribute weekend to commemorate 10 years since the passing of his death....and what a tribute!!! many of jerrys compadres and fellow musicians showed up to celebrate the fat man and his musical directions.

David Nelson and Dark Star Orchestra during the jerry tribute.

"Never had such a good time in my life
I'd like to have it one time
One good ride from start to
I'd like to take that ride again. Again!"

Sunday, September 18, 2005

when the going gets weird, the weird turns pro.... own website eh? no telling what kind of random acts of kindness
and senseless acts of beauty that might emerge from the depths of my mind.......
this is dedicated to all of lifes teachers, whomever they might be,
but especially the musicians and journalist/writers whos words and sounds
have changed the lives of countless people.

"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes.
Some kind of high powered mutant never even
considered for mass production.
Too weird to live, and too rare to die."
-Hunter S. Thompson

" it never got weird enough for me."

click here for an article of Dr. Thompsons suicide

"No More Games. No More bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun -- for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax -- This won't hurt."

"Publishers are notoriously slothful about numbers, unless they're attached to dollar signs - unlike journalists, quarterbacks, and felony criminal defendants who tend to be keenly aware of numbers at all times." -Dr. H.S.Thompson

Jack Keroauc and William S. Burroughs......pioneers of the Beatnik writing which is often compared to jazz improvisations and meters.

"Great things are not accomplished by those
who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. "

"If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime. "- Jack Keroauc

List of Essentials: Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy Submissive to everything, open, listening Try never get drunk outside yr own house Be in love with yr life Something that you feel will find its own form Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind Blow as deep as you want to blow Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind The unspeakable visions of the individual No time for poetry but exactly what is Visionary tics shivering in the chest In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition Like Proust be an old teahead of time Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye Write in recollection and amazement for yourself Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea Accept loss forever Believe in the holy contour of life Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind Dont think of words when you stop but to see pictures better Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it Bookmovie is th movie in words, the visual American form In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better You're a Genius all the time Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven -J.Kerouac

Allen Ginsberg was one of the first people to challenge censorship and freedom of speech and press with his epic poem HOWL......for the full poem, click here > Ginsberg for a detailed report of the 1959 court hearings go to

from left to right: Larry Rivers, Jack Kerouac,David Amram, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso (with back to camera)

The prosecutor in the Howl case was Ralph McIntosh, whose earlier targets included nudist magazines and Howard Hughes' sensual Jane Russell movie The Outlaw. But Allen's poem took McIntosh beyond his depth. He could not understand the poem, except for the dirty words, and neither literary critic Mark Schorer, the defense's main witness, nor Judge Horn, who tried the case without a jury, would help him out.
RALPH McINTOSH: I presume you understand the whole thing, is that right? MARK SCHORER: I hope so. It's not always easy to know that one understands exactly what a contemporary poet is saying . . . RALPH McINTOSH: Do you understand what "angel headed hipsters burning for the ancient connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night" means? MARK SCHORER: Sir, you can't translate poetry into prose. That's why it's poetry. RALPH McINTOSH: In other words, you don't have to understand the words. MARK SCHORER: You don't understand the individual words taken out of their context. You can no more translate it back into logical prose English than you can say what a surrealistic painting means in words, because it's not prose . . . I can't possibly translate, nor, I am sure, can anyone in this room translate the opening part of this into rational prose. RALPH McINTOSH: Your Honor, frankly I have only got a batch of law degrees. I don't know anything about literature. But I would like to find out what this is all about. It's like this modern painting nowadays, surrealism or whatever they call it, where they have a monkey come in and do some finger painting.
When McIntosh tried to get Schorer to admit that some of the "obscene" terms Allen used could "have been worded some other way," Judge Horn intervened: "It is obvious that the author could have used another term but that's up to the author to decide." Judge Horn was not prepared to let policemen or prosecutors mess around with Allen's artistic freedom, nor to let an expert witness be browbeaten. Other defense witnesses also racked up points on Allen's side...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

the music never stopped.....The Grateful Dead

"They're a band beyond description
Like Jehovah's favorite choir.
People joinin' hand in hand
While the music plays the band.
Lord, they're setting us on fire.


Well for me this is where it all began as a young lad. My first experience seeing these guys at RFK stadium in 1990 (with a very beutiful and talented Edie Brickell opening the set!)
forever transformed the way i saw and heard music forever. They turned me onto realms of music that was foreign to my naive white suburbean brain. Jazz improvisations, bluegrass, african and new orleans rythms, disonance, melodic synchopations, lyrical revelations and the AWARENESS of vibrations both negative and positive........that along with the vast variety of colors, sounds, 'tastes no tounge can know' and pleasant herbs, aromas and essential oils that tantalize the olfactory senses...its like an orgy of the senses.
It would lead me well on my way of the bohemian lifestyle of spontaneous improvisation and travels to where ever my feet would lead me on.
But slowly the demise of the band was evident..
especially in the late 80's and 90's
The crowds of so called peace loving hippies grew unruly
and UNKIND kids everywhere were creating violence
like crashing the gates, stomping cops to get into shows, people selling out their own kind to the feds,
trashing the environment etc.etc. (a far cry from the
peace and love and Acid Tests of the early 60's)

'one way or another this darkness has got to give'
and it did, but it was in the form of the Fat Man dying.
(aka Jerry Garcia, singer,lead guitarist,banjo, pedal steel)

it was the straw that broke the camels back ...

what to do? where to go?

it seems that the inevitable was at hand... all the older heads (myself included) joined the rat race with a late start...trying just to get by with a conciousness that was/is less than the 'norm'.

The Grateful Dead were not only pioneers of their sound, but also pioneers of the recording industry and the now known 'jamband' scene. They were the ones that popularized live recordings and allowed the 'free' trading and taping of all of their concerts. They preferred to be recorded live instead of the artificial settings of a recording studio. (much like earlier jazz musicians did) And so did their listeners...myself included (ive probably got at least a few hundred live shows!), which is why many deadheads are bootleg collectors..
even some of their best released albums (Live Dead (69') Anthem of The Sun (68') which infused both studio and live stuff) and One from The Vault (76') for starters.....though 2 studio albums that stand out above the rest to myself and a many heads' are Workingmans Dead and American Beauty which to this writer are masterpieces that cannot be denied.

Now in the computer age, all of the tape traders traded in our magnetic media (8tracks, reel to reels, vhs, and cassettes) for the cheaper, higher quality, more efficient cds and dvd's.
Anyone interested in hearing some free shows needs only to click on a few of my web links for the chance to listen to incredible SBD (soundboard) or AUD (audience) recordings.....
soundboard recordings are recorded from the soundboard and are of the highest audio quality. audience recordings are recorded from the a member of the audience and can sound poor to very good. (but never as good as a soundboard recording in this authors opinion!)

but they will never roll for me as good as it did from 1990-95 when i followed the Dead from around Philadelphia, N. Jersey, Maryland, NYC, Boston MASS, VT through the south in KY, TN, GA, AL, AK, FL to the mid east in Chicago IL, IN, OH (then off to the rainbow gatherings in Colorado) to the great west... Vegas NV(not so great) southern to northern California (great redwood forests and the drive thru tree, to the rainforests of Oregon and the clear cutting trees of Washington...where in seattle the mayor has his own Barleywine....

and all those years i helped kick start the
micro brew revolution, by selling and
thereby sampling hundreds of the worlds finest beers,
all the while I was helping to shape our
poor countries homoginized taste buds!!
in the words of homer simpson...
' mmmmmmmmm...beeeeeerrrr'
It all rolls into one
and nothing comes for free
There's nothing you can holdfor very long
And when you hear that song
come crying like the wind
it seems like all this life was just a dream
stella blue

Friday, September 16, 2005

The musicians musician...THE BAND

The Band

The musicians musicians. While all of the pop audiences were listening to whatever the commercial radio stations fed them in the 60's & 70s (just like today!), the musicians were digging THESE cats. The Beatles, Eric Clapton, The Grateful Dead, and countless others were listening to these hip cats. Bob Dylan liked these guys enough that when he decided to go electric in 1966, he recruited The Band as his backup band. He was also one of the people who helped name them The Band

These four Canadians and a southern boy helped shape the world of music. They were influenced by blues, classical, gospel, jazz ragtime and swing, folk, country as well as R&B and it showed in their musical compositions. Each of them were multi instrumentalists. Their sound is truly unique. Their vocal harmonies wonderfully dynamic. At first it can be difficult to figure out who's singing which verse on the songs that trade off verses.
For more info, sounds and history on The Band, visit their website at

Bass player, Rick Danko was one of the originators
of funk bass as can be heard in
'Dont Do It" and 'King Harvest. He also played the violin and his singing was as pure as the driven snow.....
December 10, 1999, his heart finally gave out, and he died in his sleep. His death hit me harder than any musicians death (except Mr. Jerry Garcia)

And speaking of singing as pure as the
driven snow, Richard Manuel , singer and pianist
(and sometimes drums, harmonica and even Jews harp)
for The Band brought a humbleness, creativity and originality that .
his voice poured out so much soul that it often sent shivers up and down my spine. He is one of the only people I know that Bob Dylan would let sing his songs while Dylan was on stage. Richards emotions and addictions finally got the best of him and he decided to hang himself after a show
on March 4, 1986.

Garth Hudson, the music teacher and organist
(and sometimes pianist, saxophonist and accordianist)
gave to the band a truly unique sound that were sometimes
likened to carnival music.
With roots heavily
in jazz, his melodic solos helped shape the sound of
the band

Levon Helm, the drummer, mandolin, and scratchy
lead vocalist gave The Band a touch of the
Mississippi Delta. A down home, southern
country boy, his voice
was the lead vocals in such numbers as
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and The Weight.

Robbie Robertson, guitarist, song writer and often band leader helped lead The Band in their travels. In 1976 after 16 years of touring in one form or another, he decided to call it quits with one last concert on thanksgiving day, with a little help from their friends. The album/movie (which was directedby Martin Scorsese) called
The Last Waltz

To me, this is one, if not the greatest and pivotal musical documentaries ever recorded. With guest musician the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Hawkins, The Staples Singers, Emmylou Harris, Dr. John, Ron Wood, Ringo Starr and beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Michael McClure.....and a 38 piece must have been one hell of a party!! The concert which was put on by none other than Bill Graham at his infamous Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco CA

From the book Bill Graham Presents:
(a fantastic book, this guy did more for the world of music than one could possibly fathom!!)
"First, I concerned myself with serving all these people food. A buffet for fifty four hundred people. We had two hundred-twenty turkeys weighing almost six thousand pounds. Five hundred extra turkey legs that weighed six hundred pounds. Stuffing made from seventy bunches of parsley, five hundred pounds of onions, and five hundred pounds of celery sauteed in a hundred pounds of butter mixed with three hundred and fifty pounds of croutons, five quarts of garlic, ten quarts of sage, and one quart of thyme. Ninety gallons of sauce made from drippings. Forty crates of lettuce for the salad. Twenty gallons of salad dressing. Eighteen cases of cranberries. Two thousand pounds of peeled yams. Three hundred pounds of Nova Scotia salmon donated by Louis Kemp and Bob Dylan. Six thousand bread rolls. A hundred pounds of butter patties. For dessert, four hundred pounds of pumpkin pie as well as four hundred pounds of mincemeat. Rock and Roll's last supper."

The Band, along with the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers played a concert on
July 28 1973 Live at Watkins Glen NY (not far from their home in Woodstock NY) for a record 600,000 people! Again another fantastic show put on by Bill Graham. Unfortunately like their performance at Woodstock in 1969, the skys tried to rain on everybodys parade....everybody in the Band except Garth ran for cover. Garth continued to entertain the audience with his carnival like organ solo untill the rain died down a little. To much dismay, the reel to reel recordings of this concert were mostly damaged and ruined leaving not much SBD audio history of this event (though there are a few audience recordings out there.). A few of the tunes did make it to a compilation called The Band Live at Watkins Glen (kind of misleading) which is excellent.

Each of the musicians in The Band have greatly influenced my musical endeavors in countless ways. I first saw reconstruction or The Band (minus Robbie) at the Philadelphia Folk Festival back in 1995...........
In 2000, while working at The Stonecoast Brewery, Levon Helm and the Barn burners
showed up to play a gig in our upstairs intimate atmosphere and I had the pleasure to meet a then recovering from throat cancer, Levon Helm. A cruel act of irony as Levon is the last remaining singer of The Band. Garth still plays as a session musician and In 1994, Robbie
Robertson returned to his roots, teaming with the Native American group the Red Road Ensemble for Music for The Native Americans, a collection of songs composed for a television documentary series. Contact From the Underworld of Redboy followed in 1998.

"Saw a man with the jinx in the third degree
From trying to deal with people--people you can't see
Take away, take away, this house of mirrors
Give away, give away, all the souvenirs
We're all in the same boat ready to float off the edge of the world..The flat old world
The street is a sideshow from the peddler to the corner girl Life is a carnival--it's in the book
Life is a carnival--take another look"