Leading up to the playing of this Tuesday night of Deadstein Kevin asked if I was going to get there early so we could work on some of the new songs I had prepared earlier in the week. Unfortunately for him, I was going to be hanging out in New Jersey beginning at 4pm through about 6:30pm watching the US men's World Cup soccer match versus Belgium. I was therefore going to be racing from New Jersey after the game to make the jam on time, so I thought. While the US men's soccer team made it into an overtime defeat versus Belgium, they were lucky to do so and without the valiant effort of their goalkeeper they would've been blown out in this game, so it was a little disappointing on the way into the jam but at least there was no traffic and I got there right about 7:25, earlier than I could have hoped for. I actually ran into Scott and Rich on the street before the jam so we walked in together to meet the rest of the band who had already assembled in studio B.
Once there I saw that Stagger Lee brought a friend of his, Billy, to the jam to enjoy the sounds of Deadstein and he hung around through most of the first set. Likewise, Scott had three of his concert going friends show up and enjoy the band for about the same timeframe as the other Billy. I think their names were Billy Noah and Jeff, if I'm not mistaken. Things were pretty much set and we were ready to go. We began to play just after 8 o'clock but it was a little on the late-side.
As far as instruments go, Kevin was using a new bass set up which included an actual base cabinet to use for his treble portion of his sound versus his typical guitar amp. I don't know if he liked the sound or not or was happy with it or not, but at least we didn't have any technical problems with it throughout the night. I had my Mesa Boogie Mark IV amp and Alan was using the Roland JC-120. The drums were the standard good drums and the PA sounded pretty "meh" and so as it initially sounded boxy and it had poor actual tonal quality of it, but it got us through the night and seemed to get better as we went on.
So when I walked into the studio Kevin thought I was really bummed about the soccer team losing, but I really wasn't. I was just focused on trying to get into the jam and to start playing and getting lost in the music. I had prepared four new songs for the band to play that had I just figured out, maybe the day before, so I was a little focused on trying to keep my mind on how to play those songs without letting them fade from my consciousness.
In commemoration of the pending Fourth of July celebration as well as the summertime here in the United States as well as the United States loss in the World Cup soccer competition, we opened with the US Blues. Typically an encore, this time it was an opener who would of thunk we would then close with a Music Never Stopped as an encore which it typically isn't. With the US Blues, I thought we had some tonal quality issues with the big sound of the band the PA sounding so bad so I tried to settle it down a bit with the CC Rider that followed. I do think it helped a bit to just stabilize our sound to a place where we could seek it out. The same with Ramble on Rose. While both songs weren't stupendous in their quality, they did get us comfortable enough to pursue the rest of the evening. I don't think brother Esau helped in any way and that was pretty much of a mess for most of the song. I mean we barreled our way through it but it really wasn't too good and had many structural issues. Direwolf on the other hand had a nice "chirpy" tone to it. I had change my strings before the jam so they were brand-new and they were certainly popping and bright and "chiroy" as I'm calling it. In many respects, I was enjoying the tone of my guitar even though it was a bit hot and difficult to handle but it was singing for me.
Although we did have some guests in the room, the next part of the evening we tackled the four new songs I had brought in. I say "four new songs" because I don't think Deadstein has ever played any of them in the past. We first started with some acoustic songs from the Old and In the Way era of Jerry's banjo career. The Panama Red to begin with could've been better. I was a little flustered in my ability to keep my hand and eye coordination synchronized with my sight reading. I was having difficulties at the time but we got through it and the same with Old and In the Way. While it's too bad and I consider it a lost opportunity, the songs are now in the book and ready to be done again and they both were good, fun enjoyable tunes to play. Next we try two serious Jerry Garcia band songs. First Tough Mama, which really had a nice authentic feel and sound to it followed by the Road Runner which also had a good sound and feel to it. Both were pretty good considering they were the first times we played them and really rocked out so that was enjoyable. I look forward to doing all four of these songs again. Can't wait till I actually get my ass off the ground and get the new book printed so we all have all these new songs I've been preparing over the last month or so on paper and in front of us for easy access, but until that time, they are on our Deadstein cloud so you could always look them up, practice them and play.
Although not recorded, I recall playing a Playing in the Band into Come Together into Shakedown Street which I think ended the first set at 10 o'clock after which took about a 30 minute break. Too bad me missed the recording of this because I think it was pretty good. I remember being impressed with our transition into Shakedown Street.
We begin the second set with a Big Boss Man, Dark Hollow which was a good way to get us back into the music. Get Out of My Life Woman was one of our better efforts on that song. I think once again, getting some of that nice shiny chirpy sound coming out of my guitar. The Lost Sailor into St. of Circumstance was also pretty good. We keep getting more and more comfortable with that combination and as such, we are able to play it with a little less stress involved in getting through it. Robbie Robertson's Broken Arrow was to follow which Rich sang and we had to kind of started over as we lost our tempo in playing it. Once we got it going in the second part of it was pretty good. In my supplemental book Brown-Eyed Girl follows Broken Arrow so I decided to have us try that song. That's a song I don't think we have ever played before either and although we didn't play it in a Van Morrison style as it was more of a Grateful Dead style, it was still fun and a cool sort of thing to get through and to play. Here's to playing new music a new songs, woo!
It was time to start thinking about bringing this night to a close and with that, we began with a Sugar Magnolia it was okay. It was followed with a Hard to Handle which was also okay and to finish off the whole shebang off, we did the Music Never Stopped. This is ironic because right afterwards the music definitely stopped.
This was to be our second to last week with our standard drum setup with Lee and Scott. Unfortunately, the day after the jam Scott injured his other arm and he is apparently out the next week and then he's going in for shoulder surgery thereafter and will be out for many weeks to come. We now have to prepared ourselves to take on the new Ganbarg era of solo drumming at Deadstein. It's one week too early which I feel bad about and pray for and wish Scott the best and quickest recovery so that we can see him in the studio with that new shoulder ready to bang away and fall asleep at those drums. Until then and right now, Freak Out!