The Grateful Dead and Their World: Popular Music and the Avant-Garde in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1965-75

Over the past few years I have been in communication by email, and been visited and interviewed by Mel Backstrom, then a graduate student at McGill University, now Dr. Mel Backstrom, Ph.D. His thesis dissertation, "The Grateful Dead and Their World: Popular Music and the Avant-Garde in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1965-75" was completed and approved in December 2017.

Dr. Backstrom's dissertation is an interesting, intelligent, and very good read throughout, capturing in detail the intertwined popular and avant-garde new music that was created in the San Francisco Bay Area 1965-1975. Chapter Four, pages 230-306, and Appendices D, E, F are about Seastones and me within the larger perspective of Dr. Backstrom's thesis. His in-depth research and analysis constitutes the first academic and musicological study about Seastones in the context of the musical world within which I lived, composed, and performed between 1970 and 1975.

September 1974 Grateful Dead Europe Tour - movie by Steve Brown

More than a few years ago I received a DVD in the mail from Steve Brown. I was quite surprised that it contained Steve's Super 8mm movies he made during the 1974 Grateful Dead tour of Europe. He only asked that I not copy or share it publicly. However, recently he gave me permission for it to be viewed on Nedbase (and on the archived Nedbase on but not for wider distribution. Steve retains copyright and ownership. With the exception of "The Grateful Dead Movie," and a video snippet from the September 21, 1974 Paris concert, there are no other movies or videos in which I appear from those years.

I met Steve when he went to work for the newly formed Grateful Dead Records and Round Records in 1973. Steve had several roles including album recording sessions, production and promotion, live concert on-site promotion, and working on the "Mars Hotel" LP and "The Grateful Dead Movie." I remember Steve as a very nice, sincere, knowledgeable person who really cared about the band and the music, and truly helped make good things happen.

Steve's Super 8mm movies cover the 1974 Grateful Dead European tour. London's city life of the times and the Alexander Palace set up of the Wall of Sound (2:02), Munich and the Olympic Halle (4:26), band (5:37, me at 6:00 reading the Sunday Times) and family members getting on the bus and the bus ride from Munich through Luxembourg to Zurich, hanging out on the street in Geneva with Jerry, Parish, Hunter, Keith, Donna, baby Zion, Bob Matthews, and others, and then Phil, Steve, Dan Healy, and me on our drive through the high Alps and villages of Switzerland (7:25), into rural France (with castles) and on to Dijon (14:58) ending in Paris. Two additional notes come from Steve:

*It was silent 8mm so I added a soundtrack from that Summer's U.S. tour -- Springfield, MA 6-30-74.

**Most of it was filmed while in an altered state, thank you Bear.

So wonderful we all traveled together and that Steve was wise enough to capture the adventure, and the spirit of the times, on film.

Afternoon sound check with band at the Parc des Expositions, Dijon, France (9/18/74)
At afternoon soundcheck, I was joined by Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Bob Weir, and Jerry Garcia.

"A Day In The Country" radio broadcast from Mickey Hart's ranch, Novato, CA (8/21/71).
This was a jam session ("The Other One Jam" > "The Wall Song", "Jam", "Blooz", and "R&R Jam") with members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, David Crosby, and others. I play organ and piano.

This link is to my personal recording which only includes part of the jam. For more of "A Day in the Country" refer back to the 8-21-71 entry on Nedbase.

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