Friday, October 27, 2006
It's a chilly one and threatening to rain. It's about 40 degrees so maybe snow?
Peg took this pic last week but now all the leaves are gone.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
This is Dan in 2004 promo pic.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Warlocks in 1965
This is somewhere in Palo Alto in 1965. These lads were pretty raw but they had spirit and a lot of energy. I dont know who was younger Bobby or Billy. Pig was only 19 and they were like 17. Jerry and Phil were 23 or 24. I was the old man at the show at 29. I had short hair and was just out of the Airforce by about 6 months.
Pig where was this? do you know the hall?
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Missed a Birthday
I was sick and missed a birthday. Sorry Ron.
Ron McKernan was my brother. He would be 61 this year. He was younger than me by most of 10 years but he was like my peer. He had the voice and the authority of an old blues man. He used to sing LOVELIGHT like he wrote it when he was hardly 20. I was almost 30 but he was the boss.
Ron's birthday was September 8 and I always think of him. He was the presence of the Grateful Dead even though he wasnt the beginning. Jerry started the ball rolling and was the heart but Ron was the soul of what I think was and still is the worlds greatest band. Not always rock and roll because they were already way passed that. The dead were the best because nobody was like them and nobody ever has been like them since.
When I moved to San Francisco there was a radio show on with a guy named COOL BREEZE and he played blues and R and B stuff that I loved. I was in the Airforce for a few years and met a lot of black guys from Oakland while I was at Edwards afb. They told me about Cool and I was inpressed a lot. I loved James Brown and Bobby Bland and they all thought I was a brother. I was I guess but not black. Thats Ok. Brothers be brothers no matter what.
It was later in like 65 when I found out that Cool Breeze was Rons dad. I knew Ron from then when he played that screeachy organ for the Warlocks. They begame the dead and the rest is history.
I dont think Ron ever fit in all the way. He and Jerry were tight but Pig was always somewhere else, usually chasing tail or singing with whoever would give him a mike to sing into. He was the main man for the dead in those days but would sing whenever he got the chance. Pigpen was the man. Pigpen made the band.
Ron didn't like the drugs so much . He would smoke some but the acid was no no. I think he started drinking young and it was what killed him even though he stopped. Sometimes life gets you even when you give up the bad stuff. COnsequences I guess are always there no matter what.
I remember Palo Alto Acid test and everyone was dosed like bigtime. Except for Pigpen. He was maybe dosed but never showed it because he was usually always on the wine edge which always worked for him. It was a wierd night and me and my old lady Tina were screwed up and fighting. Then Ron pushed us outside and talked us down. Everybody inside was getting strange and ron was making us cool down outside even though he was drunker than sin. About an hour later or longer he went in again and talked down about a hundred people who were freaking from their dose.
Then Ron did one of those historical "LOVELIGHT" raps that makes history. He slammed on everyone and brought everybody even the band back to earth. It was like 3am and we were ready to go home but the band and lot's of folks stayed until dawn. I woke up at Tinas house the next day around 1 and either of us knew how we got home.
We used to hang in the kitchen at 710 sometimes and Pig would play these perfectly superb acoustic blues. There would be like 10 of us there and he would be on and I mean ON. it was the Pigpen show. there were Hippie's and Black Panthers and street folk and we were all grooving and dancing . It was Perfect.
Then the Dead took off and became huge it seemed. They played New York for Janis in 1969 and the story was that Janis got pissed off because they played so good. I wish I was there.
After that, things got too big for life I think. I was getting straight and Ron was getting sicker. He never really showed it outside, but the booze was killing him inside out. I think he felt outside the band even though the guy's all treated him like a brother always. He just got so far away from them musicallly and couldn't keep up any more maybe.
The sad part of Rons life was that he died when he was getting straight. I mean he was already straight but the damage was done and it was too late. Blue Ron died on March 8 in 1973. I have a tape of the solo album he was working on when he died that I got from a friend but I still never listen to it.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Back home again...
My son took me out for Breakfast yesterday and we went here. The Center Diner used to be called Digger's Diner and for us old coots it still is. It was owned by an Indian family and the grand-dads name was Digant.
This was breakfast. I promised to just have the friendly heart oatmeal but couldn't just pass up these cakes. Dont worry, I didn't eat all the butters. Just a little bit
These young gals work at the Diner. When it was Digger's Diner we all called the gals the Diggers. They sure don't look like the diggers from olden times do they Ponder Pig?