Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New George Harrison Material

We are huge George Harrison fans here at The Weight and we're excited that his camp recently released both the Martin Scorsese documentary, Living in a Material World, which premiered late last year on HBO, on DVD and Blu-Ray and an accompanying audio package of unreleased music from George's solo period. I haven't yet seen the documentary because I don't pay for HBO, so I was looking forward to eventually hearing when this would be available for purchase on DVD.  Looks like that answer is now.

Check out the Living in a Material World trailer

Friday, April 20, 2012

Warren Haynes Band: Tribute to Levon - 4/19/12

Last night, at the Charleston Music Hall, the Warren Haynes Band delivered an emotional run through of The Band's It Makes No Difference and The Weight as a tribute to the recently passed Levon Helm.  Check out the video:

Thanks to our friend Ryan for the upload.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Peaceful Man

To our namesake, rest easy old friend.

Levon Helm
(May 26, 1940 - April 19, 2012)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Summer of Jerry: Days 5-8

Because of an impromptu camping trip in upstate New York this past weekend, I was unable to post the final installments of The Summer of Jerry.  So without further ado, I will consolidate all of the remaining clips into this last post.  I hope everyone took a moment yesterday to remember Jerry in their own meaningful way. 

Jerry & Bob poking fun at the media:

I've seen this next clip (circa 1978) before and found it especially intriguing.  Jerry & a very-stoned and rambling John Kahn discuss the then fledgling punk/new wave genre, which includes commentary on Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick, etc.   Whoever compiled this montage also included some compelling sound bytes which he/she felt demonstrated the influence of punk/new wave in the Dead's own music:

This next clip actually comes from a small bit that originally aired on AMC called The Movie That Changed My Life.  Here, Jerry candidly discusses the tremendous impact that Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein had on his psyche as a child and his artistic and creative endeavors as an adult.  It is surmised that this film -- which was permanently engraved in Jerry's memory -- influenced much of the well-known skeleton iconography in the Dead's visual repertoire, including the animated sequences in The Grateful Dead Movie:

And lastly, former President Bill Clinton ruminates about Jerry's legacy, his line of neckties, his death, and his ongoing drug problem -- Jerry's that is, not Bill's.  (note the trademark Clinton thumb gesturing at 0:46 when he starts lecturing about the dangers of drug addiction)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Summer of Jerry: Day 4

Those who have been to Bonnaroo are probably familiar with "SuperJam" -- an impromptu jam session starting at midnight which is comprised of different members from different bands (usually the headliners). The catch is that the audience typically doesn't know the lineup of the band until it starts.  Well, in the continuing spirit of my Jerry-themed posts this week, this next clip immediately brought to mind the SuperJam tradition.  Imagine stumbling into the Sweetwater Saloon, Mill Valley, CA on a random April evening only to catch this lineup: Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello, Sammy Hagar, Commander Cody (a/k/a George Frayne), James Burton (Keith Richards gave his induction speech at the Rock 'n' Roll HOF), Pete Sears (a one-time nominee to replace Brent Mydland), and others.  Too bad the 'Roo didn't exist in the 80's...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Summer of Jerry: Day 3

If only the Food Network existed in the 80's, we would have had a winner.  In this most bizarrely comedic clip, Chef Jerry Garcia demonstrates his culinary skills backstage at a Dead show on 12/31/85.  Jerry not only discusses his favorite hors d'oeuvres, but actually instructs on how to prepare them!  His daily specials include:  "lean" bacon-wrapped water chestnuts and bundt cake wedges.  I repeat:  bundt cake wedges.  The Dead were known for their comedic interviews -- especially those done by Al Franken during the historic 1980 Radio City shows -- but this one takes the cake (pun intended).

And no, you're not imagining things -- amongst those in the clip's intro are Mickey Hart, Ken Kesey, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.  Ummm...no comment.

My favorite YouTube comment: 
"Doesn't EVERYONE keep their powdered sugar in a big zip lock bag?"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Summer of Jerry: Day 2

From left to right:  V. Clements, D. Grisman, J. Garcia, P. Rowan
In yesterday's clip, I alluded to Jerry's underrated yet exceptional talents on the pedal steel and banjo and thought I'd expand on that a bit more today.  In around 1973, Jerry formed Old and In the Way, a bluegrass "supergroup" of sorts, to pay homage to perhaps his first musical passion and the genre that undoubtedly influenced every facet of his diverse career.  The group consisted of Garcia on banjo/vocals, Peter Rowan on guitar/vocals, David Grisman on mandolin/vocals, Vassar Clements on fiddle and John Kahn on bass, all of whom Garcia continued to collaborate with throughout his career.  Up until that time, bluegrass records never achieved much in the way of commercial success, but all that changed in 1975 when the band's eponymous first album was released.  Astonishingly, the album was, and still is, one of the best-selling bluegrass albums of all-time, spending an unheard of 90+ weeks on the U.S. charts (It's true:  I picked up this album a few weeks back and haven't stop listening since).  Unfortunately, little-to-no video footage exists online (at least not that I could find, though the film Grateful Dawg might have some clips), so I'll leave you with an audio clip of the band's rendition of Rowan's "Midnight Moonlight," a tune frequently covered by JGB in later years. I think this song does a stellar job of displaying Jerry's accomplished banjo styling and the band's magnetic allure.

I thought I'd throw in a bonus clip, which is too cool to pass up.  This is brief silent footage of a 21-year-old Garcia (circa 1963) pluckin' away at the banjo.  Most don't realize that the banjo was the first stringed instrument he learned to play.

Monday, August 1, 2011

You Like Me Too Much

Could it be?  Is George Harrison still alive and well? Or is Dylan attempting to revisit his 1975 glory days? Oh, wait...it's just Jackie Greene.  I remember seeing Greene a few years back when he was a fresh-faced young lad touring with Phil & Friends, and I have to say, he's done some serious growing up.  Going from Noel Gallagher-Brit-pop-sheik to Harrison-Dylan- outlaw-period in just under 4 years is no easy task.  And for the record, I so wish I could grow hair like that.

 And just for fun:

The Summer of Jerry

Garcia and Hart w/ NRPS
In order to properly celebrate the legacy of Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia, I thought I'd post 8 different clips over the next 8 days, beginning today, his birthday, and culminating on 8/9, the anniversary of his death.   This first clip, from the film Fillmore:  The Last Days (2009), includes rare live footage of Jerry on pedal steel rehearsing with NRPS.  There is a great quote from Bill Graham (included in the clip) who I think quintessentially sums up Jerry's mythic persona: "Jerry Garcia is the grand-daddy of them all...the big papa bear of what rock music should have been."  And think, that was in 1971; time has certainly proved Graham correct. 

Quick history for those who don't know:  Jerry was a founding member of the New Riders along with David Nelson and John Dawson (and very early on, Robert Hunter on bass and Mickey Hart on drums) with whom he played full-time until around 1971 when his responsibilities with the Dead became foremost priority.  Despite his short-lived career with NRPS, it is Jerry's contribution on pedal steel and banjo that in my view, exemplifies not only his immense instrumental versatility, but even more, confirms his unsung influence on the then pioneering alt-country genre.  

Despite his parting with the band, Jerry continued to play on future NRPS albums and record for scores of other bands, as he was well-known for his skilled session work.  Perhaps his most famous non-Dead contribution was for CSNY, for whom he played the haunting pedal steel part on "Teach Your Children."  After a long hiatus, Jerry broke out the steel when the Dead toured with Dylan in 1987, a photo of which is included below.

Jerry rehearsing with NRPS, Fillmore: The Last Days (2009)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Throwing Stones

There is nothing more entertaining than watching awkward celebrity encounters.  So, I present for your viewing pleasure, one of the most awkward of such encounters I've seen, this time between Mick Jagger and Jerry Garcia.  The quick backstory is that they were all waiting for helicopters to take them to Altamont, which apparently never arrived, so they were forced to wait even longer for a plane.  No words can really describe the degree of awkwardness here, but Mick's reaction at 0:44 pretty much sums it up.  When asked if he knows Jerry, Mick has the most disinterested, smug look on his face which basically tranlates to, "I don't give a fuck about Jerry Garcia, his poncho or his band of hippie weirdos.  Just get me the fuck out of here!!!"