I originally saw a few interesting pieces of gear start to trickle up on ebay by the same seller up in Santa Rosa, California. The items included old Alembic gear, custom Hard Truckers amp cases, McIntosh MC2300, MC275 and MC75 tube amps, Hard Trucker PA cabinets, Meyer bass cabs, etc. It sure LOOKED like this stuff came directly from the Dead...especially as most of the items had old backstage passes, Steal Your Face logos, etc. all over them. And.... they were all beat to hell like they had been on the road for 30 years! Well, after winning one of the McIntosh amp auctions, I drove up to Santa Rosa to pick it up and to scope out the rest of the gear to see if this guy's stash was in fact... the real deal.
Over the course of the next 3 years, I did everything in power to try to buy the rest of the Dead gear from this guy. He had sold several of the pieces before I met him, so I was unable to try to do a large purchase all at once. In retrospect, he wouldn't have done that, and actually, I wouldn't have had the money to buy it all anyway. So month after month, I'd check in with him and see if he "needed some extra cash" and wouldn't he "want to make more room at his house by getting rid of that large MC2300!" To make the story short, we ended up being great friends and now trade cds of our band's latest studio experiments. By the end of the 2009, Dark Star Palace had been able to scoop up a good chunk of the Grateful Dead's old PA/amp systems from the late 1960's - 1980's: (2) MC2300s, (2) MC75s, (1) MC275, (2) custom PA cabinets, (2) custom ESS Heil tweeter cabinets, various experimental UltraSound rack equipment, and of course, one of Phil Lesh's old Alembic F2B tube preamps! Look forward to future posts on the rest of this gear.
This week's Tape of the Week is actually from a VHS tape. In a very interesting twist of events, I was just getting a digital copy of this video last week (when this began to hit wider circulation in the trading community) when a member of my band sent me a text that "I must check this video out!" Check it out I did..and wow! Bobby looks like he's 16 years old. Pigpen is skinny but doesn't look super-sick yet. Jerry looks relaxed and like he is having a ball. Many folks know of this video, but it seems the new version is an upgrade. I had it up-scaled on my PS3 to 1080p and all I have to say is, check it out! Here is some more info:
Le Chateau d'Hérouville (a.k.a "The Honky Château), France
June 21, 1971
The group's "most exotic gig in 1971 was a one-shot in France."
"We went over there to do a big festival, a free festival they were gonna have, but the festival was rained out. It flooded. We stayed at this little chateau which is owned by a film score composer who has a 16-track recording studio built into the chateau, and this is a chateau that Chopin once lived in; really old, just delightful, out in the country near the town of Auvers sure Oise, which is where Vincent Van Gogh is buried. …" --Jerry Garcia--
"We were there with nothing to do: France, a 16-track recording studio upstairs, all our gear, ready to play, and nothing to do. So, we decided to play at the chateau itself, out in the back, in the grass, with a swimming pool, just play into the hills. We didn't even play to hippies, we played to a handful of townspeople in Auvers. We played and the people came — the chief of police, the fire department, just everybody. It was an event and everybody just had a hell of a time — got drunk, fell in the pool. It was great." --Jerry Garcia--
Some of the Grateful Dead show at Hérouville was broadcast in France by the "The Second Channel" of the ORTF (French Radio and Television Broadcasting) on the July 24, 1971 edition of the rock program "Pop 2." A second part of the show was broadcast in Black & White on the November 27, 1971. Audio has been captured in Mono.
Hard To Handle
Part 2 (in B&W)
Sing Me Back Home
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
For more info on the audio and video, check out: