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The Bickershaw Programme: The Grateful Dead .


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  • The Bickershaw Menu
           Programme transcription.  Original text by Hermes.

          You are part of the Grateful Dead and so is that guy next to you straining to get a look at your programme because he couldn't afford to buy one . Share it because you need each other as much as the Dead need each other and need your participation . "That's the ideal situation, everybody should be in the band. " The point is that they are here now, but if you'd like to know where they came from and where they are a few selected quotes can help out. Over to you Jerry.

    "My first guitar was an electric guitar and my first love on the guitar was Chuck Berry. next change in music was when the folk thing started happening and I got caught up into that..... I spent about three years playing blue grass banjo and then ....  we got a jug band going and I took up the guitar again and from the jug band it was right into rock and roll ..... Phil our bass player started with classical violin and then he played trumpet.... he has absolute pitch ..... he'd have these monster pieces of score paper and he'd be working away in pen, the notes just coming out of his head onto the paper, things like for 12 orchestra's and whatever. We had this other bass player and I talked to Phil and he said he' like to take it up so I showed him a few things. Two weeks later we played our first job ! ....Pigpen ....his father was a rhythm and Blues deejay ....and he's always heard the blues since he was a tiny kid...when I met him he was about 14 or 15 ....I was  sort of beatnik guitar player ....he could make up millions and millions of blues verses that were all just fantastic and he's really the master at the shady comment in blues.... Bill was always the fastest the most heavy drummer in Palo Alto ... he worked in the same music store that I did. I was teaching guitar and he was teaching drums and we both got together quite a bit . Bob Weir , who plays rhythm , did the whole folk , blues coffee house thing. .... "
       These five have been the heart of the Grateful Dead's music since the early days , but there's always been the invisible man who met  Garcia  shortly after they both left the army. Bob Hunter is commonly known as the Dead's lyricist and some would say h's a poet. Keith Godchaux, the piano player joined before their three month tour of the states last year  bringing Donna along with him. She's backed Elvis and Joe Tex on record and currently wanders in and out of their vocals as the spirit decrees.

       They grew in the days of legal and pure acid when the west coast was rubbing out signs and dividing lines  and walking on the high waters of altruism and love. They played the Trips Festival , the Acid Tests and the Golden Gate Park Be In and became actively  involved in most of the things that were going down , taking them up and away. In 1968 they helped run the Carousel with the Airplane and some friends until the pressures of fuzz and finance forced a close down . Later Bill Graham moved in and renamed it the Fillmore West. The Dead have been through busts, debts and beatific bummers and have come out trucking when others have slipped back into old habits , been co-opted or just plain lost faith . Intangible and mysterious lines consorted to once again limit the boundaries , to divert that free consciousness back into seats with numbers watched over by a heirachy of men with greedy wallets and uniforms who never really felt what was happening.

       What's that sound ? . "Paranoia strikes deep "sung the Buffalo Springfield and bombs , bad vibes and smoke screens have filled the air bu the Dead , sometimes distant , sometimes near , are still there with a good trip flying from their speakers, showing that the typical daydream can be its own creator and can channel its energy in positive directions .

        Setting up the evening before their two night stint at London's Wembley Pool , someone called up to the stage

    " Jerry , would you be happier if this barrier was nearer the stage ? "
    To which that famed string picker replied,
    "we don't need no barrier man , no bodies gonna attack us."

       At the sound checks they eased through "Hully Gully " "You Win Again" and foolishly I thought that I was getting a sneak preview of the following nights concert . No way , the three and a half hour set on Friday took you through so many delightful changes that you had no idea where it would come from next. My head dropped off altogether when they slipped Marty Robbin's El Paso somewhere into The Other One . Wait till they do "Not Fade Away " someone confided to a friend on Saturday night , as the Dead inched their way in little rushes through the disparate house lights and the formality of a slightly straitjacketed environment . Well that friend could still be waiting cos they never faded away but took you to see and hear other sights beyond the Dark Star . They're musicians , They often work within frameworks and call upon references but the number of directions they can take are infinite. ....

    " There's no one guiding us at this point and we're just left to our own devices. "

    They're travelling around Europe in a bus with their wives and families heres you paying the fare for a two way ticket to turn on .

    " We like to play with dancers, we like to see it and there's nothing that really improves your time like having somebody dance . Just pulls the whole thing together . And its also a nice little feedback thing ".
    The eyes of Texas are upon you, let there be songs to fill the air because coke cans and bullets hurt. 


    The Bickershaw Menu

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    Updated May 2023

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