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digadude: welcome to the SyKlopps studio in SF
digadude: we're here to announce the release of the band's new album, The Strange Remain, tomorrow
digadude: you've just heard the band's live performance
digadude: that was great
mickey hart: It was free
digadude: so, the first question that a lot of us are thinking about is how is Phil doing?
bobby weir: He's doing fine...
mickey: We spoke to him yesterday.
digadude: you (at home) might not have heard it yet, but its wonder, it's crackling with energy old songs (like st. stephens and the eleven) and great new songs (like banyan tree and corrina)
digadude: is there going to be a summer tour?
mickey: Maybe... we haven't really talked about it.
mickey: It seems like the right thing to do, doesn't it?
digadude: do you have plans for NYE 1999?
mickey: Party! [all laugh]
digadude: Randy Perkins asks: what about a whole other ones show on CD?
mickey: Yeah, it seems like the right thing to do, it might happen.
mickey: So many tunes that we play, and so many tunes and so much good material
mickey: It was so hard to pick only 2 CDs out of it
digadude: it was great you decided to release the out-take
digadude: How does it feel to get on stage with these older guys in the band and sit in those seat and play?
mickey: You can finally come clean!
dave ellis: It was great...I felt like a rookie in the superbowl a little bit this year
dave: Pretty spectacular some of these shows...and Mickey reminded me every day...
dave: This is rock & roll, baby... These guys are fantastic and I know that I've learned a lot. Now I'm past my rookie year- the hazing is over!
dave: that's a big seat you were in
mark karan: It wasn't *that* seat. Steve and I shared the guitar chair and there was a lot of music to be played, but I don't think anyone was trying to fill Jerry's shoes.. that wasn't what it was about. It was an amazing experience. I grew up in the Bay Area listening to the Dead... it was really full circle for me. Now I'd look up and there was Bob and there was Mickey, Bobby and Phil.
mark: It was great
digadude: Did it feel invigorating to play w/ different and younger players?
mickey: Yeah. New conversationlists were an extra added attraction. They were heroic in their work and that's what it takes to make this kind of music They have a spiritual bend to them... it seemed to work really well
bobby: It was fun to have fresh approaches and new interpretations of the material. I enjoyed that a bunch
digadude: you can feel the energy build up on the album, but it goes to a different place
bobby: It was pointless to try to re-achieve what we had done before... we just didn't have the personnel and also it just wouldn't seem right. it was better to see what we could make of the songs and that's what we did.
mickey: It took 30 years to do "that thing" so the object was not to recreate that.. it was to create new space from the old.
digadude: Shane Stoner on the net: what made you decide to bring back older songs like St stephen and Mountain of The Moon?
mick: Great songs - back then it was like sacred space to us These were some of the most beautiful moments we had as youngsters together, then we got tired of them and put them away..
mick: Revisiting them was great... the new guys weren't tired of them They were beautiful to begin with and they're even better now, sort of like fine wine to me
digadude: from the net: will the other ones always be evolving into different players?
bobby: Anybody's guess... We'll just see what the future has to offer there...
digadude: from china blue: any chance Donna will make an appearance?
bobby: That could be too... I don't know if we're gonna try to incorporate a lot of other vocalists
mick: Seems like we have a lot of vocalists and a lot of guitar players in this and I love them all
mark karan: it seems like a lot of drummers, too [all laugh]
mick: can you ever have enough drummers?
digadude: from aol: rumours are ratdog is doing an album and you've come up with new songs with john perry barlow. true?
bobby: Yeah, we've got a bunch of new stuff we're hammering night and day. At last count we had 16 or 18 new tunes we're working on...
mark karan: We're workin' hard
digadude: greg from net: what jazz influences did you bring into playing for the other ones?
dave: That's a good question...I think I just relied on my prior training as a jazz musician... and tried to fit it in the puzzle I brought that stuff in with me, but it's rock & roll baby. I had a lot of fun
digadude: from greg: do you plan on reviving any other dead tunes this summer?
bobby: Yeah, but I can't tell you which ones 'cuz I can't bring them to mind. I was actually thinking about it the other night.
mickey: But it's just as important as bringing back a few of the good old tunes we've got some good new tunes
mick: That's what The Other Ones is about... we're looking for new space
bobby: I don't think any of us are ready for the nostalgia circuit
mick: Those tunes are cool, but you can't play them again every night
digadude: From AOL: What qualities to you feel created the very special ambience the Dead achieved in concert?
mickey: That's a big question... Well, we're desperate people [laughs] Desperation certainly plays a big role in our business
bobby: That magical combination of the music and us and them...
mickey: It's the unexplainable really is what you're talking about we don't really try to define it because oncyou do the magic is gone. It *is* and that's what we know and so you just live with it. It's a good thing to have. When you have it , it's wonderful. When you lose it you don't know where to find it so you don't want to over emphasize, overdefined or overexplore it. We know it's there, they know it's there and that's what's really important.
digadude: From Josh T to Mickey: Saw you at Kaiser on NYE, where do you get so much energy?
mickey: It's the music.. when the music is good, life is good.. you're alive! Look at us, we're 87 years old and we look like we're 50 or so...
digadude: Doug from the net: What is it about the song The Other One that is so captivating after all these years?
bobby: It's got a completely open-ended architecture . you can take it wherever it wants to go each night. On a so-so night, we'll rely on things we remember having done, but any decent night there's going to be a new place that will emerge because it's written that way.
mickey: The musical geography is that it's in multiple times. It's in 4/4 and 6/8. We're able to drift rythmically and musically between these two zones. It's a time for magic to happen... it's exploration time and that's why we really love it so much.
digadude: will the other ones start doing seasonal tours? and will they ever come to florida
bobby: [laughs] I dunno
mickey: Good answer
digadude: from Julie: what does audience participation do? when you get into a spontaneous jam, how aware are you of the audience?
bobby: Well, we can certainly feel the charge they give us...
mickey: Especially when Bob forgets the words, that's when they really come in handy It's adrenaline-- it pumps you up.
mickey: If you get too deep into the audience and they really carry you away... then you're off in la-la land... It's like riding that wave..
digadude: New Guys: what is it like to feel the energy focused on you guys?
mark: It's a whole lot of juice....I've played in a lot of opening band spots where no one really cared about seeing you.. It's pretty special stuff and heady of its own accord
dave: It was great for me just because I got to do a lot of... somebody said to me "hey, great real estate".. I got to absorb a lot too...watching the masters do their thing and the audience was great...it was almost like 30,000 jazz listeners...
dave: phenomenal is a good word for it
digadude: there's a moment on Strang Remain where you go into a little jazz/be-bop riff. was bruce responsible?
dave: Oh yeah, he's an instigator...a trouble-maker... he would definitely do that he'd spark the fires
digadude: almost ready for a break, one last question ..
digadude: Chris Wozniak on AOL: I was wondering how it feels to reach so many ages of people?
mick: Well, uh, it's sorta gratifying...it's unique and it's strange in a way I mean, my daughter's 5 yrs old and she goes around the house singing Uncle John's Band..... that song is a pretty old song.
mick: Old songs that really have some kind of merit, value, meaning can transcend ages. it's folk music, it's blues.. it's timeless. we don't know the origins of some of them.. they just sort of go on and on and on. and that's the reason it transcends generations.
mick: And also that we keep living long enough to play them... that's a big secret [laughs] We're like cockroaches...
~ break ~
digadude: we're going to take a five minute break. Thanks guys. We'll be back.
digadude: Tomorrow the album, The Strange Remain, hits the stores... it's full of energy
digadude: AOL Question: How did you decide which traacks to put on the CD?
bobby: There were 4 of us who were workin on this: myself, Bruce, Phil & Mick... I went for the ones where the vocals were in tune... [all laugh]
mick: And I went for the ones where the rhythm was right and we faxed each other and we eventually whittled it down to the best stuff...
bobby: I figured if we could hear ourselves sing well enough to sing in tune together then probably everyone was hearing each other well enough to play. that was my little secret to make my work a little easier, 'cuz still i had hours and hours of tunes to wade through.
digadude: Dave from the net: How did you get the beautiful bells (on banyon tree)? Some sampled tibetan monks?
mick: Yeah, that's how I got it...I samples the Monks...They were over my house a few years ago. I asked them for some sample sessions and they agreed. some of them are hybrid sounds from the New Guinea rainforest and recordings made there...
digadude: Mark, how was your interplay w/ steve? How did you work that out?
mark: It really wasn't "worked out" ahead of time, it was pretty much off the cuff. I think there's a lot of mutual respect between us for what we both do. What we both do is different enough from one another that each thing can stand on its own and find its own space. Steve's a really explortory kind of guitar player .. I tend to be more song-form melody based so we can weave and play off one another pretty successfully.
digadude: AOL: Is it going to be in the liner notes which venues the tunes were from? Which performances, which dates?
mickey: No, I don't think so. I don't think we ever thought of that..
digadude: Dead heads think of that
bobby: Let us know [all laugh]
bobby: I guess we could go back and post that on the web or something like that.
digadude: Forest from AOL: What inspired you to write the song Banyan Tree?
bob: There were a couple posted pages of lyrics hanging on the bulletin board...
mick: Hunter wrote these lyrics and I put them on the bulletin board. I figured that we'd jam a lot during rehearsal and anytime we had a jam and magic would strike, Bob or someone would walk up to the board, pick off these words, put them on their stand and sing 'em. And that's what happened.
bobby: That will happen... it was pretty simple
digadude: from cortez420: bob, your blues voice is getting better, how about resurrecting some... pigpen songs
bob: I'm a big Pig Pen fan, so that'll happen
digadude: Bobby, a lot of people want to know how is fatherhood treating you?
bob: It's great, what can I tell you? Just great...
digadude: from curt: how about bring back help/slip or king soloman's marbels?
mick: It's certainly on the slate...it can be played again...we played it once...
mick: We're only able to work on so many songs during rehearsal...
bob: Now that we have a body of material that we can lean on, we're able to start working on more complicated old stuff...but there's a tradeoff there if we don't want to work on the new stuff we can start working on the more complicated old stuff. I know where I'd rather go, but I think most of the folks want to hear the complicated old stuff [laughs]
digadude: i know everyone loves the eleven
bob: I have no recollection of how the melody went the old way we used to do it. they say the memory's the first to go... So capitalizing on my lack of memory, I just went and put a fresh approach to it...I think... It may be just the same... [laughs]
digadude: This is a heavy question from AOL: Is the spirit of Jerry with you when you perform?
mick: It's not as heavy as you might think...
bob: He's always breathing over my shoulder...but he always was, even when he was alive.. it's no different
mick: The spirit of someone you love is always with you... we always think of him , sure...
mick: But I think he's more of an ally... I mean, sometimes I look over and
mick: see a little form... but he doesn't get in the way...
bob: He gets in my dreams every now and again... These days I'm singing some of his songs and it's interesting to do some of those songs feel him breathing over your shoulder "How you gonna do this one?" "That's not bad". I can sort of feel him and feel how he would feel about this. You know, I'm probably doing C+/B- as far as he's concerned.
digadude: Did jerry get his finger back in heaven, if so who's the first person he'd flip off ;-) [lots of laughter!]
digadude: AOL: Mickey, any chance you'll play w/ Mystery Box again?
mick: It was okay, but I don't think so... that was then...
bobby: They fired him. [laughter]
mick: What I'm doing now seems like it's evolving - the Afro-Cuban core is really strong... It seems like the thing that's resonating in me now..
digadude: What are you listening to now?
bobby: My favorite current record right now is his (pointing to Dave Ellis)... "In The Long Run" and it's sort of idiotic cover cuz it's got a picture of him sprinting on the cover [laughs]. But once you get past the cover you're in there... it's a great record, i really like it alot. a jazz record
dave: I got good points cuz his daughter dances to it. Honestly I have TOO CD on in my car. And it's in every CD player in my house checking out the production of it...
mark: I don't listen to a whole lot of new stuff. Some of the stuff Chad Blake has been working on... Soul Coughing, Bonnie Raitt... I tend to lean towards old R&B...old 50's & 60's bebop jazzz and stuff like that.
mick: I'm a little further off the beaten path than that. I'm listening to the Tantric Chants of Tibet... I'm about to master a new CD of the Gyoto Monks... and also a 3-cd set of gamelan music so I'm kind of immersed in that right now... and I listen to Lauren Hill...
digadude: There are new and old dead fans; would you consider touring w/ Phish?
mick: I've never heard them...I don't know much about them... I don't know much about them except their hugely popular... and they make great ice cream..
digadude: you should check out a show...
digadude: From AOL: How are plans for "Terrapin Station" interactive museum coming along?
bobby: They're proceeding at a full racing trundle. We got too many ideas and it's a matter of shaving them down and finding the right real estate. We've got a lot of good ideas for what we can do there. It'll be a place where people go and take some real E ticket rides that you don't actually get in... It's gonna be great for music... If you take a band and put each of the members on a different stage... Where they all play together but maybe with different ensembles.. It'll be a place we can really make a stew-- stir the pot and see what we can come up with... We have Michael Tilson-Thomas (conductor for SF symphony). he'll probably come down and work with us. We've got all kinds of different people we can bring in and toss into the pot.
mickey: In SF and Oakland it's a mecca of world music. There's thousands of different musics living here in this area. We're gonna mix it up down there.. we'll have a theater, an archive, a community based musica/arts/dance.. once of those kind of things... teachers can teach, performers can play and a local place we can perform and broadcast out around the world. it's going to be a state of the art facility for all kinds of new innovative musical endeavors.
bobby: one fun thing would be to bring in the chinese opera and do a somewhat western rendition of what's going on on-stage. still utilized as uch of waht's going on the chinese orchestra.. that stuff's pretty spectacular if you've ever seen it .. they've got the great costumes and backdrops... it's not unthinkable to take some of that and try to flush it out in more Western friendly terms... There'll be all kinds of exhibits and...
digadude: from host at SyKlopps: how much do you consider the mythology of the songs in devising the setlist? do you think about that stuff at all?
mick: Well, not really...
bobby: not a bit [laughs]
mick: actually, I perhaps am responsible for that little goody of starting the album with St. Stephen... but that wasn't on my mind... just drop 'em into the groove ... whey put the biggie at the end... it's not the way we'd do it in concert... but this isn't a concert and it's not the Grateful Dead.
bobby: A lot of that mythology has a lot more portent for the people who came up with it, who wasn't us.
mick: It's their mythology. It's for them to mythologize. That's part of the fun of it?
digadude: From AOL: Were there any songs that you were hesitant to play but turned out great?
mick: Yes, I remember one... Corrina... it's one I never thought developed in the GD it never really had wings for me..
bob: about every 3rd night it achieved lift-off
digadude: it's controversial, but i liked it
mick: bobby and I wrote it...for me personally it never really had that thing I was ...looking for... for me personally now it's closer to that "thing" I was hoping for. I think we're playing some of the songs better now than we used to. Sometimes it takes 15, 20, or maybe even 30 years to understand. Sometimes when you pull back and you go back to it after a while... I think that St.Stephen and The 11 are now easier to play.. have they gotten better, I dunno...
digadude: During breaks of dead shows, you learn things in the hall and get educated about important issues; what are you doing now culturally and politically?
mick: Y2K - that's one thing that's on my mind... The environment is real important.. it's like Vietnam was then... We support the forests...not let the corporate take away our environment and pollute our world... this is our primary focus: the air, the water supplies, the forest, our planet. and human rights... the Tibetan issue.
bob: Probably the most important thing is to focus on not letting money run the show... If money says "this is how it has to be", this is not necessarily and in fact quite often not the way it should be because money wants to just chew everything up
mick: Money doesn't live...
bob: it has no conscious, all it has is an appetite...
mick: To do good and raise consciousness in other people... this is something we can do to get people to realize this is an issue that we can change... Get out and vote... take charge of your life... It's not just rock and roll... It IS just rock and roll... but it's a lot of other things. I think that's a lot of the responsibility of the modern musician.
digadude: AOL: Any plans for a studio Other Ones project?
bobby: Hasn't come up... that could happen but we' have to have a whole bunch of new material because we're not going to go record the old stuff
bobby: That's a project we'd have to make the time for... I wouldn't be expecting that right off the bat, no.
mick: I got a great Hunter tune today. Today was a great day... a new song was born... so it's happening.
digadude: What's the name of that tune?
mick: I'll Wait For You
digadude: A lot of people want to know do you use e-mail or the net?
bobby: A little bit. The thing about being online is that it takes up a lot of time.. [general agreement]
bobby: I don't spend as much time on it so I probably don't have the facility that a lot of folks who spend a lot of time do... I'm still hunting and pecking...
mick: yeah the same...
digadude: virginia asks: what did bruce bring to the mix?
mick: Bruce has a great voice, a powerhouse player and a good spirit..
digadude: AOL: Is there still working being done on a Grateful Dead album, using many of the songs that were played in concert but weren't on an album?
bobby: That's gonna be an interesting project.... We almost have an album's worth of stuff. We should probably get around to doing that because it really could bust out into a really nice piece...
mick: It seems like it's more interesting to do what we're doing
digadude: Rosewoman asks: do you have personal spiritual practices?
mick: Yeah, if you call yoga is sorta like...I work out and breath deep and do yoga and music is the biggest spiritual thing I do so I try to do it every day... the creative moment is the juice and that's what drives me.. to create things as an artist.. that's the spirit side of me
mark: I do a little meditating and keep an eye on how I'm living my life..
dave: I have two things that keep me sane: music and football When I was a kid it was either music or football... at the time I couldn't do both... and I was kinda small... So I live vicariously thru the 49ers...
digadude: Tell us about the new arrangements of old songs, like Fire on the Mt.?
mick: They sorta evolved in rehearsal... which we didn't do much of in the GD. we rehearsed and sort of got loose and someone had an idea and a couple others pounced on it. we were trying to change it a *little* bit because it's a new day and we felt a little different... ..and you didn't need us to play it the same way... ...a cover band could have done that and we didn't want to be a cover band of ourselves. It's a new day.. Same songs, different band.
digadude: thanks for coming down, the album is fantastic!
digadude: The Strange Remain, on sale TOMORROW!
digadude: Thanks for coming.
~ end transcript ~