Lesh recovering from bladder cancer

Longtime Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh has been treated for bladder cancer, but says he's expected to make a full recovery. Lesh, 75, canceled several sold-out shows at his Terrapin Crossroads bar that were to feature Chris Robinson. "I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in early October, and have spent the last few weeks at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale (Ariz.) doing tests and eventually surgery to remove the tumors," Lesh said in an Oct. 16 email sent to customers and later posted on the Terrapin Crossroads web site. "I am very fortunate to have the pathology reports show that the tumors are all non-aggressive, and that there is no indication that they have spread." Lesh successfully battled prostrate cancer in 2006. He also underwent a liver transplant related to hepatitis … [Read more...]

Rock Hall noms to Yes, Deep Purple, Miller

Yes, Deep Purple, Steve Miller and Chicago are among the nominees for 2016 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. All four made albums key to the underground music of the late 1960s and early '70s, although Miller and Chicago are better known for their mainstream careers. Other nominees for the "Class of 2015" are Los Lobos, Nine Inch Nails, the Smiths, Janet Jackson, Chic, Cheap Trick, the Cars, N.W.A., the Spinners, the J.B.'s and Chaka Khan. Yes and Deep Purple have been previously nominated. Miller and Chicago are first-time nominees. Fans are able to vote for their favorites again this year, with balloting continuing through Dec. 9. Yes is one of the biggest brand names in progressive rock, continuing to record and tour almost a half century after their … [Read more...]

Fare Thee Well set lists

Here are the set lists for the Grateful Dead's final concerts, dubbed "Fare Thee Well." The concerts were on the band's home turf in Santa Clara, Calif., and in Chicago. Almost no songs were repeated, the exceptions being "Cumberland Blues," Bob Weir's "Truckin'" and the instrumental workout "Drums / Space." The Grateful Dead veterans were Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. They were joined by Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). The Dead called the shows "our final stand," vowing there will be no further concerts. "This is it." CDs and Blu-rays/DVDs from the concerts are due for release Nov. 20. Concerts were divided into two sections, with the sets divided by an hourlong break. (Years refer to Dead originals' … [Read more...]

80 CDs of live Dead: Here comes ‘Sun’

The half-century celebration of the Grateful Dead continues at warp speed, with news of an 80-CD box set of unissued live shows. "Thirty Trips Around the Sun" resurrects 30 concerts, with more than 73 hours of music. The limited edition set (6,500, numbered) checks in with a $700 price tag. Release date for the Rhino set is Sept. 18. A four-CD set, "Thirty Trips Around the Sun: The Definitive Live Story, 1965-1995," boils things down considerably. A USB drive with all of the "Thirty Trips" content is planned as well, also at the $700 price point. The USB edition is limited to 1,000 copies. Dead partner Rhino is issuing the box set, which will be sold exclusively via dead.net The set more or less coincides with the series of "Fare Thee Well" concerts featuring surviving … [Read more...]

‘The Other One’: Bob Weir docu shines

"I've led kind of an unusual life," says Bob Weir, in a moment of understatement. "I've seen stuff that no one has seen," the guitarist adds, bringing to mind that "Blade Runner" replicant in the rain. And yes, Weir says, quoting himself: "It's been a long strange trip." The rhythm guitarist for the Grateful Dead steps out of the long shadow of Jerry Garcia in the documentary "The Other One," which just made its public debut streaming on Netflix. The film, by Mike Fleiss, offers a splendid collection of clips, some fine musical performances by Weir and recent collaborators, and of course a snoutful of nostalgia for Grateful Dead fans. It's an entertaining, fast-moving film whose revelations will be revelations only to non-fans. The documentary likes to stay in … [Read more...]

Dead adds pair of California concerts

The surviving members of the Grateful Dead will say "Fare Thee Well" two more times with a pair of shows in Santa Clara, Calif. The shows on June 27 and 28 will come before the trio of concerts at Soldier Field in Chicago (July 3, 4 and 5). The new shows had been widely rumored and tipped, but not confirmed. "Since we made the decision to go back to Chicago to say our final goodbye, it has become clear to us that we first need to return to our beginnings, where we first said hello -- to each other and to all of you," the band wrote in a letter to fans. As with the Chicago shows, the lineup for Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara includes backing from Trey Anastasio (guitar), Jeff Chimenti (keyboards), and Bruce Hornsby (piano). The Grateful Dead 2015 are Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart … [Read more...]

Dead’s movie night from Alpine Valley

Time to Meet-Up at the Movies for the fifth time, Grateful Dead loyalists. The 2015 edition of the annual movie night is set for Monday, May 4, featuring the Dead in performance from 1989, at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Wisconsin. It was the final gig of the Dead's three-night residency in Alpine Valley (near East Troy). The July 19, 1989, show ran almost three hours, with the band working extra hard for rain-soaked fans. "It was our Woodstock," one Wisconsin native recalls. While the big-screen video is billed as "never before seen," the set 1 closers of "West L.A. Fadeaway," "Desolation Row" and "Deal" were included on the concert video "Downhill From Here." That title was released on VHS and then DVD in the late '90s. Highlights include "Sugaree," "Box of Rain," "The … [Read more...]

Garcia & Hunter enter Songwriters Hall

The Grateful Dead's primary songwriting team of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter are being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Hunter, a lyricist, had been named a member of the Grateful Dead despite not performing with the band, a testament to his importance to the psychedelic music pioneers. Garcia, who died in 1995, wrote the music for the duo's many songs. The Songwriters Hall pointed to "Casey Jones," "China Cat Sunflower," "St. Stephen" and "Truckin'." Other tracks highlighted were "Dark Star," "Friend of the Devil" and "Touch of Grey." Hunter (pictured, top) also worked with Bob Dylan, writing most of the album "Together Through Life." He and Dylan co-wrote Dylan's 2012 hit "Duquesne Whistle." Hunter performs and records as a solo act as well. Hunter … [Read more...]

Sam Andrew of Big Brother dies

Guitarist Sam Andrew of Big Brother and the Holding Company has died after a long career playing psychedelic rock. He was 73. "Ten weeks after his heart attack and the open-heart surgery that followed it, Sam lost his gallant fight to hold onto the life he lived so well," the band posted on its Facebook page. "... He lived his life in music and art and a loving marriage. It doesn't get much better than that." Andrew, who sang and wrote songs, was the guitar player for Janis Joplin for most of her career. He founded Big Brother with bass player Peter Albin in San Francisco in 1965. The band experimented with psychedelic music, led by the twin guitar attack of Andrew and James Gurley. Their bag of tricks during their tenure as house band at the Avalon Ballroom included an exhaustive … [Read more...]

Bill Graham spotlighted at L.A. museum

The life and times of Bill Graham will be celebrated in Los Angeles with the first major museum show dedicated to the king of rock concert promoters. The Skirball Cultural Center, just north of metro L.A., will run the exhibition May 7-October 11. "Bill Graham and the Rock & Roll Revolution" will include memorabilia, photographs and, of course, classic psychedelic art posters from the two Fillmore auditoriums. The Graham family is contributing items not previously seen by the public. It is billed as the first major exhibition dedicated to the concert promoter and band manager. The Skirball, dedicated to preserving the Jewish heritage, previously hosted "Bob Dylan's American Journey, 1956-1966." Graham came to the U.S. at age 11 while fleeing the Nazis (his mother died at … [Read more...]

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