Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #51916  by Zack
 Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:13 am
I have a couple of questions about Pigpen as I listen to disc 2 of Dick's #8.

1. Did Pig sing backup on songs where he wasn't singing lead? I can't ever really hear him in the mix.

2. At what point was Pig busted to congas? Was it the moment TC arrived, or were there times when the 69-70 Dead had a two-keyboard lineup? Did he go back to keys during the post-TC pre-Keith period?

3. Did Pig stay on stage the whole show, or did he leave the stage sometimes?

Obviously, I need to get a hold of some good Pig-era video . . . But for the moment, thanks in advance for the answers.
 #52634  by Zack
 Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:51 am
Nearly 100 views and no responses. Strange these questions seem so hard. I've checked here every day and done some other research as well. And I believe, yes, Pig played no keys with TC in the band, no he did not sing backup vocals (which I find the strangest), yes, briefly went back to the Hammond after TC quit, and yes, often left the stage during the jams. But I'm not 100% sure.
 #52639  by Tennessee Jedi
 Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:47 am
The thing that confuses me is he is on E 72. With Kieth.I always thought Pigpen just did some chords every once in awhile, while Kieth played piano. At the same time.
BUT ...
E 72 isnt all " live "- there are overdubs - so maybe he didn't .....
He might have left the stage because he was so sick and dying too.
I would rather go with Pigpen ( as limited as he was )than T.C any day - what were they thinking ? Is LIVE DEAD T.C. ? Both ?
Tigerstrat would know.....
 #52648  by tigerstrat
 Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:00 am
Live Dead is pure TC, at least the parts you are thinking of.

At first (late 68) Pigpen had his own organ setup during TC's stint (in fact, Pig kept his B-3 and TC got the Vox Continental!), but over the year that followed, Pig played keys a lot less, or switched to percussion.
 #52649  by willmusic
 Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:08 am
This is quoted from wiki cuz I'm being kinda lazy today, but from what I know myself, it's generally correct.
"In November 1968, Constanten was hired full time for the band, having only worked in the studio up to that point. Joe McIntire, an assistant road manager under Jonthan Reister, commented that "Pigpen was relegated to the congas at that point and it was really humiliating and he was really hurt, but he couldn't show it, couldn't talk about it." Ironically, the singer would achieve a new prominence throughout 1969, with versions of "Turn On Your Lovelight" (now fully ingrained as the band's show-stopping finale) regularly scaling fifteen to twenty minutes. He also developed an unlikely close friendship with Constanten based around their mutual aversion to psychedelics, and eventually served as his best man when Constanten wed. After Constanten's departure in January 1970 over musical and lifestyle differences, McKernan resumed keyboard duties.
In 1970, McKernan began experiencing congenital liver problems, likely exacerbated by his years of excessive drinking. After an August 1971 hospitalization, doctors requested that he stop touring indefinitely; pianist Keith Godchaux was subsequently hired and remained a permanent member of the band until 1979. Restless, the ailing Pigpen rejoined the band in December 1971 to supplement Godchaux on harmonica, percussion, and organ. Unfortunately, after their Europe '72 tour, McKernan's health had degenerated to the point where he could no longer continue on the road. His final concert appearance was June 17, 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles, California."
 #52652  by ELPManticore
 Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:24 am
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the conventional wisdom is that the overubs on E' 72 were Merl Saunders. You don't hear that organ on the Vault releases or the archives from 72.

I've always liked TC for keys, probably their most lysergic keyboardist, which is strange because I always thought he left due to differences with the band over drug use. Just naturally out there I guess. Def. the right person for the right time though.

Pigpen is pretty much the engima of the group through.
 #52662  by oconnors_35
 Thu Nov 13, 2008 12:29 pm
Zack wrote: 3. Did Pig stay on stage the whole show, or did he leave the stage sometimes?
I have a friend that saw the Dead play at Clark University in Worcester on 4/20/69, and he claims he was drinking wine with Pig Pen on the side of the stage during the show.

 #52666  by jonarobb
 Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:48 pm
Tennessee Jedi wrote:Cool vid !
There you go - the Pig and Kieth - at the same time !
Mystery solved !
So - did Donna ever sit in with the Brent Dead ?
My buddy swears she did .....
Nah, after her last show in 79' that was it. No stage appearances with any of the band until with Phil in 97'. She didn't even accept her Rn'R Hall of Fame award with the band in 94'. I talked to her recently about those born again years and she just rolled eyes.
 #52864  by
 Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:01 am
great vid. pig sounds great, but doesn't look so good. all skinny and stuff. love that raw sound they had in those early days.
 #106860  by Jerry1996x
 Tue Dec 20, 2011 4:11 pm
Restaring the thread... Does anyone know what kind of harmonica Pig used???? I cant find that info anywhere.