Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

name, city, instrument, years of playing, current band, gear
 #29659  by old man down
 Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:17 pm
Northern New Jersey

Been following the Dead since 1970.

First concert (of any kind): Watkins Glen, the night of the soundcheck. Seeing the Dead for the first time that night was a life changing event for me. I had already taken up guitar, but seeing them play "over the top" on the Soundcheck Jam made me think that they were gods of music. Since then the Dead is the only music I try to learn. Some would say, "Why limit yourself to just one or two guitarists, and one kind of music?" As far as I'm concerned, I could spend two lifetimes studying the Dead and never tire from it. (It's funny, too, that the Dead are having a social renaissance, and are proving to be very hip for all generations now, which never had been the case.)

Band: None, just solo acoustic guitar, but may eventually find someone to jam with, someone like-minded, also into the Dead. Was one of the original founders of the band "The Border Legion," which involved great times until I got kicked out of the band for drinking too much. I wasn't happy with my playing, too much stuff to "fake" and not enough time to really learn stuff before going public with new songs. But those were the years when I really got my rhythm perfected. I was eventually replaced by Rob Eaton who now has gone on to DSO fame.


Custom Cutaway Martin OM-21; Englemann Spruce top, contour radius fingerboard, and abalone fingerboard and bridge inlay.

Custom Lowden nylon string cross-over guitar, which is a one of a kind beauty that we worked out together.

Yamaha Silent Guitar (for travel)

Other Interests:

Fly Fishing
Questar 3.5" Telescope
14.5" Dave Kriege Obsession Telescope
US Very Fine Mint Stamps
Working on my House


 #29660  by WSPHead
 Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:40 pm
Nice to meet you.. I live in MN. I am into GD, ABB and Widespread Panic. I never had the opportunity to see the Grateful Dead however I have seen Phil and friends many times, Ratdog many times, and I did attend the Dead reunion shows at Alpine valley a few years back, I play a cheep martin that sounds great (DXM), a 1970 something Ovation 12 string and a Ibanes as200 Johns Scofield model (Gibson 335 copy). See my gear below

Peace :smile:

 #29676  by GratefulPat
 Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:29 pm
old man down.... ever have a chance to jam with rob eaton?

 #29686  by jackr
 Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:18 am
I am an old northern jersey boy too. Currently live in Florida.

I grew up in Bergenfield. Lots of dead heads from that town.

 #29697  by old man down
 Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:51 am
GratefulPat wrote:old man down.... ever have a chance to jam with rob eaton?
No. In the iteration of the band, he came into the picture well over a year after I was booted.

You have to remember that this was all a good 20+ years ago. At the time he was most likely an OK guitarist, but very enthusiastic about being in Border Legion because the band had picked up a guy named Dave who came from a band called Impact. Whenever I saw Impact when I was in the band, I always thought if only we had him in our band, then we'd be really good. Dave was very good, had Garcia's sound down, the best around at the time, no question. He must be phenomenal today.

So when another slot opened up in the band a year after my departure, and Rob Eaton got the chance, it was probably a no-brainer for him to join because Dave looked a little like Garcia, Rob looked a little like Weir, and Skip looked a little like Lesh. They had it all, and they stayed together for quite a while. I've lost touch with all these guys, but they were very good, certainly on a par with DSO.

Bands are always cannabalizing, getting rid of a poor fit, hoping to stay together through it all, and NJ allowed for a lot of talent to be in close proximity to make the luck of the draw happen, in this case for the final line up of BL.

If Rob hadn't moved on, BL would probably be playing a few gigs a year to this day. As far as I know, no one ever quit their day job.

Still, back in the early days, playing down around Glassboro State College (which was our 710 Haight St.), out at Lafayette College, and also at parties, dive bars, well, it was so much fun. We were kids who were really psyched about playing on weekends and if we learned the chords to a song, that song went into the repetoire almost immediately. Theory, back then, I didn't have a clue. Everything was played very raw, by ear. There were no songbooks that helped very much, no Internet to converse on, nothing but tune up to your stereo, put the needle down, try the riff, lift the needle, and repeat.

I remember getting to a friend's house to catch a ride by riding my bicycle over with my guitar case held alongside me bumping the spokes! Really too funny. But it was so much fun and you're only young once.

 #29706  by Pete B.
 Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:35 am
Glad to meet you OMD.
I grew up in Cranford N.J. Moved out west in 81 after graduating high school, and went on to play country and country rock, 5 sets a night, on the avg of 5 nights a week, for the rest of the 80's.
'Saw alot of east coast Dead shows in the 78-81 era.
I recall the areas Dead Head and or country-rock bands were like Solar Circus and Cowtown.
There were some other Dead tribute bands, late 70's, can't remember them now.
We had a high school Deadhead band called The Highlands Band. We did mostly Dead, and also Allmans, Marshall Tucker Band, and Charlie Daniels Band. I started taking Pedal Steel lessons from the guy in Cowtown in 10th grade.
A good time was had by all!

 #29707  by GratefulPat
 Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:55 am
skip...? vangelas? i think thats how you spell it... it that the skip you would be reffering to?

 #29708  by old man down
 Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:00 am
Yes, that's him.

 #29714  by GratefulPat
 Sun Nov 11, 2007 10:26 am
is there anywhere i can find some audio on them?

 #29721  by shakedown_04092
 Sun Nov 11, 2007 11:42 am
That was a good story, I enjoyed reading it; you tell it well! Cool read, thanks, and WELCOME! :smile: