Friday, July 15, 2011

The Warlocks At Palo Alto High School (Not!)

The Grateful Dead's first six months of existence as The Warlocks is shrouded in charming mystery. Since there has been relatively little documentation of their performances, myth and legend have free reign. It is a truism of every Bay Area High School that some aging graduate will swear that the Warlocks or the Grateful Dead played their school "back in the day." Alumni from a few High Schools--Awalt in Los Altos and Campolindo in Moraga--can state truthfully that the Grateful Dead played a dance at their gym, but for other schools it's just a story. However, since the Warlocks history is hard to document, its harder debunk the persistent stories about the Warlocks having played a given school.

One of the most persistent myths over the years has been that the Warlocks played Palo Alto High School. I normally don't take the time to debunk misinformation, but a couple of factors make the Palo Alto High myth a little different:
  • a fake poster circulates widely, claiming to advertise the Warlocks playing Palo Alto High School on New Year's Eve, 1964, and
  • Bill Kreutzmann, Pigpen and me all went to Paly
However, a recent non-coincidental meeting with a member of the Palo Alto High School class of '66 has confirmed my assumption that the Warlocks never played there. While it is impossible to prove a negative, since anything is possible, I am now confident enough to go on record as debunking the myth that the Warlocks ever played Paly.

The "New Year's Eve 64" Poster
Some company of unknown provenance marketed commemorative "boxing-style" posters of old rock concerts, usually sold through record stores. These circulate on eBay for appropriately low prices. In most cases, these posters listed famous events like Altamont with the location and the bands. I never found them attractive, but people are free to put up what they want on their dorm room wall. However, the one poster of that series that always irritated me (so much so that I refuse to link to it--google it yourself) was a poster featuring an iconic 1966 Herb Greene photo of the Grateful Dead, supposedly advertising a show on December 31,1964 at Palo Alto High School by The Warlocks.

For anyone with a modicum of knowledge about the Grateful Dead's history, the poster was self-evidently ridiculous: the Grateful Dead had not even formed in 1964, a 1966 photo of the Dead would not be used to advertise a Warlocks show, and so on. Nonetheless, as a graduate of Paly (class of '75) it was particularly galling to see this poster staring at me from so many record stores.

The San Francisco Mime Troupe, Palo Alto High School, September 19, 1965
The Mime Troupe performed at Palo Alto High School on September 19, 1965, probably at the school theater. I have seen this date floated around as a Warlocks show at Paly. However, although Bill Graham was the Mime Troupe's manager at this time, he had no connection to the Bay Area rock underground yet, so this too is a false trail.

The Bill Kreutzmann Connection
Bill Kreutzmann graduated from Palo Alto High School in June, 1965, shortly after the Warlocks formed. This was generally known around Palo Alto in the 1970s, and was generally offered as "proof" that the Dead or the Warlocks must have played Palo Alto High School. Famously, the 1969 Paly High graduation featured Santana, so it seemed plausible that in the misty days of yore, the Warlocks must have played some dance or other.

While Kreutzmann was at Paly, he mainly played in a band called The Legends. He also played occasionally in a group called The Zodiacs fronted by a guitarist named Troy Weidenheimer. That band mostly played Stanford fraternity dances (at places like Searsville Lake, for any of you who remember it). Weidenheimer was a manager at Dana Morgan Music, where Jerry Garcia worked, and while The Zodiacs played what was called "R&B" in those days (essentially modified blues), they were unique in that they did not play songs, per se. Weidenheimer simply called out a beat and a key, and soloed for a while while the frat boys boogied. The band had no set membership, but Kreutzmann sometimes played drums and Pigpen sometimes played harmonica. Jerry Garcia was a sometime bass player, and he has admitted to being profoundly influenced by Weidenheimer's approach to performing.

The Legends, meanwhile, were a more typical R&B outfit of the early 60s, playing songs by The Coasters and James Brown as well as old rock and roll classics. A San Jose musician from that era (a member of the group Sweet Smoke) told me that Palo Alto bands like The Legends played to more mixed audiences and thus had a more soulful sound than the surf oriented bands that played the San Jose area. The community next to Palo Alto was called East Palo Alto, which was not a town but actually an unincorporated part of a different County (San Mateo rather than Santa Clara). East Palo Alto was largely undeveloped and had the only substantial African American community in the South Bay. There were actual "juke joints" in East Palo Alto, and Pigpen at least, hung out there, even if few other white teenagers did. Thus Palo Alto, surprising as it may seem today, had a bit more diversity than some of the surrounding suburban towns.

The Legends had been a popular band in Palo Alto for some time. Kreutzmann had replaced one Nick Hammer as drummer. Other members included Howie Schonberger, "Byron" (last name unknown) and bassist Bob Kelley. I believe the band had a lead singer, although exactly who it was remains uncertain to me. Apparently the group performed Bobby Blue Bland's "Turn On Your Lovelight," but so did almost every other R&B band from the early 60s. Robert Kelley actually went on to some local fame as the founder of the acclaimed South Bay theatrical troupe TheatreWorks. When I was in High School, I actually knew Bob Kelley a little bit, as he directed an excellent theater group called Youth Workshop. He was a relaxed, cool guy, at least to a 14 year old. Of course, it never remotely occurred to me to ask him "were you ever in a band with any of the guys in the Grateful Dead?" and he never mentioned it.

Palo Alto High School 1964-66
Although the town of Palo Alto was liberal and tolerant, it was still the rather dull hotbed of social rest that it remains today. Would be bohemians were tolerated more than elsewhere, but not exactly encouraged. The class of '66 graduate I met was very bored by Palo Alto and Paly High, and couldn't wait to leave. Throughout the Fall of 65, she found Paly so dull that most lunchtimes she walked over to eat with Phil Lesh and his girlfriend, who lived nearby, so when she says "if The Warlocks played Paly, I would have known," I take that as definitive. Nonetheless, she made a couple of critical points.

First of all, she said that most of the bands who played dances, for money, were pretty well established, and the Warlocks were very much on the fringes in the Fall of '65. Most of the local bands who actually played Paly played for free at lunchtime, in the central quad. She was pretty sure that Kreutzmann and the Legends had played a lunchtime show at Paly, but at the time they would have played (between 1964 and '65) she would not have known Kreutzmann well so she doesn't have a specific memory. Nonetheless, it made perfect sense to her that a band featuring a Paly student would play the High School at lunch.

This of course begged the question of whether the Warlocks might have played for free at lunch. The Paly graduate had a long lost but very critical piece of information: although Pigpen had attended Paly, which was widely known in my day (his much younger brother had as well), she observed that Pigpen was actually expelled. I had known the not-surprising fact that Pigpen had not graduated Paly, but I had not known that he was expelled. She made the point that expelled students were not allowed on campus, so the Warlocks would not have been allowed to play even if Pigpen wanted to perform there, which he probably didn't. It wouldn't have taken much to get expelled from Paly in those days--no doubt any number of Pigpen's normal habits (except reading) might have caused his forced departure.

No one cares much about where the Warlocks didn't play, but I feel satisfied putting this issue to rest. I doubt people paid much attention to the bogus poster in the first place, but I take some satisfaction in the fact that not only did the Warlocks not play Paly, they would not have been allowed to play there in any case, due to some transgression or other by Pig. Palo Alto High School has many famous graduates (49ers coach Jim Harbaugh being the most recent), but Pigpen must be our most legendary non-graduate, and unquestionably the most famous expelled student.

25 comments:

  1. McNally says this of the Legends:
    "Fronted by a black vocalist named Jay Price, the Legends were more an R&B than a rock band, covering James Brown, Junior Walker, Freddie King, the Isley Brothers' Shout, and Ray Charles' What'd I Say. They wore red coats, black pants, and black ties, and played YMCA dances, fraternity parties, and shows at the local navy airstrip, Moffett Field, which frequently ended in brawls."

    Paly student Dexter Johnson: "They were the best band at the school. I was the Social Commissioner at Palo Alto High and I hired them for the opening dance. They were great...[but] they made the kids dance like they weren't supposed to. There were no fights or anything, but it was some moral issue because they were doing 'the Swim'...doing bumps and grinds."

    Kreutzmann said they played "whatever was popular. It wasn't too soulful, though."

    As for Pigpen, I'd read that he was expelled, but don't know the reason. I assume expulsion was inevitable for anyone coming to high school in '61 the way McNally describes him:
    "He had a motorcycle chain bolted to his wrist and wore oily jeans, Brandoesque t-shirts, and greasy hair....the officials of the local pool would not let him swim there... He'd clack through high school with horseshoe taps on his shows."
    Connie Furtado: "I remember him in high school. The hallways would clear when Pigpen walked down, for whatever reasons, I was never sure - women on each arm, maybe."

    I was interested by the comment that the Warlocks were "on the fringes" in Palo Alto in fall '65.
    Garcia described their first Magoo's Pizza Parlor shows: "The first time we played in public, we had a huge crowd of people from the local high school, and they went fuckin' nuts! The next time we played it was packed to the rafters. It was a pizza place...it was pandemonium, immediately."
    There are other evidences that the Warlocks had some popularity - they won a Battle of the Bands contest with William Penn & His Pals at the Cinnamon Tree in San Carlos - their first billing as the Dead in Jan '66 was "Grateful Dead - Formerly the Warlocks," which seems to indicate that the Warlocks were a known band.

    So why "on the fringes" among Paly students in fall '65? I think the timeline tells us. Those first shows, packed with enthusiastic students, were at a local, popular pizza place in May - it was easy to gain an audience there.
    Whereas during the summer, the Warlocks seem to have had some trouble finding a steady place to play; and by the fall, they had secured steady work playing bars and topless joints closer to SF....not the kind of places many high school students were found in, I assume. So for many of the next school year's set of students, the Warlocks may have just been a name...

    At any rate, simply to find places to play, the Warlocks had to gravitate towards "the big city," and in the course of playing five sets a night, necessarily lost touch with Palo Alto. Garcia said: "When we were first working, we were really working hard. I never saw anybody. When we were working the bars, I lost contact with almost all my friends cause the Warlocks were playing every night, and on Sundays, afternoons and nights. We were booked solid... We made enough so we could quit our day jobs. That happened immediately...but we were already burning out on the professional level that was available to us about the time the Acid Test came to our attention."

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  2. LIA, its a very good point about the timeline. When the 'school dance' season started up again in September 65, the Warlocks were already working The In Room in Belmont. By extension, since The In Room was a bar, the band wasn't going to expand its popularity with High School students.

    This does leave an interesting question about the Warlocks activities in the Summer of '65, but I have some interesting information about that in an upcoming post.

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  3. Here is a picture of the earliest known Warlocks poster from Magoos Pizza Parlor on May 5, 1965
    http://www.postertrip.com/public/5569.cfm

    This picture is a poster for Frenchy's, on June 18, Phil Lesh's 1st gig, and the second earliest known Warlocks poster.
    http://www.postertrip.com/public/5570.cfm

    There are other early Warlocks posters and Acid Test handbills featured at http://www.postertrip.com/public/department37.cfm

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  4. I have seen these posters before, and I tbink they are all fakes.

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  5. I think the holder of these things is assiduously, by proceeding widely and over many years, trying to establish the authenticity of those papers. I wouldn't know authentic from not, that's just my observation.

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  6. There is a limited amount of information known about Magoo's and Frenchy's, and the posters have no more information than could be gleaned from those standard biographies. Note that the Magoo's flyer has no address. Really?

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  7. Corry342,
    Jerry Garcia's Middle Finger,
    The posters and handbills at http://www.postertrip.com, that represent the collection of Jerry Garcia memorabilia, have never been shown, in any way, to be fake or fraudulent. On the contrary, Dennis King, in Berkeley, an expert on paper and ink, and print styles from the sixties and on, has verified that the material is approx. 40-45 years old or so. Dennis could not verify that they are 100% authentic because no other prints of these exist in the whole world. So, there were none to compare them to. But he is convinced they are not made by anyone in the last 40 years or so. Unless someone else was calling themselves "Captain Trips" and making "Acid Test" posters and handbills, 40 years ago, the material is presumed to be authentic. The reason there is no address on the Magoos, presumably, is because, for Jerry, at the time, there was no reason to believe anyone would be coming from far away. Anyone who wanted ot see the warlocks, locally, already knew where Magoos was. Jerry did not make these to advertise them to the public, he made them for himself, probably to post indoors, the night of the event. That's the only way they could have survived.

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  8. As well, it is important to understand, the Poster for Magoos, the Poster for Frenchy's, the Poster for Mother McCrees, the Mini Poster for the Soquel Ken Babbs, 1st Acid Test event, are all authentic ART pieces. Only the Warlocks Babbs Acid Test is printed on, as far as Dennis could tell, but the paper itself, is artwork, in the sense it was folded beforehand, and pressed, then refolded back, and likely repressed. It was made to look like the Pacific Tour of the Northwest, which appears to be folded and torn. It was an artwork style Jerry was using for those. They were likely not intended for the "Public", or to advertise, unless they were behind glass in the window or something. These were certainly not used in the standard way of advertising, as they are actual ART pieces, not just posters and handbills. In the near future, the materials will be shown to a wide variety of so called "experts", and the issue will be laid to rest, once and for all. I seriously doubt it would be expected to be believed, if 9 original Leonardo Da Vinci paintings were found in some attic in Europe. It still blows my mind, and I see them every day. One has to remember the fact that Jerry Garcia was an artist, an art student, studying in art school, just previous to the Warlocks and Acid Tests. This is usually overlooked and not very commonly known, which is the very reason it took so long for us to figure out the material belonged to Jerry himself.

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  9. Anon, all serious Deadheads, and most casual ones, know that Jerry Garcia was a part-time artist, so it's hardly 'overlooked.' Certainly many Old Master paintings were discovered in European attics, but as time went on and a market for them developed, many of the supposed finds of Da Vinci and Vermeer and so forth turned out not to be authentic.

    I'm looking at this from an historical point of view, not from the point of view of poster collecting. The two questions I would ask are

    1) Who was the actual person who was close enough to the scene to end up with such rare artifacts? and

    2) Were there any other artifacts found with them that included any information (addresses, dates, phone numbers, other acts) that has not been in the historical record for some decades?

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  10. Corry342,
    Well, it seems to be overlooked by people who are looking at this collection, as an issue of historical significance. That is more along the lines of what I meant.
    Your 1st question is very important. I have not been able to figure that one out. One thing we know is that Harvey dated an art student in Menlo Park at the time. I can only speculate, it might have been a girl who also was close with Jerry. Or, his dating of the art student was irrelevant. No way to know for sure.
    2nd question is important equally. The only thing that has been found, which shows something important like that, is the Warlocks Big beat handbill. It has long been debated whether or not Muir Beach came first or afterwards. Apparently, Muir Beach came before, since the handbill is dated for Big Beat in Palo Alto on the 18th. That is significant. Other than that, the lettering in the spelling of "Designed by Captain Trips" HAS been shown to match Jerry's letter writing practically identical, and perfectly. It may have been argued, that the pieces were fake, until the last one was found. Once the eyeball artwork was discovered, that was the end of the question, for me, and several other more professional experts. That last piece, which is 45 year old crayon on wax art paper, pretty much solidified the fact that the collection belonged to Garcia at one point, and was designed by him, as well.
    Your questions are valid, and very important, but as of now, they simply cannot be answered in the definitive sense.

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  11. I seem to recall reading a Robert Hunter post on Dead Net Central (or somewhere) in which he dismissed the idea that these were drawn by Garcia because the drawings were too rudimentary, even at this relatively early date. Have you shown these to Nelson? What does he have to say? What about Bob Weir or Phil Lesh or Mountain Girl?

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  12. JerryGarciasMiddlefinger,
    I'm doing everything I can to check with as many people as possible. Robert Hunters statement is known to me, as I was involved in that thread. His statement that it was too rudimentary, does nothing to dispute the fact that the artwork is 40+ years old and signed by "Captain Trips". That pretty much screams, "This is Jerry's Art!" - Unless there was someone else called Captain Trips, creating Acid Test posters 40 years ago... Many people I have spoken to, can not recall anything from that time. Too many drugs, unfortunately. Mountain Girl readily admits she cannot recall details that far back. Not those kind. As well, she didn't know Jerry until after the first couple acid tests. She was not present at Babbs (1st test), but I believe she was at Big Nigs the next week. She was staying with parents out East the week of Babbs 1st test in Santa Cruz. She would not have ever known or seen, necessarily, the Magoos or Frenchys or colored artwork pieces. They could have been given away or stashed, but her knowledge of them is null. And Phil Lesh came on the scene at Frenchy's, and I believe he has been asked but not sure. I know an ex-roadie with the dead, who knows Tiff very well, and shared a place with Laird for a brief time. He has asked a few members and close friends, to no avail (yet). I do not know if Bob Weir has been shown or asked, or if Kreutzmann has. I think Kreutzmann may be able to shed some light on this. David Nelson is a great avenue, but I have not tried yet, nor do I know anyone who knows him. If anyone can help with this project, that would be greatly appreciated, of course. Anyone who truly cares, given the historical potential for this, should get involved, if possible. I encourage everyone to help out. Someone MUST have known Harvey Pollard, right? He is the man who saved them all these years. He took items down from the catalyst and cared enough to collect these items together, at the time when nobody paid much attention. Likewise, someone would have to recognize these items from Mother McCrees and the Magoos and Frenchy's posters. I imagine SOMEONE must remember them, but so far, not much. It's important to consider, the people who would remember this are on the Dead side, not the Prankster side, as these items came from the Grateful Dead and Warlocks, not much later on. We asked most remaining pranksters, but it was before their time. I'm open to working with people on this. I'm very interested in piecing more of the puzzle together. I'm not interested in twisting truth or reality at all. Let's just get the answers, if we can.

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  13. I still find none of this convincing. Someone found some very old pieces of paper and made some 'flyers,' using information that was commonly available. Commemorative posters are made all the time, and people can put whatever they like on their walls, but I find absolutely nothing compelling about any of the "evidence."

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  14. JerryGarciasMiddleFinger,
    Isn't Sarah Ruppenthal still alive? Maybe she is who we need to find and contact? She would probably know for sure, right? Can anyone help with this?

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  15. Corry342,
    Believe it if you need it, or leave it if you dare.

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  16. The problem with "leaving it if you dare" is that, unlike a box of rain, it keeps popping back up in various posts, comment threads, etc.

    I understand the historical point, Anon. I truly hope that you are correct, that these were drawn of Garcia's hand, and that they are important and valuable historical artifacts. But I'll believe it not when I need it, but when there's some contemporary evidence or when someone close to Jerry at the time says "Oh yeah, I remember those" or some such thing--i.e., when the weight of the evidence in favor surpasses that of the suspicion around artifacts that contain no information not readily available to anyone with an internet connection, ca. 2009 (or whenever these turned up).

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  17. JerryGarciasMiddleFinger,
    The preponderance of evidence is in favor of the items being real and authentic. It is more up to the naysayers to disprove it at this point, than it is for the believers to prove it. There is more evidence that exists that they are real, than exists that they are not real.
    1.) The mere fact that they exist to begin with....
    2.) They have proven to be real in the eyes of Dennid King and Roberta Wier.
    3.) The fact that they were acquired for a mere fraction of their potential value, adding to the fact that I personally offered the prices that were accepted for each item.
    4.) The fact that the Frenchy's poster was a gift that cost me ZERO dollars to acquire.
    5.) The fact that I never had any shady dealings with the seller, and every time he was genuine and sincere with me. In other words, I never detected a single flaw in the sellers personality. Unless you want to accuse me of lying, then my own experience with the seller is authentic evidence as well. I kept all 30 or so of the e-mails in exact correspondence, for posterity sake, as well.
    6.) The fact that these all came from the same place and person, and every single item passed the inspection of Dennis and Roberta is another important fact.
    All of these facts lead to a preponderance of evidence of authenticity. It is more in the manner that it is up to the naysayers to be able to disprove anything. The evidence weighs in favor of the items being genuine and real.
    Of course, I will do what I can, but the mere fact that these exist at all, is plenty of evidence they are real, if you ever touched them, smelled them, or felt their energy, and you had the slightest experience with old, authentic posters and handbills, you would have little if any doubts.
    When I say, "Believe it if you need it, or leave it if you dare", what I mean to say, is it's your personal loss, if you do not accept it, or try to see the potential or possibility of it. Who knows, you could be personally invited to inspect the items for yourself one day, but with those attitudes, you will likely not. Then, it's you who loses out, not anyone else. The items may have to be taken on a bit of faith at this point, but that faith, is also your gift, if you choose to have the experience of knowing these pieces are close to Jerry's heart and soul. Or you cluld simply shrug it off, but it's your loss, not anyone else's.
    I'm checking with a few more people, inspired by this conversation. I will ask David Nelson, Sandy Rothmann, and hopefully Sarah Katz as well, in the next month or two. Of course, i'll post results of that. Speaking with MG earlier today, she believes, personally, that the items are genuine. We'll see what else we can find out. New leads hopefully will show new results.

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  18. Anon, by your own assertion up the thread, Dennis King only authenticated that the materials used to create these artifacts was contemporary to the 60s. That's very different from "proven to be real." As far as the history of the artifacts between you and the seller, all that seems to suggest is that no one can tell where any of the items originally came from, which hardly adds to the confidence that they were genuine contemporary pieces of art, by Jerry Garcia no less. The fact that no large sums of money apparently changed hands can be seen any number of ways.

    At best, these Acid Test "artifacts" add nothing to the historical record. The fact that the items represent a catalog of all the known Acid Tests, with only the information conventionally available in Electric Kool Aid Acid Test and a few other sources makes them look very much like a private project by a much later artisan, not originals. Since the provenance of the artifacts is unknown, it's difficult to be sanguine about believing that their mere existence represents some great archival find.

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  19. Corry342,
    The only thing that Dennis King could not say conclusively, is that they are legitimately what they claim to be, and only because he had no others to compare them to. On the contrary though, Dennis also stated he did not believe them to be fakes or fraudulently made. That speaks volumes. For instance, never having seen a real Palo Alto handbill before for the Big Beat, Dennis could not claim conclusively, "This is an authentic Big Beat Handbill" because he is a professional, only, not because he did not believe them to be real items. He told me he even suspected himself, that Jerry could have made them. (Not the Palo Alto Handbill though, we have no reason to believe that Jerry did that one). In other words, none of the pieces raised his suspicions to believe they could be fakes. Having never seen them before, he could not professionally state, "That is a real Magoos Poster"! - How could an expert say, "That is a real Magoos poster" if they had never seen a real one before. That is all Dennis stopped short of. He never had any doubts the items were real and approx. 40 years old, printing on paper, included.
    But I do understand the hesitancy to believe it yourself. I would personally have to have seen, touched, and then shown the items to experts, before I would have believed it myself. Even when I got each item, I could not believe it. I bought the Captain Trips piece, knowing it said that on the side, but not genuinely believing the item was a Jerry Garcia artwork, until my friend convinced me to look into it. It was just too mindblowing and impossible sounding.
    Despite what you have read or think, the items do not convey exactly what is spoken about in Electric Kool Aid. Unfortunately thee are other collectors out there who like to compete and have lots of money to do it with, and they tend to slant the truth, in the rock poster world, based on what they would like to believe, and not necessarily based on truth, itself. Based on my own research, many details in Electric Kool Aid are not factual, in relation to the details of the tests. On the postertrip website, I go over all of these. If you took all of Jerry's comments, Phil Lesh's comments and the comments in Electric Kool Aid, you get a hodgepodge of conflicting statements and conflicting stories. It took some re-construction of statements from ALL the sources, put into one place and compared, to get a more clear picture of the real dates and happenings and details of the events. That's what I dd on the website. By the time Jerry did the Rolling Stones interview, he was already getting details mixed up. Drugs do that to you, over time. Tom Wolfe was a writer and sensationalist. His axed up version of the original book, was made to impress, not to recount historical details. Small details were smudged out and "fixed" in Tom's book. You don't get an exact history, you get a "story". That's part of the problem when trying to restore history from books like Electric Kool Aid. They are not entirely correct, and need double checking.

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  20. Corry342,
    If you claim Muir Beach came first, before Palo Alto, you may go against the grain of the stated facts in the books. Half the books claim it was before, on the 11th, and half of them claim it was on the 18th, a week after the Big Beat test. Well, if one of them is correct and the other one is not true, how could half the people get it wrong? Simple. People copy what they read elsewhere. That's half the problem, here, at least. Many so called "facts" about the acid tests or even the warlocks, are statements copied from none verified sources. Then repeated over and over. The fact is that Muir Beach was on the 11th and Palo Alto, the 18th, but reading all the books, you would be seriously confused. Then, if your really brave, you look at all the internet listed dates for acid tests, and almost everyone has them wrong.
    It's even easier to make mistakes, when all you have to do is cut and paste. lol

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  21. Anon, who is the Dennis King who assessed the artifacts? Is he associated with Eric King, who wrote the definitive work on Fillmore and Avalon posters?

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  22. When a person collects rock and roll posters and handbill from concerts, they become familiar with subtleties over time. For 99% of all posters and handbills that exist, there are likely more than (1) in existence. Only rarely does an item surface in which there are no known items to compare them to. In the field of Acid Test collecting, the items that exist, that are known to be real, all come from a certain period of the tests, and there are fewer of them, than exist of any other rock and roll items, for the most part. Reason being, the Pranksters and Dead were all amateur artists and these were literally "drug experiments", not typical concerts, so the advertising was crude and rudimentary, not professional. It was not until the tests started to spiral out of control and more people attended, by the time of Muir Beach, (3rd test), they were already getting wind of cops showing up, and they were already changing the venue at the last minute. This happened several times, but only after the parties got big. At this time, they started the advertising with Paul Foster's famous "Can You Pass the Acid Test?" poster. That was the first time they used any kind of professional printing for the items. No items from before this time, exist, AT ALL, other than the ones which surfaced from the Garcia collection.

    So, generally what happens is this. An item is found somewhere. It is taken to an "expert". That expert has likely seen one before in his lifetime, and he can tell you if it's real or not, right away, in most cases. Ink size, ink type, paper type, paper size, are all taken into consideration. In 99% of the cases, there exists another to compare to. Even then, provenance is still important, if possible. The next issue is Provenance, of course. Where did it come from? How long did they have it? Do they have anything else similar? What is the history behind the person who obtained it? Are they suspicious? Trustworthy? etc. All of that comes into play, with provenance. When there are none to compare them to, the provenance does not really exist (nobody knows Harvey Pollard so far), then the next issue to inspect is the type of paper, the print style, the ink, the age, and finally, artwork style comparisons. I'm sure there are other means as well. but that's the next step, for authenticating something as real or not. All the items passed that last inspection by Dennis King and Roberta Wier. (Roberta saw and inspected the Babbs' Warlocks piece, the McCrees Jug Band Tangent artwork, and the Eyeball artwork by Captain Trips.) The items passed both their inspections for the paper, age, inking, print styles, etc.
    Both of them are busy most of the time, and their time is valuable, but if you are respectful, I don't know why they would not want to tell you their own thoughts on it. If you care enough about the truth, then go ahead and ask for yourself. I'll likely pass them by a few more experts in the future, but for now, these two "experts" have little to zero doubts as to whether or not they are the real deal. You cannot blame them though, or the posters, if they refuse to say with 100% certainty that they are real. That would not be professional, would it?

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  23. No idea why, but I tried like 10 times to post some info on Dennis, but it gets blocked or something. He is NOT related to Eric King. While Eric is a specialist in Family Dog and Bill Graham materials, and even Grande Ballroom, Dennis is an expert all around, on rock on roll ephemera, and paper, paper age, print style, inks, etc.

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  24. D. King Gallery is located in Berkeley, California. The main focus of the gallery is on posters, screen prints, and non-print works by poster artists.
    Dennis King is an Internationally recognized authority on vintage and contemporary rock posters, screenprints, early sports collectibles, and Japanese pop culture memorabilia. He has been in the poster business since 1971.
    Mr. King maintains one of the largest private rock poster collections in the world and is regularly called upon by publications, libraries and collectors worldwide for examination and appraisal services.
    He is also a highly respected authority on early sports cards and has been featured in numerous publications both in the United States and in Japan. In 1977 he opened King's Baseball Cards the first full time sports memorabilia store in California.
    Mr. King is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the Ephemera Society of America and a Founding Member of Sports Collectibles Association International.
    He is the co-author and art director of Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion. Published in late 2004, this book is already in its 5th printing.

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  25. Those "posters/handbills" are bogus. Ask Mountain Girl.

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