Friday, January 13, 2017

Kingfish Performance History January-August 1976 (Kingfish IV)

An ad for Joe Cocker and Kingfish at Golden Hall in San Diego, on Sunday May 23, 1976
One of my ongoing projects has been to untangle the web or relationships linking Grateful Dead spin-off bands that did not directly stem from Jerry Garcia. Garcia, understandably, is always the focus of Grateful Dead scholarship, but he is not the only axle on which the wheels turn. In particular, the maze of relationships with David Nelson, Dave Torbert and Matthew Kelly goes far beyond the Jerry Garcia connection.

As part of this, I have an ongoing series about Kingfish, with and without Bob Weir. The recent posting of an excellent summary of Bob Weir setlists  has reminded me that I have an unfinished gap in my series. From January to August of 1976, Bob Weir and Kingfish were making a genuine stab at rock stardom, producing an album on Round and touring heavily. In some ways, this was the least provocative, yet still the most productive period of the band's career. However, there has been no complete list of the shows during that time, and I myself still have not completed the research. However, in order to have continuity, I have decided to post my list as it currently stands. I am hoping that anyone with additional information or corrections can post it in the Comments and I will add the show to the list. I am particularly interested in finding out the names of any opening acts. Ultimately this should be aggregated to the Weir list linked above.

A complete list of my extensive posts on the Performance History of various non-Garcia Grateful Dead spinoff bands is presented in Appendix 2 below.

Kingfish Performance History January-August 1976
This list is focused on Kingfish performance dates and venues, with opening acts. For setlists, see the Weir setlist site . Anyone with additional information, about previously unknown shows, opening acts or eyewitness accounts (or lacking that, interesting rumors and speculation), please post them in the Comments.

Kingfish kicked off 1976 with four nights at the legendary Golden Bear in Huntington Beach
January 16-19, 1976 Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, CA: Kingfish [Friday-Monday]
Kingfish had had a successful East Coast tour with the Keith And Donna band, culminating with a two shows at Winterland (on December 19-20 '75) headlined by the Jerry Garcia Band. After a break, Kingfish played four nights at the Golden Bear in Southern California. The Golden Bear was at 308 Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach, an Orange County town midway between Long Beach and Newport Beach.

January 25, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish/James And The Mercedes [Sunday]
Thanks to Commenter JGMF for this date.

January 31, 1976 La Paloma Theater, Encinitas, CA: Kingfish [Saturday]
Encinitas was near San Diego. Phil Lesh and Ned Lagin had played a show at this theater on November 22, 1975, and the promoter booked a few other Dead-related shows as well. Since January 31 was a Saturday, I suspect there may be another booking in Southern California on this weekend.

February 6, 1976 Civic Auditorium, San Jose, CA: Elvin Bishop Group/Kingfish/Carrie Nation [Friday]
February 7, 1976: Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Elvin Bishop Group/Kingfish/Carrie Nation [Saturday]
Unlike Jerry Garcia, Kingfish was willing to play second on the bill at conventional local rock shows. Bishop was a headliner based on his hit "Fooled Around And Fell In Love." Carrie Nation were a band from Nevada City, CA, who had moved to Atlanta, and then back to the Bay Area, who played in a style broadly reminiscent of the Allman Brothers.

February 19-21, 1976 Electric Ballroom, Atlanta, GA: Kingfish  early and late shows all nights [Thursday-Saturday]
The Grateful Dead always had a good following in Atlanta, so it's no surprise that Kingfish could play three nights there without even a record.

Feb ??, 1976 Lisner Auditorium, GWU, Washington, DC: Kingfish
I have to think there are more dates than just three in Atlanta and one in DC. However, I don't know how long this East Coast tour actually was.

The cover of the debut album by Kingfish, released on Round Records in March 1976

>>March 1976 saw the release of the Kingfish album (Round RX-108) on United Artists/Round. Release dates were not exact in the 70s, but I think an approximate date of Tuesday March 9 seems likely. Some record stores would probably have already had the album by then, and FM stations would already have received promo copies.

March 7-8, 1976 The Savoy, San Francisco, CA: Kingfish [Sunday-Monday]
The Savoy was a tiny club in North Beach, on Grant Street. I think the band was just using these shows to get warmed up. Weir was not typcially inclined to schedule a lot of rehearsal time, so I think playing a few quiet local gigs was a way to get in shape.

March 10-13, 1976 The Roxy, West Hollywood, CA: Kingfish [Wednesday-Saturday]
The Roxy was Los Angeles' premier showcase club, out on the Sunset Strip (at 9009 Sunset Boulevard). It was standard practice for bands with a new album to play some dates at the Roxy, so that their record company could invite every dj and promo man, and buy them free drinks (which would ultimately be charged to the band). The fact that Kingfish took this route meant that they were trying for conventional rock success.

The March 11 early show was broadcast on KMET-fm. Former KSAN-fm dj Thom O'Hair was the host. United Artists would have subsidized this. There were probably early and late shows for every night, although there may not have been separate admissions.

March 15-16, 1976 Golden Bear, Huntington Beach, CA: Kingfish [Monday-Tuesday]
Thanks to Commenter GratefulSeconds, we know that Kingfish returned to the Golden Bear

March 19-20, The Backdoor, San Diego State College, San Diego, CA: Kingfish [Friday-Saturday]
Thanks to Commenter JGMF.

March 23, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish [Tuesday]
The Keystone Berkeley was perhaps the biggest of the Bay Area rock clubs, but the big dates were on weekends. Bands like Kingfish that could bring a good house on a weeknight were always welcome. The exact attendance did not matter as much as the amount of beer sold. Kingfish would play multiple sets, and the fans would get all hot from dancing, so the bar must have been busy indeed.

March 26, 1976 Masonic Temple, Scranton, PA: Kingfish (early and late shows) [Friday]
Kingfish seems to have played the Eastern seaboard to support their new album, but I do not think we have all the dates. Scranton was a few hours north of Philadelphia (the I-476 was not yet complete, so travel times were longer). The Grateful Dead and various members had played Scranton numerous times in the 1970s.

March 27, 1976 Calderone Theater, Hempstead, NY: Kingfish (early and late shows) [Saturday]
Hempstead, NY, in Long Island, was the home base of WLIR-fm, a station which emphasized live broadcasts. Many WLIR broadcasts were from a club called My Father's Place in nearby Roslyn, but they also broadcast from a local studio (Ultrasonic) and sometimes from the Calderone Theater. The early show was broadcast on WLIR, apparently on a delayed basis.

An ad for the Kingfish show at Princeton University on March 30, 1976, from the student newspaper (The Princetonian March 29, 1976)
March 30, 1976 Alexander Hall, Princeton U., Princeton, NJ: Kingfish [Tuesday]
The Princeton show was a midweek gig on a Tuesday night. Princeton had a lot of rock shows on campus during this era. I have to think there was one or two more shows during this week, as the Beacon show wasn't until Friday.

The cover of the 1996 cd of Kingfish Live In Concert, recorded by the King Biscuit Flower Hour at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan on April 3, 1976
April 3, 1976 Beacon Theater, New York, NY: Kingfish (early and late shows) [Sunday]
A professional photographer took some great photos . Both shows were recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour. The Biscuit probably broadcast their usual 25-minute highlight around June, on their syndicated FM radio show. Ultimately, both shows were released as a double cd in 1996, which stands as the definitive official live Kingfish release.

April 4, 1976 Bridges Gymnasium, New England College, Henneker, NH [Sunday]
Bands featuring members of the Grateful Dead were always welcome in small New England colleges (and still are, I believe).

April 6, 1976 Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA Kingfish/Les Dudek [Tuesday]
Les Dudek was a guitarist who had made his name in Florida playing on the Allman Brothers Brothers And Sisters album (on "Jessica" and "Ramblin' Man"). He had later moved to the Bay Area, where he toured with the Steve Miller Band and then Boz Scaggs. By 1976, he had released his first solo album on Columbia.

April 25, 1976 Student Union Ballroom, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT: Kingfish [Sunday]
The Grateful Dead had probably played this same ballroom in 1969. It does raise the question of whether Kingfish had toured all the way from Boston to Utah, and we are missing numerous dates, or whether they were just flying out for a Mountain West booking. I am more inclined to the latter. Since April 25 was a Sunday, I do suspect that there are Friday and Saturday booking (for April 23-24) somewhere as well, perhaps in Colorado.

April 28-29, 1976 River City, Fairfax, CA: Kingfish [Wednesday-Thursday]
After Kingfish returned home from their Eastern tour, they returned to playing local clubs.

May 13, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish [Thursday]

May 14, 1976 River City, Fairfax, CA: Kingfish [Friday]
River City was a small club in the Marin County town of Fairfax.

May 16, 1976 The Savoy, San Francisco, CA: Kingfish [Sunday]

May 18, 1976 Keystone Berkeley, Berkeley, CA: Kingfish [Tuesday]

May 23, 1976 Golden Hall, San Diego, CA: Joe Cocker/Kingfish [Sunday]
Since Kingfish opened for Joe Cocker on a Sunday, there may have been another Southern California show that weekend. Joe Cocker was probably backed by Stuff, the great band of New York session men.

An ad (probably from the SF Chronicle) for the Kingfish/Charlie Daniels Band/Cate Brothers show on Friday, May 28, 1976 at Winterland. Charlie Daniels had a national profile, but San Francisco was still the Grateful Dead's town.
May 28, 1976 Winterland, San Francisco, CA: Kingfish/Charlie Daniels Band/Cate Brothers [Friday]
The Charlie Daniels Band current album would have been Saddle Tramp, on Epic. Earl and Ernie Cate were Levon Helm's nephews. They had recently released their debut album on Asylum Records (JGMF suggests that The Rowans may have replaced the Cate Brothers). Based on the newspaper ad, it appears that Kingfish were the headliners. Charlie Daniels had far more of a following nationally, but this was San Francisco, and Weir and Torbert had the home court advantage. Note, however, that Kingfish was not headlining both weekend nights, as Winterland was dark on Saturday, although that may have been because Bob Marley was at The Paramount, along with Roy Buchanan and Firefall at Berkeley Community Theater. Nonetheless, Jerry Garcia could have drawn against Bob Marley and Roy Buchanan, but Bob Weir and Charlie Daniels did not.

Keep in mind that there is a circulating tape of a Grateful Dead rehearsal at The Orpheum on the night of May 28. It seems that Weir would have rehearsed, and then he and any relevant crew members--Rex Jackson was Kingfish's road manager--would have gone over to Winterland.

The Grateful Dead were on tour from June 3 through June 29, followed by a week of July shows at the Orpheum in San Francisco (July 12-18). Kingfish did not perform during this period.

July 21, 1976 Roxy Theater, Northampton, PA: Kingfish [Wednesday]
Weir and Kingfish seem to have gone out for one final push the week after the Orpheum shows.

July 23, 1976 Auditorium Theater, Chicago, IL: Kingfish [Friday]
Given that this was on a Friday, I would have to think there was another Kingfish date in the Midwest on Saturday night (July 24). The Dead had just played the Auditorium Theater the previous month as part of their "Return" tour.

July 28, 1976 Pinecrest, Shelton, CT: Kingfish [Wednesday]
The Pinecrest Country Club in Shelton, CT, was a semi-regular concert venue in the 1970s. This was a Wednesday night, so a suburban place like Pinecrest was a good place to pick up a paying booking on the road. Apparently a professional photographer has some pictures, although I have not seen them.

July 30, 1976: Wollman Rink, Central Park, New York, NY: Kingfish Schaeffer Music Festival [Friday]
The Schaeffer Music Festival was a month-long series of rock shows in Central Park, sponsored by Schaeffer Beer. The festival is fondly remembered by New Yorkers of a certain era.

July 31, 1976 The Casino, Asbury Park, NJ: Kingfish/Flying Burrito Brothers [Saturday]
The Casino at Asbury Park has been made famous by the lyrics of the first few Bruce Springsteen albums (Madame Marie was probably still telling fortunes  in person at this time). The Casino was the smaller venue on the boardwalk, as Kingfish wasn't big enough for the much larger convention center nearby.

The Flying Burrito Brothers had reformed, again, and at this time the only original member was pedal steel guitarist Sneeky Pete Kleinow. Other members were Joel Scott Hill (guitar, vocals), Gib Gilbeau (fiddle, guitar, vocals), Gene Parsons (drums, vocals) and ex-Rider Skip Battin (bass, vocals). The band had just released the Columbia album Airborne. I saw the Burritos around this time and they were a terrific live band, even if their album was run-of-the-mill compared to the groundbreaking music of earlier years.

August 1, 1976 Calderone Theater, Hempstead, NY: Kingfish [Sunday]
Bob Weir's initial run with Kingfish ended with a Sunday night show in the well-conquered territory of Long Island, where Kingfish and The Grateful Dead had played many times before. The next night the Grateful Dead would play Colt Stadium in Hartford, CT, and Weir would not play with Kingfish for about four more years.

Appendix 1-Album Credits
Kingfish
Released March 1976
  • Lazy Lightnin' (Weir / Barlow)
  • Supplication (Weir / Barlow)
  • Wild Northland (Torbert / Hovey)
  • Asia Minor (Carter / Gilbert / Quigley / Hovey)
  • Home to Dixie (Kelly / Cutler / Barlow / Weir)
  • Jump For Joy (Carter / Gilbert)
  • Good-Bye Yer Honor (Torbert / Hovey / Kelly)
  • Big Iron (Marty Robbins)
  • This Time (Torbert / Kelly)
  • Hypnotize (Torbert / Kelly)
  • Bye and Bye (Traditional arr. Weir / Barlow)
Kingfish;
  • Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
  • Dave Torbert - bass, vocals
  • Matthew Kelly - guitar, harp, vocals
  • Robby Hoddinott - guitar, slide guitar
  • Chris Herold - drums, percussion
Additional musicians;
  • J.D. Sharp - string symphonizer (This Time, Lazy Lightnin' and Hypnotize)
  • Pablo Green - percussion (Hypnotize)
Credits

  • Producer - Dan Healy, Bob Weir
  • Arrangements - Kingfish
  • Recording - Dan Healy, Kingfish
  • Engineer - Rob Taylor
  • Mastering - George Horn
  • Technical consultants - Jim Furman, Furman Sound Service, Tim Hovey
  • Production assistance - Richard Hundgren, Dean Layman
  • Cover painting - Philip Garris
  • Trident logo - James A Nelson III
  • Photography - Bob Marks
  • Special thanks - Frankie, Rondelle, Otis, Frank, Bruce
  • Recorded at Ace's

Appendix 2:
David Nelson>Dave Torbert>Matt Kelly>Bob Weir Performance History Posts
I have an ongoing project to sort out the histories of the various Grateful Dead spin-off bands that played multiple shows but did not include Garcia. Some of these posts have complete lists of shows, and others just emphasize the personnel changes and time frames. In this list, I have not included posts about individual shows or events that feature some of these bands.

The Good News Performance History 1966
--The Good News were from Redwood City, CA, and featured Dave Torbert and Chris Herold

New Delhi River Band Performane History Summer 1966 (David Nelson I)
--Palo Alto's second psychedelic blues band, The New Delhi River Band, featured David Nelson, Dave Torbert and Chris Herold
New Delhi River Band Performance History Fall 1966 (David Nelson II)
New Delhi River Band Performance History July 1967-February 1968 (David Nelson IV)
David Nelson Musical Activities February 1969-May 1969 (David Nelson V)
--After the demise of The New Delhi River Band, David Nelson lays fairly low

New Riders Of The Purple Sage Personnel 1969-81
--I have numerous posts about the New Riders, but this post has a complete list of their personnel changes from 1969-1981. Jerry Garcia's last performance as a member of the New Riders was on October 31, 1971

Shango, Horses and Matt Kelly 1968 (Matt Kelly I)
--The backstory to Matt Kelly's links to the Grateful Dead start with his band Shango, with Torbert and Herold, back in 1968.
Gospel Oak/Mountain Current/33 1969-73 (Matt Kelly II)
--The Matt Kelly story goes to England, the Santa Cruz Mountains and throughout the United States
Lonesome Janet>Kingfish Performance History 1973-74 (Matt Kelly III, Kingfish 0) [in development]
--Matt Kelly returns to the Santa Cruz Mountains with the predecessor to Kingfish, and then Dave Torbert joins up in early 1974

Bob Weir and Kingfish Tour History Fall 1974 (Kingfish I, Matt Kelly IV)
--Bob Weir joins Kingfish, as the Dead have stopped performing
Bob Weir and Kingfish Tour History January-August 1976 Kingfish IV, Matt Kelly VII) [this post]
Kingfish Performance History 1977-82 (Kingfish V, Matt Kelly VIII)  [in development]
--after Weir's departure, and until his return, Kingfish had a strange, complicated history

Bob Weir Band Beginnings 1977 [in development]
--an overview of the connections between the Bob Weir Band and Bobby And The Midnites
Kingfish with Bob Weir 1984-87 (Kingfish VI, Matt Kelly IX)
--Weir began to re-appear regularly, though not permanently, with Kingfish in late 1984

In the interests of completeness, here are the other spinoff group posts:



9 comments:

  1. Also March 15-16 Golden Bear. March 26 also reported at playing the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Philadelphia (hmmm), August 30-31 Golden Bear without Weir according to various newspaper reports

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    1. Thanks GS. I added the March 15-16 date. The August dates without Weir will make a nice kickoff to the next segment (whenever that surfaces).

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  2. Keystone, January 25, 1976 (Kingfish|James and the Mercedes).

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  3. Backdoor, San Diego State University, March 19-20, 1976

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  4. Yellowshark's data show the third act 5/28/76 as the Rowan Brothers.

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    1. Thanks for all three of these. I updated the post (Bob Weir setlists please note)

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  5. Great site! I'm attempting a similar thing with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. A link with Kingfish is the Rainbow european tour 1977.They were the first US band signed to Don Arden's Jet Records and were given the tour support slot free of charge as part of the deal with Arden (which included some $10,000 compensation) to allow Widowmaker (another of Arden's acts) bassist Bob Daisley to join Rainbow. I have a list of the 1977 support slots if its useful.

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    1. Harry, thanks for the kind words. I have been working on the Jet Records period of Kingfish, so the list of support appearances in '77 would be extremely helpful (I guess that explains where the '77 Kingfish video from German TV came from). I knew they supported ELO in 78 (another Arden band), and I think I have the dates, but I didn't know anything about '77.

      You can post them here or send them to me at corrarnold at g mail dot com.

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    2. And for the record, I saw Blackmore's Rainbow at the San Jose Civic Auditorium on August 6, 1976. I went to see the opening act (the Welsh band Man). It was an odd show in that it was a Bay Area show NOT promoted by Bill Graham, so it was a bit off the radar.

      The sound system wasn't very good and both bands seemed kind of sloppy. Cozy Powell was awesome, of course (Jimmy Bain on bass). I recall a long version of "Still I'm Sad."

      Good luck with your project. Post a link when you've got one.

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