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Gonzo Report: Dead Heads gather all over town

Not Fade Away

Electric Waste Band rocks its  1619th Monday Night at Winstons.
Electric Waste Band rocks its 1619th Monday Night at Winstons.

Jerry Garcia died on Wednesday, August 9, 1995. At the time, I was working at a restaurant in the Imperial Bank Tower on B Street downtown. When I came to work that day, I was greeted by my supervisor, a self-professed former Dead Head now trying to work his way up the corporate ladder. He snidely asked, “What are all the Dead Heads going to do, and where are they going to go?” These 28 years later, I have an answer of sorts: they’re going to stay right where they are, and keep the party going.

Past Event

Dead Heads Night

On Thursday, May 4, I headed to Duck Foot Brewing Co. for their Dead Head night in Miramar — the brewery holds them every other Thursday. I snagged two fish tacos for $12.00 from the truck out front and scarfed them down before going inside. There, I spoke with majority owner Matt Delvecchio, who gave me a high five, a hug and the offer of a beer. I ordered The Looker a 5% Blonde Ale. There are other catchy names on the menu board, such as Liquid Jam Hazy IPA, Keep on Duckin’ IPA and Dankzilla IPA. 5 oz. pours are $3.00, 10 oz. $5-6, and 16 oz. for $7-8. (Due to Matt having Celiac Disease, all their beers are gluten-reduced, but he likes to refer them as gluten-free.)

Matt has been hosting Dead Head Nights for the past two years; he likes to get good people together with good music and good beer. The band usually consists of Cody Sherman on Guitar/Vocals, Matt Wallace on drums, Johnny Keys on keyboard, Scott Morrison on bass, and Peter Isler on guitar/vocals. I was informed Peter Isler is a world class sailor, two-time America’s Cup winner, and author of various sailing books, including Sailing for Dummies. He can add singing “Stella Blue” to his resume. Robert Harvey from Electric Waste Band fills in for Cody when he’s touring with his Band of Gringos. Other individuals, including Matt, get a chance to play if invited.

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There were tables in the middle of the floor, and not much space for dancing, but people found wiggle room to groove to “Shakedown Street” and “Tennessee Jed.” Didn’t see any nefarious acts there other than the THC gummy that was passed along to me.

Saturday, May 6, I headed over to Collier Park for Dead Dreams in the Park, an event that started during the pandemic and may have been the only source of live music in San Diego during those turbulent times. Now, it happens every two or three months. The individual whose project it is lives across the street from the park and has the musicians set up in front of his house. He’s also the drummer. Picture bass player Martin Holland, formerly with the Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band, standing there at the front door, playing along to “China Cat Sunflower.” The park was a glorious scene of peace and love. People in their tie-dyed t-shirts, sitting on blankets and lawn chairs, passing the pipe and dancing and twirling around on the sidewalk at the park’s edge. My buddy said, “This is like Golden Gate Park in the ‘70s.” I was thinking more like the ‘60s, but I was not in an argumentative mood. Then as I passed the peace pipe to another buddy, he said, “This is like Golden Gate Park in the ‘60s.” It was a sunshine daydream.

Sunday, May 7 was Dead drummer Bill Kreutzman’s birthday. It was time to head to the Aquarius at the Quivira Jetty for Mark Fisher’s High Noon Dead Set. Mark was in the Electric Waste Band when they were the Sunday band at Aquarius. They stopped when Winstons opened back up after the pandemic ended. That’s when Mark started his High Noon set; the first one was held in September 2021. Mark says High Noon provides an opportunity to play with many musicians. “Circumstances and availability determine the lineup week to week, and yes, we rehearse sometimes.” I’m not going to speculate as to why Mark isn’t in EWB anymore.

We parked across the street, next to our friend Kenny, who was loading up a bowl. He asked if we’d like to join him. As we were smoking, I asked him about the differences between the events at Duck Foot, Aquarius, and Winstons. He had a simple response: “The drugs get racier!” The Aquarius is an open patio setting, no real stage, and the bands play under an awning. I walked up to Summer the bartender, “I plan on being here for a while so what would be the best deal to keep me from getting fucked up?” The answer: “Coors Light, four and change.”

One thing you get with Mark Fisher is power! He was playing his brand-new SG, plugged into a Marshall amp, plugged into a Mesa Boogie. The shrooms kicked in during “The Music Never Stopped,” which slid into “Paint It Black.” Mark said, “It doesn’t always have to be the Dead,” and started in on “Major Tom.”

I went out front during the set break and this guy was standing there with a rope strand of hash for sale — $75 if I remember correctly. I ventured across the street and saw a gentleman selling his wares. As I was taking a picture of his stand, he looked at me: “What the fuck!?” I told him I was writing a story. “Don’t take my fucking picture,” he replied, “I don’t want no part of that.” He must have caught himself being aggressive, because his demeanor suddenly changed. “Please don’t take my picture,” he asked. I told him he made nice stuff and that I would like to know more about it. He did Grateful Dead insignias on birch with laser print. During the second set, drunk people were pushing their way to the front, even pushing old ladies out of the way. I thought it was a good time to leave and let them have their fun.

Electric Waste Band

Monday, May 8, we were off to Winstons to see Electric Waste Band. They’ve played 1619 Monday night shows in a row up to this point. Winstons is like walking into a dark, cold cave — until the music starts Viet came up on the stage; it’s kind a tradition for him to come up on stage and say whatever he says. I’ve never understood a word of it. The place started to light up when EWB came on stage, with tie-dyed sheets swaying behind them, thanks to the breeze blowing through the windows. Once the windows were shut, it felt like the energy and heat intensified along with the music. EWB has been doing this a long time; they know each other’s moves and timing quite well. Robert Harvey channeled the Jerry energy with his singing and handling the double duty of lead and rhythm guitar. The duo Danny Campbell and Ed Fletcher on drums played off each other in perfect fashion. Bob Rosecrans on bass and Eric Gabriel on keyboards play in maestro fashion; I’ve never heard them miss a note.

“Nine Anymores!” shouted Walt. It was an inside joke; people count how many times they say “Anymore” towards the end of “Bertha.” Someone kissed my date. “Mighty bold of you!” I admonished him. “Did you accompany her here and did you buy her drink?” He backed away, and that was that — I wasn’t there for any altercations, and wasn’t going to let that ruin my good time. Especially since I was under the influence of psychedelics. Back on the dance floor, OB Bob and Walt were in their usual spots. The place heated up, literally and figuratively. People dancing appeared as flickering flames, the sound of an orchid opening. Plenty of dark eyes, body gyration, letting yourself go and dancing in any manner that felt good. All while “The Music Never Stops.” It may have been the best Monday night — for the 1619th time.

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Electric Waste Band rocks its  1619th Monday Night at Winstons.
Electric Waste Band rocks its 1619th Monday Night at Winstons.

Jerry Garcia died on Wednesday, August 9, 1995. At the time, I was working at a restaurant in the Imperial Bank Tower on B Street downtown. When I came to work that day, I was greeted by my supervisor, a self-professed former Dead Head now trying to work his way up the corporate ladder. He snidely asked, “What are all the Dead Heads going to do, and where are they going to go?” These 28 years later, I have an answer of sorts: they’re going to stay right where they are, and keep the party going.

Past Event

Dead Heads Night

On Thursday, May 4, I headed to Duck Foot Brewing Co. for their Dead Head night in Miramar — the brewery holds them every other Thursday. I snagged two fish tacos for $12.00 from the truck out front and scarfed them down before going inside. There, I spoke with majority owner Matt Delvecchio, who gave me a high five, a hug and the offer of a beer. I ordered The Looker a 5% Blonde Ale. There are other catchy names on the menu board, such as Liquid Jam Hazy IPA, Keep on Duckin’ IPA and Dankzilla IPA. 5 oz. pours are $3.00, 10 oz. $5-6, and 16 oz. for $7-8. (Due to Matt having Celiac Disease, all their beers are gluten-reduced, but he likes to refer them as gluten-free.)

Matt has been hosting Dead Head Nights for the past two years; he likes to get good people together with good music and good beer. The band usually consists of Cody Sherman on Guitar/Vocals, Matt Wallace on drums, Johnny Keys on keyboard, Scott Morrison on bass, and Peter Isler on guitar/vocals. I was informed Peter Isler is a world class sailor, two-time America’s Cup winner, and author of various sailing books, including Sailing for Dummies. He can add singing “Stella Blue” to his resume. Robert Harvey from Electric Waste Band fills in for Cody when he’s touring with his Band of Gringos. Other individuals, including Matt, get a chance to play if invited.

Sponsored
Sponsored

There were tables in the middle of the floor, and not much space for dancing, but people found wiggle room to groove to “Shakedown Street” and “Tennessee Jed.” Didn’t see any nefarious acts there other than the THC gummy that was passed along to me.

Saturday, May 6, I headed over to Collier Park for Dead Dreams in the Park, an event that started during the pandemic and may have been the only source of live music in San Diego during those turbulent times. Now, it happens every two or three months. The individual whose project it is lives across the street from the park and has the musicians set up in front of his house. He’s also the drummer. Picture bass player Martin Holland, formerly with the Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band, standing there at the front door, playing along to “China Cat Sunflower.” The park was a glorious scene of peace and love. People in their tie-dyed t-shirts, sitting on blankets and lawn chairs, passing the pipe and dancing and twirling around on the sidewalk at the park’s edge. My buddy said, “This is like Golden Gate Park in the ‘70s.” I was thinking more like the ‘60s, but I was not in an argumentative mood. Then as I passed the peace pipe to another buddy, he said, “This is like Golden Gate Park in the ‘60s.” It was a sunshine daydream.

Sunday, May 7 was Dead drummer Bill Kreutzman’s birthday. It was time to head to the Aquarius at the Quivira Jetty for Mark Fisher’s High Noon Dead Set. Mark was in the Electric Waste Band when they were the Sunday band at Aquarius. They stopped when Winstons opened back up after the pandemic ended. That’s when Mark started his High Noon set; the first one was held in September 2021. Mark says High Noon provides an opportunity to play with many musicians. “Circumstances and availability determine the lineup week to week, and yes, we rehearse sometimes.” I’m not going to speculate as to why Mark isn’t in EWB anymore.

We parked across the street, next to our friend Kenny, who was loading up a bowl. He asked if we’d like to join him. As we were smoking, I asked him about the differences between the events at Duck Foot, Aquarius, and Winstons. He had a simple response: “The drugs get racier!” The Aquarius is an open patio setting, no real stage, and the bands play under an awning. I walked up to Summer the bartender, “I plan on being here for a while so what would be the best deal to keep me from getting fucked up?” The answer: “Coors Light, four and change.”

One thing you get with Mark Fisher is power! He was playing his brand-new SG, plugged into a Marshall amp, plugged into a Mesa Boogie. The shrooms kicked in during “The Music Never Stopped,” which slid into “Paint It Black.” Mark said, “It doesn’t always have to be the Dead,” and started in on “Major Tom.”

I went out front during the set break and this guy was standing there with a rope strand of hash for sale — $75 if I remember correctly. I ventured across the street and saw a gentleman selling his wares. As I was taking a picture of his stand, he looked at me: “What the fuck!?” I told him I was writing a story. “Don’t take my fucking picture,” he replied, “I don’t want no part of that.” He must have caught himself being aggressive, because his demeanor suddenly changed. “Please don’t take my picture,” he asked. I told him he made nice stuff and that I would like to know more about it. He did Grateful Dead insignias on birch with laser print. During the second set, drunk people were pushing their way to the front, even pushing old ladies out of the way. I thought it was a good time to leave and let them have their fun.

Electric Waste Band

Monday, May 8, we were off to Winstons to see Electric Waste Band. They’ve played 1619 Monday night shows in a row up to this point. Winstons is like walking into a dark, cold cave — until the music starts Viet came up on the stage; it’s kind a tradition for him to come up on stage and say whatever he says. I’ve never understood a word of it. The place started to light up when EWB came on stage, with tie-dyed sheets swaying behind them, thanks to the breeze blowing through the windows. Once the windows were shut, it felt like the energy and heat intensified along with the music. EWB has been doing this a long time; they know each other’s moves and timing quite well. Robert Harvey channeled the Jerry energy with his singing and handling the double duty of lead and rhythm guitar. The duo Danny Campbell and Ed Fletcher on drums played off each other in perfect fashion. Bob Rosecrans on bass and Eric Gabriel on keyboards play in maestro fashion; I’ve never heard them miss a note.

“Nine Anymores!” shouted Walt. It was an inside joke; people count how many times they say “Anymore” towards the end of “Bertha.” Someone kissed my date. “Mighty bold of you!” I admonished him. “Did you accompany her here and did you buy her drink?” He backed away, and that was that — I wasn’t there for any altercations, and wasn’t going to let that ruin my good time. Especially since I was under the influence of psychedelics. Back on the dance floor, OB Bob and Walt were in their usual spots. The place heated up, literally and figuratively. People dancing appeared as flickering flames, the sound of an orchid opening. Plenty of dark eyes, body gyration, letting yourself go and dancing in any manner that felt good. All while “The Music Never Stops.” It may have been the best Monday night — for the 1619th time.

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