Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Tangent, 117 University, Palo Alto, CA

Capacity 75
The building at one time was called the Circle Cafe.
"In 1961 it was the Black Cat Cafe. An African-American club that served soul food and had jazz in an adjoining room."[29]
In 1962, the Palo Alto Deli was owned by Max and Bertha Feldman family, and it was a typical local food joint. It also sold beer, a significant point in a city that did not allow bars downtown.

The Stanford Daily, January 23, 1963

"The Top Of The Tangent, on the second floor, was started by two doctors at Stanford hospital, Stu Goldstein and David Schoenstadt, who were looking for something interesting to do. The Top Of The Tangent was, as the name suggested, just a room above the pizza parlor, and it opened in January 1963."[4]
The  young doctors, Stu Goldstein and David Schoenstadt, decided to open a folk music club based on a Pete Seeger book called How To Make A Hootenanny. An establishment called The Palo Alto Deli, at 117 University (owned by Max and Bertha Feldman), had an extra room upstairs, and that turned into The Tangent. The Tangent was pizza parlor, and the room above it was "The Top Of The Tangent," the little folk music place.
While the Tangent kept regular restaurant hours, the Top Of The Tangent seems to have only been officially open for Wednesday night "hoot night," and on weekend evenings. Weekend admission was $1.50.[5]
The Tangent was a hofbrau with an upstairs loft that was made over
into a low budget musical showroom. It seated about 75 souls at a few
small tables but a lot of the patrons ended up sitting on the floor.  It had a
small two or three microphone stage and a Green Room for tune-ups and
run-throughs.  Over the top of the stage, near the ceiling was a long white
banner that proclaimed “Zaplawa” a mysterious word that was never ex-
plained but was always cause for a smile.

The Stanford Daily March8, 1963

 The Tangent featured what we would now call an “Open Mic” format.
People would get up and do three songs or fifteen minutes then give way to
the next performer.  It was a dollar cover charge to non performers to help
with the rent.  The performers were not paid. Folk music. Acoustic music. Sing-along stuff. Hootenanny’s.[1]
The upstairs part, the "Top Of The Tangent," where Jerry and his friends played now has a different entrance (at 119 University). but it's all the same building.[2]
The Stanford Daily May 24, 1963

At this time in the nation, the Folk-Music-Hootenanny boom was The
Thing and, in Palo Alto, The Tangent was the place to Do It.
"There was something called a Scopietone at the Tangent that was like a jukebox except there was a screen that played a video of the artist performing the song.(34)
It remained open until 1969.
The Full Circle was also a later name for the Tangent, in the late 60's/early 70's.[7]
It changed it's name to The Trip Room in 1970 or '71. [5]
The room was not without history after Garcia went electric, however. A local engineer named Chris Lunn started a series of open mike songwriter's workshops at The Tangent. The best of these players played around Bay Area clubs under the name Folk And Blues Workshop.

Phil Schulz had an improv troupe at The Tangent on The Circle in the late '60s called "The Illegitimate Theater". Jordan art and English teacher Ray Barrett was in the troupe.[19]
The Stanford daily September 30, 1966

Next it was called In Your Ear. The girls that worked the late shift left the pizza ovens on unattended for hours, then it burned down to the ground.
In 2006 the building housed a pub named Rudy's.
In 2011 there is a business called Mindtribe on the second floor.

Jerry attended a Jorma Kaukonen performance here in 1963.
David Nelson recalled Garcia taking him to see Jorma Kaukonen at the Tangent around the summer of 1962 [sic--it actually had to be 1963, The Tangent did not open until January '63]
"Garcia grabbed me and said, 'You gotta hear this guy.' I said, 'Who is he?' Garcia said, 'Jerry Kaukonen, he plays that Reverend Gary Davis and Blind Boy Fuller stuff, he does it right.' I remember going to the Tangent and peering out from the back room, which is where we put our instruments, and hearing him play and looking at Garcia who is looking at me, and we're just going 'Wow!'"[24]
The Stanford Daily April 4, 1963

The Stanford Daily April 19, 1963
The Stanford Daily May 3, 1963

The Stanford Daily May 29, 1963

The Stanford Daily April 28, 1964

The Stanford Daily May 1, 1964

The Stanford Daily May 1, 1964

The Stanford Daily May 2 and 3, 1964

The Stanford Daily April 15, 1965

The Stanford Daily September 24, 1965

The Stanford Daily January 10, 1968

Jerry performed here in
2/22/63 Wildwood Boys (David Nelson, Robert Hunter)
2/23/63 Wildwood Boys (David Nelson, Robert Hunter, Norm Van Mastricht)
On 02/23/63, between Muleskinner Blues and Norm's Solo, Garcia mentions: "Any of you who were here last night realize that . . . that we didn't have a bass player because…."[16]

"As for remembering where I played with those guys... I can't remember dates but I do know Jerry, Hunter, Nelson and myself played everywhere we could but while I was with them none of our little gigs (if you can even call them that) paid money or even food.  There were some house parties we played for but again I never bothered noting who/what/where.  All I wanted to do was play more music."[33]

5/4/63 Sara Ruppenthal
Jerry plays David Nelson's blond banjo, it was either a Paramount or an Orpheum.[12] In the course of the evening he also plays a guitar, mandolin, and fiddle.
Jerry plays and sings Long Black Veil solo and Keno The Rentman on fiddle, Foggy Mountaintop on mandolin.[13]
Jerry plays mandolin on Deep Elem Blues, just voice and guitar, proceeded by a classic bit of what Garcia called “audience abuse” - truly funny, if slightly defensive patter. “With electric guitar and everything, this is called tuning.”[21]

"We sang together and I played a little autoharp and my little rosewood Martin guitar. He played most of the instruments."[17]

"I saw Sara & Jerry perform at the Top of the Tangent in Palo Alto a few times."[25]
So there are other unknown dates here for Jerry and Sara.

Wildwood Boys (David Nelson, Ken Frankel)[10]
Jerry plays "John", a nickel plated Weymann five string banjo.
"The story of Jerry's first professional banjo can best be told by his first wife Sara: "We pooled all of our cash wedding presents, some of the instruments we already had, and returned what wedding gifts we could for cash so that Jerry could get the banjo. I remember driving to Berkeley to get it, right after the wedding. That banjo was going to be our livelihood. He needed it to support his family." Jerry and Sara fully believed that he was going to make his living as a banjo player—thus the need for a powerful enough instrument—and she even expected that they might have to move away from California for him to do it. The banjo was a relatively unadorned mid-line Weymann made in the '30s that was forever after known as "John" because that name had been pearl-inlaid in the peghead for a previous owner. (It happened to be Jerry's middle name.) We never found out who John was, but Jerry played him all through the '60s."[11]

"For quite a while Jerry's banjo playing was strongly under the influence of Eddie Adcock, who had been successfully adapting modern electric guitar and pedal steel guitar licks to five-string banjo. This included a rendering of Merle Travis's highly syncopated two-finger guitar style. Jerry emulated the sound considerably, even down to playing an unusual vintage Weymann banjo with a raised-head ("archtop") tone similar to that of Adcock's old Epiphone."[11]

1963 Godawful Palo Alto Bluegrass Ensemble (David Nelson, Pete Wernick)
Jerry plays mandolin.
"Garcia, Nelson and Robert Hunter had had a band called the Wildwood Boys. Soon after, Nelson and Garcia and I put together a little band we called the Godawful Palo Alto Bluegrass Ensemble. Jerry switched to mando since I could only play banjo. We did a few gigs at the folk club The Tangent."[3]

Unknown date Four other guitarists
Rodney Albin and Jerry broke out some sheet music and performed Tchaikovsky's March Slav.

1963 Pine Valley Boys
Jerry plays "John", a nickel plated Weymann five string banjo.
Richard Greene believes it was around 1963 or 1964 when Garcia was playing with the Pine Valley Boys. Greene remembers, “Jerry was only at that time a banjo player. He would come around, and we would start jamming. He was quite a nice guy and I liked him.”[8]

"I saw Jerry mostly at the tangent in Palo Alto (at the bottom of University Ave., across from the commuter train tracks (top) and the short underpass for cars to continue on to Stanford and the rest of Palo Alto and Menlo Park etc. The Tangent was not really that large. A hofbrau run by a German (?) family (mom, pop and son) none were all that friendly to us folkies (I was 16 to 18 - junior to senior at Woodside High) so many facts have escaped me, I'm sorry for that. There was a largish parking lot between it and the rails. I believe one entered the hofbrau with it’s long glass enclosed counter and booths and walked up a stairway to the top floor “venue,” where one paid at the door and entered a room of tables and chairs for I assume Stanford students and other lovers of folk music. My pals and I, “the water fountain gang” from Woodside High School were true regulars. (our favorite being Michael Cooney. in one corner (I don’t recall the room being perfectly square, was where the “talent” performed. We were in the very front with no tables to obscure our view. We sat on the floor and leaned back on a side wall (4 to 4.5 feet tall). It wasn’t the entrance as that was further back across the room from the “riser/stage, so I assume it was an emergency exit. Over to our left were windows that faced the street parking below. We never heard trains, so commuter time must have passed. We never really paid attention to the clientele so at the end when the lights went on, we were probably busy taking my tape recorder mic off the mic stand and chatting with the “talent.” (also between sets etc.). When I first started going there (the hottest folk venue in town) “Sara and Jerry” were advertised on the calendar. We never went to see them. Sara was his wife at the time and we assumed they were probably boring. We picked (pardon the pun) up on Jerry with the Pine Valley Boys."[28]

1964 Asphalt Mountain Jungle Boys[27]

1964 (Pete Wanger and Wayne Ott (interviewers)
1/25/64 Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions[9]
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.

"We grew up together, Jerry was two years older than we were but a folk musician in town. I played in a group that opened for a group Jerry was in at the time at the Tangent,  Palo Alto. Jerry had his demons as we all know but he was the most delightful musician I have ever known, even tempered and happy. If you knew Jerry he was an intellect, read furiously and knew artists of all mediums around the world."[25]

3/6/64 Black Mountain Boys (Robert Hunter, Eric Thompson, Peter Albin)[10]
Jerry plays "John", a nickel plated Weymann five string banjo.
"He also loved "John" and said he wanted me to have it, but he'd loaned it to someone and couldn't recall who. Mountain Girl couldn't remember either. He said that in the fall of 1986. I have no idea who has it. That was the banjo he always played in my edition of the Black Mountain Boys and I know it's tonal nuances as well as I know my own banjo's."[12]

"Nelson announces the band and introduces its members - including “Honest” Jerry Garcia - “we’re the Black Mountain Boys, otherwise known as the Black Mountain String Band, the greatest bluegrass band since King Solomon’s Mines.[22]

There were several lineups of the Black Mountain Boys in 1964. Another lineup consisted of Scott Hambly, Jerry, Sandy Rothman and Geoff Levin.

3/7/64 Black Mountain Boys (Robert Hunter, Sandy Rothman, Peter Albin)[10]
Jerry plays "John", a nickel plated Weymann five string banjo.
"Jerry ALWAYS played banjo in the Black Mountain Boys, both the first version with Eric and the second with me -- except that on Rosa Lee McFall he ALWAYS switched to rhythm guitar because he liked playing a certain long run at the end that inspired him from the original Charlie Monroe recording (and also because it's always easier to sing lead with a guitar than a banjo)."[14]

"Lots of bantering back and forth with the audience over what to play next follows, with Jerry disagreeing with one suggestion - “That’s kind of a lot like the last one” - as they tune. Garcia calls a heckler “ a real smart aleck."[20]

5/2/64 Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions (Bob Weir, Ron McKernan, David Parker, Bob Matthews, John Dawson)
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.

Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions (Bob Weir, Ron McKernan, David Parker, Bob Matthews, John Dawson)
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.

June 1964 Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.

7/16/64  Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions
Three shows per night.
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.

7/17/64  Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions
Three shows per night.
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.

7/18/64  Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions
Three shows per night.
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.
Sometime after this show Tom Stone replaces Eric Thompson, as the rhythm banjo player in this band.[15]

7/64 Wayne Ott (interviewer)[23]

Unknown 1964 Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions
Jerry plays an acoustic blonde flat top Guild guitar.
Jerry solos on kazoo during I'm Satisfied With My Gal.[13]

Late 1964 Unknown band
Jerry plays "John", a nickel plated Weymann five string banjo.
"It was also around this time that Jerry, Troy, Dave and, I think,
Hunter and I  played a STATEMENT at The Tangent. The boys felt that
there was a “snob” attitude creeping into the Tangents musical format.  The
boys thought it was getting too “exclusive.”  The above mentioned Purists
were starting to take over. So, as a “statement,” Troy arranged a Bach piece for us that we played for one song using straight instruments.  Jerry on banjo, Nelson and Troy on guitar, Hunter on mandolin and myself on bass. 
Then we played Wildwood Flower with nose flutes, stovepipe horns, Kazoos and Banjo (of course). Then, hooting like maniacs, we ran out of the room. I don’t think any one of us played The Tangent again."[1]

Summer 1965 Warlocks
Jerry plays an early 1960's Guild Starfire III guitar.[18]
"I remember seeing the "Warlocks" at the Full Circle, leaving because I thought their music stunk -- Dead Heads should know about the Warlocks."[6]

1965 Warlocks
Jerry plays an early 1960's Guild Starfire III guitar.[2]
Lynn Glendenning sang vocals.[1]

1965 Warlocks
On several occasions Suzy Martin, who now may be a Stanford professor, sang with the band.[32]

Top Of The Tangent, Palo Alto, CA
1.)^Van Maastricht, Norm, Reflections On The Garcia, pg. 8.
2.)^Arnold, Corry, comments, 2012-11-16,
3.)^Wernick, Pete, Pete recalls his time spent with Jerry
Garcia in the 60s and 70s,
4.)^McNally, David, Long Strange Trip, pg.47.
5.)^Arnold, Corry, Summer 1965, 2011-09-16,
6.)^Mountford, Jim, 2011-01-26,
7.)^Corry342, 2013-01-17,
8.)^Sforzini, Hank, Five Musicians Remember Jerry Garcia
9.)^Dister, Alain. 2007. Grateful Dead: Une l├ęgende californienne. Paris: Le Castor Astral. ISBN 9782859207298, pg. 44, Elves, Gnomes, Leprechauns and Little People’s Chowder and Marching Society Volunteer Fire Brigade and Ladies Auxiliary String Band, 2014-01-26,
10.)^transcribed from recorded Band introduction, and Grushkin, Paul, Grateful Dead:The Book Of The Deadheads, pg. 194.
11.)^Rothman, Sandy, Jerry Garcia's Musical Roots:
The Banjo Years - Part 2,
12.)^Rothman, Sandy, 2014-02-13, email to author.
13.)^Getz, Michael M. and Dwork, John R., The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, pg. 76-78.
14.)^Rothman, Sandy, 2014-03-01, email to author.
15.)^Thompson, Eric, 2014-03-01, email to author.
16.)^Jennings, Thayer,
17.)^Greenffield, Robert, Dark Star-An Oral Biography.
18.)^Wright, Tom, Garcia musical instrument historian, 2014-03-02, email to author.
19.)^Chris, comments, 2008-11-18,
20.)^Getz, Michael M. and Dwork, John R., The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, pg. 73, 74
21.)^Getz, Michael M. and Dwork, John R., The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, pg. 76, 77
22.)^Nelson, David, Getz, Michael M. and Dwork, John R., The Deadhead's Taping Compendium, pg. 79.
23.)^Ott, Wayne, Tangent, Palo Alto, CA, 1964-07, Index of Articles, Grateful Dead Sources,
24.)^Troy, Sandy, Captain Trips, pg. 39.
25.)^Albin, Peter, 2015-02-02, email to author.
26.)Henderson, Judith, 2015-02-09, email to author.
27.)^Thompson, Eric, Griffin, Sid, Bluegrass Guitar: Know the Players, Play the Music, pg. 83-84,
28.)^Takahashi, Ned, 2015-03-06, email to author.
29.)^Veltfort, Ruhama, comments, 2015-03-23, Do You Remember…(the old Palo Alto),
30.)^Hill, Suki, 2013-04-13, phone conversation with author.
31.)^Wright, Tom, Garcia musical instrument historian, 2014-03-02, email to author.
32.)^Glendenning, Lynn, 2014, email to author.
33.)^Van Mastricht, Norm, 2015-04-27, email to author.
34.)^4.)^Harris, Sherri, 2011-10-23, t=551#add_comments

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