Friday, January 25, 2013

Dana Morgan's Music Store, 534 Bryant, Palo Alto, CA

Gil Draper asked Dana Morgan Sr. to open a store with him. Dana refused. They had known each other because Dana Sr. had conducted the orchestra that appeared on El Camino Real, with Gil Draper on saxophone.[16]

"My first contact with Dana Morgan Jr. was in 1961, at his dad's cramped, over-packed music/instrument repair shop in downtown Palo Alto CA, That was where my father bought a trumpet for me from a rather 'greaser' looking dude. That store for sure triggered the aspirations of many local youths to peruse a life in 'music'. Over the next few years, Dana's image change from that slick-back ducktail to longer and longer hair. In 1964, he sold me my first electric guitar and later 'loaned' me his Gibson Thunderbird Bass and Atlas amp for my first 'band gig'. I do remember that a LOUD band rehearsed at the smallish shop all the time and 'after-hours' and that his Hawg was in the ally carport always. My friends and I were in and out of the shop all the time; drooling-over guitars, amps and such; watching odd-looking people flowing through the narrow hall leading back to the lesson rooms; always a constant din of wind and string instruments. As the '60's closed and as a few of us turned into some sort of 'hipsters', Dana was less and less a presence at the shop. Into the '70's, some of my friends now 'taught' new youths in the shop's lesson rooms....Dana would be seen now and again on this ever louder Hog on the streets of Palo Alto, Redwood City, La Honda, and the roads up and over to the Coast."(

"Dana Morgan was my next door neighbor in Menlo Park growing up. The front of his house was hung with musical instruments in the same way others would have had hanging plants."[18]

Jerry rehearsed here in

"Garcia bought a banjo from fifteen year old drummer Bill Kreutzmann's father at the Dana Morgan Music Store, and was soon working at the store himself."[7]

Summer 1963

Jerry would hitchhike from Mountain View to work at Dana Morgan's.
"I remember so vividly taking guitar lessons with my friend David Simons at the Dana Morgan Music store in downtown on Ramona in the mid-sixties. Our teacher, Jerry Garcia. He would teach us our lesson for the day then spend a few minutes playing for us. Man he was good."[11]

"I had many talks with Jerry, he was a friend. Our friendship started when I was sixteen and took guitar lessons from a family friend's son, Jerry, at Dana Morgan Music Store, Palo Alto, Ca. Of course, it helped to be a person with the same last name of Garcia, he always referred to me there after as his little "cousin." It was a cultural mixing bowl Palo Alto at the time. My father and uncle Bob played flugel horn with Jerry's dad in the Lyons Club Band."[14]

In the Michael Wanger/Frost Amphitheater 6/8/69 Grateful Dead Documentary release, Bob Weir says: On New Year's Eve in the back of Dana Morgan's Music store, no one was interested in getting guitar lessons. Myself & a friend of mine dropped by and sat and rapped and decided we had enough talent amongst us, or questionable talent amongst us, to start a jug band. The jug band got rolling very shortly thereafter. I of course played hyperventilated jug & washtub bass.
"I was on unemployment by that time.  My job with the magazine had dried up.  I fell into a routine of picking up my bi-weekly unemployment check and drifting down to Morgan’s and playing with Jerry if he wasn’t teaching. He demonstrated some pretty adept finger style playing of his own.  His influences were people like Earl Scruggs (who plays fabulous
guitar as well as his trademark banjo playing).  He played some Kirk McGee rags, he played some Doc Watson finger style. But it wasn’t all showoff.  We usually just played together for the pure joy of playing and swapping licks. Many times there would be other musicians there that would join in and we’d jam."[3]

4/14/64 Unknown Student
Banjo lesson
Jerry plays seven unnamed tunes before Rawhide and Stoney Creek.
"I took five string banjo lessons from Jerry Garcia for $3.00 a half hour at Dana Morgan."(17] This was recorded by the student.

1964 Student Margaret Bell
"Jerry Garcia worked at Dana Morgan's Music Store in the mid-60's...I took lesson's from him, at first...then baby-sat for his daughter, Heather, while the band (the Warlock's) practiced...then started hanging out on Sundays at Dana Morgan's to watch the Warlock's practice...this was when Dana was the bass player. They'd send me for lemonade and donut's to (I want to call it-) Brewer's--- Does anyone remember Brewers? Or am I getting the name wrong?"[10]

"I was a guitar student of Jerry's at Dana Morgan Music Studio at age twelve, (1962) during the summer, right before his band went from the jug band to the Warlocks."[13]

12/31/64 Warlocks
Jerry plays an early 1960's Guild Starfire III guitar.[9]
Jerry Garcia At Dana Morgan Music
When I was about 15 or 16 I lived in Palo Alto. There was a great music store called Dana Morgan Music. I think it was around 1965. (ed. note: It was 1962)
There was a twenty year old guy working there named Jerry Garcia. He used to teach guitar and work at the counter. He had long unruly hair. He wanted a Beatle hairstyle but it was too frizzy. He was definitely a beatnik.We got to be friends. Many days I would go in on a hot afternoon and spend time playing guitar with him and talking about music. We talked about his general idea about creating automatic pop music by having songs with a form but a place within them to have long extended jams. This was not done in popular music at the time so it was a new idea. It was done in jazz and blues but not pop. He would also sit me down and make me play E-D-A over and over until I would get restless and take off. He loved to jam. He was developing his style right in front of me. About that time there was a guy who would just sit on the couch there and play E-D-A all the time. I always thought that they should play together in a group. His name was Bob Weir.[1]

Jerry Cracks The Code
Sunday, December 6th, 2009
Jerry Garcia saw something in the Rolling Stones. He really related to them. You might say he modeled his early style after them. I remember one day I was hanging out at Dana Morgan Music in the back. I knew Dana Morgan and the instrument repair guy Fred. I knew the whole family, really.
Jerry Garcia had a teaching alcove underneath the stairs leading up to a storage room. He was intently studying the guitar solo of  Heart Of Stone when suddenly he shouted “I got it!” to no one in particular. He came running out of the alcove with his Guild guitar in one hand over his head. He he had cracked the code of what Keith Richards was doing in his solo which was a series of run together triplets.
If you listen to Jerry’s early solos with the Grateful Dead you would hear that exact form where he runs together triplets forever!![1]
"And Jerry even had a couple of gigs through Stanford University where it was him and some – Troy Weidenheimer, who already played electric, because electric wasn't out of the question. Not at all. It was to the world, the media and everything. But... rock and roll is where I started in music actually. And Troy Weidenheimer was a working electric guitar player. We used to just admire him and sit there and watch him play. I later played a couple of gigs - I played bass with Troy Weidenheimer. So, there's all this thinking about yeah, go electric. I’m still working with The Pine Valley Boys, but Eric [Thompson] comes by one time to Gilman Street and says, “Hey, they're practicing down at Dana Morgan's Music Store right now.” It was about this time of day [late afternoon]. I said, “Yeah? Let's go over.” So we walked over there, and there they are in the window and you know, and Garcia's going, to Weir, “No, no, no, not like that you goony child!” I thought, oh man.
David Gans: Jerry was being mean to Bob?
Dennis Nelson: We thought that's awful hard to take. I don't know if I could stand that, man.
David Gans: Being yelled at by Jerry?
Dennis Nelson: Because we would be in the same position."[5]

1965 Warlocks
Jerry plays an early 1960's Guild Starfire III guitar.[9]
"Dana supplied all the instruments for the very first configuration of the Warlocks, as they called themselves when they first started. Dana actually attempted to play bass, but was inadequate to the task, and after a couple of gigs in Magoo's Pizza in Menlo Park, they decided that Dana wasn't quite up for it."[8]

I saw Jerry every Tuesday night at 7:00pm for my guitar lessons at Dana Morgan Music in Palo Alto."[15]

Dana Morgan's Music Store, Palo Alto, CA
1.)^Shapiro, Mike, Jerry Cracks The Code, Beat Blog,
2.)^Troy, Sandy, "Captain Trips," pg. 59-60.
3.)^Van Maastricht, Norm, Reflections On The Garcia, pg. 7.
4.)^Wanger, Mike, Bob Weir's high school classmate.
5.)^Nelson, David, David Gans Interview
6.)^Uncle Buck, comments, 2008-04-08, General Discussion,
7.)^Schenk, David, and Silberman, Steve, Skeleton Key, pg. 101.
8.)^Dawson, John, Brown, Toni, NRPS Interview, Volume #18, Issue #3, June 1991, Relix,
9.)^Wright, Tom, Garcia musical instrument historian, 2014-03-02, email to author.
10.)^Bell, Margaret, comments, 2008-02-17,
11.)^Duncan, Jerry, comments, 2013-09-11, Do You Remember Old Palo Alto,
12.)^Steele, Bill, comments, Do You Remember Old Menlo Park,
13.)^D'Anna, Jo, comments, 2014-05-09,
14.)^Henderson, Judith, 2015-02-09, email to author.
15.)^Takahashi, Ned, 2015-03-06, email to author.
16.)^Draper, Gil, 2015-04-01, telephone interview with author.
17.)^Unknown student.
18.)^Esselstein, Lisa, 2015-06-28, Grateful Dead Tour Veterans 1980's,


  1. I took trumpet lessons from Dana Morgan - must have been in the middle fifties - he actually came out to our house on North California Avenue, just down the street from Jordan and Garland. I had a great trumpet and no work ethic - so my music career came to an abrupt end - not Dana's fault. In the spring of 1962 - my senior year at Paly - I got interested in the guitar and went down to Dana Morgan's music shop and bought an Epiphone electric guitar for $100. It must have been suspicious that a kid had a crisp $100 bill because the salesperson, an older guy, made me show him my ID. I still have the Epiphone and in the top of the case there is still a gold sticker - "Dana Morgan Music Store - with the phone number. Back in the day, "Davenport" was the prefix for all the phones in Palo Alto. Now, I sure wish I had taken the next step and took some lessons from Jerry Garcia - that would have been a great memory - but I still have my guitar, and I'm still playing.
    - Mike Goltzer

  2. Dana Morgan Sr. was my band leader and trumpet teacher in the 50's at the Palo Alto Military Academy (PAMA). He was the one person that didn't do the military hype of the academy. He pulled me thru the PAMA BS with extra merits for helping him around the band room and instructed me on all the Bugle calls and music assignments different from the regular corp. He sold me my first trumpet and fixed the one that I smashed. I would see him playing in the Golden Gate Park band sometimes, he always said hello and she'd talk about his music career in the Navy - playing his clarinet constantly in one story until his lips bled. I admired him as a person and miss his way of doing things. After high school, I dropped the trumpet and took up piano and guitar probably because of the 60's era popularity. Now, I just doodle with the piano. Thanks to Dana Sr. he inspired music in me that I love. JCRodgers

  3. I dated Dana Morgan, Jr. for some time in the '70's. I will always remember those days, with joy.

  4. Well Gez, I have Jerry's Guild Starfire III serial number 2201 in original Dana Morgan case. Dana did fret job and adjusted floating bridge in early 70's and told me it was from Warlocks period. Came to me from New Riders of the Purple Sage and just wondering if anyone has possession of Dana's sales records from 60's to document. PS it still plays great. Email to: