Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stanford Frat Parties, Palo Alto, CA

The actual addresses where these Fraternity parties took place is unknown.

Jerry performed here on
5/61 Robert Hunter(3)

1963 Zodiacs
Jerry and Pigpen were also playing occasionally in an electric blues/rock group called The Zodiacs, fronted by a guitarist named Troy Weidenheimer. "while Jerry was teaching folk guitar, Troy was teaching electric guitar; he was known around town,", say Eric Thompson. Troy had an R+B band  that played Stanford frat parties  and Jerry sometimes played bass in it  and Pigpen was the singer.(1)

Sara Garcia: “For money, Jerry had played in a rock & roll band with Troy Weidenheimer. They played fraternity parties. What they had to put up with was awful.”(5)

Bob Weir: "Garcia had done a few electric gigs with Pig in a band called the Zodiacs before I'd ever known them, and so they had a little experience with R&B."

Garcia later spoke at length about Troy Weidenheimer’s influence on him:
“Troy taught me the principle of ‘hey – stomp your foot and get on it.’ He was a great one for the instant arrangement…fearless for that thing of ‘get your friends and do it,’ and ‘fuck it if it ain’t slick, it’s supposed to be fun.’ He had a wide-open style of playing that was very, very loose; like when we went to play gigs at the Stanford parties, we didn’t have songs or anything, and he would just say ‘play B-flat,’ you know, and I’d play bass, and we’d just play along and he’d jam over the top of it; so a lot of my conceptions of the freedom available to your playing really came from him. He would take chorus after chorus, but he directed the band right in the now… We never rehearsed or anything ever, we would just go to the shows and play – and he was so loose about it, he didn’t care, he just wanted it cookin’ so he could play his solos; and he was just a wonderful, inventive, and fun, good-humored guitar player. One of the first guys I ever heard who exhibited a real sense of humor on the guitar. He was quite accomplished. I mean, in those days he was certainly the hot-rod guitar player of Palo Alto, as far as electric guitar was concerned. While I was a folkie and all that…”(4)

“Jerry would let me know when a playing opportunity was coming up [and] we four would load us and our instruments into that old car and go anywhere we could play… We played a lot of little gigs, usually at no pay. Sometimes it would just be a house party. Sometimes a coffeehouse in San Francisco… We’d just pile in the car, get there, set up and play, get in the car and go home… You just played as much as you could. Sometimes they even fed you. They seldom paid you.”
“Troy Weidenheimer taught guitar over at Swain’s House of Music in Palo Alto. He would get together with us from time to time…(1)

"I never kept track of how many or for who or where they were. We didn’t care. We’d just pile in the car, get there, set up and play, get done, get in the car and go home.  You didn’t think  “archival”.  You just played as much as you could."(2)

1.)^The Zodiacs,
2.)^Van Maastricht, Norm,
3.)^McNally, Dennis, A Long Strange Trip, pg. 33,

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