If you want to hear some of the results, check out the Grateful Dead archive on archive.org:
The same philosophy behind GD and tapers was adopted by many "Jam Bands" that came after them. Taping improvisational bands like the Dead has a special importance due to the way each show varies and is completely removed from the studio experience. I'd go so far as to say many folks just dislike most studio Dead albums but can rattle off a list of shows with the favorite versions of their favorite songs.
One of the greatest things about the Dead, IMO, was the relationship between the band members. Jerry wasn't the typical lead guitarist and band leader. He was more than happy to share that role and the structure of the band was more or less flat. This jazzier style where anyone was free to lead is something I try to execute in my day to day work life. It's funny though... Just like in playing music, you'll find that there are folks that revel in improvisation, and there are some people who, despite phenomenal talent, can't function without sheet music, rules, a plan, etc.
It's sad to me that the Dead is more or less 'boomer music' these days. There was a time when there was a significant overlap between the tech community and Deadheads. I think the Dead's culture was a geek-friendly form of socialization that was accommodating to non-neurotypical folks and gave many of us weirdo nerds a chance to learn some social skills. The Dead scene was crazy but it was... communal and provided a 'safe space' for all kinds of folks when the world was much less friendly to divergence.
The culture of freely taping and trading live shows is deeply ingrained in my psyche and value system - the idea that a band could give something away "for free", creating so much value in the world yet recovering only a part of that value as concert revenue, was very influential to me. And I believe it was a cultural foundation for open source software in some ways. At least personally, when I started writing software, I was immediately drawn to the value system of open source software with near-RMS levels of enthusiuasm.
Though, maybe DIY is a bit of a misnomer. I had a friend that booked shows. He always insisted on saying "DIT" - do it together. I think this makes it more explicit, whether it's a bunch of people chipping in on setting up a show, a bunch of people sharing their tapes, or a bunch of people committing to an OSS project...
IME the jamband scene (at least pre-pandemic) carried the torch pretty well. Beyond GD's post-Jerry iterations (Dead & Co, Phil and Friends), that welcoming community of taper-friendly bands (esp Phish, but also Moe, SCI...) has even grown in size and reach.
However, their later popularity and touring in the late 1980s turned into a really pathetic spectacle. Some of this was likely related to Jerry Garcia's heroin addiction (which undoubtedly contributed, along with other factors like smoking cigarettes, to his early death at age 53). Dead shows of the period were well known as the place to go to score the best heroin among druggie circles of all kinds. This all predated the opiate marketing game and the rise of the pain pill clinics, whose results can be seen wandering the streets of any major American city today.
It's really a kind of sad tale, but I still like their early music (the vast majority of which wasn't taped with any quality).
By the late 80s they had ended up as a really good cover band playing Grateful Dead material. Though there were flashes of brilliance even then, I had a hard time getting up the energy to hear anything but local shows.
I didn't (and don't like) taking the drugs myself, though there was always a contact high / breathing the atmosphere that would tune me up. But the drugs just got in the way of the music.
(That was back when the hippies were in charge, before the frat bros took over.)
Q: What did the Deadhead say when he ran out of marijuana?
A: "This music sucks!"
I saw a bunch of Flying Other Brothers concerts, who started at an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) benefit at The Fillmore Auditorium in 1997, and occasionally backed Bob Weir and Mickey Hart!
You're talking about rock music and the Dead. Drugs were the catalyst, an essential aspect of the musical experience for many of the performancers and the audience. But you're totally right, drugs were the solvent too, dissolving focus, talent, and brilliance to fade away. It's a risk and (sometimes fatal) attraction, I think largely due to the lack of cultural knowledge for responsible and sustainable recreational drug use.
Dr. Halsted was one of the "Big Four" founding professors at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and lived until 1922 - 70 years old. Addicted to morphine for much of his adult life.
Opiates are dangerous and highly addictive and people should stay away from them except for serious pain management. However they aren't going to do the kind of cumulative organ damage that cigarettes and alcohol abuse do.
I believe opiates do mess with your hormones, which could have subtle effects which do affect lifespan, but yeah, I mostly agree. Opiates won't seriously damage your health if you are responsible.
I’m heading see Trey in San Diego tonight and tomorrow in Santa Barbra.
They definitely aren't your stereotypical "hippies" though! That whole aesthetic is a relic of the boomer past.
Hey man, there are still a few of us youngin's out here repping the Dead!
> the Dead is more or less 'boomer music' these days.
I haven’t lived in the U.S. for many years so I don’t know the current scene first-hand, but whenever I watch Grateful Dead videos on YouTube I start getting recommendations for videos of currently performing cover bands . These include not only the groups that include surviving original members, like Dead & Company, but also a lot of younger bands throughout the country. Some stick to the original Dead repertoire fairly closely, while others mix it with their originals and with other covers. While Dead & Company seem to attract a lot of graybeards to their shows, the crowds for the younger bands look a lot younger.
Those videos stir mixed feelings in this graybeard. On the one hand, I’m happy to see young people enjoying the music I was into nearly fifty years ago (I attended my first Grateful Dead concert in 1973). On the other hand, shouldn’t young people be into newer music?
> On the one hand, I’m happy to see young people enjoying the music I was into nearly fifty years ago (I attended my first Grateful Dead concert in 1973). On the other hand, shouldn’t young people be into newer music?
I hear you. I'm overjoyed to see young people listening to classics but wonder when the next Jerry, Zappa or Jimi will emerge. The music world is much more image conscious than it was then, however(video killed the radio star...) and the market is much more fragmented now. That said, there's a ton of great new music. It's hard to tell with my old ears what music now will have the staying power of the music we love.
The progression of radio -> tapes -> CDs -> mp3s -> streaming services slowly but surely dramatically broadened things from the days of there just being a couple main genres. Mainstream radio hasn't kept up - the bandwidth isn't there - but there's a ton more out there beyond it.
'MOTB' stands for 'mouth of the beast' which is one step up from the 'FOB' or 'front of board' mentioned in the article, and was a term used by a handful of tapers including Rob Bertrando.
Here's a little interview with Rob and a couple other prolific tapers:
Taping and sharing culture and its benefits were very apparent in many net forums.
As were democratisation of the new tools, public terminals with BBS access and the Deadheads community spirit exemplified on Usenet and Arpanet.
Look no further than John Perry Barlow, EFF co-founder and his Manifesto of Cyberspace - he was a Grateful Dead Lyricist !
Barlow's paradigm seems cheeky without awareness of
the Net's public roots, how it came up through BBS and Fidonet culture, is forgotten by those who only saw the view of the Net as a gift from the ivory towers of academia and the military rather than bedroom z80 & 6502 modem culture.
q.v. Fidonet BBS documentary
The Raster Masters would lug enormous million dollar high end SGI workstations across North Shoreline Boulevard from SGI headquarters to Shoreline Amphitheater, and actually pack them into trucks and travel on tour with the Dead, performing live improvisational psychedelic graphics on the screen behind the band in real time to their live music, using an ensemble of custom software they wrote themselves, mixing together and feeding back the video of several SGI workstations in real time.
At one concert, some hippie came up to me, pointed at the graphics on the screen behind the stage in awe, and said, "I took all these shrooms, I'm tripping my balls off, and you would not fucking believe what they're making me seeing on the screen up there!!!" I explained to him that I hadn't taken any shrooms, but I could see the exact same thing!
The Raster Masters wrote and performed their own software,
which reflected the taping and sharing culture of the Dead scene, including ElectroPaint and the Panel Library from NASA, whose source code and recorded live performances were distributed with SGI's demo software and free source code library.
The improvisational software was like a musical instrument performed in real time along with the music.
ElectroPaint and other Raster Master performances were featured in the Infrared Roses video:
>Infrared Roses is a live compilation album by the Grateful Dead. It is a conglomeration of their famous improvisational segments "Drums" and "Space".
All this was long before "VJ" live performance graphics became so commoditized by widely available off-the-shelf VJ software that enabled any club kid VJ to show up late, set up their Powerbook, open a playlist in VLC, press the space bar, and then focus their attention on popping pills of ecstasy and snorting lines of coke instead of performing for the rest of the show.
>Raster Masters: Enough with virtual reality -- virtual hallucinations?
>"Free-form mind blowing," is how Raster Master Creon Levit describes the goal of his band's visual music. "We're trying to develop a new performance medium: live computer-graphics ensemble performance.
>"Raster Master's improvisations are a cascade of swirling, metamorphosing images: '60s light shows grafted onto '80s music video, real time. "Enough of reality – let's do virtual hallucinations," Levit declares. "We are instrument builders, playing away on the visual equivalent of the first synthesizers."
>Give this group one thing: They've got some high-end equipment. No wimpy Video Toasters for this outfit! Try two Onyx RealityEngines2 along with two Indigo2 Extremes. It takes a 12-foot truck to pack up all their beefy machinery; setting up for a performance takes five hours. For these artists, corporate sponsorship resembles traditional patronage of the arts more than it does the run-of-the-mill Miller Beer logo stuck in your face. Two of the Raster Masters work for Silicon Graphics; among their duties is writing the code that creates their visual music – code that a Macintosh could never crunch. SGI, of course, also provides the machines that the Raster Masters use.
>Of the group's three highly skilled programmers, two – Levit and David Tristram – worked at the NASA Ames Research Center, in Mountain View, California. Levit still works there. When Tristram left NASA, he went to work at SGI. There he met Ron Fischer, the Raster Masters' third programmer. Fischer compares performance graphics to "puppets, directly reacting to many operator actions at once."
>Graphic designer Maggie Hoppe plays the role of mixer-cum-video-switcher. Sound designer Johnathan Nelson spins a dense mix of sounds. Look for the Raster Masters in Amsterdam at the TILE Convention on June 28 and at the Montreux Music Festival in Montreux, Switzerland, in mid-July. Stateside, you can see them at Digital World in Los Angeles on June 9 and at SIGGRAPH in Orlando, Florida, July 24 to 29. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Tristram's and Eric Raible's GL based "Panel Library" and scheme based "Panel Editor" was a 3D user interface toolkit and gui editor that drew widgets with GL (unheard of at the time: everybody thought they was crazy for drawing widgets in 3D, not only with real beveled edges, but even attached to animated 3D objects in the world) originally developed at NASA NAS (Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation) for interactive data visualization, which David also used to implement the live performance user interface to ElectroPaint (with banks of automatic bouncing sliders whose value, min, max, speed and wrap you could scrub and adjust in real time), which was one of the programs they used to perform at Grateful Dead Concerts, that was eventually distributed as a screen saver (with all the bouncing sliders hidden, but playing back recorded performances) on the SGI Indy (the Indigo without the go ;) ).
>Panel Library And Editor computer program is grapical-user-interface builder program for use on workstations of Silicon Graphics IRIS family. Program creates "widgets" manipulated by user. Appearance similar to X-Windows System. Used by programmers to write user-friendly mouse-driven application programs for IRIS workstations. Panel Library (v9.8) and Editor (v1.1) written in C Language and Scheme.
>NAS User Interfaces: Dan Wallach and Tom Woodrow. NAS Systems Development Branch, NAS Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center.
>Abstract: Graphical User Interfaces at NAS have been developed over the past five years using the proprietary Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) Graphics Library (GL) as well as the locally developed Panel Library. The Panel Library was built to offer a higher level library to build user interfaces . Panel Library has been highly successful, but suffers from several problems. With the forthcoming upgrade of the Silicon Graphics Operating System IRIX 4.0 there are several new alternatives with respect to user interface development . This paper describes the alternatives, recommends a transition to an X/Motif development environment and defines an implementation
>1. Current Development Environment
>Currently, the production SGI workstations at NAS are running the IRIX
Operating System, version 3.3. In the next Operating System release, the Window
System will transition from a Sun Microsystems NeWS-based implementation to an
MIT X-based implementation. This should not cause significant problems for the
majority of existing graphics applications. However, those applications which use
specific and even undocumented features of the current window system will require
software modifications. We have had development versions of the Operating System
in-house for some time and have verified this.
>Two of the major GL based tools developed at NAS are the Panel Library
and Panel Editor. These were developed by David Tristram and Eric Raible as an
alternative to writing user interfaces directly in GL. The Panel Library defines high
level graphical objects which are composed of lower level GL primitives. These
graphic objects can be used as components in a graphical user interface. At the time
the Panel Library was developed, there were no other high level user interface libraries
available on the SGI platform. Currently the Panel Library is used in a number of applications,
both in-house (most notably FAST) and external. It is available
through COSMIC. There are currently several problems with Panel Library and the Panel Editor:
>1) We have lost most of our Panel Library development expertise (both the author
and the major support developer have left NASA or moved on to new jobs within the organization).
>2) There is an inadequate support organization (in fact, bugs are being fixed by users rather than NAS).
>3) The Panel Editor makes extensive use of undocumented and no longer supported calls. It will require a major rewrite to function in IRIX 4.0
>EAGLEView: A Surface and Grid Generation Program and its Data Management.
>Abstract: An old and proven grid generation code, the EAGLE grid generation package by Joe Thompson, is given an added dimension of a graphical interface and a real-time database manager. The Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation (NAS) Panel Library is used for the graphical user interface. Through the panels, EAGLEView constructs the EAGLE script command and sends it to EAGLE to be processed. After the object is created, the script is saved in a mini-buffer which can be edited and/or saved and reinterpreted.
They also shared the Panel Library and ElectroPaint source code for free, long before SGI released a later version of it with their demo software:
This is the panel library, a set of routines used for building "control
panel" interfaces to interactive graphic applications. These routines
let you assemble "actuators" like sliders, buttons, stripcharts, and
typeouts into control panels that live on separate mex windows. As the
user mouses the actuators, values accessable to the applications programmer,
(THAT'S YOU!) appear in predefined structures. You can also set the values
and watch the positions or states of the actuators change. You can
customize the actuators in many ways because alot of their properties are
controlled by indirect functions that you can replace with your own. In
fact, you can add new actuators without changing any of the panel library
code because the initialization function is one of these indirect guys!
Someday all this will be nicely documented, but until then, hopefully you
can get something out of the 20 or so demo programs. Try ep, the
psychedelic electro-paint program. Have fun.
>Fifth Computer Graphics Workshop Proceedings
>Author: David A. Tristam
Title: Controlling Virtual Words with the Panel Library
Proceedings: USENIX Fifth Computer Graphics workshop
Date: November 16-17, 1989
Location: Monterey, CA
Institution: NASA Ames Research Center
>Electropaint on SGI Indy: A capture of the great screensaver electropaint on an SGI Indy. There is no sound (originally I had Mahavishnu Orchestra's "Miles Beyond" but youtube flagged me for it), but feel free to blast your own music while watching.
>6 minutes of ElectroPaint
>SGI IRIX ElectroPaint Screen Saver.
David Tristram is a "Viviographer" who went from NASA to SGI to Adobe, where he's now working on some equally amazing interactive psychedelic graphics, that I sure hope make it into the next release of Photoshop!
>Simply put, Viviography is the art of creating art in motion. Derived from the Latin prefix "vivi" or "alive," Viviography uses the power of modern computers to create images that are born on the screen, then advance, retreat, shift, ascend, or disappear at the artist’s bidding. Viviography allows the artist to achieve the spontaneity of jazz performance in a visual medium. When accompanied by music, Mr. Tristram’s Viviography can engender a synaesthetic response in the viewer, where audience members report the experience of seeing music, or hearing pictures.
Brief History of ElectroPaint:
>What is Electro-Paint? Why is it so hard to use? Why should I waste my time with it? Electro-Paint is a string of bytes, tiny organizations of magnetic fields, minute ripples in an electronic flow. It has controls. Electro-Paint responds, but in ways that are hard to describe. It can be frustrating. It is not automatic. It will reward attention. It has no purposes, except those that are self-evident. It has a reset button. It has subtle bugs. It's free.
>Try a little "wrst", with some "zoom", ... ...and maybe a bit of "flip" or "spin"...
>David Tristram wrote Electropaint while working at NASA before he came to Silicon Graphics. While at SGI David made the source code availible to the company as a demo. For a time, Electropaint was part of the SGI demo source code distribution, but no longer.
>Extended versions and variations of Electropaint were used in public performances by a "visual music band" called "Raster Masters" that David led, and I was a part of. We toured Germany and played at various parties and shows in the USA. Unfortunately our "guitars" were Onyx RE/2 machines that cost considerably more than a Stratocaster. SGI never believed there was money in the live music performance market and over time withdrew its support. They were probably right. Of course, the forthcoming Visual PC changes that cost.
>Since leaving SGI David has written new software on the PC which is a "next generation" of image generator. Its source code and software technology is unrelated to Electropaint. This may eventually become a product.
>As far as I know, the old SGI version of Electropaint is neither publicly availible nor being further developed.
>...and FYI I do not have any version of the Electropaint source code myself.
>Requests for electropaint source code have become a nearly annual feature in Usenet forums and elsewhere. In 2002 a programmer named Matevz Bradac found the source for the 1989 initial release of Panel Library and posted the 'discovery', and eventually pulled the sources together into a Visual Studio project for Windows. Rather than porting the original GL calls to OpenGL, Bradac decided to write wrappers between GL and OpenGL. He called his wrapper 'IGL' and the recompiled electropaint he termed 'GLectric'. The now-defunct website was found here:
IGL is an Open Source port of IrisGL library to OpenGL.
Current version is 0.1.8 which incorporates both Win32 and X11 implementations.
>first, there was electro-paint, an SGI Irix screensaver written by David A. Tristram. the screensaver was simple at its base - triangles or squares moving around on the screen - but so effective that the crowd rejoiced.
>everyone wanted the sources, but SGI never released them (or did they?). everyone wanted to get to know the algorithms used for polygon movement, but it came down to guessing (polar coordinates etc.).
>then, a programmer (me) was enlightened, and the sources were resurrected. electro-paint was posted to newsgroups by David A. Tristram himself, while still working with NASA. it was however disguised as a part of the (in)famous Panel Library and - thanks to Google Groups - the whole package could be downloaded. thanks to David A. Tristram, the Panel Library and Electropaint sources were made a part of IGL distribution (as of version 0.1.7).
Free IGL ElectroPaint source code:
ElectroPaint source code:
Panel Library Automatic Bouncing Multi Slider source code:
At some point Dave asks them why they let people tape their shows, and Bob replies with “if we ever make a good album people would probably go out and buy it anyway”
They were open source before it was cool. Also check out https://relisten.net/ for a great index of their shows from the Internet Archive.
What if you also had a few 2d photos of the concert - could a program be written to put it all together - how realistic can you get it? You could have the rest "made up" to fill in the blanks.
My dad used to tell me how they where all starving, and some local shopkeeper took pity on them, and sold him a wheel of cheese for tuppence. This is that shopkeeper. And the wheel of cheese. https://youtube.com/watch?v=TCEPizIV2xc
I also love Garcia's interview from that weekend. Interviewer: "Do you think there should be limitations on open air festivals, like this?" Garcia: "Well, that presupposes that I think there should be festivals". Man, that guy cracks me up. https://youtube.com/watch?v=m0vAqnq1vW0
For myself, the March 72 gig at Baltimore Civic Centre is my favourite, and the recording quality is amazing. https://relisten.net/grateful-dead/1973/03/26
The Dead encouraged taping, and the last few row of the floor seats were reserved for it.
It was an interesting thing to see. The back few rows was a forest of microphone stands and microphones. This was no casual thing.
The other interesting thing was that the band did not talk to the audience. They walked on stage, started playing. Played a bit, paused, said "We'll be back" and took a break for intermission.
Then they returned, started playing and then walked off. I honestly can't say if they said "Thanks" to the crowd, or waved, or anything.
It was just their familiarity with their audience, and vice-a-versa. I guess none of that was really necessary.
You sure you're thinking of the Grateful Dead?
The live shows I've heard have plenty of banter and talking. Bobby or Jerry telling people to 'take a step back', telling jokes, especially when there's an equipment issue...
You can get sbd versions of most shows on archive.org, and headyversion will have links to archive.
I made something similar to headyversion but for phish, https://phine.st but it doesn't have a lot of content and I lost interest.
I think Fen knows something about that...
I did not see that.
I saw one ad ("Sign in or register for email updates and this box won’t appear again. We’re grateful for your support.") but could read the entire article after dismissing it.
On subsequent pages I got a couple of similar dialogs but was able to read several articles.