Soviet American Peace Walk video with Jerry Garcia, 1988

[fbvideo link=https://www.facebook.com/186875811362911/videos/10151576843574164/]
1988. “Sovi­et Amer­i­can Peace Walk” with Jer­ry Gar­cia.
“Good­night Irene” Jer­ry Gar­cia & Zero. Jer­ry sig­nals my piano solo about halfway through the song.

I had been asked to pro­cure musi­cians and pro­duce the music for the “Sovi­et Amer­i­can Peace Walk,” a con­cert held at the Band Shell in Gold­en Gate Park, San Fran­cis­co. The event drew 25,000 peo­ple, prob­a­bly most­ly thanks to Jer­ry Gar­cia agree­ing to come down…but it didn’t hurt that peo­ple like Grace Slick, Paul Kant­ner, Mick­ey Hart, Mer­le Saun­ders, Nor­ton Buf­fa­lo, John Cipol­li­na, and the band, Zero, and many oth­ers also came down to play. It was towards the end of the cold war…but nobody knew that yet, and a large group of Sovi­et cit­i­zens had arranged a peace and good­will walk across the USA. This was one of the con­certs wel­com­ing them to the West Coast.
It was a beau­ti­ful day in the park and we had a strict mid-after­noon cur­few placed on us by the city. I’d asked Zero to play two songs on their own before switch­ing to the role of back-up band for all the oth­er artists I’d brought down…which they kind­ly agreed to do. How­ev­er, in true Zero fash­ion (I played keys with Zero for a few years, great band), they decid­ed to do what they want­ed at the last minute and there­fore seam­less­ly launched into a third song…a very long instru­men­tal. I was play­ing key­boards all after­noon off to stage left, in order to co-ordi­nate peo­ple com­ing and going and I had every­thing planned down to how many songs each of the fif­teen musi­cians would get to play before we had to stop.
I couldn’t believe it when Zero launched into anoth­er long tune! I had all these singers and musi­cians wait­ing for their turn…including Jer­ry Gar­cia, Grace Slick, Mick­ey hart, and Paul Kant­ner. I thought the tune would nev­er end and I had to do some quick scram­bling and recal­cu­lat­ing (while play­ing piano) to reassess how long everyone’s slot would have to be to make the cur­few.
Thanks to my old Zero band mates (who I have to say, some­times worked very hard at being con­trary -:), I had to cut most artists down to two songs each. Don’t get me wrong, I love those Zero guys…we’re all good friends, but still… Any­way, I only cut one of Jerry’s songs as I felt he was the main rea­son so many peo­ple had shown up. It was a fun, if tense (for me any­way) after­noon nev­er­the­less. The over­all event orga­niz­ers, Ron Fra­zier, Bill McCarthy, and I arranged for a police escort for Jer­ry Gar­cia, Mick­ey Hart and Steve Parish so they could make a Grate­ful Dead show at the Greek The­atre in Berke­ley lat­er that night.

Joan Baez’s sis­ter, Mimi Fari­na, and I did quite a few shows togeth­er around this time. As well as play­ing shows for her orga­ni­za­tion, “Bread And Ros­es,” Mimi and I played a few fundrais­ers for our non-prof­it video pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny, “Watch­fire Pro­duc­tions.”
We also played one mem­o­rable folk show on some old rail­road tracks just out­side Con­cord Naval base, in Cal­i­for­nia, in sup­port of a cou­ple of hun­dred grass-roots activists. They were protest­ing US weapons ship­ments to the right wing mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ships of El Sal­vador. The El Sal­vado­ran gov­ern­ment was killing large num­bers of their own peo­ple who were sim­ply ask­ing for basic human rights.
Orig­i­nal­ly, we had intend­ed to set up a lit­tle stage on the small grassy area just out­side the naval base gates…but the mil­i­tary police had antic­i­pat­ed this and cov­ered the area with barbed wire. We end­ed up build­ing the stage on anoth­er small grassy area out­side the base at the end of some rusty old rail­road tracks in front of some trees. We used a small gen­er­a­tor for the PA. I remem­ber Mimi and myself play­ing music from her albums plus a few songs from my “Watch­fire” album…numbers like “Save Some­thing For The Chil­dren.” The whole thing was being close­ly mon­i­tored by the author­i­ties. Mil­i­tary Police cars were buzzing all around us with lights flash­ing.
It was weird watch­ing this Navy fel­low stand­ing on a tow­er just inside the naval base high fence, video­tap­ing our entire per­for­mance. I won­der if it’s lying around in some vault somewhere…I bet they don’t throw much stuff away.
Mimi, who was always so full of life and ener­gy, hik­ing on Mt Tam, doing good works, eat­ing healthy food, sad­ly passed away in 2001. We all miss her very much, but the amaz­ing “Bread and Ros­es” orga­ni­za­tion she cre­at­ed in 1974 is still going as strong as ever…providing free live music to peo­ple con­fined in insti­tu­tions — jails, hos­pi­tals, juve­nile facil­i­ties and rest homes.

1988. “Sovi­et Amer­i­can Peace Walk” with Jer­ry Gar­cia.

1988. “Sovi­et Amer­i­can Peace Walk” with Jer­ry Garcia.“Goodnight Irene” Jer­ry Gar­cia & Zero.Jerry sig­nals my piano solo about halfway through the song.I had been asked to pro­cure musi­cians and pro­duce the music for the “Sovi­et Amer­i­can Peace Walk,” a con­cert held at the Band Shell in Gold­en Gate Park, San Fran­cis­co. The event drew 25,000 peo­ple, prob­a­bly most­ly thanks to Jer­ry Gar­cia agree­ing to come down…but it didn’t hurt that peo­ple like Grace Slick, Paul Kant­ner, Mick­ey Hart, Mer­le Saun­ders, Nor­ton Buf­fa­lo, John Cipol­li­na, and the band, Zero, and many oth­ers also came down to play. It was towards the end of the cold war…but nobody knew that yet, and a large group of Sovi­et cit­i­zens had arranged a peace and good­will walk across the USA. This was one of the con­certs wel­com­ing them to the West Coast.It was a beau­ti­ful day in the park and we had a strict mid-after­noon cur­few placed on us by the city. I’d asked Zero to play two songs on their own before switch­ing to the role of back-up band for all the oth­er artists I’d brought down…which they kind­ly agreed to do. How­ev­er, in true Zero fash­ion (I played keys with Zero for a few years, great band), they decid­ed to do what they want­ed at the last minute and there­fore seam­less­ly launched into a third song…a very long instru­men­tal. I was play­ing key­boards all after­noon off to stage left, in order to co-ordi­nate peo­ple com­ing and going and I had every­thing planned down to how many songs each of the fif­teen musi­cians would get to play before we had to stop.I couldn’t believe it when Zero launched into anoth­er long tune! I had all these singers and musi­cians wait­ing for their turn…including Jer­ry Gar­cia, Grace Slick, Mick­ey hart, and Paul Kant­ner. I thought the tune would nev­er end and I had to do some quick scram­bling and recal­cu­lat­ing (while play­ing piano) to reassess how long everyone’s slot would have to be to make the curfew.Thanks to my old Zero band mates (who I have to say, some­times worked very hard at being con­trary -:), I had to cut most artists down to two songs each. Don’t get me wrong, I love those Zero guys…we’re all good friends, but still… Any­way, I only cut one of Jerry’s songs as I felt he was the main rea­son so many peo­ple had shown up. It was a fun, if tense (for me any­way) after­noon nev­er­the­less. The over­all event orga­niz­ers, Ron Fra­zier, Bill McCarthy, and I arranged for a police escort for Jer­ry Gar­cia, Mick­ey Hart and Steve Parish so they could make a Grate­ful Dead show at the Greek The­atre in Berke­ley lat­er that night. Joan Baez’s sis­ter, Mimi Fari­na, and I did quite a few shows togeth­er around this time. As well as play­ing shows for her orga­ni­za­tion, “Bread And Ros­es,” Mimi and I played a few fundrais­ers for our non-prof­it video pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny, “Watch­fire Productions.“We also played one mem­o­rable folk show on some old rail­road tracks just out­side Con­cord Naval base, in Cal­i­for­nia, in sup­port of a cou­ple of hun­dred grass-roots activists. They were protest­ing US weapons ship­ments to the right wing mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ships of El Sal­vador. The El Sal­vado­ran gov­ern­ment was killing large num­bers of their own peo­ple who were sim­ply ask­ing for basic human rights.Originally, we had intend­ed to set up a lit­tle stage on the small grassy area just out­side the naval base gates…but the mil­i­tary police had antic­i­pat­ed this and cov­ered the area with barbed wire. We end­ed up build­ing the stage on anoth­er small grassy area out­side the base at the end of some rusty old rail­road tracks in front of some trees. We used a small gen­er­a­tor for the PA. I remem­ber Mimi and myself play­ing music from her albums plus a few songs from my “Watch­fire” album…numbers like “Save Some­thing For The Chil­dren.” The whole thing was being close­ly mon­i­tored by the author­i­ties. Mil­i­tary Police cars were buzzing all around us with lights flashing.It was weird watch­ing this Navy fel­low stand­ing on a tow­er just inside the naval base high fence, video­tap­ing our entire per­for­mance. I won­der if it’s lying around in some vault somewhere…I bet they don’t throw much stuff away.Mimi, who was always so full of life and ener­gy, hik­ing on Mt Tam, doing good works, eat­ing healthy food, sad­ly passed away in 2001. We all miss her very much, but the amaz­ing “Bread and Ros­es” orga­ni­za­tion she cre­at­ed in 1974 is still going as strong as ever…providing free live music to peo­ple con­fined in insti­tu­tions — jails, hos­pi­tals, juve­nile facil­i­ties and rest homes.

Post­ed by Pete Sears on Tues­day, July 2, 2013

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