January 30, 2021

Who's Who on the Rolling Thunder Cover

Guest Post by Dr. Beechwood (@DrBeechwood on Twitter
With additions & edits by Light Into Ashes.
Mickey Hart left the Grateful Dead after the 2/18/71 show in Port Chester, New York. Mickey didn’t stop playing music though, and returned to his ranch in Novato, California, where he’d built a studio in the barn. There he would record his first solo album, Rolling Thunder, as well as more projects in later years. 
Mickey had first moved onto the ranch back in 1969, and it soon became a haven for an ongoing crowd of friends, family, musicians, crewmembers, and hangers-on. Mickey lived there through the ‘70s; after he moved out, the barn burned down in a fire. All the buildings on the ranch are gone now, and the land is currently part of a Novato park.  
This Warner Brothers promotional photo of the Grateful Dead was taken at the ranch in fall 1970 by Herb Greene: 
There are also other shots from the photo session showing a bigger group of people, for instance this group shot
Or this sprawling crowd: 
I think those photos were taken behind the barn that would soon be converted into a recording studio. Out on Mickey's remote ranch, the barn was a rustic place to build a studio, but it served him well: 

For more on the history of Mickey’s barn studio, here’s a good place to start:
The studio appears to have been built in the first place as a result of tangled machinations between Columbia & Warner Brothers over who would get to sign the Dead to another recording contract. Part of the story is here:
To sum up, in 1970 Alan Douglas and Columbia Records cast a kindly eye on Mickey’s recording aspirations, offering him a studio with the intent of luring the Dead into signing with Columbia. Not to be outdone, Warners gave Mickey a three-album record contract (even as he left the group) to keep the Dead happy with the label. A year and a half later, Mickey finally delivered his first album, Rolling Thunder. But time had marched on, and the Dead were leaving Warners to form their own label, so Warners didn’t pay attention to (let alone release) Mickey’s further album offerings, and quietly dropped him.
As far as press reports, the first glimmer of Mickey’s studio comes in a November ’70 Billboard article stating that Alan Douglas was providing the studio for a recording project on his record label, as part of the same deal that produced the Hooteroll album:
“Douglas Records will record two albums with individual members of the Grateful Dead, a Warner Bros. group. In the arrangement, Alan Douglas, head of Douglas Records, will produce and release one LP featuring Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia and organist Howard Wales… The second album will be based on a percussion concept developed by the Grateful Dead's two drummers, Bill Kreitzman and Micky Hart... The Kreitzman-Hart LP will be recorded at a fully equipped 16-track studio Douglas has installed in Hart's barn in Navato, Calif. The studio, designed by Kreitzman, Hart, and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead under the supervision of engineer Dan Healey, will be completed within the month.”
A Billboard article on the Dead in Jan ’71 announced that “Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann…are recording an album in the new studio in Mickey’s barn… [It] will be on Warner Bros.” (Douglas had now dropped out of the picture.)
A May ’71 Billboard article confirmed that Mickey was recording a solo album for Warners. Now that Mickey had left the Dead, Kreutzmann was no longer mentioned, and indeed wouldn’t appear on the album. (Bill said in his memoir, “Our brother Mickey left the band and retreated to his ranch in Novato and it really strained our relationship for a while.”)
The studio was mentioned again in a facetious June ’71 SF Examiner article:
"Hidden in an old barn on 50 acres of farm land outside Novato is Hart’s Rolling Thunder studio. The fully equipped, ultra-modern, 16-track recording complex took three years to complete – a stroke of genius, finished just in time for the trend toward the basics. Hart plans to incorporate into his music the live sounds of barnyard animals... He calls it Organic Rock."
(Tom Campbell, "Musical Moos of Organic Rock," SF Examiner 6/12/71)
This idea, too, was dropped. Not one to be rushed, Mickey emerged a year later with a more straightforward set of songs and Indian-inspired instrumentals, aided by all the friends in the Bay Area rock scene he could round up. Far from being an album of “percussion concepts,” it’s more of a conventional guitar-rock album, spiced up by a horn section, with most of the songs written by either Robert Hunter or Dead friend Peter Monk, and two songs borrowed from the Dead. (One single was even released, ‘Blind John,’ sounding very much like a Jefferson Airplane track – in fact, the Airplane soon released their own version.) It didn’t storm up the charts or stir up much interest for future Mickey Hart albums, but remains quite listenable.
The rest of the Dead still kept in touch with Mickey and dropped in to help with the album. The well-known 8/21/71 jam at Mickey’s ranch would have taken place during the album recording sessions. More info on the background of that day is here:
The players that day included several who were working on Mickey’s album, including members of the Dead, John Cipollina, Robbie Stokes & David Freiberg.
Once the album was released in '72, Mickey continued recording other album projects at his studio (including “Fire on the Mountain” and “Area Code 415”), using many of the same crew as on Rolling Thunder – the above players, along with Barry Melton, Jim McPherson, Steve Schuster, and others. (They’re sometimes called “the Marin County Collective” though I don’t know where the name originated.)
These recordings would remain unreleased as Warners ignored Mickey’s submissions, but by 1974 he found a more fruitful use for his studio when it became the recording base for several Round Records releases. The barn studio would remain in use for various people’s projects until Mickey left around 1981. 

(See also more photos of the studio here: https://thegdwheel.com/page-128)
The Dead had been delighted to find the ranch, a new bucolic paradise where anyone was welcome to stay and soak in the country life. As Rosie McGee writes, "The many buildings, some no more than shacks, became home for members of the Dead's extended family, who came and went randomly." The Grateful Dead Family Album has a number of happy memories of life on the ranch: “Over the first few years, almost everyone in the Dead Family lived there at one time. And they kept leaving and coming back, to make music, to party, to ride horses, to share sunrise ceremonies, to stay for a while, or just for some quiet time.” (But as people crowded into the house and moved into every available building on the place, including barns and sheds, this meant “endless cooking” by the women!)
https://thegdwheel.com/page-68 (the ranch residents)
https://thegdwheel.com/page-67 (a party for Tower of Power)
But the ranch wasn’t always full of parties. David Browne’s book So Many Roads has a darker look at Mickey’s time there in the early ‘70s. Even as Mickey’s studio was being built, he was in low spirits, his father’s betrayal weighing on him.
According to Mountain Girl, after Lenny Hart bolted with the band’s money, Mickey was “in a terrible state of apology and depression and said that leaving the band was the only thing for him to do. He was so ashamed and humiliated.” Mickey gradually withdrew over the course of 1970: “The road was hard for me. It was getting really difficult with all the drugs and stuff…I tried everything.” His friend Sue Swanson said he “went into a tailspin,” and the lively atmosphere at his ranch became “sad and confusing.” (So Many Roads p.171-72)
By early 1971, as McNally describes it, Mickey was “a complete wreck.” (LST p. 392) For Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey was getting too erratic to deal with: “It became impossible for me to play with him.” Mickey “was in bad shape…getting into dark drugs…[he] wasn’t able to play.” The Dead had enough when Mickey bugged out during the Capitol Theater run, and asked him to leave. “He was deeply hurt by that.” (Deal p.151-52)
Other friends remember the ranch growing “dark” as Mickey isolated himself. His girlfriend Jerilyn Brandelius said, “He was a complete hermit, and he was very depressed and broken-hearted… He cut himself off from everybody. He was so upset with everything that happened with his dad and the band.” (SMR p.233)
Making Rolling Thunder was a period of recovery for Mickey – as he put it, “building my studio and learning what I sounded like.” He considered the Rolling Thunder album to be “what my life sounded like for one year…the soundtrack to Mickey Hart that year.” (Swing 51 #13) McNally writes that “building a studio and coming to ground had been beneficial for Hart” – and on top of that, the funds from Warners “gave him the means to improve the barn’s equipment.” (LST p.437-38)

Rolling Thunder was recorded from early 1971 to mid-1972 and was released in September of 1972. I haven’t found any exact recording dates, but would guess that much of 1971 was spent tinkering with recording experiments that didn’t make it to album.
The March 1972 Dead newsletter announced, “For those of you who are curious about what happened to Mickey Hart, he's still in Marin County working on what he hopes to be the final stages of his own album; he's been working on it for about a year now…it’s called ROLLING THUNDER.” The August newsletter proclaimed that the album “is finally finished after a year and half's work” and would be released in September. 
Like later albums recorded at the barn, the final album wasn't mixed there but was mixed over at Alembic Studios. (Mixing facilities in the barn seem to have been inadequate.) Judging by the number of people credited with engineering and mixing the album (eight in all), it took a lot of work to get the final mix down. 
The front cover art was designed by Alton Kelley (per the Grateful Dead Family Album) and credited to Kelley/Mouse Studios - they had done the art for several Dead albums. The back cover was a collage of photos with no identifying captions. The photography was credited to Ron Rakow & Bruce Baxter, who probably put together the collage. (Ed Thrasher, Warner Brothers art director, was thanked in the album notes for “art direction,” but considering his similar credit for the Anthem of the Sun cover, most likely he had little involvement.)
For the first time, I have tried to identify the people on the back cover. In this research I was helped directly or indirectly by the following people: Rosie McGee (RM), Mickey Hart (MH) and his assistant, Rose Solomon, Dennis McNally, Sue Stallcup, David Gans, and Jesse Jarnow. 
I appreciate Light in Ashes for allowing me to post on his blog. And please see our earlier collaboration identifying the people on the back cover of Aoxomoxoa:
Many of the photos are dark, blurry, or otherwise difficult to identify. Despite this, I have made significant progress with the help of the people acknowledged above.
The photos depict the following groups of people:
(1) Musicians who played on the album: drummers such as Zakir Hussain and Greg Errico, Dead members who contributed, and other instrumentalists such as Stephen Stills, Robbie Stokes, etc.
(2) People who helped with the project, either as recording engineers, roadies, or managers.
(3) Friends and Family, mostly people who lived at the ranch, including some infants.
The collage is by no means a complete Rolling Thunder group portrait -- not everyone who worked on the album is shown. The album insert thanks a large number of people, some of whom I have identified on the cover and some who may be there but I haven’t found them yet. The ones thanked but not ID’ed include: Bill Champlin (organ), Paul Kantner (vocals), Sam Andrews (guitar), Mike and Nancy Hinton (marimbas), Carmelo Garcia (percussion), Dan Healy (mixing), John Wollman and Rick Davis (engineers), Rock Scully (director), and Jerilyn Brandelius.
Here’s the list of people we have identified positively or tentatively. In general I’ve tried providing more info on the lesser-known people and what their roles were. If you have more information, can identify the unknowns, or question some of the current ID’s, please let us know in the comments and we will update the post accordingly! 

#1: Mickey Hart, drummer for the Grateful Dead, Oct. 1967 – Feb. 1971. He would rejoin the Dead in Oct. 1974.

#2: Unknown

#3: According to RM, this is Johnny d'Fonseca, Jr. – son of Johnny d’Fonseca, Sr. (see #17)
Johnny d’Fonseca Jr. (1958-1987) was the drummer in the Jerry Garcia Band for six months in 1979-80, but had been in Mickey’s circle for some ten years before that. Robert Hunter wrote in the liner notes to After Midnight:
“Little Johnny Dee was the son of Big Johnny Dee, a jolly Jamaican carpenter who built Mickey's studio in the pastures of Novato. I remember Little Johnny as a quiet kid who grew up around the scene and liked to work out on Mickey's drum kit, which was always set up in the studio, getting tips from the master along the way.”

#4: Unknown

#5: According to MH, this is Danny Rifkin, one of the Grateful Dead’s managers since 1966. He appears to be naked.

#6: According to RM, this is Sandi Winslow.
Sandi was the wife of Joe Winslow (1948-2012), one of the Dead crewmembers who came from Pendleton, Oregon. Joe worked for the Grateful Dead road crew in 1971-74; per Dennis McNally, in 1974 “crew member Joe Winslow, his wife Sandy, and some other former crew members began Hard Truckers, which manufactured speaker and instrument cases and cabinets.” (Long Strange Trip p.481)

#7: MH says that this is one of the engineers on the album, but he doesn’t remember which one. The listed engineers included Mickey Hart, Dan Healy, John Wollman, Rick Davis & David Freiberg. We know it’s not Mickey, Dan, or David, so maybe it is John Wollman or Rick Davis.

#8: RM identifies her as Debbie Eisenberg, aka “Debbie Doobie.”
She’s given “special thanks” in the album credits, was later listed as part of the “crew” for the Rhythm Devils’ Apocalypse Now Sessions, and was also thanked in the Go To Heaven credits as part of the Front Street crew. (She’s also the “Debbie” listed as a supporting musician on Aoxomoxoa.)

#9: Grace Slick, according to RM.
Grace was the lead singer for the Jefferson Airplane. She contributes piano & vocals to ‘Blind John’ on the album.

#10: Rolling Thunder (1916-1997).
“His Western name was John Pope,” Mickey wrote. He met the Dead in 1967 and frequently stayed at Mickey’s ranch in the ‘70s, acting as a Shoshone medicine man. The Dead family were quite impressed with him; Jerilyn Brandelius wrote, “He came to heal and provide spiritual guidance to many of us through the years. He was a regular visitor at Mickey’s ranch with his warriors and while he was in residence, we got up for a sunrise ceremony every morning.”
Mickey named the barn studio and the album after him, even opening the album with his ‘Shoshone Invocation.’ The sunrise ceremony also inspired the Dead song ‘Sunrise.’
#11: MH identifies this horse as Tychain.
“At the Novato ranch…Valerie acquired for Mickey a thoroughbred racehorse named Tychain.”
#12: Stephen Stills.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and founding member of the Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills & Nash. At the time of this album he was working as a solo artist and also formed the band Manassas. On this album he plays bass on ‘The Main Ten’ and helped with mixing.

#13: Phil Lesh, Grateful Dead bassist. Here he plays bass on ‘Pump Song.’

#14: Unknown child.

#15: RM identifies him as LuVell Benford (1940-2014).
Dennis McNally writes that he met the band in 1966 and visited them at 710 Ashbury: “LuVell Benford was a tall, striking black man from Oakland, a businessman with a most enlightened air about him, whom Weir first recalled seeing at Olompali riding a white BWM motorcycle with white saddlebags, a big white cowboy hat on his head. He was noticeably warm and generous, more monklike than any trader could reasonably be.” (Long Strange Trip p.161)
According to one biography: “Born in Pasadena, CA in 1940…after graduation he joined the Marines to “see the world”. He spent several years stationed in Asia where he took up Martial Arts and Buddhism. After his discharge, he found engineer work at IBM’s inaugural base and became acquainted with a local researcher, Timothy Leary. A single acid trip changed his fate over-night. Rebelling against his life as a “suit”, he moved to San Francisco and fell in with the burgeoning counterculture movement, befriending Jack Kerouac and witnessing the birth of The Grateful Dead. Legendary music promoter, Bill Graham, hired him to be a bodyguard for his artists and he spent the better part of a decade jet-setting and hobnobbing with stars.” He later moved to Hawaii.
#16: RM identifies him as Bruce Baxter – one of the photographers for the cover. He also gets "special thanks" in the credits.
Dennis McNally’s book describes him as “Loose Bruce Baxter, a Texas heir who would live at [Mickey’s] ranch for some time. Periodically, Hart recalled, they’d clean him up and send him to a meeting with his mother so that he could continue getting his $10,000 monthly allowance.” (Long Strange Trip p.308)
Robbie Stokes (see #56) writes, “There was Bruce B., who drove a Mercedes sedan and had a pretty, blonde hippie girlfriend named Lacy. He was the scion of a famed Texas ranch outfit, the famous King family, and was rumored to be loaded with inherited Texas money. He seemed to be some sort of, ahem, "businessman."”
According to McNally, it was Bruce who had turned the Dead on to cocaine in 1970: “Loose Bruce Baxter, their wealthy friend, had showed up with a large baggie full of the powder.” (p.362)
Loose Bruce’s sister was Frances Carr, a wealthy heiress who worked for Out of Town Tours with Sam Cutler; in 1975 she and Cutler opened up Manor Downs in Austin, Texas.

#17: RM identifies him as Johnny d'Fonseca, Sr. – (see also #37)
D’Fonseca (1934-1977) was a carpenter & caretaker who lived on Mickey’s ranch for several years in the ‘70s. Per Dennis McNally, he came into the Dead orbit in 1968: Ron Rakow was managing the Carousel “with his lover, Lydia d’Fonseca, as chief bookkeeper and secretary… Lydia’s brother Johnny, a superb carpenter, took care of the rebuilding of the stage… [Circa 1970] Lydia’s brother Johnny d’Fonseca, who had been the carpenter at the Carousel, moved himself and his family to the ranch and, working with Dan Healy’s designs, remodeled the barn into a studio and took care of everything else that needed fixing.” (Long Strange Trip p.256, 308
He received a well-deserved "special thanks" in the album credits, and continued to work for the Dead family for a few years longer.
#18: MH identifies him as Greg Errico.
“Hart and Errico became friends in about 1968. Hart simply invited himself over to Errico's house in Mountain View and introduced himself.”
Greg had been a drummer for Sly and the Family Stone, but left the band in 1971, and at this time was mostly doing session work. He had stayed on Mickey’s ranch, and played on one track on the album. In later years he joined Mickey in the Apocalypse Now Sessions, played drums for the Jerry Garcia Band at a number of shows between 1975-1983, and sat in with the Grateful Dead at a couple shows including 12/31/78.
#19: David Gans identifies him as David Freiberg.
Freiberg was a founding member of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and joined Jefferson Airplane in 1972; he would later be a member of Jefferson Starship. He also played in the PERRO sessions and on some of Mickey’s album projects. On this album he contributed to a number of tracks, including the water pump in ‘Pump Song,’ and also helped with the mixing.

#20: Robert Hunter, lyricist for the Grateful Dead. He wrote lyrics for three songs on the album: ‘The Main Ten’ and ‘Pump Song’ were shared with Weir’s Ace album (where they were retitled), and ‘Fletcher Carnaby’ is only found here.

#21: John Barlow, lyricist for the Grateful Dead. As far as I know Barlow doesn’t have any lyrics on this album.

#22: Unknown drummer.

#23: RM identifies him as Rex Jackson (1945-1976), Grateful Dead roadie from Pendleton, Oregon, who had worked with the band since 1968.

#24: RM identifies him as Mickey Hart, but I’m skeptical.

#25: Unknown drummer.

#26: RM identifies him as Gerald Durham’s older brother (see #44)

#27: RM identifies her as Cookie Eisenberg.
Cookie was Mickey’s girlfriend at the time, and gets a "special thanks" in the album credits. She met Mickey in New York in Spring '68: “Cookie had connections to [wealthy heir] Billy Hitchcock and the world of Millbrook [and] was part owner of a travel agency… Through Cookie the Dead had met a new circle of people, extremely wealthy New Yorkers…” (Long Strange Trip p. 282, 308)

 #28: Sue Stallcup identifies him as David Parker.

Parker had been the financial manager of the Grateful Dead and NRPS since Lenny's departure in 1970:
“Next door is the office of David Parker, business manager—who also happens to be an 11-year friend of Jerry Garcia’s. At one time he played washboard and kazoo in Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions.”
#29: Unknown.

#30: Jon McIntire (1941-2012), one of the Grateful Dead’s road managers since 1969.


#31: Unknown infant.

#32: Bill Kreutzmann, Grateful Dead drummer. He doesn’t play on the album.

#33: Unknown.

#34: Unknown.

#35: RM identifies him as Alla Rakha (1919-2000), the famed Indian tabla player who often accompanied Ravi Shankar.
Alla Rakha was a special inspiration to Mickey: as one Dead newsletter put it, “Mickey met Alla Rakha in 1967 and gave himself over to the teachings of Indian rhythms during their first meeting.” Mickey took lessons and called him “my greatest teacher” and “the highest form of rhythmic development on this planet.” Alla Rakha contributes “rain” on the opening track of the album.

#36: Unknown

#37: Unknown person standing next to an airplane. Possibly Johnny d’Fonseca, Sr. (see #17).
Robbie Stokes writes, “There was a ranch hand named Johnny D. who flew light planes at night with add-on bladder tanks for extra fuel for purposes unknown … I will leave that to your imagination, but consider the time and place.”
#38: MH identifies him as Zakir Hussain.
Hussain was Alla Rakhar’s son and continued in his father’s steps as a tabla player. He met Mickey in 1970 and they became close in long jam sessions at the barn. Hussain plays tabla on three tracks on the album. Along with more percussionists, Mickey & Zakir would later collaborate in the Diga Rhythm Band and other projects, and continue to play together to this day.
#39: Ali Akbar Khan (1922-2009).
Classical Indian musician, sarod player, and teacher; founded the Ali Akbar College of Music in Berkeley in 1967, where Mickey studied and teamed up with other players. Khan does not appear on this album, but a 1970 concert of his is featured on the latest volume of Bear’s Sonic Journals.
(A new practice tape from September '68 has also appeared, but most likely it's not Khan playing, but the Berkeley drummers.

#40: Bob Weir, Grateful Dead guitarist. Appears on several tracks.

#41: Barry “The Fish” Melton.
Guitarist and founding member of Country Joe and the Fish, which had broken up; at this time he was recording as a solo artist. He was friends with Mickey: he appears on three tracks here and frequently recorded projects with Mickey at the barn; he even started one of his solo albums there.

#42: Unknown musician, MH thinks he’s possibly from the Tower of Power.

#43: Steve Schuster (confirmed by Steve).
Flute and horn player, mostly known for playing with Jefferson Starship. He plays flute on a couple tracks on the album, and recorded other songs with Mickey as well. He also appears on later albums in the Dead orbit: Tales of the Great Rum Runners, Cats Under the Stars, Blues for Allah, and Shakedown Street.

#44: RM identifies him as Gerald Durham. I couldn’t find any information on him.

#45: Mic Gillette, horn player in Tower of Power.

#46: Stephen "Doc" Kupka, horn player in Tower of Power.

#47: Mickey Hart.

#48: Peter Monk (1937-1992).
Poet and monk, born Peter Zimels. He wrote lyrics for three songs on this album and also the Grateful Dead’s ‘Passenger.’ From Alan Trist’s biographical note in the Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics: “He majored in Philosophy and graduated from the University of Michigan in 1958. He served in the US Navy from 1958 to 1962. On leaving the Navy, he again made his way around the world from New York, through Europe to Asia and eventually to Sri Lanka and Thailand, where he became an ordained Buddhist monk, a calling he took seriously for the rest of his life. Returning to the United States in late 1967, he served as some kind of spiritual force during his years in the Grateful Dead’s extended family, attending many births and performing many marriages.” (He would perform the wedding ceremony for Jerry Garcia & Mountain Girl in 1981.)

#49: Jerry Garcia, Grateful Dead guitarist. He plays on several tracks on the album, including “insect fear” in ‘Pump Song.’





#50: Ron Rakow, one of the photographers for the cover.
A hustler and business manager, he’d lent money and enthusiasm and crazy schemes to the early Dead scene, and became manager of the ill-fated Carousel in 1968. In 1972 he presented the Dead with the plan for their own record label, which he would manage in another ill-fated venture.
#50 was formerly identified as Jim Staralow, aka Curly Jim, aka CJ Stetson, former manager of the 13th Floor Elevators who’d hung out with the Dead since 1966. He co-wrote a couple songs on the album with Peter Monk. Unless he's lurking elsewhere on the cover, this ID seems to have been a mistake.

#51: RM thinks this is Terri Eisenberg, daughter of Cookie Eisenberg (see #27). (I don’t know how old Terri was at the time.)

#52: John Cipollina (1943-1989).
Guitarist for Quicksilver Messenger Service; by this time he’d left that group, forming the band Copperhead and doing session work. As an old friend of the Dead’s he could often be
found at Mickey’s jam sessions and recording projects, and plays on several songs on the album.

#53: Unknown.

#54: MH thinks this is one of the engineers on the album. (Resembles Mickey.)

#55: Larry Shurtliff aka “Ram Rod” (1945-2006). Grateful Dead roadie & crew chief since 1967, highly respected by the band. 

#56: MH identifies him as Robbie Stokes.
Stokes was a guitarist who’d been in the band Devil’s Kitchen. He plays on several tracks on the album, and was a frequent visitor to Mickey’s studio.
“My band Devil’s Kitchen’s road manager Ron Litz…gave me a solid tip that Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead was open to area hotshots coming up and sitting in on some tracks at his studio. Devil’s Kitchen … broke up in 1970, [but] I ended up hanging out there a year and half, playing on Mickey’s solo LP "Rolling Thunder" and Robert Hunter’s "Tales of the Great Rum Runners"”

#57-59: Unknown.

#60: Greg Adams, horn player in Tower of Power.
(Formerly identified as Terry Haggerty, guitarist for the Sons of Champlin. The band was still active in ’71-72 (under various names), and Haggerty appears on just one track on the album. I don’t think he played with Mickey very often; most of the rock musicians at Mickey’s sessions were ‘between bands.’)

#61: Emilio Castillo, horn player in Tower of Power.

#62: Skip Mesquite, horn player in Tower of Power.

For comparison, some undated Tower of Power pics: 


  1. Great work! Imagine that lot getting together for a group photo!

  2. The Herb Greene photos of the Dead and the NRPS at Mickey’s ranch (top of this article) were most likely taken in September or October 1970. They couldn’t possibly be in November, because the Dead and NRPS were doing their east coast tour. This photo shoot probably took place while they were recording AMERICAN BEAUTY, or right after. If I remember correctly, Rolling Stone magazine had an advertisement for AMERICAN BEAUTY in a November 1970 issue, with one of the more well known of Greene’s photos included. As they probably needed some time to prepare the issue for publication, the advertisement was originally created in the previous month.

  3. #45 is Mic Gillette, 46 is Doc Kupka, 60 is not Haggerty but Greg Adams, 61 is Emilio Castillo, and 62 is Skip Mesquite. All are from Tower of Power.

  4. Thanks for the IDs, I've corrected the post!

    And I agree that Nov '70 is too late for the photo shoot; I couldn't find an actual date but Sept/Oct must be right.

  5. I was going to add a few additional quotes after this was posted, but got sidetracked...but here they are!

    Garcia was asked about Mickey in a December 1971 interview:
    "Mickey has a number of projects going which we may participate in if we want to," Garcia said. "He doesn't want to travel, however, and besides it's too weird having two drummers. It's a huge limitation as they are restricted to what they can play together and they both have different styles of drumming."

    In Mickey's interview with Comstock Lode magazine in 1981, he was asked, "Why did you leave the Dead?"
    "There was something in my mind that I wanted to do. Also I didn't like touring and the Road was getting a little much for me. I'm into the outdoors. There were minor inner squabbles, but mainly it was my own quest to find out what I sounded like personally, instead of just in the Grateful Dead. At that time I built a studio at my house with Dan Healy and learnt about electronics. I didn't just drop out, I went straight into working on Rolling Thunder. I hadn't been able to work on it on the road, it took so much thought.
    "But one good thing about the Dead...when I came back, I was just back. There was no asking. It was just a matter of 'now it's time, I've finished what I had to do - now I'm ready to play.' I just brought my drums down one night and played and that was it - that's pretty much the way it went...
    "The biggest part [in leaving] was wanting to find out what I sounded like. If I had wanted to [stay in the Dead], I would have been there. I would have made a situation, played percussion, done something to make it musically feasible for me to stay. My leaving was definitely a positive thing, I was just after something else. I knew they wouldn't forget me. I knew that some way, when the time was right, it would all come together again. It's a great example of their flexibility that it could happen like that."

  6. Mickey was also asked about the split in a 1981 interview with Swing 51 magazine:
    "We never really split up. I was building my studio and making my records, learning what I sounded like, developing Diga. It didn't seem like taking a backseat. I was quite active, more active than the Grateful Dead. But I didn't go on the road and that's what made a big difference.
    "[Rolling Thunder] was a year of my life. That's what my life sounded like for one year. I really wanted that record to represent someone's life - mine particularly. It's a true representation because that's where I lived. The rain on the roof - it was the rainy season. I still have 16 tracks of rain! I have boxes of the most beautifully recorded rain in the world... And there was music and that was the kind of music I was into. I was writing the soundtrack to 'Mickey Hart' that year.
    "The Shoshone invocation at the beginning of Rolling Thunder is by a medicine man, a Shoshone, a friend and a doctor, the Grateful Dead's doctor. He performs ceremonies and picks his herbs there. He was a certain spiritual inspiration to me and he had a spirit which, I think, embodied the spirit of Rolling Thunder - the studio as well. The invocation is a little prayer thanking the Great Spirit for the music...
    "Warners signed me up for a few albums and Rolling Thunder was one of them. That was very well received and it was a fine album. Then I went with a second one called Fire On The Mountain... I bring it down to Joe Smith and those people at Warner Brothers and they canned it. They wanted 'rock 'em, sock 'em,' something to take on the road. I don't think they knew what they had... They could have been selling fish. They actually walked out on me while I was playing it for them. A lot of it is me and Jerry at the Palace of Fine Arts. We got on the stage with our synthesizers and drums and just met and played for four hours. [11/28/73] I put some of those tapes on Fire On The Mountain and...all kinds of great, adventurous songs. And also space. Great music, I thought...
    Anyway, I thought those guys [at Warners] really can't see, so I went into the studio and made the third one, which was not released either, called The Silent Flute. You haven't heard of that one! That's obscure and that's my best work. A very strong piece of work in a locker someplace in Warner Brothers... I did it all in two weeks and it never saw the light of day..."

  7. A new JGMF blog post includes the Warner Brothers Circular promo for Rolling Thunder, and some recording dates for the album:
    Recording stretched from summer 1971 to summer 1972, with most of the work done in '72 as the album took shape. It appears that mainly instrumental pieces were done in 1971, while most of the songs written for the album weren't done until the last two months of recording in June/July '72. The album was released in September 1972.
    My impression is that despite the early '71 reports that Mickey was working on a solo album, it took him a year to start seriously putting songs for the album together and finishing it.