(Grateful Dead at their ranch - Novato 1969)
I didn't get along with Phil Lesh - it was that simple. You could say it was a shame, but it wasn't. I'm always embarrassed for someone who puts forth certain airs and I thought him rude and egofilled without reason. But then again I wasn't that taken with the Dead in general (not until years later would I finally realise that Mickey Hart was worth the price of the whole thing). But I knew I liked Jerry Garcia, from the first day I hung out in the control room as the PHR studio engineer - not the Dead's engineer mind you. There were all kinds of them around: Bob Mathews and Betty Cantor were sort of the almost official engineers - the "almost" part ruining their ability to take charge of anything that was happening - Bob especially seeming to be always in sort of a snit, as if things weren't being properly acknowledged - it was kinda weird. Dan Healy was in and out, freaking out Mathews because clarity of role was always threatened whenever Healy was around. Healy was an incredibly gifted technician and one whom I believed should have had the commanding engineering position, yet I could see that perhaps no one could drive this whale and Healy's best contribution was as the renaissance court pyrotechnician, easily and confidentally in command and able to explain -in myriad ways, the blownaway potential of all that lay before us.

In all the chaos I ended up trying to get more and more involved so at least something would be happening that could be called progress. And once in a while someone would try a mix - Jerry, Tom Constanten, Phil (I'm not quite positive about that), sometimes Mathews, but not Healy and not Owsley. Never Owsley seriously. But as a shot-across-the-bow reply to his constant nagging, someone would occasionally challenge him to stop whining about the superiority of his precious Nagra recorder and try a mix himself. He did and fed it to both a 15ips Scully 2-track and his Nagra. They were good enough mixes I guess but no one really expected his mixing to ever matter. It could never be a final mix.

In all of this I ended up doing a mix of Mountains of the Moon (with Tom Constanten I think?). Since this kind of information wasn't in the album liner notes, I was fairly certain that no one - except maybe Tom, would remember the mix because these sessions were like a carnival lava-flow - everything just being swept along through days and days - nitrous oxide tanks, the cases of densely patched Moog, Owsley's "better recordings" fantasies, Pig Pen, everything just oozing along. But Jerry reminded me of it around 1978 during the making of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (I was the Music Production Coordinator and he played the banjo "source" music for the character that eventually turns into the hideous half-man-half-dog). He reminded me that Phil had acted like "an asshole" and that while I was setting up the mixing board I had started to create a "Mountains" mix and Jerry had joined in, encouraging my interpretation of the tracks and the beyond-real extra-low growling bass sound - and it was this mix that was on the first album release. It was remixed a few years later, but I was out of rock by then and, in fact, I've never heard the newer version. Anyway, I remember that Phil hated the mix I was coming up with - and being amazingly asinine about it. He's saying "you call that a bass sound? what is that? wah wah wah..." and then Jerry's saying "no, go on" and encouraging my going forward into the mix. Another saving grace was Tom Constanten. I liked him immediately, especially the innate cleverness of his dry observations on things happening and things imagined. And he too was also trying to do some mixes amidst the chaos of the Pacific High Recording control room. In fact I saw a videotape on television from some Dead folks company that purports to be a black-and-white video of the Dead during the Aoxomoxoa sessions at Wally Heider. Wrong! Those are vidoes from the Pacific High Recording control room at 60 Brady (later to be the Dead's Alembic facilities and shops). I remember those video tapings. It's PHR alright and without doubt.