Henry Kaiser Live Chat

Tuesday June 1, 9PM ET, 6PM PT

The Grateful Dead Forum was pleased to host a special AOL Chat with our old friend Henry Kaiser.

Henry's CD "Eternity Blue" was one of the GDF Store's first popular CD's back when we opened. Henry's new CD with Wadada Leo Smith, "Sky Garden: Yo Miles" was discussed, but there was a lot more to talk about.

copyright 2004 AOL and the GDForum

chat transcription by Tom Thornton

Geoff Gould: Welcome! Tonight we have Henry Kaiser III here in the GDF Conference room.

Henry Kaiser: Hello all

GG: So, Henry, why would a Deadhead want to chat with you?

HK: ahhhh I play lots of improvised music and was very influenced by the DEAD and then got to play with most of them.

Barold78: hi Henry...what was it like to play with them?

HK: Surreal to play onstage with Weir - after sitting on the edge of the stage when I was a kid before I ever played guitar and then to play some of those same songs with him. Phil, Jerry, BK, MH, Weir, TC, Vince - I did something with all of them at one time or another.

Barold78: When was the first time you got to play with them?

HK: Dick Latvala's wake was the last time with Weir an Mickey Hart then with Lesh at THE FILLMORE sometime later one - 4 years ago? or 3 years ago? I forget.

Barold78: Where can I find pictures of you with the boys?

HK: Pix? There were some at henrykaiser.net - but they may be gone.

GG: Have any of you guys seen the Valentines video?

HK: Valentines video is just a Japanese TV broadcast boot that floats around- Bootleg stores in TOKYO are big and impressive. I was just playing in RUSSIA and there were "legal" MP3 boots of almost everything and everyone - 10 albums to a CD.

GG: I think one of the more interesting things is the scuba diving relationship - tell us about that.

HK: I've been a research diving instructor for many years, and presently a diver in the US ANTARCTIC program under the ice @ McMurdo Base.

GG: That sounds cold (cooler than cool!)

HK: I met Bill Kreutzmann by chance in the middle of the ocean once - 260 miles from land, very odd. Music & diving are the same to me but so is everything. Billy was in an inflatable boat and I jumped up out of the water and scared him. You know Billy made this video with a GARCIA-BRALOVE soundtrack that was never released. I don't think folks know about that. It was about the west coast dive/surf trip he was on.

Barold78: what year was that?

HK: Maybe 11 years ago? 12? I was just talking to Billy at the studio saying they should put it out.

GG: We're listening here in the office to the newest "Yo Miles" CD. It's pretty cool and jammy.

HK: The YO MILES! is kind of a psychedelic extension of the electric stuff that Miles Davis did in the mid-70's, very improvised. Miles had a couple of dozen frameworks for improv, not exactly tunes more areas - like DARK STAR -that would allow you to go thru a door into some new and undiscovered place.

GG: so, Henry, did Jerry really get stung by a jellyfish?

HK: That's a good question: Was it a jellyfish or a health problem?

GG: Or both?

HK: Or some kinda decompression injury? Not clear. My guess is health complications expressing themselves. It could have been spinal.

GG: when your health is not good, every little thing bugs ya.

HK: I don't think anyone knows but the symptoms were an extremely valid reason to cancel some shows.

Barold78: How is it Jerry was in bad health but always seemed upbeat?

HK: Don't you know you of dogs that are in bad health but still friendly and wag their tales? It's in their good nature and same with Jerry is my guess.

Barold78: this was in 1993?

GG: all the years combine...

HK: The year I forget - look in Blair's book...

GG: tell us about the South Pole Henry!

HK: I loved being in ANTARCTICA, being at the SOUTH POLE where I got to play slide guitar with the pole was amazing. Great communities at the US BASES in ANTARCTIC. Lots of bands at McMurdo - they have ICESTOCK every year.

Cake1697: where can i listen to some samples from your new cd?

HK: AMAZON has samples of YO MILES!, I think

GG: It's on here at the office now, and is pretty hypnotic. It's also in SACD, a format I don't have at home, but the Mickey/Kodo is available in SACD too.

Barold78: So tell us your most memorable time with Jerry or with the band.

HK: no special memorable moment.

Barold78: Theres gotta be at least 1 moment!

HK: it was sad to play KNOCKIN' ON HEAVENS DOOR at the WARFIELD with Weir the night or so after, when I was opening for him in Bralove's band and we played together at the end. That was the moment, a sad moment.

Barold78: I was first starting to get into the GD right before Garcia died, i was only 17 at that time

HK: I was born in 52 - so I was 43. I started going to shows in '67.

GG: Henry is a great guitar scholar, and channels Garcia quite well when needed, along with Zoot Horn Rollo.

HK: High action and heavy pick always channels Jerry.

Barold78: Cool, I'd like to see you live. When are ya coming to NYC?

HK: Playing in NYC at TONIC on JULY 13 & 14. 14th is two sets, recording for live Willie Dixon tribute CD with Elliot Sharp's TERRAPLANE and Glenn Phillips. Also playing at FILLMORE with my pal RICHARD THOMPSON on JULY 3.

GG: Eternity Blue is out of print now, right Henry?

HK: ETERNITY BLUE - Garcia tribute on SHANACHIE label IS out of print

GG: for those of you who haven't heard Eternity Blue, pick one up on ebay or something. It was one of our most popular CD's back in 1996 here at the GDF Store.

HK: Hard to get nowadays.

GG: we have one special GDF question we must ask. Henry...

HK: Yes?

GG: What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

HK: licorice

GG: licorice? Jeez!

HK: Popular still in Scandinavia - they even have licorice coated ice cream bars with licorice (fudgesicle-like centers). I used to like lemon chip ice cream, an extinct flavor, I think.

GG: what brands carry licorice ice cream?

HK: No licorice ice cream in USA that I know of. What flavor would Phil Lesh ice cream be?

GG: So, would the audience like to ask Henry something else? I appreciate him coming by.

Brownie22: Where were you when you found out about Jerry's passing?

HK: Bralove called me and woke me up to tell me early in the morning - 6AM or so - I was in bed when the phone tree reached me. It was kinda expected.

Cake1697: Henry any words to the younger generation out there?

HK: Words to younger generation: IMPROVISE. TAKE CHANCES. EXPLORE. BE KIND. That kinda stuff

GG: Yes, good words indeed, kindness is rarer and rarer these days.

HK: AND SHARE WHAT YOU DISCOVER. That's what I try to do. I try to explore every day

GG: We shall not cease from exploration and the end of our exploring will to be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

HK: You just have to keep at it.

GG: well folks, should we wrap it up? any more questions?

HK: let me suggest some music for folks to check out that I think they might enjoy: WAYNE KRANTZ - see waynekrantz.com. SONNY LANDRETH - see equivilant

GG: brief descriptions?

HK: these are guitarists now

HK: TISZIJI MUNOZ - see tisziji.com. He is amazing Coltrane style guitarist. Also: NELS CLINE - nelscline.com. And check out North INDIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC - it is so great and the DEAD pre-train you to appreciate it.

GG: have you heard from your old buddy David Lindley recently?

HK: Just saw Lindley do a solo show here. He is doing great. LIVE EL-RAYO X cd soon - henrykaiser.net.

GG: Henry and David did some cool music together in case you hadn't heard it.


Caldead: Have you played with Warren Haynes or Jimmy Herring?

HK: No, I just met them week before last.

GG: so, you saw some rehearsals...

HK: I went to the start of one to be polite - did not stay. I dropped by to have Weir teach me ETERNITY for the WILLIE DIXON tribute CD in preparation.

GG: Ahhh... as a bass player, Willie had all the great riffs, eh?

HK: It's a great song, never well-played outside the W-W duo. That's why I wanted to do it justice. We have Charles Mingus' son ERIC on vocals for this project.

Caldead: Isn't that the last song Willie Dixon wrote?

HK: Yep

GG: aren't you partly responsible for renewed interest in Mason's Children a while back?

HK: Yep

GG: how did that happen?

HK: just dug it up and recorded it when it was forgotten.

GG: was it worth remembering?

HK: Funny how the lyrics which were about the death of the counter-culture and ALTAMONT can be read as being up Jerry's death. Hunter lyrics are like that.

GG: Thanks to our guest Henry Kaiser tonight

HK: THANK YOU. MAHALO. ALOHA. Darigato gozaimashita! Thank you Geoff!

GG: And we bid you all goodnight!

GG: <--releasing the hounds