Reading Crock Tock’s review of the Dark Star Orchestra show in San Francisco has gotten me in a Dead sort of mood. To get my fix before I see DSO this coming Saturday at the El Rey, I’ve been listening to The Dead’s Golden Gate Studio’s Autumn demos, recorded on November 3rd, 1965, in the final month of their pre-Kesey, pre-Acid Test days.

What’s most strange about these sessions, recorded under the Warlocks name, is how little they sound like the band the Dead would become. Just six songs and 18 minutes, the cuts are far from the the experimental wankery that you’d expect, and more like lost lost gems from a Nuggets compilation.

This is still Pigpen’s band and the raw lo-fi tracks are filled with squiggling harmonicas, garage rock riffs and creaky organs that sound like a hybrid of the Seeds and the 13th Floor Elevators. For anyone with even a passing interest in the Dead, it comes highly recommended.


1. Can’t Come Down-3:05 2.Mindbender-2:42 3. The Only Time is Now-2:52 4. Caution-3:21 5. I Know You Rider-2:42 6. Early Morning Rain-3:21

ZIP: Grateful Dead (Warlocks)-Golden Gate Studios 1965

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!