Cubensis band approved by Jerry Garcia--
I was going up to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR to see the Grateful Dead, with Little Feat opening, June 1990. Our flight changed planes at San Francisco Int'l Airport. My companion spotted none other than Jerry Garcia browsing in the gift shop. She searched for some scrap of paper, anything, to obtain an autograph. She approached him, asked for a hug, so he put down his briefcase and gave her a big squeeze. Jerry autographed a letter she happened to have in her purse.
Other people were coming up to him, saying hello. I had decided that I wasn't going to bother the man, to give him his space. But then I got to thinking...I might never get another chance to thank him for all the delightful music he had brought into my life, so I walked up to him.
"Hi, Jerry! So, you're going up to Eugene a day early, I see."
"Yeah," he laughed, "Otherwise, I'd have to travel with 'the band', you know?"
I expressed my thanks for all the great music and wonderful times the Grateful Dead had given me, and I told him I was in a band called Cubensis. "That's a good name!" he said, and laughed again, immediately understanding the psychedelic mushroom connection. When I explained that Cubensis played all Grateful Dead music, he laughed, in mock surprise, "Oh yeah? So do we!"
Following that exchange, I asked him about some of the guitar effects he used on stage, and being a fellow guitarist he happily launched into a detailed explanation of his setup and the electronics involved. Garcia had pioneered a system where his guitar signal could either travel unadultered straight to his amplifier, or by throwing a switch he could route the signal through his effects rack and back through the guitar, where he could then modify the sound with his volume and tone knobs to suit his taste. This allowed him virtually infinite control over what the audience eventually heard.
I must admit that some of his tutorial went right over my head, because about that time it struck me that I was actually talking with THE MAN, the best guitarist I had ever heard, who played in my favorite band of all time, whose recordings I had literally slowed down to half speed in order to learn how to play guitar.
The spell was broken when his wife-to-be Deborah Koons finished her shopping, and he said, "Shall we go, dear?" I offered the standard Deadhead salutation, "Have a good show," and then we all got in line to board the plane.
I did manage to ask Garcia the $64,000 question: Was it ok for Cubensis to be playing the Dead's music? "As long as you do a good job of it," he replied.
Garcia of course was seated in first class, but it was pretty obvious who else was on board when the pilot announced that the flight was headed straight to the Dead shows in Oregon, and the entire compartment erupted in cheers. I've always been petrified of airline travel, but that was one of the smoothest, most stress-free and most enjoyable trips ever.
Craig Marshall, Cubensis guitarist