Monday, July 1, 2019
I didn't get to see them until long past their prime, at the Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park in 1972. Dino Valente had sort of taken over, John Cippolina had left the band at that point.
Duncan, born Gary Grubb, was a Native American who earlier played in a garage/psych band from Merced called the Brogues, along with fellow Quicksilverian drummer Greg Elmore.
Gary and John had a unique twin lead sound that was jangly and metallic and totally ripped. Almost like the hissing of a snake, very powerful.
The last time I saw him he was sitting in with the Grateful Dead on a song or two 10/31/91. You can watch a video here but the sound is better here. If you hate the Grateful Dead and many do, don't listen and don't torture yourself. This was a several night stand, the first night had Duncan playing leads on an excellent Iko iko > Mona jam with Jerry and Carlos.
The reason I point you to the first video is that there is a wonderful section with Ken Kesey that bears listening to at about 42:30. Kesey's son had died in an accident the previous year and Bill Graham had died six days earlier. Pretty poignant stuff and one of my favorite quotes of all time.
Here's a nice, clean Gary Duncan composition with Dino Valente on vocals. The fabulous Nicky Hopkins on piano. So who's left? I think just Freiberg and Naftalin.