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Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Stories Of Jerry Moore

Jerry Moore

He Was A Friend Of Mine


I lived through the dawning of the Internet Age of Grateful Dead tape trading. I participated through our amazement that we could be so immediately in contact with other traders (by the thousands), all sharing lists and arranging trades instantaneously - so unlike "the good old days" - to the full explosion of high speed sharing which brought the real need for a trading community to its end.

While living through all of that, I built up a cassette tape collection (then CD collection) numbering in the thousands, and all the while enjoyed not only collecting the tapes, but collecting the stories. Hearing about the old days, talking to people, sharing long e-mails - this was an even more precious gift than the tapes themselves.

One of the ongoing stories was the one titled, "Jerry Moore." I call it a story, because he was no more than that to me (and pretty much my entire circle of trading partners). Yes, there were people who could referencing knowing him way back when. But after getting online in 1997, despite my own ever-widening circle, Jerry Moore was "lost."

Did he die? Had he fallen off the grid? Did someone last hear that he was battling heroin and had sold off all his tapes to pay rent? Had someone seen him retreat into a forest cave to live among the rocks? Quite literally, all of these stories were floating around, and the only thing that stitched them all together was the fact that Moore was "lost" to us; "us" being the world of obsessed tapers trying to digitally archive all the old master tapes we could find. Often were the times I pined over how very absent Jerry Moore was from our world.

And so he grew mythical. And so I found myself in possession of tape copies of many of his recordings not even knowing they were his. Tapes of 10/01/76, 11/04/77, and God knows how many others, all were more often simply "AUD - taper unknown." And this in the age of digital communication.

That all changed for me one day in 2002, when an East Coast taper I knew quietly let me in on the fact that he was acquainted with Moore himself - an old friend, and that Jerry was interested in archiving what was literally a closet full of his masters, complete with a TARDIS-like quality of holding far more music than could conceivably fit inside. A small group of us became MooresBoys, a Yahoo Group devoted to making trips to Jerry's place to help deal with the closet, and then go through the careful Analog>DAT transfers, followed by digital editing into the final drafts that would go into mass circulation.

Living half a country away from the closet, I only performed my tasks on the DAT>SHN/FLAC mastering side of the equation (though Jerry did send me his actual tapes from 10/02/76 - Jesus! He had taped the holiest of 1976 grails ever - 10/02/76!!), so I never got out to meet him in person. But that didn't stop the stories.

Jerry wrote. He wrote a great deal. He wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. We conversed in e-mail over a multi-year period back then where I was blessed to learn a seemingly endless wealth of knowledge around the life and times of Jerry Moore, the taper. Stories of how he fashioned a telescoping golf ball retrieval tool into his mic stand of choice in the 70's. Stories of how his very first recording, Grateful Dead 06/10/73 was so disappointing to his ears that he recorded over it a month or two later with a sweet recording of the New Riders. Stories of cajoling other concert goers to record with his gear because his seats sucked (07/29/74). Stories of avoiding roadies. Stories on top of stories, back and forth in e-mail.

Reading Jerry Moore is sort of like reading James Joyce or Camus, or Aristotle, or Edward Albee. He wrote thickly. He loved words, perhaps more than music. And he loved vetting out the truth in people and their actions, as much as he loved the details around nearly every facet of what it took for him to do all that taping. I always had to read his e-mails more than once to make sure I was *getting* what he was saying, sometime afraid I was catching the complete opposite meaning in his prose. And I loved that about Jerry.

An example, from the very last e-mail exchange we had between us. He begins an answer to my question related to the appearance of other old tapers more recently on the Internet scene:

odd?
yes and noah.
seems obvious.
then again,
hmmm.

real world answer?
okay.

It was not the first time he played on my name like that, and, of course, the e-mail went on and on from there. It pains me deeply that there will be no more e-mails going on and on from Jerry Moore. I will miss him terribly. I have him to thank for elevating my joys in tape trading to their very highest, and that had nothing to do with the actual tapes he made, but just by being a friend of mine - just by turning from myth into a person with great stories.

So, the giant Internet tubes that changed our community forever get a big tip of the hat today. We can all remember and relive Jerry Moore's master cassesttes so easily now. He is certainly forever part of our living history in music. Just a few of his recordings have made it here onto the guide so far. So many more to come.

09/07/73
06/23/74
08/04/74
04/23/77
05/08/77
11/04/77

20 comments:

  1. Just exactly perfect.

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  2. The Force has been dimmed, now there is no Moore.

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  3. the passing of a legend. RIP Jerry - I will now listen to your amazing 6/23/74 ...

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  4. Nice post. Great, stories.

    However, I know for a fact that Jerry taped 3/15/73 and probably the other two Nassau shows. He put the 3/15 show on a reel for me a few days afterwards and I listened to it over and over because I loved the "Eyes" they did that night. The 6/10/73 as his first tape has to be an urban legend.

    I taped over the reel a few years later. I thought is was in common circulation.

    Harvey Lubar

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  5. Harvey, Thanks for stopping over to comment. I trust that you are right. While Jerry told me the 06/10/73 story himself, I wouldn't put it by him to have found the details somewhat foggy after all the years. Perhaps he taped the Nassau shows with someone, and thus gave them a different distinction?

    Rather depressing that only 48 hours ago we could have bugged the guy about it ourselves.

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  6. From today's NY Daily News:

    MOORE-Gerald (Jerry). On June 3, 2009. Beloved son of Michael and Mary Moore. Loving brother of Mike (June) and Frank (Grace). Caring uncle of Gemma, Sarah, and Leah. Mourned by numerous relatives and lifelong friends. Visitation will be held Friday 2-4 & 7-9pm at HODDER FUNERAL HOME, 899 McLean Ave., Yonkers. Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, 9:45 A.M. St. Barnabas Church. Interment Gate Of Heaven Cemetery. May he hopefully meet his hero, Jerry Garcia in Heaven

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  7. Im sorry to hear about the sad news. Listened to Hot Tuna at the Academy of Music 11/22/75 this afternoon... now Im at the first set of 09/07/73. Have a nice cassette of 6/23/74 cued for tommorow maybe with no digital business. MR>RR>C>my cassette... theres plenty more where these came from!!

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  8. long may he wave..

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  9. We all owe him a debt of gratitude. May the four winds blow you safely home brother.
    SC

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  10. I was never as deeply ensconced in the tapers scene to forge personal relationships with the "old guard." But hearing these stories, even second-hand, makes it impossible to forget that there was a human being standing there soaking in all that music and energy. It all makes for a wonderfully meta-listening experience. Not a bad memorial to have, really: thousands of heads listening to Jerry Moore listening to the Grateful Dead. Thanks, Jerry!

    If you don't know it, there's aninterview with him by David Gans from 1990.

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  11. oh yeah: is there a full list of Jerry's masters (not just GD) out there? I'd love to see the entire scope of his work.

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  12. Nick, That "meta-listening" experience is huge for me. "..thousands of heads listening to Jerry Moore listening to the Grateful Dead." I know already I'm going to borrow that line, and description of the experience. Thanks!

    oh yes. For Jerry stuff go here: The Jerry Site

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  13. Jerry would have taken exception to the line about Garcia being his hero. If Jerry Moore had a hero, I can assure you, no disrespect intended, it wouldn't have been him. Really.

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  14. ha, I meant Jerry Moore, not Garcia :) Was there ever a list compiled of what was in Moore's closet full of masters "to be archived" (like a list of all of the Betty Boards or something like that).

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  15. Jerry also loved Black 47 and told me one time one of his favorite Jefferson Starship shows was Radio City, the night the moog player fo the opening act was tackled(74 or 75). Our paths crossed at many Starship shows these past 15 years and sometimes riding the bus to work together. Peace and Love
    Jefferson Airplane Loves You

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  16. Thank You for all the nice postings


    Mike Moore

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  17. R.I.P. -- JERRY -- WAS SAD TO HEAR TODAY FROM HARVEY LUBAR OF THE PASSING OF JERRY MOORE -- THE THREE OF US ALONG WITH MARK WERE FOUNDING MEMBERS OF THE HELL'S HONKIES TRADING CLUB -- AT THE TIME IT WAS BASICALLY JUST US AND THE GRATEFUL DEAD TAPE EXCHANGE THAT WAS PASSING THE MUSIC ALONG ON THE EAST COAST WITH THE HELP OF MARTY WEINBERG AND OTHERS -- ALTHOUGH I HAD NOT SEEN JERRY IN MANY YEARS I THOUGHT OF HIM OFTEN -- MY CLASSIC TALE WAS RELATING THE STORY OF THE HELLS HONKIES TO MY WIFE AT THE TIME WHILE WE WERE DRIVING TO SEE THE AIRPLANE IN POUGHKEPSIE -SHE THOUGHT THE TALES OF THE HELL HONKIES WERE SOME OF MY TALL TALES -- AS SOON AS WE WALKED INTO THE CLUB, WHO DO I SEE AT THE SOUND BOARD NO OTHER BUT JERRY MOORE AKA JERRY HONKIE -- I LET OUT A SHOUT OF JERRY HONKIE AT WHICH POINT HE TURNED AROUND AND WALKED OVER -- AFTER INTRODUCING HIM, IT GAVE MY TALES OF THE HELLS HONKIE SOME CREEDENCE TO HER -- THE TIMING COULD NOT HAVE BEEN BETTER!! -- JERRY WAS TRULY AN ORIGINAL AND A 'LEGEND' IN THIS AREA -- HE ALWAYS KEPT THE FLAME BURNING -- I MISS HIM ALREADY -- SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE, JERRY HONKIE IN ALL DUE TIME -- HAROLD HONKIE
    P.S. -- JERRY WAS INVOLVED IN MANY THINGS I.E. RELIX ETC. -- HOWEVER HE WAS A HELLS HONKIE FIRST AND ALWAYS !!

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  18. This is very sad for me to read. I went to High school with Gerry [ which is the correct spelling of his name, short for Gerald. ] We partied a lot together and went to concerts together. Oddly, no Dead shows together as I wasn't a fan at the time.
    The last show I saw with him was Jorma Kaukonen at The Pier in Manhatten when they used to have shows there. I remember when he founded Relix. He loved science fiction books, and loved to write.
    Rest in peace old friend, and we'll meet again some day. Peace, Ted M.

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  19. Many thanks to you all for the kind comments about my brother. He is greatly missed by many.
    Frank

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  20. Robin Hayes, who also died in 2001, and i used to get tapes from Les Kippel in the early '70's right about the time of the beginning of Dead Relix. We got alot of the '73 and '74 shows taped by Jerry & Les. We promptly made copies for any Heads in the Midwest that wanted them and they were used for many tape trades to expand our collections. Most of these people went to the Des Moines outdoor shows in '73 & '74. Jerry sure recorded some great shows......... Thanks Dude

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