St. Stephen with a rose…

Hey, hey! We’re back, and look – it’s 2015!

We’ve been working on this Nativology project for over two years, now. Hard to believe that when Dave Thomas cued up the four-track demo he and Mike Jaimes made in November 1992 that we’d have come through four volumes of rarities from our vaults!

But, hey, we’ve always been very productive, as evidenced by today’s offering.

When John Fitzwater undertook the production of the album that would come to be known as And Then What, his first act was to get our studio, Marmfington Farm, into the twenty-first century. Gone were the easily-mangled eight track cassettes that had been our mainstay for years. Computer-based recording was the wave, and we were going to ride that wave like raving ninja surfers!

Sadly, we were not ninjas or surfers, and our relationship with technology was pretty much the same one the Frankenstein monster had with fire.

Fire bad!!

To ease the sitch, Fitz wisely led us through some sessions that were not meant for release, but were aimed at allaying our primitive fears, and getting the ninja-thing happening.

So, the new ProTools set-up’s maiden voyage culminated in today’s tune – a classic Grateful Dead song playfully reworked by Mat Hutt. (Note: Version 1, performed by Mike at the same session, appeared on Nativology Vol. 2)

In and waaaaaay out of the garden he goes —

St. Stephen 2

Cornbread Wednesday


Native Deals With It

After 8 years of pretty much glorious escapades, the first year of the new century had ended rather acrimoniously for Native. There were problems between Mat & myself, and looking back after all this time, I can see it objectively, and say that:

1) Mat’s beefs with me were completely legitimate.
2) My beefs with Mat were completely legitimate.
3) The two sets of beef had nothing to do with each other.
4) We were both a couple of big babies, and it damaged morale in the band.

But, we soldiered on into 2001, and somehow Mat & I worked through our differences, and our collaborations started clicking, the band breathed a sigh of relief, and there was great rejoicing.

We kicked off the year with a fresh round of rehearsals to work on all the new material we had, with Fitz at the studio controls – located clear across on the other side of the loft from the live room!

He was still working out the fine points of using the digital recording software – ProTools, and was loving every moment of it, except for the lack of ventilation or oxygen in my room, where the recording console was set up.

Amidst a general air of friviolity in the occasion, Mike suddenly goes bang into the wonderful Grateful Dead song that is this week’s submission for your approval. And, damn if we didn’t jump in and hang on for a perfectly splendid rendition!

As I listen to it, I marvel at how good we were, and *gosh-a-mighty* Mike was just the most talented guy in the world!

Added bonus – It’s kinda good to see how things can go if you work through your struggles.

Surely, we had grown stronger for having learned how to —


Cornbread Wednesday

One Way Or Another… This Darkness Has Got To Give

Last week, we served up a rare live track from a multi-track tape of an undated Native show at Wetlands.

We see no reason why we shouldn’t continue on with another stupendous Catherine Russell performance from the same night.

Native was not prone to do a lot of other folk’s material, but this tune just seems like it was made for us to play and for Catherine to sing. And, since the Grateful Dead hardly ever performed it in their shows, we can safely say that this is (in all humility) one of the best versions you’ll ever come across.

So, enjoy!

I (Dave) am off like a prom-dress, for a couple of weeks, to play some shows with my family band – The Blue Lick Victory Club – in Louisville, KY. As much fun as this blog is to do each week, I do sometimes have to pry myself away from the Davecave, see some sunshine & do some pickin’ & grinnin’.

So hang tight — we’ll pick up where we left off when we resume in July. There’s lots of Wyckoff-era Native rare goodies left in the vault that we will be exhuming for your listening pleasure.

Thanks to everyone who follows us, and who have made this blog so much fun to prepare. You are the reason we do this, and we love you!

See you soon!

New Speedway Boogie (Wetlands 1997)

Cornbread Wednesday

It’s Mike Jaimes Birthday!

It’s a special day today, it’s Mike Jaimes‘s birthday!

Aside from being an awesome friend and comrade who we miss mightily – we also think he may just have been one of the truly greatest guitarists in the history of ever. So, so we wanted to share something special — Mike’s acoustic version of St. Stephen.

St. Stephen

Everything that was wonderful about Mike’s guitar playing is on display here: his remarkably fluid rhythm, his little ad libs, the powerful approach he took even in the understated moments, and so many other ways he had that made it his. I played St.Stephen with Mike on a Vince Welnick tour, and let me tell you — it was different every night, but always true to the original. He really rocked it!

Technical note: This recording is not in the chronological order we’ve been following till now. But, what the hey! This is Native – the rules are only there so we can bend them.

The date of the recording doesn’t matter much, anyway. Mike would have sounded like this in any year that we’d have decided to put a microphone in front of him, said, “Play St. Stephen,” and hit the ‘record’.

The only variable would be in which form of primitive technology we were using to record. In this case, it was an early version of Protools. It was 2000, the milennium year. We’d just entered a new age of computer-based recording. It was like magic — and John Fitzwater, our soundman, was preparing to step into the role of Producer for our next record (the awesome, and little-heard And Then What).

As a shakedown cruise, it was decided it would be great to get Mike to do the legendary Grateful Dead song, unaccompanied. Just him and an acoustic guitar. Simples.

In fact, too simple. There’s only one microphone used, so Mike’s voice and the guitar are on the same track. So, like many of the rarites we’re pulling from the vault, it’s a flawed recording. But, it’s well worth hearing because it’s great, and it’s Mike Jaimes, and it’s his birthday.

Mike Jaimes

Photo by Kassandraa Tamanini

Happy birthday Mikey — we miss you so much!