Page 57 Quicksilver Messenger Service

We had some pretty wild times on the Northwest Trek (a tour the Dead and Quicksilver played in the Pacific Northwest in January and February of 1968). There was no heat on us because with Pigpen around it was like “Ooooh -look at that guy!” We all looked like businessmen in comparison with Pigpen!

Anyway, I remember when we first got to Portland, Dan Healy, who was working for us then (and who modified the SG I’m playing now), and I went into a pawn shop. Dan bought a ’56 Les Paul Special, and I bought guns and a bunch of blanks to continue the little cowboys and Indians game that we’d been playing with the Dead for quite a while. (An ofttold anecdote from the early summer of ’66 has the Dead dressing up like Indians and raiding Quicksilver’s Marin ranch in the dead of night.) It was snowing in Portland, and here I am with all these guns and hundreds of blanks. I was taking ‘shots’ at everyone in our group. And we had this rule that went along with the game we played, which was if you ‘died’ you had to ‘stay dead’ for a couple of minutes. If someone even shot you with their finger you had to roll over and play dead. We’re all too stiff to do that now, I guess.

One of the guns I bought was this little .22 caliber blank pistol that was easy to carry around. I remember seeing Pigpen, Rock Scully and Danny Rifkin (Dead managers), and I think maybe one other guy from the group, driving down the street. So I went running out into the street making some kind of deranged weird noise – some anguished cry- and I emptied the gun into the car. The car came screeching to a stop. The doors flew open and Pigpen and everybody just rolled out of the car into the snow. They really looked dead! Out of the corner of my eye I saw this old lady with a shopping cart racing around the comer. I stood there surveying ‘the kill’. Then they got up, we all had a good laugh, and we got in the car. About a minute later of course the place was crawling with police, looking for the ‘bodies’! The whole tour went that way. I got a callous on my trigger finger from blowing people away. -John Cipollina

Page 57 Quicksilver band colorized image

Love this cool colorized photo of Quicksilver Messenger Service. They were one of my favorite bands until they broke up. They played lots of shows with the Grateful Dead and although the poster on this page isn’t one of them, the line up for that show was impressive (see full page). In the early days, the spirit of creating new music and a new society bonded the bands and their fans in such a way that our friendships have endured. -Jerilyn

Page 57 Pigpen seated in cowboy hat

Classic cowboy look by Pigpen, taken in Herb Greene’s studio. Herb’s portraits of the local SF bands and others passing through are timeless and beautiful. He is still one of the best portrait photographers living in my opinion. -Jerilyn

Photos: Top to Bottom – Michael Moore, Herb Greene