Perro, or Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra, was the name given to the group of musicians who played, recorded and jammed together in the early 70’s. They were, essentially, members of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Their first album together, Blows Against The Empire, was released, not as the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra, but as Jefferson Starship (a name later used for Grace Slick and Paul Kantner’s band formed in 1974). They then officially became Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra on David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name.
In 1971, these musicians got together for rehearsals at Wally Heider Studios and, luckily for us, these sessions were recorded (see below) yielding some truly remarkable music and interactions between this collective group of inspired and supremely talented artists. They were as follows:
- David Crosby – guitar, vocals
- Graham Nash – guitar, vocals
- Paul Kantner – guitar, banjo, vocals
- Grace Slick – piano, vocals
- Jorma Kaukonen – lead guitar
- Jack Casady – bass
- Jerry Garcia – guitar, vocals
- Phil Lesh – bass
- Bill Kreutzmann – drums
- Mickey Hart – percussion
- David Freiberg – viola, vocals
Shortly after Garcia’s death in 1995, David Crosby had this to say about his longtime friend:
I remember laughing so hard I got the hiccups. Of course, that might have had something to do with the big sticky buds, but we were a pair of odd ducks anyway, and we cracked each other up a lot.
Jerry, Phil Mickey, and Bill all came to Wally Heider’s many nights when I was recording “If I Could Only Remember My Name.” So much fun, so MUCH music…
What did we lose? One of the best minds in music: articulate, always thinking fresh, original thoughts. Jerry didn’t tell you what he thought you wanted to hear, he told you what he thought.
Jerry played his own way, too, completely unlike any other musician. As different as Hendrix was, in another direction.
Somehow, I wound up being a closer friend to Phil. Jerry wound up being kind of hard to reach to, in the later times. As much as I miss him, I know that Phil and the others miss him more. I listen to Kids and Dogs, or The Wall Song, and… I miss him.
This passage is an excerpt from GARCIA – A Grateful Celebration, originally published in 1995 byDupree’s Diamond News. To learn more about Dupree’s Diamond News or how to obtain a copy of GARCIA – A Grateful Celebration, click here.
Here, for your listening pleasure, is some of the now-famous Perro Sessions: