Odds & Ends: The Who, Smith Westerns, Jerry Garcia, Doobie Brothers, ‘Live From The Artists Den’

Roger Daltrey’s ailing throat forces The Who to postpone shows to March … Smith Westerns set “indefinite hiatus” …  Jerry Garcia’s letter to a fashion model among items going up for auction … The Doobie Brothers raise big bucks for lupus research … “Live From The Artists Den” announces 2015 schedule.

There is no joy for Who fans in London today as the band pushes back two shows scheduled this week at the O2 Arena to March.  The gigs were to be the last “Who Hits 50” gigs in the U.K.

The sudden change of plans is a byproduct of Roger Daltrey’s current throat infection.  Doctors have told the legendary rock star to rest his voice until he recovers from the illness.

That means the Dec. 17 show has been moved to March 22 and the Dec. 18 show will take place March 23.

All tickets purchased for this week’s gigs will be honored on the new dates.  Click here for the official notice and the band’s apology for inconveniencing fans.

Photo: AP Photo / Baiju Sunder
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 Concert, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Chicago’s Smith Westerns is going on an “indefinite hiatus” following the indie rock band’s Dec. 23 show in the Windy City.

Although the band announced the bad news to fans via social media Dec. 13, fans pointed out that on Dec. 4 the band  promised a “Christmas surprise” in New York.

But a NYC show isn’t going to happen.  On the brighter side, the Dec. 23 show originally planned for Schubas in Chicago has been upgraded to the Lincoln Theatre and will be an all-ages affair.  The band also posted on its Facebook page that the show will be “the last Smith Westerns show EVER.”

Photo: Andrew Markowitz for the 9:30 Club
9:30 Club, Washington, D.C.

However, not all members will be present.  On Dec. 14 the band posted a Facebook message saying guitarist Max Kakacek is “hiatusing a littler earlier” and will not be at the last gig.

How much would you pay to become the proud owner of a letter penned by The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia to a Vogue cover model?  The missive, along with other rock memorabilia, is scheduled to go on the auction block next month in Chicago.  Apparently the now former model is selling the letter to help pay medical bills.

Having met the model at an Upper West side NYC party in October 1980 when The Grateful Dead were performing several shows at Radio City Music Hall, Garcia wrote the letter circa May-June 1982.

Although Garcia wrote, “this is the first letter I’ve written in years,” the artist did have plenty to say, albeit most of it small talk.  He talked about The Dead’s first gig at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, Calif., and even drew a picture of the stage, labeling the band “us” and the audience “them.”

The letter comes in two parts, with no date on the first page.  A second page was later written on stationery from New York’s Hotel Parker Meridien postmarked June 22, 1982.  Garcia admitted in the message that he had “stage fright” with the old-fashioned style of communicating via pen and paper.  He had waited so long to send the letter that he decided to add the second page, which included a mention of the June 21, 1982 birth of England’s Prince William. 

Garcia mailed the letter as he was preparing for his June 25, 1982 solo acoustic gig with John Kahn at The Palladium in New York.  According to JerryGarcia.com, the night’s lineup also included Bo Diddley, Ronnie Spector, Rogue, Robert Gordon and Moonbeam.

Here’s a sample:

“Thank you really for sending that postcard.  I feel like it’s sort of our first ‘official communication’ somehow.  I’ve been hoping we could get together ever since we first met at Al’s that winter nite so long ago (sigh) – I hope it doesn’t seem like I’ve been avoiding you, although I admit I’ve kind of been waiting for the opportunity (that is, the ‘right opportunity) for us to meet in some kind of neutral context that would be comfortable and relaxed and free of any pressure.”

Included with the letter is the mailing envelope, also handwritten by Garcia.

RR Auction executive VP Bobby Livingston says, “The rarity of this handwritten letter cannot be overstated – research indicates no others ever being on the market – even Garcia himself noted, ‘this is the first letter I’ve written in years.’”

The letter, along with other items including Johnny Ramone’s 1965 Mosrite Ventures V1 guitar. A Beatles signed 1963 portrait taken at Odeon Southend in England, and a 1950s Elvis Presley signed candid photo showing the King of Rock ’n’ Roll in his army uniform, will be auctioned Jan. 22 with pre-bidding taking place Jan. 15-21.  Check out RRAuction.com before the items are going, going, gone.

(click on image for complete first page).

The next time you hear “China Grove,” “Listen To The Music,” “Black Water” or one of the many hits by The Doobie Brothers, be sure to give a tip of the hat to the legendary California band for lending its talents to a good cause.

Currently supporting the new Southbound album, The Doobie Brothers’ Dec. 2 performance helped the Alliance For Lupus Research’s PepsicoFoundation-supported benefit dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York raise $1.4 million to fight the disease.   The evening honored Pepsico chairman/CEO Indra K. Nooyi.

“We’d like to thank all the folks at ALR for having us be a part of such a worthy cause,” Doobie cofounder Tom Johnston said.  “We enjoyed meeting and talking with Indra about her love of music.  We’d also like to give a special thanks to Bob Pittman at iHeart Media, and Robert Wood (Woody) Johnson for having us on board for this event.  It was truly an honor to meet and play music for you all!”

(Left to Right):  Hugh F. Johnston (PepsiCo), Robert Wood Johnson IV (New York Jets), Tom Johnston, John McFee, Indra K. Nooyi (PepsiCo), Kenneth M. Farber (Alliance for Lupus Research), Patrick Simmons and Raj Nooyi.

Click here for more information about the Alliance For Lupus Research.

Zac Brown Band, Alabama Shakes, Cage The Elephant and Damien Rice will appear on the ninth season of PBS’ Live From The Artists Den, kicking off Jan. 30.

Taped at secret shows, the series will include Zac Brown Band’s performance at the Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, N.Y., Alabama Shakes rocking the Loveless Barn in Nashville, Cage The Elephant’s October gig at the Santa Barbara Art Foundry and Rice playing Brooklyn’s Greenpoint Loft.

Funded in a partnership with Barnes & Noble, Citi, Lexus and Samsung, the program will also be available for the first time via mobile services with Samsung’s Milk Video broadcasting Artists Den episodes each week.  Samsung’s Milk Music will launch live audio tracks from each episode on its new Artists Den Live Music station. 

Photo: Southern Reel
Zac Brown's Southern Ground Music & Food Festival, Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston, S.C.

Want to go to upcoming Live From The Artists Den secret shows?  Sure you do.  Follow this link to put your name in the hat.