G.E. Smith Tells Bob Dylan & Jerry Garcia Story And Covers ‘Friend Of The Devil’ With Jeff Kazee


Guitarist G.E. Smith and keyboardist Jeff Kazee performed together on Tuesday night at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. At Kazee’s urging, G.E. Smith told a tale from his days touring with Bob Dylan about Jerry Garcia stopping by backstage during one of Bob’s shows in Oakland. Smith recalled a special version of “Friend Of The Devil” Garcia played before G.E. and Jeff offered a similar rendition of the Grateful Dead classic.

Here’s the story from G.E.:

One time we were playing Oakland, California and Jerry Garcia and Bob were friends, of course, and Jerry would show up backstage every once in a while. He wouldn’t come out and play but backstage and he’d bring a guitar and him and Bob would sit there and try to outdo each other with the greatest, weirdest old folk song that no one had ever heard. Jerry would do one about this girl falls in the river and her skeleton washes up and they make a fiddle out of her bones. Then Bob would do this song “look at these tired old working hands,” whatever the song was. So one time Jerry comes and he does one of his songs which usually the way we all know it is usually kind of a nice bouncy thing. You hear the guitar and you like it, but he does it really slow. This was after he had a heart attack or a stroke or something and his left hand shook, so when he played it had this wonderful vibrato. This wonderful shaking of the note which we try years to do and he could do it, always could do it, but now he’s got this wonderful built-in … every note he plays is just gorgeous. So I told Jeff about this style of doing it, so we ex-propriated it.

Watch video captured by Sammy Steinlight of the “Friend Of The Devil” that followed: