Al Feldstein, RIP

(Al at the Hollywood Bowl July 21, 1974.)


I just got a call from my old bandmate, Bob Nakamine, informing me that our old bandmate Al Feldstein died of a heart attack yesterday (6/21/09).


When I moved to Berkeley in 1973, my high school classmate Ernie was just dropping out and moving back to San Jose. He told me to look up his buddies on Etna Street - "They play Grateful Dead music!" he said. And play Grateful Dead music we did, starting in the second-floor living room of that house and off and on for the next 30+ years.


The first Grateful Dead tape I ever heard was at Al's apartment in Oakland - the 3/23/74 Cow Palace show, a couple of weeks after it happened. I had no idea such a thing existed before then.


He was a solid rhythm guitar player and a half-decent singer. He brought a handful of songs to our band, a couple of which I continued to perform myself after we stopped playing together regularly. He was cranky and opinionated and a thoroughly decent man.


Coincidentally, I recently transferred some recordings from the early '80s. The first three are Al's songs, and the last is of course a Johnny Cash song we took from the Dead. Mostly our band was called The Reptiles, but for some reason we tried being The Undecided for a few weeks in early 1981; that's the band on these four.


Dust Bowl 2/15/81


Night Crawl 2/15/81


Watchin' for the Bear 2/8/81


Big River 2/1/81


  • Carol Gould 6y

    I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend and bandmate, David. May he rest in peace.
  • Bob Davidson 6y

    My condolences.
  • Kristjan Aunver PRO 6y

    I´m happy my band-members are alive...they sure are special folks - you love ´em and hate them...what an old marriage! playing together since 1970, I couldn´t imagine what it would be without them...
  • Elliot Margolies PRO 6y

    Hard to believe the vital young man in blossom in this photo is passed away from a heart attack. Good to hear that history. Condolences.
  • museflash 6y

    I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the presence of Al's absence, See you all again at the Starry Plough. Suzy
  • museflash 6y

    Last night was wonderful! The Reptiles out did themselves and it was an honor to be there and celebrate Al. So proud of our girl C. Thank you for all you have done and for a stellar evening.
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Taken on July 21, 1974
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