Story by Art Howard


Smolin in studio
Smolin upon learning his show won the Jammy in 2000 (Dramatization)


Greetings, freaky peoples and misfit minions, mutant multitudes, far-out fellow fringe folk, crispy critters, disembodied thought forms, and denizens of the Dead continuum. Its time to light up a Sabbath candle, or whatever it is you light up on a Friday evening, and sanctify your mind with another four hours of Grateful Dead concert tapes, contemporary jam rock and miscelaneous psychedelia.


  So begins 90.7 KPFK, Los Angeles' The Music Never Stops. Each Friday night at 8 PM Los Angelinos tune in host Barry Smolin, who has helmed the City of Angels' premier jam band and Grateful Dead radio show since 1995. Though his city's profile has, incredibly, remained nearly nonexistent on the jam band map, Smolin's profile has only risen. Since taking the public radio show over he has won a reputation as an intellect of the jam band genre, penning thoughtful articles on the subject for the Los Angeles Times,, and winning the 2000 Jammy award for "Best Jam Radio Show."

Amazing heights for an avowed Deadhead to reach, considering his initial reaction to the Grateful Dead's sound was, "I didn't get it at all. It was just boring to me." This might be because Smolin was 13 when he attended his first show at the Universal Ampitheatre in Los Angeles in June of 1973.

  Like many a music-loving teen in the L.A. of the late `70's he joined a punk rock band, sharing bills with now-legendary names like X and Black Flag. "In fact most of the people I hung out with hated the Grateful Dead. I was a musician, I played in bands, a couple of punk bands, and to say you were into the Grateful Dead was suicide," he remembers of the non-Kind scene.  
  It was five years after his first exposure to the Dead that Smolin says he embarked on the Long Strange Trip. "It was when I started to hear live tapes at my friends' houses; we would be having a conversation, getting stoned or whatever, and I would say, 'Hey, what was that?,' and every time the answer would be the Grateful Dead. And I started to get sucked into it. So finally after I graduated high school in 1978 I went to see the Grateful Dead at the Forum in Los Angeles, and that's when I got it."  

Smolin heads for the "Phil Zone."

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