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Sept. 10, 2021

Interview with Bert Keely

We had the pleasure of interviewing Bert Keely over Zoom video! 

Echoing the '60s psychedelic happenings around Stanford University, Bert Keely has woven two remarkable careers - as a pioneering Silicon Valley computer engineer and a wonderfully...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Bert Keely over Zoom video! 

Echoing the '60s psychedelic happenings around Stanford University, Bert Keely has woven two remarkable careers - as a pioneering Silicon Valley computer engineer and a wonderfully versatile guitarist. During the dotcom boom, the band he co-created - the Flying Other Brothers - made some phenomenal music, worth a new listen and now collected in the new limited-edition box set Circle Back!

A 20-year retrospective featuring the Flying Other Brothers, Circle Back! includes three full-length albums Skywriting, Bert's Brew, and Alive and Grateful with special guests on select tracks, including Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead, guitarist G.E. Smith, and producer T Bone Burnett.

At the start of the dotcom boom in the late '90s, Keely and his bandmates were at the epicenter of tech innovations that dramatically changed the world. While Bert worked closely with Bill Gates at Microsoft (1998 - 2008) and led the company's team to engineer the first Tablet PC prototype (LINK: Gates' 2000 keynote with Keely), Keely is also known by insiders as the engineer who convinced Steve Jobs to develop the iPad. His Silicon Valley tech community was swept up in the vast potential good of the Internet. Now more than a decade after their last flights, on tour and especially on San Francisco's live music scene, this band of techies virtually reunites on Circle Back! to celebrate the best of the Flying Other Brothers.

Founding Flying Other Brothers band members Roger McNamee (venture capitalist), Giles McNamee (investment banker), Bill Bennett (marketing/PR strategist), Tony Bove (technology author), Larry Marcus (venture capitalist), and Keely were techies to the core, fond of the Grateful Dead who had also formed in the neighborhoods around Stanford.
Keely's only time seeing Garcia live was at the Keystone in '78 with the Jerry Garcia Band; it was in the same room (previously known as The Big Beat) that the Grateful Dead played their first Acid Test under that name. In '78, Keely was a junior at Stanford studying engineering under professor Bob McKim who had conducted what became known as "engineering acid tests" to understand the creative potential of psychedelics. The next year Keely came to release his solo debut album of psychedelic folk, Take Me Home, in '79. For Keely and the Flying Other Brothers, music and technology were always a weave. The scene at Stanford proved to be fertile ground for Bert's burgeoning careers in both engineering and music.

Circle Back! Box Set -- Featuring The Flying Other Brothers:

Circle Back! gives an inside look into the songwriting that made the Flying Other Brothers an extraordinary collective who recorded four albums of high energy music with producers such as Jack Casady (52-Week High), Stacy Parrish (Secondary), and Shauna Hall of 4 Non Blondes (IPO). Circle Back! carries their music/tech wave into 2021 with three new albums: Skywriting, Bert's Brew, and Alive and Grateful. Across the box set, Bert Keely's riveting guitar shares the spotlight with pedal steel solos by Barry Sless and electric solos by G.E. Smith, as well as standout rhythm guitar work by Bob Weir and Roger & Giles McNamee.

The Flying Other Brothers lived for the moment. Listening to Circle Back! is an invitation to ponder how things have changed in twenty years, and to try to imagine changes that lie ahead.

We want to hear from you! Please email Tera@BringinitBackwards.com.

www.BringinitBackwards.com

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