Tuesday, August 30, 2005


From JV Collier's diary(Bruce's bassist)

The Wallingford, CT show felt like this to us. We were the opening act for the band Ratdog, which features former Gratreful Dead member Bob Weir. Bob is a great guy and it is always a blast being around this group of people.

But most people in the audience only want to hear B. sing Grateful Dead songs. In our set list are 5 or 6 great Dead songs. But, why would we play Jack Straw on a stage where the band that is coming after us has the guy who wrote the song? I think our audience was in the minority last night. One guy just kept screaming for JS. I went to sleep last night dreaming of Jack Straw :-( And I like the song. We all thought the show from a music point of view felt and sounded great. We were happy with the performance. Bob came and played with us on The Way It Is. The audience really loved that part of the show. But it was the last song. I hope we converted some people, but on the whole it was a hard night.

I would love to hear a tape of this show. We had our moments. And now it is time to... what the hell? Wait a minute!

We have just pulled into the hotel parking lot.. :-) I am convinced that this hotel is from a horror movie. I wish you could see this place, Yuck! The room smells of old cows doing the nasty. The air condition (circa 1920) smells like something is in the filter (change the damn thing) :-( I go back to the bus to retrieve my phone charger and find Sonny.

"What are you doing?" I ask. Sonny replies, ¡° I¡¯m not sleeping in that room, there are stains on the bed and I am afraid to sleep with the window open. Someone might crawl in and beat my ass¡±. I am on the ground rolling with laughter :-) Sonny spends the night on the bus. I get back to my room and get a phone call from our bus driver, Dale.

Dale¡¯s a good guy, and I really like him. Dale is also afraid to sleep with the window open. It is dark and gloomy outside and not much around. Where the hell did we dig this place up? It takes a couple of hours for me to fall asleep. It is gross and yucky here and I have dreams of cobra snakes all around my bed, (What the hell is that about?)

With the sunrise, we find that we are not in a remote area. We are in the hood. And now things have changed. I cannot wait for the show tonight. I want out of this room and I want to check out this city. More details to come :-)

See ya soon.

JACK STRAW BRUCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;-)
Waking the Dead

The untold story of the Dead's first breaths

Phil Lesh was impeccably credentialed -- twenty-five, broke and idle, having been forced out of his job at the post office for growing his hair long enough to graze the top of his ears -- when he moved with a friend into 1130 Haight Street early in 1965. He mothballed his undergraduate dream of becoming a composer or conductor of avant-garde music, and he spent his days wandering the streets around the intersection of Haight and Ashbury, a mixed-race, working- class San Francisco neighborhood of storefronts and calendar-quaint Victorian houses that was just on the verge of becoming Haight-Ashbury, the synonym for the Sixties. In the afternoons, when Lesh awoke, he would walk a few blocks from his house to buy a doughnut, and music would follow him. From one window, he would hear an AM radio blaring a Top Forty hit of the week: "Downtown" or "This Diamond Ring"; from the floor above it, he'd hear an album track: say, Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," from Bringing It All Back Home; on the next block, he'd hear a passage of Bach or Mozart from the San Francisco classical station KDFC; around the corner, there would be some jazz from Miles Davis or John Coltrane; then, a bit of R&B from Ray Charles . . .

"All sorts of people from different generations were living here, and when you walked past their houses, the wind would blow every variety of music through the air," Lesh recalled this summer, shuffling down Haight Street to retrace those steps. At sixty-five, Lesh is still wiry (he is meticulous about his diet, in part because he had a liver transplant in 1998) and exudes an unlikely boyish quality (an effect of his effusive high spirits, which his new liver helps sustain). "It was a kind of musical stream of consciousness, like the sound of the inside of your mind when you're not thinking or focusing on anything in particular -- all this flux of feeling and thought. It reminded me of Charles Ives, because that's where I was coming from."

It was also a hint of where Lesh would soon be going -- and where he would help take American music with the band he joined as bass player in June 1965. The nucleus of that group -- leader and string-instrument master Jerry Garcia, 23 at the beginning of '65; rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, 18; and singer and blues-harp player Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, 20 -- had come together in Palo Alto, California, some time earlier to play old-timey music as members of Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. Early in '65, the three of them dropped the jugs and washtubs, and added a hard-driving drummer, Bill Kreutzmann, 19, to become an electric bar band, the Warlocks. By the end of that year, the group was transformed for good and had come to embody its time and place -- steeped in the San Francisco Bay area's tradition of unorthodoxy, entwined with the blossoming psychedelic culture, the band found its name, the Grateful Dead, by chance (Garcia opened the dictionary to a random page and took a phrase that caught his eye) and found unique sources of identity in its mercuriality, submission to happenstance and inclination to anarchy. Comprising musicians with wildly divergent backgrounds and creative orientations, spontaneous and volatile, the Grateful Dead embraced the effect of a walk down the streets of Haight-Ashbury in 1965, making surprise, collusion, indulgence and disorientation the stuff of its art.

How, in the course of one year, did a jug band from the Northern California peninsula become one of the most important -- and by far the most durable and influential -- musical phenomena to have risen out of Sixties San Francisco? "There are these power centers, like Machu Picchu, like Everest, like Stonehenge, places like that, and one of the main power centers on this continent is the manhole cover at the center of Haight and Ashbury," says Wavy Gravy, the jester of the psychedelic court, who may or may not have been the one who poured the acid in the Kool-Aid that Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters served to the multitudes seeking psychoactive kicks. "I'm certain of this because, in an altered state, I happened to walk onto the manhole cover while the Dead was playing at the Haight Street Fair, and at that exact moment, I saw a rainbow over Jerry Garcia."

OK . . .

"Haight-Ashbury was like a giant Certs commercial," Wavy Gravy explains, "with the Cert shooting out these waves in all directions -- ding, ding, ding, ding, beep, beep, beep, beep! The Dead were caught in those waves. You see?"

Yes. Definitely. There seems no harm, though, in considering a few somewhat less trippy notions.

In fact, the Grateful Dead weren't born in Haight-Ashbury. Despite the band's eventual prominence in the flower-power scene and the budding of its long-term fan base in the tie-dyed fields of the Haight's Buena Vista Park, the Dead were a product of another place about thirty miles to the south: Palo Alto, where an amalgam of cultural forces was coalescing just as the core founders of the band were entering adulthood. Stanford University, a major center for Cold War weapons research, filled the vicinity with parents allegiant to the hard sciences and Eisenhower-era values. When their kids started maturing, they began asserting their own generational identity by dressing like farmhands -- in bluejeans -- and listening to simple music played on wooden instruments and sung in a plaintive vernacular. Folk music was suddenly voguish, replacing jazz in the coffeehouses that had sprouted up in the bohemian student areas in Palo Alto (and virtually every other college town in the United States) during the postwar years. The Kingston Trio, the boy-band avatars of the folk craze, started in Palo Alto. So did Joan Baez, the imperious folk queen of the early Sixties.

And so did Jerry Garcia. Son of a leader of a big band (who named him after songwriter Jerome Kern, composer of the musical Show Boat and standards such as "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"), Garcia moved to Palo Alto, after finagling his way out of the Army, because he knew a girl in the area, and he found work teaching banjo and guitar at an instrument shop. Garcia had toyed with rock & roll as a teenager in San Francisco (and even played electric guitar on Bobby Freeman's 1958 hit "Do You Want to Dance," according to Grateful Dead legend) but became obsessed with traditional acoustic music in Palo Alto. A few years before he got together with Weir and McKernan, he was developing a reputation among musicians in Northern California for his work in a couple of string bands: an old-timey trio, the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers (with guitarist Marshall Leicester and fiddler Dick Arnold), and a bluegrass trio, the Wildwood Boys (with guitarists David Nelson and Robert Hunter, the latter of whom would later reunite with Garcia as a lyricist for the Dead).

Garcia was also developing an extramusical mystique. "He was very advanced at the time, compared to everybody else," says Nelson, who continued to play with Garcia over the years and now tours with a Dead-style jam band. "People thought he was arrogant, but I never saw that. The first time I saw him, sitting in a bookstore, it was summer, so it was hot, and there's this guy with an open shirt, and he was incredibly hairy, and he's kind of dark and surly, and he's strumming a twelve-string, real kind of quiet, with this really kind of intense-like stare. He had a little wreath of something in his hair, like some girl had woven some vines into a wreath. He was playing quietly -- you could hardly hear it, but it was very intense, very captivating. He had some kind of aura. 'Who's that?' I just couldn't take my eyes off him."

Marshall Leicester saw a careerist streak to match -- and facilitate -- Garcia's acute sense of creative purpose. "He was a complicated individual: a guy with a very strong drive to find what it was he wanted to do and do it, even if he didn't know what it was," says Leicester, who is now a literature professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "He would pick up stuff and drop it, and that often involved picking up people and dropping them on the way to finding what he wanted to do. I can say that innocently, because it didn't happen to me. He had an artist's stubbornness about finding whatever that vision would turn out to be and sticking to it."

The store where Nelson first encountered Garcia, Kepler's Books and Magazines, was a modest shop run by a lefty activist, Roy Kepler, and co-managed by a local pacifist guru, Ira Sandperl. It had an open area with tables and a coffee urn on the left, as you walked in, which was the hub of the literary-music axis that gave the Palo Alto scene much of its gravitas and cachet. Ken Kesey, the novelist and LSD-head, had moved to Palo Alto on a fellowship to the Stanford Writing Program and stayed in town, working as an orderly in a psych ward while he wrote a novel drawn from the experience, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. When Jack Kerouac shook off Neal Cassady, the charismatic hanger-on who inspired On the Road's Dean Moriarty, Cassady bestowed the end of his leash to Kesey, thereupon gracing Palo Alto with an accessible -- indeed, ubiquitous -- Beat presence.

To a well-read autodidact like Garcia, and to musicians and writers with scholarly bents like Hunter, Leicester and many of their friends in Palo Alto, books and stringed instruments seemed of a piece. There was earthy poetry in those odd, cryptic folk songs about betrayal, death and spirits, and the process of unearthing the material on old 78s in thrift stores and flea markets had an element of scholarship. Garcia and his contemporaries gathered nearly every day at Kepler's, trading songs and books and ruminating on their meanings. At night they played in clubs such as the Top of the Tangent and the Boar's Head, both of which were rooms on the second floors of bookstores.

Recalling those days this summer, Ira Sandperl walks down the aisles of the current incarnation of Kepler's, an airy corner store in a modern building half a block from the original location, which is now a leather-furniture store. "I had to kick the Grateful Dead out of the store every night, before they were the Grateful Dead -- Jerry Garcia and those guys," says Sandperl, who now uses a walker but seems fiery enough to bop an antagonist on the head with it (unless he's still a pacifist). "They would play the same song all night, and they never knew when to stop. I had to get them out of there. They were maddening."

Bob Weir, a high-spirited rich kid with severe but undiagnosed dyslexia, had been expelled from a string of private academies around the Peninsula and ended up in Menlo-Atherton High School, near Palo Alto, in 1964. "He was incorrigible -- he was into being different," recalls his classmate Bob Matthews. "He liked music, liked playing music, played guitar really well, played it a lot and was into snowing the girls. He was pretty -- the girls all went for him, and he was plenty happy with them." Weir and Matthews were sophomores, as Matthews remembers, or maybe juniors, as Weir says, when they started a band with Jerry Garcia.

Matthews recalls that he and Weir hitch-hiked to Berkeley after school one day and sneaked into a twenty-one-and-over club to see a group they had heard on a new record: the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, a raggy-looking ensemble of young people playing a musical hodgepodge, by turns old-timey, funky, bluesy and jazzy, on farmhouse instruments such as washboards, kazoos and jugs, as well as traditional banjos and guitars. "The next day, Bob and I walked into Dana Morgan's music store, where Jerry was in his little tiny cubicle that he taught lessons in -- if he wasn't working, he was always practicing," says Matthews. "We said, 'We decided to start a jug band last night.' Without dropping a note, Jerry said, 'Oh, good -- I'm in it.' And that's how the Grateful Dead started."

Four decades later, Weir, now fifty-seven, remains hardy and attractive, despite his thick, graying beard. Early this summer, he sat on the patio behind the Depot bookstore and coffee shop in Mill Valley, the town on the rim of Northern California's Mount Tamalpais where he has lived for years, and he sorts through his memories of the birth of the Dead. "It all started in places very much like this," he said, slowly turning his head to his right, in the direction of the book stacks inside. "I really couldn't read very well, so I felt a little funny in a bookstore. I still do, though we're outside, so that helps.

"We were pretty much the Dead before we were the Dead," Weir said, staring straight ahead as he talked -- not at anyone in particular, just straight ahead, as if he were onstage. "We were a jug band first, and that band had the whole essence of what the Grateful Dead became." Indeed, with the addition of McKernan, a gut-bucket blues singer who was a fixture in Palo Alto music circles, the group contained not only three core members of the Grateful Dead but also the band's genetic code. Called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, it was an unstable, anarchic, improvisational troupe of individualists making smart, fun music that conjured a party atmosphere. The heart of the enterprise, the jug, provided both the tuba-style foundation for the music and a symbol of illicit thrills; to the poor folks of the 1920s and 1930s (black and white) who played the original jug-band music, a jug was for holding corn whiskey, and the fact that it had been emptied and was therefore tootable was a sign of feeling good from the inside. It wasn't LSD but the closest thing on the Mississippi River.

As Geoff Muldaur, a guitarist and singer for the Kweskin band, explains the genre, "The essence of the jug-band idea is people jamming music for free and for fun with an extremely unrehearsed, spontaneous nature to it. As we saw it, and Jerry and Bob followed suit, it had no idiomatic boundaries. It was more of a medium to grow things in. It was eclectic, in that there was a lot of jazz playing going on, a lot of blues playing going on." The style was "a springboard, for us and for the Dead," Muldaur says.

"Hipness is a thing that keeps changing, and people who were in their late teens and early twenties in the early 1960s found jug bands incredibly hip," recalls the singer and songwriter John Sebastian, whose own passion for the style has sustained his entire career; he started professionally (under the name John Benson) in the New York-based Even Dozen Jug Band (which included the mandolin player David Grisman, with whom Garcia later recorded several albums' worth of traditional material), he formed the Lovin' Spoonful as an electrified jug band, and he now leads his own winkingly titled J-Band. "A lot of that appeal to those people had a cultural backspin on it -- like, this music has no reference to my frame of reference. It has a sense of fun, of course, but in that sense of fun a kind of deflation of the idea of an entertainer as a big shot. Jug-band music is kind of like compost -- it's this very rich fertilizer."

Weir's specialty in the band was the jug, in part because playing it made him hyperventilate and get high. "Jug-band music was minstrel music," Weir says. "It was blues music -- it wasn't electric urban blues, but it was old-style urban blues. The jug-band tradition went all the way from New Orleans to Cincinnati, and all along those stops the same rhythms and the same harmonic structures that those guys used to play back then stayed. Playing in the jug band, I learned a healthy respect for the roots of the music. You honor the roots, and you're tapping into a vein -- there's juice there.

"Somebody got us a gig at the Tangent, and we became fixtures there. We were putting on a party, and people would dance, and stuff like that. We became popular, immensely popular. We owned the place, almost from the first night."

In July 1964, a couple of Stanford students recorded Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions for a college radio show, Live From the Top of the Tangent. The band's program that night (issued on CD in 1999) shows Garcia and McKernan in strong voice doing material later associated with the Dead (including Jesse Fuller's "The Monkey and the Engineer" and "Beat It On Down the Line"). The broadcast ended with an interview in which Garcia spoke for the group. "We have quite a large area," he said of the group's musical terrain, "and that makes it more fun for us -- certainly more satisfying, because it doesn't restrict us to one particular idea or one particular style. The result, I think, is pretty interesting, and it's just a gas for us. We'll play music as long as we're all together and we all live in the same area. It's fun, and it's rewarding. We don't expect to make a fortune at it or ever be popular or famous or worshipped or hit The Ed Sullivan Show or the circuses or the big top. As long as we can play, we'll play, regardless of what it's for, who it's for or anything. It's fun for us -- that's the important thing."

The importance of things soon changed for Garcia, Weir and McKernan, who were, after all, young and American -- far from immune to the power of The Ed Sullivan Show. By the end of 1964, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones liberated rock & roll from the offices of the Brill Building and revived it four blocks away, right there on Ed's soundstage. "Toward the end of that year," Weir remembers, Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions "started mutating into a rock & roll band."

The Beatles and the Stones "hit us in a big way," Weir says. "I was working in the music store where Jerry worked, and -- well, we were thinking while we were working at the music store, all those shiny electric instruments are starting to give us the come-hither. And just around then, the son of the owner of the music store said, 'Hey, listen, you guys want to start a rock & roll band? I'll loan you the instruments if I can play bass.' The Beatles came out, and there was life to what they were playing. Rock & rollseemed viable -- it seemed less like prepackaged, marketed pap and more like there was some expansiveness to the music. So we became a rock & roll band at that point."

Phil Lesh, who was friends with Garcia and watched his musical progress closely, saw various incarnations of the jug band and attributes its transformation to McKernan, whose tastes leaned far more toward the Stones than the Beatles. Of course, Lesh and Weir have not agreed on much in some time. (Their elemental disagreement over the mission of the band -- carrying on musical tradition or experimentation -- along with more mundane conflicts over business, prevents the surviving members from playing together in their fortieth anniversary year.)

"That was a neat metamorphosis, because Jerry and Pigpen had been trying to work some kind of thing out for years," Lesh says. "In Palo Alto, they finally got it together with this jug band -- a jug band is kind of a magpie's nest of influences, just like the Grateful Dead turned out to be. Pigpen was into the Chicago blues, and it was his idea: 'Let's get a drummer and make it an electric blues band.' It was just such a natural thing to happen."

The drummer they got was the best one they knew and the one they knew best: Bill Kreutzmann, who had played in a local R&B band and was teaching in the instrument store alongside Garcia and Weir. A big, quiet man who said he related to Lenny in Of Mice and Men, Kreutzmann was married with a baby daughter at eighteen, when he was still in high school, though his playing was fiery and wild. Garcia would claim (in an interview with the band's official biographer, Dennis McNally) that he "really, really didn't understand anything [Kreutzmann] said. He was just like, 'Rcty rcty shdd.' You know, what? 'Rrrrou.'" (Kreutzmann, through a representative, declined to be interviewed for this article.) But his drumming spoke to Garcia. "He was all over the place," Garcia told McNally.

The guys chose a dark, forbidding new name -- the Warlocks (which would later be an early name for a band of another sphere, the Velvet Underground). Lesh joined in May 1965, after the first set of a Warlocks gig at a pizza parlor in Menlo Park that Lesh attended, high on acid, and enjoyed so well that he danced by himself in front of the bandstand. Garcia cornered him and announced, "Hey, man -- you're going to be the bass player in this band," as Lesh recalls. Such was Garcia's intuitive sense of the two men's companionability, his faith in Lesh's fundamental musical acumen and his disdain for the rudimentary plunking of the music-store owner's son, whose father repossessed the band's equipment. (Garcia hustled up replacement gear on loan.)

The Warlocks started as a bar band playing covers, though the tunes Garcia and his bandmates chose betrayed their devotion to traditional music and their archival bent. In their first year together, they were doing lots of old blues numbers updated though electrification, like the Stones -- Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee" and Jerry Reed's "Big Boss Man" -- but they mixed them with folk songs such as "I Know You Rider" and jug-band tunes like "Viola Lee Blues" and Gus Cannon's "Stealin'." Musically, their interpretations were always idiosyncratic -- Garcia's solos were never pure blues but were rooted in the diatonic scales of bluegrass, and Lesh remained an avant-gardist, approaching the bass very much like the jazz trumpet he used to play. The band was a farrago of aesthetics from the start.

"They were a cover band with a blues accentuation because Pigpen was their vocalist, but the DNA of the band is a synthesis of all American music, and they had that from day one," Dennis McNally says.

"Everything we ever did was a demonstration of the value of cross-fertilization," Lesh explains. "It was unconscious at first, but when we started looking at each other, we had all these different influences. We had classical, jazz and avant-garde electronica in my case; we had rock & roll, bluegrass and folk music in Jerry's case; we had rock & roll and folk music with Bobby; we had blues and R&B with Pigpen; and we had jazz and rock & roll with Billy. The first song we ever did was an old folk song ["I Know You Rider"], and we rocked it out. Then we took a jug-band song ["Viola Lee Blues"], and we electrified that and rocked it out. I used to think of our music as electric chamber music. Bobby used to call it electric Dixieland."

Like the Beatles in Hamburg, the Warlocks jelled as a group -- as much as they ever would -- when they landed steady work in one spot and got to play set after set, night after night. For six weeks beginning in the fall of 1965, the band played five forty-five-minute sets (with a fifteen- minute break) per night, five nights a week, at a club for down-and-outers called the In Room in Belmont, a suburban town north of Palo Alto. "That's where we started getting a little out," Lesh says. "We'd play one song for forty-five minutes -- 'Midnight Hour,' by Wilson Pickett. We thought it was OK to do that, because the only people who were in there were people who were sitting at the bar drinking, and occasionally some people would come out and dance. I don't know if we drew people in or pushed them away. But I know that over that six weeks we really evolved our playing to a point where we could take it out and be free with it and just listen to each other play and find musical ideas and find whole musical structures -- in the ozone, as it were.

"We borrowed it all from Coltrane. I started encouraging everybody in the band to listen to John Coltrane -- 'Check it out, see what these guys do.' They take one chord, the tonic chord, and just play all over it. 'We can do that too!' I wanted to make our music something really amazing -- I wanted it to be jaw-dropping and turn on a dime and do all of those things that I knew music could do, and nobody told us we couldn't do it. I shouldn't say 'I,' though -- Jerry was behind it the whole way."

It was at the In Room that the Warlocks not only found their voice as a band but began their long-running discourse with inner voices. They were swept -- no, they dived, in group formation -- into the vortex of the LSD culture that Kesey and his troupe of Pranksters were just beginning with their Acid Tests of psychoactive evangelism around the Bay area. At first, the members of the band (or at least most of them, much of the time, Weir excepted) had an unofficial policy of performing while straight (or relatively straight, after smoking pot and/or drinking) and tripping only offstage. Soon, they began to entwine their creative lives and psychoactive lives. In little time, the two were inseparable.

"We got one night off a week," says Weir, "and every Sunday we'd go out and take acid, because that was just starting to come around. There were woolly freaks in the audience, and they were high, and we related to them -- got a kind of contact buzz off them.

"Then, one night -- I guess I was the first guy in the band actually to take acid. I had some, I took it and went to the gig -- I think it was a Tuesday night at the In Room, and all the guys in the band were watching me to see if I was going to make it through the evening. 'Isn't that a little radical?' And I made it through the evening. It wasn't a good night or a bad night. There were some challenges involved, because I think I overdosed myself. I was profoundly disoriented, I'll tell you. But I made it through the evening. And so shortly on the heels of that, the rest of the guys figured, 'OK, if the kid can do it, we're good to go.'

"Sometimes we'd freak out -- we'd plug in, try to play and just jump ship and come back later when we weren't peaking and give it another go, and it would work. The LSD gave us an insight, because once you're in that state of profound disorientation, you play stuff out of muscle memory that you're used to playing, but it will sound way different to you, and in that you'll find all kinds of suggestions of places to take it. Bit by bit, we'd follow those pathways. We were taking acid every week for a couple of months, and I think we learned what we were going to learn with that method in that couple of months. We learned in that time an important lesson, to try to step back from what it is you're playing -- not be there, to step back and let the song be itself. All we were there for was to be there to help the song, to do a few physical things to let the song happen, and the song would take care of itself."

Four decades after LSD was all the rage, neuroscientists have only a partial understanding of how the drug works. According to Dr. David Nichols, a medicinal chemist at Purdue who has written on the biochemistry of hallucinogens, LSD affects four regions of the brain associated with wakefulness, perception and information processing, enacting changes that can have a profound impact on band musicians jamming while they're tripping. They can go into a state both dreamlike and hyperconscious; things that previously seemed insignificant about the music then seem strikingly novel.

The resulting music is most effective to listeners who are in the same altered state, of course. To others, it may come off as magnificently inventive or numbingly meaningless. Then again, so can performances by utterly straight performers.

"Everybody focuses on the drugs when they talk about the Grateful Dead," notes Mickey Hart, the percussionist who joined the band, alongside Kreutzmann, in 1967. "First of all, the band only played while tripping for a very short period a long time ago. We went on to play for years and years after that, and the music continued to be spontaneous, inspired and unpredictable -- sometimes wonderful, sometimes not. But it wasn't the drugs' fault. That's the function of creative group improvisation. That's the risk we took as group improvisers. We used acid as a tool, and it helped us feel the music in a different way. We continued to use what we learned from that and didn't need the acid anymore."

At some point around the beginning of November 1965, Phil Lesh was record shopping and picked up a single with the name Warlocks on the label. His band had not made the record. (Neither had the New York group that would become the Velvet Underground.) On November 3rd, the band recorded a handful of demos in San Francisco and used the name the Emergency Crew for the sessions. Nine days later, Garcia, Weir, Lesh and Kreutzmann met at Lesh's apartment on High Street (no joke) in Palo Alto, where he had moved from Haight- Ashbury to be close to the rest of the band. As Lesh remembers, he and Garcia flipped through a copy of a book of quotations, spouting phrases for consideration as a new band name, and none seemed better than the idea that Garcia came with: the Mythical Ethical Icycle Tricycle. Finally, Garcia opened Lesh's dictionary to a random page, and a pair of words "jumped out at him." Garcia blurted out, "Grateful Dead -- that's it," and let out a whoop.

Garcia, recalling the occasion some time after the fact, doused a bit of sand on the ostensible magic of the moment. "Nobody in the band liked it," he remembered (in an interview quoted in Blair Jackson's 1999 biography Garcia: An American Life). "I didn't like it, either, but it got around that that was one of the candidates for our new name, and everyone else said, 'Yeah, that's great.' It turned out to be tremendously lucky. It's just repellent enough to filter curious onlookers and just quirky enough that parents don't like it."

Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, "Pigpen" McKernan, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann were still living in Palo Alto, the band's birthplace, and they had no record contract. But the Dead were now alive, fully formed and beginning to stir up their rich, pulpy stew of American music.

Phil Lesh walks up to the front of 710 Ashbury Street, a decorous three-story Victorian that housed all the members of the Grateful Dead for a few months, a year after the band settled on its name. The block is now gentrified, and the house has been fastidiously restored. At the bottom of the front steps, there's a wrought-iron gate with gold leaf on the filigree. Lesh tugs at it, finding it locked. "We never locked anything," he says with a chuckle. "Of course, we didn't have anything to steal, except our guitars, and everybody else on the street already had a guitar."

On the walk toward Haight from Ashbury, no music came from the windows of the houses, most of which were closed to keep in the air conditioning. Lesh stops for a moment to consider a notion: With Jerry Garcia dead, is silence on the streets of Haight-Ashbury somehow fitting?

"It has a certain poignancy, the silence," Lesh says, gazing down the street. "But I don't think Jerry would have liked it."

Then he smiles. "I don't really hear silence, anyway. I hear music in my head, and that makes me think of Jerry."
(Posted Aug 25, 2005)
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For Bob Weir, the music never stops
The Stamford Advocate

It has been 10 years since Jerry Garcia's death put an end to the Grateful Dead.

For Bob Weir, Garcia's fellow guitarist for more than 30 years, it's hard to think of the past decade in terms of time.

''One moment it seems like yesterday and in another it seems like eons ago,'' he says.

The remaining members of the Grateful Dead have stayed musically active and occasionally team up together (they did last summer as The Dead), but none has shown Weir's dogged determination.

When Garcia died in August 1995, Weir's band Ratdog was starting to take form as a side project that, like the Jerry Garcia Band, would tour when the Dead wasn't on the road. Soon after, it became his focus and took several years and lineup changes to find its shape. In putting together a band, Weir wasn't looking for musicians who knew the Dead's repertoire inside out. Instead, he wanted players who would bring a new approach to his own and the Grateful Dead repertoires, in addition to the songs they would write as Ratdog. Ultimately, he found them.

''I tapped into a well of good musicians who were fun to play with, a lot of whom came from the jazz vein, there's a healthy one in San Francisco,'' he says. ''That made sense to me. I knew I was going to get players with wings. I kept going to that well.''

Ratdog's lineup is Weir, guitarist Mark Karan, saxophonist Kenny Brooks, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, bassist Robin Sylvester and drummer Jay Lane, an original member.

Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers play with Ratdog, and aren't strangers to Deadheads. When Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland died in 1990, Hornsby joined the band to help the transition for new keyboardist Vince Welnick. He stayed until the summer of 1992 and would continue to sit in with the band and its various offshoots.

When asked if he plans to collaborate with his old friend, Weir is emphatic.

''Hell, yeah,'' he says. ''I was going to give him a buzz today and see if he has any notions,'' Weir says. ''I had the notion of just seamlessly flowing from his set to ours, removing one of his guys and putting one of our guys on stage.... the band changes slightly over every few minutes. But that wouldn't give the audience the break it needs, but we might try it once or twice. The situation is rife for borrowing musicians.''

The Grateful Dead redefined the idea of touring for the rock era. Its road warrior mentality spawned an American phenomenon that was the seed for the current boom of jam bands. A common misconception is that the Dead's albums were always afterthoughts to the concerts. With decades to rethink them, several of the studio albums -- particularly ''American Beauty'' and ''Workingman's Dead,'' both from the early 1970s -- are considered classics.

Ratdog has toured consistently for a decade with only 2000's ''Evening Moods'' as its recorded output. Weir realizes the band is overdue for a new disc -- and batch of songs -- but admits a two-year renovation of his Northern California home has kept him out of his home studio, where he normally writes. Unlike the songs on ''Evening Moods,'' many of which were written democratically out of jams and rehearsals, the next batch should bare more of his own ideas. ''My writing facility is such that I might get a fair bit done on my own,'' Weir says.

In concert Ratdog encompasses the span of Weir's career. Set lists include songs from the Grateful Dead, Weir's solo career (''Ace,'' ''Heaven Help the Fool'' and ''Bobby & the Midnites'') and Ratdog originals.

Weir was born Oct. 16, 1947. He began playing with Garcia and Ron ''Pigpen'' McKernan as Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions in 1963. As the jug band switched toward a more psychedelic sound that would incorporate many forms of American music, the group became the Warlocks and eventually the Grateful Dead.

Just as the band was forming its own sound by mixing elements of rock, rhythm and blues, bluegrass and country, Weir took a distinct approach to rhythm guitar. He drew his inspiration from classical composers including Stockhausen and Debussy and jazz pianist McCoy Tyner.

''I wanted to play music and I'm sort of an iconoclast by nature,'' he says. ''I want to squeeze all the music out of that instrument as I can. All that stuff that's been done as rock 'n' roll guitar has been done. It's not my job. I just want to try to expand the horizons a little bit for my own satisfaction.''

Weir's approach made sense in a band that had enough conviction and musical knowledge to mix so many kinds of music into a unique sound.

Popular opinion has marked this year as the 40th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, but to the surprise of Deadheads, the living members of the band are doing nothing to commemorate it. According to Weir, he will play with his former bandmates again sometime down the line.

''The 40th birthday is kind of arbitrary,'' he says. ''It will be my 42nd very shortly, at least playing with Jerry and Pigpen.'' Despite its absence from the stage this summer, the Grateful Dead organization seems omnipresent. Live recordings regularly are released through the ''Dick's Picks'' series and other ventures. The estate of Jerry Garcia also is catching up for lost time by releasing recordings and DVDs of his musical ventures outside of the Dead with the ''Pure Jerry'' series. Festivals including the upcoming Vegoose in Las Vegas are filled with bands presenting the Dead's sense of adventure, community and musical exploration to a generation too young to have witnessed the originators.

For the ''Dick's Picks'' series (which recently released its 35th volume) and archival material released on Rhino records, the band allows others to decide what is put out -- not surprising since the band allowed fans to record their concerts for years, letting people hear performances with peaks and flaws.

''I have veto power but I don't ever expect to use it,'' Weir says. ''I don't have time to do it nor the interest. The benign neglect approach to that is the best one. We'd get too bogged down in the process.''

Living in the moment, particularly on stage, and not getting bogged down is something Weir has done since his teens.

''I live in a dreamlike existence anyway. Time really is relative,'' he says. ''I went up and lived with what we would call Eskimo people in Alaska and kicked around their community. They have all these numerous words for snow and ice and no word for time. I got there and I got 'it.' It's an illusion. I live my life that way, really. I can make plans somehow and get on stage somehow but I don't pay a whole lot of attention to (time).''

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ratdog, Hornsby Pair Up
August 29, 2005
By THOMAS KINTNER, Special to the Courant
Intensely loyal Grateful Dead aficionados looking for booster shots of the fabled jam band's material between reunions of the group's surviving members can't hope for much better than the no-nonsense exploratory style of Bob Weir and his band Ratdog. Weir headlined a double bill Saturday night at the Chevrolet Theatre in Wallingford that also featured Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers and delighted a crowd of enthusiastic fans with his expeditions into favorite regions of Dead territory.
The house was surprisingly empty when Hornsby took the stage to start the evening, but he showed no ill effects for coming out to the same treatment afforded the average no-name opening act. He led off with a feisty roll through "Take Out the Trash," limbering up on the piano and leading a five-piece band that took its cue from the rat-a-tat drumming of Sonny Emory. Hornsby's ivory tickling was melodically decorative, yet at the same time focused and smart, as he propelled the jaunty "Go Back to Your Woods."
Hornsby punctuated his vocals by matching the grabby pulse of "See the Same Way," and his crisp delivery added starch to the soft sway of "This Too Shall Pass." That the evening's audience did not come to hear his old radio hits was clear when the warmest reception of his set greeted the shifty jam number "Rainbow's Cadillac," familiar to many from its use in a Dead offshoot band of which Hornsby was a member, The Other Ones.
"Gonna Be Some Changes Made" brought more life to a roomful of swaying listeners than it ever will to the home improvement store commercials on which it is currently splashed, and Hornsby's peppering of the signature riff of Prince's "When Doves Cry" had a nice hook atop J.V. Collier's bass line. Hornsby was joined by Weir for an encore of "The Way It Is" in which Weir's tasteful electric guitar insertions complemented Hornsby's rippling piano without overwhelming it.
Weir opened his set on acoustic guitar, leading his own five-man troupe through a cover of "Blackbird" that sported a homespun, countrified pulse. Not one to chat up the crowd between songs, he then segued smoothly from tune to tune for nearly two hours, working out material such as the hearty "Lazy River Road" and the mellow dance jam "Cassidy." His vigorous singing of "Estimated Prophet" was a crowd pleaser, and his electric guitar playing drizzled finely crafted texture onto the hypnotic, rumbling rock of "That's It for the Other One."
How was your weekend?
I spent Saturday churning out clay guitars (only 24 left to go!). I must say I'm really enjoying making them. It's been a long time since I've played with Fimo clay- now they make it so pliable that it's really easy to knead the colors together.
Sunday we were summoned to my folks house in the guise of it being "an early birthday celebration" for my dad- his birthday is 9/05 but he & mom will once again be travelling then...Turned out to be a little dinner in belated honor of Our anniversary! Nice! Just family and Some close friends of my folks, my brother brought his new girlfriend to meet us(this could be the ONE! My mom found her at the gym and got my bro to call her).
Our friend Joanne came by but was understandably distracted by the hurricane reports- she has family in NOLA and they had spent the day moving all their downstairs furnishings to the upstairs and then drove out to Houston Texas for the evacuation.
(((((The Hurricane Region!)))
Well, back to the kitchen..only 24 more to go!
Tuneful jam band works hard for fans

Monday, August 29, 2005

By Mark Bialczak

Staff writer

When Bob Weir ambles onto the outdoor stage in his trademark shortish shorts and bare feet, it's without a doubt still summer in Syracuse.

The famous Californian led his latest band, RatDog, through a jam-happy set Sunday night at the state fair Grandstand. And to the crowd of 4,206, it was obvious that the outside party was a great chance to relive the greatness of Weir's original band, the legendary Grateful Dead.

From the first meandering strains of the opening song, fans seemed to breathe in a big gulp at once. Diehard Dead fans probably knew what the song was from the start. But as Weir and his guitar and his considerably talented band mates built slowly but surely to one of the Dead's most popular and recognizable tunes, the air got let out in a big cheer.

"Truckin' " it was, and truck the band and fans did for the rest of the night.

"What a long, strange trip it's been," they sang along on the opening cut.

From there on it was a dance fest, even through the less mainstream songs.

Fans broke off in small packs to dance in the spaces left open on the floor on both sides of the stage. The impromptu dance floors were right underneath the two big screens. Better for the dancers to keep track of the show as well as the beat.

Others stood at their seats and swayed. Hardly anybody sat except to take a load off every now and again.

The band worked hard the whole time. With Mark Karan on guitar, Jeff Chimenti on keyboards, Kenny Brooks on saxophone, Robin Sylvester on bass and Jay Lane on drums, Weir's RatDog is a tuneful jam band.

Weir and his golden vocals undoubtedly led the way, but all appeared ready to make the time-tested break-ins and breakouts from song to song.

RatDog has more than a hundred songs on its concert-ready playlist, so fans like to be surprised.

Weir pulled out some cool ones, including the folk-country "Brown-Eyed Women" and spirited "Lucky Enough."

The coolest vibe, though, might have come with "Black-Throated Wind." Before the song, Weir suggested that everybody say a prayer for the opening band, The Neville Brothers, who were facing a return to their hometown of New Orleans, in danger from Hurricane Katrina.

Before the several generations of Central New Yorkers returned home into the pleasant summer night, the range of fans from kids to college students to 40-somethings to grandparents sang together on the classic "Not Fade Away." Weir won't do that, for sure.

The Neville Brothers never mentioned the threat of the hurricane to their beloved hometown.

Instead, singer Aaron, keyboardist Charles, saxophonist Arthur and drummer Cyril and their four band mates put out a lusty R&B set that paid tribute to the funky New Orleans sound they've helped make famous.

Jazzy and soulful, too, as they wove their songs like "Yellow Moon" with classics like "Love the One You're With" and "Thank U for Lettin' Me Be Myself," the brothers let the set crescendo with a robust, rolling "When You Go to New Orleans."
And here is a review from GT:
gt - 07:47am Aug 30, 2005 PDT (#56 of 60)
It's too dark to put the keys in my ignition........

Okay since I only get one show a year it seems here is my review......First of all bein with gemmie and wolfie and boots made this night extra special to begin with......Starts out with nice little jam into Truckin....a full mid tempo fat jammin truckin ..as if it were mid 2nd set.....everyone singin along dancin away next to my friends and grinin ear to ear.....indeed what along strange trip it has been I begin to think. Brown eyed women had mark rippin up the solos and rockin back and forth, I aways loved this tune and the dog did it justice. At this point I realized this show was gonna smoke. Lucky enough was good I am not a huge fan of it but it kept me on my feet and smilin. One of the highlights for me was this Silvio tequilla jam....By this point boots and were dancin fools and I absolutely could not stop smilin ..my face hurt...I was absolutely blown away...rockin back and forth singing along and getting to share it with s friends....words cannot do justice for the feelings and good vibes i was experiencing..That left me tired but wanting more....Althea was rocked out to the extreme with a middle jam that just built and built to exploding jam....I am left speecless at this point..Again dancin away with boots by my side and more room in our row cause wolfie and gemmie made there way to the side for more dancin rroom...Bt wind started acoustic for about three minutes and rocked out electric and I loved it. Schoolgirl followed with a nice bluesy rockin feel to it and flowed nicely..Ashes and glass is atune I always dig and the dogg was abslutely on fire and so tight I am just blown away at this point......NFA..I felt like I was at a dead show....Boots and I boppin back and forth and singing along.....I felt it ...I felt the love and the vibes flowin...I turned around to take in all the people in the grandstand dancin thier asses offf and singing along....I have goose bumps as I type this right now.......and it was that much more special being able to hang with boots who i met for the first time......what aspecial night!!!!!!! singing along you know our love will not fade away!!!!!!!! as the chant continued I felt so fulfilled yet wanting more....and they delivered..as the drummer started playing I was trying to guess the next tune and tboots looked at me with that beautiful smile and goes SAMSON! and she was right on...and they did it justice and abslolutely rocked!!!!!!!!! No words really can do justice to the evenig but I had to try.....And not to sound repetitive but (((Wolfie Gemmie and boots))))) thank you for makin it extra special..I hadn'tseen gemmie in over 6 years...and I just took in the moment and cherished it....hope to see you all soon.......The doggie is on fire and anyone who calls it cheese needs to have their head examined.....I love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Glad to have met you Chez although too brief!!!

Friday, August 26, 2005


Working hard on Rex schwag bag goodies...200 goodies made and wrapped-only about 300 to go!
I'm a one woman sweat shop! The clay things are much easier/fun to make than the sachets (which took weeks&weeks)..I'm very pleased with how they are turning out....I used to sell my stuff at craft fairs but it was an enormous hassle-to find childcare and then have to schlep everything (tables, merch,chairs) to unknown venues..Not to mention to try and make it profitable...Donating time and goods is much more meaningful for me. Five hundred clay surprises are a fun challenge and I'm always happiest when my hands are busy.
Have a Hippy Weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Bobby writes a Preface

Katrinka posted the following on Deadnet- pretty cool!

Introduction to The Haight-Ashbury: A History by Charles Perry
Reprinted 2005

by Bob Weir

We haven’t seen the end of what happened in the Haight. Actually, we’re seeing a backlash from it now, forty years later, which confirms how powerful it really was. The dark minions who can’t abide natural buoyance or the notion of self-generated enlightenment never tire of trying to stamp out the fire we got started there, but that won’t happen.

What happened wasn’t an accident. When that huge balloon of baby boomers got to the age of being out and about in the world, it was inevitable that certain kinds of them would find places to gather.

The kind of people who look for order and authority in their lives – a great many of them ended up in Vietnam, following orders being handed down from a different generation. The ones who were looking to follow their own instincts, and perhaps find a new Order, congregated in a number of places like New York, L.A., and San Francisco. San Francisco’s collection of baby boomers was particularly happening, in the term of the day. There were a few special ingredients that made for that particular stew. One was the artsy heritage of San Francisco; one was the laissez-faire, left-leaning political and cultural climate of San Francisco, and one was the music.

Then there were the drugs, of course, but I’m not sure that they had as much to do with it as legend would hold; the aforementioned cultural factors were more pivotal to it all. We weren’t all stoned all the time. But we were all artists, musicians, and freaks all the time. I wasn’t stoned for all that much of it – and I was very much a part of the scene. The drugs were there, and they were visible, like the frosting on a cake. On a cake, all you can see outwardly is the frosting, but the cake has a shape and mass, the great bulk of which is not the frosting.

The bulk of what was happening in the summer of love was the exchange of ideas and attitudes and feelings. It wasn’t drugs that made me decide I wasn’t going to let the powers that be send me to war. It was the reality of war and the wrongness of war in particular.
Let’s back up a bit. I grew up in a nice, normal suburb of San Francisco. I didn’t see myself as a revolutionary, although it was something I could have aspired to if I’d seen the opportunity arise. But I never stopped long enough to see that the opportunity had in fact arisen, or to see that I was, with my brothers and friends, in fact doing revolutionary work. Like the rest of everyone in the Haight at that time, I instinctively was always my own person – I followed my nose. Hair, for instance. In 1963, even pre-Beatles, I let it grow because that’s what it did, and because I had a feeling, among other things, that the girls would like it. By the look of things, most of the guys who had settled in the Haight by early ’66 had followed their noses to the same conclusion.

By the time I was fifteen, music and song had become the focus of my life. In 1964 I by chance met Jerry Garcia and we found ourselves jamming together. We had more fun that night than we could just walk away from, so we decided to make a go of it. That chance meeting turned into a folk group – a jug band called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, which eventually evolved into a rock and roll band called the Warlocks and then the Grateful Dead.
The first time I saw a large group of freaks, I was on the glide coming down from an acid trip I’d taken with Jerry and the other members of our shiny new band. We ended up at Longshoreman’s Hall for one of the earliest Family Dog Dances, walked in, and saw a hippie costume party/carnival/circus/jolly dream. It was like coming home.

At that time, things were bubbling along for our gang, and our previous engagement at the In Room, a roadhouse on the Peninsula, would occasionally see its Saturday night audiences erupt with a visit from Merry Pranksters’ Acid Test precursor parties. So at Longshoreman’s, the audience wasn’t all new to us, but it was startling to see that many people in altered states. It was a much larger version of the earliest acid tests, although softer, not so spiky and crazy.

On the other hand, we were a pretty spiky bunch, and shortly after the Longshoreman shows, in December 1965 and January 1966, we left the conventional music business and took part in the chronospatial synclastic vortex called the Acid Test. They hit a nerve, grew like crazy, and peaked in size once again at Longshoreman’s Hall at the Trips Festival in late January 1966, at which point we (the Dead and the Acid Test, along with our new sound man/backer, Owsley “Bear” Stanley), hit the road for Los Angeles. When the Acid Test continued on south to Mexico, The Dead holed up in Watts, to woodshed new material – and go for the big time, LA style. How, we had no idea. But since we were there . . .
The Big Time eluded us, so when we returned to the SF area in June, we took up residence at Olompali, a wonderful old ranch house in Marin County, and later at a former summer camp in Lagunitas, also out in the country of West Marin. Finally, in September 1966 we moved in to our co-manager Danny Rifkin’s rooming house at 710 Ashbury Street. It was becoming clear by then that the Haight-Ashbury was more than just a special place at a special time, and now we were an integral part of it. We had been drawn into its coalescence.

The Haight-Ashbury was everything and more, most all of the time – and a lot of it happened at 710 Ashbury. It was a regular stop for all the folks: the Diggers, the Oracle people, the Thelins from the Psychedelic Shop, the bands, the Hell’s Angels, the street people. They’d come by to network, in today’s parlance, to kick up a fuss, or just to hang. My roommate there was Neal Cassady, space-cow-boy transdimensional-buckaroo-hero of the Kerouac books. Pigpen lived in the back room, Jerry across the hall. I never knew who or what I would wake up to find had moved into my room with me, let alone in the parlor or kitchen. We never knew how we were going to handle the rent. That was my little corner of The Haight; everyone had their own.

I always had a tough time with the ideologues, like the communists who came around, or Emmett and the Diggers. They were trying to impost their rules and order on a totally, and necessarily, fluid and amorphous situation. I didn’t see the point – nor the future – in that. Not much of the ideology survived, but the music, the art, and the feeling behind it flourished.

710 was great. Our visitors ranged from George Harrison and Paul Simon to the people you’d only know if you live there, like Willy the Doorman, who always came in through my window. The street was always a scene. I recall when the National Guard marched down Haight Street, bayonets fixed, I made a tunic out of a North Vietnamese flag and went down to the street to wear it. They didn’t see the humor in it, but at least this time I didn’t land in jail
On October 6, 1966, when acid was declared illegal, we figured that made us all outlaws. That called for a party, and that evening we all slid down to the Panhandle for some music. At some point – I forget who was playing – I climbed a tree to look around and found a guy up there, a black guy, kind of good-looking and well dressed. We exchanged pleasantries, observations, and yucks, and when I had to leave to go play, I said “Hi, I’m Bobby,” and he said his name was Stokely. I figure there could only have been one of them.

As much as I loved the Haight, first things come first: I was a musician. San Francisco was made for music at that time. AM radio then offered anything you could want to hear. Rock, pop, blues, R&B, jazz, and classical – and what we called Businessman’s Bounce – big band and such. Growing up a musician in the Bay Area, what we would do was set the buttons on our car radios to five or six favorite stations and just keep the variety coming. When FM came on out of the bag, KMPX presented that diversity all in one station, and it became insanely popular with all us musicians and the general public, too. You could never tell what you were going to hear on the radio, but it was probably going to be great. That freedom didn’t last long, but it lasted long enough to set fire to the musical tinderbox S.F. had already become. And that fire burned for years; it still burns.

Our working homes were the Fillmore and Avalon, but the great thing was that there were so many places to play and hear music. We were working a lot, so we usually knew where we were going to be on a given night, but it must have been tough for the average hippie to figure out where to go, who to catch.
A lot of great stuff that happened in the Haight Ashbury seemed like a dream to me – the parties in the Panhandle, the human Be-In, the scene on the street. I think it was that way for most folks. Specific events or occurrences paled in comparison to the overall dance. We were living just a half tick in some grand time continuum from that impending moment we all could feel coming, when the gate would swing open and the town would transcend for good.

The Be-In and Monterey Pop were the full flower of what was growing there – dream-like, buoyant, and utterly blissful. That flower was so vibrant and delicious that the mainstream could no longer discount or overlook it, and that, as you will read, was the end of it.

There will always be more. The dream beneath it all is still there.

Charles Perry’s work honors that dream, and I salute it.

Like the RatDog song (“Two Djinn”) goes:

A short while back,
The door flung wide.
We all saw good luck
on the other side
The door blew shut
But here’s the deal:
Dreams are lies, it’s the
dreaming that’s real
Chez - 04:33am Aug 25, 2005 PDT (#33 of 36)
Ratdog Summer Tour 2005 - Bobby Without The Bullshit

soundcheck: Picasso Moon noodling, West LA noodling...

'Bobby: It's Ratdog alumni night'.--- most of set with Matt Kelly on harmonica

Set 1: jam > Here Comes Sunshine >Walkin Blues >Youngblood > Picasso Moon > This Time Forever > Shade of Grey > Odessa > Lost Sailor > St. of Circumstance

Set 2: Bombs Away@ > Masterpiece@; Next Time You See Me > Wrong Way Feelin > Tennessee Jed > I Need A Miracle > Uncle John's Band > Stuff > Wharf Rat > China Cat > I Know You Rider

encore: blues instrumental > Ripple

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

On the road again-

On the road with Weir

Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2005

By Brent Hallenbeck
Free Press Staff Writer

Bob Weir keeps going and going and going ... .
The former Grateful Dead guitarist is on the road with his band, RatDog, which is playing a sold-out show tonight at Higher Ground in South Burlington. He's been touring with the Dead, RatDog and various other bands for the better part of 40 years. At 57, he's showing no signs of slowing down.
We posed 10 questions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in a recent telephone interview from his home in Mill Valley, Calif., outside San Francisco in Marin County.
You've been in Vermont a lot with the Dead, The Other Ones, RatDog -- any particular Vermont memories you'd like to share?
The shows blend together. I like the look of the place.
Any idea how many shows you've played over the years with your various bands?
Between the Dead, The Other Ones, RatDog, my years with Kingfish and Bobby and the Midnites, it's got to be in excess of 5,000 shows, maybe six. It's what I've been doing for quite a while. What would be interesting would be to figure out how much time I've spent on stage. Figure 2 1/2 hours a show, multiply that by, let's say, 5,000 ... what you're going to get is 15,000 hours, so that would be -- (retrieves a calculator) 15,000 hours divided by 24, so that's 600 (days) -- that's a couple of years (reporter's note: It's actually 12,500 hours, or 520 days -- still a long time).
Higher Ground is a pretty small venue for you, 600 or so people. Is a RatDog show any different in a nightclub than the usual auditoriums or amphitheaters you play?
We're going to see when we get there and see what the room feels like and sounds like and go from there. You play the place for what it is, play the ball as it lies. I've never equated the size of the venue with the intimacy. I've played in stadiums when it felt intimate, and in small clubs where everything seems miles away.
I saw RatDog in 1998 in Albany, N.Y., with 16 Horsepower, an excellent country-gothic band but (based on the booing and back-and-forth insults) not necessarily what the RatDog crowd wanted to hear. What's the strangest double bill you've ever played?
I'm not sure that (16 Horsepower) was a marriage made in heaven. Our crowd is kind of known for -- they're sort of tunneled in on what they like and they know what they like. One of the most challenging bookings was closing the show after having Miles Davis open for us (the Dead). That was interesting. It was daunting. And then we opened one time for Otis Redding. That was great. I remember one time we played an inauguration in Washington, D.C., and the opening act was Bill Monroe.
Is there a musician you'd love to work with that you've never worked with before?
The answer is there are too many; I wouldn't know where to start. I always wanted to play with a top-shelf sitar player or Indian musician, and I recently played with a guy named Krishna Bhatt, an Indian drummer, and (bassist) Rob Wasserman. That was sublime.
Jerry Garcia died 10 years ago this month. What are your thoughts around the anniversary?
It's in the past now, but at the same time it's not as if Jerry is gone for me. He's very much a part of my everyday life. I don't think about it much. The initial shock is over. A certain part of me will always be in mourning, but not all that deeply, because I've got a lot to do. If I were him, I would certainly want it that way.
Where would the Dead be if Jerry were still alive?
After that summer, we would have almost definitely have had to take a break, because there was trouble at all our gigs. It was getting out of hand, the crowd situation. I probably would have gone off with RatDog, etc., etc. I think we were all looking at the certainty that we had to let things cool down.
Ben & Jerry's made Cherry Garcia ice cream right here in Vermont -- what's your relationship like with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, and what do you think of Cherry Garcia?
Every now and again we're peripherally involved in some environmental project or charitable project. I've never been a big dessert guy. I've had their ice cream and it's real good. It's as good as ice cream gets.
The Dead essentially created the jam-rock scene. What do you think of the scene now, especially since Phish split after its show in Coventry a year ago?
This question is premature. I'm about to go out and play a bunch of festivals. Otherwise I pay no attention to that. If I'm going to listen to music on my own time it's going to be something that's pretty far from current popular music. On my iPod I'm listening to old jazz and new jazz and modern classical and I guess what you'd call world music, and country, old country, like George Jones.
Our talk was postponed 45 minutes because you were at the doctor's office. How is that whole getting-older thing going?
I was just at the optometrist. My eyes have never been perfect, but he put these new contacts in and I can see 20/10 with them, so that's getting better. There's not many people that can do that. My back's a little on the funky side. I've played a lot of contact sports all my life, and that's never good for your back. For years and years, I played a real heavy guitar. That was maybe not the smartest thing I ever did.
If you go
WHAT: Bob Weir and RatDog
WHEN: 8 tonight
WHERE: Higher Ground Ballroom, South Burlington
TICKETS: Sold out
INFORMATION: 652-0777 or www.highergroundmusic.com.
Contact Brent Hallenbeck at 660-1844 or bhallenb@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com


................Jerry Stamps..........
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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Blossoms Bloomin

Something for Dylan & Latvala fans
Lucky folks looking forward to shows next week!
I'll be busy getting some stuff together for REX..and getting the kids settled into school..but I'm with you all in spirit..
If ya get the chance give that Bobby Weir a gentle hug from me..Go ahead tell him Irenie sent ya..Just don't squeeze him too hard.

MAZEL TOV on the grammy nomination to Dan Zanes-the kid's album nominated is House Party- which has Bobby in it...Ruh-Roh, I see theyre up against my very favorite kid's artist , The fabulous Ella Jenkins!
Maybe we can hope for a tie?

Didnt mean to cause concern wrt the sad news for Sash...
A terrible thing happened to one of her classmates(whole family murdered by the dad!). The family lived on the same street, a few houses down from one of Sash's best buddies. All the girlfriends were calling here on Friday to process thru the grisly details with Sash-who was still at camp.
We werent exactly sure how well Sash knew the girl or the family. I knew the face in the newspaper- the girl had often passed by the car while I was waiting to pick up Sash from school.Though Scott and I had planned to discuss it with Sash after we got her home- Noah blurted it all out the moment we got back to our hotel in Willits (town near Laytonville). All is okay. Thanks for the vibes and the emails.
Sash was fairly shocked something like that could happen to someone she knew and a bit freaked that a dad could do such a thing ...

Winnarainbow was same as ever! Wavy was in NY for the weekend- emceeing something..But he had been around most of the session according to Sash.
Sash had a great time..For the big show she was part of a Improv group..and also prt of a 70's dancing thing...Almost anyone can do The Bump & The Hustle but my kid can do them on stilts now!
Home in time for anniversary celebrating...17 years of mostly great fun and it goes by really fast when it's good! We enjoyed a massive Indian dinner and curled up on the couch to watch the series finale of Six Feet Under...A show we loved..I could do a whole blog about how much we both identifyed with parts of ALL the charactors lives.. Sarah's "Artist Way" friends! Claire in Art School-LOL!.The charactor of Brenda's mother mightve been based on my mom- said Scott. In the end, Keith was one of my favorite charactors (after Brenda)..I hated seeing him shot up...
Fare thee well ((SFU))
On to "WEEDS" and "Rome" now, I guess...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hippy Budday, Cousin!

Enjoy the shows!

Friday, August 19, 2005

GDTSTOO still has GA tickets for the Rex Benefit!!!

"Comes a Time" show at the Greek Theatre in
Berkeley on September 24:
I looks like we will be mainly able to accommodate
all the first postmark orders, and maybe a few more
for the $255.00 and $105.00 price range orders.

However, we cannot accept any more orders in
those price ranges.

We do have sufficient general admission tickets
available at $53.00 per ticket, so feel free to mail in
for those.
Bob Weir and RatDog:
Mail order is closed for the shows in Burlington,
VT, Mansfield, MA, Oakdale (a.k.a. Chevrolet
Theatre), Wallingford, CT, The New York State
Fair, Syracuse, NY.

Our allotment for the Summerstage gig in New
York is sold out.

We do have some tickets left for Philadelphia,
Gilford, NH (at $41.00 Res. only.), Atlantic City, NJ
and the Albany NY. Check our web site for
information on these shows.

The Crew of GDTSTOO

"Well the cool breeze came on Tuesday,
And the corn's a bumper crop
And the fields are full of dancin'
Full or singin' and romancin'
The Music never stopped."


What is going on?

It's craziness...
A summer full of almost being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Instead of our usual Friday excusion to SF, Noah and I and Kemmie & her boys were in SF yesterday.
We were right on Kearney & Post -yes, exactly where some sort of explosion took place this morning.
Another very upsetting incident has had my attention most of today and so I'm just hearing of this explosion right now.
Please send a vibe our way as we have some sad news to tell Sash after we pick her up from camp.. I don't want to write any more about it here...
Have a peaceful and happy weekend.

I'll be home Sunday in time to celebrate my 17 year Wedding anniversary to Senor Scotto!
And "they" said it wouldnt last 2 weeks!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lucky Lucky EastCoasters!

And for us Westies

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

more Summer please!

I know-I know, I need to finish my report on the JGBB- I'm slowly getting there- I am adding when I can to the blogs..
A few
and pieces
for your perusal..

And has anyone heard of this guy?
Will I be able to get myself ready for another school year?
I don't know?
Both kids are starting new schools..and the big kid is likely moving out to Marin as he is getting placed in a bank over there very soon.
I start back to teaching in a few weeks...Still a Rainbow Bear & Sunflower teacher but this year I no longer will be working with Miss Bev..My new support teach is a very pretty young lady named Crissy. This might be her first year actually teaching-I don't know but I hope she won't mind listening to a lot of Bobby?
So nu? Letters from Winnarainbow..One reveals Ms. Sash already managed to injure herself..Something about walking into a branch (Stilts related I gather?) and something about a troup of African drummers performing for the campers. We already go to pick her up this weekend. She already starts school on Tuesday!
I liked it better when school didnt start til after Labor day...
I finally framed about 10 of my Chetfest posters...Now I just have to figure out how to safely hang them in the stairwell? I'll mix em in with some of the den posters so it won't feel too much like a Chet shrine...I only have one shrine and it's all Bobby.

Monday, August 15, 2005


It's Back to the 40's, Deadheads


Published: August 15, 2005

More ambitious than your average jukebox musical, "Shakedown Street" turns a clutch of Grateful Dead tunes, including the title song, into a jazzy jump-blues score for a noir narrative set in the San Francisco Mission District in 1941, decades before patchouli and tie-dye. Sorry, Deadheads: there are no 20-minute guitar solos. There is not even a guitar in the brass-dominated band.
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Forum: Theater

The gambit works remarkably well, on a musical level. Though not quite show tunes, rootsy Dead classics like "Truckin' " and "Scarlet Begonias" settle relatively comfortably into this time warp, and so do ballads - "Stella Blue," "Mission in the Rain." As musical theater, though, "Shakedown Street," part of the New York International Fringe Festival, is all dressed up with no place to go. Some liabilities are technical: the six-piece band often overwhelms even the biggest belters among the large cast, and Joel E. Silver's lighting is rarely sufficient.

Still, most of the problem is with Michael Norman Mann's convoluted libretto, about a raggedy gumshoe (Michael Hunsaker) on a hunt for rare art with connections to California's Spanish missions, which mixes him up with a moll (Alyssa Rae), a corrupt judge (Michael Sheraton) and a laconic cop (Marshall York).

Lyrics by Robert Hunter (who wrote for the Dead) - mostly to Jerry Garcia's music, with additional material by other Dead members and new tunes by Greg Anton - strain to fit the storyline, let alone to be heard. Jeff Griffin's direction moves the action along, but while one is grateful for the music of "Shakedown Street," the show is D.O.A.

"Shakedown Street" runs Wednesday at 2 p.m.; Saturday at 4 p.m.; Sunday at 10 p.m.; and Aug. 25 at 9:30 p.m. at the Village Theater, 158 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village;(212) 279-4488.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

While poking around for news of whether or not Patti Smith is playing on 9/24 (I have a Patti Smith story but it's too long and sad for this place)
...I found this very sweet tribute page on her site...

Friday, August 12, 2005

We interrupt this Blog to WISH A VERY HIPPY BERTHA TO DAVE !


Saturday-JGBB-continously being edited and added to til this title gets changed

After Friday's show and late night/early morning activities, Glowy and I slept in a little bit longer than we expected. Getting into the campground went real quickly as most of the campers were already there.

Before reporting to Chez for rail service, I made my rounds through the Shakedown..Spent most of my time at the one & only stained glass booth. Bought dangly glass trinkets for Sash (a dragonfly) & Jase (a star) there, then found a dancing bear pendant & ring for Noah. And a few other things for a few friends. Prices were good and the venders were pleasant. I shouldve gotten that "If found, Please return to the Drum Circle" tee shirt though! I didnt forget Scott- Mike had stopped at a gas station on our way through Pennsylvania that was next to a little roadside farm food booth...Nothing (well, almost) makes Scott happier than trying out homemade preserves- so I bought him a few jars of the kind of jams he loves...Scott is very happy with his jam these mornings.

Once I got my water, I headed back to the blankets..on my way was my buddy Topher! Wasnt sure he would make it but I'm glad he did! Scott and I met Topher long ago at a Ratdog show in New Orleans...It was good to catch up.
Back at the rail, already it seemed more intense than the day before..lots more folks settling in early. The only times I got away from there were to go say hi to a friend and a little later to buy a wristband for the ocrs.
But it was fun..not far from us were several friends...every so often someone would come around for a quick visit. It was also cool to see Dick-another Bay Area face...I think he did the entire first leg, too?
The weather was somewhat warmer and less ominous than the day before...for a little while the humidity seemed to lift and all that remained was the direct heat- felt very California like for a bit. Interesting, while I get fussy about humidity-which doesnt seem bother the East Coasters so much, I noticed the penetrating Cali-like sun seemed to bug the East Coasters more than the humidity..
There was music all day which for me ranged from okay to alright....It was nice to see DNB there..Robin Syl joined them for a song..

I totally enjoyed Jimmy
Herring with the Code talkers - sort of a little like the BareNakedLadies in that they had all kinds of little tricks and flash for us.

Bobby watched part of their set from the back

...This day we were stationed in front of MK...and sure enough a guy with a big camcorder set up his tripod right in front of my spot...
The rail and first several rows were tight with folks. Predictably, most folks arrived with The Codetalkers...It was pretty squeezy. When I was ready to make a break away to go dance on the hill (During Odessa) I had a young friend take my spot and moved toward the slope or tried to. I couldnt break through the wall of folks! Last time I was on such a tight rail was at the Sweetwater for Crusader Rabbit Stealth thing..There was no choice (I was getting the most evil looks trying to fit in somewhere) back to my rail spot...Just in time for Corrina...I wasnt paying much attention to who was next to me until a girl with dready hair pounced next to me..soon enough her boyfriend showed up and he and her got into a squabble that involved some namecalling and swatting..The guy left and all returned to good. The second set was my fave set of the Bash. I'll be back with my impressions of the setlist. I did so miss my Scott through SOTM..
Again once the show ended it was a moment before enough folks moved so I could run up to the Ocr line...Once disks were in hand, I headed back to the rail where Glowy was waiting with all our stuff. It was nice, Jay and Robin Syl were around. Spoke with Jay for a little bit- he's always very sweet to me- no doubt it's likely I remind him of some old auntie. I let him know how wonderful those Mid Atlantic/East Coaster fans had been to me.
Glowy and I hadnt eaten since way earlier and so headed toward the food boothes. Found Cuz Bud on the way and the three of us went on to munch out on pizza & gyros. The only thing I'd want to add to the SSDD campgrounds would be some picnic tables or something near the food concessions...There was no where to just sit and eat/drink. Ever try eating a greek salad while schlepping a pack and sipping a beverage...It's not easily done. We found a flat surface to balance our plates on inside the barn and munched while grooving to G-13.
After the music ended we wandered out and around the campground- really a sweet place- we found a second "shakie Shakedown" somewhere by the big bonfire. It was lovely to be outdoors and among friends in such a place. Almost dreamlike.

With GG & yet another cute guy named Dave...

mmm, gyros!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

FriDog @ JGBB

We were up and out to the campground by 10 am.
The weather was weird..Warm but dark and cloudy and humid. I was happy it wasnt hot & humid like it was in DC or London...Some scary looking clouds...We were lugging a cooler and bags of stuff but didnt get far when a golf cart stopped to give us a lift. Glowy went in the front to navigate, I hopped on back ending up next to a guy calling himself 'Spirit" he seemed a bit spun and was kvetching that he couldnt find his hoop.
The cart let us out right in front of the cook tent at Camp Tooboard-aka-Hamhoarders..Naturally, we were greeted with hoots for our royal entrance.
After visiting a bit, and for me meeting a bunch of TOOBoard people, Glowy and I went to go take a look around.

We were walking toward the big picture of Jerry Garcia when I ran into one of the usual suspects on his way to work..Went by grabbed a hug, made some quick introductions then left him to work his magic...within seconds I met Jilly! I know Jilly & Ben from Deadnet for years but have never met them in 3-d before! Jilly's lost (I dont think she'd mind me saying) a huge amount of weight and is truly an inspiration! Ben and I post in DNC's teacher discussion ..My friend Kemmie has met them both and told me good things. I loved getting to know them. In the midst of chatting away, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Cousin Bud!
I love the cousins, I met them on the UKRD tour and well, just love them! Glowy wanted to go check something out and so I went for a walk with Bud to find Sammy.
They were set up by the Dot orgers. I can't say it enough..I luv the Cousins! And it was great to see them- I caught them up on our mutual UK friends. I'm real happy and lucky to have seen so many of those 2003 tour buddies this Summer!
We put the walkie talkies to the test and located Glowy..We could see her but it was a moment (that included bystanders waving their arms in her direction) before she saw us and climbed up the slope toward us. We sat for a moment with Jilly, Ben and DNCr TMC. I know TMC from the Deadnet Discussion about kids with learning differences. While most folks think of message boards as gossipy type places, Deadnet has many very special support discussions and you make a particular connection to people who take a moment to listen or help you through a tough day..and Lord knows, Ive had some rough days.....Also, hanging in Jilly's place were Graceful & Russ- my West Coast Tour Buddies. Graceful stayed at my house for the Marin Ratdog thing in May and it was fun having her happy self there.
After visiting we wandered down to the stage to find that rail space was being claimed, Chez had claimed space for us and so Glowy and I sat down spread out our stuff and enjoyed the humidity with a group of folks. I met BEW & Lizardking & Jammin John & KC Jones & FLA Jen and dozens of online folks...On the ride back to Newark, I counted over 50 names from all over the net that we saw/ met! I liked everyone I met..it was just like the Eurotours in that way..You just sort of bond.
I saw a few others from the Euro/UK tours over the weekend ((Gronk,Warren,Keir,Ruth))..
The rail thing was easy going and friendly through the day. As usual, I found ways to entertain myself, taking a poll of who wanted which song, working on my crocheting, scribbling notes, taking a couple of pictures.
Some bands came and went..I was primed only for my Ratdog though and when Rail buddies came for their turns holding space, I took off in search of my homeboy. Before finding him, I did a quick stop at the gate for a hug from Robin Syl(Hey, it was a courier thing!) Snapped a photo of Jammin while I was there too.
At last found my buddy and we took a look around Shakedown and had a nice visit and then it was time for me to return to the rail.

So yes, back to the rail por moi.
Yay! Showtime!
The day before leaving (real last minute) I got an urge to make a banner...Either for the vacation house or the tent- so I could identify my "home" in case I got confused (I do get so easily confused) I had a few yards of red, white and blue sequiny-sparkly fabric which turned out to be just right for a sort of dogbone motif. It turned out okay and ended up hanging on the rail, which made finding my rail crew right easy. We turned it so that it faced (blinded?) the band. I left it with Chez, so now he can figure out what to do with it through the rest of tour.
The entire front of the rail was occuppied by online folks-which was pretty cool! In my immediate circle were great friends from TooBoard,Deadnet and new friends from DotOrg. It just rocked. Later during the show, when some guy wanted to cut into my spot, a paticular online God had my back. Thank You!
Anyhow, My spot was just exactly perfect. While I was wandering around a cam had been set up right in front of "my spot"on the rail. I have my preferred places to be when I do get a choice at the rail which almost always coincide with the photographers. So cool, the pretty woman with the mega cam was in front of me. A little between Jeff & Kenny. Love it- the band seemed to be a bit angled toward the big cam all night. Real or imagined, I felt every smile, scowl, nod, blink, wink,grimace & grin was being aimed right at me...Except for the Bobby scowls, it was too fun!

Inspiration move me brightly...
Through the show bubbles poured down from somewhere above the stage.
Some guy with a clipboard was in the photo pit - everytime the ever watchful Dennis McNally looked at him, the guy would pretend to be writing notes (he just had scribbles n his paper the whole time)...when Dennis looked away the guy would be dancing...at some point the guy moved on. Gotta love the old clipboard scam!
Didnt expect a Blackbird opener- but it was a perfect opener.
Maggie was fun.
I'm getting more than my share of HCS- It seems to be coming up about every other show I go to. That's cool..
Easy Answers...
Baby Blue has the line "Highways for gamblers" which rang kinda true for the drive into Terra Alta.
Youngblood is always fun.
Didnt expect Crazy Fingers...Life may be sweeter for this..I don't know
Masterpiece- I never get tired of this one. I just set my London slideshow to it (takes forever). This song brings back so many excellent memories..It was one of my 2 hoped for songs for the weekend.
After was a real teaser of a jam..I thought it was gonna be about 3 different songs but was thrilled (it was Glowy's choice) that it turned into Miracle! I need a miracle everyday! Real groovy weird jammin in this song....gets spacy...and then
voila- It's a lovely Uncle John's band....My sons number one favorite GD song...and I thought of both of them all through this..
Then OH YES!!! It's in the jammmmmmin-/TOO up next! ! Another alltime Bobstar favorite..I'm smiling just thinkin about it! If I ever choose another screen name, I think it's gonna be "Spanish Lady"!
Big Cheers from everyone after that one.
Next up I think was Jay drumming on Robin's bass...I can't think where but I seem to recall I've seen Jay do this before? Maybe with ABC Soup? The Elbo Room thing? Where? Sounds like an ABC jam too..gets severely jazzy.
then slows out into (Sasha's favorite) Ladyw/fan/Terrapin!
I understand this one was for Topher -for his berthaday! Nice!
Spiral Light of Venus rising first and shining best!
Ends with a sweet little keys thing ((Jeff)) which turns the corner to a bouncy start to a soaring 2Djinn..Isnt this how all good tales begin? This is my favorite 2 Djinn that I've seen/heard live...was having one of those nites where the setlist (set2 esp.) made perfect sense to me...
For an encore we got a rousing US Blues! WOOHOO!
check my pulse!
Hippy Bill we missed you being there to wave that flag high and wide!

I would never have found this place on my own.
.Really grateful that Mari had been there before and after pulling up, getting checked for glass and receiving our bright green wristbands we were let in. Camp wasnt even a 1/4 filled yet and we had no trouble at all locating Chez and his fellow early birds. I lamely tried to help set up our tent- we didnt intend on sleeping there but Glowy felt it would be good to have somewhere to crash if we needed to. Good thinking there! We were located withing a large circle of TooBoarder's tents.
As soon as possible we went down to check out the shopping and food.
The pizza was good. But imagine my excitement to see the gyros booth! I have a real thing for anything in a pita...and there really isn't anything quite like having a big messy, dripping gyros/falafel/sharma/doner kabob after a Ratdog show. I have dripped hummas and tahini post Doggy show in Germany, Holland,The UK and now we can add W.Va. to the list.
Glowy & I hung out for awhile and then headed to take the truck back to the house. It was a little horrible in a funny way...because the truck was parked in a field with knee high weeds and potholey ground and it was dark and we were stumbling unable to see each other even and I hadnt slept on the plane and had been awake for over 30 hours straight...Just as I went tumbling down for about the 5th time, I grabbed the distinctive grill of the car.. and yelled "Hey Robin, I think the truck found me!".
Phew, It was the truck! We climbed in and used the 4wh drive to get out of there. Folks were driving in so we had to wait a few moments. The traffic guy gave us a hard time about coming and going which was a little upsetting but he chilled out after a moment and let us go..He was wise to do that too because if I didnt get into a shower or a bed real soon, I mightve gotten a little insane on him..luckily we were out of there and back at the house within moments.
We fought our way past a plethora of moths (some were the size of birds!) who were lazing on the screen door by the outside light.. The house was great! two stories, TVs, 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms,a back deck with a forest behind it..Of course, bear warnings (no one said there be bears!) Did some girltalk with Robin and crawled into bed about 2:30am

My strange heroes lead me on...again! Or in the words of Steve Miller "Go on, take the money and run!"

How did this start? Back in May or June? Glowy said she'd figure out the logistics and accomodations- All I'd have to do is just get to NJ....Timing is everything and in this case, Scotto was planning a party or something like that for his softball buddies around the time of the JGBB and so couldnt have been (as you can see by the photo) happier to send me across the country to a place where cell phones cease to work.
I won't waste time describing how terrible US Airways was...always Virgin Air if possible from this day forth for me. My first flight was to Dulles- I had to RUN to catch it. Then it was a teeny plane to Newark. Newark is a bigass airport and I just hoped Glowy would find me- sure enough she did! We were on the road to Pennsylvania to regroup with Mike & Mari. Pennsylvania was cool to finally see. We drove through Bethleham ! It was nothing like I'd imagined- it and most of the towns we passed through reminded me of the California Gold Country.
Had a long (about 5 hours?) but great drive time driving along the Applachian mountains. They are low and rolling compared to our Sierras. I was trying to tell my ever so practiced and perfected cheese smuggling story when Mary yelped "BEAR!" ..Sure enough crossing the highway was a glossy black bear! We all just sat there open mouthed for a moment..lol, had a tough time talking about cheese after that!
We managed to avoid Maryland, where "Operation J. G." was in progress, til the last hour or so of driving but soon were in Terra Alta and very soon found our way to the excellent vacation house that was our off campsite base. After unloading some of our stuff, it was back in the truck to head out to the Sunshine Daydream Campgrounds.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Holy Smokes!

Before even having a chance to process JGBB, we are already looking forward to the ComesatimeRatdogA the Greek adventure next month...
Whooooosh! And Somewhere in between Sunday and today, I took my Sash to Berkeley to catch a bus to camp. I hope she's having a great time as usual. It may be her last Summer as a kid - she starts High School later this month. Next year maybe teen camp?
Time stops for no one and while Jerry Garcia is present in dvds, cds, paintings, fashionable accessories and most importantly in his music...it has been ten years since we lost him in his mortal form. I think I heard the news really early in the morning when Lynnie phoned me. Lots of tears and lots of phone calls from Deadhead friends and unexpected sympathy and love offered up by non deadhead friends..Our parents were sensitive and respectful which meant a lot to me...Scott still had his mom & dad then...Jase was still a boy (and was mad at us for never getting around to taking him to a GD show) and Noah was a month shy of his first birthday.
On the day of the memorial My sister (she wasnt married yet) and Chris took Noah to Stinson beach for the day, while Jase went to his Dad's. Scott and I took Sasha who was just 3 years old with us to the Polo fields. We were all decked out in tie dye. When we first got there, Sasha gaped at all the people - a city of tie dye and exclaimed "Oh Mommy! This must be where all the rainbow people live!"
We managed to miss the speeches and parade but I don't think I wouldve been able to handle it anyways. It was emotional enough just to see the big shrine. There were little shrines and assorted drum circles everywhere. I dont remember how we passed the time there but by evening we ended up on Haight which was as crowded as it had been when I first remember going there with my parents in the mid 60's..It was pretty much impossible to drive around. There were simply too many people. I dont remember much else..except being happy to see so many people publicly come out to say good things about Jerry and his legacy..
Up til about then, I took it for granted that there would always be a Grateful Dead and that maybe someday some way I'd meet and be able to express my thanks to those guys. And though I loved Jerry , it's always been Bobby who takes the dark out of the night for me. It was/is very important to me that I'd get a chance to return some nice type of energy to him and his while we are both still around...
I have to end this here - it's Scotto's day off and he and I have plans.
When I'm back online, I'll finally reflect on JGBB. I really did have an Epic time!