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  • The Dead Years Up And Down With The Grateful Dead Scene I

    2010 - 02.09

    My Long Strange Trip started in Dec. of 1978 at Cobo Hall in Detroit Michigan. Some college friends of mine took me to see this show. It was everybodies first time and in the end, I was the only one who took the hook. Also, what made this show unique was the fact that the opening band was the New Riders of the Purple Sage. A band Jerry Garcia used to hang with and play pedal steel guitar. Jerry once mentioned that if he had an entire life musically, to do again, he would play pedal steel guitar.

    Another simple twist of fate was the fact that a whole chapter of Hells Angels showed up for the show, very peaceful and good vibes came from them, it was a different time. I knew our paths would merge someday. A great way to fascinate a kid, Bikes, Leather, Girls and the whole Biker persona immediately affected me.

    The venue was small and intimate in a way which made the fact that I had eaten so much University of Michigan acid more comfortable.  I was pretty new to tripping but wasn’t at all intimidated by hi -dose hallucinations. I really enjoyed pushing the envelope to see what could be made of it. I tripped for every show I went to. Except for the last one where I knew it was going to be the last time I saw the Grateful Dead, six months later Jerry Died.

    But gentle reader you must excuse my digressions, this was not a linear evolution, there were loops and flash forwards and dejavu’s occuring in the time line of the experience. Sometimes I knew my adventures were destiny,  other times it was just dumb luck.

    So my first trip out was when the Dead did the whole “Cryptical Envelopement\The Other One combo” This song set,  fueled by the LSD put me in a whole new world which had suddenly gotten a lot bigger. My friends didn’t realize it at the time but I was “Doomed to be Dead”” from that point forward.

    How to put those initial feelings, instincts, ancestoral memories that sprung up, how to describe the moment I let my body go and learned to “Kelp” to the music. (It was actually a lot like learning to surf ) all of this tribal knowledge was being passed through me, I totally understood the mission. It was telepathic in the way the information was down loaded into my brain. You must understand reader, that the medium was the music, sonically encoded into my brain which I believe was made possible by the way LSD removes barriers , habitss and rituals. Wiping the slate of your brain clean for you, yes you, to write something else on .

    Returing from that experience a new sense of wonder hit me, it was a lot like having a sixth sense turned on. I became a guitarist as a result of this insight and began to listen to more Grateful Dead and learn where they belonged in the musical landscape and the history from which they had sprung.

    This was just my first Grateful Dead show. It would be a year before I was able to get to the West. A very sweet woman offered me that opportunity because she wanted a traveling companion to San Francisco, her name was Linda and she later went on to become an environmental lawyer. I had a crush on her anyway and hadn’t seen much of the world yet. I was all of sixteen at the time.

    Enter San Francisco, when I got off the plane, the baggage handler said   “Welcome to San Francisco, the land of fruits and nuts!”. I politely laughed not realizing how that statement would come to be my reality.

    To be continued, yes its a long story


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