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« Exhuming The Blues | Main | Lunch For Your Ears »

January 03, 2020



Back in 1984 when I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and was going to school in Berkeley, a housemate dragged me to a Dead concert at the Community Theater. It was definitely not my jam at the time--Gang of Four was on my turntable along with XTC and The Clash. (I was a snob and listened to British punk only---on imported albums---mainly to piss off the punk wannabes on campus who boasted about seeing Television and Talking Heads at CBGB during spring break.) Admittedly, I was also spending way too much time inside of my room, which was why the Housemate thought I should "get outside and meet some people." Anyway, my primary memory of that night was of the smells of burning cannabis and patchouli layered over the terrible BO coming from the tie-dye-clad bodies in the audience. Jerry Garcia didn't look so good either: he sometimes acted as if he'd suddenly woken up and was surprised to see all these people standing in his bedroom. When I read the following year that he'd gone into rehab after being hospitalized, I wasn't surprised. But at that point, I'd given up on law school and Berkeley. I liked the place and yeah, hearing the opening notes to "Ripple" or "Sugar Magnolia" will suddenly take me back to chilly summer evenings watching the fog slowly cover the setting sun over the Bay. But like the Dead's music, it felt like I was living in somebody else's home with old Live at the Fillmore posters and tie-dyed sheets hanging on the walls and a smelly, blackened bong on the coffee table. It's still not my jam.


Full disclosure, I am a deadhead through and through. Upwards of 75% of the music I listen to on a daily basis is Grateful Dead shows. The other 25% is punk, reggae, and a bit of other shiny things that catch my attention.

That was a really great post that you wrote and I completely understand the aversion a lot of people have to their music. I get that it is not appealing to everyone. I think what I appreciated most is your recent understanding of why some of us are so fervent in our love for all things Jerry. To me, that very lengthy PITB from Seattle 74 is goddam transcendent. I can understand how it could be like waterboarding for a non-fan.

Anyhow, thanks for the post and don't fear, you can hop on the bus whenever you like or never at all.


This was a good gateway for friends of mine who struggled with the Dead's music.

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