• March 16, 2012
    http://www.dead.net/features/blair-jackson/blair-s-golden-road-blog-education-or-indoctrination
    Blair’s Golden Road Blog — Education or Indoctrination?

    Last week we talked about the sometimes onerous and unpleasant task of trying to turn friends on to the Grateful Dead. The consensus seemed to be that it’s often not worth the effort, and that maybe it’s better to let folks find the Dead on their own. Quitters! (Just kidding.)

    But what about our children? This is a trickier area. Parents have an enormous impact on their kids in nearly every way imaginable, including the music they expose them to.

    As a kid growing up in the late ’50s and early ’60s, most of the records I was exposed to by my parents on the sleek black mono hi-fi in our living room were either Broadway cast albums or comedy records. By the time I was 10, I could sing you almost every song from My Fair Lady, West Side Story, The Pajama Game (my favorite), Fiorello, Camelot, Oklahoma and various others. My father had been a fan of big-band swing, but we didn’t have any records of that kind of music, for some reason. But he did love the stirring soundtrack for the World War II documentary series Victory at Sea (fantastic music by Richard Rodgers) and we had a couple of albums of college fight songs and an Edith Piaf record or two and one by the beautiful French chanteuse Francoise Hardy, which I never heard but used to stare at longingly—“Ah, ma cherie!” We had a handful of classical records, too, which I ignored until my teenage years. As for the comedy records, the whole family dug Allen Sherman’s clever parodies of familiar tunes, the team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, the dry wit of Bob Newhart, and anything political—rare was the household in the early ’60s that didn’t own The First Family, Vaughn Meader’s hilarious send-up of the Kennedy White House.

    By the early ’60s, my older brother and I had branched off into the pop music of the day—including teen sensations such as Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and Bobby Darin—and by the time The Beatles hit in ’64 (I was living in Rome, Italy that year), we were long past being influenced by our parents’ tastes. (That said, I listened to Broadway albums all through high school, at the same time I was getting into Hendrix and Cream, and I still remember many songs from those records.)

    Fast forward a few decades. My wife, Regan, and I met in the late ’70s working at a rock ’n’ roll magazine (BAM), and we went to many hundreds of concerts and club shows together over the nine years we were married before we had our first child, in October ’90, including around 215 Dead shows during that period. Our favorite weekend pastime in the pre-kid years was driving the back roads of Marin and Sonoma and Contra Costa counties listening to Dead tapes. Our nights were spent working on our fanzine, The Golden Road (and listening to more tapes).

    Once we had a little one, we tried hard to continue our carefree vagabond lifestyle, and we succeeded for a while. Little Kyle liked driving around and he also didn’t mind listening to Dead tapes. After a point we also dropped some Disney tapes into the mix, which I had no problem with, since they consisted of old folk songs I’d listened to as a kid and classic songs from Disney films old and recent. We had our daughter, Hayley, three years after Kyle was born, and she was also a mellow car traveler who had no objection to our playing Dead tunes. However, we did start to become a little more selective about what Grateful Dead we played in the car, leaning heavily on shows that contained plenty of melodic rock songs and usually skipping through “Drums” and “Space.” Let me tell you, there aren’t many things cuter than a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old singing along with “Fire on the Mountain” and “The Wheel” from their car seats. I never felt like I was indoctrinating them; merely sharing this music we loved with them.

    “Hey, can I get a little more bass
    in these things? I can barely hear Phil!”

    As the kids got a bit older, they began to crave other music in the car, though most of it was still “our” music. Is there any child alive who didn’t go through a Beatles phase? Mine fell for them hard, and I got to revisit all those great albums one by one, moving from the early pop stuff up to the “weird” later material; most of it great for car sing-alongs. Kyle also really loved Hendrix and U2 (among others in our collection), while Hayley became semi-obsessed with The Doors as she entered adolescence.

    But they also developed their own tastes and increasingly wanted to hear their music in the car, which ran the gamut from Sugar Ray to Sheryl Crow to OK-GO to The Killers to the soundtracks of The O.C. television show. After a while, both rebelled against hearing Grateful Dead, and when we’d go on long drives it became common for each kid to have his/her own CD player with big headphones, while Regan and I would sit up front playing Dead CDs, the speakers in the back turned off. There was still common ground — The Harder They Come soundtrack, Beatles and some Pink Floyd, the occasional Jackson Browne or David Lindley album, various African discs — and we would often agree on a disc or mix-CD picked by one or the other kid. Sometimes, on the way back from a long day driving hither and yon, I’d insist on playing a Dead CD, and I rarely met resistance. If they got tired of it, they could go back to their private headphone world.

    Kyle got back into the Dead a bit in late high school (though he was more passionate about the Wu Tang Clan, other rappers and all kinds of jazz), and after he went away to college (UCLA) he got into them even more. He’s seen Furthur three times, he can play a few Grateful Dead songs on the guitar, and just today he called me to tell me he’d finished reading and enjoyed my Garcia biography. But his favorite bands are My Morning Jacket, Of Montreal, Neon Indian, Flying Lotus and a bunch of other 21st century bands. Good for him!

    During the four years Kyle has been in college, Hayley (who’s now 18) has been more tolerant of Dead in the car, but also perhaps more vocal about insisting that we check out the artists she likes. Fortunately she, like Kyle, has good taste, and as someone who still writes about music for a living, I appreciate her hipping me to folks like Noah & the Whale, Devendra Banhart, Edward Sharpe & His Magnetic Zeros, Beirut, Andrew Bird and Angels & Airwaves. She’s learned a lot of Dead songs just through osmosis (I’ll find her singing “Brokedown Palace” to herself, a song I sang her as a baby; Kyle too), and she’s learned to love songs such as “Sugaree” and “New Speedway Boogie” through our family-wide love of Jackie Greene. When she saw Furthur at the Bill Graham Civic on 12/29/11 (along with Kyle) she proclaimed it the best show she’d ever seen. She’ll be going off to college next year and will no doubt be exposed to all sorts of other cool music by roommates and friends.

    So I guess this story has a happy ending. The circle is unbroken. We all have Grateful Dead in our blood.

    What’s been your experience? Did you try to turn your kids on to the Dead? Or are you one of those kids who was subjected to the Dead by your parents (and lived to tell about it)?

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Last week we talked about the sometimes onerous and unpleasant task of trying to turn friends on to the Grateful Dead. The consensus seemed to be that it’s often not worth the effort, and that maybe it’s better to let folks find the Dead on their own. Quitters! (Just kidding.)

But what about our children? This is a trickier area. Parents have an enormous impact on their kids in nearly every way imaginable, including the music they expose them to.

As a kid growing up in the late ’50s and early ’60s, most of the records I was exposed to by my parents on the sleek black mono hi-fi in our living room were either Broadway cast albums or comedy records. By the time I was 10, I could sing you almost every song from My Fair Lady, West Side Story, The Pajama Game (my favorite), Fiorello, Camelot, Oklahoma and various others. My father had been a fan of big-band swing, but we didn’t have any records of that kind of music, for some reason. But he did love the stirring soundtrack for the World War II documentary series Victory at Sea (fantastic music by Richard Rodgers) and we had a couple of albums of college fight songs and an Edith Piaf record or two and one by the beautiful French chanteuse Francoise Hardy, which I never heard but used to stare at longingly—“Ah, ma cherie!” We had a handful of classical records, too, which I ignored until my teenage years. As for the comedy records, the whole family dug Allen Sherman’s clever parodies of familiar tunes, the team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, the dry wit of Bob Newhart, and anything political—rare was the household in the early ’60s that didn’t own The First Family, Vaughn Meader’s hilarious send-up of the Kennedy White House.

By the early ’60s, my older brother and I had branched off into the pop music of the day—including teen sensations such as Bobby Rydell, Chubby Checker and Bobby Darin—and by the time The Beatles hit in ’64 (I was living in Rome, Italy that year), we were long past being influenced by our parents’ tastes. (That said, I listened to Broadway albums all through high school, at the same time I was getting into Hendrix and Cream, and I still remember many songs from those records.)

Fast forward a few decades. My wife, Regan, and I met in the late ’70s working at a rock ’n’ roll magazine (BAM), and we went to many hundreds of concerts and club shows together over the nine years we were married before we had our first child, in October ’90, including around 215 Dead shows during that period. Our favorite weekend pastime in the pre-kid years was driving the back roads of Marin and Sonoma and Contra Costa counties listening to Dead tapes. Our nights were spent working on our fanzine, The Golden Road (and listening to more tapes).

Once we had a little one, we tried hard to continue our carefree vagabond lifestyle, and we succeeded for a while. Little Kyle liked driving around and he also didn’t mind listening to Dead tapes. After a point we also dropped some Disney tapes into the mix, which I had no problem with, since they consisted of old folk songs I’d listened to as a kid and classic songs from Disney films old and recent. We had our daughter, Hayley, three years after Kyle was born, and she was also a mellow car traveler who had no objection to our playing Dead tunes. However, we did start to become a little more selective about what Grateful Dead we played in the car, leaning heavily on shows that contained plenty of melodic rock songs and usually skipping through “Drums” and “Space.” Let me tell you, there aren’t many things cuter than a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old singing along with “Fire on the Mountain” and “The Wheel” from their car seats. I never felt like I was indoctrinating them; merely sharing this music we loved with them.

“Hey, can I get a little more bass
in these things? I can barely hear Phil!”

As the kids got a bit older, they began to crave other music in the car, though most of it was still “our” music. Is there any child alive who didn’t go through a Beatles phase? Mine fell for them hard, and I got to revisit all those great albums one by one, moving from the early pop stuff up to the “weird” later material; most of it great for car sing-alongs. Kyle also really loved Hendrix and U2 (among others in our collection), while Hayley became semi-obsessed with The Doors as she entered adolescence.

But they also developed their own tastes and increasingly wanted to hear their music in the car, which ran the gamut from Sugar Ray to Sheryl Crow to OK-GO to The Killers to the soundtracks of The O.C. television show. After a while, both rebelled against hearing Grateful Dead, and when we’d go on long drives it became common for each kid to have his/her own CD player with big headphones, while Regan and I would sit up front playing Dead CDs, the speakers in the back turned off. There was still common ground — The Harder They Come soundtrack, Beatles and some Pink Floyd, the occasional Jackson Browne or David Lindley album, various African discs — and we would often agree on a disc or mix-CD picked by one or the other kid. Sometimes, on the way back from a long day driving hither and yon, I’d insist on playing a Dead CD, and I rarely met resistance. If they got tired of it, they could go back to their private headphone world.

Kyle got back into the Dead a bit in late high school (though he was more passionate about the Wu Tang Clan, other rappers and all kinds of jazz), and after he went away to college (UCLA) he got into them even more. He’s seen Furthur three times, he can play a few Grateful Dead songs on the guitar, and just today he called me to tell me he’d finished reading and enjoyed my Garcia biography. But his favorite bands are My Morning Jacket, Of Montreal, Neon Indian, Flying Lotus and a bunch of other 21st century bands. Good for him!

During the four years Kyle has been in college, Hayley (who’s now 18) has been more tolerant of Dead in the car, but also perhaps more vocal about insisting that we check out the artists she likes. Fortunately she, like Kyle, has good taste, and as someone who still writes about music for a living, I appreciate her hipping me to folks like Noah & the Whale, Devendra Banhart, Edward Sharpe & His Magnetic Zeros, Beirut, Andrew Bird and Angels & Airwaves. She’s learned a lot of Dead songs just through osmosis (I’ll find her singing “Brokedown Palace” to herself, a song I sang her as a baby; Kyle too), and she’s learned to love songs such as “Sugaree” and “New Speedway Boogie” through our family-wide love of Jackie Greene. When she saw Furthur at the Bill Graham Civic on 12/29/11 (along with Kyle) she proclaimed it the best show she’d ever seen. She’ll be going off to college next year and will no doubt be exposed to all sorts of other cool music by roommates and friends.

So I guess this story has a happy ending. The circle is unbroken. We all have Grateful Dead in our blood.

What’s been your experience? Did you try to turn your kids on to the Dead? Or are you one of those kids who was subjected to the Dead by your parents (and lived to tell about it)?

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Last week we talked about the sometimes onerous and unpleasant task of trying to turn friends on to the Grateful Dead. The consensus seemed to be that it’s often not worth the effort, and that maybe it’s better to let folks find the Dead on their own. Quitters! (Just kidding.)

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Our daughter, now 30, got to listen to all kinds of music and a ton of Grateful Dead but her own taste tended toward Sinatra, Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Who in those early years. The Dead, as far as I know, never took hold and I never wanted to push. We always had plenty of jazz too, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, etc. and she is currently learning the sax, guitar and drums having had their due. I'd like to think the improvisational talents of the Dead wormed their way in somehow. I remember Frank Zappa testifying to Congress during all that censorship craziness telling people to expose their children to more. Good advice.
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Hearing my then 5 year-old daughter not only sing along to Midnight Moonlight from the Shining Star CD, but also make sounds with her mouth that mirror the riffs that Jerry is playing lets me know that she gets it. It was a favorite of hers when she was in mommy's belly. She is now 7 and has never heard of the "Grateful Dead" but she knows who they are. When she asks I just tell her it's Jerry Garcia's band.
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my father was a jazz drummer in chicago in the late 40s, early 50s. i grew up with a lot of jazz. swing & big band music. later he got into a lot of rock'n'roll, stuff like creedence. my house was a wonderful place for music. he never got into the dead though. i chose not to have children so I don't have a story to tell about what my kids are listening to. i'm sure i'd hate it though and I'd hate to think that i influenced their taste so much they took up the dead. it's not like you have any choice what they listen to after a certain age. i understand about that sweet spot when your kids are the right age and you can all sing along together in the car or on vaca.. those must be treasured memories and i envy every parent who has them.
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Being brought into this world late 1967, I was pretty much oblivious to most things musical until the ripe age of perhaps 7 or 8 years old. Besides my older siblings musical listening, much of which being classic white boy blues rock of the era like Savoy Brown, Humble Pie, Ten Years After/Alvin Lee, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan and the like, my parents record collection mainly consisted of stuff like Stan Kenton, Glenn Miller and other similar music from the 40's and 50's, though in hindsight, I can appreciate that when my folks branched off into more modern music like Gershon Kingsley's "First MOOG Quartet", which was pretty edgy for them. My first personal records were on the back of cardboard cereal boxes, such as these... http://www.bubblegum-music.com/cerealbox ...who remembers those? Anyhoo, not long after that is when I started raiding my siblings record collections, when they weren't home. As far as the Dead are concerned, it wasn't until after I actually saw them live, fast forward another 8 or 9 years, courtesy of one of my older siblings. It took me about 3 shows between '84 and '86 before I actually started to get it. Since then, I was able to turn a couple of people onto the Dead, but it wasn't until after they actually got to witness the full experience for themselves in person, much like myself. Whenever I play the Deads music for noobs, the reactions are mixed, more often than not in confusion as to get reactions like, "their music is good and all, but why would anybody travel around the country to follow this?" Besides cereal box records, who else remembers Gershon Kingsley's "First MOOG Quartet"?
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I'm right in the thick of it with a 6 and 10 year old, and it's Grateful Dead almost ALL the time! From all the shows on CD to the Sirius/XM station, both kids are treated the the very best, everyday, and I have no problem brainwashing them!!! The 10 year old is learning Uncle Johns Band and Bird Song on ukulele, and the 6 year old once stayed in the car in the driveway to finish Morning Dew from 5/8/77 and called it "pretty"! We listen to plenty of jazz, reggae and classic rock also, but I think the world will just be a little more peaceful the more the next generation listens to our favorite music - the Grateful Dead!!!
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Not much to add here except- The picture of the little boy wearing the headphones is about as cute as can be. I want to give him a lollipop and pinch his little bass lovin' cheeks!
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We have a son and daughter -one in college and one in HS. They have both grown up listening to Dead, Miles, Coltrane, Airplane, all the SF bands of the day, Jerry solo, King Crimson, etc. Their enthusiasm for the Dead has waxed, waned and waxed depending on age. One thing for sure-they are looking for "real" music and spurning the cynical pap-they seem to have a great sense for what is merely contrived "product". Lately, my daughter has been searching my record collection for stuff that has Jerry doing contributions-Airplane, Empire, sunfighter, Crosby, etc. As we all know-Jerry added some wonderful guitar and pedal steel to a lot of albums. She is going back to Beatles as well-esp. Abbey Road and the White Album. My son is grooving on Dub Step style stuff right now with a lot of interesting stuff that smacks of Mickey/Billy drums/percussion also with a look at King Crimson side projects.
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Once when my son was about five and we were on vacation we were visiting friends who were playing Dead music in their house. When we walked in, he turned to me and said, "Dad, this sounds like our house."
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My two year old boys hear endless Dead, Stones Dylan in the car. They have never complained. They know that "Space" isn't anything to be afraid of and after all it's only Jerry. My 9 month old heard his first Franklins Tower from 3/77 Winterland the other day and it made him laugh, especially when Dad would sing along in terrible falsetto on the chorus "....the dew!" My stepson who is now 21 never could understand it. "what's this? More Dead?" in a weary tone with an eye roll. I never held it against anyone who responded that way and so many people have and still do. One of wife's favorite (unrealized) threats when in a fight with me. "I am going to smash every one of those fcking Grateful Dead CDs!!!!" Remember when iPods came out? We thought we could "share" iTunes when we first installed it. "you bastard what's this Space and Iron Man and all this garbage on my iPod?!" Maybe a topic of a follow up post....nonDead Head spouses!
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Took all my boys to a local GD outings when they were about 7 or 8. I had joined the WharfRatz and yellow balloons some years before so-no worry- I was past my "Assistied Adventures" stage of life.Played the music in the car,at the house. They ever seemed all that taken with it but they all had a musical streak. They knw the words and sang along, better singers than me.All played and sang in various groups. The youngest as a member of the Naval Academy glee Club for 4 yrs. Now he's a Marine Corps officer. He has my Dead and Further, Old and In the Way,Dawg and Jerry on his MacBook when he heads to Afghanistan. And he is more into modern coutry-ish music lately.And yes there were/are young deadheads at the Naval Academy, I got introduced to a few of his deadhead classmates and they had a Stealie Flag in their wardroom.They got infected by their parents/siblings. The boys all seemed proud that I was a long term "dedicated deadhead" but they had their own way to travel. The middle boy is now a musician and plays as (nom de musique)Kory Quinn and the Comrades home based in Portland now,Plays all over the NW and SW.He gave an interview in Park City UT where he credits me for turning him on to the Dead and how it opened him up to all the roots Americana that informs his originals and covers he includes. He does a mean Althea along with others that fit his groove from the 70's and 80's songbooks FOTD, Mama Tried etc. Our discussions of sublime'sScarlet Begonia's when he was in high school what started it all, he says. They always ask iif am still going to shows.And yes i am. Hopefully they will produce some grand kids I can embarass and amaze and pass it along to. bear
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We all know that the best def. ever given of rock and roll is it is whatever music your parents hate! My kids heard the from before they were born, and I played Uncle John's Band to them, badly, on my guitar, from birth. That song still holds sway with them, but they needed to find their own musics, and musics not anything like that they could pull off my walls of records and live recordings! I never leaned towards "kids music" when they were very little, believing that good music is what they should hear. Now my older one listens to bad rap and hip hop, but his musical knowledge is huge. He will walk in the house and say "Turn off that Don Cherry," or, "another lame Dark Star!" I have little tolerance for commercial rap, so that is what he listens to! My children never go to my gigs, they find the music I play totally unlistenable, and uncool since, well, their dad plays it! But, they do understand the Dead, it is in their DNA so to speak, but as we all know, if you were not there, it is hard to explain. Of course the music speaks for itself, but how to you impart the feeling to your kids of driving across country, meeting heads in random places, forming life-long friendships on the road, have crazy adventures that should/could have turned out bad, but turned out great, moments of musical transcendence shared with many, tales of shows you managed to get in to, show you did not, random acts of kindness, etc etc. That is not what going to popular music shows these days are about.
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Way back when my kids were still very young, on Sunday mornings my (then) wife would take them off to Sunday School and I would usually slap on some Dead and try to jam along on my bass. One day when they came back I happened to have E72 on with the album cover out. My son, who was three, points at the cover with a look of absolute delight on his face and loudly proclaims, "Boo Boo Toes! Yea!" Apparently he had picked up on my pattern and was playing a little guessing game with himself about which record I would have on when he came home. And was quite pleased with himself that he had guessed correctly. His sister seemed rather pleased, too. I guess it was their favorite. They heard a lot of Dead growing up. When my ex and I eventually split she moved to Secaucus, just across the Hackensack River from the Meadowlands. I recall being at at least one of my son's Little League night games when the Dead were playing Giants Stadium and you could hear the show wafting through the air, just barely audible over the din from the traffic on Route Three. They noticed it too. Toyed briefly with the idea of taking them to a show then but they were really still too young for all that. Especially as it was the 90's and the scene was soooooo different. Flash forward a few more years and I finally took my daughter to see RatDog in early 2003, and then The Dead later on that year. Lucky kid got a Dark Star her first time out and then a Tomorrow Never Knows her second trip! Guess I should have taken her to more shows... The daughter found her own way to a stop on the 09 Dead tour with her Mom in tow and I ran into them both cruising Shakedown. We all had floors so we hung together and it was a good time. In 2010 we all ended up at Gathering of the Vibes, me, the son, the daughter and the ex, along with a friendly tribe of people who I largely met here on this site. I was pleased that finally we were all able to boogie at a Dead-related show. My son has since headed off to The Haight were he's ingrained himself with the Occupy SF group. Very pleased to see him fighting for all our rights. The daughter has some Dead CD's in her car and her kids are starting to pick up on it, too, although the granddaughter seem to have a clear preference for Beatles. Her favorite song is Strawberry Fields Forever and she enjoys it when I play it for her on guitar and likes to sing along. OBTW DoubleT, a thread for spouses/SO's who aren't into it already exists right here. Answers aplenty in the by and by.
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I don't know why but I was really surprised when my first kid started to listen to music that I liked - on purpose. He was born in 1993, and of course he heard what we listened to but when he was in middle school he started talking about, listening to, pursuing, various kinds of old rock and roll. I remember when he suddenly knew about Led Zeppelin (I loved them at the time but, like a lot of music, that love didn't stay with me). So when he was twelve I took him to a Ratdog and Neville Brothers show (the night before Katrina hit New Orleans). I think I was more introducing him to the Nevilles, but he loved Ratdog and especially the jams. He is now in college and overlapping musical tastes is something we really share. We have seen Ratdog, Phil and Friends, The Dead, Furthur, and others as well (moe, Railroad Earth, etc.) together, and buy each other music. Phish is his favorite now (I took him to a show but it didn't grab me). Like I said, it surprised me when it first happened, I guess because rock and roll seemed so specifically generational when I was that age - the sixties and early seventies - that I assumed without thinking about it that each generation would have its own version...
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While I've been more or less obsessed with the Grateful Dead for most of my adult life, I have always had very wide ranging love of (most) all music, and my kids, now all grown, came out the same way. Both of them have music as an important part of their lives, as I do, and both found partners (my daughter a husband, my son a girlfriend) who feel the same. I'm pleased. When they were little I can remember singing to them in the bathtub: Dark Hollow, Monkey and the Engineer, El Paso, stuff like that. They also got a good dose of Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Bob Marley, etc. My daughter's taste is more pop and country flavored, and I don't think she chooses much Dead on her own, but she's raising my grandkids to be musical and I love that. I took her to her first concert about 1994 to hear Bruce Springsteen and she has always dug the boss. My son is the real prize in this area, though. He has incredibly deep and broad taste in music, and he's crazy about the Dead. I used to love taking him to shows, usually blues or classic rockers. He has gone way over into bluegrass at the moment. He lives in Denver now, and in 2010 I went out there (I'm east coast) and we saw Furthur at Red Rocks - one of the great times of my life. For Christmas I have give him a 6-volume set of all the 11-11 30 days of Dead, and he loves it, calls it a graduate level course in Dead show history.
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My daughter is a Beatles nut, she was trying to get Paul McCartney's phone number one time. My middle son is a Tom Petty fan, and my oldest son will listen to anything...Black Flag to Jackson Browne...My oldest did mention Furthur at McCoy stadium this summer so that is a good thing. I'm just glad that my kids like decent music and not the pop radio stuff...
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i have two children Levi age 4 and Zoe age 2 and as for now they love the dead. We have music playing on our house litterley abot 90% of the time. That's just who we are are a music orientated family. We listen to all kinds of music from black sabbath ( which levi said is to scary for him) to coltrane, hindu chants etc. Levi asked me one time why i allways listen to music i told cause when i hear music i realy hear god. He just look at me, put on his thinking face the said so do i. When he was about 15 months old he would wake up go into the living room point at the boombox and say cd, cd, cd until we put on some tunes for him to dance to. Thats just what we do in our home.Is it indoctrination to a small degeree yes. It's just that when you find something that gives you so much happiness and joy you can't just keep it to youreself. i just want to see my children as happy as they can be and since music is what makes me happy i pass it on to them.
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My oldest was four years old in 1995. His mother and I and some fellow travelers loaded him up in a rented RV and hit the road for the Deer Creek, St. Louis, and Soldier Field stops on the Tour from Hell. The RV's fan clutch fried in Wisconsin and we jumped the line at each parking lot, begging security to let us in before the engine blew up. So, the boy grew up steeped in the Dead. He's 21 now, and since '95 we've seen every post-Jerry permutation, from the Family Reunion at Alpine Valley to The Dead at Red Rocks in '03 to Furthur in Chicago the last couple of years. We're planning our summer 2012 trip now. Indoctrination? Maybe. But what better way to teach a child about community than to immerse him in a tribe that values tradition, creativity, and acceptance, with just enough weirdness to make the lesson interesting?
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You gotta love these cherished family moments...I'll share my story...My kids do not like the Dead(although I caught my daughter dancing while the Dead was playing,but she says dancing "is infectious"!) nor does my wife. Like everyone else I was enjoying an evening libation,listening to the Rheinhalle show,when during the Dark Star my wife screamed " I cant take it! Cant you listen to something else!" I simply explained that anyone in the family can listen to whatever music they want and so will I in my own house!!! I'm a Deadhead all alone here folks!! Dont worry though I WILL NOT BE OPPRESSED!!! Love the E72 shows!!! Good ol Grateful Dead!!!
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My kids have grown up exposed to lots of music, attending the Strawberry Music Festival twice a year for their whole lives, and enjoying the Dead from a young age. I remember one of our babysitters saying she was surprised when my son Arlo, as a toddler, started singing "Sugaree" as she strapped him into a car seat. They got into other music too, some of which I don't like, but always liked the Dead as well. My parents also love big band, but we didn't hear much growing up. That's because the big band era ended before LPs became available. But once my dad got a reel to reel and started taping all his old 78's, we had plenty of big band and swing to listen to!
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9 years 6 months
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My son has resisted the influence, but mentioned that while walking through middle school he always had "If I had my way, I would tear this whole building down" going through his head...
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11 years 5 months
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"Indoctrination? Maybe. But what better way to teach a child about community than to immerse him in a tribe that values tradition, creativity, and acceptance, with just enough weirdness to make the lesson interesting?"
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6 years 7 months
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From birth my daughter has listened to tons of Dead. She would dance for hour in front of the Winterland video in tyedye dresses. Somewher in the 3rd grade she got hooked on jonas bros/gaga/ crap and now hates the dead (or claims to). Now on long trips we alternate whose ipod gets plugged in. Hopefully with all that expposure she will come back around. The last thing to do is turn into my Dad when it comes to music. So I listen with an open mind, suffer and hope.
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11 years 5 months
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...should know we did do blog about "Mixed Marriages" very early on in the life of this feature... I think more people read it now, though, so perhaps we will revisit the topic someday, maybe from a slightly different perspective...
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11 years 5 months
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In the first few months of my baby girl's life, I would lull her to sleep singing my best impressions of Crazy Fingers, When I Paint My Masterpiece, Stella Blue, Wharf Rat, and others. When tummy time became a drag for her, I put on Herbie Hancock's "The Imagine Project" and a few tracks on that album distracted her from discomfort and she really enjoyed herself. Now at 20 and a half months, as I practice guitar quite a bit and site reading and practicing exercises, I play less music around the house. Still, I'll throw on the occasional Dead tape, and she mostly enjoys them. Her mom is very much into rap, and I have found that the general sound and vision of rap has changed and I can freely appreciate the artistry of much of what's available. My little girl loves Beatles much of the time, although some of the flow and mixes of the recent remasters don't gel for me (and can get Valerie into a crying fit), as the song sequences and the pauses between tracks lack for breath can create a stress I didn't experience while listening to them when I was young. I try to expose her to classical and jazz sounds, and we've had fun listening to Dr. Lonnie Smith's recently released archival recording "Live at Club Mozambique." We also listen to Wayne Shorter Quartet, which she seems to relate to on some primal level (and I feel very comfortable calling them the great jam-band of the jazz scene, even with the night to night setlist repetitions). I strongly recommend some of the european radio broadcasts available at dimeadozen, as they really tell the story of this incredible group. I know that good energy will ensue when I play Herbie Hancock for her, particularly the recent albums. Further, we've started listening to a lot of KZSC (Santa Cruz College Radio) around the house, as I challenge the expansion of my ears, even though some programs go for the incredibly hypnotic rather than that which arrives at balance. Her favorite songs remain Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and I continue to wonder when I may learn that Thelonious Monk tune Tinkle Trinkle. Nonetheless, as my wife and I tend to have very different musical tastes, we always strive to create an environment of compromise; what are the musics that we all can enjoy. I think I probably ponder what pleases my daughter's ear and challenges her intellect more than my wife does, but I have seen how certain musics will get her into a tantrum while others will directly soothe her soul. There is no absolute formula, as she is a constantly changing little life. But we navigate that together. Regardless, I've got to send some appreciation to Blair: thank you Blair for bringing up this discussion. I didn't want to answer at first, since it is a very personal matter in a way. Nonetheless, I also felt I shouldn't hold back. Nonetheless, very cool. In fact, I just recalled that a recent session of Grateful Dead listening at home did get my little girl spinning like a seasoned vet, which was pretty impressive at 19 months!
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11 years 5 months
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...is still very young, Dan R., and not even at Disney movie age, up the road you'll find there are all sorts of cool pop and jazz albums of Disney music; like just a few months ago a real good one called "Everybody Wants to Be Cat" (named after a song from "The Aristocats") came out, featuring jazz interpretations of all sorts of Disney classics, performed by everyone from Dave Brubeck to Esperanza Spalding. It's very cool... I'm gonna check out some of that Wayne Shorter you mentioned... Love him!
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Sitting at dinner the other night my daughter (32) said "Dad when your in your den do you think you could turn your music down a bit so we can hear the T.V". Immediate flashback to 40 years ago and my Dad yelling at me to" turn that bloody music down I can't hear the T.V."Jeez nothing changes!!!!
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11 years 5 months
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coffee first, post later...
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11 years 5 months
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the subject does have a way of coming up. And it doesn't seem confined to our generation, heh.
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9 years 8 months
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My son is 8 months on Friday (!!!) and I have solidified myself as the master of bedtime. Bedtime routine includes me singing "Sweet Baby James" (as that's his name) and "We Bid You Goodnight." The latter works like a charm. I've also got "Row Jimmy" and "Brokedown Palace" on standby when needed. I have a great picture of him at about 6 months sitting in his Bumbo chair watching The Grateful Dead Movie. So I think my kid is getting both an education and an indoctrination. Time will tell I suppose.
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...."Bird Song" to my babies, dancing lightly with them in my arms and even sort of scatting (doot-dooting) the guitar solos... "Brokedown" was always a hit with babies as well... We had a never-fails CD we'd sometimes play softly...a beautiful and calming disc by a Ugandan singer named Samite--I thank him to this day!
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I have an eight year old son who I have been singing bedtime songs to for years. I would sing Dylan and Beatles songs, but mostly Grateful Dead songs. Our favorites were/are Brown Eyed Women, Candyman, and Dire Wolf(although that song initially scared him a bit!) He listens to a lot of pop music now(as I did when I was his age), but the effects of my indoctrination are ingrained. He was doing some Science homework the other night in his room and called out to ask me if "space could be stopped". I put on my scientific hat and explained the space in the universe was still expanding to this day. He responded "No, daddy, I mean can you stop playing "Space" on the stereo because I can't concentrate..."
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education. But I guess there's been a little indoctrination bleed.My earliest musical recollection was playing bongos to a Trini Lopez record while my parents watched slack-jawed, no doubt believing they were witnessing the next Olatunji or, more likely, gene Krupa. This was 1962 or '63. Another was digging the way my momma really got down to that Judy at Carnegie double disc. Then it was Beatles, Freddie & the Dreamers, and Herman's Hermits - maybe a dash of Kingston Trio courtesy Uncle Ray - but always the jazz bubblin' and simmerin' via my dad. He was a player with an Ellington influence. I can remember he loved to have his cocktail and cigarette poised at the ready while tickling Satin Doll and maybe I Let A Song go Out of My Heart. Every once in a while I'd break out my brushes (having graduated from bongos to drums) and play along, but I really was not into it - it was his - man, he owned that stuff. There was one comedy record - Bill Cosby's "Why Is There Air?", which still kills me to this day - "come around, idiot, come around!" So crateloads of years later and it's Friday the 13th, July '90, and Meghan must hear Mozart's Clarinet Concerto by Thea King and the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Jeffrey Tate first thing after she's born. Then it's probably Best of Studio One on the way home and, without further ado, a taste of Bob Marley once we get there - dancin' in Dad's arms to the reggae - a lot. She goes with me to see Immortal Beloved at four 'cause she's going to learn how to play Moonlight, Pathetique, etc. She, too, digs the Beatles. She's five when I'm again on the bus with Hundred Year Hall and gettin' way into jazz ('bout time!!!). We see a few concerts - Norah Jones "Come Away With Me" tour. The Afro- Cuban All-Stars where we meet Juan de Marcos Gonzalez and he offers us back-stage passes 'cause we're talking Spanish with him. Fast forward some more and she's in Cuba for a semester while at Tulane and gets to see Chucho Valdes with Wynton Marsalis. Each Spring she's found time to attend jazzfest and I'm finally going to get down there myself this year. The big draw for me is Bunny Wailer, not only because he performs about once a decade but because Meghan and I used to dance to a song called Child of the Universe, which she definitely is one. Hopefully, we'll be able to catch Herbie Hancock the next day - Dad could be on his own as her friends will be demanding her time. I do have a wife and other child, but theirs is a another stoooory.
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cause when I was young my father always played me the kind of music he really enjoyed. Elton, Billy Joel, Guess Who, Faces, Meat Loaf etc. I hated it then, but I love all of it now. I'm pretty sure the same will happen with my kids. I don't really try to influence them but I know that when they are older they will appreciate what I happened to call great music...eventually. Who says "kids never listen"?
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11 years 5 months
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My oldest daughter (now 34 with kids of her own) grew up listening to, and loving the Dead. She also enjoyed bringing friends over to see my "Dead Wall." One entire wall in the den was deadicated to my huge bootleg cassette concert collection with homemade labels. When she was in high school in the mid 90s we both started listening to Phish together. We still trade lots of tunes back and forth. My youngest daughter (now 12) isn't the Deadhead her sister was, but I get a kick out of listening to her absentmindedly whistle or hum along to their tunes I'll have playing while she is engrossed in some game on her phone. Last summer after getting home from a week away at camp she said she missed us so much she sang Dead songs to herself to feel more at home.
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My best friend and her Granddaughterjust stopped by my house to visit and have tea and fresh strawberries from CA. I was cranking 1994 MSG Eyes of the World from the Grateful Dead Hour when they came in. The dancing began instantly and we all danced in the splintered sunlight streaming in my window. No one spoke we just danced and danced and danced. She had a blast as did we. But no one said anything or introduced anything or invited a listen. Just guess it wasn't necessary. Then we ate and drank and were merrier. I gave her a bongo and told her to let it rip. She did. I am having a super fun day.
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9 years 10 months
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You are over thinking this or maybe I'm a terrible parent. :) When I was a kid my dad didn't ask me what I wanted to hear he just played what he wanted - old school country western. I'm the same way - my daughter listens to what I am listening to which usually involves the Dead. She actually likes the music, but if she is in a bad mood she knows she can get under my skin and say that she hates them. I encourage her to listen to what she likes too - which usually involves Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Whatever, but I think it's cool she at least has the GD foundation. Shes' been to many shows with us and probably has seen things she shouldn't have but she has a strong head on her shoulders and I'm not too worried about it. One day she will look back and think it was cool that she was able to see Bobby and Phil. Just like I think it's cool I saw Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings when I was young.
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9 years 10 months
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By the way! :)
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7 years 1 month
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I raised my daughter on good ol' rock and roll. At 2 she was yelling from the backseat for me to put Bob Dylan back on, or Joni Mitchell's Blue. Was a HUGE Beatles fan, too. But there was nothing like hearing her sing The Ramones "Beat on the Brat". lol. She went thru the horrible Spice Girls/Brittany Spears/boy band phase in grade school, she's apologized for that. She's 20 now, going to school in the big city and has her own taste in music. Attending lots of shows. She spent a couple weeks last summer on a 4,000 mile road trip to Chicago for Lollapolooza, highlight of her life, so far! She says she's not into any of my music (including GD) but she does surprise me sometimes. We were watching the movie Rushmore and she was shocked that I knew more of the music than she did. Am making her a Kinks disc, may throw in some Django, too. She's coming around. My mom even shocked me recently by telling me she had no Beatles and would I please make her a disc!! Now if only I could get my dad to stop listening to bagpipe music........
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11 years 5 months
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... Threat or Menace? ;-)
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7 years 1 month
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Definitely a menace! He has a tape he plays in his car- bagpipes, Dueling Banjos and ABBA....WTF!!!!!......Was trapped in the backseat at 7AM...still have nightmares about it.
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11 years 5 months
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if I recall, Hunter likes bagpipes...
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11 years 5 months
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This is great stuff. I can see all kind of related subjects. One could be "All the people you know who went to shows who didn't end up being Deadheads" and their feedback to you about those experiences. Seems like everyone knows someone who went to shows. The fun part is trying to ask detailed questions to figure out what show they were at. Like my brother...drove home to Washington State from Vermont one summer. "Ok - sounds like you were at 6/24/91 at Sandstone Amp. What do you mean 'You didn't like it.' Dude - you check out the tape." Had another friend. "Oh yeah went to Oakland Coliseum when I was going to Stanford one winter. Good musicians, but that bass player had no business singing that 'Wave to the Wind' song." Ok I think you were at 2-22-92. LOL!!
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6 years 7 months
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I havent listened to them in a while. I had a block in my mind, I never knew my husbands birthday until the month after. His b-day was august 31 or august 1(bad of me still) but it was the same date of what we call dead:) Mr. Jerry Don Ho as well. I play bass and keyboards, still trying to remember complete lyrics to one song! whiskey in a jar
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6 years 7 months
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indeed. today that is!!! late**
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9 years 8 months
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All depends on what kind of pipes and how they're used. Highland (Scottish) pipes can sound like a cat being strangled inside a shopping bag. Even good pipers can sound bad with the wrong arrangement/accompaniment. Uilleann (Irish) pipes are quite pleasant. And yes, there is a difference.
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7 years 1 month
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to Hunter and any other fans of the bagpipes. From Dr. Lunchbox's description, he definitely listens to the "cat being strangled inside a shopping bag" version. And at 7 AM, neither would be acceptable to me. I have a low tolerance for pain at that time of day.
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11 years 5 months
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...is a time-honored tradition. No apologies necessary. Besides, we all secretly love 'em. (I do, anyway). Same with accordions...
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Basically what I've found over the years is that either people LOVE the Grateful Dead or HATE them. I had a friend in college who was curious about them and their music, so I let her borrow my vinyl to ease her into the 4 minute versions of their songs. Within a week she became voracious, needing more and more! She went on to be a big fan! When my son was born, all I really wanted him to get from me was my taste in music. I put music on whenever we were in the car and at home as much as possible. Unfortunately, the GD just never "clicked" for him. He has his own tastes, which is fine. I am just inwardly disappointed that he never became a fan. Maybe it would be different if I took him to a show now. But I would hate to pay $ for the ticket to have him want to leave before the end of the first set. To each their own, I guess.
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  • Mike Edwards
    6 years 7 months ago
    Worcester 11-5-85
    That was a fun night. They played the rarely performed Kansas City in the first set, but it was singing Happy Birthday to Bill Walton (along with some of his world champion Boston Celtics team mates who were on stage) at the start of the second set that I remember best about this one. Happy Birthday to Bill
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    Ed the Head
    6 years 7 months ago
    Some Heads Are Thicker Than Others
    Following my conversion to the world of the Dead 1970, my older brother would complain constantly about "that music," whenever I put a record or later a cassette on. He was into Bowie, Roxy Music, etc., and couldn't decide what to criticize more about the Dead--the "endless" jams, the vocals, the "hippy-dippy" ethos, or the horde of apparently mindless fans. I put up with this abuse for 15 years. This despite attempts to force the issue: Watkins Glen in 1973 was on his birthday but that didn't seem to have much impact. He also agreed to attend a show in Burlington, Vermont in 1978, but we lived there, duh. And he still couldn't get my passion for this music. Then I got a call in 1985. I was living in Wisconsin . . . he was in Nantucket. The night before, he had gone to see the Dead at Worcester with my other brother. Good seats, but . . . and then he saw Bill Walton, Kevin McHale, and Larry Bird on the side of the stage. Perhaps he realized, "if Larry Bird can dig these guys, WTF am I doing," or perhaps it was the song combination or the "air" in the air. Who knows. But he called me the next morning to announce that he had finally found his way on the bus. He actually apologized to me for all the &^%$ over the years. 26 years later, he has now gone to more shows than I have, and now we go to them together as two aging relics of the 1960s. It's a sweet circle. (Just realized I attached this to the wrong blog; this one was to be for the last one on friends. Oh well.)
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    popeye the squirm
    6 years 7 months ago
    wish i could be
    wish i could be there...REALLY... wish...i remember reading about jerr talking about scotty stoneman...but he ain't around no more..but listen i was poking around about and was reading that interview you did with jerr way back...and he was talking about some very interesting stuff...vonnegut...sirens and ruben and cherise...and his working process with hunter...boy do i miss garcia interviews...when i was reading the interview i could hear the cadence of his voice and the bubbly enthusiasm...the rush of words and imagination...just like what his playing was like...ya know? good stuff! anyhow..nice to talk to you. i digress.ha.
  • marye
    6 years 7 months ago
    If you're in DC this evening
    (sorry, the Hee Haw reference, followed by the Jerry reference, put me in mind of it) there's a Rex Foundation benefit you might want to check out, with Hunter/Garcia songs played by Jesse McReynolds (one of Jer's bluegrass idols), the New Riders, and Moonalice. Details here.
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    popeye the squirm
    6 years 7 months ago
    fingerprints across the brain
    it's an interesting discussion...our wee brains are such sponges at an early age..there's this book i have called "this is your brain on music" which goes into great detail about that...and how we glom onto stuff... but as far as personal experience goes i remember my folks watching alot of hee-haw when i was growing up and listening to tammy wynette 8 tracks(remember 8 tracks?) i was sort of baffled by the cornieness of hee haw even as an infant and sort of embarrassed that my folks liked it...then some ten years later i was listening to jerry rip it up in that bakersfield style that buck owens owned(don rich?)..and thinking this is just about the coolest thing since sliced bread. i think after an initial rebellious period where you think your parents are hopeless dorks you sort of start to dig the traditional stuff...just like the dead went through their machine eating dissonant anthem period to arrive at workingman's and american beauty..it was going around...i think of that picture on the inside of big pink of the guys with their folks. god bless the dead for holding onto some of that anthem spirit and continuing to get weird though. to quote hendrix: “A musician, if he is a messenger, is like a child who hasn’t been handled too many times by a man, hasn’t had too many fingerprints across his brain.” -Jimi Hendrix