• February 16, 2011
    http://www.dead.net/features/blairs-golden-road-blog/welcome-my-blog-world
    Welcome to My (Blog) World!

    Why a weekly blog? Well, for a while now I’ve wanted to have a place where I can talk about music, issues, events and people related to the Grateful Dead and the post-GD world on a regular basis — and also hear what you have to say about this unique and fascinating universe we’re all wrapped up in to varying degrees. Basically, for the past few decades, much of my mind and spirit have been dominated by my interest in the Dead and the many tangents that have led from that incredible source of light and life. Of course, I’ve held jobs that have nothing to do with the Dead, raised two great kids, led what for all intents and purposes is a “normal” life, and listened to thousands upon thousands of hours of non-Dead music. But the Dead have always been at least in the background, and often in the foreground, of my life ever since Live Dead came out in November of 1969 and I subsequently saw my first show at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York, March 20, 1970. As Bob Weir sang (of a woman, I presume) in “Lazy Lightning,” “it’s an obsession, but it’s pleasing.”

    I suspect most of you have seen my byline around this site on stories or product promos, have read liner notes I might have penned for various Road Trips and other releases, and some may go back to my days as editor/publisher of The Golden Road Dead fanzine, or even further to my years at BAM, the free Bay Area music magazine I worked for between 1976 and 1983. If you went to Pelham (New York) High with me in the very early ’70s, you might’ve read my first-ever Dead review—of the Vintage Dead album.

    Golden Road magazine publishers
    Regan and Blair on duty
    at Red Rocks, 1987
    I moved to the Bay Area from suburban NY in the fall of ’73, arriving just in time to catch the 11/11 Dead concert at wonderful Winterland — quite a contrast from my previous GD show at giant and decrepit Roosevelt Stadium in Joisey on Jerry’s 31st birthday. For a few years, I’d felt I was destined to live in the Bay Area someday. Then, spending some of the summer of ’73 living with my older bro in the Oakland Hills and going to see several Garcia-Saunders and Old & in the Way shows (not to mention Van Morrison and all sorts of other faves who played in clubs here), pretty much convinced me to transfer to UC Berkeley for my last two years of college. I got my degree in Political Science (was and still am a political junkie), then went to the graduate School of Journalism there, with an eye toward being a rock critic. That segued into my long tenure at BAM, and that’s what allowed me to write my first book about the Dead, The Music Never Stopped (which, at the time, 1983, was the only history of the band available). The following year, my wife, Regan, and I started The Golden Road, which took me even deeper in the Dead world and gave me the opportunity to interview and write about so many of the cool folks who have been part of the scene through the years. We put out 27 issues between the winter of ’84 and the middle of ’93, by which point we were about to have our second child and didn’t have the time or space in our house to keep putting out a magazine. During that time my main gig was being a writer and editor at Mix, the leading U.S. sound and recording magazine, and I continue to write for Mix to this day.

    After Jerry died, I spent a couple of years working on the book Garcia: An American Life (published by Viking in 1999), co-produced the So Many Roads box set with my buddies David Gans and Steve Silberman, and also got involved with helping put out posthumous Garcia releases, including the All Good Things box. When Rhino took over the management of the Grateful Dead’s archival release program a few years ago, I signed on to work occasionally for the re-vamped Dead.net website and joined with Vaultmaster Supreme David Lemieux to play a small role in shepherding the Road Trips series.

    So, that’s who I am. In coming weeks, I’ll be bringing up various issues connected to the Dead world that we can bat around and (hopefully) have some fun with, I’ll talk about some recent books and films (good and bad) that have connections to the scene, no doubt take a trip or two down memory lane, and we’ll see where it all leads. If there are issues or questions you’d like to see addressed, let me know. Don’t be shy! We’re all friends here…

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Why a weekly blog? Well, for a while now I’ve wanted to have a place where I can talk about music, issues, events and people related to the Grateful Dead and the post-GD world on a regular basis — and also hear what you have to say about this unique and fascinating universe we’re all wrapped up in to varying degrees. Basically, for the past few decades, much of my mind and spirit have been dominated by my interest in the Dead and the many tangents that have led from that incredible source of light and life. Of course, I’ve held jobs that have nothing to do with the Dead, raised two great kids, led what for all intents and purposes is a “normal” life, and listened to thousands upon thousands of hours of non-Dead music. But the Dead have always been at least in the background, and often in the foreground, of my life ever since Live Dead came out in November of 1969 and I subsequently saw my first show at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York, March 20, 1970. As Bob Weir sang (of a woman, I presume) in “Lazy Lightning,” “it’s an obsession, but it’s pleasing.”

I suspect most of you have seen my byline around this site on stories or product promos, have read liner notes I might have penned for various Road Trips and other releases, and some may go back to my days as editor/publisher of The Golden Road Dead fanzine, or even further to my years at BAM, the free Bay Area music magazine I worked for between 1976 and 1983. If you went to Pelham (New York) High with me in the very early ’70s, you might’ve read my first-ever Dead review—of the Vintage Dead album.

Golden Road magazine publishers
Regan and Blair on duty
at Red Rocks, 1987
I moved to the Bay Area from suburban NY in the fall of ’73, arriving just in time to catch the 11/11 Dead concert at wonderful Winterland — quite a contrast from my previous GD show at giant and decrepit Roosevelt Stadium in Joisey on Jerry’s 31st birthday. For a few years, I’d felt I was destined to live in the Bay Area someday. Then, spending some of the summer of ’73 living with my older bro in the Oakland Hills and going to see several Garcia-Saunders and Old & in the Way shows (not to mention Van Morrison and all sorts of other faves who played in clubs here), pretty much convinced me to transfer to UC Berkeley for my last two years of college. I got my degree in Political Science (was and still am a political junkie), then went to the graduate School of Journalism there, with an eye toward being a rock critic. That segued into my long tenure at BAM, and that’s what allowed me to write my first book about the Dead, The Music Never Stopped (which, at the time, 1983, was the only history of the band available). The following year, my wife, Regan, and I started The Golden Road, which took me even deeper in the Dead world and gave me the opportunity to interview and write about so many of the cool folks who have been part of the scene through the years. We put out 27 issues between the winter of ’84 and the middle of ’93, by which point we were about to have our second child and didn’t have the time or space in our house to keep putting out a magazine. During that time my main gig was being a writer and editor at Mix, the leading U.S. sound and recording magazine, and I continue to write for Mix to this day.

After Jerry died, I spent a couple of years working on the book Garcia: An American Life (published by Viking in 1999), co-produced the So Many Roads box set with my buddies David Gans and Steve Silberman, and also got involved with helping put out posthumous Garcia releases, including the All Good Things box. When Rhino took over the management of the Grateful Dead’s archival release program a few years ago, I signed on to work occasionally for the re-vamped Dead.net website and joined with Vaultmaster Supreme David Lemieux to play a small role in shepherding the Road Trips series.

So, that’s who I am. In coming weeks, I’ll be bringing up various issues connected to the Dead world that we can bat around and (hopefully) have some fun with, I’ll talk about some recent books and films (good and bad) that have connections to the scene, no doubt take a trip or two down memory lane, and we’ll see where it all leads. If there are issues or questions you’d like to see addressed, let me know. Don’t be shy! We’re all friends here…

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Why a weekly blog? Well, for a while now I’ve wanted to have a place where I can talk about music, issues, events and people related to the Grateful Dead and the post-GD world on a regular basis — and also hear what you have to say about this unique and fascinating universe we’re all wrapped up in to varying degrees.

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...be nice, imcndbl! Schabs has a nice side... or so I'm told. ;-)

(For those of you who don't know who we're talking about... don't ask! You don't need to go there!)

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There are so many videos of the Grateful Dead floating around in various formats and qualities, but so little officially released. Durham, NC 1978, Passaic, NJ both 1977 and 1978, Denmark, 1972. Then there's all that prime footage from Winterland 1974 on 16mm that most of us would die to own in its entirety. Any chance that we may get to see all this amazing footage from the Dead's best years any time in the near future? If at all? This is a gold mine of joy waiting to come home. If the Europe '72 box is any indication, we're out here and we're ready to put our money where our mouths are. Let's see some of this amazing footage. And full shows please! Compilations just won't do when you've got entire shows filmed and videotaped. Even if the video quality isn't up to hi-def standards, the audio is exceptional and available. The Closing of Winterland footage wasn't pristine, nor was the Egypt footage, but no one cared. We got to watch and listen. It's the rarest of all treats. And it's time. Just my two cents...
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Is any existing copy of the show that Jerry did on board USS Carl Vinson in the '80's. I was serving onboard her at the time but had to rush home on emergency leave (lost my mother to cancer) so I missed the show. I have a raggedy tape that a close friend recorded for me on a walkman, but it's almost not worth playing. Wonder if there is anything in the vault....
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Hi Mr. Jackson! Just wanted to say a few things... first, I absolutely loved "Garcia: An American Life," it's probably the most insightful biography around about Jerry and the Dead (Phil and McNally's books are really outstanding, too, of course). Having a blog here is a great idea! Your contributing essays to the releases are always a great read. So thanks for all that. Just a few annoying suggestions and questions, though, seeing as you're "in the loop": First, do you have any notion of whether or not the Europe '72 shows will be available for individual download at any point? It'd almost seem unethical (not really, of course) to have all that great music only available in a limited edition CD release at $450 a pop. Second, and this is just a dumb idea, but wouldn't it be cool to have some rough multitrack files to download for those of us who'd like to make our own mixes of shows? Like, maybe just to give people an idea of the kind of work that goes into making a multitrack release (I'm thinking here of the bonus material with David Lemieux on "The Grateful Dead Movie" that explicates the process), it would be cool to make available the unmixed multitracks for a single song, so interested parties with the appropriate software could "mix" their own music. Maybe I'm just jealous of Jeffrey Norman's job, but some interactive content like that would be totally awesome. Anyway, the blog is a great idea. Good luck with "Feed Your Head," I really look forward to reading it! Eric
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Well I think I know you... the picture helped put some strands in Ole Duder's mind in order. Did you ever interview anyone in Maryland around 1990? If memory serves, you sat at my dining room table and we talked (you even recorded me at times - I felt so special) for a couple hours. I remember how you liked the "X" Factor idea and that I wasn't the only one that had described it. Now I suppose in a life like yours a guy like me would certainly be forgettable but you might remember the rug in that room. It was a hideous green like a golf putting tee only more... green! Yuck... I hated the color (it came with the house when we bought it) but it really, really tied the room together. Of course the memory may have well been just a dream but if that is the case, it was one damn fun dream. In any event, and as I've told you previously; the Garcia book was off the chart! He may not have been good at certain aspects of life (as is the case for most of us - myself included) but he was good on his word to me. I bought the ticket and he brought the ride! Take care Blair and thanks for this blog thing... I've gotten a real kick out of it already. "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're un-cool." ~ Lester Bangs
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Hey Blair-do they 11/19/91 Providence in that there vault thingy? What a GRATE show that Iwas lucky to have been able to attend. Youtube has "Lay Down Sally" from that night posted-I remember that song very well. It was in my HO much better version than the Clapton radio version. Jerry was shuffling, sweating and smiling all night long. What a great, great musical and Jerry memory. I took my future wife to the show and she and I had wonderful time.
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Would it be possible to place a permanent link to this blog thang in the "Table of contents" (top left on the homepage) under "Features" for example so that it will be easy to find in the future, once it inevitably disappears from "The latest" (top right on the homepage) where the link is currently to be found. It would be a shame for it to get lost amongst the hundreds of other topics that require lots of effort to find. I get the impression, or at least I hope, that this will be an interesting place to visit on a regular basis, hopefully for a long time to come.
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Simonrob, I'm the last guy to ask about the techical things about links and such. Seems to me the best way to keep a thread going might be for everyone to just navigate over to the new blog discussion every Wednesday when it goes up, 'cause it's going to very complicated if some people are talkin here, some people are talkin' there as we move through time.

GRTUD, that was not me in your dining room in 1990. I think the last time I was in Maryland was something like 1975. I toured Edgar Allen Poe's house with a very creepy and morbid tour guide.

The mix-your-own-Dead thing is an interesting idea... but I can't imagine it happening for some reason. I know other groups have done that, though.... Personally, I think it would be more fun to mix some Mickey Hart percussion extravaganza....

Not sure what the state of various video possibilities is, so I have no comment on that. I know a couple of things are being looked at, so to speak...

Most of '91 is in the JGB vault, Providence included...

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I was also going to ask about possible video releases, especially since a lot is illegally released in Europe, like the Sunshine Daydream movie with alternal takes. And with Dickey Betts & Great Southern I have an offical release with their 1977/78 concert at Grugahalle, Essen, West Germany (as it was called back then). My "first" Grateful Dead show so to speak was the show från March 28th, 1981, which was broadcast throughout Europe. It included a performance by the Karamozov Brothers and some fun footage taken from when the Dead and the Karamozov Brothers went through the German customer service. Anyway, that performance would be nice if it could be officially released. But I was also going to ask about more studio stuff, like great outtakes and such. On tape I have The Terrapin Outtakes and I used to have the record itself but I sold it. Anyway, on that that record there was an really grrrreat studio outtake of Smokestack Lightning, not taken from the Terrapin Outtakes - obviously - since it has Pigpen on vocals. How much more of stuff like this is there to be found in the vaults? Is it enought for a relase? I remember there was talk about some nice outtakes with Bob Dylan in 1987. Will some of that ever be released, like say a Dylan & The Dead version of "The Basement Tapes"? Also there got to be tons of good recorded soundchecks and studio jams, right? Will we ever live to hear some of that? It would be great if some of it could offically see the light of day. Micke Östlund, Växjö, Sweden ------------------------------ My record collection: jazzmicke
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i'll pop in here to say that you've got that backwards. it's phil who doesn't want to play with billy (and then ergo, mickey) for reasons too pathetic to go into. i'm sort of jealous of people who are able to get off on furthur; they just bore me to tears and send me running back to all my jerry recordings. for live music, i'll take the david nelson band, stu allen or jackie greene ahead of furthur anyday...
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i want to agree with whoever brought up their objections to the europe '72 set marketing scheme. what a bunch of elitist bullshit! jerry woulda hated that kind of bs...
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Like Blair, my fondest memories of these "shows" do not involve the band's performances either. The drum procession down main street Telluride at dawn on the day of the harmonic convergence, led by Babatunde Olatunji, is second only to seeing Bill Graham picking up trash on main street after the second night. I went over to thank him "for a real good time" and he responded, in his brash sorta way, "glad you liked it, because it will NEVER FUCKING happen again!" He was right about that....
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Brash but usually tellin' the truth!
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Hey Blair! Good to be able to get your perspective as well the opportunity to toss questions to you. A couple of comments from my view point that I would like your feedback on, if you are so inclined. First is on the The Wheel—A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia. I really enjoyed your comments about this live show & as I stated at that time it would be great to get a copy of that show with Peter Rowan, Jody Stecher, Jesse McReynolds & all the other wonderful musicians. So was the event recorded & what is the chance that the notion I am campaigning for could come to be? The other item was concerning the Phil & Friends Band & especially the multi-instrumental musicianship of Larry Campbell. I very much enjoy the Furthur band but when I listen back to Larry’s playing on the Phil & Friends shows he really distinguishes himself in a big, big way & in my view he is the most accomplished at interpreting this music. He is just an amazing artist. Too bad some of those concerts are still not available for downloading. Just wonder what you think on that subject. I also saw Rhythm Devils in Flagstaff, AZ, last summer (2010) & was quite impressed with that band & their young lead guitarist. Thanks & take care.
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Thanks for the story =) "It's got no signs or dividing line and very few rules to guide"
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I would love to see a benefit release of the Rex show, and actually heard some talk about it around that time, but since then I've heard nothing... Obviously there are rights issues and such, but it seems like it would be a pretty amenable group. Well see...

As for Larry Campbell and P&F, that was was my favorite lineup ever of that band. Larry is great, and I'm also a big Jackie Greene fan, too. I thought they had the right amount of Deadness but also went in so many other cool directions as well. I still miss 'em. It was fun seeing Larry (and Teresa) at the Furthur Fest in Calaveras last spring.

Don't get me wrong--I love Furthur, but I always enjoyed how much non-Dead stuff that particular edition of P&F did. A tip o' the hat to Steve Molitz, too, that lineup's very interesting and underrated keyboardist!

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Hi Blair - thanks for your comments about Euro Deadheads - like Jeremy, I have lived with the band for for about three quarters of my 60 years! There is a hard core of us left, including here in North East England (I mailed you recently with stuff about Newcastle 72) where, for several years the "Spiral Light" fanzine was produced. Regarding P&F, I too loved the Campbell/Greene lineup and my son and I managed to get to see that band in New York on the night Obama was elected. The atmosphere was astonishing - we could really feel the vibe getting better and better as the news came in from various states, and then we went out to Times Square to party. An excellent night and my son, who had never encountered Deadheads before, thought they were the nicest bunch of people he had ever met at a gig. My enduring wish is that Furthur, P&F or any variation thereof, manage to get to Europe some day.
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...Europe 2012? 40th anniversary tour...
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Featuring all the venues played during Europe '72 - except Bickershaw.
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weather wimp! ;-)
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But I survived - and wouldn't have missed it for the world.
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Don't :-) My first wife accompanied me to the first night at the Lyceum in '72, but was not that into the Dead. Problem with the singing... but she was cool; we had an agreement - Dead come, I go, bless her! Problem solved now as my second wife is a Deadhead... And then in 2031 we can start saving for the Europe 2012 box...
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On behalf of the Euroheads, Canyon Critter and friends have been displaying a banner at many Furthur shows asking for them to come and play in Europe. Johnman and Mona and others were involved in making the banner. It is so kind of all of these folks to do this for us. Hopefully it will have the desired effect
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Please try and post a picture of that banner. The good old Grateful Dead - a good reason to change wives!
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In payment for all the contributions to the Portland show that mona, mouse, and I attended...I still haven't thanked everyone involved....Twirlingirl did the tie-dye work, and it is AWESOME!!
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Canyon Critter said he was going to post a pic of the banner, but he has had some other stuff to deal with of late so I don't want to bother him with it.... sorry too about the hijack if that is what it is ..but it feels sort of comfortable in here while we wait for Blair's next post...
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in Portland, but my phone got "unhappy"....still tryin' ta resurrect them...
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Blair, I was an early subscriber to the Golden Road and always waited in anticipation for the next issue to arrive. We would attend many of the same shows and I always welcomed your reviews since they were often about the same as my reviews. I'm a little envious you've managed to carve yourself out a nice career living, eating, breathing and writing about the Grateful Dead (while managing to have a "normal life" as well) but you've done the Dead and their fans well over the years. And I thank you for that. Looking forward to hearing and reading more from you. Best, Brian
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I heartily echo Brian's thoughts! Pulling the latest issue of "The Golden Road" out of the mailbox was almost (almost!) as welcome as getting a previously unheard show. Keep up the great work, Blair. It's most appreciated.
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ya know its only a few years till the GD's 50th aniv. the summer i graduated from high school was the 20th aniv. tour (and my only complete tour attended)... in 1985 hard to believe thats been almost 30 years it would be surprising if the boys (or at least the archivists) dont come up with something special for the occasion (although i really cant imagine what could top the E72 release so i guess it will have to involve new live performances) btw since it is blair's blog ill add that his book the music never stopped was my first source of in-depth info about the dead, i love the intro where he describes a 1982 ventura show as the modern incarnation of that venerable old instituition... the GD and even more specifically the first line about "rock" music
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Although I'm sorta embarrassed by some of that book, through the years I've probably gotten more comments about that first Ventura chapter than anything else I've ever written (until the "Garcia" book), and the very limited section listing tapes in the back seems to have helped a lot of folks who were getting into that scene in the mid-80s. Wow, seems like so long ago, suddenly... I knew so little then compared to now...
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yes the limited tapers' guide and the GD family tree pull-out gave me some much needed perspective in those early days of discovery I knew so little then compared to now... i would have to echo that feeling, although i'm probably just about where you were then... now ...although i did know some relatively knowledgeable folks (for virginia in the early 80s) back then who took me to my first shows and hooked me up with some tapes to start my collection while its natural that your writing has matured over the years since then... that book certainly struck a chord, i mean i havent even looked at it since the 90's i guess... yet i still remember reading the ventura chapter, my first learning of the reason mickey took his sabbatical, and the first '67 picture of garcia with a guild i ever saw, it was amazing to me that was the same guy as the 1983 jerry i was beginning to know and love anyway i might have to dig it out now
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This is cool Blair. I love these little bits of info that kinda get that ol' flying eyeball over my shoulder again. I really loved the days when magazines were a main source of info for deadheads. The reviews of shows were always great, yet I think the best section of The Golden Road & Relix was the tape traders classifieds in the back pages. I can remember sitting around with friends listening to these new tapes and talking (dreaming) about a system that would produce any dead show with the press of a button. We thrashed every deadbase that any one of us had looking for our dream show. Some great, great times there. Some great times ahead as well ? How bout a hint of the Europe box set. Is the sound quality as good as other Rhino releases such as Rockin' The Rhein? Are Newcastle 4/11 & Hamburg 4/29 transcendantal? On a personel note: I hope a lot of talk about Dead & related books, movies & music continue here. I luv getting turned onto obscure or rare dead things. Like the movie Hartbeats with Andy Kaufman (RIP) and Bernadette Peters. As I remember they were the only 2 androids left on a screwed up planet. They made a robot kid out of junk for a son (robbie was it's name maybe?) The voice of Robbie Was Garcia on guitar. I could go into depth about how I saw this back in the early 80's (2 microdot evening coming home to this on The Movie Channel late in the evening) but I'll save it for another time. I'll cut the ramble and say thanks Blair Cheers everyone.............B
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The movie is "Heartbeeps" and Jerry Garcia plays the voice of Phil. The movie was a disaster - the New York Times described it as "unbearable." Andy Kaufman thought that the movie was so bad the he personally apologized for it and offered to refund the money to any one that paid to see it... Ed
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Hey Blair After reading the first edition of your blog and reading about your first book. I figured It would be a good item for me to recieve as a possible birthday gift in march, since I havnt read it. Well it finally came, a family member ordered it for me off amazon and it came from Jersey or something up here to western Canada. I cant wait to dive in. I think I will start tonight, turn on some early 80's dead I think and have a good time. This is exciting. I enjoy your blog and essays keep em coming.
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Hi,I just read your opening blog. I have loved the Dead for years and have an idea/issue that I would like to see discussed in your blog; What will the Grateful Dead experience be in 100 years, in 1,000 years? I just re-read some articles about the efforts to build "Terrapin Station" in SF. Phil was quoted; "We want to build a place where Deadheads can feel something of the community and freedom and abandon of Grateful Dead shows," former Dead bassist Phil Lesh explains. I have posted some ideas on a Facebook group site called "Branson by the Sea". I'd love to hear from you and the community.
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    azforker
    7 years 11 months ago
    mickey bill and Bob
    Grate to see them get together, Phoenix AZ gets The Mickey hart Band December 6th,The Compound www.mickeyhart..netdon't worry about what you don't have,go see what you do!
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    Wingo
    8 years 4 months ago
    Hi Blair / Dead Retirement community/resort?
    Hi,I just read your opening blog. I have loved the Dead for years and have an idea/issue that I would like to see discussed in your blog; What will the Grateful Dead experience be in 100 years, in 1,000 years? I just re-read some articles about the efforts to build "Terrapin Station" in SF. Phil was quoted; "We want to build a place where Deadheads can feel something of the community and freedom and abandon of Grateful Dead shows," former Dead bassist Phil Lesh explains. I have posted some ideas on a Facebook group site called "Branson by the Sea". I'd love to hear from you and the community.
  • DeadHead85
    8 years 6 months ago
    The Music Never Stopped
    Hey Blair After reading the first edition of your blog and reading about your first book. I figured It would be a good item for me to recieve as a possible birthday gift in march, since I havnt read it. Well it finally came, a family member ordered it for me off amazon and it came from Jersey or something up here to western Canada. I cant wait to dive in. I think I will start tonight, turn on some early 80's dead I think and have a good time. This is exciting. I enjoy your blog and essays keep em coming.