Grateful Dead

Share Your Stories Of Healing With The Dead

The feature film The Music Never Stopped is based on the true story of an estranged father and son reconnecting through the power of music, particularly the music of the Dead. How has the music of the Dead helped to heal you? Is there a specific song that has given you inspiration when you needed it? A memory of the Dead that has greatly enriched your life? Submit your personal tale of "gratefulness" in the comments of this page and not only we will pass along your anecdotes to the band, but you may just win a copy of The Music Never Stopped soundtrack and a t-shirt from the film. 10 winners will be selected at random.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C. (excluding Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam), 18 and older (or 19 and older for residents of AL and NE) at time of entry. Void where prohibited. To enter: Visit between 12:00pm Pacific Standard Time (“PST”) on March 21, 2011 and 12:00pm PST on April 1, 2011 and follow online instructions to submit entry. Limit one (1) entry per person/address/email address. Subject to Official Rules available HERE.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Joined: Mar 28 2011
Healing with the Dead

January 2009 I received a diagnosis of prostate cancer, April 2009 surgery followed up by 36 sessions of radiation therapy.

What got me throught this was listening to my dead collection on the iPod. Especially 1-20-78 Eugene Oregon and the entire 2nd set. How could that "close encounters" not be one of the best guitar jams by Jerry is beyond me.

For those that might have experience at cancer surgery and radiation they would know that keeping your mind in the right place is key to making it through this. Grateful Dead was my key and I have no doubt getting lost in the music helped me to get through some pretty sick and rough times in my life. Thank you to all of the band members for helping me through my personal time of crisis. You guys are the best!!

Joined: Mar 26 2011
where to begin?

There have been so, so many chapters and shows over the decades, encompassing life's milestones.....I think for me, it is the sense of oneness and peace within the deadhead community during shows. Regardless of whatever was going on in individual lives, or the world, wherever in the world we were, just entering those heavenly gates to the shows would melt all troubles away - sharing that special bond with what has become a second "family". The older I get, the more important these events have become - and sharing them with other enlightened souls is as close to nirvana as I'll probably ever get.
Thank you, Jerry, Phil, Bobby, Mickey, Bill, Pigpen, Keith, Brent, Vince, Bruce......for being such an important, positive influence in my life! We love you!

Joined: Mar 28 2011
The healing Dead

Every song of The Grateful Dead has filled me with inspiration, wonder, excitement, serenity, exuberance sometimes even all at once through the years. Off the top of my head, the first time I heard "Wharf Rat", I was stunned into stillness. This story of woe and redemption still fills me such hope. It definitely has and continues to help color bleak days.
I am so exited to catch this new film, "The Music Never Stopped" because I too found a bridge to connect with my father, though it wasn't specifically through The Dead, rather through Garcia and David Grisman's work together.
My father worked as an electrician at Madison Square Garden from the 1960s through 2005 so worked with the band through most if not all of their concerts held there. When I was 14 years old, I asked my dad if he could get me a ticket to go see this amazing band whom I discovered from a local radio station. His immediate response was, "Are you fucking crazy? Do you know what they do at these concerts? They inject stuff into their coke cans! They dance without their shoes!" Needless to say, I did not score tickets, though I did secretly go to a show at the Meadowlands two years later.
Many years later, I came home from work and my father normally a stoic presence excitedly told me about a movie he caught that day called "Grateful Dawg". He declared, "I never knew Jerry Garcia played this kind of music!" I smiled and we attained an understanding, a broadening of perspectives. He also said that the Dead were one of the hardest working bands, practicing all the time at MSG while there for shows.
It was a slight interchange between my dad and I but still resonates so brilliantly.

Joined: Nov 10 2010
Would you hear my voice...

To the Grateful Dead Family,

Like many, the music, attitude, and lifestyle of the Grateful Dead has been an inspiration to me for many years. This inspiration has driven me to make my own life as a creative person. To live as free as I can and experience adventure at virtually any cost. I make movies and television shows for a living and write and perform my own music for fun. I strive to be a good person and to treat others as I would like to be treated.

This past Summer, I took my wife, 6 months pregnant at the time, to her first show. (Furthur in Columbus, OH) I was very happy to be able to expose both she and our unborn son to the experience. This was our first pregnancy and Ripple had become the boy's official "theme song" during it. I often played the song for him on my guitar or with headphones on my wife's belly. The words of the song took on such a wonderful context during this time. We were so excited to be parents. So hopeful of what was to come.

Late in the evening of July 31, 2010, my wife went into labor five weeks early. She'd had a perfect pregnancy and we were told all systems were go so we weren't particularly nervous to be a bit early. After several hours of labor we crossed into August 1. Although the 31st was my wife's birthday, I now knew our son would be born on yet another very special day.

At 1:30am on August 1, Leo Knutson was born. Because he was early we knew he'd immediately be rushed off to receive some precautionary care. We caught a quick glance and he was off. Nearly 45 minutes later we were given the news that Leo was born with Down Syndrome and was having a very hard time breathing. We had no idea. We were broken beyond how I can explain in this short note.

The next eight weeks were spent mostly in the hospital as Leo fought to gain strength. Test after test, procedure after procedure.There were a couple of very close calls but, eventually, we made it out. He remains on oxygen and has a feeding tube but his development and strength are coming along. We are hopeful that the 02 and tube are temporary.

Today, at nearly 8 months old, Leo is an absolute joy. He smiles, tracks, moves and is unbelievably calm and happy given everything he's dealt with. What is particularly amazing about him is his reaction to music. I haven't seen the movie yet (there's a screening here in Indianapolis tomorrow night) but I must say that I could vouch for the power of music in this context.

We still play Ripple amongst many other tunes for him. (As a father, Box of Rain has particular meaning to me.) It took a long time for us to be able to get through hearing it without breaking down completely but now we just smile, smile, smile. The words have found new meaning once again. We've drawn an incredible amount of strength from all of this. Isn't simply amazing how that can happen in life?

Thank you all for everything you do. It means the world to us.

Matt, Laura & Leo Mays

Joined: Jun 6 2007
If Mercy is in the business

Of all the songs the Dead, the one that really is my personal favorite is "Fire On The Mountain. From that moment I heard it on Dead Set on cassette,with that incredbile,beautiful,melodic intro,I was hooked.But what really spoke to me was the second verse,and I bless the muse who gave Robert those lines to,,it has been a mantra for me when things got tough and when things were just clicking and ever thing was going right. I will admit that when was forming and you could create a name,I choosed Dragon With Matches that's is why I love FOTM.
For years,my self confident wasn't there, I saw it and felt it but it would turn out to be a shadow of what I confidence is.
In the summer of 2008, I took a camp in British Columbia,in days that followed I literally and figuratively grew and it was that second verse that healed me and helped me completely,it was no longer a line of hopefulness,it has now became a line of certainty.And for that I express my deepest and most grateful gratitude to that band beyond description. Thank You Jerry,Phil,Brent,Vince,Pig,TC,Bill,Mickey,Robert and Bob

Joined: Mar 27 2011
Post-apocalyptic in front of the Beacon Theatre

I'm a psychotherapist, and I've been through emotional hell myself, and the Dead have, of course, been *very* important to me throughout, so this topic carries a lot for me.

I'm happy this topic came up especially because of one relevant experience I had about 8 weeks ago involving PTSD and healing with the Grateful Dead.

First off, "I was born in a desert, raised in a lion's den." I grew up in a sort of post-apocalyptic world behind nice suburban walls. Since then I've had intrusive thoughts about various ways that civilization can end, Mad Max kind of stuff. Really unpleasant at times.

Eight weeks ago I was in NYC doing some excellent advanced psychotherapy training, far from home, away from my family. It was winter, there was a massive blizzard and now my flight home was cancelled. On the first day of my trip I'd gotten a GI bug and had limped between "pit stops" every couple of hours through classes and Manhattan. I was pretty deeply bummed. Worse, I was having these horrible intrusive thoughts about what if power went out -- like all electricity in North America and how would I get home to my family? The thoughts also were peopled by marauding, sadistic gangs (ala my childhood). I cataloged my wool clothes, my food, possible routes, how could I navigate, wondering if I'd die before I made it home. Intrusive thoughts are a bitch because they don't let up and make you feel like crap and cloud your vision of what's in front of you.

I was riding the subway that night to the Upper West Side and my music player was on random. "Crazy Fingers" from Beacon Theatre, NYC, June 14, 1976 came on. I realized that my train was going to go past the Beacon Theatre in a couple of stops. I decided to take a tip from the syncronicity and get off and have a look.

I wound up then sitting on the bench in the little triangle park across the street from the Beacon Theatre listening to the June 14th show and feeling deep, abiding relief and contentment and even joy. New York City is of course a very hard place to make people do a double take. One way to do it: be simply happy and let it show on a bench in the depth of winter on a random week night.

I decided to myself then in front of the Beacon Theatre to face the hell I'd been through as a child and to face the uselessness and pain of the intrusive thoughts I was having. I rejected them. I made a deal with myself: if I can't do anything practical or political about a problem, then I'm not spending my precious time with it in my mind. It was really turning a corner for me and I could feel it deeply. I wept in anger and compassion and relief.

Right then random on my music player kicked in -- of course -- "Morning Dew." Yeah, a real live post-apocalyptic song. I decided I had to again go with the syncronicity and roll with it. So I jammed down Broadway defying the intrusive thoughts to come up even with Jerry Garcia intoning the words, as I take it, of the last person alive on earth. Even with that, or because of that, I could feel my strength growing and sort of dance along with no real fear.

Again, a real corner turned. My relationship with the intrusive thoughts and PTSD symptoms has been deeply changed. I learned a lot that night and I've been able to share it with my patients when appropriate and they've benefited greatly.

Joined: Apr 12 2009
a long strange trip

There are so many stories about the Grateful Dead in my life.... first album when I was 16 years old, seeing them at the world music fest in Jamaica in '82, my wedding song "It must have been the roses", tattoed on my chest. I guess the best story is also my sadest story. After knowing my wife for 28 years married for 24 of them and raising 3 sons with Autism she decided it was time for her to leave us. It was heartbreak for all of us and I found myself wondering why and needing some help to get through the heartache. My absolute favorite song is "Ripple" I have a vision of an unstrung harp rising out of a mountain lake with ripples in the water tattooed on my arm. I think I have listened to every version of this song possible sung by other artists as well. The meaning to me has been so important these past couple years. The song tells me that I need to be able to stand up for myself but still accept help when needed. It also says to me to extend a helping hand to lead another but ultimately if you can't help yourself your will fall alone. After these years of heartache I have been able to fill my cup and move on with life. I will always cherish the life I shared with my ex wife. Even though she isn't part of our daily lives anymore we are starting new as a family of 4 dudes. Life brings us to many places and gives us many things to reflect on..... indeed what a long strange trip it's been. Thank God for The Grateful Dead. The songs and memories have kept me happy inside and pulled me through some rough times.
Mark......Dadof3auts....Must have been

My tunes were played on the harp unstrung.

Eyeseeitall's picture
Joined: Jan 12 2009

I swore they could hear my voice;
I learned the fire from the ice as I rode the rising tide;
At that point I knew my love would not fade away.

I could tell my future too, I looked at what was in my hand.
I couldn't stop for nothin'...

I started searching for the sound, but never learned how to duck.
I became St. Stephens answer and met Jack-A-Roe.
Jackie was true to me... then I knew the life I was living was no good, so I got a new start and lived the life I should.

Nothing is for certain, it can always go wrong;
I get the feelin', I'm going to find out real soon; we will survive!

Joined: Feb 17 2011
Light through gathering darkness

My memories of this has been jumbled up over time. Please, don't correct me if the facts are wrong as I need this. Here's the way I remember things: I was in Bloomington, IN for a 2 day bike ride. I checked into my hotel on Friday night and drove up to Deer Creek for a show. It was to be weekend of the Dead and cycling. At the show, I called my sister to gloat over seeing the Dead. She cut me short. My Mom had collapsed and been taken to the hospital. She had a brain tumor. I wanted to go home, but was in no shape to drive and needed to be among friends, even if I didn't know them. The only part of the show I remember is the encore, and here's where things get fuzzy. The way I remember it is that the last song of the second set was Not Fade Away. The crowd sang along. The band quit playing and crowd kept singing. The band walked off the stage and the crowd kept singing "You Know Our Love Not Fade Away". This went on for awhile and kept getting louder and louder. Instead of falling apart as most of these things do, the crowd singing kept getting more and more organized and louder. I never sing. This time I was. I felt like my Mom heard and was singing with me. Finally, the band came back. I'm not sure what they did. Checking setlists on line, it seems this happened the previous year at a Deer Creek show I attended. Maybe that dark night, my mind brought out the memory of that previous show, shuffled things around, and gave me the reality I needed, so that is the way I shall remember it, facts be damned. Whether real or the jumbled memory of a previous show, I've hung on to that magical moment. When my Mom was in the hospital with brain cancer and at her funeral, that memory got me through.

Joined: Mar 26 2011

The Grateful Dead's music as a whole is part of me, I can't say that about any other band, I certainly like other bands and enjoy their music but the Deads music has burrowed into my soul, done a big part in healing it and in turn lives within me. I am extremely Grateful to God that He has led to to the Deads music.

Jimmy B.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.