the closest encounter i have with a GD experience here is leather belt's buckles and wallets with the logo on them in shopping malls :) i often ask the sales ppl if they know what the logo stands for and i get similar replies: it's a skull, you know .. dangerous :) electric :), n im like well do you know the grateful dead? reply: sorry sir, no undersatnd you! anyways, i have my son's room painted in blue and red with a big poster of Skeleton's from the closet, actually it was his wish for the colors choices and it worked for me. The tunes are playing often in the background of my apartment and some times loud enough to grab my kids attention and they rush in the room dancing like teddy bears. I speak of the dead quite alot and tell my friends and wife about them but they keep dragging me to the hip hop scene, which is olright, i mean i respect and love music in general but the dead is like that saying of Hermes: "The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding". I often find myself walking alone in the black muddy river. GD has been a great companion for my mind at times of stress and sorrow, happiness and highs. It's actually quite a lonely scene but sometimes that's the beauty of it, it amplifies the meanings of their songs. Forgive me if i took this seriously but i'm trying my best to reflect a clear image. A couple of times I stopped hippies with backsacks passing through and asked them if they were heads :) lol, desperate eyy? but i found out that not all hippies are deadheads! anywho, i think i talked too much for now, i'll elaborate more upon receiving your responce. keep on rolling.
tell us about being a Deadhead in Dubai, where few of us will ever travel, I expect.
salam, beside myself, the only other deadhead that i know here is me :) been looking 4 any 9yrs now, almost gave up. limme know if your out there.
that u dont accept pms.sorry for bothering u O°L°O....!!!!Peace on earth ...Frankly
Hamza El Din--now that makes sense. I am a longtime Hamza El Din fan (though a longer time Deadhead). Hamza El Din was present at a Sufi retreat where a friend of mine (and Deadhead) "took" shahada. But I don't know if Hamza El Din was a member of that Sufi order or whether he was just a guest. In any event, many thanks for providing this information.
The Egypt shows were arranged by Hamza El Din, who was a Nubian oud player, may Allah bless his soul. He passed away a few years ago,but I was lucky to meet him once in Cairo in the late 90's. Hamza was a friend of the Dead and I am told he performed with them a few times.A friend of mine (an American sufi) knew Hamza very well and i remember he didnt think Hamza was affiliated with any specific sufi shaykh or way. I myself am a Naqshbandi sufi from Egypt but have been living in Canada for the last 8 years. Our Shaykh taught us that even the process of uttering the word Allah with respect alone has huge blessings, so I believe the Dead are blessed for recording this album and singing the words and making others to sing along. May Allah bless us all....
I am aware that "Blues for Allah" was a tribute to the murdered Saudi King Faisal (band friend and Deadhead). About 15 years ago now, I saw a film about the Egypt shows and I swear there was something in it about an Egyptian shaykh who was another friend of the band and Deadhead. Maybe I dreamed this; but my recollection is that this shaykh (who may have been connected with a sufi order) helped to arrange the Egypt shows. Does anybody know anything about any of this?
I must say that when speaking of the Middle East I always leave out Israel for some reason. Sorry about that. I have met many Israelis around the world and most are open minded and very interesting people. I work with an Israeli in Africa and he is very serious about his religion and I always try to throw a curve ball at him like how can he explain extraterrestrial life etc and he always accepts these ideas and says that his religion does not reject such realities. Anyway, where there are open minds you have a good chance of finding a deadhead! Also by the way when i used to travel with Phish i had some friends that were from Israel, but i have since lost contact with them.
I know there is a VERY kind Deadhead in Bahrain named Khalid. I met him there about 10 years ago. We electrically celebrated the Day's Between on the beach in Qatar with some great Jerry tapes. He's kind of hard to miss, about 6'6", and drives a huge Land Cruiser with a custom made Dancing Bear spare wheel cover. He's originally from Qatar and used to work of Gulf Air.
Khalid, if your out there get in touch!
"Uri Lotan, an ex-DJ for the Army Radio Station, had a midnight show once a week for years-- the Dead, Zappa, Lennon, etc. He also did a New Year's Dead Marathon for a couple of years, too. He followed that up with shows on 2 commercial stations that he sort of had to sneak Dead songs on to. He has organized about 5 Dead video nites at the Tel Aviv Cinemateque since summer '95 with a full house almost every time."
Besides his radio work, he was a journalist and translator (The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test). Unfortunately, Uri died as the result of an accident in his home a couple of years ago. We miss him!
See below for more on Deadheads in Israel.
In a shop in Jerusalem, I was taught about the Dead
by jerry stevenson
I was one of those late bloomers in finding my love for the famous San Francisco rock band the Grateful Dead.
It was 1980, and I was 38. I had opened my store, Mr. T, a couple years earlier in Jerusalem. I suppose I liked mainstream rock ‘n’ roll, but I loved classical music more. Mozart, Schubert, and Handel filled my musical day.
Led Zeppelin and Springsteen were there too, but a Verdi opera was always on the tape machine in the store.
Then along came Stu.
Stu literally came in the store off the Ben Yehuda mall. It was just before Passover. We were playing the Dead, by chance, on our tape player. He heard it and came in. When I told him I knew nothing about the 1960s group, he spent the next 27 years of our lives filling me in.
Stu adored and worshipped the Grateful Dead. He was a classic Deadhead: he traveled with them during their early years. He married his wife on the road, had a few kids along the way and followed Jerry Garcia everywhere.
In the 1930s or ’40s, Stu would have been considered a hobo, a bum or a drunk. Today, he was just a homeless alcoholic living on the fringes of society.
He divorced his wife and left his kids behind. He made his way to Israel and brought hundreds of bootleg Grateful Dead concerts with him. In the many years I was his friend, he lived in doorways on Jaffa Street, shacks in Rachavia, rooftops near the Western Wall, bus benches on King George Street, Independence Park, abandoned buildings near the Old Jerusalem bus station and a few psychiatric hospitals.
He drank whatever kind of booze was around, from cheap wine to revolting vodka.
Over the years, I tried to help him numerous times. It was always useless. He never listened to my advice, so instead I gave him material items like sleeping bags, blankets, jackets, money and radios. Everything was stolen from him, including his most precious possession, the bootleg tapes he had brought from America.
At Mr. T, we wound up listening to the Dead every 45 minutes. It was Stu’s influence. He became the store’s official greeter. He was there when the celebrities came in, and he was there when the down-and-out wandered in.
Stu was 10 years younger than me, but he looked 30 years older. As the years went by, he lost most of his teeth. He was always dirty and smelled of booze and urine. His hair was a tangled, matted disaster. I’d give him a shirt and he would wear it for three weeks straight, never taking it off until I gave him a new one.
Most of my employees couldn’t stand being near the guy. Tourist families walked in, took one look at him and walked out. But many others came in just to talk to him and be entertained. This was definitely a novel marketing concept.
Stu’s presence made the Mr. T store in downtown Jerusalem the Grateful Dead mecca of the Middle East. Deadheads from all over the world would gather, and Stu was there to greet them. This lasted nearly 30 years.
Stu died in his sleep, two weeks before I closed Mr. T. He was 55 and his liver was like a sieve. As I write this, I’m listening to the Dead. And, yes, it has been a long strange trip. And yes, I will miss Stu. He certainly made going to work and opening the store every day a fun adventure.
Thank you, Stu, for giving me a “real good time.”
Jerry Stevenson is a former Bay Area resident and former owner of the Mr. T store in Jerusalem, which recently closed.