I went to two Dead shows in the late 80s, but not because I was interested in the music as much as I was scoring something. I had a friend that worked so hard to get me hooked on the music, but my head just wasn't there yet. Who knows why. It's all timing. Fast forward almost 20 years later and another friend re-introduces me to the Dead and man, something just clicked. I don't have the answers as to why it hit me now, but it didn't then. But I what I do know is the music is timeless. It speaks to my spirit and brings me joy now, in 2007, as much as I'm sure it did 35 years ago to every man, woman, and child who felt the connection. Shit, life is too short to let go of those things that bring us pleasure. And if a person can find something that still, after all this time, can make their head bob and make their soul feel alive then who the hell is anyone to judge that?
Oh yeah, and I really miss tripping at those shows. What a blast.
I will always love the Grateful Dead. I miss the shows and the scene and nothing has ever really replaced that in my life. But that is not to say my life isn't full and satisfying today. I still play music, I still listen to the old tapes, and I really love this web site. Tomorrow I am going to go and see Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs and I know it will be great. But it won't hold a candle to those Dead shows. Unfortunately the Grateful Dead trip is all nostolgia now. But what amazing times they were. Great memories.
The Dead is always a part of my life. The spirit is in my heart and soul. I still consider myself a Deadhead and always will.
It's not like Jerry died and the next day I transformed into "The Man". The only thing constant in life is change and the fact that I'll be a Deadhead until the day I die. The Dead is a part of me, I couldn't change that if I wanted to.
After Jerry died, I still did tours (Phil & Friends, Phish, The Dead, Gov't Mule, etc.) Eventually, the touring lifestyle began to wear on me a bit. I fell into a job that eventually turned into a career that I love. Did I cut my hair because of the career? No. My hair is thinning and receeding (getting old) and long hair on me just doesn't work anymore.
So, my beautiful wife and son and I have just bought a split-level house with a nice yard in suburbia. I haven't gone to a show in a few years. I barely have enough time to jam on my guitar (although I do drum circles with my 3 year old). I've gained about 30 lbs. since my touring days.
If you compared a snapshot of me 15 years ago, compared to one today, it's night and day. Totally different. Does that make me any less of a Deadhead? Impossible. The Dead is and always will be a part of me.
For me, being a Deadhead is a lifestyle. The music is the foundation of that lifestyle, and live or not, the music will always exist. The band and the people around them created a subculture, a modern-day tribe, and I'm a part of that tribe. I'm married to a Deadhead; most of my friends are Deadheads. I still spend most of my free time seeing live music--some of the old bands, some of the new. Life is good. Of course I still miss Jerry, and I occasionally wax nostalgic for the good ol' days--what middled-aged person doesn't, in one way or another? But I'm not living in the past. The music is still alive, it still speaks to me, it still moves me in a way nothing else ever has.
It's okay if other people don't get it--I don't need them to. Finding this music and my tribe was a turning point in my life, after which everything in my life began to solidify. It was, I imagine, the way some people feel when they become born again or find god or whatever; the change in me was that profound and that personal. Not that I worship Jerry or the band, that's not it at all. When I went to my first show (I hadn't listened to much GD before I went to a show), it was immediately crystal clear that this community was what I'd been looking for my whole life. I had never felt so free or so safe in my life. And the music..well the music grounded me, took me out of my head and put me firmly into my body, and it spoke to me on a deeply personal level. Again, it's okay if you don't get it, or if your experience is different, or if you disagree completely. I don't need that feeling to be validated by anyone else.
And, it's okay if it's over for you. It's okay if it ended for you when Jerry died. I have plenty of friends who never went to another Dead-related thing, who took Jerry's death as a sign that it was time to settle down, cut their hair, focus on their careers, have some kids, move to Europe, etc,, etc.. They might still listen to the music now and then, but they don't go to shows or consider themselves Deadheads anymore. They got off the bus and that works for them. I stayed on, and I'm happy here. To each her own...that's what it's all about anyway, right?
Portable MP3 players and free downloads are possibly 2 of the best things to come from the 21st century so far. Just like Jerry travelled across the country with an old tape recorder one summer to record his favorite bluegrass artists, the tapers preserved Grateful Dead music for eternity. Now it's available on the web even if you have nothing to trade. The spirit remains.
After Jerry passed I put together a new stereo system to reproduce the wonderful sound quality of a live show. I enjoy the DVD's even more, too bad they are getting hard to find if ya know what I mean. That inspired me to get a guitar. So yes, I have moved on. Like Mickey said , thanks for coming, hope you enjoyed the show, now take a it home with you and do something positive.
I really am not sure that if you really got on "the bus" that you can get off - the life we chose when we put on tie-dye & patchouli just keeps lurking in the back ground, waiting to jump out - the Dead "sub-culture" was and is real, as much about the music and lifestyle as about how we choose to pass our time this time around our ole world, huh? Even now I see a steal-ur-face or a show dye its a signal that "here is someone I can relate to, talk to, be friendss with - I did shows from 1967 to 1994 - never felt alone, I was always with friends & (dead)family.
THE THING ABOUT THE WHOLE "DEAD BEING GONE" IS TRUE, THEY ARE INDEED GONE, HOWEVER, PICASSO, ESCHER, DALI, THEY ARE BONES NOW TOO, BUT STILL HAVE A HUGE FAN BASE. I MISS THE GRATEFUL, THERE HASNT BEEN ANYTHING TO MATCH THAT EXPERIENCE, AND I STILL HAVENT "MOVED ON" IN THE SENSE THAT I STILL FIND WISDOM AND ABSOLUTE TRUTH IN THE LYRICS AND MUSIC. LIKE ALL PROPHETS, THEY WILL BE AROUND FOREVER.
Hey folks.......TIME TRIPS......no doubt I have gotton on with my life..I'll be furthur along tomorrow and so will you. The misconception people have is that "we" who grew up "with" the Dead and still religiously listen to them are somehow stuck in this time warp and have'nt moved on...they are unaware of the reality that music is timeless. Because we choose to enjoy everything about the Grateful Dead does'nt mean we are anymore stuck in time than someone who worships Elvis Presley's music and movies, John Lennon, Crosby-Stills-Nash and Young, Frank Sinatra or Bach. I've never met a Dead head who hasn't moved on...if there is one he/she is still sitting in the same spot and has'nt eatin changed clothes or showered since. People who have this conception of us older Dead heads as stuck in the past still tripping our brains out are really mental midgets. They don't understand and are clueless yet they do the same thing or will 30 years down the road. Whats hard to grasp about someone taking from the past and enjoying in the present? I enjoy stuff prior to my birth let alone "Dead stuff" yet I wasn't even around to be in that time long ago and far-away. Music is a powerful force. There are but two types of "Dead heads" those of us who grew up "with" the Grateful Dead and those who wish they did. At 55 yrs. old I grew up "with" the Dead, I dont have to dress in tie-dyes to enjoy them now. The newbie Dead heads are trying to capture the past, the 60's 70's whole cultural thing...they can't... because it's not there anymore... it, like us have moved on...so it leaves them empty and frustrated, wishing and hoping. I can't say I blame them, it WAS a magical time, but it's had it's time and it won't come back anymore than the gasoline price's of that time will...it has moved on. The music and the DVD's are timeless pieces left to enjoy. The kid's today will understand it all 30 years from now. Alot of misunderstanding people don't even realize Jerry Garcia was a heck of banjo player besides being "Captain Trips".
........a good way to end is with a quote.
........"There is a road....no simple highway....between the dawn and the dark of night....and if you go...no one may follow...that path is for...your steps alone" -RIPPLE
I was fortunate enough to have met both of them more then once. Pigpen was a nicer guy than I though he'd be and Jerry just wanted to smoke what I had. LOL Yes, there is still a huge base of people that are Deadheads forever. That won't change, we're just getting older , with a touch of Grey :)