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 :)
It was about coming together and the experience, and the fact that my little kid and my 80 year old dad could all understand what was happening and why.
Changed? Yeah, everything changes--the joy is on fancy, high tech shit now, not live--but its still joy and its still about the feelings and the experience we could all share. How many of these "baby bands" get all pissed off when someone samples their music? And the Dead encouraged us to TAPE their shows--the music was to be shared, they knew it belonged to all of us. Music is our spirit and our celebration and our myth--
And the music I want to celebrate my life with is played by a group of guys, who changed constantly, just as the music changed. Deadhead? Yeah, call me that, its cool. But know that to me that label means that I am always playing in the band, and always will live my life, as best I can, being kind and expecting miracles.
Thank you for a real good time--
I do think that I got stuck listening too exclusively to the Dead for many years. Then in 2001 I saw a live acoustic show of various musicians at the Cactus Club in Austin, Tx. That really blew me away with the power of live acoustic performance and inspired me to take up the guitar to learn folk music. Afterall, that how Jerry & Robert Hunter got started. So it was kind of like going back to the roots of it all. I began to enjoy music as a performer in the camp grounds of a local folk festival. I even learned how to play some favorite Dead songs and they sound great acoustically and people love to hear them. Now I am even writing some of my own songs. I really feel that is how the Dead would want us to live our lives ...in a very creative fashion....just as they have done all these years....they have set the example...the solutions to the Earth's problems will come out of new creative ideas and spiritual experiences....not after going over the same old stuff time after time....that would more be like an addiction that hinders rather than heals....anyway I dig this new web site format.
Maybe the folks that say "get over it" are just secretly jealous because they don't smile and dance and have the joy that we do.
The dominant paradigm will always seek to marginalize those on the fringe – the seekers and dreamers, the countercultures.. Has been that way throughout history. I love being on the fringe, an outsider, a Deadhead. It is a great tradition. Better love and happiness to the tunes that touch me than greed and a frown. Better to know the possibilities are out there and try them than the straight and narrow.
Reading all these comments brings joy to my heart that there are all these wise beautiful people that are a part of our community.
Beethoven lives! Miles lives! Coltrane lives! Jerry lives! The Dead live! Deadheads live!
Let your freak flag fly!
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Walt Whitman-Song of Myself