My buddy Jay and I got tickets to a Colombus show for Bob Dylan/Phil Lesh. Dylan did the first set of the show as Jay and I twirrled towards the back of the arena. 2nd set, Phil comes on..... This is the strangest thing I ever saw.... SHEET MUSIC...... Phil was playing to sheet music and we were probably 2 rows back for floore seats. I distinctly remember jammin to The other one and Phil looking directly at me SMILES and throws his hand in the air Singing "DOIN A CIRCLE!! COMMIN AROUND!!" The eye contact and the smile made me feel that instant that I was a part of something. something BIG. I"ve seen Ratdog and Phil and Friends since then, but I never seen either group use sheet music since then.
We used to run into Hunter in Safeway in Guerneville, usually wandering around looking for some late night snacks. Terrance McKenna used to frequent the general store in Occidental as well. He liked "Cherry Garcia" (tm). His license plate on his old blue Ford said "NNDMT"! We have a picture from the paper in Sebastopol of Mickey with my wife & our (then) baby daughter Cassady Rose at the bookstore. I got to say hello to Jerry at the last Grateful Dead show I attended in Eugene in 1993. Last song he sang that day was "Liberty"...
The only time I met Jerry was very brieflly at the Aladin Casino in Vegas. The whole band was checking in and I just said Hi and thanks and good to see you and left them alone.
After the show at maybe four in the morning, though, I was trying to get a beer at the casino when Bill the drummer showed up and stood right next to me. A guy on the other side of him asked what he wanted and he said something about Jack (I think), so I said, "You shouldn't be drinking whiskey at this hour; you need to play tomorrow." He gave me a dirty look and walked away. It was a struggle the next night at some amphitheater south of LA - what was that place called? Anyway, I couldn't tell if it was the band or just me or both, but it seemed a slow show, and I damn near slept through it.
Here's another don't be a dick story. I was outside Oakland Aud. the year they started playing Althea and Sailor/Saint, etc. Weir drives up and a small group are standing around talking with him when some guy yells, "Hey, Bobby, don't play Lost Sailor tonight!" It was NYE and I think they had already played it two or three times in the last four shows. They played it again that night.
I used to work security back in the day. the first show I ever worked was the boys at the Providence Civic Center early 80's. I worked the pit, right in front of Bobby. After the show I ran into Micky backstage, and that was it. At a Bobby & the Midnites show at The Living Room in Providence I worked the dressing room door after the show. I ended up sneaking in after things calmed down and hanging out with the 2 Bobbys, and partying with Kenny Gradney for most of the night. Prolly a year later at Lupos Kingfish played, and Billy was drumming for them. It was early, and he was just standing there outside the dressing room door, so I went up & shook his hand. We talked for about a minute and that was that. I never got to meet Jerry, Phil, or Brent unfortunately
I became friends with the band and Ramrod so they informed me about which shows were the good ones to attend while the band was on the road. Ramrod would give me his employee pass to use. About the only thing they actually liked about playing shows in the bay area was they were easy to get to for the most part. They liked NYC and Red Rocks the best. So knowing not to go to the first few shows or the last few shows of a tour was something I had learned. I'd go to Chicago because they always would have a couple nights off without travel and they liked staying at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Once when I was checking in there this guy wearing chrome reflective sun glasses, a Cubs baseball hat, and a Grateful Dead tee shirt bumps into me in the lobby but I ignored him for the most part and looked at the girl that was with him. Next thing this guy bumps into me again and somewhat harder than the first time, I probably said something to him but don't remember what. Then this guy bumps me again and says "It's me Weir, I'm just testing out my disguise" and tells me he's going to go jogging with his girlfriend and hang out in a nearby park where a bunch of Deadheads are chilling on a summer afternoon before the show that evening.
Another time I went to the US Festival and got up early Sunday morning to try and hitch a ride to the show from the hotel. As I was walking down the hall Garcia came out of his room, the two of us nodded at each other, didn't say much if anything and we just walked out the backdoor together not knowing what to really expect around 7:30 AM. Some guy neither one of us have ever seen before comes rushing over and says "everybody else has left, you two are the last ones and there are only 4 seats in the last helicopter leaving this morning, 1 for the pilot, 1 for the copilot, and 2 seats for you guys in the back" This guy probably though I was Jerry's manager or something. Jerry knew exactly what was going down and went right along with the program as we both climbed in the back of the helicopter. Neither one of us said one word to the flight crew or each other the whole flight. Jerry didn't like being up at 7:30 am and having to go for a helicopter ride one bit and I wasn't going to piss him off even more by saying something lame.
Later after the show I hung out for a while and then caught a ride back in a hotel shuttle van. The van driver was a young kid and there were two women wearing white dresses, white gloves, and white summer hats and myself riding back to the hotel together. I think U2 was playing at that point but I'd never heard of them. About half way back to the hotel the kid runs the van out of gas, says he's very very sorry and tells us he will go and try and get some gas if we don't mind staying and watching the hotel's van. This kid was really freaked out and I hadn't flashed on the whole situation as to why he was so nervous. The girls tell him that's fine we don't mind at all. Don't worry, we're cool here and besides we don't have to be back to perform until much later tonight.
Oh ya, Fleetwood Mac is the closing act and now I realize I'm sitting in a van that's out of gas with Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie somewhere near Ontario, Ca through no fault of my own. luckily no drummers were there. I wasn't sure if they both hated the Grateful Dead or not so I never mentioned anything on that level. They told me they hadn't wanted to hang out at the hotel all afternoon with the rest of Fleetwood Mac so they had come out to the show site just to check it out and kill some time. When we got back to the hotel in Ontario, Bear is in the parking lot doing something to his MG that he was trying to sell to Mick Fleetwood and I just troted right past him with Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie on our way to the lounge.
Of course on other occasions things didn't go exactly like that day, like the time security kicked Brent and myself out at the Oakland Auditorium between the 2nd and 3rd sets on New Years eve once. Brent wanted to walk down the street to the nearest bar that time but I convinced him we should try and sneak back in which wasn't easy to do on New Years Eve! 10-4
but it was the closest interaction I ever had with a band member. Was at a Bobby & The Midnites show at a bar in Reseda, Ca., 1984 I think, and I was packed up against the front of the stage and Billy K. was doing the drumming. I don't remember who the leadguitarist was but he was quite good and during the last song he played a lead that just started tears running down my face. After the song Billy looked at me and threw me one of his drum-sticks and that just made me feel on top of the world. Sadly, I don't have the stick anymore but I've always thought highly of Billy for that one kind act.
Ok kidz I got a few stories of meeting different band members:
Met up with Jer in San Rafael, I think it was around 1992, he was riding a moped about 3 blocks from Club Le Front. We followed him to an ice cream store( I think it was Baskin & Robins) Pulled in the spot next to him and waved, he smiled and waved back than proceeded to get his treat. We waited and snapped a picture as he rode off smilin' and eating his cone. Same year, Jer literally knocked me down as he was leaving the rear of the wharfield after the JGB gigs. It was dark, and I had my back to the door as I was tryin' to light a bowl. He said,"sorry man", and hopped into his beemer.
Had drinks with Brent in Hamilton Ontario at the Hilton Hotel Bar ( he was smashed and told us he loved us).
Saw Billy at the grace slick art opening in SF, chatted w/him for about 5 min about her artwork.
Talked with Bobby after the x-mas benefit @ New Georges Nightclub in San Rafael
w/sammy hagar, He was trashed and I helped him into his ride! He said afterward,"don't I know you?"
The list goes on... You gotta figure that after all those years and shows you're gonna bump into them sometime. LOL... Boy life was crazy back then
I got to meet Tom Constanten at a Phish show at the Cow Palace, November of '96. He was sitting a few rows behind me. I said hello during the set break and he gave me an autographed promo card for his Dose Hermanos CD! Nice guy.
There's a bit of intro here before I get to the story.....
I met my friend Stuart Kaplan (now Dr. Stuart Kaplan) in line for tickets in early 1986 in Northern Virginia (outside of D.C.). We chatted it up good and he told me about his thousands of hours of soundboards, etc. Sooo, I finally had one of the best tape sources going. Lucky me! ; )
Stu and I became good friends, and his wife Stacy became good friends with my wife Kristen (now ex wife). We did a lot of things together, went to shows together, etc. Even our first born children were born less than a month apart. Stacy worked for Four Seasons Hotels and when the Dead would play DC they stayed there. She was "in charge" of making sure that they were all well accomodated.
During the 86 RFK run, Stacy and Stu befriended Stacy Kreutzmann and her dad, Bill the drummer. ; ) They also got to know Dennis McNally, Candice Brightman and a few others. From then on they were pretty much "on the list."
Stu invited me to go with him and one of his other friends (can't recall his name) to the Friday night show at the Spectrum, which was a little over 2 hours by car from DC. He said that all was set up for tickets and backstage passes. I'm like, "YES!" So we get to the Spectrum and go to will call and sure enough, tickets and passes are there for us, and FREE to boot. I was all smiles.
At will call they told us to enter the arena from the loading dock area, so we walked around the place and got there, and it was roped off and secured by a couple of Spectrum henchmen. Stu is talking to these guys and it is becoming rather heated as they are refusing us even though we have backstage patches stuck to our shirts.
After a few minutes of getting nowhere (Specturm security always were as_holes) there is a voice coming from down at the bottom of the loading dock, and the voice say's, "let those guys in, i'm in the band." It was Billy. ; ) We walk down and Billy is like, "hey Stu, good to see you man." And we thanked him for showing up, and he sat and talked with the 3 of us for about 15 minutes. Stu's buddy asked him if he wanted to smoke a doob with us and Bill said, "oh no, I can't go onstage stoned, I don't do that anymore." We laughed about that one considering they were at one time the "acid test house band."
Anyway, Bill was a great guy, treated us all as equals, and during the set break, we all hung out in the reception room having some grub and beverages and I got to actually chat with him one on one for awhile. The only other band member who was in there at the time was Bob, who was leaning against a wall looking like a complete space cadet, not talking to anybody.
I was fortunate to go backstage many times thanks to Stuart, and aside from this particular instance, getting a massage backstage during drums at Compton Terrace in 1990 was pretty bomb indeed. ; )
Thanks for reading. Go Grateful Dead! Go Bill Kreutzmann, thanks for being cool and down to earth.
~Tom ( The AllTomMitt Drawing Machine)
I love all of these stories! Here is mine:
While working at The Nature Company in 1992 I volunteered to work a book signing of "Panther Dream" with Bobby and Wendy Weir. I tried to talk to them at the table, Bobby was fairly unresponsive but Wendy was super cool.
I managed to steal all the promotional signs from the store that was announcing the event and had Bobby and Wendy sign them all (even thought is said that they were signing copies of the book only).
As the event was wrapping up I went to go get my purse out of the bathroom/storage closet. The door was slightly ajar, I knocked, and pushed the door open. There was Bobby!!!!! Yeah, he was peeing. No, I didn't get to see anything. But dang! Was I embarrassed.
That was a day I'll never forget!!!