Grateful Dead

What Got You on the Bus?

An excellent suggestion from Hal R., picking up on a thread in another topic: how did you get on the bus? What was that moment that left no room for doubt?

Probably no two stories are the same, but they're all probably pretty interesting, so tell all here!


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marye's picture
Joined: May 26 2007

And since you're in Vietnam, you might consider posting in the Deadheads of Asia thread to see who else is out there and tell your stories.

Joined: Feb 20 2014
Row Jimmy

I grew up in a small country town in Australia. I always liked music, but the radio was really hit and miss, and there wasn't much in the way of concerts to go to…So…Myself and a few friends read magazines and tracked down albums (remember those).

My cousin turned up a copy of Live/Dead when it came out, and I was intrigued. I wouldn't say I liked it a lot, but it kicked something over in the back of my brain…Particularly Saint Stephen. After that we got Skull And Roses etc. Mix this up Hendrix, Cream, CCR, The Stones, The Allman Bros etc., and I was away.

Live/Dead was one of those albums that is like a lot of my favourite music now…It didn't grab me immediately, but just kept 'nagging' at my consciousness, opening up a space where other options I might not have considered were alowed in to start to work their magic in turn.

The Grateful Dead stuff was always a little more adventurous, the lyrics a little more oblique, and there was a sense of 'inclusiveness' about their scene that always made them stand out to me…And always worked well as a background to sort of lifestyle I chose.

To be a 'hippy' there / then was a bit of a tight scene; you could tell just by looking, so it was easy to hook up with people. After I left home, went to uni, moved around, went back to uni, there was always music in the places I lived, and always a bit of Grateful Dead. I gradually ran into copies of Workingman's Dead, American Beauty, Europe '72 etc..

I've always collected music, and it has turned out after 40 odd years since Live/Dead, that I have more of the Grateful Deads stuff than anything else, and probably listen to them more than any other band…And…I still like St Stephen (though probably not as much as Row Jimmy).

Not being from the US, I've never had a chance to see them live…But…As I stated above, there is a sense of inclusiveness with their music / scene that is appealing, and adds an extra dimension to just listening to the CD's than is the case with most bands.

I still collect music. At the moment, my wife son and I are in Vietnam, where my wife comes from. We spend a fair bit of time here, and I've been tracking down some good Vietnamese music…But…I just realised today I have been listening to the Grateful Dead (with a bit of Jerry Garcia thrown in) on the iPod for the last 3 weeks…You know how it is.

I get on sometimes, and thought I would join up today, and "What got you on the bus" was one of the first things I looked at…

…So…Row Jimmy!

Joined: Mar 27 2008
Please Dave or Rhino release 6-10-73 or 1973 in it's entirety!

RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. In particular the second set Eyes of the World. I swear Jerry made his guitar sound like a pedal steel. This show continues to amaze me after of 40 years of continued listening on cassette and cd's. It's just the best!!

Joined: Aug 5 2009
4/13/84 was Magical !

I know you wrote this many years ago...but I just read it now.

I was there the night Jerry and the boyz blew a whole in the sky around the collisium.

You told the story so well. Thanks for the memory!

bentguy's picture
Joined: Nov 1 2010
First Show - Hollywood Bowl, June 17, 1972

Significant in many ways: Pigpen's last show, the New Riders opened, I had just graduated from high school, and I was peering through a very clear windowpane during the performance.

Powerful waves of pleasure/pain: the Bowl had hired some muscle-bound goons for security, who wore "Peace Power" t-shirts, and they really thumped some folks who jumped the rail from our section trying to get closer to the stage. They laid the boom on a few people right in front of us. This foul flailing happened while the music was flowing most fine.

I'd listened to the Dead for a couple of years before then, but that first show sealed the deal, and the dealing has never stopped.

thndrbill's picture
Joined: Oct 17 2007
Maples '73

rpdugonoi, That Maples concert was my second show.The first was NYE '72 at Winterland. I was 16 and it was an amazing experience. I really felt as though I had found a home and I guess I was right.

iNoURdr's picture
Joined: Feb 10 2011
1977 - Spring Tour

Listening to the live broadcast of the Capitol Theater concert on 4/27/77 over WNEW FM in New York on my headphones in my bedroom on a school night. I was sixteen. That spring tour was epic - and this was the show that hooked me... I went to see them 3 nights later on a Saturday night at the Palladium in NYC's Greenwich Village. We scalped $7.50 tickets for 12 bucks and our friends thought we were crazy to pay so much... Times have changed, but thank goodness the music history is preserved in the vault and lives on today with Furthur...

KCtheCandyman's picture
Joined: Apr 23 2010
Magical Mystery Tour

I suppose, in all fairness that I first arrived at the bus stop the moment I first smoked a joint and heard the Beatles' White Album. I was probably 15 or so, it was the mid '80s and I had been heavy into the Beatles for a while before I ever Turned On. I had grown up with my older brothers' taste/influence in music, Led Zep, KISS, Van Halen, Nazareth, etc. The Beatles were quite the musical revelation when I first "discovered" them. I was mostly familiar with their early stuff at that point, but loved it all. Then I turned on to pot and heard the White Album for the first time. Everything Changed.
Suddenly, I was reading, watching, and listening to everything relating to the Beatles (and really, the Sixties in general) that I could get my hands, eyes and ears on. 70's rock was great and all, but this was a whole new world. I just started really grooving on the whole cultural phenomenon that had occured just before my birth.
Now, being a "Hippy"(because in my head, all I had to do was smoke weed, put on some sandals and love beads and Poof! I'm a Hippy now:)), and thinking the Beatles were cool, was NOT cool in my neighborhood, my friends & family thought I was really wierd. I became the school's token (& tokin') flower child. I really thought that I knew what the 60's and hippies were all about. I started listening to other psychedelic stuff, Hendrix, Cream, even relatively obscure stuff like Moby Grape, 13th Floor Elevators and so on, but somehow the Dead stayed just off my radar.
I had read about Haight Ashbury, the Pranksters and the Dead and all, but I just kinda thought that all of that was ancient history, ya know, I'm sixteen and that stuff had happened nearly 20 years earlier. It's really a trip, now that I'm 40 and writing about these events that occurred 25 years ago to realize how fresh the 60's must have still been in many people's memories at that time.
Anyway, eventually I actively sought out a source for this Mythical LSD the had been the catalyst for the whole thing that was so intriguing and attractive to me. I had read Huxley, Castaneda, Ram Dass, Kerouac. I needed to find out.
I finally tripped for the first time in '86. My dear friends Mom (& my pot connection) Sara, was a real Head,not a Deadhead, but a true freak nonetheless. She agreed to provide us stupid kids fine quality acid, as long as we tripped with her and she could babysit. I dropped a whopping dose of some of the cleanest, strongest acid that I have ever been blessed with to this day. Beautiful.
The next morning as the sun was rising, still tripping hard, Sara's boyfriend Jay stopped by. when we were introduced, he said "KC huh? Like Casey Jones?" Blank Stare. He goes "You know like the Grateful Dead song...?" I honestly had no idea what this dude was talking about. Well, he figured that this would be the perfect time to dig out a dusty old record called Skeletons From The Closet. (see? I told you they weren't Deadheads:)) Well, he played Casey Jones for me, and that was cool and all, but really a different song on that album was what caught my ear, St Stephen. Everything Changed. Again.
Skipping ahead another year or so, I had added a few Dead albums, (mostly early stuff Anthem, Aoxomoxoa) to my large collection of 60's rock&roll, but still didn't quite "get it", I thought I did, but still sort of assumed that the Dead was a "Sixties band" Then out of the blue, Here comes Touch of Grey. Totally Amazed. I remember thinking "Fuck Me, the Dead are still around? How could I have missed this? I mean, I literally had never heard of Deadheads, much less seen one, never heard Truckin' or Casey Jones on the radio, (or if I had, I didn't know who they were) And now all of a sudden here is this band that I thought was this cool, obscure 60's relic all over MTV and the radio. Needless to say I was pretty confused but stoked, That summer the GratefulBobDeadDylan tour rolls within 100 miles of town. I made the mistake of asking my Mom if I could go, Her response? "Bob Dylan? Who?..NO! I said "not The Who Mom, the Grateful Dead!"
Anyway, it was not to be. My first Show turned out to be Autzen 8/28/88, 1 year later. ( I was still living at home, but didn't bother to ask permission this time.) I just scored three tix, told my buddy Alex (who was pretty punk rock) and the weird older guy, Blaine, who we partied with (& bought our beer on the weekends) That we were going to the Dead.
We road tripped down to Eugene the night before the show, the psychedelic journey began approximately halfway there and did not end for days. This post has already been too long for me to begin to describe our many and myriad adventures that fateful day. However there were a couple of particularly memorable moments.
Looking all around the stadium for my friend Colin, who I knew would be there with some amazing weed. At last I gave up any hope of possibly locating him amongst the wildly undulating technicolor crowd and returning to my bewildered and heavily tripping friends' seats in the bleachers, only to have Alex say "Hey isn't that Colin right there?!" 2 rows directly in front of us!
Alex, with his Combat Boots, Mohawk and rolled-up jeans Moshing all by himself to Truckin'!
Then The Defining Moment. I had purchased Terrapin Station a couple of weeks earlier and loved it, but had no delusions about them actually playing this"old"&"obscure" tune. Sure enough, second set, Terrapin Station! Un-freaking-believable! I literally had an out of body experience, watching Autzen Stadium turning to and fro a mile below myself dancing in the sky&crying tears of joy! And then, out of Drumz... The Other One! Again, I could not have possibly guessed that Jerry and the Boys would rip out this psychedelic gem to feed my head!! "The Bus came by and I got on, thats when it all began!
Overall, I swear, the imagery that is found in the tune The Music Never Stopped, It All happened just like Bobby says on that beautiful day!
Thanks, Folks, for sharing your wonderful stories. Love, KC

rpdugoni's picture
Joined: Jan 13 2009
73 Maples

My friend Tom dragged me onto the bus in the Winter of 73. I had just turned 18 a week before the show on Feb. 9th. I had been listening to a cassette of American Beauty that I bought from a sore called White Front in Redwood City.
There was no turning back after the Maples Wall of Sound show!
Such a great time for music in the Bay Area...we were able to see Old and In the Way at the Boarding House, Jerry at Keystone, Kingfish at a park in Palo Alto, etc.

mandala's picture
Joined: Jun 4 2007
JERRY, of course...

he smoked me out before my first show (9-26-69 - i was working on the sound crew). i'd never seen anyone smile like that before. i knew i need to learn how to be that happy!


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What Got You on the Bus?