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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jasia52's picture
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Joined: Jul 9 2008
that's when it all began

When I was a senior in high school a friend told me about an interesting band called the Grateful Dead & their LP "Anthem of the Sun"...in the summer of 1969 I found this album in a Caldor department store along with "Aoxomoxoa". I had to choose one, so bought "Anthem" & listened to it repeatedly for months. My first Dead concert came in January 1970 at the Fillmore East, which I attended "straight" (and had trouble sorting out the band members except T.C. & Pigpen!). But my eyes & ears were opened to the Dead's musical magic in the fall of 1970 at Dickinson College by listening to "Live/Dead", "Workingman's Dead" & "American Beauty" in the context of smoke-filled rooms in an off-campus house with many friends after a long day of classes & study...then came the "acid test" of the Dead show (with NRPS) at George Washington University in Washington DC...the lights came up, "Uncle John's Band" played & I was there!

Jay

Gypsy Cowgirl's picture
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Joined: Aug 14 2007
just born into it

seeing Pigpen in the Haight & the band playing in the Panhandle/Golden Gate Park wondering why everyone was smiling @ me (I was 13 or 14) took me a couple of years to figure out the answer. .......& off I went from the 1st time..........

cactuswax's picture
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Joined: Jun 7 2007
oopsers

sorry bout the double post..

cactuswax's picture
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Joined: Jun 7 2007
on the bus

1987, I'm 13 years old. My two favorite bands are Van Halen and Pink Floyd. So my older brother takes me to see Pink Floyd, I'm like wow, flying pigs and shit and it's REALLY LOUD. Cool. My older sister's more into country, which I thought was so weird, but she had this one record, all skulls and roses and stuff. "Hmm, the Grateful Dead?" So I put it on and the first thing I hear is Bertha and I'm immediately smitten (I've noticed that song seems to be a catalyst for a lot of folks here..). So I trot down to the local Harmony House with the intent to find something else by these weirdos and I pick up the cassette with the weirdest looking cover and a name I still can't pronounce. Wow, weird tales of jewel theives and Olympus Mons and this just ridiculously infectious bouncy tune called China Cat Sunflower, another real cool tune called Doin' That Rag, shit, I don't even know what that means... So a few months go by and What?! These guys have a video?! This tune is all over the radio?! Man, I didn't even know they were still around....
So life goes by and I get into other things, The Pixies, Jane's Addiction, some other stuff... but still keeping the Dead in heavy rotation, especially once I discovered Live/Dead; the playing on the Eleven just takes me to another stratosphere.... tried to take a road trip to Chicago but my buddy's car breaks down and he sells it to a local mechanic for 50 bucks. All we have is our sleeping bags and some acid... and my boombox and the one cassette I brought, Aoaxomoxoa. Hitchhiked across the state with nought but those accoutrements...

So finally the Dead come to my town when I'm of age to go see them, I'm 17 and I'm driving this little Ford Escort, me and my friend Dan. As we're nearing the Palace, we're getting excited cause we're seeing so many VW buses and hippies and pretty girls and... well, lots of everything we liked. So of course the little Escort breaks down as we round the curb for the venue entrance. Shit! What now?! Lo and behold, the car starts moving again and I look up to see half a dozen Heads surrounding my car, easing it past the gate where I hold the 5 bucks out the window for the attendant to grab as we sail by, and floating right into the perfect parking spot, all those friendly faces guiding us all the way and I knew right then and there that I was HOME AT LAST.

The story goes on...

cactuswax's picture
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Joined: Jun 7 2007
1987, I'm 13 years old. My

1987, I'm 13 years old. My two favorite bands are Van Halen and Pink Floyd. So my older brother takes me to see Pink Floyd, I'm like wow, flying pigs and shit and it's REALLY LOUD. Cool. My older sister's more into country, which I thought was so weird, but she had this one record, all skulls and roses and stuff. "Hmm, the Grateful Dead?" So I put it on and the first thing I hear is Bertha and I'm immediately smitten (I've noticed that song seems to be a catalyst for a lot of folks here..). So I trot down to the local Harmony House with the intent to find something else by these weirdos and I pick up the cassette with the weirdest looking cover and a name I still can't pronounce. Wow, weird tales of jewel theives and Olympus Mons and this just ridiculously infectious bouncy tune called China Cat Sunflower, another real cool tune called Doin' That Rag, shit, I don't even know what that means... So a few months go by and What?! These guys have a video?! This tune is all over the radio?! Man, I didn't even know they were still around....
So life goes by and I get into other things, The Pixies, Jane's Addiction, some other stuff... but still keeping the Dead in heavy rotation, especially once I discovered Live/Dead; the playing on the Eleven just takes me to another stratosphere.... tried to take a road trip to Chicago but my buddy's car breaks down and he sells it to a local mechanic for 50 bucks. All we have is our sleeping bags and some acid... and my boombox and the one cassette I brought, Aoaxomoxoa. Hitchhiked across the state with nought but those accoutrements...

So finally the Dead come to my town when I'm of age to go see them, I'm 17 and I'm driving this little Ford Escort, me and my friend Dan. As we're nearing the Palace, we're getting excited cause we're seeing so many VW buses and hippies and pretty girls and... well, lots of everything we liked. So of course the little Escort breaks down as we round the curb for the venue entrance. Shit! What now?! Lo and behold, the car starts moving again and I look up to see half a dozen Heads surrounding my car, easing it past the gate where I hold the 5 bucks out the window for the attendant to grab as we sail by, and floating right into the perfect parking spot, all those friendly faces guiding us all the way and I knew right then and there that I was HOME AT LAST.

The story goes on...

grdaed73's picture
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Joined: Jun 5 2007
what was that?

fall of 72, 1st week of class in highschool sr.yr., i quote from my now longest deadhead friend(whom i had just met 2days earlier) russel "fuck you coondawg,eat shit, you never tripped!" no really, i say...2nd week; saturday detention(yes, i'm in trouble already) til 11am, russ and i meet outside after, he pulls out a small orange pellet and cuts it in half and gives one to me, we head out for forest preserve hitchhiking, takes about 10min to get to main road another 10 before a ride picks us up, happens to be good friend of russells, i'm in backseat between speakers with music playing, russ and friend are talkingin front seat, friend looks in reaview and smiles, pops in a new cassette, we're chattin away nicely in a quiet space and CRASHCRASHtinkletinkletinkle, strange sounds shooting THIS way and THAT around the interior of the car, then muffled voices, DOCTOR... DO't THINK,doN'T THink....then softly and beautifully...To lay me down once more, to lay me down With my head in sparkling clover Let the world go by, all lost in dreamin..... let us out at a 7/11, i said wide eyed..what was that, russ's friend smiled and said GARCIA... stood in line watching cheese danish melt on the counter, my ticket was punched, unlimited transfers for life and left my change:)))
note to previous post:girl named joan,was my older(6yr)sisters friend, joan cary,my ideal beautiful hippie girl still, who talked of jerrys guitar playing being orgasmic to my sister as i listened in..thx

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Joined: Dec 14 2007
When did I get on the bus ?

I would seriously have to say it was when I was 13 at the time. I remember it quite clearly. It was a beautiful spring day and I had the radio on, when I heard the first Grateful Dead song ever to fall on my ears. Scarlet Begonias it was, and from then on I was hooked.

themage888's picture
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Joined: Jun 24 2007
How I got on the bus.

I was born and raised in Philly.
I have an older brother.I knew he was into the Dead.And I love music period.So anyway I was ordering 10 or 12 lp's from Colombia House music co.You know,mail them a penny and get alot music.So I was running out of choices,and I saw Terrapin Station.I thought I would do my brother a favor and get him that.So a big box comes in the mail with all the vinyl.I prelistened to Terrapin and have never looked back.And I never gave him the album.

Tom Mittemeyer's picture
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Joined: Apr 13 2008
A trip to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico (Feb 1979)

Although I listened to the Dead from the time of Mars Hotel (my older brother played the album a lot and I loved Scarlet Begonias), and I bought the album Blues for Allah as a senior in High School because of the cover art, but did grow to love the tunes, I never really got on the Bus until that trip (capital T folks) : ) to White Sands. I attended New Mexico State University (NMSU...we called it "Enema Zoo") which is in Las Cruces (we called it Lost Causes, Loose Crotches, etc.).

Anyway, it was February of 1979 and I was at a party on a Friday night and was talking to a fellow swimmer (yes I was a college athlete) named Tom Hejna who was from Chicago. He and I weren't particularly "close" but that changed over the years. He is like a brother to me now and has been since that party (well, the next day really).

We were both chatting it up with beers at this party and up came the discussion of sykuhdelix, and he asked me if I had ever well, done any. I told him about some of the Zappa concerts I had seen whilst tuned in. Anyway, he tells me that his uncle (15 years older than us) had given him something that he (the uncle) had kept airtight and well contained since 1968, and it was called Orange Sunshine. I was like, cool....

The next day Tom calls me and asks if I want to join him in a little trip out to White Sands. The day is glorious, about 70 degrees, brilliantly sunny, and not a breeze to be had. It was late February, and spring in southern New Mexico was in full bloom. So, he picked me up, said, here, swallow this, and off we went. Now for those of you who don't know about White Sands, it's about 500 square miles of pure white (snow colored-literally) gypsum dunes. They rise about 50 feet at their peak, and it's a sea of them by the time you drive into the heart of the dunes.

We arrive, by this time Tom is pretty glad he doesn't have to drive anymore, and I'm like, holy sh_t, it's been awhile and damn, everything is so.....yeah, like that. We pull out towels and yank off our shirts to soak up the sun and climb a dune. We're set. Camp is ready, we had grabbed some snacks to keep us from going hungry and water to keep us quenched. Tom then say's oh yeah, one more thing, and runs back down the dune to his car, where he puts in a tape of Europe 72, and turns the volume UP.

Well, that day is more or less like a big white sand dune of a sun-shiny daydream, but let me tell you, the environment, the pure blue sky, the mountains surrounding us, especially Sierra Blanca, the sacred mountain to the Mescalero Apache Indians capped with snow 50 miles to our north, and the Dead hitting us with the bliss that is Europe 72, and all I could think was, my life has now changed.

What a day it was. Hours later (and me telling him he MUST play that tape again) on the drive home, we rolled back into good old Las Cruces feeling like a couple of Cosmonauts that were giggling just a little bit too much for the conservative town we were in. This was realized when we were in a mexican restaurant having a difficult time ordering our dinner.

Dang that Uncle of Tom's, and from then on the song "Me and my Uncle" was to me, a tribute to my dear friend Tom's uncle. I told him to thank him for the "present." And that night back at my apartment I quickly found my Blues For Allah album and whipped out my sketch pad and the night went rolling on ever so nicely. ; )

That's how I got on the bus. About a year and a half later, with my pal Tom, I finally got to see the Band I adored.

And that my friends, is another story altogether.

~Tom ( The AllTomMitt Drawing Machine)

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Joined: Aug 25 2007
I remember

I was 11 years old in 1970 and was turned on to the dead from an older friend of a younger friend. Trish Menard, she attended a GD family wedding and took photos. I was impressionable and jumped on to listen to their vinyl. I would go to sleep at night to Wake of the Flood, couple of years passed and I still listened to the dead, but was unaware of the tours - damn it. When I got into college, my roommate came in sight unknown and saw my Rolling Stones posters, before I knew it I was on my way to a show, with sugar cups in my coffee. The rest is pure history.
YEE HAW.
When I die bury me, grateful dead playing at my feet.

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What Got You on the Bus?