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!
Freshman year in college, having discovered *ahem* a whole bunch of things I didn't know much about, somebody in the dorm spun me a side of "Skull and Roses." From the moment Phil's bass roared into "The Other One" and blasted me up into the air where I hovered for about 30 seconds, I got on the bus.
I got off the bus- in the sense of going to shows- after Minneapolis in 1989. The scene had changed, it was no longer like hanging out with 10,000 of your best friends. While the music still rocked, the trash-n-boogie gimme-a-miracle mentality didn't. I was outa there.
Thank the powers that be for tapers! Music to the soul generously gifted to 'heads around the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I guess it was the American Beauty album, but before that could happen there were 4 things that led to it.
1) In Feb of '68 the Grateful Dead were scheduled to perform at my church. Not your typical church. Fountain Street Baptist church in Grand Rapids, MI. Among those asked to speak there who did so are Susan B. Anthony, Robert Frost, Stokley Carmichael, and recently Michael Moore. Among the rock bands I saw there are Steppenwolf, Moody Blues, Humble Pie (w/ Frampton), Frank Zappa, and King Crimson (place held 4,000 or so). My mom was a Sunday school teacher there and she knew I dug rock music, so she got me a ticket to see the Dead. Unfortunately the show was cancelled due to a fierce snowstorm. They played in Detroit just before this and it was deemed unsafe to drive the 150 miles to Grand Rapids in this weather, so no show, but at least now I've heard of them
2) In summer of 1970 I'm hitching in Utah with my brother and we got picked up by people in a van who had Live Dead playing on 8 track. I remember the part between St. Stephen and The Eleven. Thought it was cool. Now I've actually heard their music.
3) For spring break in '71 I went to visit my sister who lived in Brooklyn, NY. The first day I wanted to "explore" so she showed me how the subway system worked and had me buy a couple of albums for her, one of which was Workingman's Dead. I remember really liking the harmony on Uncle John's Band. Her next door neighbors spent time with me and said they liked the Dead.
4) Three months later I finally got to see them, and wow what an occasion. My brother was now living in San Francisco in a step van he usually parked at the corner of Turk and Gough right there by the freeway entrance. I hitched out there not long after the school year ended and about 2 weeks after I got there was closing week at Fillmore West. Went to all the shows and smack dab in the middle of them was Grateful Dead, New Riders, and the Rowan Bros. Jerry played steel guitar for the New Riders and the Rowan Bros. so he was on stage for roughly 6 hours that night. Someone in the crowd was passing out blotter acid so I did some and I couldn't tell you what songs they played; I still hadn't heard much of their music, but I was close to stage in front of Phil and was just in awe of the whole scene.
Later that year I bought American Beauty and after that I wanted to buy everything of theirs I could get my hands on.
It’s funny, marye that you were impressed by all the 14 year old hippies. I was impressed by all the old hippies - they were 5-15 years older than me. They had lived the whole 60's thing and had long dropped out of the mainstream if they had ever even been a part of it. Yes, it did look like these long haired bearded men and long haired women in peasant clothing had just walked out of the Hobbit or some other fantasy. Lots of homemade touches to the clothes. There were still hippies out there, they had just been laying low in the woods and the farms. I had never seen so many in one place. I was in awe.
One of the other cool things about this show was that it started with Bertha, like many shows at this time, but that was the first song I had listened to and really dug deeply. Part of the show ended up on Dick's Picks #18 - the last disc, released 22 years after the show. It was as good as I remembered and Dick thought so too.
If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
wow, the things you miss when you don't browse this ever growing board...
I grew up on on the dark, rough side of my own Shakedown Street, and the bus was a natural ride into a new philosophy and way of looking at things, not to mention the music.
doing what felt right, still doing what feels right. hoping I am doing it right.
love and peace
I can really relate to Hal's story. BTW, we used to call the "Skull and Roses" album, "Twin Pack" 'round these parts (I don't know why) and it was the second album I heard by the Grateful Dead, after "Anthem of the Sun". God I still remember hearing "Bertha" for the first time! I really dug the straight on rockin' sound of Jerry's guitar, with Bob unleashing his at just the moment to make one's mind take the ramped turns at top speed. There aren't many periods of my life I'd choose to live over again, but those rank as high as any other, imo.
Try to see what's going down
Try to read between the lines...
"Ultimately a hero is a man who would argue with the gods, and so awakens devils to contest his vision." - Norman Mailer
Storytelling, Hal!!!!!!!! :-)
Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you will still exist, but you have ceased to live.
My oldest brother took me, my other brother, and friends to the Stanley 3/5 and 3/6 1981. The second show got me on the bus. Jerry singing LORD YOU CAN SEE THAT IT'S TRUE. Unbelievable!!!! Everyone was groovin, the smell of good dope in the air, I was hooked!!!
Great stuff. Best wishes.
I bought Wake of the Flood, and played it constantly. 1972, and I was also listening to a lot of Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin. The Dead just sounded different, I dunno, like music for your head but also feel good for the heart. Here Comes Sunshine....
When entering high school we had dances and at first I thought it was the strangest thing I'd ever seen, people dancing to Dead Music. But lot's of fun! My first show was at Oakland, outdoors, a double bill with the Who. The stage was beautifully decorated with a Mars Hotel scene hanging over the speaker towers and with plants on the stage. I was puddled, and just couldn't believe that Playing in the Band. Wow!
Never joined the bus exactly, but saw a lot of shows in California.
Congratulations to "Grateful April" . Some advice about marriage-If you do fight, fight naked!
I think it was when I was 17 or so, I had a couple grateful dead greatest hits and stuff at the time but I ended up at the local pawn shop at the right time one day and purchased another 10 or so grateful dead cd's including one of the dicks picks and live dead. After that there was pretty much no going back.
"You know the one thing we need is a left handed monkey wrench....."