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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Joined: Mar 11 2009
Joined the bus in Santa Fe

I grew up--or perhaps failed to grow up--in Santa Fe, NM in the late '70s-early '80s. In middle school, a friend became fanatical about the Dead, but I hadn't heard much--I'd already abandoned commercial radio for NPR, and only heard tracks from "Go To Heaven" around school. Then three events over a couple of years:
1. My dad owned a portable hot-tub business--we had a huge wooden hot-tub on a trailer and we'd deliver it to people's homes for a weekend for a flat $100 fee (remember, this was 1979). At one house we were invited to stay for the party. Walking through the house as the party started, there was an absurdly beautiful woman dancing alone in the middle of a persian rug to "Uncle John's Band." Entranced, I stayed and watched and listened and the music entered my soul.
2. Bobby and the Midnights played Santa Fe at a very small, acoustically perfect venue, the Paolo Soleri Amphitheatre. Two summers in a row, I saw that show--the last one ending with the audience so enraptured that they stood and demanded encore after encore, even after the house lights were on, and the crew was sweeping the stage.
3. The Dead played Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Downs racetrack, 10/17/82. My parents (God bless, they were (and are) wonderfully weird) borrowed my school's bus and took my classmates and me to see the show. They got box seats, we all stood 40 feet from the stage, dead center, and discovered the beauty of religious experience through Dead music.

Though I'm not the most active deadhead in the world, I've had at least one foot and both ears on the bus ever since.

Now if only they'd come back to Santa Fe...

streamline's picture
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Joined: Jan 3 2009
I went to my first Jerry

I went to my first Jerry Garcia concert on 10/24/75. The Dead weren't touring then and when I bought tickets to hear Jerry again on 4/1/76, rumors were circulating that perhaps this was to be a Grateful Dead show. It turned out that Keith and Donna played on that date, but the rest of the band was hanging at home.

But in June, the Dead began to tour and I bought tickets for the July 2nd show at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, NJ. I'd been to the stadium before. It was an old, broken down piece of concrete that held maybe 30,000 or so people. Being as the show was scheduled for just two days before the big Bi-Centennial celebration, I figured this would be one for the ages. It would also be my first Grateful Dead show.

But as luck would have it, it rained on Friday, July 2nd and instead of taking place the following night, as the ticket promised, the show was postponed until August 4th.

All good things come to those who wait though.

On August 4th, with the sun just starting to set behind the stage, the Dead came out and launched into Sugaree. There's a great video of this song that circulates and I can tell you that everyone was as happy to be at this long-awaited show, as the few folks on screen appear to be. I remember literally laughing out loud when the show started, I was so excited to be there.

Big River (which has never been a favorite of mine) was especially good, as was The Music Never Stopped. And I was really pumped to hear the band end the first set with Scarlet Begonias.

At the Intermission, I hung out in the field area with a couple of heads I'd met, going over the first set. We had agreed that it had been much better than we'd expected when we were interrupted by a lot of noise coming from the stage. A magician/juggling act was up there, blowing folks away. Fireworks were to follow too, as this had originally been planned as the Bi-Centennial show.

The second set opened with Help On The Way > Slipknot! > Franklin's Tower > Dancing In The Street > The Wheel > Samson And Delilah. I was right down front for all of it and recall being completely overwhelmed at hearing The Wheel. It was the one song I'd wanted to hear the most when I arrived that night. The singing was particularly good and I had to admit that Donna more than held her own.

I went back to where my group of friends was sitting in the stands for the rest of the show. The guy sitting next to me (an old childhood friend) tossed a couple joints to people in front of us as the band started playing Sugar Magnolia. That was his favorite tune and they wailed on it for over eleven minutes! We got a Johnny B. Goode encore and the show was over.

What struck me the most about the whole night was that I'd tapped into a community of strangers who were as passionate about something as I'd ever seen. Yeah, the Dead were a great rock 'n roll band, but there was something else going on and I wanted to find out what it was. I was on the bus and it was heading out of town, with me on board.

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest!" - Bullwinkle Moose

Good ol GD's picture
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Joined: Feb 19 2008
yea sandoz

with you on that bro, you are either on or off, and even you made a stop in between your ticket is good forever, catch you at the next stop, hahahahahaha. further baby yea.

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Joined: Feb 23 2008
Wow incognito

You like the Merry Pranksters? My Uncle Dan Fincher is in the other room right now making a recording. He's played with Hendrix, B.B. King . . . he knows everybody in the music business today and lives in Oregon where weed is legal and he lives near some original Merry Pranksters. He can see 'em any time he wants to.

Geez - got any questions you want me to ask Danny while we're ripping bongs later this evening? Lots of Deadheads in Oregon btw . . . it's pretty safe and good there except there's still some Crips and Bloods activity.

F.Y.I. my brotha.

Yo . .. you sure you Deadheads don't want to listen to a SINGLE NOTE of my music?

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Joined: Apr 6 2008
wow man...

The song is titled "Loser" by both the Dead and Beck..."Looser"...not so much...and it's "Mydland", not "Midland"...I hate to correct anyone's spelling, but for a self proclaimed Deadhead one *should* be able to properly spell these things...not to mention "Looser" is a word and is naturally pronounced and defined differently than "Loser"
And what does the energy of the band have to do with my response to *your* initial statement?

YOU: "lead guitarists are supposed to be misunderstood and rebellious. It's a team captain thing, son."
ME: ".....Perhaps you should get on Motley Crue or Black Sabbath's message board...Not that of The Grateful Dead...Jerry and his message was clearly understood."

My implication being the fact that Jerry (lead guitarist) and The Grateful Dead's overall message and vibe they had was pretty clear...the songs were and are open to interpretation but Jerry was pretty clear about his views and people understood him/that....
And I am from Fresno, CA...so you follow blonde teenage boys "anywhere"....hmmmm..disturbing would be an understatement.

"In a bed, in a bed, by the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul."

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Joined: Jun 13 2007
On The Bus

Well...kids...It was the first time I dropped acid. It was Sandoz. My friend had a friend who lived in Livingston New Jersey near the Sandoz Lab where they first started making the shit in the U.S. The guy had a friend who had a connection. LSD was not yet illegal. He came down to Miami where I grew up. I was in my late teens...1968. It was good pure stuff and we dropped and went to Greynolds Park which was the hippie hangout in North Miami at the time. My buddy was experienced and hipped me to what to expect, etc. He was way into Leary and the Politics of Ecstasy on the East coast and Kesey and The Pranksters on the West Coast. It blew my mind permanently... in a good way....cosmic consiousness baby. As we all know, or should know, the term "on the bus" (You're either on the bus or off the bus) was originally coined by Kesey during the Prankster psychedellic Bus trip across country. It kinda became a metaphor that meant when you tripped and "Got It"...The whole on the bus thing regarding being a Deadhead came later...like...after they got on the bus. Memorialized in "That's it for the Other One". Now... go to bed kids...sweet dreams.

Parcher's picture
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Joined: Feb 23 2008
"Isn't/wasn't Hanson that

"Isn't/wasn't Hanson that teeny-bopper group from the 90's?
Wait a minute, judging by your previous post u have clearly been following their career(s)...hmmm"

Of course. I follow blondes anywhere. It's a California blonde thing - you wouldn't understand since you're not blonde and Californian. I am - and yes my eyes are blue. I'm thinking of dyeing my hair blonder.

".....Perhaps you should get on Motley Crue or Black Sabbath's message board...Not that of The Grateful Dead...Jerry and his message was clearly understood."

What you say is true only if you're into late eighties Dead (the Midland era). If you're into that slowness you should stick to the old Dead shows. My shows are more young and have more energy. For instance, I'll probably never play the song "Looser" by the Dead. I play "Looser" by Beck instead. I haven't burned a guitar on stage yet (like in Beck's video) but I'm sure gonna!!!

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Joined: Apr 6 2008
Ummmm....

Isn't/wasn't Hanson that teeny-bopper group from the 90's?
Wait a minute, judging by your previous post u have clearly been following their career(s)...hmmm

"lead guitarists are supposed to be misunderstood and rebellious. It's a team captain thing, son."
.....Perhaps you should get on Motley Crue or Black Sabbath's message board...Not that of The Grateful Dead...Jerry and his message was clearly understood.

"In a bed, in a bed, by the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul."

Parcher's picture
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Joined: Feb 23 2008
Where's the love?

Isn't that a Hanson song lol?? Mmmmmmmm bop.

Maybe you should get into Hanson instead of the Dead, dude. Nothing wrong with that - and Taylor Hanson STILL looks enough like a girl to shag even though he's married and has 2 kids.

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Joined: Apr 6 2008
Of course I do...

Do you know that one of the things that make Grateful Dead lyrics so special is that their meanings and interpretations are timeless...in this case I was applying the lyrics of NSWBoogie to you and your pointless, senseless, inappropriate, and highly repeatitve rants...your methods of self promotion are comical at best, certainly not productive...I'm definitely not gonna be rushing to one of your shows or buying, much less downloading your music knowing it comes from such an unhappy, angry individual...relax bro, where's the love? Take your hate elsewhere "If you please, don't back up the track this train's got to run today."

"In a bed, in a bed, by the waterside I will lay my head.
Listen to the river sing sweet songs, to rock my soul."

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What Got You on the Bus?