Monthly Archives: March 2015


I think the most exciting development in Grateful Dead Land this week had to be The Iron Sheik calling me out on his Facebook Page. Peter Shapiro is in the process of securing a venue for a No Holds Barred, Steel Cage Match between the Iron Sheik and Yours Truly in Chicago, 4th of July weekend. Mail order ticketing and VIP Packages to the event will be announced shortly. I promise to get tickets into the hands of the faithful and out of the hands of scalpers. As for the Sheik, I put him in Hateful Dead Lock of Dread, I break his neck, I kick his lifeless donkey head, I make him humble!

A venue will be hard to come by since, as of now, every jam band that ever existed has booked dates in Chicago for 4th of July weekend. Apparently, the carcass the Dead drag around can feed every single Dead inspired configuration with enough meat to be eaten for over 4 days. Everybody knows that the best way to celebrate the weekend is to have every Dead cover band that ever existed play the Dead’s music before and after the Dead, all weekend long. With dozens of options before and after every show, I have a question, Does anybody sit the fuck down and have a conversation anymore??? Does anybody else wanna chill with some jazz being played by relatively unknown local musicians, at volumes that permit us to talk about something either completely relevant or completely irrelevant? I’m not fueled by narcotics any more so I doubt I’ll be up to 7 concerts per day. Either way, there’s more than enough for ticketless people to do in Chicago 4th of July weekend.

I’m sure I’ll see y’all at some after parties and I’d like to thank everyone that’s offered to buy me a beer. If I took everyone up on their offer, I’d be absolutely comatosed.  I’d have a weekend filled with those moments I had in the 80s and early 90s. Those moments when you think you’re dancing until someone steps on your fingers. The moments you realize, once the sun starts coming up, that you’re somehow asleep… In a shopping cart… On the median of a highway… Without your shoes… In a different state of the country other than the one you started in… While those days are fun to talk about now, they weren’t always as fun as it is to tell the stories 20 years later. I’ll take a club soda, Thanks! At least when I spill nowadays, stains are actually removed.

What comes back to me this week is a couple of things. One is a peculiar run in I had a while back. The year was 1989. It was the New Year’s Eve run at the Oakland Coliseum. Space seemed to be getting less spacey and I was running pretty quick to get back to my spot before the music started again. While doing a poor job of watching where I was going and making a sharp turn, I ran full speed into what seemed to be a hot book bag full of bowling balls and vinegar. It nearly knocked me out. What I ran into was Bill Walton’s nuts. I looked up past the circling tweety birds  and apologized to this tree of a human being that at the moment was like The Jolly Red Giant. He didn’t budge 1 inch as I ran at nearly full speed, directly into his groin. It hovers at about the same height as my head apparently, when I’m in a running posture. Happy faced and totally unscathed by the incident, he just smiled and said, “Happy New Year!”

That brings me to my other memory. The impact the Dead have had throughout the years on everyone and everything around them. Every Internet news site has gotten involved in writing pieces about the Dead simply because the mention of their collective name drives thousands of people in their direction. Name any one of them individually and not nearly as much happens. Write about “The Dead” collectively and absolute magic happens. Even the Sporting News got in on the action this week after the Jolly Red Giant and long time friend of the Dead, Bill Walton, tweeted about the Dead playing in Santa Clara. It seems as if Walton got a call from Weir after the tweet that went something like this, “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” as the tweet was deleted shortly after it was posted. EVERYBODY wants in on the action. Hippie chick dresses and tie dye sales have increased astronomically since January as everybody is dyeing to get a piece of the massive wave of financial increase the Dead leave in their path, wherever they go. The Dead have done more to simulate the economic activity of people generally opposed to working altogether than any President or stimulus program in history. The amount of prosperity directly tied to their recent activity is immense. Their event is directly responsible for the abundance that thousands are experiencing as a result of just showing up around them. Are The Dead “cash grabbers” or is the community that instantly appears all around them? I wish I had some kind of talent that made me something other than another customer about now… Clearly the answer to every problem that exists in the world is The Grateful Dead. Most of us knew that all along…

David Gans contacted me last week and informed me that the Grateful Dead Hour is still on the air. For those that may not have known, you can find where it airs near you right here

If you’re able, you can drop a donation to The Grateful Dead Hour here

Radio, like everything else has become dominated by Big Corps selling their artists. It’s not as glamorous today as it was in the past. Do your part to contribute and give back to the scene that created you. It’s healthy for your existence. Those that live to give are always more blessed than the rest.

Will this be a week of total Dead Domination with the Official Santa Clara Announcement? Stay tuned…

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Following a week filled with excitement regarding the rumored addition of west coast shows for the Dead, activity settled down quicker than an actress with a chloroform soaked rag over her face. The Dead camp paused for a week and allowed Phil the spotlight he deserved to celebrate his 75th birthday. All seemed relatively quiet in Grateful Dead Land otherwise.

Phil and his friends celebrated our favorite bass player’s 75th birthday with a week’s worth of shows at The Cap. While many shows were sold out, well in advance of the event, for EVERY single show, including Phil’s birthday show, a SIGNIFICANT percentage of tickets were released in the days leading up to the shows. Keep that in mind for Chicago friends. I was able to sneak in by pretending I was a small child. One thing led to another and before you know it, I was scooped up lovingly by Phil and we were singing Ripple together. It was a wild trip that I’ll never forget!
Phil’s bass playing has long been some of the most incredible and innovative playing in history. His command of the instrument is second to none. His low notes are way lower than yours. Phil made it clear throughout the week that his singing is the musical equivalent of Donald Trump’s hair. Maybe I’m not supposed to say that but I just did. Regardless, I’m grateful Phil is still thriving and making music at 75. My grandfather was a professional musician and played his old Wurlitzer electric piano every day of his life that he was able. Musicians are just cooler than the rest of the population, regardless of their age. Happy B Day Phil! Your life has helped change the course of musical history forever! Love You!!!

While opinions of Warren vary, I personally love his voice as well as his sound. While his love for Garcia is equal to ours, his style is completely his own. He sings from deep within his heart as opposed to his head and is able to use his soul as the final amplifier through which lyrics and emotions pass. He fills the entire room with the depth of his sound and his own connection. Not everyone can do that, Warren can…

Then with the patience and precision of a military strike, Phish finally released dates for their Summer tour. The band’s constantly trolling fan base left Grateful Dead sites for the first time since January to return to trolling themselves. The timing of the announcement seemed well orchestrated as after 3 grueling months, Dead Heads seem exhausted by their own complaining and have returned to posting pictures from the lot in Deer Creek, 92 and T-shirts they’ve owned since 1983.

The lull in activity created a precise moment for the unveiling of Phish’s Summer plans including the band’s 10th Festival, Magna Ball, meaning “Massive Testicles” in Latin. When asked about the name the band said, “It’s in August, It’s hot, the odor is pretty bad, there’s very little room to move, it’s totally packed and completely uncomfortable. We imagine this is what life would be like as massive testicles crammed into Mike’s stylish skinny pants. Tom and Trey will be writing new songs for the event that nobody will understand but everyone will sing with compassionate faces and furrowed eyebrows leading people to believe something deeply emotional is taking place during songs written about testicles.

One tradition the Phish crowd has carried on with far greater intensity than the Grateful Dead fan base is bitching about ticketing only moments following on sales. It seems like the upgraded campground, Glen Close, named because it’s close to the activities oddly enough, and because Fishman once slept with her, sold out in 8 seconds leading to an abundance of Conspiracy Theories and more chapped asses than the fans, not in the Glen Close compound, will have by the Monday following the event after shitting in the woods and wiping themselves with branches for 3 days. The upgraded campsite provides festival goers with the opportunity to shower during the weekend and drop their deuces in a toilet as opposed to Port-a-Johns that, by Saturday, will have corn anchors stacked well above the seat, where younger fans will continue to aerial drop their brown trouts making turd pyramids for the record books.

As signs of a maturing crowd following the band, RV Passes were the next to sell out only 12 seconds later. Even though the band selected a location that will accommodate every single person that wants to attend, the arguments around the community seem to be based on the level of comfort they’ll be able to acquire. Instead of Dead Heads complaining about the size of the venue and the inability to secure tickets at all, the Phish people are extremely upset that they might not be able to have the accommodations and amenities they desire. Apparently, the band is married to 100,000 wives that are impossible to please.

In closing, the preceding months have caused me to reflect on the past 30 years of my life like never before. Images from the past have been coming through with such detailed clarity. This week I thought about taking my dog for nightly walks as a teen living with my folks. My brother and I would go burn one and return to watch The Honeymooners or, on the one special night a week we’d grease our minds to properly prepare for The Grateful Dead Hour. Dead Heads throughout the entire NY metropolitan area would gather around the clock radios our grandmas bought us for Christmas or the vintage tubed stereo systems with as many dials as Phil’s basses. Back then we didn’t have, we had David Gans. He was the archive of our younger years and critical listening occurred during his weekly radio show. For many, the best chance you had of hearing soundboards from the latest tour was by tuning in to his weekly show. His voice was synonymous with all things Dead. We didn’t have the Internet so most of us wouldn’t recognize him by face if we were standing next to him. Unless he spoke, then every Dead Head would recognize him immediately. We looked forward to those nights with incredible anticipation starting the day before the show. Now I have a computer with every show that’s been played at my disposal. I’m really not sure which is better… Thanks for being such a cool part of my youth, David! I appreciate you!
Until next time, Love Y’all!

This piece is dedicated to the memory of Calico… God’s Speed Sweet Soul…

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Preparation for Soldier Field in full swing