For those that missed it, The Official Home of Unofficial Grateful Dead News attracted the attention of a writer at the New York Times and I ended up with my picture and one lousy quote in an article on the 50th Anniversary Shows in Chicago. You can find that article here Grateful Dead Fans Replace VW Vans With Jets and the Ritz-Carlton
I’m writing this piece aboard my yacht and eating shit that rich people eat, all while my staff of underpaid and overworked peasant servants are busy manicuring the expansive gardens on my compound and braiding the manes of my imported unicorns. I like the picture but I do have one regret. I wish I was wearing an ascot. I typically step into my 10,000 thread count Egyptian pajamas when I get home and put on my ascot to remind me of the vast wealth and opulence that surrounds me and keep any possible draft from causing a chill on my neck. That would be much more fitting for a guy like me. Ahhhh yes, the good life…
There’s one thing that was clearly left out of the New York Times article. The great equalizer of all people, great and small. The one thing that showed everyone within an hour or so how level the playing field of real life really is. What was missing was a huge punch bowl of Owsley’s Kool-Aid. For those of us that swam in the deep end of Owsley’s pool, the realization of seeing the world exactly how it is through the psychedelic microscope of unlimited perception is part of what changed us forever. I remember watching people that had great power and influence within their materially driven worlds come unglued, like a child’s art project subjected to the forces of nature. They would then be comforted and kept from going completely insane by a guy that lives in a van. Those who were high minded in their own sight were driven to tears at many an Acid Test as the illusion they maintained for most of their lives came into contact with the Great Magician. When the curtain was removed from the pillar of inflated senses of self, what was left was typically a deflated and scared child crying like they just got the news that Santa Claus died. One of the special things about this community was that there was always some folks, that the individual previously deemed far inferior to them, ready and willing to help them through their complete and total meltdown. We found through those experiences how level the playing field was for every single one of us. Preconceived ideas of the importance of people, places and things gave way to the realization that we’re all truly one. While some may have been more entertaining than others we realized the significance of the gifts that were inherent in everyone and how they were all equally important in the game of life. We saw through all the bullshit and Paper Tigers as all things appeared exactly as they were without any of the false filters that were installed in us by the media machine year after year since our births. You never knew which side of your psyche would be up for examination but with time and some repetition, all aspects of our lives and thoughts would have to endure the scrutiny of the Acid Test. Those of us that stuck around long enough eventually got our degrees. I’ve kept all of those valuable lessons near and dear to my heart and my daily affairs.
When Katie contacted me to participate in the interview for a piece the New York Times was doing, after she came across my blog, I was happy to participate. She is a really sweet woman that was given an assignment to create a piece about an issue that, in my opinion, wasn’t much of an issue. The incredibly high prices of making it to the Dead’s Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago and all the wealthy people that were going for the party. During our interview, she wanted my commentary on how expensive tickets were and I was pretty clear that while tickets listed on StubHub for tens of thousands of dollars, nobody was buying in at that price. I told her I could list my daughter’s bike on Craigslist for $25,000 if I wanted to but nobody would buy it. I explained that as we get closer to the shows those prices will have to drop dramatically or nobody is buying them. The story wanted to focus on something other than what the scene has always been about. It’s always been about all kinds of people coming together under the umbrella of Grateful Dead Music and joining as one. Since the beginning, Dosed Doctors have shared dancing space with Drunk Derelicts… Christians danced beside Criminals… Powerful people joined hands with paupers… The truth was always that WE are everywhere. From the top to the bottom and everywhere in between. Once we entered the lot, any barrier that seemed to separate us previously vanished instantly before our eyes. That’s the Grateful Dead Community that I’ve always been a part of over the years.
Certainly, I’ve pulled no punches on my blog about how a portion of the vocal fan base think they should have everything for nothing and that they’re somehow entitled to be there because they’re more deserving than someone else. Perhaps those folks need to be reacquainted with the Great Equalizer or at the very least, remember the things we took from those experiences. Nobody deserves anything any more than anyone else. There will be just as many people that will make Chicago happen on a hope and a prayer as there are people that will be doing it any other way. Life has always been about being a contributor to me. Making a difference in the lives of others utilizing the gifts you’ve been given. Whether that’s making people laugh a little more often or being able to cook them something worth eating. Rewards in life can often be measured by how you utilize those gifts. I’m grateful that my life has been full of experiences that continue to confirm all of those things I learned in the deep end of Owsley’s pool. I’m grateful that I never see myself above or below any other individual. I’m grateful that I’ve always seen everyone in the game of life as equals and have treated them that way whether they’re my server at a restaurant or the President of a large corporation or College or a member of my favorite band. Some Rise, Some Fall, Some Climb…
Following the Dear Jerry show last Thursday, I jumped in my car and drove home, 4 hours, from Merriweather Post. I drove home immediately after because Friday morning was Daddy Day at my daughter’s school. I had time for 3 hours of sleep before getting up and ready for the dreaded day. I felt like I got run over by a herd of Rhinos wearing cleats. When I arrived at my daughter’s school, she became the happiest little thing I’ve ever seen. We ran around together for her recess and I ended up staying longer than expected to have lunch and ice cream with her. My head felt like a rotten cantaloupe… My daughter reached her little arms around my neck and hugged me as hard as she could. She said, “This is the best day ever, I Love you daddy!” When Garcia died, I never thought a voice would be created in the same key as my Soul ever again… Then I heard my daughter’s… My heart melted and my head cleared as the deepest sense of gratitude settled deep within me. That’s what makes me a rich man, not where my seats or hotel is located in Chicago.
California Kevin wrote to me on my Facebook Page yesterday with a beautiful picture of himself, his wife and his 2 daughters. He told his story. He mentioned he couldn’t write or type that good but continued to honestly share the path his life has taken over the years. He said that 25 years ago he didn’t have a house to live in, just a woman he loved and was beginning to create memories with. He was grateful for everything that he learned through the process but he had things in life that were more important to him than the Dead nowadays. First and foremost, being a present and loving father watching his 2 beautiful daughters grow up. He won’t be taking a Private Jet to Chicago and he didn’t score a package from CID but California Kevin is an extremely rich man. Regardless of where he’s staying or how he’s getting there… Love y’all!!! See ya soon!
Dead To The Core,
Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)