Monthly Archives: August 2015

Dead and Co

Fans of The Legendary rock and roll band, The Grateful Dead, are in the midst of the largest crisis they’ve experienced since the passing of their cherished and reluctant leader. It seems as though the resurgence of the band’s popularity, along with a multitude of events on the horizon have caused many of the Faithful to realize, once again, the entire world they live in is bullshit. Many whom have achieved the American Dream in the years since Garcia’s passing are now seeing that the dream they somehow purchased is an absolute nightmare. Household items, like furniture and children, are beginning to feel like gigantic anchors preventing a quick escape from their current realities. The spouses that have loved them unconditionally, since sometime following Soldier Field in July of 1995, are suddenly starting to bug the living shit out of them. According to internet chatter within the community, separation and divorce rates are higher than they’ve ever been since every 40 and 50 something year old is met with the sobering fact that their significant other doesn’t understand their current desire to just say “Fuck Everything” and buy an RV.

While we’ve all experienced the Blessings of Life with The Dead, it seems like the curses are now well past their developmental stages. Following announcements of Fare Thee Well in January, many people thought this would just be a nice weekend away. 8 months later, people are beginning to wonder why they ever married somebody that wasn’t absolutely obsessed with The Grateful Dead in the first place. Thousands of people that finally made their final payment on Credit Card Bills from Summer Tour, in 1995, last December are now back to 5 digit balances following Santa Clara, Chicago and the announcement of Dead and Company shows in New York. Watching it all go down is like watching a man that’s been on the wagon for 20 years start drinking again. It all seems OK initially until the train starts rumbling down the tracks with reckless abandon. Many in our community are well on their way to giving back everything they’ve achieved in the past 2 decades and couldn’t find a Shit to Give on a cattle farm. The sleeping Giant has awoken and the majority of US are just plain FUCKED! While I’m personally grateful to still have absolutely no desire to drink or use drugs, I have shopped for RVs as recently as an hour ago…

As someone that has attempted to be a voice of reason for the community, you might need to find another fuckin voice… I’m as sucked into the soup as most of you are. I have all I can do to not begin chasing the dreams I abandoned 20 years ago. The spark that existed long ago has been rekindled and turned into a 3 alarm fire. I’ve begun to wonder if I should’ve stayed under the rock I was hiding for the past 20 years. Here’s a few tips to keep your head from going too far up your ass as we move forward. The first would be to refer to an article I wrote months ago regarding The Shapiro Strategy. It’s the same strategy employed by all promoters to drive demand and create as much attention around their events as is possible. Don’t be misled to believe that there aren’t thousands of tickets still available for the MSG Shows. The Strategy is fine and it obviously generates free publicity, just don’t get sucked into it like the rest of the sheep. There’s a lot more shows coming and a lot more tickets coming as well. Once it’s all announced and ticketed, MSG tix will loosen up a bunch. Secondly, since Peter Shapiro is not involved in any way with this tour, those that thought someone else should have gotten that job for FTW, are getting their way now. If you look on TicketMaster’s Website, there’s plenty of Platinum Seats available. Platinum seats are tickets held back by the people promoting the show to scalp themselves. They keep a bunch of really good seats and list them on TM at prices equal to those being sold on the secondary market. You can read about it here Say what you want about Shapiro, he wouldn’t, and DIDN’T allow Platinum Seats for the FTW Shows. It’s really just scalping by the artists and those running the shows according to TM’s definitions. I wonder how many seats they’ve held back for those purposes at MSG? If you don’t buy them, they’ll be included in future releases. If you stay away from Platinum Seats, StubHub and the brokers, nobody will pay more than face by showtime. I personally think face is a little low for these shows. Dead and Company should have really charged more, $100 is really too cheap nowadays for Legendary Musicians. We bitch when prices are too high… I’m gonna bitch a little bit that they’re too low this time! Ever hear somebody say some shit like that? Now ya did! Thanks to Bob, Bill and Mickey for making these shows the best bargain in town! While I’m thanking people, I’d like to thank David Gans and Gary Lambert for the weekly group therapy session they provide on Tales From The Golden Road. They’ve been tremendous in helping everybody get back to life after returning from Fare Thee Well. Guys, I appreciate the environment you provide for all of us to continually reassess all the shit that happened in June and July and have a forum to talk to a radio about it. If you’ve ever been around David Gans, you understand all the shit that brother has to put up with. Everybody thinks they know him because he’s been on the radio in their home for so long. Not only that, they think he should remember them because they called in one time about 4 years ago. He does a great job pretending like he remembers people and shit that he definitely doesn’t remember. That show has helped me and I appreciate it! Love y’all!

Since I mentioned Peter Shapiro and the FTW Shows, All mail has been picked up from the Chicago Post Office and partial refunds are being processed. There were some problems with items that were picked up already not showing up on the Post Office’s tracking system as being picked up. Rest assured, they have been picked up and you will receive your partial refund shortly. All requests had to be postmarked by July 20th. As long as you’ve met that requirement, you’re good! There was only a 7% request rate for partial refunds. I’m sure it was well worth every penny whether you chose that option or not.

Here’s The State of The Union… The Guys that were at the top are back on the top. They’re raking it in as fast as Visa, MasterCard and American Express can pay it out. The folks that were close to the top are rapidly sliding down closer to the middle due to chasing the feeling the Guys at the top are providing again along with massive bills that are growing from Visa, MasterCard and American Express. The folks in the middle are sliding downward even faster and if they don’t get their shit together soon, will be on the bottom. The folks on the bottom listen to damn near everything the folks above them say as those same folks keep a foot on their head hoping they won’t be right there with them any time soon. Be nice to everybody, you never know where you’ll end up on this ladder. Bob Weir made some interesting statements about all of this in his movie, check it out. Ladies and gentlemen, your spouses have been putting up with your shit for a long time. If they don’t understand your desire to quit on life and become nomadic, cut them some slack. You were acting like a person that wasn’t completely out of their fuckin mind prior to January. Give them time to adapt to your completely irrational and illogical behavior. Don’t expect it to be easy. Most of the regular folks we’ve spent our lives with prior to being reunited with our Tribes are still great and Loving people. While internet forums and FB Groups along with our favorite musicians have done a great job getting all of US back together, don’t forget who has had your back prior to this year. They deserve your best as they’ve most likely given you theirs for the past 20 years. If none of this applies to you, you’re extremely fortunate, Be grateful for that! For anyone struggling, I’m gonna leave you with a nice guided meditation that’s been really helping get through all of this.
I suggest you do it at least twice a day, every day for a month. It will really help you get through it all! It’s right here—> Guided Meditation

I gotta go buy some more lottery tickets, catch ya later…

Dead To The Core,



Anybody participating in this weekend’s Peach Music Festival in Scranton, PA, was treated to perfect weather all weekend as well as some tremendous jams from our favorite musicians. The Pinnacle of Power at Peach was put out by Billy and his collection of kids, all born from different mothers. The most exciting and vibrant band of brothers, along with their father Bill, are clearly the freshest configuration of creators that have branched off of our Dead Family Tree.

Before I continue, there’s no need to correct me by writing to me and telling me “The Kids” aren’t really Billy’s children. In all reality, they very well could be and it makes a much better story. Why sacrifice the possibility and excitement due to facts? Facts, all too often, interfere with what could be a much better story. In my own mind, I’ll choose to imagine this group as a Psychedelic Partridge Family all created during Bill’s years on Dead Tour, all with different women. Not that far fetched of a concept really…

I’m kind of a purist when it comes to my music. I’m not a big fan of special effects and gadgets and never cared for the MIDI stuff too much. The first time I was waiting to hear the sweet sound of Garcia’s pick hitting the strings and a damn flute sound came out, I wasn’t all that thrilled. It was definitely another example of Robert Hunter’s lyrics from the past telling us about the future and that was pretty ingenious. “Someone plays guitar that sounds like clarinet”! In much the same way, I prefer drummers to use sticks instead of kitchen utensils. That’s not to say I don’t Love Mickey and all of his crazy shit because, I do! Given the choice, I’ll always lean towards the more classic approach to things. The center of this incredible band being Billy, there’s this purist approach to the music and he is the Monster of a Heartbeat within this animal. When you watch somebody do what they were born to be doing, you get this feeling that it looks so easy, you could probably do it yourself. I feel that way watching Billy play. Then I pick up some sticks… Then I think, “Maybe not” and I opt for kitchen utensils instead…

Billy’s Kids include Aron “Mofo” Magner on keys, Reed “Mayhem” Mathis on bass, and Tom “The Hat” Hamilton on guitar. While all great artists in their own right, there’s something really special that happens when these guys get together. Something that goes a little beyond what I hear from them otherwise. Sound familiar? In recent years I think it’s become extremely apparent that Billy holds a MUCH bigger part of the Holy Grail than may have been attributed to him previously. His key most definitely unlocks the door that separates songs from life enhancing experiences. When he’s plugged in, he has the voltage required to power all of those that surround him. With this group of guys, he’s obviously staying plugged in! The jams are tight and inspired. Tom gives new life to old songs brilliantly and comes off as unique and organic. Reed is full of Life and the energy among these guys is undeniably contagious. Aron lays down a soulful texture of sounds that adds rich dimensions to it all. Together this bunch has the chemistry that can’t be created through human effort alone but is found spontaneously during the creation of something special.

The thing I personally appreciate most about this group is their interpretation and the delivery of the lyric. They’re able to take liberties on the delivery while maintaining the integrity and structure of the song. All too often, while attempting to uniquely phrase Garcia’s tunes, singers not named Garcia, awkwardly create bumpy spots and rough patches where only silky smooth terrain previously existed. I haven’t seen this too much from Billy and The Kids. Their take on the songs consistently preserve and, at the same time, still bring a certain freshness to our favorites that’s often attempted but seldomly accomplished. “He’s Gone” was much better than what we heard in Santa Clara. In my opinion, Billy and The Kids are the very best of the Dead Family offshoots. Go see them as soon as you can if you haven’t already!

In order to have Peaches and Cream, you have to add Cream to the Peaches. That’s exactly what happened when Weir joined Billy and The Kids. Weir’s time off last year seems to have been spent at The Fountain of Youth. Bob is back to consistently showing up with The Nectar in a way that I haven’t recalled since the Jerry years. There seems to be yet another amazing renaissance within the guys we’ve followed for decades. There’s something that has made it all seem so fresh and alive again to the guys making the music. Bob’s presence added additional fuel to an already blazing inferno. Bob’s innate ability to draw all eyes towards himself at will was on full display. He rode the machine deep during Stranger and gave everybody the absolute best version of himself all the way through Sugar Mags as he reared back while accumulating massive energy before leaping forward and showering the universe with those familiar chords while hurling them into the skies above The Peach. Weir’s swagger is back at full throttle and it’s a blessing to be witnessing it this year. For song by song coverage, go to

At the same time, there’s another group that seems to be experiencing a renaissance of the same magnitude. That group is US! I can’t remember how long its been since I was so excited to hear every note played by our favorites. Whether live or by streams, The anticipation for upcoming gigs hasn’t been at this level in a long time. I know this same feeling is shared by the majority of The Faithful and magnified tremendously since the Fare Thee Well Shows. There is a bunch of magic left in our favorite artists but more importantly, I think the best revelation of ALL is the revelation of ALL of the magic that’s still left in US! As a group, WE seem just as renewed and hungry as we were decades ago. WE are rediscovering the incredible power that still resides within US. While many have become cynics, critics and casualties of the war on Out Of The Box thinking and living, many more of us have been born again and are as refreshed and renewed as those we’ve been following. By Fall, record numbers will once again be refusing haircuts, shaves, deodorant, jobs and everything else they participated in since Garcia died. The most profound thing that has been awakened in the past year is US! In the 20 years that have gone by since The Grateful Dead last took the stage, WE were supposed to grow in life, love, experience and wisdom. May all those qualities be dramatically evident as we collectively move forward together. I look forward to seeing all of US together more and more in the days ahead! Love y’all!!!

Dead To The Core,

Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)