Just when you think you have a new pal, things can change in a hurry. After a few months of interesting and pleasant interactions with the people that make up my community, I returned to regular life once again with a reminder that not everyone was in Chicago and everyone is not necessarily very nice. Apparently, the rest of the world didn’t hear Mickey’s marching orders to go out and spread the kindness. While I was out and about this past weekend, Joe Shapiro, while sitting on his stoop eating sausage and peppers in Nutley, NJ, screamed, “Your mama eats bat shit off cave walls!!!” Welcome back to the real world… Totally not kind…
Joe Shapiro – Nutley, NJ

I hope you didn’t think I meant Peter, That brother is great! Love him!

As credit card statements from the GD 50 experience are arriving in the mail, thousands of people around the world are discovering how much their Priceless experience actually cost them. When your statement requires over 2 dollars of additional postage and is an inch and a half thick you got some bills to pay. This begins the third phase of PSD (Post Show Depression). After about a month, people start wondering why the hell they purchased one of absolutely everything at the merchandise stands. In over 350 Grateful Dead Shows and over 100 JGB Shows, between 85 to 95, I can tell you exactly how many official Dead items I purchased at the merch stands. ONE… I bought the official shirt from JGB at Squaw Valley. The grey one… I’m not even sure I ever checked out a booth between 85 & 95. I think it’s safe to say, sales of official merchandise at the Fare Thee Well Shows probably exceeded all combined sales from 77 to 95. Not only did people act like fiends at the shows, we also waited at the GD 50 Merchandise website, clicking refresh, waiting for it to open so we could continue to buy into the obsession.

While people post pictures of themselves at U2 and Who concerts now, It’s hard for me to look at those pics without saying, quietly and to myself, “Who gives a shit???” After having 20 years clean from Dead experiences, the addictive nature of my behavior has become fully activated. The monkey, that I thought was off my back, is back on it and has turned into a guerrilla with what seems like an endless supply of bananas. 20 years of being dormant and my drug of choice, Live Grateful Dead Music, unleashed the beast all over again.

Even with 22 years clean from sticking needles in my arm and all other drugs, I still like watching movies about drugs. They are still exciting to me but have no real impact on my psyche nor do they make me want to do drugs again. I’m Grateful to be clean every day and could never do what I do getting high like I did. In the same way, I’ve consumed the Grateful Dead pretty much daily, in some form, my entire adult life. Mostly, It’s been through the usual forms of media. Tapes, videos, hard drive, etc. While all those forms of media still provide incredible stimulation and satisfaction, they haven’t had the impact on my psyche any more than watching movies about drugs.

After getting dipped in the complete 4 Dimensional Experience of actually being there again, The guerrilla is stronger than ever. The Live Dead detox that happened when we were forced to kick it 20 years ago is happening all over again. I personally think kicking dope was much easier other than maybe the first few days. While I DEFINITELY don’t miss dope, I’ll ALWAYS miss Live Dead… Counterfeits and configurations don’t cut it anymore than wine comforts a junkie…

In the early days of attempting to kick heroin, I thought I could do it with substitutes. You know, smoking more buds, taking pills, drinking, etc. In the same way, I’ve tried over the years to kick my Live Dead addiction with other shows and musicians. There’s a problem with that however… Once you’ve had the horse, there’s really no replacement. There’s a lot of effort that might go into trying to find a substitute but rarely is that very effective. The Blessing of being free from the curse will always have to endure facing the challenges of maintaining that freedom over and over again. The one that consistently gets the most attention will always win. I’ll continue to keep focusing on The Blessing…

The sobering realities of daily life have kicked in full throttle, I got to spend last weekend with an awful toothache. It started Friday and I figured I could meditate my way to a complete and total healing. By Monday morning, I realized I wasn’t spiritual enough… I clearly didn’t have enough Faith to manifest it… On Monday afternoon I spent an hour in Hell getting ONE tooth fixed at a cost similar to one of the best tickets for ALL 5 FTW Shows. I thought about people that complained about the prices of attending the Fare Thee Well Shows. In the case of my tooth, there was ZERO fun, I don’t take nitrous, the experience was terrible and the music absolutely sucked. Kenny G or some shit like that… That dentist treated me like I screwed his wife… Absolutely beat the shit outta me… I realized how grateful I was for a few things. Number one, I was grateful this didn’t happen in Chicago. That could’ve messed up one of the best weekends of my life. Number two, The value of what I experienced in Chicago was indeed a very small price to pay in comparison. For those of you upset by $200 ticket prices, I hope you don’t get a bad tooth any time down the road…

Phil played a couple of shows at his joint, TXR, paying homage to the late 70s. So far I’ve read one less review about that as Official Merchandise Items I purchased between 85 to 95. I’m sure it was outstanding, it’s just that nobody seems to care very much… Same songs… Same bassist… Small Venue… Interesting… Make music and sing songs or participate in experiences that alter humanity right down to the molecular level… The choices couldn’t be any more apparent to our favorite musicians than they are right now… Should we move forward singing songs or acknowledge and accept we’re still capable of much more? Only time will tell…

Conversely, 3-4 weeks later I’m still seeing people attempting to become relevant by reviewing Chicago. People that only went to Santa Clara are increasingly more upset that Chicago gets nearly all of the attention. They act kinda like an ugly kid with a gorgeous sister. For those people, I’m gonna throw you a hug. After listening to the shows thoroughly, The first night in Santa Clara might have been the best of them all. While watching it that night, it didn’t appear as though the band was nearly as comfortable as it has sounded without seeing what was going on. When focusing exclusively on the music, it was stellar! Even better if you were there, I’m sure. The first night may very well have been the best of the bunch.

I hope by now we’re all willing, ready and able to be a positive force in our environments. It’s funny, to me, to watch people get sucked into the bullshit of others so easily. Why do we function like the burden lifters and joy dispensers and a total solution to the world’s hostilities while we’re in stadiums and arenas and get sucked into all the other crap when we’re not? While I know this doesn’t apply to The whole, some parts that make up our whole also seem to make up the hole of the whole. Those are really the folks we should throw more love at than anybody. Imagine if every troll post was followed by 1000 comments that all said, “Love You!!!!” The solution is really that simple. Why don’t folks see it or practice it??? I personally enjoy intelligent trolling. It leads to great opportunities for comedy as well as personal growth. It’s a great barometer to see where people stand on the ladder of unconditional love and acceptance…

In closing, The event schedule at Madison Square Garden is pretty open from November 10th to about December 9th… That’s all I’m gonna say about that… I send you comfort as we detox together… Love you long time!!!

Dead To The Core,

Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)

21 thoughts on “Shapiro Said My Mama Eats Bat Shit Off Cave Walls

  1. Mama Sky

    Most poignant as usual. Thank you. The PSD is really in all of us. It’s been 20 years for me as well. I wish we could tour until our tits fell off like the good days. But would it mean the same? Loving you Brother! Sage Blessings, Mama Sky

  2. Marc Zappa

    The first night in Santa Clara might have been the best of them all

    yup I agree. 1st set I looked at my friends and said ah well……….
    but 2nd set I was overjoyed.

    yup sober from the GD- not possible.

  3. Tim Abrahamsen

    Right on Dean-O, and Admittedly a bugger in my side following the weekends was trying to come to terms with what I felt was the best overall show…I kept arriving back at the first Santa Clara night as well. Even if visually things seemed a bit hesitant, that set list wandering into old school lengthy jamming made for some exciting turns. I also love the dust offs they did as well.

    Keep staying happy, and we will too.


  4. Alan Feigenbaum

    My man, it was a pleasure to sit/dance next to you for 3 nights in Chicago…hope my “cloud” didn’t bring you down. Section 107, Row 7 seat 2 dude.

  5. RG

    Love ya man….keep posting! BUT. Rangers play at home Nov 10, 12, 15, 23, 25, 28, 30 dec 3, 6

    And Knicks will take most other dates once sched is announced. MSG anytime soon is not likely unless they lock up NYE run. Which would ROCK out like shapiros balls and cock out!!

  6. Murph

    Dean-o – sorry to not have hooked up old friend. What a rip-roarin whale of a time! Pleased it met Ye Well! A few months shy of a 30 year arc for you & I. Walkin the Dog ————> Attics
    Never looked at a merch booth, but my sister Stephanie Starr gifted me a sweet Wolf batik she made = true treasure. Peace & Be Kind

  7. Allen

    i totally relate. I am also recovery guy who has been strung out on Grateful Dead Shows since I saw my first at the Palladium in 77 when I was 16. I con my parents into letting me go to New Years at Winterland that year and for next 15 or so. I rode the bus hard. When I got clean in 87 the shows actually kinda got better for me. This whole GD 50 thing really reignited the fire for me. When I got shut out of Chicago I had to go to Santa Clara and I did. Great weekend with friends reliving my youth. I have always listened to Dead at least for a while every day since I was 16 but the last couple of months I can’t stop listening to the GD app. A couple of Dark Star’s a day. All the incarnations never really worked for although I always went at least until I was at the Cap show when Phil left Bobby on the floor and kept playing. Thank god I left that night before it happened. I knew Bobby was cooked and I couldn’t stay past the first set. Anyway GD 50 was great for me. Right now I am unto to my new obsession that Hooke me in 2004. Scuba diving. I am laying on a lounge chair in Grand Cayman and getting on a dive boat for a week tomorrow. For what is worth I saw Neil Young at Jones Beach this week. Wow he has still got it. I was tripping my through Down By River for 20 minutes plus.

  8. Kelly


    That one really hit home for me. I was very fortunate for ftw. I have an illness that I’ve been struggling with for years…..not as bad as some, fortunately…but bad none the less. I was really healthy for the first time in a long time during the lead up to FTW …..even got to hike through the redwoods right after I met Phil at terrain roads …he was on his way to the SC sound heck!I flared right right after Chicago..one that has knocked me on my ass. It doesn’t matter what treatment I have had..they haven’t scratched the surface. I have also been going through a lot of sentimental stuff since January….I left the tribe in about 92 because of all the negative shit that seemed be going down . Saw plenty of shows in the 2000s after the dead came back and phil and friend , other ones etc…but it was never the same. Santa Clara and Chicago put me right back where I was in 86! I am proud of the way the boys pulled it off……I hope they go back on their word and decide to keep going (on a limited basis). Having that spark once a year would be good for all of us….mentally and physically (at least for me anyway). Having to face thos credit card bills will be the final straw to bring me back down to earth. I hope you had novacaine at least? Anyway, keep on truckin my brother…I’ve enjoyed hanging out here the last few months!

  9. dd

    “….bat shit off cave walls!!!” … pretty sure that was a reference to the LA Forum show 2 days ago (Sat. 7/25/15): set-closer for the 1st set….
    The ginger-haired one MELTED the guano off THOSE cave walls….!!

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