Thursday, April 14, 2005

My Life With The Grateful Dead

I went to Frederick, Maryland on Monday night to see Ratdog, Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir's side band, play. As they rolled through several Dead classics it occured to me that my life of the last 35 years has had significant moments that could be marked by the Dead's music. I thought I would share them with my 2 readers, as recalling them brought back many fond memories.........
1970: I was 16 and working after school sacking groceries in the commissary (grocery store) at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. Since the income from this job was strictly disposable, I went into the PX (military version of Target) to look for an album to buy. I had read about the Dead in a book that described a Grateful Dead/Allman Brothers/Love show at the legendary Fillmore East, and was curious about their music. The two Lp's in stock were Live/Dead and Vintage Dead. I chose Vintage Dead because I didn't want to pay the higher cost (probably $4.99) of the 2 record Live/Dead. I seem to recall being put off by the poor sound quality of my purchase. At the time I was unaware of the historical value of this album. I lost it somewhere along the way, and in the mid-nineties my friend George gave me his copy which I still have today! It's one of only 20 pieces of vinyl I still keep around, and I would probably shed tears of joy if it were to be released on CD.......
1971: October 27, Syracuse War Memorial---In the middle of my senior year of high school, I attend my first Grateful Dead concert. I wish I could tell you how great specific songs or jams were, but due to the fact that I was under the influence of a certain herbal substance,I can't recall any! I do remember that the show went on forever (3:30 A.M.?) and that I had to show my Mom the next day's article in the paper to prove it. I still only owned the one previously mentioned title (Vintage Dead) and did not rush out and buy any others after the show.........
1973: I am a soldier in the U.S. Army stationed at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. I had just purchased my first car, a brand new Chevy Nova, and installed an 8-track player with large speakers from a home stereo. I remember cruising around and playing Europe '72, the Dead's triple live album of their European tour that year. I remember throwing the tape out of the car window on the way to see Jo Jo Gunne at Merriweather Post Pavilion because it broke, as 8 track tapes were not the most reliable source of music to begin with. I can't recall owning any other Dead albums until..........
1975: The Dead put out Steal Your Face, another live album on their own label. I bought it and recall that it was horribly warped and had to exchange it. The music on it was really bad, too. So bad that when they recently released a box set of that era, that title was missing! At that point I kinda washed my hands of the band. Bad live albums and poor quality records made me get off the bus for a few years; plus the advent of punk rock led me down a different musical path. We will pick up the story in part 2 tomorrow....................


  • Well, um... this reader found Part I to be less than scintillating. Maybe the other reader dug it.

    But at least the blogger is back.

    Hey, other reader, I got $10 that says "tomorrow" is really code for "some time in May." Watcha think?

    By Blogger JRHouck, at 9:23 PM  

  • So, I guess I'm reader #2?
    I enjoyed part one...Where's part 2 and how was the Bobdog???

    By Blogger irenie, at 10:21 PM  

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