Saturday, September 7, 2013

21st Century Dead: A Mission Statement and Introduction

     So this may be a short-lived experiment, but here we go!  In this blog I intend to address the issues, experiences, and various dilemmas that my people face in the 21st century.  Who are my people, you may very well ask?  My people are the Dead Heads who fell in love with the Dead in the post-Jerry, post-GD, millennium in which we live.  We have heard the call of the music across the decades and are possibly as various in description, preferences, and social alignments as the original Dead Heads were (and still are!).  While the music that we love is the same music as you veterans love, our experiences of it seem necessarily different due to the chasm of time between now and Jerry's death; between now and the peak of the Dead's popularity in the 80's; between now and the Wall of Sound; between now and the Acid Tests for God's sake!

     To be honest, the majority of what I will write about in this blog centers around my personal experiences and conceptions; after all I can't get inside any of your heads!  However, part of the reason I'm writing this is to find out exactly that, to see if my experiences are echoed by any of my peers.  I'm even hoping that many veterans will find reflections of their own experiences echoing down the years, and can shed their valuable light upon them!  I'm sure many veterans will dispute claims that I make with the (realistic) objection that I wasn't there (man), and can't possibly know what it was like; in fact, I hope you do, and can tell me what it was like!  Just please keep it civil, and understand that my knowledge comes from second-hand accounts, recordings handed down to me, and various Dead books and websites.

     So how is it that a guy born in '91, who couldn't even say "Aoxomoxoa" when Jerry passed away, became infatuated enough with the Dead that he would start a blog about it?  Well part of it must be genetics, because both of my parents (my dad especially) were crazy about the Dead in the 70's.  While they became disillusioned with the scene in '79 because of the increasing frequency of shows in arenas and hockey rinks where people are treated like cattle, their love of the music remained int heir hearts.  While growing up they mostly played Bluegrass, Folk, and Country in the house, a lot of psychedelic rock made its way through as well, and the bug got into me.  Starting in high school I got on a progression of rock that led me, with some brief forays into punk and angsty rock (damn teenagers), from the Beatles to the Dead in college.  As soon as my dad turned me on to the Doors after I graduated high school, he immediately realized I was a prime candidate for the Dead, and got me onto the Airplane/Hot Tuna kick.  I would start going on about Jack Cassady being the greatest bass player the world ever saw, and he would politely tell me I was crazy, and should check out some guy named Phil Lesh..."oh yeah, he plays for that Grateful Dead band, huh?  Maybe I'll check it out..."

     That was at the beginning of Freshman year in college for me, and my mind was...let's say ripe for expansion.  I was realizing that not only did I love the balls-to-the-wall psychedelia of the Airplane, I also liked the blues and folk of Hot Tuna -- a mandolin?  Sick, dude!  So the natural progression for me from that to the Dead started with Skull & Roses.  Sure, I already knew and loved American Beauty, but that was because my dad kept insisting it was the greatest album of all time, and who was I to argue with him? Anyway, he kept telling me to listen to something live by them, so Skull & Roses it was, and I've never looked back.  I'm sure some of my friends would go back in time and prevent me from ever discovering the Dead if they could, but that's just too bad for them.  From those humble beginnings I've ended up with almost 1000 hours of Grateful Dead and Dead-related music on my computer, and 2 designated Dead MP3 players whose contents are constantly changing.

     That's all I'm writing for now, but more focused posts will be following, with topics ranging from the luxury of vs. tape-trading back in the day, to experiences and conceptions of bands like Furthur, DSO, Phil & Friends, etc., because they're all someone like me has to see these days, but they are certainly worlds away from the Good Ol' Grateful Dead.  Please feel free to leave comments, questions, suggestions, and interesting anecdotes as the mood moves you.



  1. Sometimes I think that Aoxomoxoa is a palindrome and other times I think it's just me.

    1. Sometimes I think Maine has a long abbreviation, and other times I think it's just ME.