inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #76 of 136: from the web (tnf) Sat 5 Aug 00 21:58

Date: Sat, 05 Aug 2000 14:50:04 -0700
From: "Bill Kramer" <>
Subject: Regarding Ralph J. Gleason

A hearty vote of agreement in regards the the greatness of Ralph J.
Gleason's work.  With apologies to all you pensmiths out there, RJG was
among the finest, most open-minded music (and social) commentators I've
ever read.

A lot of jazz writers of the late 50's/early 60's sneered at early rock
music, but not Gleason. While continuing to profess his love for jazz
(check out his "Celebrating the Duke & Louis, Bessie, Bille, Bird,
Carmen, Miles, Dizzy & Other Heroes" is you can track it down -it's a
wonderful primer on jazz), he extolled the virtues of the Dead, the
Band, Johnny Cash, Van Morrison, and TONS of other diverse artists.

Why there hasn't been a compilation of his writings from his "Rolling
Stone" columns, "Perspectives", his numerous liner notes for jazz
albums, and his newspaper columns is beyond me. A true friend of musics
of all kinds, and an interesting cat.
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #77 of 136: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 7 Aug 00 09:22
David, or David-channeling-Paddy,or Paddy speaking for yourself--
what is Paddy writing about and when, and what about this particular
piece recommended it for the book?
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #78 of 136: Paddy Ladd (jeanpaddieu) Mon 7 Aug 00 10:02
Hi there. Thanks for the nice feedback. Let's see if this will
transmit to the discussion site before attempting anything longer in
reply to mary's question :-)
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #79 of 136: David Gans (tnf) Mon 7 Aug 00 10:06
Paddy!   It worked!  Keep talkin'!  :^)
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #80 of 136: Paddy Ladd (jeanpaddieu) Mon 7 Aug 00 10:24
Right, Mary, now we know that by some miracle I have managed to avoid
dipping my bucket in the clear blue sky :-) [you didnt cover that one,
david D :-)].... yep i do appear to be onboard. Sheeeeeeesh !

The piece in question was written in 1992. It was primarily provoked
by Jerry's collapse that year (and the anguish called by watching some
my UK friends spend their life's savings to go and see the cancelled
shows.. well they didnt get to see them if you follow my meaning, but
they couldnt get a refund on the air fares etc) From that narrow
emotional base, the piece really looked back on the time since Brent's
death, and on Jerry's plea to be able to stop {fall 1991}, which then
became business as usual for the band. From there the piece became an
examination of what it might all seem like from Jerry's point of view,
and what other ways there were that we might read our role in the whole
process of being an engaged member of a unique family.

When I re-read it after David selected this particular one, it felt so
very clearly prescient of what was to eventually happen [grammatical
'sic' :-) ].

Now the fact that I think any damn fool could have seen what was going
on isn't the same as saying that any damn fool would do it in print,
so I'm happy with the piece and its place in history and time. In an
ideal world I'd have added more from my Fall 1991 piece and how crucial
Brent himself was to Jerry's reason for continuing with the band. But
thats another book I guess.

As to why David went for that one out of them all, I dunno. I think he
seemed happy with most of what he'd read over the years, and wanted
one as a sample. A great honour, and thanks m'lud...

And just to tie this all in with one of the themes of the first intro
piece I sent here, I think the title of the article was 'You Don't Seem
to Hear Me When I Call', which felt like one of the 2/3 key ideas in
that song when it first showed up in that fateful spring of 1992...    

I still do wish that we , who claimed to be an empowered collective
from the grainstores of hippiedom, rather than a simple bunch of 'fans'
[ugh], had had the nous to collectively organise ourselves to DEMAND
of Garcia and the family that they 'let' him stop for awhile.

On the other hand, if he was always gonna turn down heart bypass
surgery, then I guess there wasn't any real alternative and , er like,
it doesn't matter anyway...:-/ 
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #81 of 136: David Gans (tnf) Mon 7 Aug 00 10:57

I everyone who could see Garcia at all clearly was profoundly ambivalent
about everything for many years.

Who wanted to be the one to pull the emergency brake on a $50-million gravy
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #82 of 136: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 7 Aug 00 11:01
I think a lot of people might have wanted to, but particularly
given Jerry's apparent unwillingness to heal given the chance, they
lacked the authority/force/determination to do so.

A weird weird time.
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #83 of 136: Paddy Ladd (jeanpaddieu) Mon 7 Aug 00 11:58
I don't know whether I've harmonished with the tenor of your replies,
Mary and David, and I am also wary of this becoming the topic that gets
taken up [maybe that's not a problem anyway ? I cant judge from this
far away what is appropriate for your literary forum].

But I must say that I never did understand the logic of resisting
halting the gravy train for a while. After all, if the guy is dead,
then it's derailed anyway....

Nor would I denigrate the importance of ambivalence, which is a theme
that so often gets hinted at in considering all things Family.
Sometimes it feels kissing cousins with fatalism in this regard. 

At any rate, please don't mistake me for someone trying to
oversimplify. Rather I wanted to raise simple,dumb, questions in order
to see what we learned from the answers.

I recall Dennis Mc Nally 'having' to put out a statement that said
'Jerry and the others often feel like this [quitting], and then it
recedes again'.

Good try, noble servant and Family retainer, but never was there a
desire for Jerry [or any of them] to go public on it before - and to R
Stone at that..

And never was another band explicitly mentioned as an alternative [the
'improv band'] publicly before...

From over here, it felt like, clear, y'know :-)

And from watching Fall 91 also [thats another story].

But from on the GD planet itself, a 'malevolent place' I believe you
once called it DG,... how can I judge of course ?

One thing that it would be nice if people could shed some light on, is
the attitude of Heads to Jerry's addiction. My main memory thru all
this time was that people were angry with him .  'Hey Garcia, get yor
shit together' etc etc.  (and i'm talking about the average head here.)

That always puzzled me - maybe its cos ive grown up with a smack
addict in my life, but I cudnt grasp how outside heads cud view the
situation with anything except compassion. Obviously this is a drug
choice of someone in great pain, i thought to meself. I wudnt expect
those inside on ye planet to have anything like that same compassionate
emotion, again becos i know what its like to live with such an addict.

But the impetus for pushing for a  6 month break had [in my mind] to
come from us on the outside, to tell the band to back off etc.

Yet the whole cultural thrust seemed to be 'Bad Jerry, no Haagen Das',
and this mitigated against any idea of having us out here do a group
intervention by mail :-)

I am kind of curious about such condemnation as a cultural phenomena,
especially coming from inside our scene. Anyone have any thots on that
aspect of it ?

Boy the books that are yet to be written about the scene...! Maybe
later I'll post some topics for such books, and someone else can run
with them who is closer to the whole epicentre ? !  There's so much
room for good sociological analysis [that's fun] [and as opposed to
gossip etc]

I guess this is all the cultural anthropologist in me coming out 
again !!

inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #84 of 136: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 7 Aug 00 13:52
From interview I did with Jerry in 1987:

Our problem is pacing ourselves and still reaching a large enough
number of our audience. Because we don't want to burn the audience. 
And we don't want to be excluding anybody. 
So it's gotten to be an interesting kind of success problem. 
Just where to play, what kind of places, what kind of conditions to play in.

But we're definitely mortal. What would really be helpful 
would be for there to be half a dozen other Grateful Deads playing. 
Death comes at you no matter what you do in this life, 
and to equate drugs with death is a facile comparison. 
It's like equating...
sure, equate *poison* with death. (laughs) 
I mean, whatever kills you kills you, and your death is authentic
no matter how you die. So I've always thought that was a 
cheap argument. 

My feeling about all that stuff is on record. I'm on record. 

*So you're not joining the Just Say No crowd.* 

No. I think that's much too easy, and it doesn't address the 
problems. The real problems are cultural. The problems
of the people who take drugs as a cultural trap...
I think there's a real problem there, the crack stuff, the hopelessness
of the junkie. The urban angst. 

But hey, when you live in Watts, you need a little smack to get by, 
you know what I mean? You need something soft and comfortable 
in your life, 'cause you're not going to get it from what's around 
you. And society isn't going to give it to you. 
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #85 of 136: David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 7 Aug 00 14:23
please refresh my memory. Was that interview published? It sounds
familiar, but I'm sitting here in the library at Stanford, and don't
have access to my own books (although I suppose I could track down the
bibliography here somewhere).

Interesting discussion! Thanks, Paddy, for being so detailed in your
description of the concerns that gave rise to the piece that is
included in the book. You're right about why it was selected: both for
its prescience and for its being a good representation of your work

And I remember parts of the Charles Reich interview touching on
similar themes about death, Mary. Garcia always seemed pretty clear
about his own feelings on the topic. And so unwilling to preach, which
I always loved. 

This is a tough week. Yesterday at church, during the part of the
service at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland (where I was visiting
for the day--my old home church) called the Embracing Meditation, I
wanted to call out Jerry's name for the remembrance of his birth and
death within the same two-week period, but kept it to myself and just
offered it up. 

I'm spending the week away from my family at an institute at Stanford
on 21st-century Librarianship. It's a good thing to be doing, but it
does have that peculiar effect that travel often has, of dislocation
and of kicking me into thinking differently. 

I would greatly appreciate anyone who notes any media mentions of the
book letting me know--either via this topic or by email to me at
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #86 of 136: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Mon 7 Aug 00 14:55
It ran in BAM as a cover story; what was published was about a third
of the interview,the transcript of which is at

inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #87 of 136: David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 7 Aug 00 22:37
Right! Thanks.
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #88 of 136: Paddy Ladd (jeanpaddieu) Tue 8 Aug 00 10:33
OK, going off on a tangent, not too far from palo alto, and coming
back to steve's discussion re gay Deadheaddom, I'd like to ask if
anyone has any thoughts on the following.

Really this shud probably be an essay/tour journal but this'll do as a

One thing that struck this Brit very strongly when arriving in Ventura
1985 was an immediate threat to his heterosexuality/repressed
whateverality. Golden sands, golden sunset, golden dope, beautiful
people, both male and female.

It really did feel like there was a whole vibe of bi-sexuality very
much 'out' there. After that time, I spent more and more time in the
USA, and mostly around Deadheads, some around Deaf folk, and some
around the combination of the two. And just continued to get this sense
that bi-sexuality was much much further advanced than in the UK. The
whole USA 'go for it' philosophy seemed to encourage people to be

So my question, Rabbi Silbermann and other cultural philosophers,is :

Does this ring true to you at all, and if so, how does impinge on the
issues about few openly out Gay Deadheads etc. Does bi-sexuality and
the GD scene create more psychic space for hugging and grokking and
general male/etc closeness that's normally not accepted ? Or is there a
similar political issue around Gay-Bi issues as there is in parts of
the UK - that Bi is cheating and unfaithful and will always leave you
just when you fall in love with them etc etc ?!

In other words, did this enhance or frustrate one's showgoing
experiences etc ?

All references to Bobby will be removed by the Grandmaster of
Deadsanitation, so don't waste yor fingertips.

You may consult the audience or make a phone call if need be :-)  
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #89 of 136: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Wed 9 Aug 00 10:45
I think maybe it looks different if you're from California....

In the absence of Steve et al., I'd venture the opinion that
among the Deadhead hordes there were plenty of people who'd try
anything and plenty of people who were raging racists/homophobes/bigots
of various sorts and plenty who were generally live-and-let-live.
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #90 of 136: David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 9 Aug 00 19:44

It's funny, I remember those 85 Ventura shows, and in particular, I
remember running into Jerry Joseph, lead singer at the time of Little
Women, dressed in a skirt and dancing like crazy.

Update on the availability of the book: I just stopped in at the famed
Kepler's Books here in Palo Alto (meeting place of Garcia and Hunter,
or so it is told) and they don't have the book yet. I'll have to check
with Oxford to see where the heck it is! Should be in stores by now.
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #91 of 136: Tony Barreca (tbarreca) Thu 10 Aug 00 11:43
If Garcia and Hunter did meet at Kepler's, it was a very different store
from the one there now.  The original Kepler's was a small, woodframe house
in which the individual rooms were filled with mostly used books.
Nostalgia, perhaps (an emotion that goes well with this topic, I suppose),
but I sorta prefer that old place!
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #92 of 136: Tony Barreca (tbarreca) Thu 10 Aug 00 14:32
Actually, I think the store that I described must have been the used book
annex.  I think they had a more typical small store just around the corner.
The good news is that nostalgia goes well with early-onset Alzheimers!
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #93 of 136: David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 11 Aug 00 11:41

Thanks for this info! Another possible book: Tour Guide to Grateful
Dead sites (Bay Area and worldwide)! Or this could be a fun web site to
design... hmmm.

The discussion so far has been fascinating to me, because it has
focused on the aspect of diversity within the Deadhead subculture. This
is a perfect topic to go along with the very idea of an anthology!

Before the topic is taken from the Inkwell front burner, I did want to
tell one little story that gives some insight, maybe, into the method
of work we used to edit this anthology. First off, I want to state
again that the creation of books (print on paper) is now, and has
possibly always been, a cottage industry. People who love a topic (and
who may come, by the end of their work, to hate a topic) commit large
amounts of private time to the work involved in putting a book
together. Oxford has quite a process for submitting a prospectus and
obtaining reviews from experts in the field, but beyond that it's up to
the author to obtain permissions, pay for those permissions, and, once
the manuscript has been submitted, proofread and index the book. Along
the way is that easily-overlooked state of production during which one
types or otherwise inputs the actual words, the text, that will
ultimately appear. And, in the case of this book, some of the writing
is, um, idiosyncratic!

For about a week, while Diana and I were in Singapore last year, we
stayed up late at night after putting our small daughter to bed and
worked on getting exactly right the inputting of Ed McClanahan's
wonderful article, "Grateful Dead I Have Known." To do this, we had to
first type in the entire article, which is long, and then read it aloud
to each other. Our reading had to include punctuation and weird
spellings, of which there is much, and though this may have made for a
certain degree of amusement, it was McClanahan's brilliantly FUNNY
writing, combined with having to read it all out loud, that made us go
into hysterics (plus, we were really tired), rolling on the floor
laughing, during the editing of the piece. All worth it. 

And now, after two books, I look at every book on the shelf in every
library (and right now I'm sitting in Stanford's Green Library, a
miraculous place) as a small miracle of dedication and devotion.
Someone's spare, private hours were spent on the creation of any given
book, and should be looked at in that way. Enough preaching...
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #94 of 136: Linda Castellani (castle) Fri 11 Aug 00 20:12

I'm enjoying this immensely!  I'm just popping in to say you are welcome
to continue for as long as you like, we've enjoyed having you these last
two weeks!
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #95 of 136: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Sat 12 Aug 00 09:07
And hey, how 'bout that statue?:-)
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #96 of 136: Steve Silberman (digaman) Sun 13 Aug 00 20:48
    <scribbled by digaman Sun 13 Aug 00 20:49>
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #97 of 136: Steve Silberman (digaman) Sun 13 Aug 00 20:55
Sorry Paddy, I was away for a bit.  Still am away, on Cape Cod on my annual
family retreat.
My feeling is that there is always much more experimental bisexuality going on
in any scene, especially among open-hearted young people, than is generally
known.  Certainly Santa Cruz surfers are not usually considered to be a
homoerotic crowd, and yet I had a friend who had grown up surfing there -- one
of the most beautiful guys I've ever seen, by the way -- and he confided to me
that many of the surfers there would sleep cuddled up together, and knew they
"loved" each other in their passionate friendships, even if they made anti-gay
comments in public.  (He's married now -- that's what happens.)  I suspect
that, among a certain echelon of tour kids, this was probably going on, with
casual three-ways in tour buses and so forth.  The simple level of physical
beauty was so high at shows, and with the psychedelics and ecstasy (both large
and small E) around to deprogram the robotic inhibitions against same-sex
warmth and playfulness, there must have been some interesting times on
tour.  Alas, I was not a part of those times -- only once went home with a guy
from a show and fooled around, other than the couple of times I brought
boyfriends.  I had an 11-year relationship with a non-Deadhead that outlasted
the length of my Golden Era of Deadheaddom at the Greek, the Frost, and the
Kaiser -- I'd come home illuminated, and he'd be asleep, sigh.  But I assume
*some* of those dudes must have been getting it on!  I still remember several
guys who I saw at shows *decades* ago. I assume it's the same for anyone --
perfect animas or animuses radiating in the midst of the dancing swirl,
electricity made flesh.  One of those visions-of-the-ideal guys, whom I
remember pouring water down his shirtless torso by the drinking fountains at
the Greek in '85 -- a vision of carv'd Adamic glory to shame the mere statue of
the David -- was Tommy Rosen, the director of a wonderful, profound, sadly
overlooked fictional account of Deadhead life that just came out on video,
"Around the Fire."  He's certainly one of the most exquisite Deadheads there
ever was <grin>.
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #98 of 136: Paddy Ladd (jeanpaddieu) Mon 14 Aug 00 11:36
hi Steve.

So glad you made it :-)   cudnt really go forwards without ya...

well.... hmmmm..... yor customary eloquence seems to have said it
all...   but lemme think....

i am still moved by yor account i think.... ie one part being what you
are saying abt you... wow... too bad you cudnt get some 'legit' access
to all those beautiful people you saw around you for 11 still
digesting <that>

just as well the shows were good huh <grin>

i think you about summed it up.... its interesting that i mentioned
ventura as my first frame of ref, my first hit of cali grass [or rather
2 hits more than i cud cope with]  and then the entire universe went
sensual.... so that was freaky, having to deal with beautiful males [as
well as the females]in that sun-setting glow over the ocean and around
thoz beach trees in that place [sighhhhhhh].

i wud even venture to say that cali grass has probably been  - what do
they call it - husbanded ?? - to produce a sensual variety of grass

but the point is that this is, like, a small taste of the whole thing
youre talking abt.

so my qquestion now becomes - was this simply/mainly a west coast GD

Or did the whole experience you describe affect everyone on all 3
coasts ?  and if so, equally ?

just my dumb qqs to see what comes...

and as for gay-bisexual 'annoyance' in the GD scene, am i right to
assume from yor account that this basically simply wasnt an issue ?

I still feel that this is all way difrent than the UK folks of my age
[but who knows ?!}... tho i notice that the young deaf kids are
seriously bi-sexual/gay in great numbers, especially those from Deaf
families, whatever that means....

and hey, while I'm here, can I post a plea for a deaf friendly ticket
for shoreline show ?? In the name of art and literature of course :-)

inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #99 of 136: whispering from the sidelines (choco) Tue 15 Aug 00 08:41
(I hesitate to speak up as I am not well schooled on the GD, but this
has been a fascinating and very "warm" thread to read. Thank you. Now
gotta go buy da book!)
inkwell.vue.81 : The Grateful Dead Reader
permalink #100 of 136: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Tue 15 Aug 00 10:16
If you find it in a store, let us know!


Members: Enter the conference to participate. All posts made in this conference are world-readable.

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

   Join Us
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook