Letter from a listener

Posted here with the writer’s permission:

Dear David:

Through dead.net, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying archival presentations of your program “The Grateful Dead Hour” while slogging through stuff I have to deal with at the office. The Grateful Dead are 22 years past-tense, and from what I understand, finding their more listenable material requires going even further back in time. I wanted to tell you that I REALLY appreciate the quality of the research you’ve done or the guests whom you feature, and the alternate takes (from the Dead and others) of music they’ve played. It sounds very professionally done, and, with first-rate access you seem to have (to those who’ve crossed the paths of GD members in significant ways), worthwhile for listening. It’s very professional in the impression it leaves, even if that’s achieved more by creativity and innovation than by lavish budget. Anyway, without more polysyllabic puffery, very well done.

Context: I just turned 57 yrs old, and through accompaniment of a younger friend to two Dead & Co. Shows last June (in San Jose – we had to travel about 750 miles from my driveway north of Seattle), have become initially interested in things ‘Dead, but through the prism / filter of my pre-existing music prejudices. Allegedly I had my face stolen the second of those shows, but I’d say my interest level isn’t single-subject obsessive (hope that doesn’t come across as too arrogant – I don’t mean for it to), so it might be that I’m not a full-fledged Dead-head (but instead a novice). I’ve picked up some very good quality (of performance and recording) live ‘Dead CDs, playing them when I exercise in the basement after work. I’ve read the Lesh and Kreutzmann memoirs, seen “Long and Strange Trip”, and truthfully wonder how any of those 4 guys are still alive (let alone still perform). So although I’m old, and so is the music, it’s new to me, and an interesting discovery. It’s hard to get my arms around what all I was exposed to – an audience culture, a special vocabulary, a unique repertoire, and of course that tendency to improvise when my own instinct says, “please stay with the melody” (the best improvisation will do it anyway, but step around it). Anyway I hope they (Dead & Co.) stay at it long enough for me to catch a few more shows live, and intend to further explore your archives. I need to cultivate hearing of the interaction of individual instruments instead of melody/structure/texture/transition.

I don’t know when you’d get up to the Pacific Northwest, but would appreciate the opportunity to hear you play and sing.

With Respect and Gratitude…

[name withheld]

One Response to “Letter from a listener”

  1. Ilene Richards says:

    Found this letter fascinating from several points of view.

    ONE the age of the writer. He said he’s 57 That’s not “old”. I’m soon to be 75. And that’s not kid either! I’ve been on the bus forever. And David’s Grateful Dead hour had given me so much information that I otherwise may never have gotten.

    TWO-What is a true Deadhead. The author believes he’s just a neophyte. I disagree. You don’t need an advanced degree in Yhe Grateful Dead to geIn

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