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]

(There’s an archive of Grateful Dead Hour shows on dead.net; a new one is added every Wednesday.)

5 Responses 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

  2. DG says:

    I agree 100%, Ilene! The only requirement to be a Deadhead, as far as I’m concerned, is to love the music.

  3. Ilene RichRds says:

    !continued from above)

    You don’t need an advanced degree in the Grateful Dead to be e a Deadhead. That sort of intellectual arrogance has no place in the very democratic and accepting community of Deadheads. If you really love the band and you’re excited about learning everything you can about the music ; if you are emotionally. as well as intellectually drawn to the music,then you most definitely are a bona fiide Deadhead! The fact that this writer understands that he’s just beginning his GD adventure is magnificent! For in a sense, we are all “beginners” as each one of us is constantly learning more and more about The GD

    Thanks so much David Gand for continuing this amazing trip

  4. Ilene Richards says:

    HELP! Sorry this is the third time I have attempted to finish sh my comments. Not sure why it’s website won’t allow me fo this.l

    Recognition as a DeadHead! The writer has indeed all the qualifications necessary. And is indeed a real DeadHead. We are all neophytes in the sense that learning about Yhe GD, the complexities of the music; the masterful improvisations, and more is an ongoing process for everyone— no matter how long we have been on the bus!

    DAVID GANS Sally my love to you for enriching the GD experience for me over these many years!

  5. David Davis says:

    The writer is virtually the same age as me (Im 58); I think it doesnt matter what age, or what level of interest. Im just glad there have been people like Mr Gans and the members of the band giving us so much info and so much insight into the music which Ive been enjoying for more than 40 years. I know alot about the band because thats crazyness. Every fan is just important as any other and will always be

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