Archive for the ‘Gratifying’ Category

DG’s Stanford “Overture”

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

Here is the address I delivered to the first session of “MUS 49 — Psychedelia and Groove: The Music and Culture of the Grateful Dead,” a class I am teaching for Stanford Continuing Studies.

I wanted to call this class DID IT MATTER? DOES IT NOW? The answer is “Yes, and… yes!”

Please think of this as the OVERTURE, with hints of themes to come. Just let it wash over you! Lots of these bits will be elaborated on as we go.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead brought together a group of brilliant and musically diverse people, created a sophisticated musical language, and invited us to listen in on an ongoing conversation, in which the group gave equal weight to their original songs and their interpretations of songs from elsewhere – all woven together with a unique form of collective improvisation. As the years went by, they continued to expand their sonic palettes along with their repertoires, and large numbers of us stayed with them through all the changes.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead played more than 2000 shows in thirty years, a great percentage of which are thoroughly documented in various media, and because several generations of Americans – and a few people on other continents, too – organized their lives to a great extent around their relationships with this band and its fan community.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead cultivated an audience that welcomed new songs and was happy to hear a fresh twist on an old one.

• We’re here because the sailor gave at least a try.

• We’re here because there are web sites devoted to Grateful Dead set lists; web sites where you can listen to hundreds of concert recordings for free; a scholar who makes mandalas that attempt to describe the universe of “Dark Star,” and another who delves deep into union records and rental receipts to map out Jerry Garcia’s musical travels from the 1950s til he died in ’95.

• We’re here because a lot of people like licorice.

• We’re here because, as Gary Lambert likes to point out, the Grateful Dead performed unstructured, abstract music to audiences of thousands on a regular basis.

• We’re here because Jerry Garcia brought some of his bluegrass practices to the proto-Grateful Dead, thinking it would be great to have “an electric band where the instruments talk to each other.”

• We’re here because various members of the Grateful Dead collected and transmuted input from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Charles Ives, Ken Kesey, Chuck Berry, Lord Buckley, Ornette Coleman, Mississippi John Hurt, Bill Monroe, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Jesse Winchester, Hamza el-Din, The Band, Ken Nordine, the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir, reggae, jazz, blues, musique concréte, African and Indian scales and grooves, samplers, synthesizers, and such.

• We’re here because as Mikal Gilmore wrote, “At their best, they were a band capable of surprising both themselves and their audience… playing as if they had spent their whole lives learning to make music as a way of talking to one another, and as if music were the language of their sodality, and therefore their history.”

• We’re here because you ain’t gonna learn what you don’t wanna know.

• We’re here because the studio recording of “Dark Star” is less than three minutes long while live performances tended to go for 20 or so and once peaked at 48 minutes.

• We’re here because Sue Swanson, Connie Bonner, and Bob Matthews decided to help their pals the Warlocks become famous so they could all meet the Beatles.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead produced not one but two brilliant songwriting partnerships – Jerry Garcia with Robert Hunter, and Bob Weir with John Perry Barlow – and because every other band member also contributed eminently worthy material.

• We’re here because, as Regan McMahon observed, Grateful Dead music is loaded with biblical references, death, and gambling. And I would like to note that Grateful Dead music features at least one talking dog.

• We’re here because a friend of the devil is a friend of mine.

• We’re here because when I became a Deadhead, I couldn’t find any books on the Grateful Dead until 1973, and when I published my first book on the subject in 1985 there were maybe half a dozen. As I speak to you today, there are hundreds of books about the Grateful Dead, and my personal contribution to the pile is up to five of ‘em!

• We’re here because a significant number of key behind-the-scenes players in the Grateful Dead world were women. There was plenty of sexism in that the various sub-subcultures of this scene, of course, but women were essential to the operation.

• We’re here because one of those women, Eileen Law – the face and voice of the Grateful Dead – was my main contact in the office when I was covering the Grateful Dead for BAM magazine in 1976, and it was her voice on the ticket hotline in the later years.

• We’re here because Donna Godchaux had the chutzpah to approach Jerry Garcia at a club gig and tell him that her husband was his next keyboard player – and it turned out to be true!

• We’re here because Jerry Garcia played the banjo when he was young and then came back to it in 1973 with Old and In the Way, a band that introduced a lot of hippies to bluegrass!

• We’re here because there were days when all we ever wanted was to learn and love and grow.

• We’re here because, as Peter Richardson told me, “The Dead seemed to flourish when Ronald Reagan was in office – first as California governor (1966-74) and then as president (1980-88).”

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead played so many benefits that they eventually founded a nonprofit, the Rex Foundation, that continues to do good in the world to this day, in memory of Rex Jackson, a member of the Grateful Dead road crew.

• We’re here because Les Kippel and Jerry Moore started a tape trading newsletter that evolved into a Grateful Dead magazine called RELIX that still exists today, and because of Mikel and Dupree’s Diamond News and Unbroken Chain and The Golden Road, and other periodicals that served the music and the community.

• We’re here because, as Nick Meriwether of the the Grateful Dead Studies Association tells me, there have been more than 600 papers presented at Popular Culture Association conferences representing more than 25 different disciplines “from musicology and literary studies to history and sociology.”

• We’re here because a web site called gratefuldeadtributebands.com has listings of Dead cover bands and other related musical happenings every day, from coast to coast.

• We’re here because I know musicians in their 30s who couldn’t possibly have seen Jerry Garcia play live but who have become fluent speakers of the Grateful Dead language and practitioners of collective improvisation.

• We’re here because a band that isn’t the Grateful Dead played a sold-out concert at Red Rocks in Colorado a few years back, celebrating and re-creating the Dead’s sold-out performance in that venue 40+ years earlier.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead played a big part in the evolution of concert sound, eagerly collaborating with various geniuses to improve everything from guitar pickups to PA speakers and everything in between.

• We’re here because Deadheads and other recording enthusiasts taped pretty much every Grateful Dead concert after the first few years, and distributed copies for free: VIRAL MARKETING before that term existed!

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead served their community by fighting for the right to issue their own tickets for their shows, and created a ticket office run by fans of the band to make sure the people who loved the Dead the most got to see the shows.

• We’re here because Lonnie Frazier got healed on a surprise road trip to see the Grateful Dead in Colorado, and because there are so many more like her who found fellowship in the Deadhead community. They didn’t all make movies, but I’ve heard so many stories! I’ll borrow a line from John Denver, of all people, to describe the feeling so many have reported when they arrived in the Grateful Dead world: “coming home to a place we’d never been before.”

• We’re here because as Jerry Garcia recovered from a diabetic coma in 1986, Merl Saunders spent days helping him to relearn the guitar.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead inspired artists of all kinds to make graphical portmanteaus of GD and other corporate logos – such as a t-shirt that combines Grateful Dead and Federal Express on the front and WHEN YOU ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY HAVE TO BE THERE EVERY NIGHT on the back, or MORNING DEW replacing MOUNTAIN DEW on a soft drink logo.

• We’re here because you know it’s gonna get stranger.

• We’re here because Tom Stack sold unauthorized t-shirts in the parking lot on Dead tour, became a licensee, and wound up running Grateful Dead merchandising for several years.

• We’re here because Courtenay Pollock went walking one day and wound up making tie-dyes for the Grateful Dead.

• We’re here because Ben and Jerry are Deadheads, and so are retired senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken, former vice president Al Gore, Steve Wozniak, Bill Walton! and Tucker Carlson. And Steve Liesman, senior economics correspondent for CNBC, also plays in a Dead tribute called Stella Blue’s Band.

• We’re here because Patti Smith recorded “Black Peter” the day Jerry Garcia died and let me put it on a record called Stolen Roses: Songs of the Grateful Dead.

• We’re here because Stephen Inglis made a record of Grateful Dead songs in a Hawaiian slack-key style, and because the David Murray Octet recorded a kick-ass version of “One More Saturday Night,” and because Wake the Dead play their Dead music in a Celtic groove.

• We’re here because the a grade-school singing troupe called the Barton Hills Choir has released two albums of Grateful Dead songs.

• We’re here because Grateful Dead was something of a killer app for online community.

• We’re here because Grateful Dead was something of a killer app for online streaming of live concerts.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead created their own career path: while most of the music business profited most from the sale and airplay of studio recordings, the Dead made their living playing live. Over time, as CD sales collapsed, the rest of the industry came over to our side: the bands that once toured to support their records now make records to support their tours.

• We’re here because Time Magazine, in an early-‘70s article about music fans, characterized the GD audience as “male lonerism” – but we turned it into a family-friendly culture that now sports three and even four generations of Deadheads.

• We’re here because at Jerry Garcia’s funeral, Bob Dylan told John Scher that Jerry had been the only person alive who knew what it was like to be him.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead persisted long enough to become a formidable entry in the annals of the record business after all. Among other things, the Dead are tied with Frank Sinatra for the most top-40 albums at 56, and the Dave’s Picks CD series has the most releases of any single band, at 49 and counting.

• We’re here because Phil Lesh is about to turn 84 and he’s still playing music, and because Bob Weir is 76 and tours with a ten-piece band and occasionally plays with a symphony orchestra.

• We’re here because the Grateful Dead are more popular now than they’ve ever been.

• We’re here because Bill Kreutzmann’s son Justin made a film called Let There Be Drums, worked as a producer on The Long Strange Trip, and is currently making the definitive documentary on the life of Jerry Garcia.

• We’re here because “Sure don’t know what I’m goin’ for/But I’m gonna go for it for sure” turned out to be a viable career plan for me.

• We’re here because I have been curating Grateful Dead music on the radio and elsewhere for going on 40 years and I’ve never gotten the slightest bit tired of it.

• We’re here because Gary Lambert is a wonderful co-host! We have collaborated improvisationally on SirisuXM’s Tales from the Golden Road for 16 years, shooting the shit about the Grateful Dead.

• We’re here because Joel Selvin, longtime music writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, recommended me to teach a class on the Grateful Dead.

• And we’re here because, as it turns out, several hundred of you are interested enough in this subject that you signed up for the class. Thank you!

DG teaches GD at Stanford!

Thursday, December 28th, 2023

I have signed on to teach a Grateful Dead class for Stanford Continuing Studies. It’ll be six Monday evenings, starting in mid-January (skipping one week in February).

You can find out more, and/or sign up for the class, here: continuingstudies.stanford.edu/gratefuldead

The sessions will be recorded, and students will be able to watch later. This will be helpful to people on the east coast!

From the syllabus:

Grateful Dead music is collaborative and improvisational. Accordingly, I have invited guest speakers to join me in at least five of the classes. I’ve been an oral historian and a radio interviewer for more than 40 years; I have learned that conversation is a vastly more effective mode of presentation than lecturing.

Regardless of the stated keyword for the session, each of the speakers will have things to say about multiple topics, so we won’t really be confined to the nominal theme. Instead, students will benefit from the experiences of many experts, each of whom is also a life-long Deadhead with personal stories and perspectives as well as historical and critical knowledge.

For each session I will consult with the guest to create a playlist of, say, 60-90 minutes – reflecting various aspects of the band’s musical and cultural development.

We’ll trace the Dead’s trajectory from private parties and pizza joints to theaters and hockey rinks and stadiums, examining their achievements and struggles. We’ll see how this music and this culture affected the lives of thousands of fans; we’ll take a look at a tribe that has grown over the decades and now features Deadhead families four generations deep.

We’ll hear how the music changed over time, as the dialogue among these musically diverse characters inspired growth both individual and collective; we’ll see how the Grateful Dead invested in high-quality audio tools and sound systems to deliver maximum creativity at maximum quality from the Summer of Love to the summer of ’95.

Today is my 1000th livestream

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

Today I will play my 1000th online live show.

When my gigs started getting canceled in March of 2020, I decided to start playing a live set online every day. It’s been fun, and I’ve made some decent money doing it, and it led to my opening an online store that has also served me well. And along the way, I made a bunch of new friends!

Today’s set happens an hour early because I have another gig later. Please join me today (6/21/23) at 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern (I usually play at 4pm PT)

YouTube
Twitter
Facebook
Streamstock

Tip jar, CDs, signed books, t-shirts, and mugs: perfectible.net

Peter Hartlaub wrote about me in the San Francisco Chronicle:



Garcia Songbook Live in Berkeley tonight (early show!)

Sunday, April 16th, 2023

Joe Craven, David Gans, Lorna Kollmeyer, Jeff Hobbs, Joe Kyle, Jr and special guest Mookie Siegel – telling the story in our own voice!

Sunday 4/16. Doors at 6, show at 6:30
Art House Gallery and Cultural Center
2905 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley

Tickets are available here

Click here to hear our new studio recording of “Attics of My Life

DG’s daily livestream

Saturday, January 7th, 2023

With certain exceptions, I am still playing a live set online every afternoon! 4-5pm PT daily:

YouTube
Twitter
Facebook
Streamstock

Tip jar, CDs, signed books, t-shirts, and mugs: perfectible.net

These performances are archived online. Here is a page with the setlists, and there’s a link to the video on most of the entries. And here is a list of the songs I have played – more than 500, counting 100+ unique improvisations.

DG and Joe Rut swap songs 1/6/23

Saturday, January 7th, 2023

Joe Rut and me in my living room Friday, January 6, 2023. I heard lots of songs I had never heard before, and I was blown away! He is an amazing songwriter.

Pickle and Taco (Ringo and Percy)
Down to Eugene
What She Had Tattooed Across Her Heart
High Guy
Gaslight Blues
Therapy Blues
The Enabler
Forever
Teslas All the Way Down
These Apartments
Heart Bird Dream
The Town That Still Believes in Magic
Desert Queen
Shove in the Right Direction
El Dorado
Distance to the Door
Whiskey Bottle

Grateful Dead in Boulder CO 9/3/72: were you there?

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

This is from my dear friend G Brown, who runs the Colorado Music Experience. They’re planning to commemorate the Dead’s performance at Folsom Field (Boulder CO) on September 3, 1972, and they would love to hear from anybody who was there!

Colorado Music Experience is looking for any anecdotes or memories from people who attended the Grateful Dead’s first show at Folsom Field in Boulder — 50 years ago, in September 1972. We welcome any musical or cultural input, but specifically, we’d love any intel regarding the explosion of “lids”/reefer that occurred near both sides of the stage in the middle of the show. We’ll post responses in conjunction with the Dead’s show at Folsom next month (6/17-18). info@colomusic.org is email address. (Thanks to our previous good work, we’ve got photos, posters, ticket stubs, etc. to festoon this info.)

DG’s live show 12/25/21

Sunday, December 26th, 2021

Here is my live show from Christmas Day. Some people can’t or won’t go to FB, so I posted this for another friend and thought I’d share it here.

David Gans 12/25/21 live from Oakland (Dropbox link)

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da->
Forever Young
Forever
The Town That Still Believes in Magic
The Times, They Are A-Changin’
You’ve Got a Friend
Help Me Make It Through the Night
Cassidy’s Cat
Bartender’s Blues
Listen
Yellow Moon
My Sisters and Brothers

Most of this set is requests from a group of regulars, celebrating the birthday of one of them. My active repertoire is well over 300 songs.

“Help Me Make it Through the Night” returned to my repertoire after I heard Kris Kristofferson sing it on The Muppet Show the other night. And that somehow inspired me to remember “Bartender’s Blues,” which I have sung with Darlis Wood at many parties.

I play a live set every day, and I am planning to continue doing so until it’s safe to play gigs outside the house again.

Tuesday through Sunday 4-5pm Pacific Time @deadheadland
Monday 3-4:15pm Pacific time @dgansmusic

Fundraiser for Robin Sylvester

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

We need to raise $100,000 to help Robin Sylvester deal with ongoing health issues! Click this link to read the story! You can make a contribution here.

SFAS interview with John Curl

Monday, April 12th, 2021

The San Francisco Audiophile Society asked me to interview John Curl about his work on the Grateful Dead’s sound systems over the years. The conversation took place via Zoom on Saturday, April 3, 2021. SFAS posted the video here.

This was actually my second interview with Curl for SFAS. The first one, on October 20, 2018, wasn’t recorded; they asked us to do it again for the archive. Here is SFAS’s writeup of the first one.

Kind words about THIS IS ALL A DREAM…

Saturday, March 13th, 2021

“I wanted to drop you a line about my impressions of This Is All A Dream…. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Your formula of stringing together (more or less in line) snippets from multiple interviews of Dead Family members and associates works in spectacular fashion to bring this history to life. Many of the events described have been more or less well known for a long time but I’m finding the perspectives of two or more participants in an event recalled at different times lends so much more substance to it. And of course so many of these events have been heretofore been completely unknown to me. I’m delighted that you accessed all those first person accounts and wove them into this informative volume. Your book has an honored place on my shelf of Dead material.”

– Miranda Vand
quoted with her permission

My co-author lives on the next block, so when you order a hardcover or paperback, it’ll be signed by both of us! I’ve also got lots of music for sale in my online store, perfectible.net.

KPFA Grateful Dead marathon 2/20/21 – PLAYLIST

Saturday, February 20th, 2021

Art by Darrin Brenner


Donate to KPFA online!
Hosts: Tim Lynch and David Gans

Streaming live: nugs.net gdradio.net kpfa.org

SHAKEDOWN STREET->
PROMISED LAND
THEY LOVE EACH OTHER
MAMA TRIED->
MEXICALI BLUES
LOSER->
LITTLE RED ROOSTER
RAMBLE ON ROSE
LET IT GROW
– Grateful Dead 5/23/82 Greek Theater, Berkeley CA

MY BROTHER ESAUBob Weir & Wolf Bros 2/12/21 TRI Studios, San Rafael CA

SCARLET BEGONIAS->
FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN
SAMSON AND DELILAH
SHIP OF FOOLS
ESTIMATED PROPHET->
EYES OF THE WORLD
DRUMS->
SPACE->
THE OTHER ONE->
STELLA BLUE->
I NEED A MIRACLE->
CASEY JONES
~
(I CAN’T GET NO) SATISFACTION
BROKEDOWN PALACE
– Grateful Dead 5/23/82 Greek Theater, Berkeley CA

FUNKY JAM – Grateful Dead studio jam 2/28/75 Mill Valley CA

PLAYING IN THE BAND
~
CHINA CAT SUNFLOWER->
I KNOW YOU RIDER
JACK STRAW
WAVE THAT FLAG
GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
TRUCKIN’->
EYES OF THE WORLD
– Grateful Dead 3/30/73 Community War Memorial, Rochester NY

I KNOW IT’S A SIN – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders, GarciaLive vol 15

GET OUT OF MY LIFE WOMAN – Allen Toussaint, Songbook
SMOKESTACK LIGHTNING – Howlin’ Wolf, from Chess Blues 1954-1990
NEXT TIME YOU SEE ME – The Nightcaps, Wine, Wine, Wine
I AIN’T SUPERSTITIOUS – Willie Dixon, I Am the Blues
HARD TO HANDLE – Grateful Dead 3/24/71 Winterland, San Francisco

NOT FADE AWAY->
GOIN’ DOWN THE ROAD FEELING BAD->
ONE MORE SATURDAY NIGHT
– Grateful Dead 3/30/73 Community War Memorial, Rochester NY

BERTHA->
GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD
DIRE WOLF
CC RIDER
LOSER
CASSIDY
DUPREE’S DIAMOND BLUES
HELL IN A BUCKET->
MIGHT AS WELL
– Grateful Dead 7/13/84 Greek Theater, Berkeley CA

GOLDEN DAYSVince Welnick & Missing Man Formation

– KPFA EVENING NEWS –

EASY WIND – Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead – The Angel’s Share
LOVELIGHT – Grateful Dead 10/20/68 Greek Theater, Berkeley CA

SCARLET BEGONIAS->
DANCIN’ IN THE STREETS
(4/18/78) – Grateful Dead, Dave’s Picks vol. 37

SAMSON AND DELILAH
WHEN I PAINT MY MASTERPIECE
THE HOBO SONG
DARK HOLLOW
CATFISH JOHN
HENRY
BIG BOSS MAN
DEEP ELEM BLUES (partial – oops!)
I’VE BEEN ALL AROUND THIS WORLD
MR CHARLIE
DEEP ELEM BLUES
BLUES IN A BOTTLE
STEALIN’
MIDNIGHT MOONLIGHT
Vince Herman 2/20/21 Streamstock.tv

EYES OF THE WORLDBob Weir & Wolf Bros 2/12/21 TRI Studios, San Rafael CA

SCARLET BEGONIAS->
TOUCH OF GREY->
FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN->
MAN SMART, WOMAN SMARTER->
DRUMS->
SPACE->
THE WHEEL->
I NEED A MIRACLE->
STELLA BLUE->
SUGAR MAGNOLIA
~
DARK STAR
– Grateful Dead 7/13/84 Greek Theater, Berkeley CA

US BLUES – Bob Weir & Ratdog 11/5/08 Warner Theater, Washington DC

In memory of “Hippie Bill” Garbe

ONE KIND FAVOR – Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders, GarciaLive vol 15
TERRAPIN STATION – Grateful Dead, Dave’s Picks vol 29
ST STEPHEN – Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks vol 2
END OF THE WORLD BLUESLauren Murphy, Psychedelics
BEAT IT ON DOWN THE LINE – Jesse “Lone Cat” Fuller, from The Music Never Stopped: Roots of the Grateful Dead
SHINING STAR – The Manhattans, After Midnight

MY BROTHER ESAU
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL
LOST SAILOR->
SAINT OF CIRCUMSTANCE->
DEAL
– Grateful Dead 4/4/85 Providence Civic Center

LET IT GROW – Grateful Dead 7/18/76 Orpheum Theater, San Francisco

IMMENSE GRATITUDE TO:
Vince Herman
David Ogilvy
Gary Lambert
Mary Tilson
Kevin Hunsanger
Michael Zagaris
Tom Stack
Quincy McCoy
Laura Prives
Brian David
Mike Kohn
Krystal Pistola
Matt Busch
Derek Featherstone
Grateful Beans/Sandy Hall
streamstock.tv
nugs.net
gdradio.net
Listeners, Donors, supporters!
This is what community looks like!

Kind words for THIS IS ALL A DREAM…

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

J.W. Harris received the book as a gift and sent these kind words (shared with his permission):

“As I fully expected, I thoroughly enjoyed the read!! Moreso, however, I greatly respect and appreciate the task you set before yourselves in creating this work. As a former journalist, and now an all-too occasional freelance writer, I immediately began to see the herculean task the project wrought. On occasion, I have dabbled in the framework of oral history, but nothing on the order of magnitude “Dream” had to have involved. Hell, the mere collecting – and transcribing where needed – of interview material would be a bear alone. But the two of you not only did the hard work, you found the threads and themes to weave through the vignettes, creating a very conversational “history” – seeing events from multiple viewpoints, but now ‘narrated’ by the off-stage whisper of not only the two of you, but by Time itself. Praises … and the expected curses of one so Envious!! Seriously, a great job, and I am most pleased to add it to my library.”

You can order a SIGNED hardcover or paperback at perfectible.net. Blair lives a few doors away, so you’ll get both autographs on the book!

A political story with a happy ending

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

This story begins with a house concert in Missoula, Montana. I have been friends with the host, Stew Weis, for a number of years and I have played in his and Meg’s home several times.

On the morning after the concert, we had a fairly substantial stack of uneaten pizza, plus some other items. I suggested we find a homeless shelter that would appreciate a modest donation.

Almost two years later, I received this email from Stew. I share it here with his blessing.

Greetings David,

I’ve been meaning to shoot you this message for some time and I’m finally doing it.

I don’t know if you remember this, but on the morning of Sunday, October 28th, 2018, you and I hopped in the car with a whole bunch of leftover pizza, salad and cake from the previous night’s house concert and drove it to the Poverello Center, Missoula’s most prominent homeless shelter, and dropped off our haul, feeling pretty confident that every last morsel would be enjoyed.

Well, that part you most likely do remember. This next part you may not.

On the way home from dropping off the food, I worked up the courage to broach the subject of politics with you. It took courage because at that time, I considered myself a Republican and at least on Facebook, I don’t think that I had ever witnessed you using the word “Republican” without it being prefaced by the adjectives, “those motherfucking.” So, I was a bit gunshy about admitting to you my party affiliation. Though I did further explain that I did *not* vote for Trump, yet I could not vote for Hillary, either. I voted for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, which I can see in hindsight was a huge mistake and a total waste of my vote. I also explained that I had always considered myself a “social liberal” and a “fiscal conservative.” And finally, as an employer with ~200 employees, I “get to” experience crushing federal regulation that a non-employer just cannot appreciate, which is why most business people with any significant number of employees tend to be Republican.

Thankfully, and really not surprisingly, you accepted my position with respect and decency. Thank you for that.

Little did I know that this was a bit over a year from a totally unexpected and dramatic change coming my way.

While my disdain for Donald Trump slowly grew over the ensuing months, what pushed me right over the edge was the Ukraine scandal, the infamous quid pro quo and the ensuing impeachment hearings. I became a voracious consumer of cable news, viewing for hours on end, CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News, just to keep tabs on what bullshit was going on over there. I watched almost the entire impeachment hearings and the Democrats impressive parade of witnesses, including but not limited to Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch, Gordon Sondland, Fiona Hill and more. It was during these hearings that I got to know the names and quickly came to hate, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Matt Gaetz, Doug Collins, John Ratcliffe, Louis Gohmert and several others. I was stunned by the way these assholes fell in lockstep behind Trump, even though to my eyes (and I must admit to taking a degree of pride in being able to tell the difference between truth and bullshit) Trump was beyond guilty.

This was the precise moment in time at which I flipped. I was literally now a Democrat. It’s really kind of bizarre, in retrospect, how it happened as fast as flipping a light switch. However, I was witnessing a Republican party that I no longer recognized. Furthermore, once I found myself on “the other side,” I quickly began to realize that there was a lot more that I identified with “over here.” Conversely, I also began to realize that I had been living with quite a bit of cognitive dissonance as a Republican, especially when it came to social issues. One example is the abortion issue. The government has zero business in a woman’s vagina. None! Period! Anyway, as the months go by, I am finding myself much happier and enjoying greater peace of mind as a Democrat.

I’ve come to define the two parties this way, in as few sentences as possible:

The Republican Party regards the Almighty Dollar as the most important thing in life. Get all the money you can; the hell with everything else AND it’s every man for himself.

The Democratic Party believes that our country and our world works best when it works for all its citizens and inhabitants. What the hell is wrong with striving for world with no poverty, no hunger and no homelessness? In fact, we have a long way to go until these problems are eliminated.

No doubt you’re well aware of this paradigm shift in my own politics, as I’ve also become annoyingly politically vocal on Facebook. I’ve lost some “friends” as a result, too. Sorry, life’s too short to worry about that.

Anyway, David, this is really just something that I wanted to share with you, mostly as a result of that brief, sticking my toe in the political waters in the car, on the way home from the Poverello Center that October Sunday morning in 2018.

It seems that you and Rita are still doing well and making the best of our temporarily coronavirus-dominated life, as are Meg and I. I wish more people would realize that it could be so much worse.

Hopefully we’ll soon have some real leadership. How incredibly refreshing!

–Stew

Let me add that I recently, like literally just a few days ago, figured out at least one element of Trump supporters.

First I should say, that I have said more times than I could possibly keep count of, that the only thing more perplexing to me than how this moron got elected to the highest office in the world, are the millions of people that believe in him and support him. What am I missing? I guess the better question is, “What are they missing?” Why don’t they get it?

Anyway, it occurred to me that there are some people that simply will not, under any circumstances, vote for a Democrat. They would vote for Satan himself before voting for a Democrat. I believe that Fox News is largely responsible for this perception, but such is the case.

The rural, redneck, uneducated element is a lot easier to make sense of.

Anyway, yes, feel free to share. I’m thrilled that my little “political statement” could be put to good use!

Festival Express promo kit

Monday, July 6th, 2020



In 2003, I received two copies of the promo kit for Festival Express, a wonderful musical documentary of the June 1970 Canadian tour that inspired the Hunter-Garcia song “Might As Well.”

If I recall correctly, the press kit included a screener DVD, bio and other info about the film, probably a few photos. Each package also included several bags of guitar picks and a case of Hempire rolling papers that had nothing that indicated a link to the film.

The guitar picks had the film’s logo stamped on them – a 100-count bag each of three different thicknesses of Jim Dunlop Tortex picks, the kind I like. The purple ones were the gauge I prefer, so I gave away the other four bags and used nothing but those purple Festival Express picks for the next ten years or more. When my supply ran low, I ordered a thousand white Tortex picks with my own logo and web site stamped on ’em in purple.

The Hempire papers were also very much to my liking, the popular 1.25 size. The two cases of papers lasted seventeen years. The last two packs are nearly depleted. I bought new papers for the first time since 2003.

It’s the end of an era, and that’s what this post is about.