THE MAILBAG 5.19.96 1996


[Archive] [majorlinks]

Subj: Deadheads in Diaspora
Date: May 12 1996 10:17 PM EDT
From: (Marc Beck)

I know these thoughts will not fall on deaf ears. I just read your
archive posting and just wanted to let you know how we all feel this
sense of urgency. What is to become of us?

When Jerry died, I began an examination of classical piano music.
Bach, Beethoven, Brahms,Schubert, Chopin. Music that has still lives
years after the deaths of these great men. . Beethoven trained Carl
Czerny, who trained Theodor Leschitizky. He became a great piano
teacher and trained such eminent pianists as Paderewski and Schnabel.
The lineage continues today. This music lives.

So I thought, why shouldn't the Grateful Dead continue in a similiar
manner. A method we see in religion and music of one passing the torch
to another so the message can continue down through time. I have
visions of the Grateful Dead continuing in various incarnations through
history. The message and the music are vital. Why must it die with us?

We are now a tribe lost in the desert. I just finished reading Chaim
Potok's "Wanderings", a history of the Jews. It was the most powerful
book I ever read. I highly recommend it. It inspired me to tears. We
are like the early Hebrews. We have a convenant together, a shared
vision. Now we have been kicked out of Jerusalem and are wandering.
How can we survive the diaspora? Can we learn the secret of
survival from these ancient people?

My vision is clouded by my perspective and may not have meaning to
others. But we all want this to go on. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata
still moves us to tears. It lives because it was written down, because
men have passed the knowledge on, it is still performed today. I don't
know how the band would feel about this, but the music must go on. They
should continue to play, find another guitarist who can soar. And train
others to follow them. Sort of a school for Grateful Dead music.

I do not seek to deify the musicians, only the music. The music must
live on . It is the ritual that binds us. We are a polymorphous bunch.
Without the music we will cease to exist. We become like all the
other peoples who exist only it memory. Thirty years is not long enough
for our people. We should aspire to join the Jews as the fellow
travelers through history.

Thanks for listening,

something in there about manna from Heaven. Probably have to depend on a little of that too, as well as survival tactics.

As for your idea of the band training others, I doubt others need hands on training. From what I hear our there, by tapes, groups manage that nicely on their own. Remember, the band members are musicians, not spiritual leaders. That was always an insisted upon point, regardless of what fans would want to make of them. The "spiritual" message was in the gathering of those who communed with one another in the context of the performances, which we could not fail to be aware of and take pleasure in. The rest is projection. We were not a cause but a catalyst.


Date: May 11 1996 3:59 PM EDT
From: RSbklyn
Subj: a few notes on the Harp


I've been rereading "The Giant's Harp" and thought I'd give you a bit o' feedback.

Overall, the story is developing really are certainly setting up some bigtime conflict. I look forward to each new chapter. I get a very physical sense of the land of Terrapin, it's inhabitants and terrain (how about a map?). I think the fact that you first wrote GH ten years ago is important: the myths of Yu, Ist and Terrapin, the culture of the Roughs, the whole cosmology and landscape (not to mention the characters) have been aged and ripened. You've brought out the rich and subtle flavors and now it's ready to be consumed. And yes, your prose is delicious.

Rereading at this point has been I pick up on all the juicy hints in chapter one. However, I must say that the closing paragraph of chap one (re Elmo & Lo) leaves a sour taste in my mouth:

"Nor did he, though she came anyway. The next year he did invite her, but she didn't come. The next year he had no party, and the year following, Lit died and Lo went to live with her feeble minded Uncle Eliot, on the far side of the villiage, near the southern gate leading to the Desert of Bones."

That should be a whole chapter! The birthday parties sound very intruiging, and Lit's death seems like an important plot point. A glimpse of Terrapin's birthday and funeral rituals would tell us a lot about that society.

After that, I really have no complaints! Elmo's descent to the beach and his cliff dream are especially wonderful...and his "statue of Isa" dream in chap four...yow! Very vivid. I love the myth of Terrapin's 1000 year sleep, and how he hid dreams in the nooks and crannies of the earth. I can see that dreams play a crucial part in this tale.

As do the songs! I've been dreaming about Isa's sweet voice. "The Ballad of the Doubly Drowned" is especially poignant. The Roughs' songs are rockin'...nice contrast. Keep those verses comin'!

Isa makes me laugh--those gifted singers are always so tempermental! Her interaction with Elmo is great...they're both so perplexed by one another, but neither will admit it. Of course Elmo is the more confused of the two--having one's finger healed in such a manner would perplex a young man in many ways, now, wouldn't it?

All your female characters are compelling; Isa and Echo, Gia and Lo. Way to go, dude!

I'm still digesting chaps 5 and 6...Echo's experience...Gia and Loup Aru's confrontation...the Echo/Isa/Gia/Ist connections. Can't wait for the next course!



your email is among the best of what I get. Keep it coming. Your insights are always much appreciated. You're right, I missed a chance to unfold stuff at the end of chapter one. Just wanted to get on to the next order of business. If it gets into your dreams, it's resonating in the areas I intend.


Subj: angels lead him away
Date: May 13 1996 7:10 AM EDT
From: (Stuart Kiang)

crafty of you to save the best for last.
the elegy is overwhelming, i spent a long time looking at the

if you could see how beautiful duino castle is on this monitor

Subj: The future's here....we are it.
Date: May 13 1996 10:29 AM EDT
From: (Jim Contalonis)

I totally agree with what you said in th 5/10 journal.
Besides just being a name for this whole circus, Grateful Dead
is a central focus point for us all to orbit around. We
can not let this thing slide into a previous event. Part
of the magic of the whole thing is that is constantly moving
forward and evolving and adapting for survival...just like
every other living thing does.
You are right on in saying that WE must not let this
jewel fracture into many pieces. Our strength comes from
diversity within unity. A ripple moves out in waves from
ONE point. Lets keep it together...
About 3 years I was at a show in Oakland. I arrived
and was unable to get in. Considering the state I was in at
the time, I tried an experiment with a friend. At the far corner
of the lot, we spun each other around with blindfolds on.
We could not hear anything from the coliseum and we could
not see a thing. Every time each of us would stop our
spin we could point exactly to where the colliseum was.

When we get together we give off mucho energy...good energy.
Lets keep a center on this wheel.


Subj: Keeping the "Grateful Dead" spirit going
Date: May 11 1996 6:38 PM EDT
From: (Chris White)

First off, I am not Diane Heininger, I'm Chris White. The e-mail account is
just in my girlfriends name. I'm a 38 year old guy living in Corte Madera.
I've listened to the Dead since the late '60's, attended maybe a dozen shows,
but never was real rabid, although I'm liking them more and more due to the
archival releases, which I really dig.
Secondly, I must tell you that I really like your web page. It's the most
literate, entertaining and interesting stuff I've seen on the web. I wait for
every installment of your journal, and also really liked the "Fractured"
essay. Your command of english, the written medium and your take on life
really work well in this medium. You are the perfect guy to do this, and serve
as the voice of the Dead.
Thirdly, it is important to keep the Dead going in some form, and I hope you
guys can make it work. It must be a real bummer to become a musician, and then
suddenly find you are a corporation faced with "downsizing"....
But you guys should keep some type of entity going, even if it's just the
website, your writings, occcasional messages from the band, archive releases,
etc. The fans are there, we will pay, you just need to scale down, at least
for the time being, as unpleasant as that will be on employees... When the
time is right, an opportunity to "upsize" will present itself.
The band has given a lot to the fans, the fans have given millions to the
band. The band needs to give back more than they get for a while. They'll
recoup it eventually.
No reply necessary. Keep up the GREAT work.


your "no reply necessary" merits a reply.

We've downsized to the point of being a skeleton crew. Any more downsizing means removing bones. That's why I believe we're in a crisis -and that the only way out of the crisis is to make broad moves quick, properly directed in terms of what we need to exist in the future. I am neither alone in believing this nor do I represent a convinced majority. But I'm pretty sure I'm right or I wouldn't be shooting my mouth off.


Subj: Musings on what it all means...
Date: May 8 1996 2:47 PM EDT

Hey now!
Mr Hunter,I ran across your address and wanted to write...and thank you
for your words.Many have been a major impact on my search for self growth
and of course, the meaning of it all :-}
Through the Dead I learned that the ache in my heart is ok...and that
began a journey that has lasted through the years (i'm 27) and with
Jerry's passing has called me to search deeper than I have before.Hearing
your words and the music were always an expression of joy for
expand to universal levels and discover with wide eyed wonder all around
me.The music lives does the wonder...but I felt called to
something greater.I have been shy about speaking in public like many
are...but I wanted to risk...the way that Kesey and all artists everywhere
call us to do to create.I had written a song with lyrics that expressed my
pain and hope after Jerry's passing called "Don't You Walk Away" and
worked it out with a local Dead inspired band...
The night arrived when we were to do it and the pressure was
unbearable...I was going to back out when the band surprised me by calling
me up early to jam on percussion to Help>Slip>Franklins.We segued from the
joy of that to my song...and it felt right...and after the first stanza I
felt the same vibe as at a show...unlimited possibilities...expanded I felt it could get no better..they segued to Scarlet
Begonias (my favorite song)and I thought I would explode with joy as I
sang the your words that are one of my guideposts in life
"Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you
look at it right"
Indeed,I grew that night and it is the birth of a poet who still is on
baby legs and perhaps it will be 30 years before I am comfotable with my
craft but that is the nut of it,isn't it? The journey itself is the
fun,not the destination.
Again,Mr Hunter, thank you.Your words have comforted me in bleak times and
been like greeting ol'friends when there is joy.They have challenged me to
grow and helped me up when i've stumbled.Thanks.
Peace and dancing...
Matt Thomas
"Our love is real...NOT FADE AWAY"

Subj: Thanks for Working to Keep "It" Alive
Date: May 11 1996 5:56 PM EDT
From: (Al Futransky)

Thanks for all the work you are doing on your site. Your efforts to keep
"it" alive (whatever it is exactly) are appreciated.
A few random comments on you journal this week:
The Grateful Dead (the previously mentioned "it") can't die as long as there
are Deadheads alive and well. We all know it was more than the music.
Again, what exactly "it" is is impossible to define.
A personal example took place for me a couple weeks ago at a Bruce Hornsby
show in St. Louis. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed being in a crowd of
Deadheads. The vibe, or whatever you want to call it, was tangible. The
feeling was one of "being home." Jesus talked about when "two or more are
gathered together I will be there." (Sorry to those who don't like the Bible
paraphrased) The same feeling takes place when a bunch of Deadheads are
together. It can't be contained or stopped, even with Jerry's death.
I feel for your plight to keep the mechanics of the "Official" program
together. However, it has always just evolved into its present state. That
evolution will continue. Your efforts will work out just the way they are
supposed to, and "it" will live on.
How can we who are so far (physically) from the scene help out? If it's
financial, I know a plea for help would bring in needed funds. (Not quite a
Jerry Lewis trip, but pass the word gently and I feel you would see the
cash) If it's spriritual, pass the word and that will also get done.
As I said before, "it" is too deeply imbedded into too many of us for "it"
to ever go quietly into the night. Just let us know what we can do. There
is a horde of folks looking to enlist in the fight to nurture "it" into
"its" next phase.

Al Futransky


one of the purposes of the journal is to let us all know what "we all know."

A quiet (or loud) plea for funds is out of the question. If we can't pay our own way through this crisis, Darwinism must, and should, take its toll.

Your letter was largely spot-on. Didn't Mr. Christ also say "let the dead bury the dead" ?


Subj: Billy in Hawaii
Date: May 10 1996 2:52 AM EDT
From: (Carl B Beust III)

I don't know how much you keep in touch with Billy Kreutman so
I'll let you in on what I saw.
Went to go see Billy and the band he's playing with called
Backbone in a little place in Hanelei called Tahiti Nui two weeks ago.
Did'nt know quite what to expect but we were glad we'd be seeing "one of
the boys" up close and personal. They're quite a good cover band to say
the least. Thats all they did was covers. Added nice little twists to
each song and Billy's drumming was outa sight. Did quite a few Dead tunes
which surprised me. Was happy to hear Scarlet /Fire and it brought tears
to the eyes. Oh so many memories. But hey they rocked. Going to play on
memorial day weekend and we're going to take that plane over from Oahu.
The best part was the smile on his face between songs. I mean he was
really HAPPY. Never saw a smile on his face that large ever before. I'm
so happy he is happy doing what he's doing
Second note: I wrote you about trading tapes for a ticket a while
back. Anyway I was a bit disappointed that you didnt answer my question
directly but I did get a response from one person who had a great opinion
that has made me think about what I was doing and why my taped got
confiscated. Your lack of response was actually a blessing in disguise.
Why? You did'nt give me some "daddy" advice but instead let the
scene"police" itself. Maybe you just forgot to answer my question. But
any way your page is looking good to say the least.
take care
Carl and Mary

Subj: Encouragement
Date: May 17 1996 3:27 PM EDT
From: Thomas.Melvin@MVS.UDEL.EDU

Hi Robert. I was sitting around a few nights ago thinking about things and it
struck me that if I wanted you to sample some of Don Van Vliet's (Beefheart)
writing I could just send you some. Isn't the internet great! I'll attach a
tid bit to the end of this note, but what I really wanted to do today was give
you some encouragement about your project here. When I sent you my first note
I hadn't gone through a lot of the material in your archives, especially the
journal entries, so I wasn't quite up to speed on your intentions. Since
reading your material it's clear that you're very concerned about the
continuation of this thing called the Grateful Dead, and I just wanted to show
some support for your concerns. I'm also one of those who always considered
the GD much more then a band and was always slightly mystified by those who
couldn't see past a few guys in a band on stage. For me the band was just a
manifestation of the Grateful Dead idea, a working model of how one could
approach life in ways that allowed you to discover your true self (as you saw
it) and lead a meaningful life on your own terms without caving in to any
societal pressures, unless that was your choice. The fact that the band is
no longer in existance dosn't change any of this one iota. The basic premises
that were behind the mindset that created this thing called GD are still the
same and still valid. Your concern about not seeing this vanish is admirable,
dare I say noble. I feel that the spirit would live on in those who were
truly affected by this regardless, but having a centralized point of
convergence would help to keep things focused and not just alive but hopefully
proceeding further on up the road. I was moved by your expression of concern
in this area and felt that a little encouragement wouldn't hurt. You're
fighting the good fight, and I hope that you folks can find a way to continue
in some sort of meaningful (to you) way. It seems the key is having people
who want it to continue and are willing to do what needs to be done,
regardless of the bottom line. Hell, if Jimi Hendrex makes more now then he
did when he died you guys should be able to work out some sort of mutually
beneficial arrangement amoungst yourselves. I hope it can happen, at least
for your sake. Your concern as expressed in your writings is truly touching.
And now for a few lines from Beefheart!

Manta Ray A Black and white
hand groped in blue light
under the moon scratched
a fingernail
tipped off Full ran to one side
of Heavens Black top hat
God smiled, his black and white wings
wet with tears of peace perfumed
with lifes perfection
Don Van Vliet

(from the liner notes of Trout Mask Replica, 1969)

noble, desperate, call it what you will - yes, I want to help keep the energy whipped up the best way I can figure how. But remember, my views on how this should be done are only my views. A larger, organic process may be at work here: one that produced us and may know very well what should be preserved and what should fall away.


Subj: This week's journal
Date: May 16 1996 10:14 PM EDT
From: (CathyB)

Hey, RH! I just read the 5/1 - 5/9 journal. I know that I (one
person) stand ready to do whatever I can to support the continued work
of Rex as well as the further development of the GD. To put this in
perspective, I'm 44, an old hippie, who never saw the Dead. In fact,
I never even knew they were still touring until a few years ago when
my older son "discovered" them. The reason I tell you this: if I care
as deeply as I do about the continued viable (and vibrant) existence
of the Dead, then there must be thousands of others who feel even more
intensely than I because they had the experience first-hand for many
years. I'm not looking for a living museum or memorial to a once
vital band but the next incarnation of whoever the GD choose to define
themselves to be. So I want to encourage you to pursue whatever
avenues present themselves to your imaginations and believe that the
support will be there.

On a related note, I wrote you a couple of weeks ago about dropping by IRC. How will the move to the well affect that kind IRC
space? As I'm sure you are aware, the server provides a home
for one of many electronic deadhead communities, but it is a very
special one.

Please tell us what we can do to help. Please don't relegate the
entire GD experience to the Terrapin Station project. Is this what
30-plus years was leading to? George Burns did better. ;-)

Cathy Barrows

don't see why joining the Well should affect the IRC site, unless a lot of its subscribers decide to join you. Reason I haven't dropped by the site is because I have to draw the line somewhere in order to eat, sleep and persue a bit of non-net related activity. Of course, it would only be polite to stop by and say hi sometime.

Thanks for the encouragement. Obviously TS won't be the end. For some of us, perhaps, but you and others of like mind are the Grateful Dead now. This is not a flip statement. Keep it flying!


Subj: wishbone found
Date: May 12 1996 5:06 PM EDT
From: (Michael Poole)

I found the wishbone in the piece of leftover chicken I was eating while I
watched your movie "Visions of the Dead." The chicken came from one of
those restaurants where last year's pretense is packaged and sold as a
concept in the new part of town. The movie was excellent.


Subj: Journal, homepage and life
Date: May 16 1996 10:41 PM EDT
X-From: (Byron Alterman)

You reflected in your journal about the fact that you hope that your
homepage still has meaning. You went further to suggest that the "breath of
life" into a homepage is the interaction and that we all feed off of each
other. How very right you are.
Reading your words makes me realize how lucky we are to have a
friend like you. Keep up the good work and thanks. By the way, the
Victorian house seems to me a living metaphor. It is sad to see such a
beautiful dwelling part our company.
As far as keeping on, I have such mixed feelings of it all too. On
one hand, I am a bit angry at Jerrysploitation, and on the other I like the
idea of a tribe reunion. It is such a mixed bag. Thanks for always being
so candid with your thoughts.



I'm as candid as I can be without stepping on sore toes. I like to emphasize over and over that the Journal contains my personal thoughts and ideas of what would be a good way to proceed. I probably state my case pretty convincingly, and, indeed, being a professional writer it would be a sorry thing if I didn't. However, there are other ways, other visions, and a concensus will rule. My sense of direction wields more weight on my website than in the world. With that proviso, I allow myself the latitude to overstep somewhat in the service of candid communication. The Grateful Dead is big enough to accomodate this and, to their credit, no one has suggested that I do otherwise.


Subj: Coping with Lyrics and the musicians who come with them
Date: May 16 1996 11:28 PM EDT

It is a great personal pleasure to be able to finally write you.
We met briefly at Portland State University several years back on your
"Spoken Word" tour. No great shakes for you, a big moment for me. I too
am a lyricist. Perhaps you've heard of us...we are "Higher Ground". In
fact, we play tomorrow night with "Jambay", a group I know you have met
My position with the group is solely that of lyricist. No guitar
chords or vocal utterances are part of my repetoire. But as a writer, I
have met with a modicum of success. The greatest moment of my life in the
last three years was hearing my words in front of a crowd of 2500 at the
Oregon Country Fair. I want to thank you. You helped get those words
there. In fact, this past month I received my Masters degree in English
Literature from Portland State. My focus was in Romantic Irony/Contrasting
Imagery. "Ripple" helped get me my Masters degree...but I'm sure you've
heard this kind of stuff before. To the point then.
Often, I am frustrated as a lyricist. Always I have offered my
words freely, for I believe they contain positive energy that belong to
"the people". But I do believe that the particular combinations that the
words are uttered in make a difference. Frequently, when the guys sing
over (or ignore) certain words, I feel a powerful part of the medium has
been lost. At the risk of sounding like a whiny artist, I have always
refrained from harping on this. But there are a few songs that I know
would have been just that much better had that one word not been
eliminated....ah well. The joy far outweighs the frustration. By far.
It is with pleasure I submit one of the first songs I worked with
Higher Ground on. We just recorded with Charles Neville...from my end at
least, you helped get us this far.

peace, Karl J. Heimer

"Children Rising"

The sky is clearing,
that's our thunder that fills the air.
Voices climbing.
It's yourself that you must cheer.
No, I ain't lying
and if I was just who would care?
Children Rising,
get your hands up in the air.

Shed your inhibitions
As we embark with room to spare.
Bring everything you've ever touched.
Carry only what you share.
Cause we are Children Rising...everywhere.

Why is it so surprising?
We all got dreams like these.
Stop your wasteful crying
we can change the seven seas.
Look towards that fair horizon.
Believe in what you don't know.
All that bullshit you been buying
is fertilizer from which to grow.


The sky is clearing.
the thunder fills the air.
Voices rising.
Its yourself that you must cheer.
These words I'm singing were not meant,
to be ignored.
Muster all the power you been hiding,
climb on board.......

It would be an honor to hear from you. Stay well...


welcome to the club. That's the way bands are. They mumble and drop things. The Nevilles just recorded "Fire on the Mountain" and innocently changed a key word or two. Happens regularly, but I suspect, in the end, only the lyricist notices the difference. "Gave all you got, why you want to give more" became "Gave all you have" which loses the alliterative touch of the repeating "G". Small stuff aside, their rendition kicks big time ass.
Then there is the singer who decides to add a verse or rewrite a line without your okay. JG didn't do that stuff, which is why we were able to work harmoniusly for so many years. OK, he sometimes mumbled and forgot whole sections in performance, but that's another matter. A really big soul can allows others to exist in their own right.
p.s. the above lyric © 1996 Karl J. Heimer.

Subj: a smile brought to my face
Date: May 17 1996 12:38 AM EDT

Hello Robert,
My Name is Holly, and up until today I kept having to hit my head to stay
focused on the computer screen. up until two months ago I was 100% type-
writer devoted and most certainly didn't .com anything. Today was a
wonderful exception. I found your "homepage". Read your 5/16/96 entry
and beamed! I have heard your words at so many positive times in my life.
Music has always been a soundtrack for all that i have experienced. It has
taken something as commonplace as a car ride and turned it into an attitude
adjustment. The ingredient for this example of joy - "Eyes of The World"
I hear always a touch of despair in your songs of hope, and a touch of hope
in the gravest of stories. Thank you for telling stories.
The Best to you,
Holly Burton,
Tacoma , Wa


thanks. Self appointed to help ease the transition, messages telling me I'm succeeding to any degree are appreciated. Doing it keeps me oriented, and the next subject for discussion seems to present itself. No need to go far afield; just try to keep up as the changes whirl and slither.

ps: mailer daemon returned my answer to your email, saying there was no such address.


Subj: your link on the dead page not working
Date: May 15 1996 10:47 PM EDT
From: (melody)

Dearest Robert, First I want to tell you that for a week now every time I
tried to go to your archive (which I had bookmarked) I got the message that
it was closed to go to Katie's dance thing(?) and you had been doing the
Leary thing. Then my friend told me he's been reading new stuff there all
week! So I tried to connect through the dead homepage and got the same
message. Finally I ran a search on netscape and got in at some other place
(not your homepage) which I bookmarked. I don't know if others are having
this problem. I am on the well and can't get through to them yet but will
keep trying this evening. Now I would like to add my deepest thanks for
everything all through the many years. Now when deadheads are really lost,
searching for something to connect with, you are there. Many of us who have
lived the dream, are feeling lost in America in 1996. The Dead were always
there. Something to live for. Our extended family that we connected with for
27 years. It's serious. We feel as you do about keeping the scene together.
But how evades us. The music was the thing. All we can come up with is if
the remaining members would play together it would bring many deadheads
together. (But not at 4pm on a workday- It would cost me 2 days pay to see
the further festival at cal expo and shoreline - I am going to shoreline -
It's my birthday) I love your website, I love you, It would be wonderful to
hear you sing some of your words sometime. We are all used to being
connected to something bigger and grander than just plain folks. Could we
possibly create a new ritual? Study all the rituals of ancient cultures?
This is our connection to spirit. It is so important. Sigh. I know greater
minds than mine are wrestling with this. Enough. Keep up the good work. We
need you. Much Love, Melody

I wonder if you've got a disk cache problem? It could be that Netscape keeps bringing up a previously cached image of the same name, i.e.< hunterarchive.html> which is the master filename. Go to your netscape options file in the menubar at the top of the netscape page, select "network options" and push the button that says "clear disk cache." It'll empty your image file, which I do every week or so. If you don't want to do that (it'll cause all your regular net stops to load anew , which takes extra time) then increase the number of megabytes alloted to the netscape cache on the button to the left of that same page. I'm pretty sure you have a full disc cache problem & are simply reloading the last page you happened to capture, unfortunately one with no active links to move on. It could only happen to you, right?

Thanks for a spirit lifting letter. I agree with your estimation that a new "ritual" is needed, a new focus we can all agree upon for the specific purpose of keeping the community intact.
Only a small percentage of folks can get the internet right now, but that will be different in a year. So the internet is where I'm placing my bet. Am trying to design a new species of netpage, using the unique possibilities offered me as a member of the GD, i.e. a large mailbag and a platform (my journal) to try and be as straight with those who read it as I can. I don't think Plan A will materialize. Fine. What's next? Plan B, of course. What is important is thinking it through together. My responsibility as webmaster is vertiginous. I've got no one to hide behind, and I've got to speak for myself - there's no real official line to speak for. There is internal disagreement on the directions we should take as a corporation and as a family. This is really a hands on master class in public speaking, you may safely believe. Much must be dared. It's exciting and I communicate that. I get excited letters. The love and support I feel is characteristic of GD folks. So the process is working. We'll be together, able and ready to embrace whatever the change is when it comes. What I mean is, there'll be a WE to be there for it: tradition and continuity. There are none like us. We're worth saving. What persists must endure change. The change has come. Wallow in it!!!


Subj: thanks for the repairs
Date: May 16 1996 6:10 PM EDT
From: (melody)

Dear Robert, Thank you so much for your technical expertise. You fixed it!
The question is - Can we see God over the internet? That's the missing
element in everything I do to try and "replace" the dead. Nothing even comes
close. (I'm trying to be open) There's nature and making music and making
love. But the celebration, bliss and joy - where are they to be found? If I
don't think about it I'm ok. Anyway, your website is the best thing in town
as far as I'm concerned. You make me feel connected to something bigger
again. Thanks. Love, Melody


can't do much about seeing God over the internet, but I'm glad we got your browser squared away.

Look at it this way, if God is everywhere, then God's on the internet. If God is not on the internet, then God is not everywhere, and what kinda of God is that? Was God more present at Grateful Dead shows than at the Dairy Queen? On a hot Summer Day when you're eight years old and have just walked halfway from Bothell to Seattle (1949) with your Grandmother, I'd have to say the scale of Holy Presence tilts toward the cone. And if time is a fiction of the spirit, perhaps it is the loss of the capacity for joy we lament, rather than the thing which spoke to the joy in us. This is sophistry, but what isn't. Music? Those notes you loved would sound different to an ear trained to a seventeen note scale, or a pentatonic mode. If it's the chance to get together and love one another that you miss, that can be fixed.
This is all obvious, why say it? Because in telling others, we tell ourselves. The reassurance is perpetually given, the question eternal. In the meantime, our joy passes to our children and we pass on. Beyond fiction.


Date: Sat, 11 May 1996 12:49:38 -0400
From: Christian Crumlish <>
Organization: Internet Systems Experts (SYX)
Subject: latest journal

(I sneaked in the back door to see it, to get around the Leary graphic, that is.)

> 5/3
> My personal energies are presently engaged in the attempt to help
> preserve the "Grateful Dead" entity as an "umbrella" organization
> through which to field our various doings. This website is one such

Yes! Don't let it wither (I realize you wouldn't...)

> It's not, I think, a question of "can we do it without Jerry?" it's a
> matter of "we MUST do it without Jerry" because Jerry isn't exactly

I think that's how most of us on this side of the glass feel

> Bob's idea was to throw a three day Rex Benefit at, say, the San Jose
> Convention Center and invite participation by folks to set up booths

woo-hoo. I'm there!

> Remember, this is a personal journal not a statement of "official
> policy," which tends to be fiscal trepidation, possibly for good reason

and all the more cherished for that

> morning or done any writing. Decided to really devote a day to
> studying Java and build an applet that works but am not sure how to

wow, you're ramping up fast!

{aside: love the new watery background on the main page}

> basement full of archives for jewels to post online. Eileen was bemoaning
> the fact that it looks like we'll have to close our old Victorian
> house of an office and move into the warehouse the GD bought when we
> were flush (along with merchandising and ticket sales).

oh no! space is important. keep the victorian. too bad y'all never bought it!

> 3 day chunks of downtime. When I saw, early on, how it would be, I
> suggested Mickey write a book on the spot because it'd be hard to remember
> it all later. Without that therapy, he would have splattered

Everyone should have a writer around for that type of "spiritual" advice.

> Much of what I'm doing to the pages this week won't be visible. The
> files are getting so large and sprawling that it was time to develop a
> heirarchical system before I began to forget where everything & its

in my experience, this is a natural growth pattern for a web site (and for most filing
systems too)-- as sections grow, they want they're own branch of the tree.

> AOL promises Netscape in the very near future. If they could do that plus keep
> their clarity of typeface, they would no longer be an internet joke.

nope, if you use Netscape with AOL, you will get Netscape standard fonts, including
their crappy Macintosh slanted italics, which I hate.

> can we keep our name, our autonomy, our personnel and our server set up if we join the Well??
> Seems like we might be able to. My other question: can we get DeadNet
> up on Compuserve? I get a lot of email from aol readers but only a
> dozen so far from Compuserve addresses. That tells me that many folks
> don't stray far from the services highlighted by their server, despite
> the fact that, once on the net, you can type <> and
> get here. Or am I wrong?

No, you are correct. It shouldn't matter where you start.

> robert hunter by allen ginsberg '93

wow! very nice artifact.

> Looks like the Well is on. All my objections proved utterly
> groundless. Our phone bill will drop from thousands to hundreds

good. so they're just your "upstream" provider? That's cool. there's good karma at the
well, even if i am too cheap to join myself. give me the righteous anarchy of the


From: (Meredith-Shapiro, Renee AD)
Organization: Issaquah School District #411
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 09:34:15 -0700
Subject: New Dead movie

Yesterday with a cup of coffee in one hand and your script in the other I
spent my Mother's Day doing what I like best. Reading and relaxing. R&R!

After reading and thoroughly enjoying your project I have only one request of
you. Please don't make this movie a Generation X/MTV production. Whoever
you choose to direct it should understand that there was life before either
of the aforementioned happenings in the music scene. What happened in the
summer of love and Haight/Ashbury was phenomenal. It changed the world.

Personally, I think you have a fantastic script. I especially enjoyed the
Brother X part. Pump up Sister a little. She's kinda blase... not too many
women characters in there... Mountain Girl would be interesting??? Although
understandable because men were running things.

I have always loved Days Between. I have the lyrics posted up in my
office and many of the kids I deal with come in and read them. Please keep
this as an integral part too.

So there's my two cents. May the higher power enlighten you and bless you
with this project.

Meredith, I choose no one to direct or produce it.
It's an artifact. Thanks for the kind words on it.


Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 15:14:31 -1000
From: (David Gans)
Subject: Visions of the Dead

Man, that treatment rings so true and so deep it makes me cry.

I suppose it ought to be fleshed out, written and produced, but for the
moment, reading it made the movie play in my head very vividly indeed.

From: Steve Wright <>
Subject: PLAN A
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 11:04:02 -0400

Mr. H.

Great idea...keep it hummin'...I'm an East Coaster (with friends) who would
find a way to attend. I think I have a few vacation days left.

I figure if you beat down enough doors, and continue buggining the caca out
of every one you can get your hands on, things'll work out fine.

While I certainly agree with your Darwinism reference ( an (organization)
that doesn't plan for its existence doesn't deserve to exist), I also
believe that some organizations are just wonderful enough to exist in spite
of themselves.

There certainly is a luscious consistency to the sentiments regarding the
bands existence in the post-Jerry era. I for one certainly miss the
music, but who are we kidding, what IS missing is the vehicle to commune.
The bus blew a gasket and looks like it may be sold for parts.

If we've LEARNED anything here, it SHOULD be that although the need for
community is strong the responsibility to act INDIVIDUALLY is
if's, fewer and's, and under no circumstances any BUTS.

It's a freakin' cop-out to wallow in the 'I just don't know what to do now
that they're gone BS' we know exactly what to do....THRIVE

I really don't want to seem angry, becauseI'm not, I'm scared. After
reading your journal entry about Phil's initial reaction to PLAN A (have I
mentioned YAHOO)..and his apparent apathetic attitude toward it, I really
got scared. The Grateful Dead, as a vehicle, ceased to exist on 8-9-95
(not 10-9-95). I for one am going to be my own vehicle...

ps I framed a copy of 'An Elegy for Jerry" for my 2 year old nephew, and
put it on his night table. Someday I'll explain it to him. For now, I
told him that the words were magic, and they spoke of a man who changed the

Thanks for the journal entries RH they're great



great letter and the right spirit. Don't underestimate or misunderstand
Phil, he's dealing with very real practicalities in representing the band,
which he can't do without concensus. With members in various parts
of the world, this is difficult. We had a meeting today and other options,
as well as Plan A, were considered. Real interest in seeing the mailbag
response to my 5/10 journal was in evidence. It's a kind of feedback
that isn't available anywhere else.


Date: May 16 1996 9:24 AM EDT

Dear Robert Hunter --

Greetings from a 45-year-old Deadhead!

I just want to thank you for providing the words to the soundtrack of my life
for the last 26 years. During that period, I've spent a great deal of time
thinking about your lyrics. Of all the wonderful things that you've written,
the lines that have had the most impact on me are those in the bridge to "Black

I'm writing to you roughly a month after the death of my father-in-law in Las
Vegas, his retirement home. The whole family was assembled for his last days.
My 16-year-old stepson was overwhelmed by the way that the activities of daily
life just continued for us, and for everyone around us and around the world, as
his grandfather died. I spoke your lyrics to him: "See here how everything
leads up to this day. And it's just like any other day that's ever been." He
was comforted, not by any deeper understanding of death, but by the realization
that I, and you, and others were struck by the strangeness of life going on when
it would seem that everything should come to a stop. Or, at least, to pause.
He knew that, in all the loneliness of his grief, he was not completely alone.
His feelings were familiar to the rest of us as well. I was also comforted.

Nick died early in the morning, and as I drove through the desert sunrise to
join my family at the hospice, your words were again on my mind: "Sun coming
up, and then the sun going down..."


Michael Schwarzchild

_____ _____ _____ ____
| | ___|___ | \ MSZD /
| | | |___ | ___| | | "Decay is inherent in all compounded things.
|_|_|_|_____|_____|_____| Strive on with diligence." -- The Buddha


a moving letter. It makes me happy to know that the songs go out and do something sometimes, other than linger in the arrangement of magnetic ions on tape.


Subj: Archives
Date: May 15 1996 8:04 PM EDT
From: (Gordon Taylor)

I am so glad that you have decided to wave your flag as the webmaster

What you write in your archives is great. To be able to "participate"
in the "aftermath" of deaddom is a treat in itself. For years, heads
had been shut out of who or what sailed our ship. You have provided an
insight, a hole in the transom, that we can peek through in order to
get a better understanding of what is keeping us afloat and what we
will need to do in order to stay afloat as we sail across these stormy
seas of "After Jerry".

Subj: Plan A
Date: May 14 1996 2:24 AM EDT
From: dparker@leland.Stanford.EDU (Dan Parker)


Spent the early morning hours last night laughing my @$$ of at the GD
movie...great fun!

I really like Bobby's idea of the 3-day REX-benefit bazaar. Taking it a
little further: maybe a jam-day? I think a lot of people would pay to bring
guitars and have a *big* play-along, a la the NFA chants. A total
logistical headache to be sure, but a couple hundred 'heads with
guitars...that could be something spectacular waiting to happen...just
another idea to throw into the ring.

With warm regards--

PS: Please save the chili. And can I use it on my web site?

Dan, sure. The chili travels.


Subj: Organizational continuity
Date: May 13 1996 5:16 PM EDT
From: (David Dranginis)


Hearty applause the continued life of the Dead. (Be it GDM, GDP or just the
good ol' GD). Its impact on our society, our cultural mores, our sense of
self and fun!! let alone how bands will be judged and against what
standard!! has not yet been calculated. I am behind you and Mickey and all
your efforts to keep the old beast growing and perhaps roaring again. You
are right if the organization fades away, it will not be back. So long and
thanks for all the Phish. I don't think so. The genuine perspicacity of this
roving band of artists, laborers, seekers and others of a striving good
heart has never ceased to amaze. Ah, the talent too. Let's not let that
talent fade either. Hope you're listening Phil.

I said for years that it would be a dark day indeed when the band ceased to
be. It is. For thirty years strong, this organization has been a true
thousand lights. Decency reigned and more often than not excellence as well.
Do not fade into the mysty lands of myth where 5/9/77 & 4/27/71 are we know.

These days are so dark on the frontier. America, the democracy in ruins, the
circus of media running clowns of deception clouding our eyes. And Dead Tour
to delight, charm and lift. Rage on Further.

Rage against the dying of that light.

I guess it is us after all, isn't it?

Bless Hart's pointed little head for pushing us onward and with the spirits
abounding upwards as well. It has been said that Neal's spirit was alive and
well and palpable on good nights - I guess on nights Neal happened about.
Won't it be interesting with Jer's spirit blended into the mix?

My thanks again. It will never be enough for the wisdom and wonder, insight
and joy y'all have managed to spread just like crazy fingers.

Go for a swim. Rest your tired eyes.


PS: Might as well share with you a little thing I wrote when REAGAN took
office and and is evidenced by the models presented before political
correctness made us all so touchy. Funny it may be more applicable today
than ever. Sorry for the way-unintended pun in the title.


They're closing down the factory
The men are going home
Women all are weeping
Babies sucking stones

Fat Man's profit margin
Is down below his wish
A hungry Puerto Rican
He holds an empty dish

The factory is quiet now
Its windows all are broken
On the wind-swept streets
No redeeming word is spoken

But a storm is slowly brewing
Perhaps gathering in the West
To finally bring about the day
That Fat Man's laid to rest

DD 1/80


thanks for a letter full of good old fashioned piss & vinegar. That's the spirit. With enough folks of your ilk behind us prodding & pushing, what's to fail?


Subj: No Subject
Date: May 12 1996 7:52 PM EDT
From: (Marian Wright)


oh,man this is so heavy. bet your mailbox this week looks like the north pole
in december(are they online yet?).

everything you're saying about keeping the organization and the symbol
alive is so very important. to me. i need the symbol. i do not want to
live in a world where the likes of rush limbaugh flourishes but there is no
Grateful Dead. we have got to keep it TOGETHER. brothers and sisters, let's
put our $ where our heart is, while we still can.

bottom line has to be that there's a way(or several ways) to do this.
you can count me in. i currently live on less that $300 a month and i'll
pledge $20 a month directly to GDP, just tell me where to send it. i would
also be thrilled to come to marin and volunteer any possible use of my time
and talents to any tasks of continued operation.

the benefit bazaar is good idea. why can't there be similar events to
directly contribute to support of GDP? can GDP make use of the tape vault?
Gans rents his show across the country, can something like this be expanded?
how about "retro" shows -- send the tapes on tour; smaller venues, lower
ticket prices -- use the Dead PA system, add lights and some video. could
we resist? i hope not.

point is, there's got to be lots of ways to keep this afloat. tell elaine and
Dick not to start packing until the sheriff comes, we ain't even begun
working on this yet.

happy mother's day :)

love, marian

Hi Marian,

mail starting to come in. Weekend was slow since a lot of folks use college computers & people travel on holidays.

I try to make the point that we don't want financial assistance. Just want people to be aware of our situation and, hopefully, support our efforts to solve it and, incidentally, help them to understand what GDP is so they can voice opinions in support of continuing it, if, in fact it's a good idea. I obviously think it is for the reasons outlined in the journal.


Date: 18 May 96 18:38:21 EDT
From: Pete Shanks <73227.1510@CompuServe.COM>


I have finally taken the time to explore your web site pretty thoroughly and
now I understand just how much time you have spent on it -- amazing! I think
you're doing great work, so please keep it up. I also hope, for the sake of
your sanity, that you manage to find a maintenance mode that is a little less

Reading through the Journal and Mailbag gave me a sense of some of the Dead
questions you are grappling with, and given your calls for interaction, here is
my two cents.

First off, good for you and don't sweat it. Things surely evolved over the
decades and what you're doing seems like another evolution and that's great.

Second, the GD has always been a pretty loose concept, speaking from the
outside. Everyone knows parts that are/were definitely inside it, but the
edges have been vague ever since the beginning, really -- the legendary Acid
Tests were/weren't part of the GD gestalt; ditto the hippie audence.
Your relationship in particular is interesting: The band could
conceivably put out an album or play a concert that included none of your work,
yet your words have always been an integral part of defining what the band was
about and this would remain true even if your words were temporarily missing.
How does Old and In the Way relate to the GD? That High Lonesome Sound
has none of your work and I think only one song Garcia put on a solo (but
deadish) album, yet there is a connection in my head, and I think in most

Third, and to me most important, you and the GD are part of a much bigger
historical movement -- not just Kesey and the beats, but all the individualist,
often dionysiac, generally libertarian folk that I for one see as the 'real'
American tradition -- or at least the strand of America that brought me here.
It goes back way before that, of course. Pirsig would say to the Sophists and
beyond and he's probably right. Go Carthage! I always thought the wrong side
won the Punic Wars.

This is a heavy load to carry. Sort of like walking -- if you think about it
too much, you fall over. All you can do is do what seems right and see where
it takes you.

Seems to me you're doing a pretty damn good job of trying.

Pete Shanks

PS If you think I've had too much time on my hands, you're right -- but I get
to go be with my partner in a week and then I wont!

PPS Something I wrote the other day (about a character in the novel I am
writing now):

Fear of change, the worst of all. If you're afraid of heights, you can stay on
the ground; if you're afraid of the dark, you can put on the light; if you're
afraid of confrontation, you can weasel away from it and put it off and maybe
something will intervene and let you off the hook. But if you're afraid of
change, you haven't a hope. Change is gonna come (oh yes it is) and all you
can do is contaminate it with your own frightened expectations, and make it
worse. Better get working on this fear of fear of change ... or is it too hard
to face?

I'm not saying it sounds like you (it doesn't; more me actually) but it's
related I think to what's going down. Maybe

(Note: Pete Shanks is writing a novel whose main character is a deadhead. rh)

Subj: Rock Medicine and Links to the Dead
Date: May 13 1996 3:55 PM EDT

Dear Robert Hunter,
I've been told that your now the Webmaster at
Rock Med needs a miracle... could you a link to Rock Medicine Web Site
from the front page of the Dead Web page maybe next to the
Rex Foundation Planet.
Thanks you in advance.

Bob from Rock Med

PS: This is the official Haight Ashbury Free Clinics Web Site.

Still after all these years.

forwarded your letter to Alan Trist for discussion. I don't think it's beyond the bounds of possibility but we'd need to kick over the format. Mirror site? Resident site?
I promise we'll talk it over and I'll ask Alan to get back to you on it.


From: "Leee" <>
Subject: whither dead...
Date: Fri, 17 May 1996 09:59:05 -0700

(How do you like to be addressed? Robert seems inappropriate and Mr.
Hunter doesn't seem like your bag)

I was reading your thoughts about the future of GD as an entity. Here's
whats in my heart and mind:

I think sustaining the business end of it is simpler in the fact that it
is just plain black and white.....make money.
I might be wrong but I think you could probably stay afloat just by
releasing one cd after another (I know I would buy it) CD's last forever,
but tapes wear out)

The hard part is sustaining the spirit and soul of what was the Grateful
Dead. I know how bad I felt after Brent died, my first concert after that
was very sad, I had a miserable time, and it hasn't been the same since.
I can't imagine how I would feel seeing them without Jerry.
You could probably just chalk it up to growth/evolving/moving on but as
you said (paraphrasing) the dead is the dead as it was, not a bunch of
seperate projects. So wouldn't it also kind of seem like another seperate
project without Jerry?

I am going to the Further festival here in Washinton this summer, mostly
because my wife is very excited about it. I haven't told her that I think
in my heart I would rather not go. I am expecting it to be a very painful

So, what would I, as a fan, like to see happen in the future? I don't
know. But I definetely would like to have my memories and maybe somewhere
to go to share them once in a while with other deadheads.
But Jerry is gone, no sense in being stuck in the past, I will listen to
good music in any form that it comes in as long as it doesn't become a
ripoff or parody of what the Grateful Dead once was.

thanks for reading, LEE


what strikes me about your attitude is that you, as well as most everyone else, don't seem to realize (how could you?) that what is going to be presented by Mickey Hart at the upcoming shows is going to be a phenomenal musical experience. Oh yes, ho hum, but it won't be Jer. ??!!!

In short, the deadheads will be there. Incredible music will be there. This is all we have to offer.


Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 14:47:26 -0500 (CDT)
From: Simon Hocroft <>
Subject: unusual dreams (and a question)


Having never written or spoken to you before I would just like to say
hello and that I am a fan. (probably goes without saying....)
Anyway, I have been having weird dreams ever since Jerry passed away, and
thought I would share the strangest with you. My recollection of the
dream begins with myself and a friend wandering around some scrubland,
quite similar to a place near to my old house. the terrain became more
and more hilly, little canyons and gullies etc. dot the landscape. Not
much is happening until we realize that someone is stalking us. We begin
running, hiding, all the usual nightmarish stuff, and whomever it is
begins firing a gun at us. we jump down into one particular canyon, and
find that is in fact a shallow bayou. Whatever diety it is that controls
dreams had also provided us with a raft of sorts, fashioned out of planks
of wood and inner tubes. So we get on and jaunt of down the bayou.
Well, as we sail on down, it becomes apparent that more than one
person is gunning for us, and snipers are lined up along the riverbanks.
The dream is becoming more and more like Deliverance meets Apocalypse
Now, as the snipers appear to be mongoloid deviants, or something like
that. I jumped out of the raft and proceeded to start taking out the
snipers by running up behind them and slitting throats.
So here I am playing captain commando while my buddy is guiding
the boat downstream, and s o m e w h e r e along the line it is no longer
my buddy I am protecting but Jerry Garcia. This fact did not phase me
much at all. Eventually we round a large corner, safe from the guns of
snipers, and I jump back on for the home stretch. There is a crowd
waiting for us at the other end of this river, cheering and waving, but
Jerry seems to be oblivious. He pulls a tire off the raft and floats on
some more, and I do likewise. We get off a little way down, and he picks
a plastic bag up off the ground. he beckons me over and says "this is
what I was after!", eyes agleam. Inside the bag is a guitar magazine
containing tabulature versions of songs (I didn't see which songs). Then
he chuckles and declares "I haven't been able to play a damn note
properly since I died!"
From there the dream wandered off to other climes and so I will
end the account.
Question: re Staggerlee
I know you dislike giving authoratative answers about songs but this is
not about meaning. What I would like to know is where did your
inspiration to write your own version come from? There are many versions
already out the that I'm sure you and/or Jerry were familiar with, so
what made you "redo" it rather than just having the boys do a cover
version (like many of the other covers they did)???

Thanks for you time and space...

Simon Holcroft


seems like everyone's been having that dream lately.

Why did I write a version of Staggerlee? Dunno. Seemed like a good idea at the time. When I'm asked what inspired me to do anything, the best I can usually say is: it just popped into my head. I've never found inspiration to be a methodical thing. Rather than examine the gift of ideas, I tend to write like the dickens until they're realized then forget them. Pass 'em on. Questions and answers about the creative process never seem to make a lot of sense to me; the cause/effect ratio is not one to one. A butterfly of an idea can yield an elephant of a song and vice versa.



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