THE MAILBAG 7.10.96
Date: Jul 2 1996 4:53 AM EDT
From: 73227.1510@CompuServe.COM (Pete Shanks)
Keep on watching them perspectives shift -- I can
understand that you are different when in the UK --
what is interesting as well is/may be how others
react to you being in the UK ... especially others
who are in primary contact by e-mail and therefore
not theoretically affected by the disturbance ...
Great to hear you thinking of songs -- we need middle-aged
passion -- I got pissed off listening to Van Morrison
wingeing about being ripped off and uninspired -- I got
pissed off with Richard Thompson's neat little vignettes
-- so, although disappointed, I respect Dylan's silence
and hope for it to break -- I still like Lenny Cohen, and
I think it's the politics, or the connection between
sex and politics, that still fuels him ... was recommended
Kristofferson's last and liked that more than I had
expected, for the same reasons.... Not that everyone
needs politics but everyone needs engagement
Middle age passion? What a horrendious thoughtI Passion is the youth in the blood regardless of age! A difficult concept for you youngsters.
Date: Jul 1 1996 11:49 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Robert Clinton)
I recently checked in to the Dead.Net for the first time. It seems most
impressive. I checked out the archives right away. What a great concept!
I just got back from the Alpine Valley show of the Furthur Festival and
checked in to the page. I was playing DP5 and as the Archives were
coming up "Friend of the Devil" was playing on the CD (I was putting the
CD-ROM on my PC to the use it was obviously designed for!). Talk about
Anyway I just thought I would let you know how I really like the
Archives, such a good idea. Plus I had a question, it's been burning at
me for a while. A friend of mine used to own "Jack of Roses" a long time
ago. I thought it was a great record. I cannot seem to find it, in any
form. I am wondering if it is available on CD? And if it is how would I
get it? I have asked the people at GDM but they couldn't inform me.
Thanks! I'll be checking the web soon, maybe the next lyrics shown will
also be on the CD I'm playing! Have fun in England!
Don't have the master tapes of Jack O'Roses or I guess I'd release it since there are so many requests. Whoever has them is keeping mighty quiet about it.
Date: Jul 3 1996 8:15 PM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (dorian weisel)
So where do we go from here chaos or community
damn that question never goes away... thought we had it licked, we got
out of the haight, into middle amerika, cars, morgages, wives and
children... but it wasnt either, chaos OR community, just doin what
comes next, ideals verses practicalities, that beautiful hippy chic
turns to you and says hey I am havin a baby, shit no more sleepin in the
park, no more on the road. But just as real was/is the
knowledge/feeling that we cant give in, none of that 'just grow old'
like mom and dad, damn their lives are sad...
and the band kept playin on... call the hot line, hey lets do the whole
run, but honey we aint got a dime, dont worry it all works out with
ideals verses practicalities
but how do we become the worderful people we know we ot to be
and the band kept playin on
so we were ok, at least strong enough to get up and face another day,
but with a run of shows a comin there wasnt much to say, our ideals may
have been packed away but shit at least the dead would continue to
spent an evening with MG and Dennis McNally, lots of coturri wine, in
sac after a great show at cal expo... talkin this and that, the power of
the band their guitars and songs in hand, the power aint in the boys on
the stage but with the millions of fans, after all where else you gonna
find so many who have learned to get along, to sing together a set of
lovin songs... who challenge reality in all the hotel rooms across town
with acid and nitrous.... surely not satisfied with the way things
are.... yet after the sunday show its pack it up, get in the car, got to
be at work by nine, shit honey you drive I am way tooo blasted, cant
even get a fix on time....
that power remained at bay, awaitin its day, I finally saw it and had to
say the power aint gonna be released until the band didnt play, any
Hard to realize that the power had to wait for the demise, sorry for the
pain, that lost look in so many eyes, but jerry is with lucy in the
skies and wes about ready to get back to all those questions the
wherefore and whys, its time to be the stars and rise, its time for that
revolution to begin again... after all weve a grown up, face the banker
and the kids, and if we aint ready to take up the staff nobody is...
I spent a day with jerry and annabelle back in '90 sharin with them what
I do, walkin on the lava with the lava man.... did lunch in the forest
a flow goin by, annabelle was all over the place, jerry and I sat
talkin, icon to fan...
went down to the flow front passin through town, burning houses,
depression all around, jerry turns to me and says get me out of here
man, and I explain that we gotta walk and he says no we gotta go NOW. so
I get on the radio, call in a helicopter which comes down and lands, in
the ultimate restriced zone. I stuff jerry in the bird and turn to him,
above the noise, the helicopters wine, and say 'jerry Im pushin every
button to get us out of here this way... and jerry turns to me to say,
Dorian thats what those buttons are for....
the real show aint on now road, its something goin on in our soul, the
same as Neils, the same as JFKs, its something passed, from generation
to generation, the real GRATEFUL DEAD, its something that may never come
clear to any of us... but something we are part of from birth until were
dead and I suspect beyond
Ken wrote ...we were comrades in that elite though somewhat nebulous
campaign dedicted to the overthrow of thought control.... and I ask when
did it change from ARE to WERE?
ok enough rambling.... aloha Robert I am glad to find your page.... you
may recall my name, I document volcanic activity on the island of
Hawaii. I have several books on the subject the most recent of which is
called 'fire on the mountain'.... I sent you a note about that before it
went to press makin sure it was ok with you, Dennis called and assured
me you said ok.... and now I realize I never got a copy to you, send an
address and Ill correct that....
anyway I wanted to reach out and say hi, thanks for being there all
these years, your words have been mine so many times, in so many ways,
just singin the songs have carried me through so much, thank you in
millions of ways
where do we go from here? Not where, how: one step at a time and watch our backs. Or if we can't watch our own without breaking our necks, watch each other's. Your letter is good medicine.
Date: Jul 4 1996 12:47 PM EDT
I've been reading your English Diary with great interest... hope
Herefordshire has driven away the urban blues and Virgin nightmares. . . and
please forgive this intrusion from darkest Bloomsbury...
I'll be going to the Poetry Olympics event at the Royal Albert Hall this
coming Sunday (7th). A nine hour poetry marathon ( you can go out and come
back!) modelled on the sixties "Wholly Communion" events with Ginsberg et
al... this one has a huge range of poets and musicians from Roger McGough to
Andrej Vojnesenski (the Russian poet laureate)to Nic Cave to Martin Carthy
to Patti Smith to Heathcote Williams to James Fenton to Ray Davies ... [and
dozens more]. The nearest equivalent I can think of to a Dead show of the
Much as I realise this is a low profile visit for you.... I couldn't help
thinking how great it would be if your own name could be added to the list.
So this morning I called Michael Horowitz, the poet/organiser, who said he
really loves your work and would be "thrilled" if this could be made to
happen, but that he doesn't know how to contact you. Hence this mail, in the
hope it makes it back to you via your aol connection.
If you are at all interested, Michael's personal number is 0181 969 0518
(Fax: 0181 946 7272). The New Directions number is 0181 876 9170.
Alternatively, anything you mail to me will be swiftly passed on.
I- along with a whole bunch of other UK-based Deadheads and poetry readers-
would be delighted if you could be persuaded to appear. Very short notice, I
know-- but it's only a day trip (just) for yourself and your notebook.
Just a thought!
best wishes Bill
tempting as an offer to join in is (very) I've decided to stay away from the stage for awhile, perhaps a long while. I need rest and perspective right now and consequently I've narrowed my stage to the width of a computer screen. Robert Hunter in a Box. Please thank Michael for being good enough to invite me; it's not unappreciated. And thank you for thinking of me in the context and opening the door. Hope it's a smashing event and draws some attention to poetry.
Date: Jul 5 1996 6:58 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Julie Johnson)
Hello- Just came across your web page today and was looking over the
lyrics you have uploaded. Thank you for that gift. I want you to know
how I feel about you, your work, and the Dead. I have felt for a long time
that you are one of the creative geniuses of our time. Your lyrics have a
direct line to my soul, your words make me laugh with incredible joy and
giddyness, they move me to tears of loss and sadness. Your lyrics are
what capitvated me about the Dead, they are what make the music work.
Almost a year later, I read the handwritten lyrics on your page for Stella
and almost cry. The first time I heard that tune was at the SLC show in
Feb '95, and it will always remind me of Jerry. Because of you, so many
doors have opened in my life, and I have grown personally in unfathomable
ways. Thank you. Take care- Julie
Just closing down from a night's work, checked my mail and found your sweet words. Nice way to end a session. Thanks
Date: Jul 5 1996 10:09 PM EDT
Subj: Comfort Shows
Dear Mr. Hunter,
Sorry for troubling you with such a pedestrian query, especially during your vacation, but I just discovered I could communicate with you, and I've had this particular yearning for years now.
The shows you did circa 1978 with the band "Comfort" were some of the best concerts I've ever attended. And I've seen my share of groups in my time, not even including the Dead, from Clapton to the Who to the Stones, to Television, and Elvis Costello, and the Talking Heads, and Tin Huey, and Graham Parker , and The Band and the Allmans, and Nanci Griffith and John Hiatt (two particular favorites of mine), to The Tom Robinson Band and the Clash and The Jam, and NRPS, and Commander Cody and the Airmen (I do miss them), to Asleep At The Wheel, to Danny Gatton, to Sony Rollins, and Billy Cobham, and Van Morrison, to Pete Seeger and Arlo, Paul Simon, and Cat Stevens, and David Bromberg, Marshall Tucker, Hot Tuna, John Prine, Randy Newman, Garland Jeffries, Springsteen, Tull, Yes, Sly...Well you clearly get the idea. Nonetheless, those live shows I saw you perform at "My Father's Place" and the "Other End" in NYC circa 1978 are easily among my favorite all time shows.
Any chance (I'm sure I know the answer - but nothing ventured, nothing gained) of any arm of GD merchandising releasing like a triple (yeah, I'm pretty greedy) CD of the best of those shows. I truly yearn for them. They were, in my humble opinion, very, very HOT!!!
Anyway, that's what I'm bothering you about on your vacation. Sorry.
Comfort was a hot band, wan't it? It seemed a minor miracle that the band couldn't sell itself, but it seemed to be under some curse that dictates everything I attempt on my own is doomed to flounder. Bear pointed out recently that there is a whole shelf of Comfort performance tapes in the vaults, recorded on Nagra by him (he was our sound man) that he feels are excellent and should be released. I said it was ok with me, but I didn't want any involvement in it - I'm too busy with the Archive to play (and pay) at being Mr. Producer for records which the stores won't buy, even if customers might - and the chance of selling enough to pay costs by mail order are exceedingly slim. I'm not a millionaire. Low GD airplay and record sales have seen to that. A single #1 song would pay more than I've made in my career. Bitch, bitch, bitch. Ah well, fiscal failure has probably kept me out of bigger trouble yet. I'm pragmatic enough to feel that twenty years of trying and missing, with a dozen recordings, delivers a message only a fool could fail to decipher. At least I didn't grow into a standard of living these lean days can't maintain. Negative capacity. Now I devote myself to what I do best. While my guitar gently rusts, I write. Never forget that the Music Business is about business, not music. And business is about track record, not record tracks. Did you know that many chain stores are refusing to stock "Mystery Box" based on the common wisdom that "the Grateful Dead doesn't sell"?
Back to Comfort: on the West Coast, we included a ballet trio to accompany "Alligator Moon," perfectly choreographed. We did it at the very last Hooker's Ball. Those were the days.
Subj: The subject you thought was an object you've been looking at
Date: Jul 6 1996 6:12 AM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (George Edward Hamilton)
July 6, 1996 The 5th month, previously, Casaer's seventh and own.
RH and TM -
Coming up on the end of time is something an atom has to endure maybe 20
billion times a second depending on the local structure. It bangs off the
hard mirror of not being able to be a mechanism to see itself anymore,
ceasing to exist and proving that sight creates existence in the first
place, a sort of dance between subject and object.
And then it's infinite. This gives the whack to Planck's black body
spectrum, which is observed at all points, currently in this universe
uniformly 2.7 degrees K. Each point yields a perfect infinity of
possibility; the graph of the background radiation goes to infinity, just
like a radiating black body.
So now we have a thing that doesn't exist - but it's infinite. This is a
very powerful tool, a sort of can opener to pry open every available
dimension - which it promptly does. First one, then two, then three...
This little mirror is the same thing you've become. Your dog or cat can
mirror reality too, but with a great deal more fixed points... you have
become so brilliant because you approach an existence of pure nothing -
able therefore to construct layers of reflections unsustainable by a
"cloudy" mirror. Look in your eyes and tell me what you see.
Thus the archetype of the fool stepping off the cliff being the moment of
divine consciousness. And the doubting glance from the bathroom mirror
that haunts intellectuals. What is it we can know, when knowing clouds...?
Is the big sucking mirror balled around us in three dimensions pulling a
reflection out of this little ball called Earth? Obviously so, we do have
the Hubble now, we are taking a look... and of course, the inner dimensions
coming alive as they are, stretching across the infinite matrix behind the
pixels. What, is this our soul stretching across these dimensions? We
won't be aware of it, maybe, not "we" as we know it. Truly, the devil will
take your soul before you learn wisdom.
What else is there? Only me, only me... but I don't exist, my "inner
personality" is the mirroring itself, yes, this is possible literal
self-immanence, we should not be afraid at all, in fact it will come as an
anti-climax, the most natural thing, and of little consequence. So why
does the universe expand? It is laughing. It has a secret to tell.
There's nothing here.
Not to say we can't construct something. Only to say we have always been
infinite, and we will step into our inheritance without earning it. The
man who leasts expects it, or most perhaps, will find itself the one and
only. What is the greatest archetype? God and his mirror image, the two
come from the original one (the Goddess)? Or is it the thing that looks
backward, and makes the two and one become three?
How many of these stars can coexist in our neighborhood. I suggest, but one.
"George" is currently casting himself as the devil in his
future-biographical show. Poor bastard. Somebody tell him it's all a
your reasoning is impeccable. Now listen, do you hear the sound of laughter in the trees? It is children. They need first to embrace reason before reason embraces them and whispers its paradox. They are fascinated when they hear it. They stop laughing. Yet there is no absence of laughter in the trees. Who is it?
Date: Jul 7 1996 12:35 AM EDT
From: email@example.com (Brad Johnsmeyer)
If this actually gets to you I will be very happy...I first of all
think that you have written some really great lyrics. I've only been
into the Dead for a few years (mainly because I'm only 16, but hey I
guess Bob Weir was that old when he started right?) Mainly I was just
writing to tell you that you do a great job and keep writing great
stuff. Will you continue to write for Mystery Box? Oh yeah, do you
know if Furthur will be an annual event? Anyway, good job.
if that's all it takes to make you happy, here's a reply. Thanks for the compliments. I hope to continue writing for Mystery Box because it's a lot of fun hanging out with Mickey and making music.
I expect there'll be an annual event, whatever the name, but who can predict?
Subj: Thanks for doing the interview
Date: Jul 7 1996 8:07 PM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Catherine Gould Barrows)
Thanks, rh! We set up a copy and paste link with someone straddling AOL
and dal.net channel #gdead, then had a linkbot going from dal.net to
dead.net #gdead! I can't explain that last one, so don't ask. Anyway, I
want you to know who was involved in making this work:
Samantha Lee McNally aka ViolaLee on IRC (email@example.com) circulated my
initial call for help (at Geoff Gould's suggestion) through her private irc
mailing list. She often sent information and questions around which helped
in bringing in answers and solutions. She also circulated your answer to
me which went a long way toward "healing" hurt feelings.
John Murchison aka JohnnyCabl on IRC (Johncabl@cris.com) straddled AOL and
dal.net and did a LOTof copying and psting.
Doyle Williams aka JckStrw on IRC (firstname.lastname@example.org) constructed a linkbot to
link #gdead on dal.net and #gdead on dead.net, mirroring the activity in
each channel to the other.
Tim ??? aka Aiko on IRC (email@example.com) and Ken Shea aka kgboy on
IRC (firstname.lastname@example.org) gave advice and shared code with Doyle in his efforts
to construct the linkbot.
Everybody pitched in with a good attitude and much more welcoming behavior
towards Geoff on IRC.
If you have the time, would you send out a brief thanks to these people?
They worked really hard to make the links work and bring down
cyber-barriers between dead heads.
OK, done, thanks for letting me know who's who. Violalee's letter bounced, so thank her for me. And thanks for your help. Regardless of content, the form was there and that's something. We'll get this puppy housetrained yet!
Date: Jul 7 1996 7:04 PM EDT
cc: CKliks, Wownownet, IBeMeNow, WeTryBe
I tuned in the Mickey Hart Interview today and later the brief but extactic Rose garden party which I later played back via speech synthesiser to chime and gamelon, makes t remtely tolerable and the oddest things pop out of the milange..
If you ever want to try and do anonlinelive interactve speakthing-w/digitalfractallightshow using connexit videocam and fracalextasy, plusmabe Vista pro sos we can create instant worlds using DEM (digital Elevation Models) which could be sprouted from all participants including Vistapro fnatics like Arthur C Clark rest his soul and Heinlen and OtherLand bilders such a myself with extensive 3ddata on nnexistantbutOtherwise very PleasantPalnetiods) input switched via cyberjockey at a central source ( see, between vistaPro, fracta extasy, and Connexit, just abut anyone witha pc and a modem can participate) withthepurpose in mind of a like globallyhappeniingin now in the moment type event... this is my current work grown out of 20 years as as MUltmedia maniac who now has been chopped downanotch by vestibular disorder, so now I do it all on C using some prettty tastey biomedical gizmos including interactive eeg that can switch programs, images music, coffeepot on and off by...you got it bob,
just thinkin about it...you can even set the whole works to go on and off during Rem time sleep or just to alter the tone, tempo vibrato echo of a favritem iece of mucic.. Anywho;;;i want to get together with writers who are willing to do the speechthing and try out explore tewt the digitalwater so to say of this type of sensorysetup whichasyou have seen from todays event is so ridiculously limited from what it could be.
See all we need is a window man, a little ity bitsy window out of which to do the two-way the full duplex, a little of the ol' IN-OUt and Scorsby! We got a party none likes they've ever seen
IjustwanttoCit happen Now. Since that is all I have any of at the time.
Seems there is just one wee little side effect of my
Non Leathal little Vestibular Disorder thingy
It makes you mad.
Takes a while but eventually well, what can I say bob, let's just say my
err a...Window...of opportunity has a definite limit. Im trying to do this cd rom on vestibular disease form the personal perspective and a whole bunch of otherstuff, and I just wanna see it happen while I still have enough personal realestate in this time space continuum to be aware of the fact that it it happening....Contrary to popular opinion, there are a few little side effects of being utterly in the moment, ie being UNABLE to retain info beyond the EVER NOW... that is you dont have any Information Bufers bob, ie a place which to store important things like who am I and where am I and what language do I speak...i mean not always important stuff to lug around in this day and age I grant you, but believe me, coming from one who has been stuck in the eternal now on occasion against his will. Being absoluly positivlynothing but 100 per cent 0rganic and residue free-in the moment gets real old after awhile. LIke we are talking about eternity here> If it were the be all and end all, the red hot cherry on top of the Hot fudge Sundae of life then what the hell do you think god or any other self resespecting superdiety would bother with becoming or even caryying on a decent converstation with us Human Beings...bob. anyway good...Hun....whel'l I guess you 've HEARD THAT before
hope to hear from U
otherwise overand out.
PS the othernames
are all aliases connected to various projects and webconstructonsites of mine
use any or all whatever might be inkeepingwiththesituation.
fine, I'll take two. As for going mad, well, I guess we don't have to worry about that anymore, huh? Glad you got all that technology together, I was reasonably sure somebody out there had, and I'd hate to see Bill Gates get it out first.
Date: Jul 5 1996 3:11 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (jklepinger)
i was very inspired by your reply to my orfeo feedback. i think the hardest thing to reconcile
has been the intuitive feel of the "heart" against the real need to understand things in a truly
objective way. These things pull so hard upon the conscious experience. What is so intriguing
and fantastic about the x'ng experience is that it occurs so completely at the threshold of
where reality and consciousness come together. Now of course ALL experience happens at this
intersection, but it seems to be only a special conscious-context where our central awareness is
AWARE that this is what's happening. But once youíve seen that landscape from the new
perspective, everything you experience after is viewed differently. Where I think the core of
the need lies is in the imperative to understand this question of eternal soulality. Itís like
this little ember that seems to burn inside each individual heart. It is at the center of every
reality model that culture has invented. Yet it seems that the one answer that all fear in their
construction, is the suggestion that the conscious experience occurs only in the biological
life-form, during it's biological life. This thought hangs as a great black cloud at the edge of
fear. Why is the proposition so intuitively wrong? Does the intuitiveness of it's feeling wrong
give validity to believing that there is more to being a living consciousness than a
four-dimensional biological existence?. How do we view experience differently from the
counter-intuitive perspective, or, how do we resolve this conflict when objectivity conflicts
with intuition? How account for the wondrous existence of conscious reality that is clearly
so much greater than the sum of its parts? Scientific rationalism helps, but is still not mature
enough to directly answer the reality question. If we could create a reality model that could
bring these two forces into harmony at the level of mass individuals we might get a better grasp
on our rudders. The most difficult thing is to see the vision. Or maybe, the most difficult
thing is to make the vision real. Any advice you have making visions real would sure be
The most wonderful expression of the tear between these pushing and pulling forces is the music
that you and Jerry, and of course ALL, made. I have always wanted to say thank-you.
I certainly hope you're enjoying your vacation.
I wonder how important it is to understand the borderline phenomenon, rather than to experience freely what is beyond understanding, where understanding means grasping and holding on to something long enough to formulate it? They are certainly two different, possibly mutually exclusive, practices. Those of us who are "intellectuals," never mind how ill disciplined and ragamuffin in our approach, do it, I hope, because it is our pleasure. But hardly as great a pleasure as the direct experience that gives rise to the urge to explain. It's just something to do after the party. A way to bind it to ourselves. Sometimes the correct response is to get drunk, grab a guitar and sing.
Date: Jul 6 1996 12:02 AM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Charlie K.)
> Thanks for your kind words on my page. As for doing anything
> psychotropically inclined other than the McKenna dialogues, I think
>not. I'm a little worried that I might be turning people on to
> something that may not be right for them, psychic dynamite, but
> tend to express myself enthusiastically, though the caveats are
> everywhere in my side of the dialogue. It's the phenomenology of
> the experience, translating it into language (!) which interests
> me at this point.
The translation of such experiences into language, describing the
indescribable, is an important task. It is also one most properly
left to those who have enough command over their language to paint an
accurate portrait. I say "important" because many people are
learning about these compounds and trying them these days. Writings
about the phenomenology of the experience by those who have "been
there" provides a context for the uninitiated to experiment within.
And the context can mean the difference between getting something
meaningful out of the experience or not. Interest in 'entheogens' is
growing and it is definitely a field where a few words of wisdom go a
long way. I recommend Dale Pendell's new book "Pharmako/Poeia" if
you haven't yet seen it. Mr. Pendell does quite a job of giving
words to the various plant teachers and their relations with Human
Also, I was reading your journal entry from 6/15, where you address
being referred to as a "psychedelic writer," and a few thoughts
popped into my head. First thing I thought of was, "Well sure,
Robert Hunter ain't no 'drug' writer, he's a folk poet." Then this
prompted me to recall Nietzsche's statement in _The Birth of
Tragedy_ that goes: "...every period which abounded in folk songs
has, by the same token, been deeply stirred by Dionysiac currents.
Those currents have long been considered the necessary substratum, or
precondition, of folk poetry. But first of all we must regard folk
song as a musical mirror of the cosmos, as primordial melody casting
about for an analogue and finding that analogue eventually in
poetry. [....] Melody gives birth to poetry again and again." I
would say that "psychedelic" drugs are effective in bringing about
this stirring of Dionysiac currents because that is their nature, to
induce ecstasy. Although I wasn't there, it seems to me that the
sudden dropping of millions upon millions of doses of LSD on the
public during the 1960s caused a big unexpected stirring of
Dionysiac currents. Anyway, that is part of what the Grateful Dead
represents to me, a unique expression of folk poetry and song
combined with occasional musical forays into the uncharted, chaotic &
eternal realms of the Dionysiac.
the Neitzche quote was on target. The Dionysian substance in the Appalachians was moonshine.
I have to believe there's something more important in the urge to communicate experiences out of the ordinary than the penchant for telling fish stories. It always seemed critically important to get that stuff across so it could be expanded upon. I think it might be that if we learn how to speak about it, we're another step closer to inheriting what may be natural dimensions for us. On the other hand, it might be a red herring.
But I have to go by my internal ruler, which is to say: if it feels right to say and the urge is strong to say it, well then SAY IT and damn the consequences.
Date: Jul 1 1996 8:43 PM EDT
From: email@example.com (Tom Ferrell)
I, too, want to comment on the thoughts you expressed in the 6/22 entry.
First, the Bob bashing. It's always angered me a little, since my earliest
days as part of the circus. But in those times, Bob had his nightly shot at
redemption and came through time and time again, subtly taking pressure off of
Jerry and somehow being the "rebellious youth" phase of the Grateful Dead.
Maybe people will listen to you when you talk about his grief. God - how some
people can overlook the love that Bob has shown (shone?) for all these years.
Our community came together so strongly after Jerry died. Then it seemed to
fracture again. Now we get to see if we've really come somewhere - if we can
pay our own way back. And part of that is respect. In my book, few have done
more to earn it than Bob Weir.
Sorry to ramble, but I've got a couple more things. When as a teenager I first
realized that you were the author of so many of the songs that I loved, I was
also somewhat disappointed. But I quickly saw that only through distance can
true perspective emerge. Thus, you lent to Jerry an air of wisdom that -
however wise he may have been - became part of the power that allowed him to
lead us through musical mysteries dark and vast. I've seen you perform many of
those same songs on several occasions, and it is wondrous to hear the
different and yet similar voices. I truly hope we have not seen the last of
Robert Hunter's performing days.
Lastly, I want to say that by making the lyrics of the Dead's songs somewhat
hard to find (i.e. - not on the album liners), you encouraged in me a much
truer and personal interpretation process, which I now use every day of my
life. At times I've even felt short-changed by learning the real lyrics. For
years, during Standing On the Moon, I heard "there's a rebel flag beside
me..." I always loved the image of the crowning technological jewel of our
civilization being reduced to a flag planted by a rag-tag band of rebels. Then
I found out it was "metal." After that, more than ever, a piece of that song
seemed somehow to belong to me. That is a gift, my friend. I know that we as
Deadheads can sometimes be annoying, but I hope we give back to all of you a
fraction of the wonder you've distilled in us.
Enjoy your lazy summer home,
P.S. I gave your book, Box of Rain, to my mother for Christmas, along with a
tape of some of the songs and told her that she needed to understand at least
part of what the Dead has meant to me. During "Brokedown Palace," the two of
us cried together for the first time in our lives. I don't know why I felt
compelled to tell you that. But thought you might like to know.
yours is one of those letters that sits unanswered for awhile because I can't think of how to reply. Then I remember: thanks! Your viewpoint and sentiments are much appreciated.
Date: Jul 1 1996 7:52 PM EDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jae Kennedy)
Has there been any discussion on setting up a realtime virtual drumming
circle under the auspices of the GD homepage? I'm not sure the multimedia
technology is quite there yet, but it's a matter of months rather than
years. I envision a virtual space where one can assemble and play a variety
of instruments, sampled vocals, etc. It would undoubtedly veer into
cacophony, like any circle, but some sort of voting mechanism could
establish basic rythm parameters, but would allow extensive improvisation.
Actually, I'm less intrigued by the audio than the visual part of such a
space. The iconic representation of a player, instrument, or dancer would
be limited only by the imagination and technological resources of the
participants. Anyway, it's something to keep in mind as the technology
accelerates -- to my mind the Dead were always about creating a special
place outside of normal timespace.
Jae Kennedy, M.A., Ph.D.
Department of Community Health
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
hmmm. As soon as we can figure out how to talk back and forth in a fairly predictible manner, and how to send and receive at the same time, and get those little cameras clipped to our computers so we have to dress and shave before sitting down to the keyboard, I guess we'll be ready to add drums. The difference between potential and actuality in cyberspace is still daunting. The massive predicted changes seem so incremental. Can't even select fonts on HTML yet. Internet gives Global Village a whole new meaning, with the accent on village.
Date: Jul 9 1996 12:40 AM EDT
I'm a little startled, as I got the k9luna address off some documents
forwarded by a friend (your dialogue with McKenna), and assumed it was some
general address for the official website. I was expecting an underpaid
techie deadhead, not the poet laureate to respond to my mail. So I guess
I'd better clarify myself.
Certainly there are daunting technological barriers to efficient
synchronous communication, but it is now possible to have (rather sluggish)
long distance phone conversations on the internet using existing modems and
phone lines (to the great alarm of the telecom industry). I would assume
that AOL could, if it was so inclined, rig one of it's chat rooms for
sound. This would be terrribly annoying, of course, because there would be
no way to readily filter the chatter as you might in a crowded room. People
would be talking at more or less the same volume at the same time.
Communication would be difficult, if not impossible, because of the
multitude of individuals sharing the same vitual space.
You can see where I'm going with this. A drum circle works on a different
communication principle -- music emerges from the simultaneous melding of
different rhythms. Such a virtual space could actually be simpler to
construct than an audio chat room, since essentially you just need a way to
let 10 (or 20, or a hundred) people to manipulate one or two buttons each
on a drum machine. The same sequence of tones could be repeated until the
drummer chooses to alter them (a much simpler, more repetitive form of
communication than talking). I'm not saying GDP should come up with this
technology, only that they should be ready to subvert it.
Granted, the iconic stuff is a bit longer off, but I'm not necessarily
talking cyperpunk avatars here, just some sort of visual signiture saying
"I am here now". That has some interesting creative potential. But I'm wary
of realtime video as well, although it would allow me to teach my classes
from a solar home on the lower rim of Bryce Canyon instead of the corn
fields of central Illinois.
Let me end with a little fan gushing, now that I know who I'm talking to.
I'm sure you've already had dozens of people say how they wept the first
time they heard "Down the Road", but you really blindsided me with the
first verse. I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that I don't know who Joe
Hill is, but those noble and moving words had made me determined to find
out. I'll be spending part of summer break prowling the libraries for
history of labor texts. Thanks.
Recommend "Joe Hill" by Wallace Stegner
Date: Jul 8 1996 11:59 AM EDT
went Furthur last night...am mightily mightily pleased...was more than
willing to support Mickey and Bobby in the direction they want to go,
but must admit I was feeling that I was not going to hear the music
that necessarily speaks to me and was afraid that that truly would be
in the past and not living anymore...I was wrong - the space was there,
the songs were there, the vibe was there, the spirit was there, my tribe
was there ;-) and dancing for 7 hours straight (okay, not straight, I should
I had mixed feeling hearing Mystery Box's recording - not exactly my taste -
but hearing them live was a whole 'nother thing - a very cool groove to
do your words justice.
I should have known that this would be done with great style. Now I do.
ps. oh, read that you got a piano and a guitar in England...that somehow makes
me quite happy...it just makes me smile to know you're getting some
relaxation and music...enjoy!
glad you went and dug it. Does the CD sound better now that you have some visuals to add to it?
The thing about the festival is that it's there to be enjoyed, not compared and contrasted to other music at other times. You got that in spades. Enough people seeing that is the only way it can continue.
Date: Jul 1 1996 4:45 PM EDT
From: F Hageman
Subj: A soapbox of rainwater
The pockets of Olde England draw whom they will, I trust, and hope they draw me one day. By the Rood, I pray you are feeling at home. :)
>>Try this one on for size: the ghost of Western Culture, in postmodern poses, survives. That seems a more comfortable way to view it. If this estimation is correct, my own work might hypothetically be subsumable under another canon entirely: Western Post-Westernism. Actually, I can't imagine the state of a world where my work had the formative power of some of the illustrious names you cite. I'm not sure I'd want to live there. The world chooses what it can implement. As long as there's space for a rogue Muse, I'm roughly content. >>
I cannot claim more than minimal knowledge of postmodernism. What little I've gleaned makes me hope it will be an ephemeral subset, like Rococo; I'm uneasy trying to stuff Western Culture into it, ghost or no. Nonetheless, I agree the Culture will go on for quite a while yet in some guise.
I'm aware of the need for comfort, though. I have the luxury of being able to look at your stuff and it's place from a distance; were it my own, I'd be far more reticent about how it was accepted and by whom.
Western Post-Westernism? If it will get you in the door, let's go for it. :) But what are the parameters for this canon? Is it possible to draw a neat lineage of influence or school? This classification, inevitable in academe, has never seemed to encompass the latitude of your stuff. Sure, there are antecedents, but they don't line up into neat categories. Of course, this is also the problem with the boys from the musical end of things, so it's good you guys got together! I see the same problems with the assessment and acceptance of Frank Zappa's work. (Speaking of which, I was floored by what I have to assume a coincidence in the frighteningly similar stylisms of Mickey's vocalizations on Only the Strange Remain and Frank's sinister diatribe against television, I'm the Slime, from Overnight Sensation in 73. Ever heard it?)
Odd notion, that of not wanting to live in a world where your stuff had formative clout. Maybe I suffer a little of what Jerry spoke of when he said he was waiting for rock and roll to get some legitimacy in the 50's. After all, I've spent lots of time in a world where the formative power of your stuff was palpable, but anyone connected with the 'serious' world could never seem to get through the veggie burrito security clearance in the parking lot. Like you said when asked if Terrapin was a real place: It is now. This is hard for a lot of people to see, but certainly not to marginalize.
I'm not interested in cutting off heads to make you appear tall, so I don't want to take anything away from the 'illustrious.' I just feel they ought to put up a sign or two and pave that dirt road leading down to your neck of the woods so that the less intrepid, if not less appreciative, would have an easier time finding what they might well benefit from finding. Then again, I don't have to pick up their litter and other cosmic mumbo jumbo, so it's easy for me to say damn the environmental impact reports and just get the roadcrew down there! Still, while it is all too common knowledge that, indeed, so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rainwater, it shouldn't be such a closely guarded secret that, in fact, it rarely rains in dreams.
When I taught high school, I sometimes started off the year by having my kids write a short essay about paying for that first cup of coffee. It was easy to get them talking about notions of wealth, so we had fun and got off to a productive start. I did have trouble, though, living in a world where there wasn't a single colleague who knew what I was talking about when I spoke of Talkin' Money Tree. (Swear I'll never bring it up again, but that multi-tracked guitar segue between Talkin' Money Tree and Friend of the Devil is a lovely example of why it would be great for the Jo'R master to manifest while you were over there. A belated bday present?:) I'd have liked to have been able to say 'ok, open up to p.231 again and tell me about the tone of 'tomorrow will be Sunday born of rainy Saturday.'
But hell, all of this soapboxing aside, I agree with you--the world will choose, and rightly. The rogue today may tomorrow wear the laurel. But to lobby for it would render it an empty honor.
P.S. Wrapped this up past aol's bedtime, so I couldn't send it. As fortune would have it, I went out at 5 a.m. sans sleep to take a good long walk. I don't know how familiar you are with the East Bay, but in El Cerrito, there is a street, Moeser Ave., which starts out in the flats and goes to the top of the hills in one long straightaway, culminating in an incredible vista. Up I went, with the full moon lighting up the Bay behind. It was glorious, and as I approached the summit, there was Venus, sitting fat on the horizon, looking as if I could just pluck it out of sky and take it home. Now, here between the moon and the morning star (rising first and shining best), I was awash in a dawn splayed like a coral fan. Surely this wasn't the only way to register this moment, but due to a certain, uh, formative power imbued way back, I daresay I had little choice. What a wonderful world.
thank you for being so concerned with my lack of recognition. But may I just say that a few drops of recognition of the quality you bring is worth buckets splashed on my head from other sources. There's a lot of quantity in this world compared to the quality it has to offer.