[Archive] [majorlinksl


Date: Jul 9 1996 2:28 PM EDT
From: JeSc1116


Don't want to disturb your enjoyment of the English Vibe, but... (how many times have you heard that?)

I've recently gone online (as it were) and just discovered your archive. What a joy. So this quick note and a q...

Thank you. I think that is the only way to sum up my emotions...
For all the thoughts, feelings, life experiences, etc that I can trace back to my personal experience of the Grateful Dead and all its attendant lifeforms...

I am a screenwriter here in LA and cannot begin to tell you how your lyrics, and the places, sources they have sent me to have colored, enhanced, made more evocative my own life and writing... Hopefully, in all humbleness, my own writing will in some microscopic way add its breath to the beast...

As to the dissolution of the Grateful Dead as a performing unit, and the (feared) non-performance of your lyrics, I think of an adage of William Faulkner, "The past is never dead; it's not even past."

Now for my Q-- while looking around your archive i see people referencing your own annotations and explanations for some of your lyrics. Where can I find this? I looked at the Lyrics html, but don't see your annotations.

THANK YOU (again)

Jeff Pinkner


Welcome to the internet.

The file you're looking for is to be found in "Majorlinks" the index file and is called FRACTURES OF FAMILIARITY.

Faulkner said a mouthful. I like the corrolaries: The future is never coming; there is no future . . . The present is never here; it's never now ... all, I think, equally to the point and similarly indisputable.

Thanks for the bon mots, and remember what Hollywood did to Faulkner. The beast doesn't like to give the breath you lend back.

Date: Jul 10 1996 6:04 PM EDT
From: JeSc1116


Thanks for your prompt response to my query. What a pleasant surprise...

I'll try not to abuse the toy of being able to communicate with you...I never realized I maintained the fantasy until the possibility became a reality...

That said... a few thoughts...

A few months back, I'm sure you by now know, but in case you do not, a letter in the Sunday New York Times was commenting on a string of letters lamenting the irrelevance of poetry in modern society. The writer pointed out that in his opinion, to the contrary, poetry today is more prevalent and meaningful to a widespread audience than ever's just that poetry has taken the form of song lyrics. The writer then went on to specifically mention you and the bard himself, Bob Dylan, as two prime examples of his point.

Secondly, re: meaning of F's Tower lyrics which you so kindly pointed out to me. My first grasp of this song dates back to when in 10th grade I was first turned on to the Dead. (1982) My friend, (currently a philosophy professor at Harvard; in 6th grade at the age of twelve he would come into class and re-perform Johnny Carson's monologue from the night before...I'm sure, at this point only he and the teacher understood it, though at the time I felt like I was the only one missing the boat) in response to my saying I didn't understand the meaning of F's Tower, asserted that the chorus, Roll away the dew, referred to the morning dew as a symbol for birth, specifically birth of consciousness and understanding. Roll away, was thus imploring us as a society, and individuals, to move past the birth of understanding toward the next, deeper level. The bell was pealing the coming of wisdom-- Good enough for me. And though i'm sure this all came from nowhere but his admittedly fertile mind, pretty damn close to your intended meaning.

So if you have ever despaired that your songs may have gone non-understood, rather than just understood in a personal context for each listener, don't. I personally believe re: my own writing, that sometimes meaning,allusion, etc. stem from a shared unconscious, which we all receive on some level.

Now, about Mountains of the Moon...

Thanks again,


Subj: Machines
Date: Jul 10 1996 5:56 PM EDT

Is this who I think it is? And please tell me what your thoughts are on these machines. I'm with them a lot and I'm not sure how that fits in with me. I would like some external reference. What about machines and 12/21/12? If this doesn't make any sense, please disregard.



well it doesn't make a lot of sense on the face of it, unless you're talking about machines from dimension x, in which case I suggest taking massive doses of B vitamins until they go away.


Subj: Re: 7/6, response 7/7, follow-up
Date: Jul 11 1996 3:27 PM EDT


I don't know if you got my response to your riddle. I put a tag line in
the cc catagory and I think it made the whole message undeliverable, as I haven't heard from you. Otherwise, perhaps you thought my answer was trite. It read: "It's me."

Your riddle had to do with laughter in the trees, when the childrens'
laughter had stopped.

By the way, there is no infinite humility empty enough, at least not in me, to modify that statement sufficiently. I think of the "fondler" legend, the horrifying tale Marco Polo told of a thousand deaths made as excruciating as possible, the victim reduced to a stump.

Certainly if you dig into the physical essence you discover pain, but then you have chosen that point of view, and that choice is closer to the essence of "being" -sight, or the choice to see, being as close as I have gotten so far to the "prime mover".

In the beginning, I chose to see. I used the backdrop of not seeing as my mirror, and saw only the difference between the two. I was left with the option of seeing continually, or not seeing at all - and these were two directions that I chose, each infinite until I started to vacillate, and then there were four choices: to see, and see again; to see, and not see; to not see, and then see; and to not see and continue to not see.
_ _ _ _ ___ ___
_ _ ___ _ _ ___

And I saw at that time that I had spent a hell of a lot of time in some unconscious moment (some nut named McKenna would proclaim it was in the tens of billions of years - and he would be me too.) These steps spiraled in possibility when I compared distances of dimension, one versus the other, possible when postulating the "size" of each step, (something I still argue about with fluctuating temperatures - yet I hold an absolute center, the speed of reflection itself [300K/sec.] which creates a oneness with all it sees [background radiation momentarily @ 2.7 degrees K]). This is the world of two dimensions, then three bubbling off to be self-referencing and essentially eternal. Yet it is this which I am
thinking about leaving, opening floodgates to the other clock-speeds, all available in a simple act of reflection, as Bell's theorem pointed out.

Why? So I can live at higher and higher levels of meaninglessness, that is why. Try asking that one again.

And you'll start to laugh. Robert I empathize with you, as one who
suffered without redemption. We could decide not to stop at the level of compassion, as did the Buddha, and move on to the level of freedom, but we may discover that in our world it is not worth it. Little children fear, instinctively; yet they are also curious...

I hope to lose falseness, so to thoroughly take this journey, to myself, to my purity, knowing in advance it is nothing I seek. And why? Inwardly I harbor a hope of bringing joy to little universes, each one with a name, of some sort, somewhere. And what would bring that joy? Understanding, I suspect, that there is no meaning except in the mirror show we construct. Yet should we make the show beautiful, it is infinitely meaningful. Because, you see, it was so tragic. It was meaningless...

And what am I left with? I am at a laptop in a beautiful day near the
ocean; I just looked in a sea lion's eyes, its alien eyes so wise as it
rested on the beach. I was a nuisance, nothing more, most likely. And it was not so wise. My wife tells me I need to look for work, my scripts languish, my treatises are unread. None of it matters, none and that's why I hold out for the greater glory - I have seen behind the facade, and discovered the only show in town is to be the magician itself. The fool has no future.

But I can't live in such cynicism.



I didn't put the reply and the answer "it's me" together for a few days, then it flashed on me it was your reply to the "children," construct.

I've decided to accept your communication at face value. There's no hint of deception in the tone of your words. I'd of thought the core of your realization depended on no mathematic nor physics. Tat Tvam Ici covers it: "Thou art that"
"That is you." This doesn't invite solipsism so much, in my point of view, as it resolves the subject/object complex by removing the question. Essentially yes, we (or I if you will) are closed systems. But the closed system contains the open system - at least all there ever was of it, minus the subject/object as "real" category of ignorance/innocence.

The fruit of the insight is a fluidity of identity, which one can choose to exploit -or simply be aware of the exploitable potential, having other interesting things to do within the framework of individual identity which preclude either fractualizing or ultimate unifying. I detect hints of dissatisfaction in your having decided to live in the raw truth while retaining your individuality. I wonder if you can have it both ways? The tension must be terrific. I salute the Faustian attempt.

I've decided to create what beauty I can, and to communicate as though communication were the one way to a more harmonius existence: the golden radiance rather than the harsh light of raw truth. Granted, the former light is not amenable to busting through dimensions and lighting all nooks until they are devoid of shadow and penumbra. But you have to ask why the Prime Mover decided to differentiate in the first place. Inevitibility? Certainly. But also because kindness was possible in the lesser light. In the necessity of forgetting the merciless unitary selfhood of the monad, ignorance was born. There's no way to get lost there, unfortunately. The truth is always waiting, like Lewis Carrol's Boojum Snark. Why rush into its jaws? Bach and Beethoven dwelt around the fringes and made music, which has its own reasons which the heart can feel and be satisfied with.

But I don't mean to bait you with what you already know. Only to say that I believe the adventure of individual existance in the multiplicity to be a worthy one. And that the absolute light need not be sought with such alacrity when a moment's existential awareness confirms all too certainly that raw truth is only a heartbeat away.

Please let me hear more from you. Bishop Berkeley lives on in your soul!


Date: Jul 11 1996 2:55 PM EDT
From: (Mike Tisdale)


I hadn't written before because I'm sure you get plenty of
fan mail, which I'm sure is nice on one level, but also can
be a pain in the neck to read and answer on another. I tend
not to write to authors and musicians whom I enjoy, simply
because they undoubtable get lots of "Who was Bertha about?" or
"Are you Lazarus Long?" sorts of letters, when all it was
might have been a song or story to put bread on the table.
That's not to say that creative people don't put part of
themselves into their work, it is just that they don't
necessarily want to share that with a bunch of absolute
strangers who might enjoy their work.

John Pertwee said he used to get annoyed at people who asked
him "What were you thinking about when you were...(fill in the
blank about your favorite Dr. Who episode)?" His response
was "When's lunch, I'm a #%^$$ actor, for Pete's sake!"

Mike Tisdale

Subj: The tyranny of thought
Date: Jul 12 1996 12:20 PM EDT
From: (Ronald Moore)

Greetings my brother,

Robert, lets get something straight between me and you right now. You've had me by the balls for 22 years now, and I'm getting a little restless and cranky. Not too cranky to realize where my head is buttered though, so I remain faithfully yours, tuning my ear to the pitch of your wandering voice and finding comfort there. You keep fanning the flames that draw us in, like moths to a candle, closer and closer we fly, until only the flame exists. Take care of your gift my brother.

Today is 7/12/96 and in a few hours I'll be shuffling over to Camden (just across the Delaware river from my Philadelphia home) to be a part of the Further Festival. Filled with hope for the future and a nagging sense of grief that drives the bitter sweet. Ever had a tooth that hurts when you push on it? I'll bet that you, like me, just couldn't stop pushing on it, just to see if it still hurt so good. Well, you get the idea.

Please stop by Philly in your travels, I'd love to hear you play again, live and direct. Well, I would actually prefer to get stinking damn well drunk with you and see what mischief we might stir up.

The following is a letter I tried to post some time ago to the Uncanny (not that there is anything uncanny about it, it just seemed right to send it), but the message didn't go through for whatever reason, so here it is again.

Be well Robert, and love harder than you fight.

Ps. Your web site is way cool, keep on keepin on...

Ron Moore

Several years ago (could be 12 or more) in West Caldwell, New Jersey I was lucky to see Robert and JGB on a gorgeous sunny afternoon. There was a strangely good vibration there that day. Balloons floating, ice-cream cones, and the ivy covered walls of the all female campus completed the picturesque scene.

Hunter was a man on fire that day. I felt as though he was staring directly into my soul. "Gypsy Parlor Light" moved me along the dream rail and produced that chalk-board-scratch shiver that we all know and love. RH then provided a glowing intro for Jerry.

JGB was spot on that day. Quintessential Jerry. The breeze not only stopped to listen in, but it became slave and lover to "mind-at-large." I saw rain summoned from a clear blue sky, right on que, during "Mission in the rain". We all freaked happy together. Glub, Glub and rub-a-dub, seamless integration of body and sound and soul and planet.

During Dear Prudence's "round, round, round..." chorus, the planet actually stopped spinning and then changed to a new direction, wrought of the will of our incessant chanting.

At some point this guy (he may have been naked) ran right through the drum kit, from behind!! I think it was Ron on drums, but whoever it was got toppled by this guy who, like I said, smashed right through the drum kit from behind. John and Jerry just looked at each other, did a little two step out of the way and kept right on playing!! The guy was grabbed and tossed off stage. The drums were put back up. The band did a hasty "Midnight Moonlight" and then got on the bus and were gone before we even began to call for the encore that was
not to be.

My point is (if there even is a point) that I guess that guy broke the spell that RH had cast and that JGB had been tending so well. I can not accurately describe the joy of that day, prior to that rambunctious fellow literally crashing our party.

Once we all copped to the fact that the players were gone, and that fellow had popped our collective bubble, I was left feeling incomplete. I know that there was meant to be more that day. The transfiguration of language and communion was cut short. However, I consoled myself with the hope of times to come.

Then there was August 9, 1995.

Now, there are times while playing my guitar, when I get a feeling like I did in West Caldwell that day. Like there is a communication, a transformation happening. Oddly, this both encourages me and fills me with grief (fueled by my shameless selfishness for what I perceive to have lost).

I wonder what the music would have told us that day in West Caldwell, if that rambunctious man hadn't spoiled our fun.

(Robert, please come back and cast another spell. My head is sinking and I ain't feeling well)

Ron Moore,


one thing you got to know about this old world Ron, whenever you cast a spell some naked guy comes crashing through the drum set. It'll be the same next time. Because there are balances. Because everything draws its opposite. And the more energy there is, the nakeder the guy will be and the bigger the clatter. On the other hand, if you see a naked guy crashing through the drum set, can a spell be far behind? Thanks for an ass kicking letter.

Date: Jul 12 1996 3:44 PM EDT

Hi Robert -

I've been enjoying your journal and the archive since its inception, but have been too scared to send you any mail (I mean, 'writing' to such a gifted writer like you is just a little bit intimidating !)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your journal and visiting the archive for new updates - about your trip to Wales, the Grateful Dead, the mailbag - everything (as a long time fan of Ripley's Believe it or not - I really enjoyed the Library of the Uncanny!). I was telling my wife what a joy it is to read your journal. The main thing I noticed right away about it is how easily it reads, and how well written it is. I mean to say as much as you
do, so powerfully, is amazing to me. (Something I also appreciate about your lyrics) Most people would require three times as many words to convey what you do in a sentance or two. It is truly a gift you have, and I thank you for sharing it with us.

My sister and I got to experience the FURHTUR festival in Hartford, CT and I
wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Mickey Hart's Mystery Box. Unfortunately
the sound was kind of muddy so I couldnt understand a lot of the lyrics, but I'm
going out this weekend to buy the CD. GOOD WORK to you and Mickey!!

Well, thanks again for helping me feel connected to the larger community. I
really respect the power of the internet. How else can you communicate with so
many people, all over the world - and even better, someone like me can get in
touch with YOU!

Take care,

Jamie Smith

Jamie -

afraid to write to me? I do my damndest not to be intimidating.

Thanks for going out to support the troops at the FF.

And thanks for the note on the Library. You got anything weird enough to include? I'm convinced everybody has had at least one experience so far outside the normal run of things it twisted their head three ways from Saturday. If so, they haven't been sending them to me lately.

I appreciate your compliments on the Archive. I'm getting rested up in England and the pleasure in creating the website is coming back. I was starting to burn. Just needed to get away from other distractions for awhile and recharge. It's happening.

Date: Jul 12 1996 12:41 PM EDT
From: CKliks
Subj: The end of the Rosegarden Cyberparty

Often we dont stay online long enugh for people to do their goodbyes properly. I was very impressed that you suited up and showed up at the appointed hour thus giving access to lots of us common folk. That's what its really all about. With notoriety there will always be issues of drawing borders and limits. Nothing new. I have been within a Knat'seyebrow of the famous a great deal of my adult life, sort of like Bubba gump without the shrimp fortune. In fact my knickname is Bubba. Just Bubba. No gump or Meistro or Intrepido except Allen used to call me Meistro because of my lightshow gigs in the 60-70s always trying to set up for the ultimate audiovisual orgasm. I love my work. People look at my stuff and never know I'm THE GUY who created it and thats just fine most of the time. I'm the little guy at the console below a clatter of scaffolding cordened off by security tape. I'm inthemiddle of a crowd of thousands all hottotrot waiting for the lights to dim announcing what they know will be 12 to 20 minutes of eyeball smashing ultra panoramic multiscreen multimedia multisoundtrack dreamtrek custom designed for them, for that moment, for Their Celebration. (My specialty was gut level humanbeing oriented electromotive spare no gimmics to getaround The ol' E2D ( EverydayEmotionalDefense system) by plucking every available heartstring with the blatant solicitous tennor of Oral Roberts at his Hunger strike live-from-the-Belltower-givemeaMillion-or-I'll-jump Telethon.
(Before the onset of my tragicAndireversible illness I specialized in kick-off shows at conventions, exhibits, concerts etc.) Let em tell ya Bob. Give me an opportunity, some film,videotape,etc and a few months to prepare and I can pluck like no human has plucked before. In this one wee area I am strident and unabashedly confident. I'm the best and Great things shall come to pass when Cyberspace is ready.

What I love about my work as I was about to say some paragraphs ago is that I can be right in the center of my creation in the offing, and Nobody knows who I am. I'm the little man behind the curtian that the Wizard tells you to not to pay any attenton to. I can be oneofthe crowd and free to fuckup or be fucked as the situation dicates. god love us little engineers. Nobody knows our names.

Anyway letterwriting is a vital part of the entertainment tradition. thanx and keep at it!
U R makin historE here bub. I intend to logon to the Dead net and read your journals now that I know where to look.
What follows is the end of your roseparty chat. If you want the whole thing I saved it. If you want to know how to make copies of Onlinechats for futureplayback with a speech synth etc, and don't know how, drop me a Q. once again thanks for being there a blowin' in the ol'digitalwind.
or Wownownet@same... (Stands for Windows on the World NOW net.)

what follows is the ls few minutes at the rosegarden near your signoff:

Jetntoto: Should we bring our mag lites to furthur?
AM dew1: any plans for a special tribute at ventura for jer's bday
Guitarcia: from the locals
K9Luna: *Good nite fokes*
Walstib691: well......why....
MRN DW: bob look into the whaling archives, rum runners et al
Walstib691: bad.....
Walstib691: ?
BB2u: good night!
GWAY3: fare and be well know
EEwaterfal: good night!
OnlineHost: K9Luna has left the room.
OnlineHost: WMSPEAR has left the room.
Pottman: Robert thanks for everything and your mate does great artwork too
CKliks: can ypu imagine if they would just give us a teeny window for screen
cam interactivity!
CZimmer626: thanks!!
Jetntoto: NoPETS!!!!!!?????
AM dew1: muchas garcias robert!
Altzee: Good night Robert,,,thanks
Jetntoto: WAIT
Walstib691: quint has usually done a great show
BLUE ALLAH: bless you mister hunter.
LOVLIGHT: good nite mr. hunter....thank you.....
Terrapinn8: See you, and I bid you goodnight!
MRN DW: se ya
QUINTHESKM: asta hunter
The1aft909: thanks Hunter
Johnnycabl: <Jeff420> Bye robert!
UnklJon: Thanks Robert, you inspire us =)
Guitarcia: thanks Robert
CBarrows: goodnight Robert from,
CKliks: bye and thanks for doing this stay open2it!
Johnnycabl: L2> ViolaLee good night robert
Jetntoto: have it your way bye bye
Walstib691: dach.......hunter
Pottman: thanks Robert
JIBATHA: thanks for all robert
FurthurC: Bye Robert.
Sweeney99: K9Luna has leftthe Garden
DEADforver: thanks Hunter
QUINTHESKM: i go no further
OnlineHost: RMckee5428 has left the room.
CBarrows: good going gang

well now I know. It's an honor to speak with the best in the world at anything. You write the highest speed letters I've seen yet. Guess I wasn't aware of what a big deal the online event was for everybody. I'm pretty far away from the buzz here, but I was proud to know DeadNet was involved, and surprised to later learn just how involved. Wish I'd said something intelligent to make it more worthwhile, but there you go.

Thanks for sending the rosegarden stuff. I didn't see anything after I signed off. I would have stayed on longer but it was getting tired in this part of the world.

Date: Jul 12 1996 10:57 AM EDT
From: Thomas.Melvin@MVS.UDEL.EDU

Hi Robert. Short note, I know you're on vacation, but I'm heading up to the
Camden, N.J. edition of FURTHUR in about two hours and wanted to let you know
how excited I am about hearing Mystery Box live. Love the record, and
everyone I've heard from who's seem them live gives them the best compliment
available: that they're as exciting live (as compared to the record) as the
Dead were live (as compared to their records). Gonna let the boys put some
pep in my step and some glide in my stride! Heading up to the Winterhawk
Bluegrass festival in the Hudson Valley next week for four days on Del Mcoury,
Ralph Stanely, David Grisman, etc. You get the picture. Got the Bill Monroe
tape made for you, I'll put it in the mail when I get back. Also sending you
a copy of a show of his from 1969, for comparison and enjoyment. Latest word
on Bill is that he's lost his speech capacity and might not ever get out of
the hospital. Very depressing situation, I'll be praying at the alter of the
Big Mon next week at Winterhawk. I'll send you a short note tomorrow about
tonights show. Hope you found the stone! Trying to avoid hurricane Bertha,
don't you come around here! Take care.
Tom Melvin


thanks for keeping me posted on the Father. We all know it's coming we just don't know when. The body containing that precious voice, the fingers producing the notes and rhythm with perfect taste, be gone soon. But he did his work and influenced the deep strata of American music more than most folks will ever guess. Scrape aside the scum of money music, as time will do, and Bill Monroe will emerge as one of the very few true innovators in our music. Ageless. The High Lonesome sound of rural America captured for all time in one no nonsense tenor.


July 27 SONOMA COUNTY FAIR - Santa Rosa: Zero, David Nelson Band, Big Brother and the Holding Company -- show times 4 PM and 8 PM)

Date: Jul 13 1996 5:19 PM EDT
From: Hb404b1
Subj: Semi-random thoughts

I am new to cyberspace, and have been delighted to find the fascinating place you have built. I feel honored to share the aspects of yourself you bring on-line. We've all taken a number of stumbling steps in the last year in keeping the spirit and community alive. Yours is one of the surest.
As to your lyric postings, there is one verse of Comes a Time I have long wondered about. The band sang it maybe twice, and it is not in Box of Rain. It goes:
The words come out like an angry stream
You hear yourself saying things you could never mean
When the heat cools down and you find your own mind
You've got a lot of words that you've got to stand behind.
While I've some suspicions about why the verse didn't stay in the song, I still love it. My profession (environmental law) requires me to remember this message on a daily basis. Do you consider this verse part of the song? Any recollections about how it fell into the cracks?


I remember the verse well, but don't remember at what point it stopped being sung. It was not uncommon to cut a verse out of a song for recording purposes, either for balance or length. I've often been given the choice among verses I liked equally well. Mine own executioner!

Subj: Possibilities
Date: Jul 14 1996 11:36 AM EDT
From: (Tom & Nancy Melito)

I made a road trip to the Further Festival at Camden New Jersey (my second
festival in 2 weeks) and it was very enjoyable. It also sparked some
discussion and analysis by my friends and I that I wish to share with you.

The 7 plus hours of entertainment go very quickly. The machine is well
oiled, each band seemed quite comfortable with the format, and they all
seemed genuinely happy to be there. There is quite a bit of collaboration,
which is fun to watch and likely to reverberate over the years to come. The
package works and I will gladly attend again next year.

What the evening lacks (with some fleeting exception) is magic. This is not
a criticism, just an observation (as Bobby sings in "Easy to Slip"--all the
magic has gone away). I will not attempt to argue, nor do I believe anyone
can, that this is an objective observation. But a critical mass of
subjective impressions add up, and Deadheads can point to innumerable
instances in that past where enough of us felt "it." I'm sure the absence
of "it" at the festivals is not a universal view, but I've spoken with
enough of my friends (covering about 8 festivals) that I'm convinced it's
not just me.

What does this mean? Damned if I know generally, but it does make *me*
nostalgic and a bit melancholy. These are emotions that I have little
patience for in others, let alone myself (I share your fondness for powder
charges and silver mines). It also gets me thinking: What are my
responsibilities, and what are everyone else's? I've decided that, in a
word, its "possibility." If the Band (WHATEVER that means) continues trying
to open themselves up to the possibility of magic at shows, then I will
continue to open myself to the possibility of experiencing it there. This
sounds like dime store Alchemy, but it's provided me with some comfort.

The great mystery is not the *absence* of magic, but its *presence* for 30
years. Over the years, most non-Deadheads that I've attempted to discuss
this with have had no experiences in their lives comparable to what I've
felt innumerable times at shows and elsewhere. This is a sad truth. The
challenge for me will be to continue to stay open to this other reality
during these "Days Between."

We spent the day after the Camden show walking around post-Hurricane Bertha
Philly. We had a wonderful lunch in Little Italy and then were gifted with
one of those "strangest of places" moments. Walking back to our car, one
of my friends noticed a beautiful mirrored mosaic on a wall down an alley.
As we walked towards it we entered a wonderland. The walls around us were
covered on all sides with dazzling images, both form and abstract. The more
we walked the more we found, finally circling this truly unique and
beautiful place in urban America. As icing on the cake, a gentlemen
happened by, whom we stopped and asked some questions of. He turned out to
be the artist. He goes by the name Isaiah, and he had the sense of humor
and sparkle in his eyes appropriate to such a visionary. Next time you are
in Philly, seek out this place.

I hope your vacation provides the distance and balance you need for the long
haul. BTW - Although I may not comment on the Giant's Harp, I've read
every installment and enjoy it quite a bit. I suspect this is also true of
others. I'm reluctant to ask any questions, because I don't want to
interfere with its unfolding (in answering my question you might
inadvertantly spoil a surprise or are forced to be creatively cryptic).

Fare Thee Well,

Tom Melito


good to hear from you again.

The magic was that we were us, not some pickup band composed of good parts but no evolved "group" identity, such as can experience loyalty through thick and thin and all that good stuff. The fact that it was "us" was the magic which the music only reflected. As bits of us died and were replaced, there was less of that, but still enough to get by on considering that you all had become a part of "us" too.

Now the band is "them." Some great parts of other bands, some great songs. But a band must go through a lot together, stay together a long time, make sacrifices and collect rewards together, for the spectrum of magic to form. This is not often done. What we had was a natural phenomenon. It cannot be manufactured. It may or may not happen again in our time.

And over and above all that, you and your friends are all tuned into the sound of Jerry missing. You're hearing the sound of one hand clapping. Would you do that to a bar band? Try it. Go hear somebody good playing and imagine Jerry missing from the mix. Good practice for getting used to it.

The rest of the members will rise or fall in their individual formations depending on the love and time they devote to it. Don't count anybody out just yet.

Subj: a true find
Date: Jul 11 1996 8:29 PM EDT
From: (gstone)

After reading TM's thoughts for some time, and of course a 25 year fascination with RH, finding this connection was actually too much. Reading this entry caused a 4-shot ibuprofen, but hey, what doesn't these days. How about an album? At the least keep it going


with that kind of reaction better carry some nitro pills. In any event, get a treadmill test. Glad you're liking it. It's a chance to really cruise into some issues that haven't been raised about that three pounds of meat in the skull which we are ALL experts on. Built it from the ground up but lost the manual.

Subj: Re: Fourth of July, UK
Date: Jul 4 1996 3:40 PM EDT
From: (dorian weisel)

well we's a needin boat loads of medicine brother, its not the little
things as you know, its the whole travelin medicine show, when we were
kids it was sf and now its news, and readin about it in the paper gives
me the blues...

you recently wrote terrence:

'it was long, hard work making this world real. It was, and is, done for
a purpose. To have others. To believe in them fully in order to
experience love.'

and I cannot agree more

its just that sinking feelin that theres a wolf at the door

you say 'it was long, hard work making this world real...' and I
struggle with, cry in the night, am angry and filled with fright, but
KNOW the stuggle is right, damn it brother I can not shake this feeling
that there is a conscious effort to to fuck it up.

I know the rules say no leader, no rules posted on the door, and
obviously we all come to grips in our own way with the whys and the
wherefore, but something in me is screaming at a very high pitch,
wanting to stop those fuckin assholes that would throw the whole thing
in a bottomless ditch...

I know you have been watchin out for us all along ie., the power of your
song... and will do my best my friend to lend a hand as we travel
furthur into this uncharted land....

enjoy your stay in the land of our past, enjoy a moment with the family
rolin in the grass, damn it robert I hope there is never a last.....



Do you really beat yourself up that bad over the crap happening in the world, or is it the passion of the moment as you write the letter? Find the EQ knob man, don't splatter on us! Fix a few things close to hand. That's the best that can be done.

Date: Jul 14 1996 5:59 PM EDT
From: (dorian weisel)

Aloha brother

...always lookin for the EQ knob bob, always tweekin it just so, but
from within its just never possible to know...

maybe to explain...

the day I spent with our brother back in '90 was a mile marker for me.
The most striking, and I mean to the core, moment was an exchange of
ideas we had while eatin lunch in a forest, sittin under a tree, with a
lava flow goin by. We got around to talkin about the earths ecology,
and social issues like that of the Hawaiian renaissance that is
beginning here. He obviousely cared and had a special spot in his heart
about the issues that impacted the island I live on. So we talked about
what is being done to make things better here. I sensed a probing as in
looking for a place to put his energies so that they would help, not be

So we tossed the ball around, and at this place in time Hawaii is truely
a critical player in the development of the worlds psyche so there was
bunches to toss around...

and all of a sudden, with a real sparkle in his eye, he turned to me and
said, "it obviouse there is nothing left other than to count up how many
magicians you know, get together and get to work"...

and that to me was like bein a unhatched chicken and havin that first
awareness that there was a egg to break.... or more to the point being a
unhatched chick and having a LOUD speaker come on and say start crackin!


I hear what you're saying but, as you note, Jerry approached the problems of the world with a twinkle in his eye, not the corded neck veins of anger. What, after all (and I know I'm treading on delicate ground here) did our friends Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin accomplish beyond pitting the youth culture against the older generation in a pitched battle resulting in extravagant backlash? The 90's are the result of a failure to communicate. You may say: "Yes, but the VietNam war was ended!" Perhaps, but I'd beg you to consider the economic infeasability of continuing the war as a contributing factor of equal weight. Could love alone do it? Cocaine and smack rendered that a moot point. We were steamrolled by our own arrogance. The Grateful Dead continued long beyond its predictible time as a reminder of what might have been if . . .

So, it's a new generation and a clean slate. Maybe the internet fits in there somewhere, anarchic tool of communication new to this world as it is. I don't think the spirit had died, it's just laying low licking its wounds. Somehow, someday . . . well, you know.

Date: Jul 15 1996 1:21 AM EDT
From: (Valerie Ramos-Ford)

Dear Mr. Hunter,

I just found your homepage, so I will take this opportunity to thank you for
your words. My friends and I have sung and recited them to one another for
decades -- when our own words were too young or simply failed, at our
weddings and gatherings, and even as prayers to carry our parents beyond.
What a wonderful vehicle you have offered us all.

The poem that follows came to me as I danced with a good old friend at the
Furthur Fest in Camden NJ on Friday, and as hurricaine Bertha tried to beat
us down with a fierce summer rain! Please consider it my very novice way of
saying thanks for how we felt at that moment.

Peace, Val


You said, "I can't lead"
when I asked you to dance
let me show you the way
come on, take a chance
just kick up your heels
let the dust fill the air
I can teach you to tango
we can love without care
with bare feet on hot earth
you will swing me around
'til the warm summer rain
brings us back to the ground

We have been here before
And we will be again
Let me feel your heart beat
Let me call you my friend

We can glide like young lovers
absorbed in a trance
pretend for one moment
we have half a chance
of holding this time
in the palms of our hands
clasped tightly together
across distant lands
we'll be dancing the tango
we'll be lost in a song
I will follow your lead
of love silent and strong

We have been here before
And we will be again
Let me feel your heart beat
Let me love you, my friend

July 14, 1996


no fledgling effort that. A strong lyric with gorgeous images.

"We have been here before/ And we will be again"
could be rhythmically improved to:
We've been here before / We will be here again

making two strong statements out of a conjunctive passage with a weak passive construction in the second line. OK in a verse, but cumulative in a repeating section. Tell 'em Groucho sent you.

Thanks for the positive evaluation of my work. I hope you find stuff to enjoy on DeadNet. We've been making quite an effort to get it happening. The tech is low but the aspirations high.

Subj: Humanities and Arts on the Internet
Date: Jul 15 1996 3:01 PM EDT
From: (Dan Harrington)

Hello Mr. Hunter,

I've been enjoying your Archive for the past few months, the
journal entries, the mailbag with its varied and fascinating
feedback, the original lyrics images...all of it! And more
and more I've been picking up on your sense of possibility
regarding the Internet, both in what you are doing and in what
others could make of it...which leads me to this mail message.

I work on networking products, and lately I've been attending
meetings of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), where
the protocols and mechanisms by which the Internet functions
are proposed, debated and defined. Most of this work is low-level
bits and bytes stuff, where networking engineers, researchers
and operators get into heated debates about the order of addresses,
and other seemingly silly subjects. At a recent meeting I discovered
that there is one team dedicated to describing how the Internet can
be used by practitioners of the Humanities and Arts, known as the
HARTS working group; it's an odd (but heartfelt) gesture, this
engineering organization reaching out to a community not typically
represented in its ranks. I immediately joined this group, as it
provides me with a more direct path to the folks who ultimately use
the networking software I help's hard to describe, but
I suspect you understand this need to connect with the end user,
given your involvement with

Anyhow, I thought I'd ask if you'd care to review what the group has
come up with thus far (at, and
then invite you to join the group, provide any feedback or direction,
pass news of it along to a friend, or make any sort of contribution
you might care to. Or not...I realize you're a busy fellow with a
family (and on vacation to boot), but these two threads in my head
(IETF/HARTS and your works) keep trying to crosslink each other.
I figured it was worth letting you know about it, in case it's
important to you, too.

Thanks for everything,

Dan Harrington


will check out the URL and let you know what I think of it. The bits and bytes stuff is damned important, but I suspect the rest is up to individuals. I (modestly, please!) hope that my work on the net helps give a clue to what could be done by others. I've taken a few pointers -such as the idea of doing a diary online - from others myself. Of course none of it is ever going to get the hits of, but that's gainsaid.

Anyway, let me go take a look before I blab anymore.


(ps: Dan, if you read this - I couldn't bring your URL up on AOL, and DeadNet is a big toll call to San Jose from England - I only use it to upload ... )

Date: Jul 16 1996
Subj: Dead.Net

I just wanted to say to whomever's out there in Cyberspace that Dead.Net and all of this is the next logical step in our collective adventure. A collection of minds is a river of freedom...see ya in 'Space....

We just keep going Furthur and Furthur...


Date: Jul 16 1996 9:31 PM EDT
From: (Stewart Nunn)

It started, I think, because my Grandfateher used to sing "Froggy Went a Courtin'" to me when I was a child. When I was ten years old, (1970), I was riding home from school (in Memphis) with my mother, or a neighbor, and heard a
rockin'-shuffled-blues called Truckin. It was the first "rock-and-roll" I'd heard
that sounded like actual music. My father is a physican/jazz musican and I'd grown up listening to classical and mainstream jazz. Hendrix didn't do that much for me
when I was ten. The radio announcer claimed that the band who'd just played Truckin was something called the "Grateful Dead". I was positive he was playing an airwave joke on us. However, I couldn't stop thinking about how the song made me want to get up and dance. The lyrics had meaning, flow, purpose and rythm. Hearing the tune prompted me to ask my father for whatever sound system he could pass my way -
so I ended up with a small AM/FM radio. That was my ticket to rock exploration
- now, if the fellows down at WXYZ would only play that tune Truckin again...

A couple of years passed by and I kept listening for a replay of Truckin. The
Grateful Dead did not get much, if any, air play in Memphis so I didn't catch the
tune again for years. In the meantime, I'd developed a passion for the Beatles.
One evening I was listening to a much better sound system in my room late at
night when the announcer introduced the next tune as "Trucking". I was filled
with anticipation, thinking that the band name associated with the Truckin I'd
heard before couldn't possibly be the Grateful Dead - who were they anyhow???
To my utter dismay the Trucking played next was not by the Grateful Dead, but
by Jerry Reed - a story about 18 wheelers and CB radios and a lot of other
meaningless dribble. I was bummed, but determined to head off to the record
stores on my bike and find out who the real Truckin was performed by and
snatch up the LP it was on. That's when I found that the Grateful Dead existed
and had put out 6 LPs.

I picked up Working Man's Dead and American Beauty. Those albums are still
very special to me. I now knew who the Dead were, but was interested in the
lyricist for the band. The tunes had a much deeper intellectual core to them
than most of what I was hearing - and the words stand the time test well.
When I heard Terrapin, however, I determined to find this train of soul and
get a ticket. I was not going to miss the rest of the journey. So, a buddy of
mine asked me to visit him in Tucson, Arizona for spring break. He told me to
pack a big bag because I would not be going back to Memphis. I got to Tucson
on St. Patrick's day 1983. After a couple of days I read in the paper that the
Grateful Dead were going to play Compton Terrace Amphitheatre March 25,
1983. My flight back to Memphis was supposed to leave on March 20th. I said
"Fuckit, I am going to my first Dead show..." and missed my flight. Here's the
set list:
Compton Terrace Amphitheater, Tempe, AZ (3/25/83)

Cold Rain and Snow
New Minglewood Blues
Dire Wolf
My Brother Esau
Big Railroad Blues
Me and My Uncle
Big River
Tennessee Jed
Let it Grow

Help on the Way
Franklin's Tower
Playin' in the Band
Throwin' Stones
Not Fade Away
Black Peter
Sugar Magnolia

Don't Ease Me In

They did not "ease" me in.... there were too many references to Memphis in the
show not to feel like I was already "in". I climbed into the bus and never enjoyed
anything more in my life. I was hooked on the sounds coming from those guys and the lyrics told me that I had finally found a kindred intellect with a passion for da blues. I had found my musical home.

A couple of months passed and I ended up in Southern California for 3 years in the Navy - I know....(They used to ask me why I joined, I told them I joined so I could see as many cal Dead shows as I could get away with - and most of that was true - the rest was for education dollars.) So for 3 years (1983-86) I took as many people as I could find to as many shows as I could go to. Sometimes I went alone, those were my best shows...

I got out of the Navy and went to school at the University of Arizona to finish my English lit degree. In the summer of 1987 the Dead played at the new Compton Terrace which had moved down the road to a dust bowl off I-10. It was hot that afternoon, 112f in the shade, there is no shade there. I had a date who didn't enjoy her time riding up from Tucson. I didn't really know her very well, but it was clear that we weren't going to be going out on any more dates - and this was before I'd gotten to the parking lot. A couple of friends parked in the row behind me so I got out and went over to chat awhile and play parking lot games:)... I had pretty much blown off my date by then, and was really interested in this gal in the row behind me. We'd been talking and playing parking lot games for some time and it was time to go into the show. I went over to my car where I'd put up a blanket to shield my escort from the sun. She wasn't having a very good time, but I couldn't really care. The gal from the row behind me had all of my attention. As we walked in a group towards the entrance the girl I was interested in saw someone she knew from Connecticut and took off. I was bummed again, but felt like this was going to be like a solo show for me
anyway so why worry. I'd already pissed off my real date by trying to have this
other gal join us. I didn't care. The show was a good one, but hot and dusty - Bob
played a great Walkin' Blues that afternoon.

The next week I went down to the Grateful Dead Happy Hour which was a friday night event held for the heads in the celler of a bar near the U. AZ's campus. Somebody had a fresh copy of the show from the week before and was playing it. I was drinking at the bar when my new friend from last week's show walked in and sat down. I hadn't lost interest so I went over to talk with her for awhile. We ended up spending the night together. We were married 6 years to the day from our meeting in the bar following the show. We're closing in on 9 grateful years together. I wanted to thank you for being part of this wonderful relationship.

Later we moved to Phoenix and I got a job working for the Salt River Project as a analyst. The spot I am writing this note from is approximately 100 yards from the stage where the first show I saw would be located if Compton Terrace was still here.

To get to the end of this long note...Thank you for helping those of who aren't afraid of taking a chance see the wonderous nature of the long strange trip we're all on.

Stewart Nunn

thank you for the saga, and you're most entirely welcome.

Date: Jul 16 1996 3:21 PM EDT
From: (Gregory Holtz)

I read your words and my stomach flips, my heart aches, and I yearn for
days gone by. Thoughts and feelings as communicated through Grateful
Deadness told me how to be, where to go, and why for many years, and
sometimes I find myself alone with fading memories wondering how to keep
it together and get ahead......I have a certain stabilizing peace when I
read your journals and reflections on the web, and you bring to me a part
of something that was surely lost forever. My sadness still runs deep
when I listen to Jerry sing and play those mournful sounds, Stella Blue,
So Many Roads...........I needed the Grateful Dead when I found it, and I
will always love all of you who helped make it a reality. i don't want
to drag around what is gone already, but my soul will not allow me to
leave behind what has left this world. Happy travels to you and yours,
and I hope make it furthur with all who care........

Greg Holtz

listening to Miles Davis the other night, I realized I hardly thought of him as dead and gone anymore. I was able to listen past that and get back to what it is: the music, the true tone, the predictible/unpredictible phrasing. The live horn calling out from amongst the arranged trumpets.

We're coming up on the first anniversary of Jerry's death and I feel it will be (and is) a solemn time for most of us. But one day, sometime, if not soon, the music will break free of the funereal trappings our knowledge imposes on it and communicate its joy without the deep shades of sorrow we now hear overlaid. It works that way with people we have loved and who are parted from us. It's that way with music too.

Date: Jul 18 1996 5:21 AM EDT

{The following is a letter from my editor at Viking/Penguin, re: my new book, for which I proposed
a title change since Double Sun is impossible to find a workable cover image for. The business
part of the letter is deleted, but I like his description of the Further Festival.}

I like DOUBLE SUN, but if you are sure you want to change to GLASS LUNCH
we probably can. Are you sure?
I am completely smitten with MYSTERY BOX. Our first live concert
in many moons and how sweet it was, out on the grass flatlands of LIberty
State Park, breezes coming in off the bay, clear sky, sunset behind, and
centered behind the stage, visible through the scrim, the Statue of Liberty
her torch ablaze. Seven hours of music (argh mah calves) all kinds of modds
and ideas attached thereto, tears welling up at sudden unexpected moments.
The guts it took to play Dead songs, the unwillingness it seemed of ;any
guitar player to PLAY, to boldly take that spot even briefly except for
the cool goatee sunglasses guy from Los Lobos and later Jorma. A long
sweet relaxing but emotional evening, for me the clearest strongest part
Mystery Box and those beautiful voices, your voice and phrases coming
through in clear snatches. Since I've gotten the CD and as I say, am
completely in love with it. A serious hat's off to you. And how great it
was to have all these powerful voiced women singing to that crowd...
I'm also half way through HARP and digging it.
What do you want to do re photograph?
Did you get this message? hope so.
Found a huge fast salamander in our basement. Have you seen any
hedgehogs? From bedside tape Grace has memorized The Tale of Two Bad Mice,
complete with bits of English accent...

Date: Jul 18 1996 2:38 AM EDT
From: JeSc1116
Subj: oxymoron help


Hope the vacation is progressing nicely. (Should vacations progress, or just be?)
I've read (I'm forgetting his name)'s essay Fractals of Familiarity, and am forming a response which I will forward to you and him when it is fully formed. in short, I think he has some interesting thoughts on the Dead concert experience, as it was, but think too that he seems to have developed a thesis that he liked and then manipulated the evidence to fit his beliefs. (specifically, in his choice of songs to present; regarding his notion that audience cheers during second set songs were signifying a return to comfortable melodic space; I've always felt, to the contrary, it was a cheer for a well formed improv, like one cheers a hot jazz solo, after the fact.)

On a lighter note, can you think of any good examples of oxymorons? Actually, i'm sure you can. Could you please be so kind as to pass them along, if you find a chance?




in reply to your request for oxymorons: I'm getting a lot of work done on my vacation but I really have to try harder to relax.

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