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Mailbag 8.20.1996

Subj: Only the Strange Remain
Date: Aug 15 1996 4:51 AM EDT
From: (Max Minkoff)

Dear Hunter,

I've known about your archives for several months now, but waited until
Saturday night, August 10th, when I was finally ready to deal more directly
with some of the emotions it was likely to, and did, stir up. I've spent
hours of each of the nights since trying to catch up on everything (no
rush), and have made it through all of the journal archives and half of the
mailbags. All of it inspriring, at least a chuckle or a tear.

The first thing I read, of course, was your letter to Garcia. As usual,
you've summed up a great deal of what we've all been feeling. Thank you.

After reading a good number of stories about folks meeting and interacting
with Jerry, I'd like to share a story with you, and perhaps everyone else,
should you choose to post this, about meeting _you_ several years ago.

You did a booksigning at the University of Washington's bookstore in
Seattle in February of '92. My friend David and I had our copies of "Box
of Rain" signed, and upon my asking if you might write a song with Vince
(one of my favorite band members), got to hear in advance about "Long Way
to go Home" and "Wave to the Wind", both of which we heard for the first
time in Oakland a few weeks later. Having gotten two autographs and a
better-than-hoped-for answer to my question, it was time to leave you to
the next person in line. However, I couldn't let you go without at least
trying express my deep gratitude for everything you've given to me, to us
all. It couldn't be said with words (at least by me), so I had to say it
with body language, tone of voice, and a handshake as I said, "Thank you."
Well, apparently you couldn't reply with words either, and instead held my
hand and looked deep into my eyes for at least 10-15 seconds, though it
felt like much longer. For that brief moment, there was nothing in the
universe except you and I, except us. That another human being, a stranger
(at least socially), had taken the time and the energy to just focus on
deep wordless communication with me, beside the fact of who this person
was, was a tremendously generous gift, one which I've treasured ever since.

Now I tune into your website to find that you're doing it again, with the
world! At least our little corner of it... You said somewhere here that
you feel like you're having this ongoing conversation with one person with
many faces. Consequently, you make us (me, at least) feel like you're
having an ongoing conversation with each of us, though we're replying with
many voices. Heck, you've been in our hearts and our heads for so long,
how could it feel more natural? Thank you again for continuing to share so
much of yourself with us. It goes a long way to reaffirm our unity. Your
emotional generosity amazes.

I, like many or all of us, could write for days about what has been and has
yet to be discussed. I won't, but I would like to share some thoughts
about a few things I've read in the archive.

In the 8.6.96 mailbag, you say:
> My business now is serious: to use what profile I can muster
> to make sure that the big time lessons we've all been exposed
> to are learned by those capable of learning them, and that
> the community survives.

I think that's what most or all of us are trying to do. You continue to
lead by example. This is a big part of what life is for, to me anyway.

Also from the 8.6.96 mailbag:
> Bringing you some of the day to day reality of this scene is
> the only way to explain it. To demystify it so that it's
> lessons can be learned and, hopefully, we can proceed on a
> truer footing. The lessons are very human ones, as was the music.

I hate to justify the Garcia bios (though, OK, I admit I'm currently
reading the Greenfield one), isn't that a big part of why some of us read
them? I don't think anyone _needs_ to read them, and everyone is, of
course, perfectly welcome to avoid them. I do know all I need to know
about Jerry's spirit from the music. Nothing will change how I feel about
that. It's not the voyeur in me that makes me want to read it. It's the
part of me that wants to, as you say, demystify the day to day reality so
that its lessons can be better learned. This is probably not why they're
written, but at least for some, it may be why they're read. I don't expect
there to be a lot of meaning there, but even a tiny bit would be worth the
read, to me, anyway. Does this hold any water?

And again from the 8.6.96 mailbag (perhaps I found it the richest because
of it coming right before the anniversary?):
> I came on Yeats later in life, having little knowledge of
> poetry outside the school curriculum. I can see stylistic
> similarities, was in fact surprised by them, but I tired
> of his work quickly, finding it too metaphysical for my
> personal taste. I discovered, reading some of his prose,
> that he had a program; which is to say, a set of rigorous
> mystical beliefs which, if known, provide a key and remove
> the mystery from the poems.

One of the main things, to me at least, that the Dead was/is about is that
the answers are in ourselves. Sometimes the songs point the way, more
often they just provide a rhythmic and lyrical background which we color in
with our own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. You've helped create a
rich context through which we can explore and communicate, leaving the
writing between the lines to all of us. You've kept the mystery intact.
If the songs were about you, or about you only, you could tell us what they
mean. But amazingly, you've written songs about us. How else could they
be so meaningful to us all? And how else could the meanings keep changing
as we do? This is your amazing gift.

OK, lastly, I can't end without saying how amazing Mystery Box is. Like
with your other work, the resonance with my own thoughts and feelings has
only begun to be understood. I'm taking it slow, savoring every nuance as
it comes to light. It's hard to believe that all but one verse was written
before Jerry passed away, as the whole thing speaks so well to the task at
hand, taking the next step on our own. I guess, as has been said, the
writing was on the wall for some time. I have to praise a song that often
seems to be somewhat overlooked -- "The Last Song". It captures beatifully
both the post-show and post-_shows_ (all of them) feeling of satisfaction,
happiness, and of looking forward to the next one, whether it's for us or
someone else, this band or another one. Like someone just said, it's all
one big continuous show, though some set breaks last longer than others.
Wonderful stuff!

I'd like to leave with something Merl Saunders said when we saw him this
past May here in Chicago, and most likely during every show for the last
year or so. He said that Jerry left two things - the music, and us. How
powerful this is, and how powerfully represented it is on your website.

Again, thank you


good of you to write at such length about everything. It must be strange coming to the Archive upside down, starting with the JG letter and tracking back. I feel that the site is maturing - the early Archives are like baby pictures - as my understanding of what it can and should be gradually materializes. Sometimes there's a struggle over who is to be the master, me or the organic direction the email wants to direct it. The answer is, obviously, give and take. I let it lead sometimes, other times I assert myself and head it off in another direction through the journal. However, with the anniversary of Jerry's death, I saw no way but to give it it's own head, which I gladly do. With due sympathy for the deeply wounded, I still take issue with those who seem to feel that endless grief is the only appropriate response to all we've made of ourselves and may yet accomplish. There are more of them than you might suppose.
As regards the biographies, it's more the outside world's perceptions being directed in such predictible ways that bugs me. I know we know. But those perceptions will continue to marginalize us. Debunking and demythologizing are different things. That aside, demythologizing is certainly necessary in order to alter expectations in the direction of achievable ends- I just wish it didn't need to be accomplished by playing public handball with Jerry's personal life. It's a bit like Roshomon. His life was a dozen entirely different lives depending on who you ask about it. Depending on the questions you ask. Depending on what kind of coherent story you try to weave out of the fragments at your disposal. I don't know that an accumulation of such conundrums will make it any clearer.

Thanks for your kind estimation of the Mystery Box lyrics. By my own standards, they're as good as anything else I've done. Why the public buy some records and not others, what they do and don't find acceptable and for what reasons, will remain forever a mystery to me. I suspect it has something to do with factors beyond my control more than I want to believe. But I have a constant faith that time will rescue what should be rescued and submerge the rest.

Subj: A place to gather
Date: Aug 15 1996 3:33 AM EDT
From: (Chris Grantham (Weed))


I just read your letter to Jerry and I'm at a loss for words, which
for me is rare as I usually have something to say about anything. I
still can't comprehend what this crazy planet of ours is going to be
like without him. Hell, I still don't believe he's gone. A mind like
his just can't vanish due to something as simple as death. We will
get by, We will survive? I sure hope so. Anyway I originally popped
in here to tell ya that the Dead IRC channel on EFFNet changed a few
months ago due to a dictatorship of types. We've moved to#deadhead
which so far has stuck. You may want to post this on the page
somewhere so that the folks who haven't found it yet will get a head
start. I know for me that finding the old #gdead channel after the
fateful day helped me in ways that I cannot describe to this day and
I've spend many a day pondering it. Keep the dream alive for our
childrens childrens children.


Subj: Days Between
Date: Aug 15 1996 1:44 AM EDT
From: (Bette Taylor/Bill Wheeler)


I sure hope somebody has the good sense to put out a great version of
"The Days Between" on a CD. That song just grips me emotionally these
days like no other Hunter - Garcia. It just haunts the shit out of me.
Where else can I get the chills like that today? Who will be the next
channel of universal consciousness to fall into my life? When I listen to
that tune I get sad and sentimental and proud, and grateful for your
contributions to all our lives. What a lucky stroke to have lived in the
company of such a great team!!

I've been listening to a lot of the early Beatles and it freaks me out
how assured and fully grown Lennon was at age 24. But at the same time
there is something incredibly powerful about the battle scars and world
weariness of a life lived to the hilt -- so apparent in your last tune
with Garcia. I get the sense of an hourglass running out of sand when I
listen to "Days Between." The impending doom I hear in Jerry's voice when
he sings those lyrics is tempered with LOVE in a big way. I think I'll
go listen to it right now. Thank you for connecting to all the emotional
realities of our days . . .

Bette & Bill,
I'm also not sure why that tune hasn't been released. I called for it several times
early on last year, it seemed so obviously the proper move to make. One answer
given was that there were no perfect takes!!? Beats me.

Subj: Beats 'n Bloom
Date: Aug 15 1996 10:34 AM EDT
From: (John W. Hasbrouck)

Dear rh,

You know, I know very few people who are interested in Beat literature AND
Harold Bloom. I often wonder what Bloom thinks of Kerouac, although his
silence concerning Jack probably tells me all I need to know. I read a
lukewarm essay by Bloom on Ginsberg from the early 60s, but what sticks in my
mind is Bloom's fairly recent characterization of Ginsberg as "a borderline
case" (I laughed out loud at this).

I belong to the Harold Bloom discussion listserv. There's not much activity,
but I have been made aware that Bloom's latest book will be out in September.
For your edification, I append a pre-pub review at the end of this message.

I've been trying to grasp "The Anxiety of Influence" for several years and
it's driving me insane. "The Western Canon" is so much easier to digest, and,
consequently, I keep reading its preface, introduction and epilogue over and
over and over...(I once made a bad joke about Harold Bloom - "Bloom is at his
best when he comes down to my level.")

BTW, speaking of reading books, allow me to tell you of my Beat Reading
Project. I've undertaken to read the published Beat canon chronologically,
i.e. I'm reading the novels, poems, memiors, correspondence, journals and
correpondence of Jack, Neal, Allen and Bill (and a couple others)
chronologically year by year, month by month, week by week, day by day, and
sometimes, hour by hour. It's been great reading kicks. I'm currently in June
1952. I'm roughing out an essay on this Reading Experience which I'd be happy
to send to you if you're interested.

What I really want to know is When Is Somebody Going To Write A Critical
Biography Of Neal Cassady? Will you please write one so I won't have to?


John Hasbrouck

I can understand your problems with "The Anxiety of Influence" as a theoretical document. But its basic insight of "agon," knowing we can never approach the greatness of the old masters, if only because they created the damned language we work in, is real to a practicing writer whose stuff actually goes out into the world and does tricks there. But it's only a partial truth and there are ways around it which Bloom is not too capable of recognizing because he fails to give proper value to the very writers who have surmounted the problem one way or another. Kerouac is a good example. Ginsberg and Burroughs as well. What need has Bill to feel agon toward Dante? His Hells are Hells for our own time and owe little to the Comedia. Kerouac's Western run-on stream of consciousness is something new, though he may have experienced his own agon as regards Cassidy himself, source of large elements of the style. Same Ginsberg, though he owes as much to Blake as to Jack and Neal - and brought a broad intelligence to it which is all his own. I also owe a source debt to Neal. If Bloom would disavow us as writers, and I think he would, he might still find us interesting as case studies in stylistic gyration. But I think he is too committed to his theory to gladly admit exceptions which might indicate that Agon is not so absolute a conditioning factor as he believes it to be. Unfortunately, new voices must depart from the very Canon which lends them credence, in order to work their revolutionary tricks. This tends to be considered "bad writing" as a kind of Catch 22, since the Canon defines what good writing is by how closely it adheres to the Canon.

Nevertheless, Bloom's books always make me think deeply about what I'm doing for he looks into a gray area only writers know about - the very anxieties involved in daring to "put it on the line" and communicate from selves we know to be flawed.


>From Publisher's Weekly (July 1, 1996):

Omens Of Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams and Resurrection.
Harold Bloom. Riverhead, $24.95
(272p) ISBN 1-57322-045-0

A fascination with near-death experiences, alien abductions, angels and
prophetic dreams has reached a 'particular intensity' in the U.S. as the
millennium approaches. Or so says Bloom (The Western Canon) in this
dazzling, maverick study in literature and comparitive religion. Pausing
often to unpack his own religious convictions, which are rooted in
Gnosticism, a mystical belief system whose elusive history he traces to early
Christianity, Kabbalistic Judaism and Islamic Sufism, Bloom contends that
such 'omens of the Millennium' are in fact debased forms of Gnosticism.
Gnosis, he writes, is a spiritual orientation at odds with orthodox
reliigon. It eschews faith in an outward God for knowledge of the divinity
of the deepest self and retells the story of creation as a fall away from a
Godhead and a Fullness that, Bloom says, is more humane than the God of
institutional religion. Contrasting the 'inspired vacuity' of New Age
writers like Arianna Huffington and Raymond A. Moody to authentic Gnostic
authors (who, according to Bloom, include ancient sages like Valentinus,
medieval Kabbalists like Isaac Luria and more modern writers like Blake,
Emerson and Shakespeare), Bloom explores how images of angels, prophecies and
resurrection have always mirrored anxieties about the end of time, and how
these images have been domesticated by popular culture. Bloom frequently
injects himself into his study, discussing with rueful irony his own
experiments with the outer limits of consciousness, including his own
'near-death experience' (in a hospital while convalescing from a bleeding
ulcer). The final chapter is a Gnostic sermon on self-transcendence. This
book's brevity and eccentricities (Huffington and Moody are easy targets who
don't exemplify the range and complexity of New Age thought) diminish its
force as polemic. As a critical performance, however, it's a tour de force,
highlighting a secret history of mystical thought whose visionaries and poets
call out to each other over the centuries. (Sept.)

Subj: Re: 8/14
Date: Aug 15 1996 10:14 AM EDT
From: (Robert Auritt)

you wrote:
>I think our work is to come together without building a power structure. All
>power structures can be appropriated. Religion is the best example. Let us,
>oh let us, strive never to become one of those. No doctrine, just empathy. No
>leaders, just many and diverse good people. No badges - we recognize one
>another by a light in the eyes. The more of us, the less of them. Keep your
>nose clean. Stay out of jail. And don't mope around the house mourning what
>once was. It still is. It's yours to find out how and why.


I could not agree more with your vision of what our work must be. I got
e-mail today from someone who read our exchange. The letter was about the
current political situation, but that is not the point. The point is the
net, us, community. As I told the person who e-mailed me, I think that it
is very telling that at the exact moment that the powers that be have
almost successfully destroyed community, something like the net and the Web
come along to make a challenge. Almost like, OK folks, you want to get rid
of people and community over there in your space? Well now we are over here
claiming community in this new space! People are scared to talk to each
other on the street, but not here.
When it all comes down and the whole system eats itself for breakfast one
morning, I'm confident that we will be here to clean up the mess and
establish a place much like the one you suggest.

Thanks again!


and when they get the net cleaned up and made safe for democracy, we'll go back to smoke signals. And when they smog the smoke signals out of visibility, remember the jungle telegraph. And when they make so much racket we can't hear the drums, there's broadsides, cb radio, and tin cans with string. We're quicksilver. Put your finger on it, it squirts elsewhere. And, as I believe I mentioned before, if the want to utterly wipe us out, they're going to have to kill their own children.
This is just fanciful, though. I'm not really all that sure there are powers so dark out there they feel driven to accomplish all that to bolster their insecurity. They just wanta make sure we all get to Heaven and they DO understand that unfettered communication leads to SIN. Me, I'm so busy answering email I don't hardly have time to sin.

Date: Aug 15 1996 8:57 PM EDT
From: (Robert Clinton)


I just read your letter to Jerry. It is a very powerful letter. I want
to personally thank you for writing it.

I went to Furthur at Alpine Valley, not knowing what to expect. I was
really impressed. What impressed me most was Mystery Box. I knew none of
the songs of course (except Fire on the Mountain). They weren't Dead
songs but there was something special about them, and this wasn't simply
due to the fantastic Mint Juleips (have they recorded anything else?)

Mickey singing "like lightning giving birth"; that is one of the most
expressive phrases I have ever heard. Have you heard lightning give
birth? Wow.

I went out and bought the CD and I have been listening to it almost
nonstop since the show. It is one of the best CDs I've heard and there
were even printed lyrics! That's a new thing.

I know that a great deal more than lyrics went into the CD, but let me
say that I thought that they were great. It was astonishing how well the
music fit the lyrics (or was it the lyrics to the music, that would be
even more impressive).

It sounds like I'm sucking up, but I'm not. If the CD had been bad I
would have mentioned that.

I have told all my friends to go and get the thing, if they don't they
are getting it for Christmas (or sooner).

Sort of a mindless rambling letter, but I wanted to express all of this,
I hope you can indulge me.

Again, let me say thanks, and not only for Mystery Box, but for
everything. I feel I need to say that.

Good luck and I hope you come around and play soon.


well here's a mindless rambling answer - if you'd decided the CD was bad I'd have decided you were insane, which should show how proud I am of that puppy. They tell me the songs sounded even better on the road. Hmm. Where have I heard that before? The lyrics were written to raw drum tracks, for the most part. Music was written later. Good way to work, at least for that project. It gives a broader base for development, at least in my opinion. So thanks for all the thanks and good luck to you too.

Date: Aug 15 1996 8:00 PM EDT

R H,
My roomate received your mail back, and it's great to see how open everyone involved truly is. In a day where right is discerned by those with the biggest and the best, it's good to know short-sightedness doesn't prevail at the home office.
All will be happy to know that Crazy Fingers is doing well, and still turning on willing minds. David Gans can go to bed knowing that he didn't release the name to a bunch of slackers. I suppose that it's easy for me to say this not ever knowing David, but heart and soul reign above all else.
I am not a musician formally, but find myself being drawn in deeper with every breath. The actual note, chord, or whatever isn't the first to jump into my head. Yet, who's to say the way I perceive anything is the only way to see it through. As a student of music [which I believe everyone truly is because it's a form of communication] the phenomenon that is the Grateful Dead will never cease to amaze and astound me. Cpt. Kirk's fat butt didn't get transported as quickly as those who took a listen and found something inside. We all should take time to see where the music can actually take us. I don't mean everything associated with the music, but the landscape it paints. Expression and the art therein is where it's truly at, not the fact that personal lives affect the art. That side is secondary, and in truth secondary to the whole. Music is a diversion to the fact that everyday lives cannot always be what we want them to be. Personal perceptions change all things, all sides included.
I hope I don't sound like a complete goof, but the insane crush you spoke of to JG is always going to be a part of what the scene was to me. I liked it, to a certain point. With notoriety, .......enough said. My first show was in Orlando, '91. To be very honest, I knew of the Dead what the local station played back home in Toledo. I found myself lucky enough to find front row between Jerry and Bruce. I thought Hornsby really had it going on, what a band he had behind him! Oh, to look back now. I always get a good chuckle out of my first experience, and I know that my friends do as well. Some of them do look at me like I'm ready to be pulled out of the frying pan and thrown onto a plate ready to eat, "Stick a fork in him, he's done."
For whatever it's all worth, I've had fun so far. I've seen many sides of the community and can appreciate those who continue to keep the spirit alive. No one person can carry anything of that magnitude by themselves. It's funny that we all might've felt that way at one time or another; but if we don't learn and grow, what's to become of us. Spirit will prevail and help us all to appreciate what we've been given. Unfortunately, that moment of clarity might come too late, and the time might be too short to really see all that's there. Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda. Those aren't ways to live our lives, yet we all get caught in other people's concepts of what should be.

In Peace,
Michael C. Haar

the moment of clarity could never be too late. Even a hundred years from now wouldn't be too late. We're on this bus till the end of time and we can hop off and on as we choose. It's always moving, it's always stalled over to the side of the road with a flat tire, it's always trying to pass on the right hand side on a blind curve at the top of the hill and barely squeaking past a truck trailer with a horn like a steam engine. It changes paint jobs, drivers and personnel in mid-flight, but it's always us.

Date: Aug 16 1996 11:20 PM EDT

i have been following your diary for some time now as well as listening to your lyrics for the last 20 some years. the grateful dead were my release from some very difficult things going on in my life. as with many older deadheads, i prayed for jerry often, cried for mickey when he left the band because of his father's misdeeds, grieved over the loss of pigpen and brent, and stuck it out through the many transitions on the keyboards. but, more than that, and in addition to that, i rejoiced at the wonderful feelings of peace and happiness i felt when i listened to the music, and the friendship and fellowship as i attended their concerts in the midwest. the loss of jerry and the band hit me hard.
however, i have always been partial to phil, and particularly to mickey and have almost everything mickey has performed, written, produced, recorded, etc.... mystery box has easily become one of the favored of his work. the music is diverse, the percussion often haunting, rhythmic, and strong, and the singing, his and the mint juleps', a wonderful mix and quite a change from the dead. however, one thing that really stands out to me the most, is how well your words have captured what i have long felt mickey was all about. "depend on the wind of distant drums, we'll know the next step when it comes", "...time is the rhythm, love is the in the rhythm, trust to the beat...", and numerous other verses, feel like things mickey might have, and has, said. this marriage between your words, his music, and my personal, and somewhat biased, feelings, have been more 'cathartic' for me than anything else has been. it feels like mickey as well as sounds like him, yet is clearly your phrasing and feel. your jerry verse in 'down the road' was beautifully and as tastefully done as anything you have written. i want to thank you for the wonderful gift of words you have given to mickey, and in turn to me and to others who feel as i do, and there are many. i, and many others, look forward to hearing from you, perhaps with mickey, again, soon, and often. again, thank you.
peace and love


what a pleasure your letter is. To hear from someone who is actually a bit more into our live members than our dead ones is a bit of a surprise. The general feeling expressed is: "well, we've got to make do with second best now, but we'll be brave about it." Thank you for a crack of light under the door, if not exactly a new dawn.

Date: Aug 16 1996 6:41 PM EDT
From: (jb)

RH, e-mail is such an unforgiving beast isn't it? When we speak we are able
to temper our words with body language or follow up words, with e-mail
everything is cold. i've gotten into deep shit at work with witty
one-liners that failed to translate well.

JB: cynicism translates as nastiness without appropriate
filters to signal that we don't mean what we say.

Q. Why the Kennedy reference in " Down the Road " ?... I always have had a
special fondness for him and I'm just curious?

A: I'm speaking of fallen heroes whose first initial is J. Would have put in a woman
but Joan of Arc didn't fit the 20th century tone of the tune and I couldn't think of another.

BTW.... great writing on the mystery box songs...especially Look Away & The
Sandman... I liked the cd from the start , but after seeing them perform
it, I have fallen in love with it. I'm listening to it now here at work .
I am the postmaster of a medium size post office in new jersey, philly suburb .

> A sort of Mystery Post Office Box?

RH, what was Jerry's home like ? did he live in an giant manor or was it
somewhat normal. I've never really seen it pictured. Also what was he into
other than music and art ? For that matter what are you into, other than
music & writing ? You somewhat of a mystery man .

A: He had quite a few over the last ten years, varying from upscale suburban to
mansion to crackerbox to white elephant. Mostly his home was a hotel room on the road.

BTW I've just came across a tape of you from October 7, 1986 in Buffalo Ny
The sound quality has left it but it is still interesting.

>That would be in the SUNY gymnasium. Never heard the tape
but the house sound was like playing inside a large garbage can.

Anyhow, I've taken more than enough of your time .

> and welcome to it.

Take care

> you too

John B

Your writing and lyrics have always soothed my Soul. The letter you wrote to J.G. invoked so many things.........The fiery inspiration that passes through us like quicksilver when we hear the "Song"...passed through me when I read this letter. Here follows the verse I started years ago, completed now in honor of the passing back into Spirit of a bright star. It is excerpted from Book One of the Book of Roses. I'd like to send you a copy. It has rumblings of Holy Avalon, and journeys down the Dragon Paths. What is the best address I can mail it to? Anyone else out there who is interested, please send inquiry to: Renee Lafabrae, c/o Dragon Star, P.O. Box 1574, Soquel, CA 95073.
I understand you are visiting the Emerald Isles. My other home is in the Somerset area of SouthWest England. As I do not have access to the internet, my friend WillowLady will be dispatching this for me. She forwards the healing and very enjoyable thoughts that come across your website. Thanks RH for the Bardic Interface! Miss you Jerry.
Blessed Joy to all the Rose Warriors,
Dragon Star

Warriors of the Rose

And there came upon me
The Soldiers Flame
That comes to each Souls hearing
In its own time
The burning Fire of the Spiritual Warrior
Crown of Light
Burning upon the brow
Far memory of distant times
And future sight
See the vision
Wrapped in Golden Flame

Eyes of Light
Look into your Soul
And see the Winged One
Gazing back


Fight with the Power of your Spirit
To preserve the Sacred Contract
One with the Land
Nature can teach us what we need to know
One with the Stars
Our Kinship is Starlight

Children of the Sun
Soldiers of the Rose
Born on the advent of Aquarius
Under a Moon of Indigo

Ancient when children
Young through the ages
Playful and radical
Mending the broken bridges
Reweaving a fiery rainbow

Each note, each turn of the word,
Magic comes alive
Music, laughter, insight
Dream work, Shaman flight
And a dream of peace
That refuses to die

Soldiers of the Sovereign Heart
Warriors of the Rose
Armed with Spirit
And a Tale to live and tell

Date: Aug 16 1996 4:35 PM EDT
From: (Long Island Soundkeeper)

Dear dear Robert,

Thanks for your understanding response-you wrote about Maureen, whose
mother's garden withered and died after her death----your generosity
(sharing your journal, letters, responses, responses to responses etc.)has
shed some much appreciated sunlight and rainwater on fields of flowers.
You've got quite a green thumb there rh! You also wrote, "there is work to
be done in grief" You're doing a great job--I definitely suggest you read
your own letter one of these days. thanks for reaching out, and for letting
me reach back--sincerely, anne

I have some sort of nebulous overall plan, but it keeps redefining itself as I pursue the webpage. Sometimes I view it as a vehicle to get the trunk loads of work I've written into the public eye, other times as a dynamic challenge to new work. Then it suddenly turns into a somewhat surreal get-out-the-troops vehicle for a Summer tour, and then, mutatis mundi, we're in the midst of a season of grief. I follow my instincts. Sometimes it's a place to air ancient grievances, sometimes new ones. It's deeply personal and digitally impersonal at one and the same time. A webpage is a new thing in the world. The "What is it?" factor is dominant. The rules of the road are defined for rock and roll, but nothing is defined here. At this stage we are involved in definition itself. Thanks for your assurance that I'm not getting it all backwards.

Date: Aug 16 1996 3:34 PM EDT
From: BBodan1630

Mr. Hunter,
Why the hell am I writing you. Well, it's good therapy. Congealing my thoughts in some form I suppose. I read your letter that was posted on the website. Interesting. Seems honest enough. I can't imagine doing it myself. It's good to see something of the present on the Dead website. I still mourn seeing a Dead sticker. It's hard to listen to the music. It's still too much part of the present. I'm not much for nostalgia. I pray to see a band show the same light as the Dead has. Maybe it's all in my head. I don't know. I don't even know what was that great about it. The music was pure. That's all. Nothing hokey. Harmony wasn't a strong point. Nor their tuning. But that's a little judgemental isn't it? I just love the feeling of it all. You are right to say that it is something that won't die quickly. What is going to happen to those that love the music? You can't hold on to something that is changing every day. People expect the remaining members to churn out something to make them happy. Forget them. That's what I say. They don't know music. It was good to read your letter. Good to see that you are a person too...if you know what I mean. It's gonna come back I know it. Maybe not as the Dead. But as long as I play I'm gonna work towards get in touch with it. Give it a voice all can hear. Enough of my romantic dreams.

forget them? Just because they're hard to convince? Only if their intent is ultimately destructive. I don't see too much of that. But of course, it may be they wouldn't write to me since I seem to be resisting premature burial tooth and nail. Some would see this as flogging a dead horse (album title there?) or as an insult to Garcia's greatness. If so, they are welcome to go fuck themselves.

Subj: Politics is Dead
Date: Aug 17 1996 11:44 AM EDT
From: (John R Levene)

The Top Ten Ways the Republican Convention is like a Dead Show

10) There appears to be a standard dress code
9) The audience shouts out requests when they know the performers
won't pay them any attention
8) Although it looks like a party, there is a strong commercial aspect
7) People have come from all over the country for a four night run
6) Performers read off teleprompters
5) Not all the balloons are filled with helium
4) The headliner has an injured hand
3) Over the years, the front men have switched positions repeatedly
2) Even though the attendees have heard these words before,
they seem to think they are being played differently this time
1) Neither has presented a workable economic plan

I would take exception with item 6. A teleprompter was provided but obviously not read from.

Date: Aug 17 1996 6:46 PM EDT
From: (Andy Peterson)


I, like a few others I'd seen write, was a bit apprehensive about
composing a note to someone I hold in such high esteem. After
reading the conversational style of the Mailbag for a while, I thought
I'd give it a whirl and at minimum express my gratitude.

I've enjoyed the web site for a while now. While passing time during
otherwise boring work shifts may not be the highest praise, it's how I
first stumbled upon and began to explore the site. I'm certainly pleased
that I did.

I'll just say that I'm glad there are people like you out there, and that
you're willing to share with the rest of us in such a way. It really
gives me a good feeling to see bleeding-edge technology used for
something useful and personal. My field of networking can seem rather
cold and dry at times. A mesh of cabled boxes chatting amongst
themselves in most unhuman language doesn't lend itself too well to being
considered "friendly" or "heartwarming," but when it's the medium for
expression such as this, I can't help but feel good.

I've for a while sensed the on-line community of Friends, and your
Mailbag is good proof of that. While hanging out with some family after
one of the Furthur shows, the 'net came up somehow, and I being the sole
user in the group had to explain "what it was good for." A daunting
task, certainly. I pointed to the big-time information accessibility and
such, but made it a point to note that it really boils down to a
community of users, rather than a stark world of information.

Like any community, there are prominent figures, those who are quieter
than others, those with their own idiosyncracies. I'm grateful that the
prominent ones can be people such as yourself, who actually have
something to say, rather than something to sell.

Keep it up; without the keen minds and the well-crafted words, our community would be much less colorful.

CCSO Network Operations Center Staff,
PGP key avail. via www/mail ECE Student, and general good guy...
"Nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile..."

passing time during otherwise boring work shifts is as good a way to read the site as any. The net being so costly to use, it may be the only way to get through some of the several weeks worth of reading material posted herein. I know a lot of my stuff goes unread because of that. Most people do the journals and the mailbag and then really have to get offline before the phone bill starts mounting up. A lot of Archive readers use free university network access. The other large group is office workers who hope the boss doesn't walk in while they're having a peek on company time. There is also a contingent of goverment workers who read it on time paid for by tax dollars. Bless them, that makes me feel a lot better about paying my taxes! Thanks fro the good report of what you've seen so far.

From: Jenandjez
Subj: Further Festival Haiku

It will surprise you --
Glitter can strike anywhere,
Shine through crowds like music.

Fondly, Jennifer

Subj: Yu Name It
Date: Aug 18 1996 4:14 PM EDT

In my relatively infrequent opportunities to visit your site I cannot help
but to be deeply moved by someones words. The letter itself and responses to
the Garcia letter are full of the many aspects of experiencing the of the
loss of one so loved. The phenomenon of total love intimacy and closeness
created in the Grateful Dead family is a unique experiment of our modern
times. When you all embarked on this adventure, none knowing what it really
was, but willing to follow the voice, the wheel was set in motion. The
courage and perseverance has kept the wheel turning longer than anyone could
have imagined. The spirit of the words and music spoke to the hearts of many
so intimately that they couldn't help but feel a part of them and those who
uttered them. When Jerry passed on, my experience of the emotions were so
complex it was as if he was my brother, father or best friend. In the
process of soulsearching these emotions I was able to see the relationship
in the context of us all being one with creation. Jerry and the boys spoke
to me because they were me, and I them. The shows were the opportunity for
us to experience this oneness with creation first hand, industrial strength.
Thousands of souls massed together and truely one. What an achievement, what
an example to our 3rd dimensional forms that don't want to recognise this
power and knowledge that we all possess. When we were at the shows together
we had the 1st taste of merging our light bodies into one indomittable force
of pure bliss. We learned to take that away with us into our everyday lives
and our worlds became a better place. With Jerry's death we had to confront
the fear that our power may go with him. Jerry's job was done, he had shown
us the path, he had given us our power and nurtured it to maturity. Often I
could feel the heavyness this responsibility bore on him and I shared his
pain. The children have grown and now they must fly. We have been given the
torch, all of us, one with each other, in creation. The ship sails on. We
are here, no longer or ever were we, on our own. Thank you Robert for
keeping this place for us to share, to write, to be together. Thank you
everyone for holding the dream and vision that is our life quest. Love ..

Subj: Cyber-Virginity
Date: Aug 17 1996 10:37 PM EDT

Dear RH
Let me begin by saying that I don't know my ass from my URL, but
this Internet shit is great. I have never been one for writing fan letters (
or any other letters for that matter ), but I could not pass up the
opportunity that your web-site provides.
Having recently lost my cyber-virginity to the Dead homepage, I began
reading your Journal, as well as the Mailbag. It has been said better by
others before me, but I too have been overwhelmed with the fact that
someone, who has had such a profound impact on the world as I see it, can be
so accessible. As I read your Journal, you become less the ' invisible icon
and more a living, breathing, mistake-making human being that you are. Your
honesty is a breath of fresh air. The respect and love you had for Garcia
shines forth from your words, as well as the sadness from having lost such a
good friend. And as for whether or not you are a "band" member; you are
either on the bus or off the bus. You were, and always will be, on the bus.
I hope you are enjoying the British Isles. I certainly am. Please, keep
up the good work. We need you.

Jerry McCarthy
Hartford, CT

whenever I get off the bus it backs up and runs over my foot. I try, but it won't let me.

Subj: Olympics
Date: Aug 17 1996 10:58 PM EDT
From: (Brennan Donnellan)

I sent you some mail before the Olympics, so what the hell, I'll wrap
it up here.

First, the Mickey percussion part of the Opening Ceremonies was
joyous! The Ceremonies were such a mix of dancing, singing and parade
that it was hard in single out any artist. But I knew what I was
watching...very cool.

Then, my impressions of the Games. It was absolutely the most
wonderful experience of my life! I worked in part went
beautifully. Beyond that, to welcome thousands upon thousands of
people to my hometown, to see families having so much fun at
Centennial Park, to see the whole system working at least sort of as
we had plannned; it made me feel so full of pride and life, I really
don't have the words to describe it. Honestly, RH, it inspired the
kind of feelings that your words usually inspire in me...too bad I'm
not a poet!

Then...the bomb!

I was there, in the park working when some misguided soul decided to
ruin it for everyone. Horrible. As a journalist, I saw the injured,
worked all night, adrenaline kept me going. I didn't really feel
anything until I came home to sleep after 36 hours. God, I was so
devastated, a sudden emotional surge beyond anything I've ever
imagined. I cried a little, only a little, because I was trembling
with something I can't describe. The greatest human experience I had
ever seen, and I've seen joy at Dead shows, but beyond that, it had
been destroyed. My poor brother tried to talk to me, but I was in

I slept for a long time.

These Games meant a lot to me. I worked for at least two years on
this project.

Coming back was inspiring. I remember walking through the park on the
last day of the Games...a band on stage playing favorite oldies for
the crowd....the Sun was bright and hot...I went and found my engraved
brick in the park. I felt as if we had it back...that spirit that
Atlanta was the center of the universe! I saw the small memorial at
the bomb site. There were flowers, flags from several nations. On
this last day, there was something new; plastic cups set up in a peace
sign. Each cup was filled with money, and people were adding more. I
presume the money was for the families of the victims.

I really dunno why I'm dumping all this on you, except I assume you'll
listen. You guys have always been about America, and welcoming

I've never been so proud to be an American, seeing how we put on the
"best games ever", no matter what Juan Antonio thinks!

Thanks for listening!


I'm very pleased to have your intensely personal view of what went down. As I pointed out some mailbags back, whenever the spell is absolutely perfect and everything is humming beautifully, a naked guy comes crashing through the drumset. You've just got to set the drums up again and finish the gig. I think the guy's name is Entropy. He may be a law of the universe.

Subj: reading
Date: Aug 18 1996 2:07 PM EDT

Hi Hunter,

Working at home Thursday & Friday, I listened to the other Uncle Bill's
"Dead City Radio" -- another guy who scored for some real Americana. You
oughta try a project like that. I want to have the option of turning on
your voice when I read your stuff! (the GD movie notes come to mind here)

And I think you have it in you to do this and do it well, as a
collaborative effort maybe with some people from within the Dead's circle
(Bralove comes to mind) and without (some downtown folks like James "Blood"
Ulmer? yeah!).

Hope London treats you well,

Very best,

Alan Murdock // // Tokyo, Japan
- +

how many full time jobs does one guy need?

Date: Aug 17 1996 10:58 PM EDT
From: Haight710

hey and peace to you rh

just another saturday night in enchantment town-
just listening to an old relix cd (first cd i ever bought and first
picture-cd i ever saw (interesting panama red/cheap tequila bottle
always wanted to tell you how much i like the 'aim for the heart' tune
therein- and the trippy guitar changes in 'gypsy parlor light' .
sending you good thoughts and as always, peacea and love from
albuquerque, usa and points onward and upward.

dave michelsohn & family (gina, josh, lacey joy, and noah jerome garcia)

I thought "Aim for the Heart" was good enough to get a little notice, back in those innocent days when I thought all you needed was a good song well recorded. I resisted the reality of the politics of "racking" and radio play long enough to qualify me as a card carrying romantic. Once I did learn, I stopped spending fortunes in the studio to purchase one disillusionment after another and turned my attentions to writing. It doesn't cost anything but time and energy to put words on paper.

Date: Aug 17 1996 5:18 PM EDT
From: GLPNews AK
Subj: Duino Elegies + more


This is the first time you've heard from me, although I have visited your www archives many times. I also enjoyed your live interview on aol with Mickey and Geoff.

Three questions:

1. Are you really recording Kerouac? When will those recordings be available? I am really looking forward to that. Will they be available through GDM? I'm a frequent shopper there.

<I recorded the SF Blues but haven't had the courage to listen to it back yet. I think it was good, but I need distance in time to listen objectively.>

2. I am trying to locate your paperback and cassette tape edition of "Duino Elegies". Any suggestions, where I might find this treasure?

<punch up "Hulogosi" at the bottom of the GD home page>

3. I would love to catch one of your live performances. If you maintain a mailing list of some sort, announcing public appearances I would really like to be on it.

<I don't perform anymore. That doesn't mean I never will, but I have no plans. Have decided to concentrate my waning energies on what I do best (writing) not on that in which I merely excel (: !!!

I love every word you ever wrote and I sincerely hope there will be many more words to come. Your lyrics for MYSTERY BOX made be cry. Especially "The Next Step" and "The Last Song". In my enthusiam I have turned several people on to MYSTERY BOX.
<there's nothing I'd like more than to get down on another album with Maestro Hart>

I was at FURTHUR at Liberty State Park, The Gorge and Veneta with Kesey. I wish I could have taken the summer off and just followed them around. The spirit was there and the musicians were great.

<I heard LSP was one of the best>


<and to you. rh>

Date: Aug 17 1996 9:36 PM EDT
From: (Christian Crumlish)

Martin Fierro made a nice comment from the stage at the Fillmore last night. something like:

you know robert hunter. he wrote some lyrics for us.
in doing this, he poured his heart and soul into this
band. i just wanted to say that.

thanks for the report. I love that guy, just like everybody else does. I've never heard a bigger public grouch on stage. He's just as likely to tell a wildly applauding Zero audience "Shut UP! You don't know!" as to tell the worst joke you ever heard. Praise from Marteen is praise indeed.

Date: Aug 19 1996 1:20 AM EDT
From: (beth elliott)

Don't know if I can get around the phrase "Thank you for
sharing," but I appreciate your having done so.

I grew up in the Bay Area (b. 1950), so I go way back as a
Deadhead. In later years (esp. post-In The Dark), it seemed to me
that some folks mistook the Dead and the music, which are/were(?)
one facet of the magic in our universe, for the whole thing. At
the same time, I think people have taken some of the new ways we'd
found at looking at the universe out to more places. Perhaps the
net effect is a wash, I don't know.

Still, I think it's true that the music never stopped. Live
tapes and Dick's picks are there for folks to use to make magic.
And the songs--THE SONGS! They're still meant for people to pick
and play, eh? Something about living on in our hearts and voices?

Some of my friends feel a gap in their lives without the
band. I know I'll miss being able to go to a show with friends and
lovers. But I already experience the magic around me in other
forms--maybe Jerry's passing released it from his public image's

As I finish writing this, KFOG's playing a reggae version of
"Casey Jones." Things that become universal, and widely loved,
continue to live. Thanks for getting up on the web!
beth elliott (
Copywriter/Opiniated Loudmouth
* "Sapphistication" every week in the (S.F.) Bay Area Reporter
* Coming out in floppyback from Spectrum Press this December:
"HELLO TO OBLIVION And Other Post-Blacklist Essays"

some very good points. The GD carried the flag on through the 80's and 90's -which is either crusading or getting stuck in entropy depending on how you want to view it. People forget that other bands were much more publically prominent during the actual "scene" than were the Grateful Dead. I don't mean "on the scene" itself, we always held our weight with our sisters and brothers, but the whole charisma of the movement was finally handed over to us, almost by default (he who laughs last) and, since a star is required for public focus, Jerry was tapped. Tapped hard. "Huh?" he said . . .
Reminds me, very often, of Dylan's lines: I wait for them to interrupt me drinking from my broken cup and ask me to open up the gates for you " - never mind the following chorus.

The fact is, many great performers who are still playing (Like Jack & Jorma) are half forgotten by the public at large in the flashflood of GD notoriety. I'm not complaining, mind you, but some deeply considered perspective would surely make a lot of people realize that thinking the 60's movement is over with the demise of the Dead is more symbolic thinking than actuality. I don't know how well I expressed that, but I think it's an important point. And not to forget all the expressions of our culture to which the music was, in one respect, simply functional background music. It seems people got so caught up in the soundtrack they stopped watching the movie!


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