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Grateful Ramblings
An Old Tour Head's Insight into
the Grateful Dead
Vol 4
Over the period of 1979-1990 I attended over 100
Grateful Dead shows. I saw the country from West to East
gaining more family each tour. Sense of community
became important to me & I did like the older guys had done
for me and tried to teach new young tour heads respect
for the scene and each other. This respect for kindness &
each other seemed to start getting lost as the scene got
bigger right around the time that "Touch Of Grey" was
released.Lots of new people joined in and there was now
always too many people in the lots w/out tickets.
I began to turn my musical attention much more toward
Jerry Garcia Band at this time and went to 0ver 20
shows & collected tapes from shows I didn't see,
These shows & tapes are my favorites still to this day.
I feel that J.G.B. gave Jerry the freedom he lacked in the Dead
as he was the definite leader-& was able to let his favorite
musical influences-Bob Dylan-the Beatles-Motown-
early blues & rock-take over and he could do musically
whatever he felt like since he was the leader.
This is also the period when I realized how serious his drug addictions
were affecting his playing  and his preparation with
his band. There were shows when it was damn obvious
the band wasn't ready to try certain songs.
But when they were on they rocked my soul and
left me singing & feeling emotions I didn't feel at Dead
In the 90's my Grateful Dead show touring slowed down-
not so much because I was older-but as a musician i
could see Jerry
wearing down and many nights physically unable to play
& stand up for 3-4 hours. At one show my friend remarked
how he couldn't hear Jerry very well and why wouldn't Healy
turn him up. I took his binoculars out and looked and simply
said to my friend-"His right hand is not moving-he's not
strumming-there's nothing to turn up." It took my
friend a few shows to see what I meant as he was not a musician like me.
At my final 3 shows in Atlanta Ga. in '95 I noticed
this a lot at different points in the shows-It was the
worst I had ever seen Jerry-the rest of the band sounded good
but he was hurting bad. I wish i had gone to the last show
at Soldier Field Chicago-that tour
when on on his last two songs he ever sang
So many Roads-Black Muddy River
some spirit woke him up and he left us with
soulful performances-almost like he knew the calling was there.
I sure believe in fate now. And i do miss
him. I try to tell friends & loved ones that there is a
message-be careful with the use of drugs-and when
it takes over your life-you need to regain that personal control.
But it is a hard lesson to learn
Next page          Home Cool Dead Stuff
 "the fields are full of dancin'
full of singing and romancin'
the music never stopped"

part 5 of my grateful dead story