— Hey, did Tim call while I was out?
— No, he didn’t, why?
— Well, he told me he had an idea he wanted to run by me. So, uh, I figured he might’ve called.
— What, what’s the idea?
— Uh, well, he’s actually thinking about writing a book about, uh, the time he spent on the road with the Grateful Dead.
— Oh, that would be a great topic for a book. You know, whenever you speak to me about the Grateful Dead, I’m all ears.
— Yeah, I mean, I, when I look back on the years I spent following them around, jeez, I, I followed ‘em all over the place. But, I mean, that was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life I think.
— I can imagine.
— I mean, y’know, first off, y’know, they’re my favorite band.
— And, uh, second, the other thing that really drew me to the scene was the fact that there was just this traveling, uh, group of people that followed them everywhere. It was like, almost like a bazaar sort of… — Mm-huh… — …y’know… — …mm-huh… — …and… — Well, it’s definitely a subculture of America.
— Oh yeah, yeah, I mean some people even called it a cult [laugh] y’know… — [laugh] — And, uh, it was so unique at the time, uh, y’know…. Because there really wasn’t anything else like it. I mean you had all these hippies driving around, following the band from city to city. And, uh, y’know, when you’re on the road driving from one place to the next, you’d see the same people. You’d see the same cars, all these VW buses drivin’. And, uh, y’know, uh, people supported themselves, uh, by, uh, selling things in the parking lots at the concerts.
- Like, a lot of people would like make jewelry and sell it. A lot of people would sell, uh, clothes that they made, um…. Another, uh, favorite amongst people was to, uh, just, uh, sell beer or to make food. And that’s what I actually did a lot of the times. I’d make sandwiches or I’d sell beer in order to help, y’know, defray the cost of the tickets.
— Because it could get a little expensive, y’know.
— But, y’know, the other strange thing is that you’d have this, like large circus traveling essentially following the band. And it was all these, like, hippies. People with like really long hair and beards and like, y’know…. Really sometimes like people who hadn’t like showered for days. Because they were just traveling with the, y’know… — Yeah.
— …around, following the band.
— Because, you know, especially during the summer, you’d just stay at campgrounds, y’know? So you’d camp and they might not have a shower, y’know… — Right [laugh].
— I remember like, so many times washing my hair, like, under a, y’know, a faucet in a sink of a bathroom. Or, y’know, under a hose somewhere [laugh].
— [laugh] — And having someone help me because, y’know, I had the long hair.
— [laugh] — Oh man, and, uh, y’know the other thing is, you’d travel around. And sometimes be driving through these really small conservative towns. And you can just imagine what it must have been like from their standpoint. I mean they see these people who don’t look anything like them. I mean… — Right.
— …they’re all clean-cut looking, these people who live in this town. And then you have this pack of like, looks like bohemian gypsies… — Uh-huh.
— …traveling through town.
— Yeah, that’s a good description.
- Y’know, so, y’know a lot of the times the cops in the town would hassle you. Y’know… — Oh, I’m sure.
— …for no good reason, y’know.
— I think that they would just suddenly jump to conclusions about, y’know, what you were doing. Because you look different than them, y’know. They were totally like judging the book by its cover.
— So, um, yeah but, oh my gosh, y’know…. When I look back on those times, I just met so many people. I mean sometimes I would meet somebody. And like, say the middle of the country like Kansas, right?
— And then, like, a year or two later, I’d be, say, in Seattle. And I’d run into the same people…the same person.
— Oh my god, it’s such a small world, huh?
— Yeah, I know. But that was another great thing. Like I met so many people and became such good friends with so many of those people. They’re, some of these people are like my closest friends to this day, like Tim. Y’know?
— So it was really something that, uh, it was like a community, y’know.
— I was going to say, too, it’s a very, it sounds like it was a very bonding experience.
— Oh, yeah, totally. Like it’s funny, if you’re a deadhead and you meet another deadhead, it’s like…. There’s just like, uh, almost, a hidden language that you speak.
— [laugh] — Y’know, it’s crazy. And, y’know, the, the, the fans were such rabid fans. I mean, y’know, a lot of deadheads…. The only music they would listen to was the music of the Grateful Dead.
— Wow. I could see why people would think that was a bit cultish.
— Yeah, totally.
— Well, do you think that, um, Tim will actually follow through with writing this book?
— I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine. Y’know, he can be a flake sometimes.
— Yeah, I know.