“A Change of Seasons: The Deadheads, the Dead, and the Dead”

greatful-dead-crowd

I associate that particular change of seasons as the start of an underlying eeriness and just overall sense of something bad in the stars that seemed to hover over the next few years. Even though it was still a relatively remarkable time for music (and the arts in general for that matter), there was an undercurrent of fatalism snaking its way through the mid section of the decade…one that would short circuit the sense of community still alive within the rock world.

by Mike Derrico

Taken from …AND THE CATHEDRAL FELL TO THE GROUND: Tales of Rock & Roll Suburbia

I’ve always loved the Grateful Dead, but I was never a Deadhead. I’ve never followed them on tour, never collected all that many tapes of live shows, and never walked around outside the Shoreline Amphitheater holding one finger up in hopes of a miracle ticket. Sure, I’ve seen them live a handful of times and own every album, but I’ve invested no more significance in them as I have in most of the other obvious and usual suspects of classic rock. Oh, how it kills me to use that term willingly…classic rock… but the very fact of my using it is testament to the inevitable passage of time, classification of periods for historical purposes, and the idea that rock and roll as we once knew it has in fact passed us. More to my smaller point though, I never gave the Dead any special treatment over bands like…say…Led Zeppelin, The Who, or Pink Floyd. I think of them as one of the bands in that crucial chain of important bands. No more, no less. Of course, there are many bands that I prefer over the Dead hands down. But generally, I don’t like or dislike them any more than most acts lying around the classic rock gene pool. With this in mind, the fact that I’ve always been surrounded by Deadheads for most of my life is worthy of mention and exploration within these pages. That means that out of the common courtesy and good will of many of these people, I was always given many tapes of all the important shows and kept in the loop of what was going on. And even though I never had the urge to send away for enough mail order tickets for an entire tour, I still maintained enough interest when my friend Curley would call me from places like Atlanta or Albany at one in the morning to tell me the setlist. Even though I didn’t walk the walk of a Deadhead, I was informed, educated, and familiar enough to talk the talk with the best of them.

Deadheads are funny in that many of them don’t really care all that much for the studio albums. It was always about collecting and trading tapes of the shows. I guess that’s the one thing I always found unsettling about the Deadheads; their disinterest and indifference to the Grateful Dead studio catalog. Always driven by the live show and the spontaneity of the moment, they never had much use for the studio albums. Of course, like anything else, there are exceptions. However, for the most part, I’ve found it next to impossible to discuss the studio albums with my Deadhead friends. For instance, I can have someone sit in front of me and recite the setlists for every show played in 1973, yet if I ask what their favorite song is from Wake of the Flood, I’ve gotten things like, “What songs were on that one?” or “the studio albums suck.”

The world of the Grateful Dead was an island unto itself. It was a large and glorious island unlike any other entity in the history of modern music. But it was so self-contained, that the fanbase rarely strayed too far from the family tree. They listened almost exclusively to the Dead and Dead-related bands and artists. I always think of the line when you stand too close to something, you can’t really see it. It perfectly describes the conditions under which many Deadheads have been unable to view the Grateful Dead within the context of the rest of the rock world. It is difficult to observe something from the outside world and asses its place in the outside world when you are very much on the inside, and rarely, if ever, leave. So for someone like me, the studio albums have served as vital maps of the band’s evolution as well as markers of the band’s treasures. Sure, you can’t find gems such as “Wharf Rat,” “Jack Straw,” “Tennessee Jed,” “The Eleven,” and “So Many Roads” in the form of Dead studio recordings, thus dividing the two impressions of the Dead on the rest of the world. There is the Grateful Dead as a vital respected part of the rock and roll world with a worthy respectable catalog of classic albums and music…and there is the Grateful Dead as center of its own world, yielding an entire secondary catalog for the hardcore obsessed, none of that secondary catalog built from studio albums, but from solo projects or free-floating songs only played onstage. So with that, it is quite possible to watch the band improvise their way through fifteen songs over the course of two sets and an encore, and only have a third of those songs come from studio albums. This is one of the unique elements of the Dead. A large percentage of their most-beloved live tunes are not even featured on official studio releases, something almost unheard of within the rest of the rock world. It is difficult to imagine Kiss fans being pleased after having gone through an entire Kiss concert that featured maybe only four songs from actual Kiss albums. Same goes for Rolling Stones fans who are comprised of the ones who go for the hits, and the ones who go for the chance of the occasional rare album cuts…point is, those fans know the albums well. A Stones fan might come out of a concert saying, “Damn, they didn’t play anything from Exile tonight!” You would never hear a Dead fan coming out of a show saying “Damn, they didn’t play anything from Go To Heaven!” It’s just not the way the Deadhead mindset operates in relation to the setlist. It is purely about the moment and following it wherever it leads over the course of any given night. And while the Deadhead experience has been purely physical, mystical, and spiritual (I remain envious of the people who had the conviction and fearlessness to live that life) they’ll never quite know the intellectual masturbatory joy of pitting Side One of Blues For Allah against Side Two of Terrapin Station, and then analyzing and dissecting the artistic components that such a discussion would entail. In all honesty, I’d much rather be able to just experience the music and fill my downtime with something else such as reading books or watching films. Sometimes I think I’m cursed having to live a life where I spend just as much time thinking about music as I do listening to music. But then I consider the nature of my personality and how I’m just as insular in my own mind as the Deadheads are on their own island. Music is an intellectual experience as well as a physical and spiritual one. Anyone who might disagree with this sentiment probably is not paying attention, not thinking at all, or is probably just an asshole.

**********

Angelika

While in the middle of my Italian film phase of 1993, I took one particular afternoon to head over to the Angelika where some new movie, Especially On Sunday was playing. The movie was released and flopped rather quickly, and I don’t remember a damn thing about it, nor does anybody else. It was Monday, September 20, and I was in the city for a Grateful Dead show during one of their early 90s residencies at the Garden. After the film, I met Curley, Hurley, and Burley over at Hunan Pan for dinner in the West Village. Following a quick bite, we walked out on Hudson Street as the sun began to go down just after 7PM. It was the last night of summer and still fairly warm. We all got into a cab and headed north as Hudson turned into 8th Avenue until we got out at 31st Street and ran into the building at the Southwest entrance. The show itself had some standout tracks like “Baba O’Riley” and “Tomorrow Never Knows,” but I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the setlist, although I was glad to get “Dire Wolf.” I think that fourth of six shows stands out in Dead history as the night Edie Brickell showed up to guest on a few songs.

hqdefault

I associate that particular change of seasons as the start of an underlying eeriness and just overall sense of something bad in the stars that seemed to hover over the next few years. Even though it was still a relatively remarkable time for music (and the arts in general for that matter), there was an undercurrent of fatalism snaking its way through the mid section of the decade…one that would short circuit the sense of community still alive within the rock world. Late in October, a massive retrospective celebrating the career of Italian director Federico Fellini opened at the Film Forum on Houston Street in the Village. Tutto Fellini was a monstrous six-week marathon that would see every single Fellini film shown in glorious restored print and would run through early December. On Halloween, I went into the city with my friend from work, Jorge. Jorge was a Seventh Day Adventist who was always wrestling with his faith and searching for answers and meaning in life and death. Jorge knew me as the long-haired crazy lunatic freak at work, but he seemed to be amused by my intellect and shared intolerance for common mainstream culture. He had a strange respect for the fact that I preferred tofu to meat, PBS to CBS, indie films to Hollywood, the New York Times to the News Tribune, cafes to bars, reading to sports, and museums to clubs. In other words, I had become a pretentious snob. Whenever he needed a “day of culture,” he’d hang out with me. Jorge wasn’t by any means hip. He was borderline- square, and experienced true culture shock as the streets became packed and closed-in with freaks from all walks of life converging on the Halloween Parade that would be starting at 7PM. We had tickets for the 7:30 showing of Fellini’s La Strada, and decided to grab some low grade Chinese food at the King’s Express on West Eighth Street. It was one of those brightly-lit takeout places with green walls that always had at least two or three tables in the back. As we ate, I gave Jorge a brief history of Fellini, his films, his influence, and why we were so lucky to be going into the city to see one of his celebrated works on the big screen. This was no ordinary film, I told him. You couldn’t just go see this at the multiplex in New Jersey. He asked me if Fellini was still alive and making movies. I told him the filmmaker was in his early 80s, not very active anymore, but was just honored at the Academy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award earlier in the year. Jorge seemed to be looking forward to seeing La Strada. I gave him a background of the film and informed him that the actress Giulietta Masina who stars opposite Anthony Quinn was actually married to Fellini in real life and the two had been a longtime couple. Giulietta became the staple face to a handful of Fellini’s early works and she had indeed cast an indelible mark on Italian cinema.

La_Strada_Poster

After Jorge finished eating, he wanted to buy a t-shirt he had seen at the Postermat across the street. I was still working on my shrimp in lobster sauce, so to save time he got up and went over to the Postermat while I finished eating. As I sat there alone, I reached for the headphones of my Sony Walkman and put them on. I pressed play and suddenly the cassette inside was playing me a live 1970 Dead show from the Fillmore East. I finished eating, sat back, stretched my legs out, folded my arms, and closed my eyes. It was one of those moments where all was right with the world…those rare moments where you realize you are content with everything around you and there was no place else you’d rather be. I listened to what had become my favorite version of “Easy Wind,” at least out of what I’d heard. I let the eight minutes of the song play out until Jorge came back. He sat down and I took the headphones off. He showed my some shirt that read New York City on it and I politely responded with a “cool” or something. The radio in King’s Express which was tuned to one of those Hot-something stations that played Bon Jovi and Michael Bolton-style hits had gone unnoticed during the duration of our time inside the establishment. When the news came on, it quickly grabbed our attention and without warning, transported us into a world of the surreal. First, they announced that the young Hollywood star, River Phoenix had died at the age of 23. Jorge and I looked at each other. Holy shit, the collective look on our faces said. We were both 23 as well, and it was the first time anyone our own age who had gotten famous had died. Was this going to be our generation’s James Dean? Just as I was swallowing the news of River Phoenix, the next sentence to come out of the radio was that legendary Italian director Federico Fellini had also died. Needless to say, I was in shock at this news, especially under the circumstances in which I heard it. Jorge couldn’t believe it either. One minute I’m telling him all about Fellini while we’re about to go to a Fellini film festival, and the next minute we’re told that the guy just died.

Fellini Phoenix

We sat there stunned for a few minutes, but then got up without missing a beat, pressing on toward the exit to once again hit the street where we’d trudge through the Halloween Parade across Sixth Avenue and hit the Film Forum. Walking out, the Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Gray” began playing as we stepped into the chill of the crisp mid-autumn air.

**********

Shortly before twelve on the night of Wednesday, March 23, 1994, Curley, Hurley, and Burley were heading back from Uniondale, Long Island where they had just seen the Grateful Dead at the Nassau Coliseum. It was the first of a five-night run before the three of them would embark on an excursion down the East Coast to follow the remainder of the spring tour before it would wrap up in Miami within a few weeks. It was Curley who was driving and just getting back onto the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway while Hurley and Burley talked about the next night’s driving arrangements. Locked into the moment just as they had been all night, all three of them looked up and out the window where something caught their eyes from some 90 miles away back in Jersey. It was at least that far. Yet, it was untraceable as to where exactly in Jersey it occurred. It was in that very far distance on the horizon just southwest of their location, where they first saw the explosion and then the mushroom cloud. And then the sky lit up red and orange.

**********

Shortly after midnight in what was the first ten minutes of the AM hours of March 24, 1994, I was at Eric’s house flipping channels on the TV. I was feeling under the weather and probably should have been home sleeping. The past few nights had been late ones, having gone to the David Letterman show on Monday where Tori Amos was his musical guest. She came out and did “Cornflake Girl” from her new album Under the Pink. The following night, a few of us went up to the Meadowlands racetrack to watch horseracing. I really should have been in bed as I sat there contemplating the chills running throughout my body. Inside the other room was Eric, his girlfriend Agnes, and two of our friends, Jay and Al. Going through the high-numbered channels of the cable spectrum, I stopped at CNN where Giulietta Masina was pictured in the top left corner of the screen. The Italian actress and wife of Federico Fellini had died at the age of 73, less than five months after her husband. The door opened and Agnes came out. She walked across the room and sat down on the couch next to me.
“Dude, put the Rangers rewind on,” she demanded, taking the control out of my hand and changing the channel to MSG. The nightly ritual was to get high and watch a replay of the Rangers game that usually occurred earlier in the evening. Within another minute or two, the guys would be coming in and hockey would fill the room deep into the AM hours. I wasn’t a fan, but I would always root for New York no matter what the sport. The Rangers were hot that year, and talk of the Stanley Cup was a constant. This was going to be their year.
Who gives a fuck…I’m going home.
As I got up, I was almost knocked back down on the couch by a powerful breeze of warm air that moved through me and shook the blinds on the window. Agnes felt it too.
“Dude, what the hell was that?” she whispered, looking at me.
Inside, the glass sliding doors were rattling. We could hear Eric begin to freak.
“Holy shit, man! What the fuck is that?!”
“Holy crap!” Al echoed him.
“What the fuck is that?!” Eric railed again.
I was almost afraid to get up, but I forced myself off the couch and went into the bedroom where Eric, Al, and Jay were looking out the glass doors. Beyond the doors was darkness…the backyard, a fence, and the Oak Woods beyond the fence. The woods extended south at least half a mile, but what lay beyond them were in no way visible from Eric’s windows. From our backyards, it was just solid woods.
Again…“What the fuck is that?!”
Eric was pointing out toward the woods.

And then I saw it.

Somewhere, possibly inside the woods…or maybe beyond the woods…so huge that it gave us the distorted perception that it was closer than it really was…was a fireball…a wall of flames moving and swaying violently like a King Kong-sized bonfire fire between the distant trees. We could not make out what it was, nor could we be sure exactly where it was. I opened the sliding door and we could immediately hear a roar in the distance. It was a blowing sound so overpowering and intense that the only way to describe it is to imagine the sound a 300-foot blowtorch would make. What was even more shocking was the amount of light outside. In the midnight hour, there was daylight over our entire development and beyond. It was a broad and eerie daylight, engulfed and enveloped in an ominous reddish orange that made up the entire sky.

Edison

“Are we fuckin’ nuked man?” Al screamed in nervous laughter.
“Dude,” Jay shot back. “If we were nuked, we’d be dead.”
Eric offered the next possibility.
“Holy shit…did a plane crash or something?”
I thought the same thing.
“Yeah, that’s gotta be a plane that went down in the woods.”
“That’s not in the woods bro, that’s too far away to be in the woods!”
It really was hard to tell where in the hell this giant wall of fire was, but as we all gathered out in front of the house, anyone on the block who was awake had wandered out of their own houses and into the street. Many were running down the street toward the main highway to get a clearer perspective on where exactly the fire was coming from. Rather than stand outside in the street speculating with the neighbors, we all got into Agnes’s car and drove toward Route 1 where once we got there, the entire fireball, much like a mushroom cloud rose high above the skyline of Central Jersey like an orange and red monster that could crush and swallow entire towns. When we got on Route 1 South, it looked as though maybe the Menlo Park Mall was on fire or perhaps even exploded given the massive size of the hovering flames. But then we rode past the mall and all of it was intact, empty, and without activity. We could see the fire but the more we drove, it didn’t seem like we were getting any closer. That’s just how big this fucking thing was. You could keep going toward it thinking it was maybe a thousand feet away, but you never got there. Kind of like having mountains on the horizon. Eventually, we stopped at Metuchen Train Station. Agnes parked, and Eric, Al, and Jay got out to run up to the track where they could get a better view of the massive wall of flames in the sky. I stayed in the backseat, not wanting get out and see it enough to etch it permanently into my mind’s eye. It wasn’t something I wanted an indelible vision of. I was also feeling feverish and really just wanted to go back. Agnes searched the radio for reports of anything. I told her to put on CBS-AM which was a 24 hour news station, and sure enough they were talking about a gas explosion in Edison, New Jersey. It turned out to be a long night for anyone who was awake in Central Jersey, and if you lived anywhere in the tri-state area, chances are you could see the fire from many miles away. Eric, Al, and Jay came down from the train platform after about ten minutes and got back in the car. We went back to Eric’s by 1 AM. Shortly after arriving back, Curley and Hurley came by after dropping off Burley. We all sat on the floor in Eric’s ground-level bedroom. We could see the fire through the trees in the woods just past his backyard. And we could hear the gas-fueled roar of the flames. Again, it was that gargantuan blowtorch sound that shot into the sky and lit it up like daylight. I sat there knowing I had to go home eventually and walk outside where the eerie orange glow of the sky would hover over me, following my every step as I ran to the front door fumbling for my keys trying to get inside as quick as possible, not wanting that God-awful sound and visual to permanently stain my memory. I sat there dreading that walk home, even though it was right next door. The outside was tainted. Haunted. The nighttime was scarred. I tried to take my mind off what was going on outside by asking the guys about the show. Curley happily read off the setlist:

First Set: Shakedown Street, Little Red Rooster, Row Jimmy, El Paso, Might as Well, Promised Land

Second Set: China Cat Sunflower, I Know You Rider, Women Are Smarter, So Many Roads, Truckin’, Drums, Space, I Need a Miracle, Standing on the Moon, Good Lovin’

Encore: U.S. Blues

**********

Cobain driveway

The Grateful Dead were in Miami when Kurt Cobain’s lifeless body was found in Seattle. On April 8, 1994, the spring tour was wrapping up and our friends were about to head back up the East Coast. Back at home, a handful of us sat around quietly that Friday night, trying to make sense of what had happened. A month earlier, Cobain had OD’d in Rome. Early in those reports, there were already rumors he had died. Something like this seemed inevitable, which is why I really wasn’t surprised when I heard the news about his death late that afternoon. The immediate sense around the music world that seemed irrefutable was that something significant had happened, and a devastating blow had been dealt to the future of rock. It was not one of those things that occur in retrospect where critics and fans realize something important had happened and it constituted a full-fledged rock revolution. It was not one of those things you realize after the fact. We knew something big was happening all though 1992. 1993 saw grunge and alternative established as a full-scale rock movement. By 1994, we were right on the cusp of watching the earliest evolutions take place within this new kingdom of artists. Vedder got a chance to evolve. Cobain, not so much. 1994 began with the momentum of 93 still in full swing. It ended with the tumultuous release of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy amidst the defiance of a reluctant Vedder who was supposed to carry the torch. He was busy locked in a silly battle with Ticketmaster at the time. If only he could have picked his fight with the company in 2014 as opposed to 1994. Who knew that after such bad publicity in the 90s, 20 years later, Ticketmaster would be so out of control and corrupt, redirecting logged-in members on their site to a scalper’s site where customers were charged well over face value? Who knew that while scalping agencies were buying up lots and lots of tickets in the 90s, that Ticketmaster would get in on the action a few decades later? And who knew that while Vedder was expected to carry the burden of whatever had been up Cobain’s ass, Pearl Jam had already created their best music by 1994 and rock would fizzle out into parody, mediocrity, and eventual invisibility?

So what happened?

Well, it sure wasn’t Vedder’s fault, nor was it Pearl Jam’s. Vedder came down to earth, grew up, and surrounded himself with the right people…many of his own influences as opposed to his peers. He’d associate with Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, R.E.M. He’d become politically active, immersing himself in social justice causes. He’d still rock, but he’d cross over into a world of adult concerns like so many of the best and most respectable artists did. And Pearl Jam would continue to turn out uninteresting music while still managing to sell out arenas in every major city for multiple nights. They would become classic rock, part of the establishment, and Vedder, like his heroes, would become one of rock’s elder statesmen. They’d be revered and respected just on their name alone.

Vedder and Clinton

Vedder, Bruce, Jackson

But rock in the post-Cobain 90s wasn’t just about Pearl Jam. Radiohead, another of the alternative era’s most promising bands would turn out one of the great masterpieces of the decade, and then do a complete 180, striking their music out of shape and becoming the anti-rock band, all but eliminating guitars from their sound until they had their cliché return-to-form moment years after anybody gave a shit and they were already too old to be revolutionary. Stone Temple Pilots, a band that had some interesting songs, but couldn’t shake the Pearl Jam-wanna be comparisons had already bottomed out while their singer made junkies fashionable again for douchebags. Smashing Pumpkins quickly became irrelevant as Billy Corgan’s ego toppled over and he never quite lived up to the genius that his attitude proclaimed he was. Soundgarden was on the outs and so was Alice In Chains. By 1997, Lilith Fair was as “fuck you” as rock could possibly get. Only the “fuck you” wasn’t a revolutionary-movement-against-the-establishment “fuck you.” It was more of a male-bashing movement that saw a rise of women with acoustic guitars uniting in “we’ll show em” fist pumping solidarity. By that year, it had become all about Ani Defranco, Jewel, Sarah Mcgloughlin, Meredith Brooks, and Paula Cole. The only thing that resembled rock in the mid-to-late 90s was catchy and syrupy watered-down versions of whatever Nirvana and Pearl Jam were doing…bands like Bush, possibly the Bon Jovi of grunge. Catchy songs? Great. It was a sign of the beginning of the end. And if that was a sign of the beginning of the end, bands like Matchbox 20 and Limp Biscuit were symptoms of everything that went wrong with rock by the late 90s and into the new century. Rock was well on its way to a place where the idea of crossing over was no longer the exception, but the rule. The second half of the 90s barely resembled the first half. And while that is true for most decades of the rock era, the last few years of the 20th Century progressing into the new millennium saw rock having its testicles hacked off by paper cut, one slice at a time. Acts such as Kid Rock and Limp Biscuit represented a new era where artists had a foot and a half in rap, and half a foot in color-by-numbers rock. The era of originality in rock was over. Every important rock song had been written and now the next generation was about to dabble in a little rock and a little rap, and produce a whole lot of musical diarrhea as a result.

Mixing rap with rock always reminded me of that old commercial back in the 1970s about that guy’s chocolate falling into the other guy’s peanut butter:
“Excuse me sir…your chocolate is in my peanut butter!”
“Wrong! Your peanut butter is on my chocolate!”
Well, the moral of the story was that Reeces was formed because low and behold, the fucking taste was so incredible…who knew!
Fucking peanut butter and chocolate together at last!
But rest-assured…I shit you not…many were appalled.

And so, while many younger kids for whom Nirvana was the first and only rock to be exposed to, the combination of rock and rap was appealing. That wretched pathetic sight of white men in backwards baseball caps, no shirts, and baggy shorts, bouncing around the stage while grabbing their balls was far less rock and roll than anything we had ever imagined we’d see. To be fair, this was not exclusive to the confused antics of Kid Rock. Not to mention, Kid Rock after establishing himself as an obnoxious ball-grabber spitting raps onto generic rock beats, would later try to pass himself off as a rock artist. But no…that whole obnoxious silly style far preceded Kid Rock. It’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly the murder of rock fashion began, but it’s precisely one of the major things that had always turned me off of bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers. I was always repulsed by those bands that were always literally bouncing around the stage with shorts and no shirt.

Do you realize how uncool you look? Get a fucking grip!

So what is my point?

My point is that, by the late 90s, the cool had drastically fallen out of rock music. It became corny and clumsy when paired with rap. Regarding the bands that stayed within the rock framework, even they lacked the element of cool. Rock stars with character were suddenly endangered, as no-named, non-descript front men of the new generation all looked like models in an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. Even so-called punk bands like Blink-182 looked as if they were fitted in the wardrobe department on the set of Beverly Hills 9021 for the episode where Brenda and Dylan get tickets for that rad punk concert at After Hours. And for any wiseass who feels compelled to mock my 90210 analogy, be warned…I was a closet viewer right up until the end, and no such episode exists. But that’s just how uncool and sing-songy rock had become.

Cobain’s death did not kill the future of rock music. It killed the present. It cut short the moment. It was a moment that while held up in hindsight to hypothetical scrutiny, might have lived up to whatever the myths suggest it could have been, or could simply just have evolved into something else. Instead it just became nothing more than a moment in time. The question of the legacy of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and grunge itself becomes more significant as time goes on, however. What was that legacy? How influential were they really? If in the 20-plus years since grunge, all we have to show for is Nickelback, Bush, Creed, and the token friendly rock guy face of the Foo Fighters, the true influence of that entire era seriously needs to be re-evaluated.

**********

The wind went out of the sails completely some sixteen months after the death of Kurt Cobain when Jerry Garcia passed away in his sleep. They say he died with a smile on his face. I don’t know that to be true, but I like to believe it. It just works symbolically on so many levels. Jerry’s words about taking the whole fucking trip a step ahead or even a few steps ahead was as eloquently put as anything involving the counterculture and the push toward a more equitable civilization. On the night of the day Jerry Garcia died, I was at a Santana concert. It was August 9, 1995. Carlos Santana came out and told the crowd that he was playing for us with a heavy heart. The feeling was mutual all the way around the venue. It was a warm summer night, beautiful otherwise. But aside from that feeling of doom that seemed to still be pervading how our lives were affected in relation to the music, the 90s had turned a corner. But it wasn’t just the 90s. It was the beginning of feeling a stamp of permanence. Of finality. In a year and a half, the symbolic future of rock had been exterminated, while the symbolic past had begun to expire.

JG2

JG

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