Almost a year has gone by since the Deadhead community was knocked off its axis. Summer tour 1995—plagued by disaster, almost a premonition of worse events to come. Looking at our future with doubt and concern, worrying whether or not the Grateful Dead would be able to continue touring. The heat of August—Jerry’s birthday on August 1st. Then that day we though would never come though it was smack in our face inevitable—August 9th, Jerry Garcia died. Devastation and regret invaded our once-happy landscape as reality swept over us like an angry tide. After some months of speculation, anticipation and expectation, the remaining members of the Grateful Dead called it a day.
How many of us still well up in tears at the oddest memory triggered at the weirdest moment? Why do our hearts leap when the car passing on the right exhibits a Dead sticker? Who wonders if the parents of the 12-year-olds at the mall bought those Dead tie-dyes or if the kids bought them themselves? Life has become an endless volley of questions. The biggest question is “Where do we go from here?”
The Furthur Festival looms ahead as a final vestige of hope. A final place to shake our bones together, perhaps for one last time. One last chance to gather those phone numbers of folks you only caught up with at shows. A last ditch attempt to salvage all that was warm and wonderful about gathering together under the hippie banner. It doesn’t matter anymore that it’s not the Grateful Dead. What matters is that the spirit remains alive and it’s our place in the cosmic scope to guarantee that one final thing.
With the living spirit, we soar on to new horizons as we continue to grow. Our memories remain bigger than life. Feed them and let them flourish like a beautiful flower.
As we were preparing this issue, a barrage of sad news reached us. John Kahn, bass player with the Jerry Garcia Band, died. That was followed by the news of Timothy Leary’s dramatic departure. Then came the news of the death of Steve Cripe, the woodworker that built Jerry’s latest guitars (Lightning Bolt). Regrets to all of the families and friends of these people who have each given so much to our community.
What long, long time to be gone and a short time to be there.
Toni A. Brown, Publisher[ Close Window ]