Reilly Leon Platt
Hmmmm, I rarely type my stuff, and it doesn't flow right, oh well, you'll get the idea. Best of luck in your endeavors. Thanks for the tunes and words- Reilly
P.S. Thought I'd leave you with something a bit more upbeat. It came to me the day after my first swim last year on March 13th. Here in Northern Mass the ice is usually still in so twas a bit chill, the sun was westering and glinting off the wavelets, and a couple of wood ducks whizzed by just before I went in:
RLP - March '95
Date: Tue, Mar 26, 1996
From: email@example.com (Stephen Windsor)
i just read your analysis of the franklin's tower lyrics. as you can well imagine, the lyrics have an entirely different meaning for myself. i was however most interested in your meanings; i was suprised that most of them have a literal base, metaphorically stated. it just goes to show, you don't ever know... thank you for sharing them with us.
as for my interpretations, i would like to share with you a few of them...you probably have heard this a thousand times before...
roll away the dew - to open one's eyes or consciousness/ franklin's tower [there hangs a bell] -essentially the zone, give it a good ring, you can't tell -- you take your chances but you dont know what the future will bring...but ring it anyway! you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind - karma this, karma that...may the four winds blow you safely home -- may the elementals take you home
you can see that those interpretations revolve about a topic, which when coupled with the live music serve as a powerful (for me anyways) transportation mechanism.
i just want to say that your lyrics have had a wonderful impact on my present life. Every day one or more of your phrases come into use one way or another, and in doing so help me to get through the dream....
Subj: I'm guilty
Date: Fri, Mar 22, 1996
Just stopped by dead.net for the first time in many months, and spent some time on your pages. I am one of those who is guilty of "giving away" your work, and I thought I should make a clear breast of it.
For a couple of years, there have been text files available at the Berkeley archive containing lyrics (and sometimes tabs) for around 400 Dead songs and covers (including all of yours). Many folks on rec.music.gdead request lyrics, and I regularly posted replies, to them, from these text files. I wanted an easier way of doing so, so I converted one of the existing text files (allsongs.zip) into hyper-text format (using winhelp). I then thought it would be nice to make my ht version available on the net, but I wanted to correct and add to it, not drop it off stealth, like many others had done.
I added album information, other artistís info, and adds for your book, and GDM (songbooks). And tried to let you know what I was planning on doing (though I probably didnít try hard enough):
About August 1, 95 (such timing), I sent three very preliminary copies of this winhelp format files to (xxx) and asked him to forward a copy to you. I wasn't seeking official permission (cause of all the other artists involved), but rather trying to let you all know what I was contemplating, and give you a chance to stop me, if you chose. Suppose I should have hit GDP and DeadHeads, too, but (xxx) was the route that was indicated to me as proper.
Anyhow, about a week later, the roof caved in. Then on Sept. 1, I said (to myself) xxxx it, and went ahead and posted my file. I've updated the posting a couple of times since. And have posted several messages regarding its availability to rmgd.
Now itís time for another update (I've converted it to MS Viewer 2.0), and was planning on posting this version about 4-1 (along with it ís new companion - a ht version of Ihor W. Slabickyís "Complete
Grateful Dead Discography" - with his permission). Iíd be very happy to show you what Iíve done, or send you a copy (if you have access to a Windows box). Or cease and desist, and have the existing file purged from Berkeley, if you so desire.
Again, I was never trying to pull a fast one, and did all I could to see that my file would only help to sell more records, and books. My conscience is pretty clear, but it would be even clearer, if I had your unofficial ok.
So, please, take a moment and give me some sense of direction.
Thank you, and take care,
Date: Wed, Mar 27, 1996
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Stephen Windsor)
once more into the fray...what you said. the lyrical content should not be sliced like a bag of carrots, any more than one can apply a two-dimensional slice to a three-dimensional model -- all you get is the slice and not the additional dimension. The music, and the lyrics, and the band's interpretation, as well as the moment, all lend to the picture in its completeness. Really it's all in the eye of the beholder. And some of us will see meanings which apply to our lives and others will see an incomplete dissection (which also is the size of the scapel one wields).
i imagine you in your composition could not have any ideas about how ultimately the song would evolve. You are right on in that the lyrical content, once formed, will take on a meaning of its own usually devoid of its original intent, and in fact attests to the the broadness of the lyrics.
in short, if you get confused, listen to the music play...
thanks for the discussion...i will check out your web page from time to time...
Date: Thu, Mar 28, 1996 10:13 PM EDT
From: TheMainTen@gnn.com (Ralph Kohn)
Greetings from the Midwest!
It was a nice surprise to find your homepage this evening, I am new to this kind of electronic communication and find it very exciting. I am an old (and avid) fan and will look forward to checking out your page weekly now. I know in recent years your writing has gone in some interesting directions and I sure hope someday you will get the itch to pick up the acoustic six-string and head out on the road for some small tours. It would be a great comfort to once again hear you play old favorites (and new). Keep up the good fight in cyber-space!
Subj: T. S. Eliot pages
Date: Sat, Mar 16, 1996
I bopped over here in my Internet disguise, and was cruising the T.S. Eliot page, and was reminded I just probably misquoted him to you! In case you haven't looked for it, Burnt Norton is located at: http://www.usl.edu/Departments/English/authors/eliot/Burnt_Nortan.html With the main TSE page being: http://www.usl.edu/Departments/English/authors/eliot/
The First Movement of Burnt Norton:
Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the corner. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle, To look down into the
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Geoff Gould GGould.com
Musical Instrument Design and Consulting
Internet Design and Consulting
Mar 21, 1996
I wrote a poem in honor of my sister's 50th birthday. One of the stanzas reads, quite accidentally, like it issued from your muse. Can you guess which one?
P.S. I sent this message once before, but the attachment probably got stripped off since it wasn't in ASCII. Or you may very well have said xxxx it, i don't know this guy or his sister (or the horse they rode in on), in which case this missive will likely suffer a similar fate.
To Kate at 50
At 50 wouldn't it be okay
To carry some of care's big coins no further?
To say, "Okay, we've gone along enough
Together. I've earned a little sovereignty?"
To say, "That here!" "This there!" "That's right,
at least for me?"
A year can earn so little--or so much--
all hangs on what has happened in the past.
Another tiny bite out of an orange
--who knows how large?--or matters
well in hand and firmly grasped.
Right now the fruit has some dimension
Heft, curve, and scent, to only mention
Bits of what you know about the world;
A bigger ball that rolls uncertain,
Who's that man behind the curtain?
Pain and joy and love and death unfurled.
Fifty might be halfway there, or maybe more,
There isn't an accepted way to know.
You might be closer than you think
As close as to the kitchen sink
But then again that's further than the stove.
You have a gift for being far
no matter if it's there or over here.
When you decide to hover close
I do suspect you've had a dose
Of something a bit stronger than good cheer.
But kids' brave minds can find you out
To them you seem less harder to pin down.
You come to earth for little ones,
You flap their sheets and pinch their buns,
And presence lights your face, hijacks a frown.
I wrote these lines to comfort you
They came along the avenue
While I was buying liquor for your party.
I near pulled down deserted street
To fumble for a paper sheet
But thought why stop I'm really not that arty.
So here's the best that I can do
A lunch hour stretched to almost two
The most a man in my position dares.
But for your joy I'll write a measure,
Drink a dram and pour your pleasure
Just so's you know your little brother cares.
Sat, Mar 30, 1996
email@example.com (Christian Crumlish)
At 04:27 AM 3/30/96 -0500, you wrote:
>good letter. I may put it in the mailbag next week. I use aol for the flashmail utility.
There's a mailbag at your site (reveals shallow perusing so far...)? I
forgot to mention the main thing I meant to mention though! Which was your
discussion of Franklin's, and rather than the eerie concordance with that
most popular of shaggy-dog posts, the fact that it reminded me strongly of
an insight revelation epiphany? i had at a december coliseum show either 93
or 94. one of those great help>slip!>franklin's during which the lyrics
briefly put aside their cubistic mirroshow and spoke to me very clearly.
your eyes looked from your mother's face was clearly on genetics,
inheritance, life as a continuum from person to person, and so on; now
clearly the wildflower seed lyric is a blessing may you stay forever
younglike, a realization that we are all cosmic dust floating on the surface
of a small planet but i digress.
I'm looking for my comments about that show. I've done a terrible job of
archiving my own posts to rec.music.gdead, but i'd like to send them to you,
along with a few other things
makes me want to make utterly clear that stuffing paper or electrons from me
under a pile and forgetting them is utterly reasonable (not trying to add to
the weight of obligations perceived and real in the world). i have some
inkling of how exposed you may start feeling with your up front web presence
and "public" e-mail address. still i'm grateful for a crack to slip my
little missive through.
>sessions which permit me to collect and post a lot of email without paying a
>lot of online time. This site is heating up quick. Don't know how I'll handle
Surprises me that you can't get free (or flat-rate) access via dead.net and
maybe a direct internet provider to make your connection!
I'm glad the site is getting hot. It needs some life as you so directly
>it. Maybe have to (gasp) batch replies. My other address is just for personal
>friends and long term correspondence.
i didn't mean to intrude even allusively on your private channels!
just figgered out yer handle (you know when you grope for luna?)
one last thing. when jerry died, i wrote my own thoughts up under the title
"he had to die" and published it in the zine (rank hath its privileges). i'd
be honored if you were ever to read it. that same episode of the 'zone
(September 1995) featured Levi Asher's poem "The Summer Jerry Died." That
would be http://enterzone.berkeley.edu/ez/e4/enterzone.html for the cover of
episode 4; or straight to author pages for Asher or me and then to our
pieces from there (ain't hyperlinking grand?).
xian =%7o http://www.pobox.com/~xian
Subj: Lyrical significance
Date: Fri, Mar 29, 1996 5
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Steffen Keating)
The Grateful Dead have been, and will continue to have great
significance in my life. And your lyrics have been a LARGE part. I
have always loved the lyrics;however, they all took on a whole new
significance when Jerry and an extremely close friend of mine died
last summer within a month.
Several songs including "Comes a Time," "Stella Blue," "Days
Between," "Touch of Grey," "Terrapin," "Box of Rain," "Eyes of the
World," "SOTM," "Follish Heart," "Black Muddy River," "Built to
Last," and "Mission in the Rain" helped me get through an extremely
difficult time. I went through a great deal, and someday I hope to
be able to tell you all about it. Now, I am a Northwestern student,
and I am doing really well. I, like numerous others, have many tales
of 'getting shown the light in the strangest of places.'
These experiences have greatly shaped my own verse. I attempted to
write poetry long before I became a Dead fan, but your lyrics/verse
has greatly shaped my poetry since.
I have a real good friend who is an exceptional guitarist. Now I
know the EVERYONE knows a great guitar player, but Mike will be
attending the Berklee school next year. He is incredible, and I am
confident that he will achieve greatness through guitar. He is an a
great band now, Leif, and I attempt to write lyrics for them. When I
was going through the worst time in my life, nobody was there for
me-except memories and songs.
My dream in life is for my lyrics to have as much impact on people
as yours do. I know I have never met you, but I have read many
stories in various dead related books and lyrics, and I feel that
you are a friend of mine. I have read your interviews with David
Gans, and someday I hope we can have a conversation. Jerry's gone,
but I'm sure you have some wonderful stories to tell. Maybe we'll
meet someday. Thanks.
-Steffen "Wrapped in Ice
Never this warm.
Outcast of Society
for failure to conform."
Date: Fri, Mar 22, 1996
From: email@example.com (Jeffrey Horowitz)
Dear Mr. Hunter,
Long time (20 years) fan here and also a person who has been on the net for 10 years and works in the technological industry which includes designing internet security systems for very large corporations.
I am thrilled to see you publish on the net and look forward to reading your work as it gets up there. I have been waiting a long time for this explosion of net activity to come. What I see as the next phase, that is now beginning, is better content. The truly fascinating thing about the net from my perspective is that is the ultimate product of a democratic society and it is readily available to the masses. So great artists like yourself and unknowns (like me - I create digital animations and music) can all publish their own work immediately.
Mailing lists and web servers are making it so much easier for artists and their audience to communicate as compared to a few years back. This will make for more and hopefully better art, something our capitalist society surely needs help in promoting. Mr. Hunter I thank you for all your past work and I look forward to what's coming up. If there is anything I could do to help you get the net working for you more effectively please let me know. I have a great deal of technical knowledge and resources at my disposal.
Other then that - keep on producing, your work inspires me and many others!
Mar 29, 1996
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ethan Davis)
This is a little something I was inspired to write from a dream I had during the Atlanta run of 95.
As I sit here listening to 7/8/95, the day before the end, a thought reoccures to me. I have often pondered the idea that heads who go on tour are much like cowboys. Cowboys are unique to America because of the cattle roaming the vast exspanses of this country. Cowboys met the economic need for rustlers to make a profit from these cattle. Similarly, heads began in America because we feel a need to follow a group that brings sustenance to our lives, whether that be spiritual, friendship, economic, or a sense of adventure. Likewise, the cowboy seeks adventure, and spends free time spinning tales about such adventures, just as we tell our stories of the road.
Through time, legends and folklore have surrounded the image of the cowboy,just as it has for heads. Often, we imagine cowboys as romantic scenes of sunset, sleeping under the full moon as the wolves howl in the distance. I'm sure, at one time or another, we thought that following the band was a similar
life of unity with other heads and enjoying the good life. However, research will prove that cowboys, for the most part were desperately poor, due the lack of labor laws, low wages, dangerous lives, and a hankering for the wet stuff.
Similarly, life on tour is not always sunsets and full moons. I've slept in my share of muddy fields which leaves me with a cold or flu, and no time to recover before having to move on. We've all been victim to that rare head who can't keep his hands out of our wallets.
Just as the trail cooks of yesteryear were a sense of pride to the cowboys he served, we all seek out that person who makes the meanest veggie burrito or fatty stir-fry. Word gets around quick and before long you have to wait in line for the honor of talking to the best trail cook at the campsite.
Cowboys had a certain code of ethics that was adhered to even in a time of basic lawlessness. You took turns catching strays and you kept your hands off other's horses. Similarly, I rarely hesitate to leave my camp set-up when I go off to the evening's show, with confidence that my belongings are safe. If you ever needed a lift to the show, you can rest assured that you will get there, and conversely you know that anyone you give a ride will not be some maniac. Yet, statistics tell us that the world has gone to hell in a bucket.
Sadly, the cowboys, for the most part disappeared shortly after automation was introduced to the cattle business. No longer was there a need for rustlers. Just as sad, when Jerry died, we lost our motivating force to stay on the road.
Though the cowboy life was hard and dangerous, it is all they knew and they were good at it. Settling down finding a 9 to 5 and taking on more traditional resonsibilities just never set well with the cowboy. I'm sure if we had the choice we would not sleep on the ground shooing away bugs all night, but when you can no longer go on the road you find yourself missing the never ending music and the wet clothes and broke down cars. It was your chosen life. You are at the mercy of the elements not a boss. The difficulties all seem worth it when you score those tickets or a long day on the road (or trail) ends with a sunset made just for you.
with kindest regards,
Fri, Mar 29, 1996
From: email@example.com (Christian Crumlish)
I'm glad you're as excited as many of us are about the potential of the Web medium. When I read your reply to Jurgen's essay from the annotated lyric site (now isn't that a wonderful example of scholarly collab?), I was struck by the resemblance to the "olden days" practice of men of letters (yes, sexist term else would be anachronistic) publishing, making public, their writings, and carrying on public discussions are debates on matters of great importance.
I've been publishing an e-zine on the Web since late 1994, called Enterzone. It's totally free (not just in the sense of free to read, but also in the sense that it's not sponsored by anyone--supported by labors of love and elbow grease). By coincidence, we're publishing a story by young Jurgen in our upcoming episode. We're also planning to publish excerpts from an online discussion of fiction on the Web and the novel in the age of electronic publishing.
If at any time, you'd like any of your writings (poetry in particular) to come out in an online magazine forum, I'd be honored for you to contribute.
I understand, from Steve Silberman (by the way, his fabulous interview with you in Poetry Flash is also available on the Web), that at the time the dead.net site was going online there was a flash-flood of controversy because links to his write-up of Jahrhundert Halle connected to his poem The Drum Circle, which we published in Enterzone a while back. As it happened, the "next door" story in that episode featured an adult man masturbating in the same room as his sleeping baby. This led to people thinking that Steve had somehow linked the Dead site to a kiddie porn site (!) (This was when the net-censorship hype was heating up.) Actually, I was a little worried to learn that whoever inside the Dead entity had that little understanding of how "it's all connected" on the Web.
Speaking of which, have you checked out Levi Asher's Literary Kicks web site? It's mostly dedicated to our old friends the Beats.
Well, I hope I'm not intruding, or overly gushing. You are a hero of mine and I was excited, in reading your articles at your site, to see that you "get it" as far as the Internet and Web are concerned.
Between the Man On the Very Short Line from Mars and the Forceps
Ratdog's Immortal Soul, A Live Pink Rock 'n' Roll Flower Ride
The 6 Jaw Bone, 3 Cage Stone, 6 Gred Stories, 2 Marst Poems
One More Solution to Drop the Welcome Back Actions
You and One of the Puritans in the Safety Age
The Nylons Committee (actual size)
Little Tiny Golden Comix
Spring in Review
Date: Fri, Mar 29, 1996
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Tom & Nancy Melito)
I don't want to waste your time or bandwidth with a gushing display of enthusiasm. I just want to thank you for the loving care you are obviously devoting to your web page. The community sorely needs creativity, inspiration and fun. I hope this endeavor turns out to be truly interactive, providing you some of the joy your writing has given us.
Fare Thee Well!
Mon, Apr 1, 1996
From: email@example.com (Bill Weir)
Love the site and your ideas for using the Web...this is what it should be
about. As you said, the Dead home page leaves something to be desired. I
always thought that your newsletters of yore were wonderful stuff. These
pages have the same feel.
The newsletters were the original inspiration for the Tribe of Wandering
Bozos, (aka The Bozo Mountain Tribe, aka The Real Bozos) a group of more
than fifty people, who started as a bunch of West L.A. heads who met and
came together at shows in the late 60's and early 70's, eventually moved to
Oregon and then wandered all over the Western United States. And, all these
years later, you still influence the journey.
After Jerry died, I got hundreds of replies to my Web pages from heads
young and old, and I realized the power we have in this community and
proposed we do something in Jerry's memory. From that idea grew a mailing
list, which now has about seventy people in 7 countries. The Together List
is a group of people who, wanting to do something to remember Garcia, are
working 'together', using the Net to make the world a little kinder. Your
site became a topic of conversation after Blair <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote
about it, and now it's put a smile on my face.
I really believe the Net can be a powerful tool for bringing people
together, and it offers new opportunities for creativity, so it's great to
see my favorite wordsmith grab it with both hands.
Typo on intro to lyrics near end of 1st paragraph -
"You'll see exactly what I mean "whn" you boot."
You also wonder:
"I should probably put some jokes at the top of the page." -
A joke might help...or something. I have a 28.8, & it took awhile to load.
It's always a good idea to give people something to read or a simple
graphic up top, so they always have something to look at while the other
stuff loads...big (ie. slower loading) graphics should always go toward the
bottom of the page.
I look forward to coming back often. - Bill Weir
(WARNING! ACTIVATING THE FOLLOWING LINKS WILL TAKE YOU OUT OF DEAD.NET AND INTO FREE FLOATING CYBERSPACE. I haven't personally investigated these links but offer them on trust that the content will not irretrievably warp your mind. . .rh)
Some of my pages -
Some Dead stories, including my story about getting kicked out of Winterland:
A page about the name Weir (I'm no relation to Bob) & some Scottish history:
A little more about the Real Bozos:
Use the exploding Web to get rich!
A site about the Together List, set up up by Colin Pringle:
Mar 29, 1996
From: email@example.com (Eric Becker & Vanessa Rule)
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your new site conveys a warm human-ness utterly lacking in so much of cyberspace. One of the few sites where I have been touched.
Please keep it up. I'll try to pull my weight as member of the family.
-Eric Becker, Somerville, MA
Subj: A few thoughts
Date: Tue, Apr 2, 1996
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Eric Elliott)
Let me start by saying thanks -- first for providing years of lyrics that have been part of what is best described as a mythology for many of us, and secondly for recently becoming an encouraging presence on the Web.
I particularly enjoyed reading your explication of "Franklin's Tower," and thought of something tangentially related to one of your allusions. You point out that "Roll away the dew" partially alludes to "Morning Dew," invoking the specter of nuclear devastation as a threat to American democracy. When I read this, I couldn't help but think of Joseph Campbell's statement, after attending a Dead show, that the Grateful Dead were the "antidote to the atom bomb." In light of the fact that we deadheads were often admonished to "Roll away the dew" (even though we may have not understood the complete meaning of the phrase), Campbell's statement seems all the more appropriate.
It's encouraging to see you making a home in cyberspace -- I think many deadheads are looking to this new frontier as a gateway to many exciting possibilities for the Grateful Dead community. I'm not sure what it is about this new form of human interaction that makes is seem such an appropriate place for the tribe to gather and express itself, but I would venture to guess that it is because cyberspace suggests the potential for the same type of "groupmind" (albeit in what seems like a very different context) that we've become familiar with through the Grateful Dead experience. Our loss of a focus will, as you wrote recently, require a "reshuffling of the deck" and I'll be surprised if cyberspace isn't our ace in the hole. Perhaps it will turn out that, like LSD was thirty years ago, cyberspace is a catalyst for a new form of expanded consciousness. I certainly don't know exactly how that will come to pass -and it's probably already changing us in ways we don't understand -- but signs seem to pointing in that direction. It seems appropriate that dead.net was taking its first baby steps just as the most recent Grateful Dead era came to an end, and that the "Grateful Web" took place on the 30th anniversary of the first "official" Grateful Dead concert. (And I hope we'll see more events like this in the near future -- has any consideration been given to "broadcasting" one of the summer shows over the internet?)
Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you're continuing to help steer the helm into the GD future. As you probably know these are difficult times for many deadheads, and more often than not it seems like cynicism is the prevailing attitude. Thanks for keeping the bus rolling!
Sun, Mar 31, 1996
From: email@example.com (Peter S. Oleson)
I would like this message to convey some sort of information that would enhance your life, but I fear that it is just another thank you letter. You may or may not want to hear about my life up here in the wilds of Alaska, but here it is: I joined the GD fan club after I bought the skull album and read the note about who, where? I guess I am a deadhead in abscentia, as I only saw them once up here in Anchorage. I have many tapes though, also some of those old vinyl bootlegs. I have read everything in your previous page here on the net and was really surprised today when I saw the new page. Any new stuff is greatly appreciated by me. If you ever want to get away from America and need a really low budget friend in Alaska, I am here. Thank you for a real good time.
Mar 31, 1996
Hello Mr Hunter,
LOVE your web page--keep it comin'. Can't wait for a seriously "insane labyrinth." I especially enjoy that ps sonnet by Cosmo Nitram--hope to hear more from that cat.
Just now I found myself listening to a Dead tape with a wonderful "Wharf Rat;" and found myself contemplating (and anxiously anticipating, heaven forfend) Mickey's upcoming live rendition of "Fire on the Mountain." I suddenly realized that so many of your incredible compositions are simply not being played live lately...sort of souls in limbo, which isn't a stretch because so many Garcia/Hunter songs are such palpably ALIVE creations. And I thought...this must be a bit of a bummer for you. Funny how the Big Bummer recedes and all the little bummers start showing up. But it is a temporary state, as the songs will keep popping up all over, wearing strange new skin. And I sure hope we'll get to hear you breathing life into tunes old and new at some point in the near future--your voice is so tremendous.
Sat, Mar 30, 1996
firstname.lastname@example.org (Steffen Britt Keating)
Surely you must jest? I would be honored to have my letter posted on your site. My friends don't believe that you actually read that mail, but Ithink you do. It means a great deal for me to receive your response. Since you answer your own mail, I was wondering if the line from "Mission in the Rain," 'But everything you gather, is just more that you can lose,' is based on the 44th poem of the "Tao Te Ching." I was reading it, and I came across the lines:
'He who is attached to things will suffer much.
He who saves will suffer heavy loss.'
Do you ever perform live anymore? If not - why not? Are there any copies of your live performances circulating? I love 'Reuben and Cherise' from Box of Rain, and I would love to her your live version of Liberty. I would get so upset when people would complain that Liberty was overplayed. The lyrics are great. 'Sake of mercy, I would KILL for love' The passion is quite intense. I had a pretty phenomenal experience last summer, which made Liberty take on a new meaning.
Oh, leave me alone
to find my own way home.
P.S. How's Phil?
Mar 31, 1996
From: email@example.com (Barbara Stoner)
Thank you for sending the Fauth piece. I read it last night and thought I'd send you some of my own thoughts on it. I just wish I could get his name past my lips without an uneasy feeling that I'm actually pronouncing "Faust" with a lisp, but I expect I'll get over it. :)
I agree that the paper as a whole is interesting and well-written. His paradigm of the rock concert, and of a Grateful Dead Concert in particular, using Erika Fischer-Lichte's "The Semiotics of Theatre," presents another intriguing structure in which to discuss and describe our concert experience. Under gestures - could we get a thread on Dead Flames discussing the semiotics of "the lunge"? Probably not. Maybe on The Well, but I'm not there yet. Much of this parallels thoughts I've had now and then, sitting on the hood of a car in the lot, musing about this thing as a whole - how we get from here to there, from front gate to exit, and about how another journey has been undertaken in a few short hours, we've all been there and back again - but most of this seemed fit only for car-top musing.
To put it in a box of words would be reductionist. It would not tell the story at all. "A Cupful of Rain" tells the story better than hours of musing, rational and ir. All the same, I'm happy that someone is attempting these analyses. They provoke discussion and connection. These connections
of consciousness, I think, may be of far greater value than the content of the discussion. The discourse, like the words and music, can take us a little further than we knew we were going, and so the adventure continues.
That said, let me go on to quibble further with his song analysis. I can't quarrel too much with what he says about "Crazy Fingers" - he seems to understand something of what the song evokes. There is much more, of course, but I'm not going tackle "Crazy Fingers" here. Nor can I quarrel TOO much about "China Cat Sunflower." I like the comparison to "Lucy in the Sky." But none of this can really be adequately described as "nonsense", even using that word in the kindest of tones. I have no idea what you had in mind when you wrote it, but I can picture it coming, as it would come to me, as it has
come to me over the years. The China Cat, the Puss 'n Boots, that sly rascal of mischief and adventure, yawns and stretches and blinks his eyes, and there, if you're watching for it, is a glimpse of something wondrous, something with a sparkle of silver, a string of gold, a shower of pearls. That cat has been there. He's seen it. He knows. And then he stretches out in the sun and goes back to sleep, dreaming of the time he frightened a little mouse under the chair of the Queen Chinee, and leaving you with only a wink of memory that you know is real somewhere. This is not nonsense. This is metaphor, allusion, evocation at the highest power. A concept of beauty and magic that resonates so strongly because we recognize it. We know it for true.
I was particularly disappointed in his discussion of "Eyes of the World." To say that the song does not "make sense" simply does not make sense to me. Oh, there are rooms and rooms of possible interpretation built within it, but I would hazard a guess that most of them revolve around the concept ofmcycles. I don't understand how he can call "the seeds that were silent all burst into bloom and decay" an interior contradiction. "The sky was yellow and the sun was blue" may be an interior contradiction, but the line from "Eyes" is a description of a cyclic process. Silent seeds containing a
bit of life in dormancy sprout, bloom, and decay. Redeemers, prophets, leaders of all kinds, come and go, rise and fall, night becomes day becomes night, we are with others and a part of them, we are alone - these are cycles of being, the wheels within wheels that circumscribe our lives. And
somewhere, there at the core, is still the wonder that within these wheels, as we travel the cycles ourselves, is a miracle of our own unique being. "Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world." However we perceive the world, defines the world - or adds one little additional description of the world that goes into making up the larger truth. "Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings." There is a challenge in here, reminding us that how each one of us sees the world helps make the world what it is. There is responsibility here, and hope. And there is the
acknowledgement that, wherever we are, travelling the course of the wheels, going through the cycles, always that song of our own is uniquely ours, and even if it is never heard, it must be sung.
Thanks again for sending the article. It feels good to put my rusty brain back to work for awhile. I called Brender yesterday, and had the honor of sending him his first piece of e-mail. His address (although he may have figured out how to send it to you by now) is (omitted). He's got an
old dinosaur of a computer - he had to get AOL for DOS - and does not have web access, but we may get him hooked yet. I could hear Caroline in the background when I was talking with him - poor guy was hemming and hawing as if he were about to initiate countdowns on nuclear devices or something -
"For god's sake, just hang up and let her e-mail you!" :)
Looking forward to the Mailbag next week. There should be some good pieces there. I'm planning on getting a webpage up in a month or two. Have to get my computer guru down here to help me. I'm still pretty ignorant about nuts and bolts. My computer friends tease me - god, Barbara, you actually WORK on yours when you should be downloading and reconfiguring. Ah, well.
Subj: I was thinking...
Mar 31, 1996
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (PAUL P VENUTI)
Iwas thinking about something regarding the later years of the band and your lyrics.
Do you think that the messages or maybe themes in your music live true for today? You know 1996. I mean, I know the characters you created will always be alive in a sense, like they practically have local address' within their own song. But the whole "strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hands" set of ideals. The whole scene that revolved around these themes like an electric neon circus for so many years. Society itself is most hostile so why shouldn't you find this hostility in our own family??? Who knows, but to the people who came on board at a later stop, did they listen to the words? That's silly of course they did, but do you think they got say the same positive messages and vibes as they were I hope meant to give out? I know I became increasingly uncomfortable at the later shows due to the "ME, ME, ME" side that seemed to hold a majority over the scene. I know you probably have a different perspective, but did you notice this? Two heads walking down the street in dyes won't even acknowledge each other in 1996. Maybe thats why he was ready to leave, it essentially came falling apart at the seams this summer.
Anyway I ask you this because I myself look to express the views and the passions for life and the adventure on the banjo, or musically in some end of the universe. That's what Jerry left me, A love for damn spoiled music and a flame for adventure I hope to never get over...
The mailbag containing your letter will be posted April 5 at http://www.dead.net
Click the "what's new?' button & the rest is obvious. Do read through the mail and see how your question (on a lot of minds) is being expressed by many. Some glimmer of hope is being generated by the internet. People want what you want but the free ride is over and now they're going to have to work and build something themselves. My purpose is to recognize this and use my resources to implement it. Same as it ever was.
Cyberspace is only a potential. We've got to make it into a hospitable place where we can propagate the values we know to be true. Impractical values to counter a pragmatic society. Non-cynical and emotive values expressed in the digital medium.
WW3 is being fought with computers. Diane DiPrima says: the only battle worth fighting is the battle for the mind. Could be the music had to stop to make it apparent that there IS in fact a battle to be enjoined. The Grateful Dead, and this includes you, are a potent force requiring only a hint of direction to mobilize themselves. They can spot fraud a mile off. I propose to provide a place for a forum, i.e. the Mailbag, and let them define themselves to themselves. I'll print the letters in a largely non-critical editor's role. What is strictly fan mail I'll keep for my own enjoyment. Much of what I print celebrates my role in the movement, since it is, after all, addressed to me & people scarcely bother to waste the time to tell you they don't like you. But it's not my business to hack the letters apart to preserve what I consider the more universal substance in them. I won't often print my answers, this one aside, though they are usually implicit in those letters which are replies to my replies.
Not an unpleasant task, I'll admit, though an arduous one, answering each of those letters. As soon as I finish a stack, there's more in the box. The idea of the mailbox only occured to me last week when I saw the unexpected high quality of the letters. I was just going to provide my life's writings for free to those who were interested enough to browse through them. I've got a good income; I don't have to sell the stuff, assuming I could. I decided right off to keep a weekly journal page for my present time spouting. Being on the net, the net itself just naturally becomes the metaphor.
Cyberspace is ultimately plastic and the words must evolve to express it. In trying to define it, folks look for forms, forms, forms ... but it's formless. You just do stuff with it. No one should restrict what you do with it. Restrict accessibility to certain departments for the young, yes, but nothing beyond those immediate portals.
Which of us came here to make no difference? We just need to be able to talk to one another to figure out what can be done and how to do it. My fondest hope is that folks will deluge the the mailbag writers with email and that discourse will ensue on a higher level than shows, tickets and tapes. We're a force. Let's conduct ourselves accordingly.
Well, It's 2am. Time to catch five hours sleep. A light rain falls. Things are feeling pretty good.