Growing up in The Bay Area, The Tubes were one of my favorite bands, and long before I ever became one myself, their song White Punks On Dope was anthemic for me. Back in the day, it wasn’t their over the top stage show which included; gigantic pills with legs, soft core porno cheerleaders, platform boots so high that KISS wouldn’t go near them, and a maniacal ring master who called himself Quay Lude, that compelled my adoration.
Music starts working its magic at your ear hole and if it doesn’t happen there, then all of the fake blood, and laser lights, and satin spandex in the world isn’t going to turn things around. To this day, the bands that I really love make it happen with sound, and when they can add some wild theatrics to the mix, that’s just gravy.
By the time I returned to the West Coast in the early nineties my buddies from high school had discovered The Grateful Dead. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the traveling circus that the Dead had become by that point, it is difficult to convey with words what these shows were like. The best way I can describe it is that they took rock and roll as far as it can go each and every night, and that those of us who were lucky enough to have been there for the ride relished every damned minute of it.
At the Dead shows the audience wore the costumes and acted like fools, while onstage the boys in the band took the crowd on a ride that felt like sex on a roller coaster. Not only was everyone high at the shows, we were all high on the same batch of drugs. Jerry eventually died of a heart attack in a rehab center while trying to cure himself of his heroin addiction, but at those shows he played that music as though charged by God himself with the task.
Eventually I lost my mind and my innocence all in the same night at one of those shows. Knowledge is a tricky business, and I have spent the majority of my adult life yearning for the ignorance of my youth. Once something is known, it can never become unknown to you again and on one fateful night I learned that the old adage is true, you really cannot ever go back again.
Humans are stubborn, and as one, I have proved to be quite tenacious when desire wells up within me. It is not surprising that I continue to refer to the blissfully mindless days of my youth as good old ones. Thanks to you tube, nostalgic dalliance is right at our fingertips and wasting the day away remembering the moments that were has become an international pastime.
I suspect it would be a strange feeling to randomly encounter myself in a video of an event from my past that has long since been forgotten. I know that it was pretty wild when my brother’s face filled my computer screen unexpectedly not long ago, causing me to leap excitedly up from my chair like a maniac before I called everyone in my family to validate the reach of our brave new world.
It turns out that Grateful Dead Parking Lot was filmed by a couple of guys named Chris Corsello, and Mike Patterson who lived on the same floor in the dorms over at Cal State Sacramento as my brother. Bill isn’t even the same guy anymore as the one who appears at 4:54 in the video wearing a tye dyed “Space Your Face” tee shirt that I had bought just prior to melting down, and that he inherited from me.
He has kids, and is a business man, and he likes guns and expensive tequila, and he is not going to be stoked about this post. Back then it was all duuuuuude, and sweeeet, and totally maaan. Nowadays the guy is all business and that’s the way it has to be when you have three kids and a mortgage.
Somebody said something about the penalty for not recollecting the past is that you are forced to repeat it over again. Thanks to technology we are able to relive history on demand regardless of whether or not we can remember it, and sometimes those images from the past don’t jibe with what we have become. We have created a situation where our past can return unannounced and sometimes the version that returns to us is the one that we wanted to forget.