Protected: Sub Life, Gangster’s Paradise December 2, 2015
Phish Dick’s 2015: Please, Be Kind. September 8, 2015
It occurred to me during Phish’s Sunday night “THANK YOU” encore at Dick’s that perhaps part of the reason Trey Anastasio played with Dead50 was so that he could train under their leadership on how to make a community feel more banded, more connected and more uplifted by spreading a peaceful, positive message, giving thanks, and playing a unifying song that makes people feel stronger, like “United We Stand”.
After Friday night’s show I saw a status update from a Deadhead friend who said the people on Phish lot are mean and rude and that he didn’t have a very good time. At first I wasn’t sure I agreed with his post, until I coincidentally experienced people be rude to me on Phish lot the very next night.
First I walked by a guy who had a table set up with glass pipes and he asked me if I wanted to buy one and I said no. He responded with a nasty attitude and told me to “keep walking, then.” First of all, I was still walking, and second of all, there was no reason to be nasty to me just because I happened to walk by his booth and didn’t want or need to purchase a glass pipe from him.
About thirty minutes later I had a girl be a bitch to me because I bought a burrito at the stand next to hers and she didn’t like that I stopped to take a bite of the burrito in front of her stand and she came out and commanded me to “go eat my burrito somewhere else.” I had just put condiments on my burrito and had only been standing there for about 30 seconds when she rudely asked me to move.
I realized then that my friend was kind of right; the scene contained some unconscious, non-friendly people, which of course happens everywhere, but shouldn’t. I think the Grateful Dead always made valiant effort to fill their fans with good words, lyrics, messages and vibes, and I think this is something they told Trey Anastasio – that he needs to ensure his band carries on the legacy and uplifts their fans to feel like better, kinder people than they were yesterday.
The Phish scene will never be the Dead scene, and that’s OK, because it is what it is. I think this was also made evident to me in the camp site, when people were listening to Hanson and 80s music that I had to get away from, and when some idiot sat down in our camp and started talking very loudly about how he thinks Donald Trump is the best candidate for presidency. I asked him to take his conversation elsewhere and he responded by telling me that I probably don’t even vote, and I don’t know what I’m talking about. He pissed me off more than anything the entire weekend, he made my heart beat fast and he made me want to be mean back to him, but I kept my mouth shut, because deep down I know that anyone who has to talk at a louder volume than anyone else to make sure his opinions are heard is really the most ignorant person in the group. Plus, of course I fucking vote, and I’m an organ donor, because that’s what Bob Weir and Phil Lesh asked of me years ago when I fell in love with their music.
Phish definitely knows how to throw a party, and I love dancing to their grooves, and I think I see that they are trying to take their power to the next level and unite their fans. Hopefully their message spreads, they stay healthy and continue to play together for another 20 years so I can attend their 50th anniversary concerts one day.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at The Ogden February 16, 2015
I saw Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at The Ogden Theater in Denver last night, and it has recently been considered by some to be the greatest Grateful Dead cover band of all time. The band is cast with some very outstanding musicians, and it definitely brings a new energy and perspective to the much-loved tunes that have been played for years.
While JRAD tries to stick to traditional sound during each song, the jams and improvisations are incredibly unique and progressive. “It’s like a modern day ‘Space’,” I commented during one instrumental portion of the show when Russo held his drum sticks above his drum set, making it look like he was creating sound, even though it was coming from Marco Benevento on keys.
Tommy Hamilton simply shreds his role as lead guitarist, and I think his sound gives fans insight as to what Trey Anastasio might sound like when playing with The Dead this summer. Hamilton’s vocal cords don’t really resonate with those of the late Jerry Garcia, which is something I am accustomed to when seeing Dead cover bands. “It’s not about the vocals with this band,” said Chris, after I commented that both guitarists, Hamilton and Scott Metzger, read lyrics off their music stands, and of course he was right. So much talent rains out of this band, you can’t help but be blown away by their sound, and at least Metzger does a pretty good impersonation of Bob Weir on vocals.
The band’s namesake, Joe Russo, was front and center on drums, beating away all night, pouring all his energy into every song. He played so hard, in fact, that part of his drum kit disassembled during “Shakedown Street” toward the end of the first set. The band had to stop playing, and the house tried to cover for them by putting a “Shakedown Street” remix on over the speakers as the band walked off stage without appropriate or well-deserved applause from the audience. The band snuck back on stage after setbreak and picked up the Shakedown jam right where they left off, and Chris and I tried to regain our spots in the center of the first tier, but the crowd was too thick and we spent second set a little further back.
Stage left of Russo was bassist Dave Drewitz (from Ween), and he brought some awesome new licks and flavor to the classic songs. I can only imagine how awesome it would have been to have seen him play side by side with Phil Lesh this past New Year’s Eve in New York, because last night my face got rocked and my spirit refreshed from spending a few hours in the presence of such talented instrumentalists.
Just like when I saw JRAD in Denver this past October, after the show ended people raved about the band, saying they put on a better show than Furthur, or any current Dead cover/tribute band. While I do agree that Furthur does not have the same youthful energy as JRAD, I can’t say that JRAD is better. Nobody can be better than the original artist, that’s not the way the universe works. The cover band wouldn’t even be on tour if it weren’t for the OGs.
While leaving the venue last night a man behind me said, “Fuck The Dead’s 50th anniversary shows in Chicago, I’m going on JRAD tour,” and I thought to myself, “Good. Go on JRAD tour. You’ll be one less person to fight for tickets in Chicago, cause that’s gonna be that real deal Grateful Dead shit.”
I left the JRAD show feeling great. I was very happy to go out, see friends, dance my booty off and have my musical horizons expanded to a new level, but man, now all I can think about is how I need to see Phil Lesh in the flesh as soon as possible!
Re: Trey Anastasio Playing With The Dead January 27, 2015
There’s been a lot of talk about Phish’s Trey Anastasio playing with The Dead in Chicago this July, and I would just like to say that I think he will do a fantastic job playing lead guitar at the reunion show with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. Trey is a very talented and intelligent person, and some may even call him a musical genius. But more than being a musician, Trey is an artist. He is creative and theatrical. Proven in his second set performance on 10/31/14, Trey has the ability to take new material, study it, create something new from it and share it on stage; and he loves it.
Surely all the musicians involved are already practicing hard for the three-night run, including Trey. This will be much more than a comfortable performance for him. Trey will probably dedicate the next five months of his life to learning new material and new ways of playing, which he will then perform for over 60,000 people, all of whom are expecting a lot from him, but some of whom will turn around and talk shit about him. This ain’t no time to hate, though. Art often requires stepping outside your comfort zone. When’s the last time you tried something new?
The July 4th weekend is about the about the four living members of the Grateful Dead, Phil, Bobby, Mickey and Billy, playing together again, and they invited Trey to take part. I think Trey will shred the fu*k out of Jerry solos with a huge grin on his face. With Trey’s guitar licks bouncing off of Phil’s bass bombs, Bobby’s vocals, the drumming and the dual keys, we are going to be in for one of the funkiest treats of a concert any of us have ever experienced.
If you’re laughing that I said “Bobby’s vocals,” you can keep that to yourself. When I saw Bob Weir and Ratdog at The Ogden in July 2014, I imagined life from Bob Weir’s point of view. He is old and rich and doesn’t have to continue playing music for fans in the same cities he’s visited many times before, but he does it because he loves it. He gives us what we need and crave – energy and music, and we give him what he needs and craves – energy and love. So what if he messes up some of the lyrics to songs from time to time? He’s 67 years old and is a renegade of the lifestyle that so many of you try so hard to keep up with. People age. Respect your elders. “Bob Weir Controls The Weather”!
This “Fare Thee Well” event is going to mean so many things to so many people, all of whose lives have been altered by the musical creations of the Grateful Dead. Ticket requests are already at 360,000, prior to internet sales, and that’s pretty crazy. I actually went to the post office in Denver twice on the day of mail order, once to send in my own request, and once to ship an item I sold on E-bay, and I saw at least ten other people sending off mail order requests, most of whom looked older and more professional than me and were requesting the max amount of tickets.
It looks like it’s going to be a tough ticket to secure, as it should be (I guess). Fifty years is a long time span to gain fans over, and a lot of us know that Grateful Dead is the real shit.
I wish everyone luck with tickets and hope to see lots of familiar faces in Chicago. May the best envelope win!
Jersey Girls Do Wyoming October 27, 2014
My friend Anne asked me if I wanted to go hiking in Colorado on Saturday, and I asked her if she wanted to go to Wyoming. I figured a day trip to Cheyenne would be a nice change of perspective for two jersey girls, being that WY is the second least densely populated of the 50 states and NJ is the most densely populated state. I certainly got what I was looking for.
We left Denver about 12:30 PM and headed north on I-25, with no address typed into any GPS. I had done a quick Google search before we embarked and wrote down a few points of interest, and I suggested we head to the 8 ft cowboy boots in historic downtown Cheyenne, the capitol city. I had an address for the boots, but as we neared the city exit off the interstate, it became apparent we still did not need to use a GPS. We simply exited the highway and headed east toward the dome of the capitol building, which at 146 ft was the most prominent structure of the Cheyenne skyline.
We passed through a quaint, quiet neighborhood which felt more like a small town than a city, and then had no trouble finding parking in front of the capitol building. It’s a very lovely building, built in 1887, complete with a dome and statues of important figures in Wyoming history.
There was one of those “You Are Here” maps near the capitol building and it turned out we were only a few blocks from the 8 ft cowboy boots, so we moved the car down the road and prepared for our big day out on the town.
Downtown Cheyenne was not too happening. There were a few blocks to walk around and we checked out some of the stores. Most of the stores had a run-down, poorly-funded vibe to them, and the people working in each shop were very unique.
We popped in a Halloween store and were greeted by a man in his sixties who was wearing some sort of wizard costume and eye liner. As we walked out of the store empty handed he said, “Thank you for coming in,” and it was one of the most sincere comments I have ever heard anyone make. I truly believed he was thrilled to see the likes of us, unlike the shop owner of the fossil, gem and jewelry store we went in.
When we walked in that store, a man in cowboy boots, wrangler jeans and turquoise jewelry came out from the back room and was clearly annoyed to have guests. We poked around for a couple minutes, but all he said was that he was “fixin’ to have lunch in the back.” I tried to ask him if he made the jewelry in the store and he replied with a curt, “Yea.” I asked if he goes to the Denver Gem and Mineral Show and received another one-word affirmation. At that I bid him a good day and we carried on.
We went in a flea market store and each picked out a small trinket as a souvenir. This store had a ton of wolf and native American decor. The employee in that store was more friendly, and there were actually a few other people inside browsing at the same time.
The record store was the most happening; there was music playing, there was a board of upcoming releases, there were two sales in a row (a mom bought her high school daughter a record and Anne bought the new Primus CD), and the employee was pricing items still to hit the shelves.
We made one last stop in a store called The Wrangler, which sold really cute Western wear and had a huge variety of cowboy and cowgirl boots in stock. There was a nice gal of about 23-years-old who was eight months pregnant working, and she said the store is very well known. They receive shipments of boots in Monday-Friday and sell them to locals, residents of neighboring towns and tourists seven days/week. I couldn’t even believe the amount of boots they had in stock. Never in all my life had I seen such an inventory. I asked the girl how many boots they sell a day, but she didn’t know. I tried a few pairs on for the heck of it; after all, “When in Cheyenne…”
After all that shopping we arrived at the 8 ft cowboy boots, which I think you can say was in the town center.
We were hungry, and from that exact spot I was under the impression we could see all of our restaurant options by turning around 360 degrees. There was Shadow’s Pub and Grill, Los Abuelos Mexican food, an unattractive bar called The Albany that advertised food, drink and discount liquor, or the place we had parked across the street from, The Drunken Skunk, which I’m not even sure had food.
We opted for Shadows Pub and Grill and found their bar to have a decent Sunday football crowd; probably the most exciting thing going on in the city. One of the bartenders was wearing a Wyoming Cowboys jersey and I got to thinking that I don’t know anyone who is a fan of that team. Anne and I both ordered chicken sandwiches with sweet potato fries, and agreed that they were some of the worst sweet potato fries we’d ever had.
By the time we got done eating we had to move the car out of two-hour parking, and we decided we’d seen all there was to see in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We hopped back on the highway and headed south toward Denver, with a pit stop in Fort Collins, CO (which has got to be bigger than Cheyenne) for ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.
And so, that was that, if anyone ever asks, I can officially say I have spent some time in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Just two jersey girls who had lunch in the Equality State.
Did you know that in 1869 Wyoming was the first government in the world to grant equal rights to women?
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (REP) is in Colorado this week talking sh*t about our booming cannabis industry, and I am reminded of an experience I just had while visiting my homeland of the Garden State this past weekend.
I have visited New Jersey four times since working in the Colorado medical marijuana industry, and I found that on this most recent trip I had more people than ever ask me about cannabis in Colorado. Thanks to media coverage, Sanjay Gupta and TV specials, people across the country are waking up to the amazing benefits of medical and legal cannabis.
I attended a childhood friend’s wedding while in NJ, which gave me the opportunity to be surrounded by people of different ages and professions. As soon as the drinks were flowing, wedding guests started asking me all sorts of questions about what it’s like to live in a legal state, and the ways in which cannabis benefits those who chose to participate.
“What’s it like to buy weed in a store?” Maryanne, 45, asked.
“How much does it cost?” Steve, 47, chimed in.
Maryanne explained that she’s been smoking pot since high school and wasn’t afraid to talk about it.
“I think everyone should have access to legal cannabis,” Maryanne, a lifelong Morris County resident, said, “but that won’t be happening while Gov. Chris Christie is in office.”
Steve disagreed. He thought Gov. Chris Christie might change his conservative stance on marijuana right before he leaves office, so that he can (try) to leave on a “good note”, as if that’s actually possible.
“I don’t know how Christie is in office,” Steve, another NJ native, said. “I don’t know anyone who likes him.”
Steve told me that he smokes cannabis everyday, and uses it to relax after a long day of work and fathering four young children.
“I like it a hell of a lot better than the Zoloft I’m prescribed,” Steve said with a sad smile.
Maryanne wanted to know why my Colorado medical card doesn’t allow me to carry cannabis while visiting NJ.
“You can bring your Xanax from state to state,” she said, “why not your cannabis?”
I didn’t have a good answer for her, other than that the cannabis plant is deemed illegal by the federal agency that regulates and approves man-made pharmaceutical drugs.
Her next question was if we can smoke cannabis anywhere in the state of Colorado, and that made me laugh because I, along with one of my co-workers, have both received tickets for consuming cannabis in public. My ticket was a non-criminal offense and cost me $135; my co-worker’s ticket occurred on federal (national park) property and cost him $275.
One of my friends at the wedding party works with autistic children in NJ, and the mother of an autistic child that she works closely with is wondering if medical marijuana can help curb her son’s behavioral and communication issues.
“What if I got a hold of some pot and discovered it worked for my son? Would I have to move to Colorado?” his mother asked.
According to your governor Chris Christie, yes. It’s a shame Chris Christie won’t give the people of New Jersey what they want. The state’s economy is crumbling under his leadership, and he has told his residents to “move to Colorado” if they want to live where cannabis is legal. Perhaps Chris Christie is unfamiliar with the phrase “be careful what you wish.” With Forbes ranking Colorado as the 5th best state for business and careers, NJ came in 33rd. Additionally, private sector job growth in New Jersey is among the lowest in all of the 50 states, while the employment rate in Colorado is at a new high.
Despite the rage that boils inside of me every time I see Chris Christie’s name in the news (which is often), it was really a positive experience for me to visit New Jersey and witness so many of its residents embracing what Colorado is doing, even if their fucked-up, corrupt leader disagrees. If I lived in New Jersey I would be on a political rampage to get Christie impeached, and it is one of my wishes to see my friends and family follow through with that task. He thinks legalizing marijuana is the wrong thing to do, and I think electing him as Governor is the wrong thing to do.
I have attached links to articles that support facts stated in this blog.
employment rate in Colorado: http://www.deptofnumbers.com/employment/colorado/
employment rate in New Jersey: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.app.com%2Fstory%2Fmoney%2Fbusiness%2Finthemoney%2F2014%2F05%2F07%2Fnew-jerseys-job-growth-ranks-50th%2F8805241%2F&ei=rfvQU92lK8bc8gHBrIHgAQ&usg=AFQjCNECqUXOGrMmuMEPMZSUZxMN4MfFrA&sig2=TYabx3djLyo__c0dv3WBXQ
Chris Christie tells NJ residents to move to Colorado: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDUQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thecannabist.co%2F2014%2F04%2F22%2Fnew-jersey-chris-christie-move-to-colorado-if-you-want-legal-marijuana%2F10147%2F&ei=6fvQU9rxMISc8QGG6YDYCQ&usg=AFQjCNG9Ef0UlVP06pRGayMiOxfDaJEXyQ&sig2=KJ3ACgfNiRG73hW0SO9tFg
Cannabis and Autism: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&sqi=2&ved=0CCIQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fguardianlv.com%2F2014%2F05%2Fmedical-cannabis-treats-autism%2F&ei=BPzQU4C6NMLTiwKzsYHYBg&usg=AFQjCNEfMYvWX9CLrHDqtibQ2DTsmpcnCg&sig2=ey3BIJ2l-l0C6IoN3kJQGg
Chris Christie sucks. “The Holtec firm will reap subsidies of $26 million a year for 10 years. In exchange, New Jersey will realize $155,520 in net economic benefits over 35 years, the authority estimated.” … “Since Gov. Chris Christie took office in 2010, New Jersey has distributed more than $4 billion in tax breaks — far more than under any previous governor — yet private-sector job growth has been one of the slowest of all 50 states, according to federal data.”: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/07/nj_gives_260_million_tax_break_to_energy_company_with_political_ties.html#incart_most-comments
His Highness June 14, 2014
I returned the stick shift Subaru to His Guatemalan Highness after four glorious months of keeping very close watch over it. Returning the car required me to spend some time with its owner, and our two and a half hour encounter between Denver International Airport and my apartment was the same as it ever fucking was.
I left Denver around 4PM and sat in rush hour traffic to pick him up at the airport, fresh in town for another one of his amazing American holidays. This one involves two bluegrass festivals, three nights of Widespread Panic at Red Rocks and then driving his car to Asheville, NC to help his new girlfriend and her four-year-old son prepare to move in with him in Guatemala.
When he got in the car at passenger pick-up he requested I keep driving and asked if I had a GPS.
“I need to meet up with the N2O guy,” he said. “I’m getting a tank, I called him on my layover.”
Of course he called the nitrous guy on his layover. I wasn’t surprised; I was actually partially prepared, as I had been meditating for two weeks in anticipation of events such as this. His Highness plugged in the address of the Commerce City motel we were to meet the dealer in the parking lot of, and I headed that way, which really was the only way to head at that time.
While still en-route to pick up the N20, but before Pena Blvd merged with I-70, His Highness made another call, to his “buddy” Jay.
“Hey Jay,” he said, “I just made it to Denver. Is it alright if I stop by?”
“No, we’re not going there,” I said from the driver’s seat, incredibly grateful to be there and not the passenger.
“Jay, my girlfriend says we’re not coming, but I just want to stop by and say hi really quickly.”
I was shaking my head no; one, because I wasn’t going to drive him to pick up crack, and two, because I’m not his girlfriend.
“We are not going there,” I said, fully aware that Jay is The Guatemalan Highness’s Denver narcotics connect.
He asked Jay for the address, and I got upset and began to cry.
“Ugh, Jay, I have to go, my girlfriend is crying,” he said, and hung up the phone.
“You’re so dramatic!” he said to me, with a look of hate in his eyes.
Dramatic? All I wanted was to go home. Apparently it’s dramatic to get upset when someone you care about and you tried to help get into rehab asks you to stop by the junk supply store within 15 minutes of arriving in Denver. There was no “It’s good to see you,” or “you look nice,” or “let’s get back to Denver, I’ll take you to dinner and pretend that you are of the slightest bit of importance to me as a friend and THEN I’ll go shoot dope and smoke crack with Jay for old time’s sake and forget you ever existed, thanks for watching my car.”
His Highness kept asking me to pull over for gas and to let him drive, but I refused. He got really mad. He said I’m too emotional and that’s the reason we never could have worked out; it had nothing to do with him being a drug feigning scoundrel who lies to your face and cares nothing for you unless you have a bag of something white in your pocket to share.
When we got back to my apartment he came inside long enough to pick up his camping table that had been acting as my kitchen table for one and a half years, and to ask if I had any more substances he could buy off me. I gave him back his father’s safari hat that he thought he’d lost but I held on to for him, even though I could have sold it on E-Bay, burned it or drawn on it with Sharpie, and then I said bye.
I watched him drive away from my window, and I didn’t cry. I felt relieved to see him go. Loving him has been one of the hardest and most un-fair things I have ever experienced, but it has taught me a lot about life, to feel emotions for a human who is possessed by a monster. No matter how much shit I can talk about him, I loved him then and I love him now and I’ll love him forever, but I will not allow him to be close to me. I need to surround myself with people who are positive and encouraging and who do not find faith in darkness.
It is difficult, but I know it is in my best interest to wish the best for him and know that I made the best decisions for me and that I am in a happy place where I am open to receive. For whatever reasons the Universe wanted me to learn these lessons of loving a drug addict, and I hope to get word that I have finally passed the test, because it’s been almost two years in the making.
I will always refer to His Guatemalan Highness as my friend, no matter what went down between us and no matter how crazy some of my friends may think I am for still communicating with him. He has been my greatest teacher, and for that I am forever grateful.
“Cat in a rain ditch, caught on a limb, you know better, but I know him. Like I told ya, what I said, steal your face right off your head…”