Rocky Mountain Ramblings

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.

Google photo stock

Google photo stock

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!


Why I Will Never Patronize a Perfect Teeth Dental Practice Ever Again September 23, 2014

I had a poor experience at the Perfect Teeth dental practice located on Speer and Washington in Denver today, and I would not suggest anyone I know patronize this conniving, uninformative, money-stealing company.

I went to Perfect Teeth this morning for a routine periodontal cleaning and exam.  It was to be my second cleaning there, and the office administrator told me the appointment was going to cost $8.00 after my insurance kicked in.  That sounded good to me.


I laid back in the chair for my exam, and I must say, it was absolutely the worst dental cleaning experience I’ve ever had in my whole life.  The hygienist, Maria, scrapped so hard at my teeth I actually found myself wondering if she was trying to scrape off the enamel.  I’m not saying my teeth are the cleanest teeth ever, but they have already been cleaned this year, and I floss most nights, so they certainly couldn’t have been that bad.

I didn’t understand why Maria was so aggressive with the stainless steel dental pick.   At one moment I was so uncomfortable I kicked up my legs and twisted them around each other while gripping the chair with my hands and holding my breath.  I’ve never had any issues with or fears of dental cleanings before, but this experience at Perfect Teeth was painful, uncomfortable and stressful, and will be my last.

Sometime while Maria was doing my cleaning she decided I needed a pillow of antibiotics deposited between one of my teeth, so she did that, and then she “flushed my gums” with some sort of liquid antiseptic that tasted an awful lot like Listerine.  After all this was over Maria decided to paint a flouride paste across both the inside and outside of all my teeth. Not once did Maria or an office administrator ask me if I wanted extra treatment or tell me that what they were doing in my mouth was going to cost extra money, and I don’t think that’s right.

If Perfect Teeth was an honest and fair business, one of the employees would have suggested that I receive extra treatment during the cleaning, and informed me of how much it would cost BEFORE performing the procedures – but no.  My only knowledge of an increased bill came toward the end of the cleaning when Maria had her hands in my mouth that an office administrator stopped in the room holding a file and attempted to talk to me about scheduling an appointment the following week for cavity maintenance (including repair on a cavity they filled only a few months ago,) and how much that would cost, but then she said, “I see now isn’t a good time to talk, but your bill for today is going to be $134.70,” and left the room.

What was I supposed to do? Bite the hand that cleaned me? Maria’s hands were literally in my mouth, and I couldn’t talk.  I would have objected to the extra treatment and increased bill had I known what was going on (A.) That they gave me an antibiotic, liquid antiseptic and fluoride paste without my knowledge or consent, and (B.) That those items cost extra money, but nobody ever told me.  If the office administrator was trying to talk to me about my bill during my cleaning she chose the worst possible time to have a conversation, which displays another fine example of Perfect Teeth’s unprofessional business ethics. Either the administrator is incompetent, unqualified for her job and too unintelligent to know better, or she plotted to present me with the bill during my cleaning because she knew it would be an incredibly inconvenient time.

When my cleaning ended Maria asked if I would like a toothbrush and I said yes, but she never gave me one.  I had to stop at the store on the way to work and spend even more money on a toothbrush and toothpaste just so I could get that damn fluoride paste off my teeth that she put on without my permission.

Before I left the office I witnessed a few more screw ups.  The office administrator proved herself even more incompetent for her job when she collected my payment and didn’t give me a receipt, and then when she showed me an estimate of the bill for the next visit she overcharged me by over $50 and had to edit and re-print it.

From my experience at Perfect Teeth, this company is out to get you.  Their employees perform less than quality work, as a minor cavity they filled for me in the spring needs repair, and they work together to try to get every dollar they can out of you.  I am disappointed that I wasted my yearly dental insurance coverage with this company, and I really hope that you don’t make the same mistake I did and go to a Perfect Teeth dental practice, even if it is walking distance from your apartment and you don’t own a car and it opens at 7AM and you can squeeze in an appointment before working a ten-hour shift.


Life in the Bike Lane: Denver to Red Rocks April 28, 2014

I biked to Red Rocks from my apartment in Denver on Saturday, something I’ve wanted to do for about a year now.  The whole ride, with breaks and lunch, took about five hours, which is probably pretty slow in cycling time.  I used an odometer app on my smartphone to track my distance and I biked further than I ever have before – just over 30 miles. 


My planned route put me on the South Platte River Trail near the intersection of Kalamath and Alameda.  As I began my journey I passed a few lower-class citizens who were sitting along the trail drinking beer and cheering for everyone who passed by, which made me laugh.

Platte River, fracking fluid and all

Platte River, fracking fluid and all

I followed the trail south for about four miles and then turned off onto the Bear Creek Bike Trail.  It was awesome.  There was beautiful weather, plenty of other cyclists and the charge on my iPod lasted the whole ride. 


Once I hit mountain scenery it was nothing but smiling and pedaling. 


Somewhere around mile 20 I passed through a golf course and could see the path ahead of me wound up a big hill.  I was nervous for the incline, but pedaled toward it. Sure enough, I found myself biking my first switchback.  Up and around the hill I went, breathing heavier than ever, my bike set to the highest gears of its soul. 


I stopped for a few photo opps along the climb, which helped break up the ascent, but I’ll tell ya, I felt like a goddamn champion when I got to the top. 


I biked down the switchback and through Bear Creek Lake Park, a little spot that has camping available only several miles from Red Rocks.  The trail led me into downtown Morrison where I stopped for lunch at Tony Rigatoni’s Italian Kitchen.  While I waited for my chicken parm sandwich a man asked me if I had just been out bouldering. 

“No, I’m on my bike,” I replied very casually, despite wanting to shout, “I just biked here from Denver for my first time ever!!”

After lunch I began the second hardest part of my journey, and that was biking along Alameda Parkway from downtown Morrison, past Red Rocks, under the I70 overpass, across 6th Ave and up to the Jefferson County Government Building lightrail station.  I stopped at Red Rocks Entrance 1 for a celebratory ritual, but I didn’t actually bike into and around the park.  Maybe next time.

Alameda Parkway is a bitch.  Next time you’re leaving Red Rocks and headed to the highway, imagine yourself biking up that road.  There is a very steep incline that is followed by a second steep incline, one of which stops at a traffic light.  I made it to the top of the hill and was waiting at the light near I70 when a hottie on a Harley pulled up next to me.

“Howdy,” he said to me, flashing a killer grin.  “How are ya doin?”

“I’m good…a little tired” I laughed, while at the same time gasped for air.  Wowzers.  Screw the accomplishment of biking to Red Rocks, that guy is what really made my day.  I should have locked up my bike and jumped on the back of his then and there, but the light changed, he zoomed off and I continued pedaling. 

I finally made it to the lightrail station and rode the train back to Denver, bicycle and all.  I’m very happy I finally biked to Red Rocks, because I’ve been talking about doing it for a year. I already look forward to my next bicycle adventure. 



LC 3.0 – My First Time in Cuffs April 22, 2014

Filed under: Ain't Life Grand — rovinglady @ 1:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I got handcuffed for my first time ever on 4/20/2014, Easter Sunday, for smoking a joint on the back patio at Cervante’s Other Side. I was at the venue for the Leftover Salmon “Still Smokin’” party, and plenty of people were smoking, but for some reason, I was targeted.

Photo by Bud W.

Photo by Bud W.

I was sharing a joint on the back patio with two other people and when the joint was handed to me a tall man in casual clothing tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could have the joint. As I handed it to him he flashed me a badge. “You’re coming with me,” he said.

At first I wasn’t sure if it was a joke, but the man grabbed my forearm with incredible force and led me back into Cervante’s Other Side where there were five men in black waiting to help handle me. I was cuffed and brought into the back alley where there were about 20 other tall, buff men dressed in black with walkie talkies, swarming the little station they had set up.

The men told me I could “take a seat” while they issued me my non-criminal violation for “possession or consumption of marijuana”, but I chose to remain standing. I wanted so badly for someone to take a picture of me in handcuffs in my little pot leaf outfit, and I also wanted to let the officer know it was my first time ever being handcuffed, but neither happened. I stood there very calmly and quietly. I didn’t put up a fight or speak any foul language, and I fully believe my compliant behavior was due to the fact that I was sober from alcohol.

I was only cuffed for about five minutes, and then released. The officer who issued my citation didn’t even know the address of Cervantes to write on the ticket and I had to tell it to him. He went into my purse to get my ID but he didn’t further search me or ask any questions about the plethora of bright pink containers in my bag, nor was I asked to leave the event. He handed me my ticket and asked, “What won’t you do when you go back in there?”

“Smoke pot!” I replied with a smile.

“That’s right,” he said, and I listened. I refrained from smoking at Cervantes for the rest of the evening and my detainment did not put a damper on my day. At least they were practicing catch and release – it could always be worse. I would love to know exactly how many citations were issued on 4/20? It’s another way the state is making tons of money off the legalization of marijuana, as if I don’t help make them enough money on a regular basis by following their rules and regulations 40 hours/week.


Now I have until May 20th to pay the $135 fine for consuming marijuana in public. If I don’t pay the fine it goes on my credit report. If anyone would like to help contribute, I will be accepting donations via Paypal. Let me know if you’d like my Paypal email address.