We invite you to take a sneak peak at Deadhead Stories. Everything in the book was written by the fans named or pen-named throughout. These are their stories, so please remember: 100% True Rumors.

If I told you all that went down it would burn off both your ears…

Chapter One

Natural Born Easing on the Road Again

Come out, come out, wherever you are! Olly olly oxen free! We invite you to take a trip with us down so many roads, on our adventures with the Grateful Dead and beyond. There is nothing better than all of us celebrating together. You know we are going to have such a high time!

Let us tell you about our family…


“My second Grateful Dead concert was also my first ‘on-the-road’ Dead experience. On the morning of May 9, 1979, myself and two friends drove up to Binghamton, New York to see the band perform at the Broome County Arena. That night in Binghamton was the first time the magic of the Grateful Dead was put on full display for me, rearing up its mighty head and blessing my youthful soul.”
– Scott W. Allen


“My first show. July 1988. Laguna Seca. In the lot, I tasted an elixir and ambrosia. I was attracted to shiny, spinning metal things. I heard cries: ‘Jokes for sale!’ ‘Keep it straight; don’t be late; eat some cake.’ ‘Doses and roses.’ ‘Da kind veggie stir fry.’ But the best buys were the ones that weren’t advertised: a rain log, the hugest papaya was ever seen, crystals, bumper stickers, semi-precious stone jewelry. Everything was for sale, but you knew those few dollars would come back to your own pocket someday.”
– Jocelyn Coltrin


“I was given a big stack of records by someone my mom knew, and one was Mars Hotel, with its futuristic and dystopian motif, band members in space-age regalia. You all know the record. I got baked and threw it on the turntable, picking a random song called ‘Scarlet Begonias.’ It cracked me up, with all the instruments going in different directions at once. I couldn’t understand it: it wasn’t metal and sure as hell wasn’t disco.”
– Leland Rude

Chapter Two

The Bus Came By

The bus lights start to flicker and the generator coughs for more fuel. It’s time to let the wheels roll free, family. We all got on the bus somehow, somewhere—and some of us never found a reason to get back off! While our stories of crossing the threshold vary, they all have one thing in common: the hero (that’s us) experiences some inner click of affinity, an overwhelming sense of, “Here I belong.”

What does “getting on the bus” mean to you?


“I first got on the bus in 1980. Started by going to some shows and selling my hand drawn shirts in the parking lot. Traveled to many shows selling my one-of-a kind shirts out of a psychedelic painted van. In 1986, I printed my first silk-screening design on notecards and shirts and started selling them in the parking lot. In those days, there was a big Shakedown Street. It was a large community of artists and traveling gypsies and a fun way to make a living.”
– Mike DuBois


“Getting on the bus isn’t just about the music. For me, and I believe for most of us on the bus, there really is something more going on psychically. I don’t know how to explain it other than knowing it was an instantaneous feeling of belonging. Of feeling like I was home.”
– Theodore Coords


“Being on the bus, you find this is no parlor trick. You are continually being caught. Some kind of spiritual force you cannot see. In practical terms, it is there when you need a place to stay, food, a shoulder to lean on, a ride to the next show, a way to get into the show and so on. When you know you will find your friends, without even looking. In fact, to look for them, is to not find them. To not look, is to find them.”
– Jack Jones

Chapter Three

You Know It’s Going to Get Stranger

Approaching the lot, we see the place is packed. We make our way to our spot and park the bus. What serendipitous encounters await? Who will we meet? What will the boys play tonight? Emerging from the bus, we melt into the scene. Vibrant colors and sounds and smells swirl in kaleidoscope patterns. The day-blind stars glow like signposts.

Something is happening, let’s go run and see…


“Bill Graham fed us ‘front-of-liners’ all five nights. Uncle John was right, we were part of the picture, and Bill was feeding us. It was our ‘welcome to the family’ moment, and it didn’t need to be said that we were all responsible for those behind us in line. Our big gypsy family had put down roots on that sidewalk. Needless to say, we were all brothers and sisters for life.”
– John Richards


“At one point, Dennis McNally opened the door to the drab dressing room and inquired as to when we would be finishing up, as the crowd in the stadium roared its disapproval. I became more and more nervous and looked around for something to barricade the door with when my eyes settled on this pink guitar.”
– Daniel Lee Donian


“Most of us walked there. Yes, we walked to The Park to see The Grateful Dead. History? Mmmm, just seemed like another great occasion to party with friends and get tripped out. It was a Sunday. Foggy morning, the smell of eucalyptus, and the music of The Grateful Dead. A time when mostly all seemed right with The World. Blues for Allah had been out barely a month… Ahhhhhh, History.”
– Larry Spilberg

Chapter Four

I Need a Miracle Every Day

Isn’t it wonderful? We come from all over the country and the world to be together. We cart with us extra food, water, hugs and smiles, ready for the ones we knew would need it—might even be us that need it. On Shakedown’s human bazaar, allies, mentors and magic beans abound. There are cups outstretched and cups that over-flow. Acts of abundant generosity flourish. The ancient art of making offerings and giving gifts, without expectation of reciprocation or reward.

We are, without a doubt, a tribe who knows how to harness the power of miracles…


“We heard there would be a giant No Nukes Rally on the front steps of the Capitol in Washington, DC. Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash and others were all there performing. While walking around near the stage, I found a press pass on the ground and put it on and walked backstage. I was side stage shooting these artists, when I turned around and saw Bob Weir and Brent Mydland standing there. I walked over to them and had my first Almost Famous moment meeting members of the Grateful Dead.”
– Jay Blakesberg


“It didn’t take long for me to figure it out. It’s one of those moments that just happen. I pulled out the ticket and asked him, ‘Are you looking for this?’ His face lit up and he grabbed me and gave me a huge hug. I heard someone behind me blurt out, ‘Oh my God: look at ALL THIS LOVE!’ Apparently, the local news was there reporting on the riotous Deadheads… seems they were surprised to find the exact opposite.”
– Lou M Valcarcel


“Halloween 1987. Jerry Band on Broadway at the Lunt Fontanne Theatre. There were no tickets to be found. But right before curtain, Bill Graham, in full Halloween costume (like a jailbird in stripes), handed me two tickets, fourth row center, a hug, and I ran in for start!!”
– Lisa Jacobs

Chapter Five

Nothing Left to Do but Smile, Smile, Smile

The fire burns bright around our circle. Sparks rise from the dark star below to the bright star above. The post-show energy in our camp is electric. We are deep in the thick of a magnificent run. The boys playing so tight, like the fingers of a hand, working in unison effortlessly. The music casting its own space and time and all of us caught in its net.

We are home: a place to be us, with a smile…

“It was November of 1985 at Long Beach Arena. We were in the upper nosebleed seating all the way to the top. ‘Mississippi Half Step’ was just about over when suddenly the ceiling above our heads started moving. Thinking it was a purely drug-induced vision, I ignored it, concentrating on the jams. It became impossible to ignore when two sleepy heads crawled out of the now wide-open ceiling panel.”
– Bill Heitman


“This NYE show, 12/31/81, was an ecstatic three-set affair. In between the first and second sets, Garcia and Carolyn Adams (Mountain Girl), his intermittent companion since 1967, were married during a backstage ceremony. Leading into the midnight festivities, Ken Kesey descended from the ceiling and proceeded to lead the crowd in a ‘Gong Bong,’ basically a mass exercise in intentional hyperventilation, which seemed fairly insane to me given the intensity and variety of collective intoxication.”
– Danny Mager


“When my son Ryan was little, he heard us say, ‘We’re going to see Jerry!’ very often. When I took him to Hampton at three years old, this was his response: ‘Wow, Mommy! Jerry has a big house and a lot of friends!'”
– Joyce Roszel


Chapter Six

They Love Each Other

Still in the fire’s glow, we hear laughter and drums and whispered love: the hum of our human hive, a family by choice. It really is a beautiful thing. And we sense that the old grandmothers speak truth: if we want to keep having these gatherings, we’d best start having some weddings and making some babies!

On behalf of the happy couple, it is our honor and privilege to invite you to a most auspicious celebration…

“When it was over, we lingered outside of George’s, chatting with folks. Everyone had a well wish for Jerry. Then out walks David Hidalgo. If you’ve never seen him, he is a big guy like Jerry, and taller. He was so happy Jerry had made it. He picked him up like a doll and twirled him around. We couldn’t believe it. We just cracked up. Seeing these two big men swirling around on the sidewalk was a delight the eyes will never forget.”
– Annette Flowers


“From the Grateful Dead’s first album, we all know Bill Kreutzmann as ‘Bill the Drummer,’ but many years ago—when Jerry was still alive—Bill shared one of his passions with me that was totally unrelated to music. I was able to see him in a brand-new light and was amazed that we had something in common besides Grateful Dead concerts. Suddenly, Bill was not only ‘Bill the Drummer’ to me, but ‘Bill the Aquarist.'”
– Phil Samuelson


“Father’s Day, Giants Stadium, 1995. I showed up at the Lot with a tray of lasagna that my Italian grandmother made to celebrate all of the fathers in our family. I proceeded to eat a whole piece and then cut the rest up to trade. I traded for stickers, tape covers, liquor, bud, Owsley paper and so much. After the show there was a line of Deadheads at my car saying things like, ‘Yo, lasagna dude, you got anymore?’ My grandmother was so happy when I told her the Deadheads loved her lasagna.”
– FDmon


Chapter Seven

The Sky Was Yellow and the Sun Was Blue

The drums around our circle usher in the deep well of space, while visions of roses dance in our heads. Traveling through the most interior of lands now, each of us approaching our own heart cave. Allow me to introduce you to mine. It’s easy to find: follow my dog, Reef, and the sweet smell of a flowering crop down this tree-lined lane to my very own hippie-land. Signs and art from shows scatter the yard. JGB softly plays How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You). Ahead lies my place, through a Red Rocks door I carved out of teak. Please enjoy yourselves, I won’t be but a minute. I have an old friend I need to visit.

Where do you go when you close your eyes to see?

“When we came around the van, there was this older man there, long hair covering his face. He had so many laugh lines and such a sun-beaten appearance that he looked like a catcher’s mitt. He had a bucket with a board on top, covered with mushrooms. We asked him if they were all his and he said, ‘If they feel like yours, take some and join me.’ Hell ya. ‘My new-found friend,’ we all said, and off we went.”
– Freeway


“After a long day of partying in the dust bowl and hanging out on the grounds doing unspeakable things (wink) I found my bed under the tree. At 6:00 AM, I was awoken by a Harley Davidson revving its engine for at least a full minute. I opened my eyes, and there in front of me was Bill Graham on an old classic Harley, dressed in a brand-new white T-shirt, black leather jacket, and leather hat. He looked just like Marlon Brando from On the Waterfront!! Like in total character. He stopped revving his engine, and screamed at the top of his lungs, “WAKE UP YOU FUCKING HIPPIES!” and sped down the hill in a cloud of dust.”
-Julian Tenney


“So here we were in the shrubbery getting high and this elf comes skipping up to us chanting something about roses. Now when I say ‘an elf’ I literally mean a damned elf. Like straight out of The Hobbit or something. He was about four feet tall, bearded, his face was bubbly, his belly plump and he was wearing what looked like a burlap sack, a green cloth cap with little bells on it. His shoes were like leather moccasins also with bells on the tips and such. He asked if he could get in on our smoke session to which we said: ‘Of course, crawl on in here, man.'”
– Michael Helms


Chapter Eight

I’ve Been All Around This World: Thank You for a Real Good Time

Good, good morning and how fare you, kind hero? We have come so far. The night can be long and bones weary, but the tantalizing promise of another show beckons. Hurry, there are more stories to be made! The sun is coloring the horizon in a soft, yet insistent infusion. What’s that salt-air adage? Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. A toast all around before we embark:

To fair winds and following seas…

“After recovering from the previous night’s amazing performance, it was back to the tiny Melkweg for the second show. Word must have got out that the Dead were in town, because the club was packed that night, about 400 people inside. I was saving some blotter I had with me for something special. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘it isn’t going to get more special than this!’ When the Dead came onstage, Bob was welcomed with a bouquet of daisies. We also sang him ‘Happy Birthday’ to which Jerry replied, ‘Touching, touching.’”
– Bob Minkin


“So, we were driving down the road and I was getting thirsty, so I grabbed a bottle of ‘water’ and took a slug. As soon as the taste hit my tongue, I knew I was in for it. The metallic taste and the tingle in the back of my teeth just told me someone put acid in that damned water.”
– Scott B Thompson


“Remember how nice and personal the mail-order ticketing process was? We could send in our special custom-made envelopes, and the ladies in the office kept track of our index cards, year after year. They would upgrade you to sweet seats on your birthday. I would usually like to do a three-night run, and you’d have one upper level, one middle level, and one way down on the floor. They were good about making it nice and fair and fun for everybody.”
– KY Jed


Chapter Nine

It All Rolls Into One

We’re in it now, family. Deliciously, marvelously, all in. Deep in the second set and the band is firing on all cylinders, the beast barely keeping to the bounds of space and time. We all know we jumped the tracks long ago, that peril and obstacle surround, that Stella Blue herself gently ministers to the friends we’ve lost along the way.

And still we seek the sweet elixir, still we dance and shake our bones…

“Brendan Byrne Arena, 10/14/89. Jones and I hooked up and went to this show. On our way out, we were parked in bum-f*#k and had to cross the walkway to the outer parking lots. There was a lot of commotion: police, ambulances. This is the night that the security guards killed one of our Deadhead brothers, Adam Katz. His killers were never prosecuted. They will never rest!”
– Stevie the Deadhead


“I went into a phone booth to make a call. I admit, I used a device intended to deceive and steal $.25 per call, yet I digress. I saw a backpack. I opened it. ‘Golly gee whiz,’ I exclaimed, ‘Look at this money, and that printed paper looks like the LSD Officer Friendly brought to school that day.’ My friends looked up from Bible study and said…”
– Stoney


“The ‘90s found the Grateful Dead machine at its zenith, with the band playing on average to their most massive audiences ever and merchandising becoming a substantial economic factor in the machine’s success. At the same time, internal conflicts within the band, problems associated with the large crowds and dangerous elements within the scene (drugs and DEA), as well as Jerry’s rapidly declining health, put pressure on the band/organization, and especially Jerry, that would lead up to their final show on July 9, 1995, in Chicago.”
– Joshua C. Berrill


Chapter Ten

Awoke Today and You Were Gone

Now we come to the loss of our best friend…

“I was driving, it came on the radio. I was crying and I pulled over at a Truck Stop and ran inside. An older, fuller woman in a waitress uniform was at the counter. I said, ‘Is it true that Jerry Garcia died?’ She said ‘Awww, honey, yes it’s true.’ I started bawling. She came out from around the counter and pulled me into her arms and said, ‘There, there, honey, you go on and cry now. I know I sure cried when Elvis died.'”
– Tara Lucas


“He was a good human. I sure do miss him. Seems like a lifetime ago.”
– Scott Ireton


“Since Jerry’s passing in 1995, it seems the Grateful Dead culture has continued to thrive and even expand. Not only are all the surviving members still making music, but the songs and style of the Dead are being heard from coast to coast, sung and played by musicians who never got to see the Dead with Jerry but who speak his language fluently. We’re all carrying this music and this strong sense of community forward and introducing new generations to its wonders.”
– David Gans


Chapter Eleven

So Many Roads

What a run! What the boys came up with was mind-bending, educational and artistic freedom, with a purpose. The band and the scene change and evolve over the years, but the stories remain, as old as the hills. Somewhere, in this very now, someone is experiencing their first show, their first ride on the bus, their first miracle, their first grilled cheese in the lot, their first dance, their first love, their child’s first belly laugh, their first night sleeping in the stars, their first wrestle with the angel, their first goodbye to a cherished loved one. Is there a Deadhead archetype lurking in our collective unconscious? A psychedelic Prankster proto-type? Perhaps it’s not the hero’s journey we’re on, but the fool’s journey, high stepping into wonder and mystery.

Long may our stories resonate through space and time: long may we tend the love and magic our beautifully imperfect and precious tribe has become responsible to share…

“Gratitude never disappoints and neither does paying it forward. Deadheads have been charged with the task of finding the magic in life; in that glorious moment when the band imprints itself on our hearts, a silent pact is made. To be grateful and kind. To have hope for ourselves and the world. To shine our best light while we’re here together and leave this place more illuminated than before, gratefully.”
– Kim Totten


“A little less than a month after I came into this world, Jerry Garcia left it. Although I’ve never seen the finest band in the land as they were, my dad’s always been an enthusiastic Deadhead and made sure I got my fair share. As I got older, I found my own entry onto the scene. There is so much more to the show than the music. More, sometimes, than family or community. What people seem to chase, whether it’s DSO, JRAD, D&C, Phil & Friends, or the Grateful Dead itself, is just a tiny bit of transcendence. My time with this music is just beginning, but the essence of it is timeless.”
– Matt Lebowitz


“I had the pleasure of taking my four-year-old kitten to her first show last week. The morning of the show she could hardly contain herself, she woke up talking about it! Bragging to everyone we know: ‘I’m going to the Dead and Co. concert!’ Dancing, twirl-ing and loving on the lot dogs. This life was made for her! Deer Creek ‘18 and I can already hear her telling the story years down the road.”
– Krinny Marie


Since the end is never told…