Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Long, Strange Trip

In the past couple days, the Grateful Dead have been back in the news. First, a nonprofit group hopes to raise more than $100,000 when it auctions a subzero degree freezer, stereo cabinets and other home appliances that once belonged to Jerry Garcia. Easy enough to get the correlation between the freezer and the Ben and Jerry's "Cherry Garcia" ice cream that you could store in it, but I wonder a little bit about the "other home appliances." What sort of labor saving devices do you suppose Jerry had in his inner sanctum? Was he the kind of guy who would have a juicer? How about a trash compactor? Maybe Jerry's esspresso maker is just the thing for those Deadheads who have moved on from grass and acid to caffeine. Henry Koltys, the chairman of the Sophia Foundation (a San Francisco Bay area nonprofit that aids children and families during marital separations and divorces) said, “There’s a lot of Deadheads out there with money, and they want a piece of Jerry somehow.”
That being said, the other item making Dead News is the surviving members of the group requesting that the Internet Archive to stop making recordings of the group's concerts available for download. This is an interesting position change from a group that once promoted the taping of live shows and the trading of these tapes became a way for fans to share their concert experienceThethe arrival of Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes online music store, and its competitors, means free downloads can be seen as competition, said Marc Schiller, chief executive of Electricartists, which helps musicians market themselves online. "When the music was given away for free to trade, the band was making so much money touring that the music was not as valuable to them," Schiller said. "Apple iTunes has made digital downloads a business." There are a lot of Deadheads out there with money and they (the group) want a piece of that somehow.
I own a Grateful Dead CD - a greatest hits package. I have listened to countless hours of "live Dead" courtesy of numerous Deadheads I was lucky enough to work with over the years. "You've gotta hear this version of 'Dark Star' - Jerry must've been tripping that night, it's like forty-five minutes long." Upon repeated requests to listen to anything but the Grateful Dead, they would respond with something like, "Hey, how about a little Bobby and the Midnites, or the Jerry Garcia Band?" So, here's my proposition: I'll pay you not to play the Grateful Dead, and that will be my contribution to the cause. Whaddya think?

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