THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2002
Yes, Robert Hunter was in Eugene Oregon
Last night and played his guitar at the McDonald
Theater to an enraptured crowd who couldn't
get enough of his picking skills. He sang, too.
"Check the ear. My daughter has been telling
me to get my ears checked so I went to the
ear doctor today and found out I've lost all
my highs. My lows are fine but the highs are gone."
Tommy, here, is the sound man. Sound of mind
and sound of hearing. He does all my listening
for me. Drove me to the ear doctor, too.
"Way down, down by the docks of the city,
blind and dirty, asked me for a dime--
dime for a cup of coffee. Got no dime
but I got time to hear his story."
"Everyone said I'd come to no good,
I knew I would . . . half of my life
found me doing time . . . other half found
me stumbling around drunk on burgundy wine."
"Babbs, I don't mind you drinking my wine
but don't come round here drunk
and messing up my show."
"I'll get back on my feet someday . . .
I know the life I'm living's no good,
I'll get a new start and live the life I should.
I'll get up and fly away, fly away . . . fly away."
There he goes, fading into a nova.
Goodby Hunter, have a great tour.
He's heading east so gird your loins.
They told me down at the poolhall
"Don't mess with Lefty."
"Hey, me and Left go way back."
"Yeah, well watch your front."
After the public branding
I wear the scarlett D
on my chest
with the proper degree
of hang jowled idiocy,
overwrought with guilt
and quavering obsequiesness.
The Comatose Kid
Only a cowboy with both balls intact could make an apology like that.
Yer off the hook.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2002
STILL GOT DOSE POST TAXES
"I had a dream about Ken Kesey this morning. You had decided to move all Prankster operations to Florida due to some legal matter and you were showing me some cabins out in the woods. You were wearing a half blue face -- just like the Dragnet episode with the kid in the tree-- but the paint was dripping and you were the same age as you are pictured in The Furthur Inquiry and you were telling me fight the good fight or leave.
" Lara and I are both wanting to leave. The hassles of paying huge sums of money just to function here are driving us batty -- well both of us are looking at Ex-pat land as a serious option --- Meanwhile I know that you guys are fighting in your own way -- through humor (as you always have) and I feel very crossed up on this.
" Every time I turn around somebody else wants to bite deeply into our pockets -- a problem that we rarely had in Thailand. Hope this doen't sound nuts. I know that you are a doctor of plastic explosive brain relocation therapy -- So i will also mail a nickel to put in your Psychologist booth. "Stop that Linus, she's your sister."
-- From Ted Sams
NO, I'M NOT THE TAX MAN
This is Zan Moore, from South Eugene High School, The International School. He was in the Reading In The Rain project. Now he's out at the office, visiting. Wet, windy cold day. Killing time until Robert Hunter comes to town.
"If my words did glow
with the gold of sunshine
and my tunes were played
on the harp unstrung
would you hear my voice
come through the music
would you hold it near
as it were your own?" -- Robert Hunter
Tonight Robert Hunter will be playing the McDonald Theater in Eugene, Oregon. First stop on a lengthy tour. Wants to start out with a crowd of friends. Zan the man from South Eugene High School never saw Hunter perform before so he'd like to go but he's already booked into a road trip to Stanford University to see if he really wants to accept that scholarship for lofty aspirations or not.
No matter. Your intrepid correspondent will be covering the Hunter show and this time he'll take the digital camera with him and you'll be able to see pictures of the event.
-- Ken Babbs
RAT DOG WAS IN TOWN
I decided to go look for Bobby Weir. We had some things to talk about down beside the river tide. So I put a Kool Place vidie and some Cassady CDs in a paper sack and went searching. No one at the Hilton knew about him but a couple guys standing there said he never registers under his real name and the band usually stays at the Marriott.
No Marriott in Eugene so I went to the McDonald Theater where they were playing and talked to Chuck, their manager and once he checked my bonafides and found out I've know Weir since 1965 he not only gave me the motel but the secret name as well and then at the end threw in Weir's room number.
The door was wide open and a good thing too because inside were two sweaty guys in shorts and nothing else doing yoga. Weir and his drummer. They do a three hour show and have to stay in good shape. So I sat and watched them contort, wishing I had brought the digital camera so I could put the garish shots up on the website. If wishes were horses I'd be the beggar to ride and spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up faster.
Tired of that sort of mental perambulations and embarrased by all that sweaty flesh I decided to go down to the bar and get a gin and tonic. By the time I got back they were toweled dry and Bob gave me a hug and we chatted up ol' times then got down to it.
First on the agenda was the movie Sunshine Daydream of the 1972 Field Trip. Still in the can, never been seen except for some pirated video copies, this is the year, thirtieth anniversary and all that, to bring that sucker out and the plan is to do it on DVD and release it through Grateful Dead Productions.
The hangup is the head of GDP is gone and the new guy isn't up to speed on the plan so I implored Bobby to put in the word, get this movie out to the people, it's a time capsule whose time has come.
Bob said sure and he'd look at the vidie that night after the show. Oh oh, I didn't bring him a copy. Bring it to the show, he said.
Okay, agenda number two. This being 2002, the year for the 4th Decadenal Field Trip, the only way the Springfield Creamery would do it would be if the Grateful Dead would play.
Well, that is certainly a possiblility since they are tentatively scheduled to play together this summer. So howsabout August 24th? Yeah, that might work.
I told Bob I'd already talked to Bill Kreutzman and he was up for it. Phil is on a trip and won't be back until next week so I'll talk to him then.
If all went according to plan, Rat Dog, Phil and Friends and the Trichomes would all play and afterwards the Grateful Dead would close the show.
On that sweet note we parted and I went home and barbecued pork ships and then swung by the office, grabbed a vidie of Sunshine Daydream and took it to Bob Weir.
He was in the green room with the band, warming up. "Sometimes the light's all shining on me." I joined in. "Sometimes I can barely see." They were giving me the fish eye. "Lately it occurs to me," they were reaching for high notes. I stayed low. "What a long strange trip. . . it still do be do be do be." I sang, and they gave it up and I gave Weir the tape and let them continue their practice.
They did a great show for a great audience. Eugene people are mellow, happy, grinning, enjoying themselves. Bands can do the same.
Just in from Mike Finoia who interviewed Kesey last August:
"Finally, '65 it was, we had Rev. Anton Levee and Kenneth Anger and that whole satanic group come up to visit. By that time we were beginning to put on costumes and shows. I can remember when they were there they were a serious bunch of people that believed in the devil, and we got on our most demonic outfits. At one point we led them up the hill to where the Thunder Machine was, and sitting up there on a block was a birdcage-- a nice big parrot cage sprayed golden-- and in the cage was a chicken. We plunked and played and sung, worked ourselves up to a pitch, and went over and took that chicken out of the cage. Page Browning was at that time, this character ZeaLot. ZeaLot was a pretty horrendous character. He took a lot of time putting on make up, and that make up looked like cracked granite. And he came up with an axe sprayed gold. He reached in to take the chicken out of the cage and there was an egg, it laid an egg.
The Hermit saw that egg, oh, he was just delighted. He ran up giggling and grabbed that egg, and he cracked it and ate it, all raw and warm and new. We stretched that chicken out over the block and chopped the chicken's head off, chanting devilish songs. And all these Satanists began to get up and leave."
-- Ken Kesey
MONDAY, APRIL 1, 2002
Neal Leon Cassady marries Carolyn Elizabeth Robinson on this day in San Francisco, 1948. Never without a sense of humor, he picks April Fools day 54 years ago to tie the knot. The new Mrs. Cassady must surely have had an inkling of what was in store.
-- John Cassady
Yas, kiss yer March behind and git ready for the coronation as Phil our man behind the orders gets crowned. "No no!" he cries. "Not me. Art is king!" and in the St. Stupid's parade in San Francisco the pom pom crowd lays garlands in royalty's path, chanting all the while: "Vive le rois!" while the Holy Goof shuffles his feet self consciously waving his bandaged thumb in the air in a vain attempt to roll up the unwinding cloth spewing behind him like last year's drollops from a nonstop tongue."
-- April Fools. Ken Babbs
In April the swallow, the cuckoo and the corncrake arrive.
"The month of April, the upland is misty,
the oxen are weary, the earth is bare,
feeble is the stag, playful the long-eared,
usual is a guest though he be not invited;
everyone has many faults where he is not loved;
blessed is he that is faithful."
-- Book of Days
Spring Break in Oregon. All the schools-- grade school, junior high, high school, colleges and universities-- were on vacation for a week. Here in the Willamette Valley there was a mass exodus: to California and to the Oregon coast. My family and I went to Yachats and on the way we stopped on the Siuslaw River to take a look at the old house on the riverbank that Ken Kesey based the Stamper house on in his book, Sometimes A Great Notion.
-- Ken Babbs
Here's what remains of the house, as seen from across the river.
Here's what it looked like in 1972 when it was painted by Mel Vincent.
Long shot of the house today.
From the 1972 painting.
One of those outdoor theaters in the state parks where they show slides and tell stories of the Oregon coast.
A wise old native Oregonian once told me not to grieve his death because I
would be in the same pickle some day.He knew I would have questions about my here after and told me he would send
us all a sign when he got there.
When the daffodils send up their little noses in the spring after a long
hard winter, that would be his sign.
When the Chinese Pheasant calls from the pasture, that will be his sign.
When noisy little children are at play, that will be his sign
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