The Ugly Writers

The Dead and the Living

The Dead and the Living is an essay written by Tim Clark and shared with The Ugly Writers underneath the theme Disenchanted for the month of May


The Dead and the Living


“Once in a while, you get shown the light,
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.”[1]

They have been greater than a musical act, The Grateful Dead grew to become a motion. In some ways, they embodied all the great prospects music needed to supply. They allowed folks to file the reveals, a thriving group of Deadheads, who had message boards to swap cassette recordings earlier than there was an AOL.[2] Rumors of an above-average efficiency would carry calls for for copies from throughout.

I used to be at all times a fan, one in all the first albums I owned was Skulls and Roses. The Dead’s second studio album. To this present day Grateful Dead Europe 72 remains to be one in all my favourite dwell discs. I’ve been a fan for a very long time, so long as I’ve been a fan of any band.

As in most issues, I’m extra comfy at a distance.

After transferring to Ohio, I met a Deadhead. He deliberate his trip round the tour schedule. I watched him get misplaced in the wealth of alternatives in the again of Relix journal. He may speak about reveals he had by no means seen.

We went to a few concert events collectively. He may stand and speak with folks about the final time, or the first time the Dead had performed a sure track, the size of time a set took, that they had dates, and locations memorized. I used to be moved by the identical admiration I really feel for baseball followers who can speak detailed statistics, diving into numbers, dropping themselves in trivia.

I used to be extra fascinated with the present. Not simply the band, the complete factor. There have been folks throughout the parking zone with little hibachis going, hunks of meat and greens scorching over open flames. Bottas of wine handed again and forth, pipes and joints and bottles.

In the Buckeye music middle (an out of doors venue) I used to be fascinated by the swirling, sweating, dusty dancers, spinning throughout the barren area, clouds of effective filth transferring, rising round their ankles and drifting greater and greater. Their swaying, rhythmic actions have been wrapped in a gauzy movie of powder.  It was nearly a spiritual expertise as they misplaced themselves in the minute, in the hour, in the present.

I used to be fascinated by the dirty, wizened previous man in the leather-based vest who was so mad as a result of I wouldn’t purchase his blotter acid. He had white sweat stains overlaying most of his clothes, his beard was grey with small bits of chewing tobacco clinging stubbornly to the whiskers. “See, “he sputtered, indignantly, “it’s the dancing bears. Only three dollars. Best deal at the show.” Everything was so new and uncommon I didn’t wish to miss something, or have doubts about what I had seen, and what I had thought I had seen, so I wasn’t . He wasn’t completely happy, however ultimately, he gave up, after borrowing a cigarette and a light-weight.

My buddy, the Deadhead, needed me to come back with him and comply with the band the following summer season. I used to be nonetheless only a fan, although. A fan with a renewed sense of the energy of the music, however I’ve realized to look at my habits, they will actually take over. Besides I used to be in a deadly race in opposition to time to win the affection of a woman who ended up being my spouse. I’m glad I did.

Still, I beloved the band, the music, and the complete group, it gave me feeling realizing it was there.

Jerry Garcia died in 1995. He was a poster baby for methods to go away this earthly vail and in all probability didn’t shock too many individuals. It harm, not as a result of I used to be a Deadhead, I wasn’t positive why. I couldn’t perceive it, not then. I simply wasn’t prepared to listen to the music cease. Now I see it as clearly as as we speak.

One day, accidentally I stumbled throughout an article on-line, about The Dead and Company. I went to Apple Music and listened and it was good. I used to be completely happy, it wasn’t the identical, however in a manner, it was the identical.  Jerry Garcia was greater than the sum of his elements, and I don’t imagine anyone would ever speak about “replacing him” however I believe he could be completely happy if the band carried on.

Yesterday, April 1st, April Fools Day, I learn a put up on Facebook; The members of the band have determined to let the music dwell without end. As the present members of Dead and Company retire there shall be a vote for the acceptable alternative. The new band shall be known as Forever Dead. Original member Bob Weir stated he believes in reincarnation, and he plans to affix the band once more, in the future.

It was solely a hoax, but it surely nonetheless made me smile, and really feel a bit of heat, I like to think about The Grateful Dead dwelling without end. Somehow, I believe there’ll at all times be someone in tie-dye, dancing to a track, and dwelling a reminiscence shared by tens of millions.

“They’re a band beyond description
Like Jehovah’s favorite choir
People joining hand in hand
While the music plays the band
Lord, they’re setting us on fire”[3]


[1] Scarlet Begonias, by The Grateful Dead

[2] I’m unsure that’s true, I’m not likely a Deadhead, only a fan, and know-how is a overseas language.

[3] The Music Never Stopped. By The Grateful Dead.


Read extra from Tim Clark by visiting his web site at Life, Explained or by trying out his earlier write-ups right here at The Ugly Writers.

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