I am writing this holed up in a dive hotel in southern Wyoming in the midst of a three week road trip with my doggie. It is basically an agenda of simply being on the road to wherever, whenever. The only thing on the agenda was to go to Colorado to see an old friend I haven't seen since July 9, 1995. The date is easy to remember as it is the day of the final Grateful Dead show in Chicago.
Since I was going to be in the area, I got tickets to the final two shows of the Dead & Company tour that was finishing in Boulder, Colorado. In quite often typical road trip fashion though, I have had some crazy break down stories on the mountain passes east of Vail. They definitely put a huge fork in the road for the journey I have been on. There is no doubt about that.
I missed the first of the two shows because of it all, but was able to get in for the final one last night. It was an incredible concert, but that is a story all of its own. What I will say about it is that while I was swimming through the height of bliss for that string of hours in that stadium, thoughts of seeing The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam!
Dead & Company - Boulder, Colorado - July 6, 2019
Starbelly is a festival back home in Crawford Bay on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, BC on July 19. This is their 20th year!
Last night, the festival, and The Wild Turkeys, had both found their way into the stream of all my thoughts of what The Grateful Dead has meant to my life: Everything it has given me, and especially all the people it has brought my way!
(The vast, vast majority of people in my life are due to the trickling effect of that band. It is doubtful I would even be living out in BC without it.)
It made me smile when the Turkeys came into mind while I was gruuuvin' in that stadium. I love the Wild Turkeys! I haven't seen them too many times, but that's mostly because I don't get out much. It is a band of local guys who all share a passion for the band I love so much, The Grateful Dead. They just have fun covering their tunes, and only play shows around our area.
**I wrote something about them last year.
As far as I am concerned, The Wild Turkeys are quite synonymous with the Starbelly Jam festival as they have played there many times over the years, dating back to the first year the festival was held. That was in July of 1999...the same year I had moved to the area.
I moved to the West Kootenay on May 1, 1999. It is no secret that I live and breathe all things Grateful Dead related, so my impending collision with the Turkeys was inevitable, and the first time I saw them was only weeks after my arrival to the area. They were playing at The Royal on Baker Street in Nelson. It was the simple 'Steal Your Face' image on their poster that grabbed my attention, and drove me to going to their show, of which my mind had been to before it had even happened.
Timmy was the first one of the boys I met in the band. That was when a bunch of us were all crammed into the little band room downstairs after the Fat Cats show at The Civic on Vernon Street in town. (Renamed, "Finley's Bar & Grill" by great new owners since around 2003.) He and I were sitting at the same tiny table, and were immersed in all the fun with everyone else.
**It turns out that some of the guys are tied heavily with the Fat Cats, which naturally extended a further branch towards them as The Fatties are really good friends of mine.
The Wild Turkeys - Some fantastic West Kootenay boys!
As for Starbelly Jam itself...
Phot0 by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
I have very vivid memories of Starbelly, but they are not from me being there as I have never been!
I lived with Christa in Queens Bay for the first three years I lived here: July 99 to April 2002. (Q.B. is five minutes from the ferry to the festival, but on the opposite side of Kootenay Lake.)
My tiny little 14 foot cabin on Christa's property in Queens Bay, BC
Back then, Christa had an ice cream truck, and she hit the festival circuit hard! Her traveling partner was her daughter, Hazel, was only 7 months old then. I'd always see them preparing for, or returning from, whatever festival.
It could get quite comical looking out the window of my little cabin to see Christa up and down the ramp carrying all her stuff in and out of the truck because Hazel would be at her feet the whole time. Mostly she just wanted to help her mama, but she was a baby, so it was like walking through a moving mine field for Christa.
Her arriving home from festivals was one of my favourite ways to hang out with Christa. I would come and play with Hazel, and kinda run some interference so Christa could get stuff done. I'd just be hangin' out talking to both of them...mama and baby. It was fantastic. I love those two so, so much!
Top: Christa and Hazel during 1999/2000.
Bottom: Christa, Hazel and I skating on the pond at the Balfour Golf Course - December 31, 1999
(These are the only photos I have of the two of them.)
I had heard great things about Starbelly right from the beginning. Each year I lived in Queens Bay, I house sat for Christa while the festival was on, so I did not attend. Her stories of it, upon coming home from the first one, added to the whole picture of the West Kootenay region for me.
In the years since the beginning days of the festival, other things have also kept me away as well. After I left Queens Bay, I moved deep in the bush, up the mountain, west of Nelson. All told, it was about an hour and fifteen minutes away (When factoring my gnarly driveway.), so it was no longer just a short pop down to the ferry kinda thing to get to.
Even back then, I had many friends who had Starbelly marked on their calendar as an annual event they were not missing. There was always great music, and lots of other things to do for everyone. It was equally great for the individual, as well as families and their kids. The tales coming out of that festival every year grew and grew.
Above three photos by Louis Bockner - www.facebook.com/lbockner
Aside from the housesitting for those who would be attending, my body's epic journey of pain was a big contributing factor on my missing out on Starbelly!
My body first fell apart in 1993, but in June of 2002 stuff happened that I could never express into words...the worst it has ever been. (I'm not getting into the depth of that here.) I have never been the same since.
Despite all the craziness in my body, I dug into dragging my banged up self through triathlons. I was hooked right away from the first race I did! I didn't care how much it hurt to do them, I just found them liberating and invigorating. (Just as with my body, my triathlon life is a massive story of its own for another time as well.
Fundraiser at Save-On-Foods with Tiyenna (She totally bailed me out to help me pull this off.)
I got so much from the triathlon world, that I wanted to start giving back to it somehow, so in 2007 I did my first ever fundraiser at Save-On-Foods. I wanted to raise some bucks to buy a trophy to donate to our local triathlon. (It was for the athlete who overcomes adversity to race.) The date given to me by the grocery store was the Saturday of the weekend of Starbelly Jam. I missed another one!
Even though they beat the living hell out of me, triathlon had taken over my life during my summers for some years, so festivals were not a thing on my radar. There was also another massive life turn that came when I got beat down by an animal on June 30, 2009. That set off a chain of events where I ended up losing about five and a half of the next six years of my life. It also left me with more permanent changes within my body as with my 2002 breakdown.
It just seemed to be that something was always keeping me away from the festival, but the stories from those who went never ceased to keep rolling in!
I have always been intrigued by Starbelly, and even with never having been, I have grown an attachment to it in my own way. This will be their 20th anniversary of the event, so it seems like the perfect year for me to attend for my first time.
(It was on hiatus for one summer a few years ago, and even never having been, it left me a bit sad to know it would not be happening. I was delighted to hear it would be returning when it did.)
Timmy showing me his new amplifier last month.
I went to Timmy's house a couple weeks before I left on this road trip down to Colorado (and the ensuing wandering). He's such a great guy. He was showing me his new amplifier he had just gotten, and was super psyched on. He invited me to come to their jam sessions leading up to the festival, but unfortunately I'm unable to attend because of my road trip in the States. (There could be a likelihood that I roll into the festival straight from the USA.)
This road trip I am on has seemed to add to the nature of attending Starbelly Jam to see the Wild Turkeys. I have been some gorgeous places on my trip, but back home in the West Kootenay is really a special place! It is so damned beautiful and full of so many incredible people...and it's home!
When I was riding that train of bliss in the Dead & Company show last night, and having the image float into my mind of being at Starbelly watching the Turkeys play gave me a nice feeling of my home...one of rippling warmth. It made me smile more, and painted more happiness into being there gruuuvin' hard in Boulder last night!
The Wild Turkeys at Starbelly Jam is in eleven days, and I can't wait!
Starbelly Jam Society
Box 15 Crawford Bay, BC
September 2, 2018: A Grateful Fail!
Montreal Smoked Hash
$13.65 after tax, before tip (I can't believe I tipped them 15% let alone at all!)
I'm not too sure when I first heard of the Grateful Fed restaurant. It was a few years ago at least, but I had not been out of the West Kootenay at that time. Needless to say, I was freakin' psyched to go there sometime. I had to go there!
I had three Okanagan trips for this little triathlon pack I put together for myself this summer, all taking me through Kelowna, so there is no way I would not be going to the Fed at least once.
Today was the day...the last of my triathlon tips. I just finished my last race in Summerland a couple hours ago, and was stopping here on my way back through town.
Like the idiot I am, I forgot to write down the address before I left home, but I had a pretty good idea of where it was. At least I thought it was on a road that started with 'B' that ran parallel to the main road coming off the bridge. I just had to turn left when I got into town and I should be OK as I remembered it to be a few blocks.
I found it easier that I thought I might. I definitely had some anticipation flowing when I located this place from the street. The real challenging part was finding a shaded parking spot for Fennario. After a few laps, trying to keep my wits to stay close to where I needed to be I got my parking sorted though...and only a block away from the restaurant.
So, here I was about to quench a multi year thirst of curiosity. Exciting!
I didn't wanna sit out on the patio because I wanted to see what it was like inside...straight through the door I went!
It only took about 2 or 3 seconds to be completely let down. It should just be called some kinda classic rock thing regurgitated thing. There is barely any Grateful Dead anywhere. The only damned actual record I see of theirs is Skeleton's From The Closet. If you know your shit, you know that is the shittiest record the boys ever put out. A crap-ass best of released by a label after they left it to capitalize on their back catalogue. (DO NOT LISTEN TO THE "TURN ON YOUR LOVELIGHT" ON THAT RECORD! They took that beauty, edited the shit outta it, and turned it into an absolute abomination!) Speaking of an abomination, they put it right next to a Coors Light neon sign. I'm not even a beer guy, but I know that shit is absolute garbage!
I went to the washroom when I first walked in though and it was way down the hall at the back of the building. I had to walk past the kitchen. I took a quick glance when I passed by. Daaaaamn...shit just keeps gettin' gnarlier!
(An offshoot part of my job is to inspect the kitchen where I work, so I know what to look for, and this one...Shit maaaan...those guys don't want me walking through there, that's for damned sure!)
I took a photo of the only real Dead section on the wall, but I couldn't sit beside it 'cause they were rolling cutlery into napkins. This place seemed to be a crash course on how to shitty even shittier real fast! I sat beside the Beatles section because of a couple Beatles nut friends of mine. An old-school bro, Dave, and a newer friend, Kelly. Thinkin' of those two were the most positive experience in there.
The music they are playing hurts my ears and definitely licks balls! Of course it wasn't Grateful Dead, or any of the post-Jerry group arrangements, nor was it any of the boys' solo groups. Not even anything close like Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Doors, etc, etc, etc. It was some ball lickin' metal(ish) music that made me wanna stick ice picks in my ears just to take my mind off of the torture I had to sit through!
Although it is 1:30pm, there is no lunch menu, only breakfast. Total bummer again. I did not sleep in and am hung over, I want some lunch, not breakfast in the afternoon, but oh well, take what you can get I guess!
The tiny menu was very limited and not very appealing either. I got a Montreal Smoked Hash. Outside of thinkin' 'bout Dave and Kelly, pretty much the only positive so far is how fast the food came.
I needed to send a message to a friend who was possibly meeting me there, so when she brought me my food I asked if they had wi-fi.
The password was one they did not deserve: fedheads
I didn't even have to punch in the password though as it just connected automatically. Surprise, surprise...they can't even do that right!
I immediately put a post on my facecrack account:
"At The Grateful Fed in Kelowna right now. Talk about false advertising. Wonder if I can sue for that shit!"
The server said she would bring me some jams for my toast, but didn't do that. Oh well...par for the course. I'm just gonna plow this food into my face so I can get the hell outta here.
As for the food itself...
Where's the ooooooze?!
There is definitely a smokey flavour to the food, but let's face facts, this shit ain't hard to make or fuck up!
Food OK, but overall rating:
Oops...I was wrong...food is salty as fuck and I didn't even put anything on that shit. Also...eggs over easy my ass! Eggs over cooked more like it! This place can suck it!
When the server brought my bill to me, she got all excited about the sticker on my laptop: The Funk Hunters. I told her it came with my laptop, that I bought it from my friend. Then I told her, if I put a sticker on it, it would be like the shirt on my back, which was a Grateful Dead tour shirt.
Was I shocked that this girl got psyched on Funk Hunters and couldn't give a shit about the Grateful Dead in a restaurant called, The Grateful Fed? Not at this point.
When I left I saw they had packed up the patio. I guess it was a short day which is why no lunch menu. Seemed strange to close so early on a sunny Sunday of a long weekend, but was no surprise.
What a total fuckin' joke! The food sucked! The kitchen was a disgrace! The decor licked balls! The music made me want to kill myself!
...and they couldn't give one sweet fuck about the Grateful Dead!
As a true connoisseur of all things Grateful Dead, I found the Grateful Fed nothing short of absolutely insulting!
I didn't take a photo of the outside front of the place when I left, because at that point I just couldn't give a shit!
When I got to my van I apologized to Fennario for the waste of time. (I wonder if any of them would even know the significance of my doggie's name...oops...I don't have to wonder that. Of course they wouldn't!)
I got in my van and popped in an old tape from 12-12-73 and blared it. I needed to knock that shit outta my head and get it straight with what the Grateful Dead really meant!
(This was actually Day 10, but for some reason I cannot change the title.)
I put in another long night at work, and instead of leaving at 7:00am, I walked out of there something like 1pm. When I got home I knocked off my push-ups straight away. I was tired, but it was pretty warm out and mid-afternoon, so I finished blowing up the recliner water float-y that I had started blowing up a couple weeks ago and never really got around to finishing as I'd use my Stand Up Paddler instead of lounging.
Now, with this challenge of mine I haven't had any time to do anything else. Today I said, "Fuck it!", and finished blowing the thing up. (Yes, I know it is plastic, but it falls in the loophole of no new plastic...I bought it last summer, and have had it sitting on the floor half blown up for awhile.)
I took it down to the water to lounge around floating for a bit. La la laaaa..
I've started noticing that my swim shorts are startin' to smell like old stank-ass hockey gear that hasn't been cleaned for a season. it is nasty, but warmly embracing. I really do love the gnarly athlete within me where things like this hold a beautific essence in my mind. Blood, sweat and beat up injury is the place I feel most at home...that and Grateful Dead shows!
(Speaking of Grateful Dead shows... A real close bro of mine from Dead Tour days, who I haven't seen since then, just had a baby. I'm so happy about it that I kinda can't believe it. There has always been something different about people I did Grateful Dead Tour with. I was living in Toronto, Derek was from outside of Detroit, and we met in Ohio. We clicked right from the moment we met, and have been lifelong bros ever since. Shortly after Tour ended when Jerry Garcia died, Derek moved west to just outside of Vail, and within weeks, I headed west to British Columbia. When he had his baby the other day I had a rush come over me. I'm just so happy about it. I fuckin' love that guy! Grateful Dead...bringing worlds together!)
It was nice to float for a bit, but I was exhausted and needed real siesta time, so I packed 'er in and went up to my place and crawled into bed despite it being mid-afternoon of a beauty day.
LaRae is pretty amazing! She's always living life right to the max.
I had some thick cobwebs when I woke up, so I spontaneously took my doggie for a hike to the waterfall nearby. I've had it in my head for a few days since I messaged LaRae about it when she was looking for local hike recommendations.
It was a nice walk. The water isn't rushing as hard now, so i could walk out onto a nice slab rock right at the base of it. There was a stiff wet breeze blowing off from the spray. It was super refreshing. I enjoyed that for sure.
I stood there thinkin' about and sendin' out some huggy-smiles across the air to another friend who has been feelin' down lately. I didn't stay too long though 'cause dusk was waking up for another night and I wanted to get home and do my hills.
when i got back to the bottom after my second hill i noticed my heart and chest doesn't feel the same pain doing the hills, so instead of just walking quickly...my version of quickly...I ran the third and fourth ones tonight. I felt good, and more reveled in doing it barefoot in the dark...although I always do it barefoot.
It's nice to feel progressions, even just small victories. You know how it is when you string together and add up a bunch of small victories, you end up with something special.
The one thing I am looking at in my mind though is that it is 10:00pm as I write this and I have only completed my push-ups and hills so far. The big hurdle in this moment is the chunk of time on my bike, especially with my legs all chewed up from hike and hills. Once I get through that the rest is smooth sailing. I just know it is gonna be a long night though 'cause I need to sit down for awhile though before I crack into any more of this.
June 2, 2018
**I didn't read through and edit this, I just wrote it quickly and posted at 4:00am.
Maaaan...it's been a long time since I have seen these guys play. They don't play very often, and I get out much less than that. My body is just too exhausted for doing shit anymore. I've long been to the point where it's even exhausting to have people visit me at my own home. I love seeing shows though...I mean...shit maaaaan, gruuuuvin' is the ultimate expression.
Since I'm such an idiot, I thought I was gonna miss the show 'cause I thought the advertising on The Dam's facecrack page said they were done at 10:30pm. Luckily, I am a fool 'cause that was not the case. I got there late 'cause I was hookin' Timmy up with an ultimate score of Jerry Garcia music...somethin' like 1600 Grateful Dead shows, a freakin' stack of Jerry solo shows from 1962 right through til about 1994 (I don't have any solo Jerry from his final year in '95), and a whack load of videos too.
It took me way longer to put all the shows together for him than I thought it would, so I was half expecting the show to be over when I got there. To my kind pleasure though, when I rolled up in the parking lot and got outta my van I heard an Around and Around blastin' outta the place. I was psyched!
I went in straight to the bar, ordered my standard Rye n' Ginger and went down to the floor and started gruuuuuvin'. I saw Ryan right away...only after he grabbed my shoulders from behind. (I had missile lock on the boys gettin' down.)
It's always great to see Ryan. I've known him for at least 10 years now and I have never not laughed around him. Ever! I guess we both entertain each other. When I was talking to him, Red rolled up to say hello. I hadn't seen him forever. I've known him for 15 years. Then it was Joe's sister and Em who I have known for equally as long (They're like family to me.)... Lookkit that...all these amazing people who I rarely ever see 'causea my penchant to never get out and go anywhere.
I did a bit of talking, but I'm not very good at that in bars. It's too loud and I don't like to yell. Even in my minimum conversation depth, I was mostly just focused on the Turkeys playing.
I couldn't figure out the last time I saw them. I have no freakin' clue. What I more thought about was the first time I ever saw them, which was pretty much exactly 19 years ago. It was at the Royal just after I moved here from the islands in late May or start of June 1999. I remember it crystal clear.
I love the Turkeys for what they are. I really do. Right back to the first time I ever saw them that time at the Royal, or just after that up the mountain in Ymir on Earle's property...which was also BC-DC's first show. (I was given some hash ice cream there. It was pretty stylin'.)
I saw them at Ymir Hall too some other time. I remember for nothing more than sitting in the back with Chad before the show, and Scully rolled in, immediately took the fire extinguisher off the wall and gave it a quick shot just for the fuck of it. Chad looked at me with a big smile, "Scully's here! That fuckin' guy's hilarious!
I've seen them many times in clusters, but not for a long time. They are freakin' fantastic in their raspy charm. That's the first impression they struck me with all those years ago and it has never changed.
I had a fatty smile on my face. Gruuuuvin' and drinkin' my Rye. Not bad maaaan...not too bad at all. They filled me with happiness. I love Grateful Dead things so much, so it was more than seeing them play and hearing the music they created that spoke to me, but also plainly what the music I love means to them as well. They're not doin' it for anything more than how much they love the music and I appreciate that on a very profound level. It doesn't matter if they raunch out a tune or crush it, it's all beautiful to me for that reason at the very least. Tonight had both the raunch and the beauty
I got there about half way through the second set. When Red told me they were gonna play three sets I was psyched!
I talked to Scully at set break, and went outside to hang out with Kenny, and met Red's partner, Megan. She was super nice. Em, Jeff and I talked about paddle boarding this summer...which'll be awesome! I also saw Ronnie, who didn't have a clue who I was until I did some mind jogging for him. I rode with he and Jeff to Vancouver in 2001 to see Steve Kimock. Eventually he remembered, and it kinda blew his mind as it was only 17 years ago. I even saw Elissa there when she came up from behind me to say hello.
It was great to see so many great people. How lucky am I to know all of them?!
For the actual show, although Franklin's Tower is onea the tunes tattooed on my arm, it wasn't the song that reeled me in the most tonight...that was Tennessee Jed. It actually made my face hurt from painting such a fatty smile on it. It was pure happiness. Of course I sang it my own way, which always makes me love it even more, but musically they carried it really well and I really appreciated it.
(I scribed my own version of Tennessee Jed while sitting in a park overlooking the mountains in Vancouver in 1997 when I was writing a letter to one of my tour friends from Minnesota. <Lisa Smeija> Instead of the lyrics, "Tennessee, Tennessee, there ain't no place I'd rather be, baby won't you carry me back to Tennessee," I sing, "Jerry G, Jerry G, there ain't no face I'd rather see, baby won't you carry me back to Jerry G." The same as, "You better head back to Tennessee Jed," I sing, "You better head back to Jerry G, Jed!")
Tennessee Jed was the song of the night for me, but in it's own special way, the song that spoke to me the most was the Hey Jude Finale out of Dear Mr. Fantasy.
Scully had some really nice riffs during Fantasy, but those first lines of that Jude Finale definitely walked that fine line of infused raunchiness which made it purely amazing. It just strung it together with this charm and made it shine. It was beautiful...I fuckin' loved it
Scully had everyone laughing (even the boys in the band) at the end of This Could Be The Last Time. Just when you thought Timmy was finishing it up, with a big fatty smile on his face, Scully started bustin' out the kind Bobby screams. It was freakin' hilarious. Fuckin' nice one bro!
The whole time I was there, I just stood gruuuuvin' with a fatty smile on my face. Sometimes my eyes would be open, sometimes they would be closed, and the whole time I was singin' to the tunes the boys were kickin' out.
After the show was done I went up on stage to talk to Timmy while he was packin' up. Gave him the Jerry packed hard drive, a hug, and I was on my way.
Bottom line: FUCK YEAH FOR THE TURKEYS!
Brian Rosen at The Falls Music Lounge
February 10, 2018
Late last night I stumbled onto a video on youtube of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters telling the story of when he fell off stage at a show in Sweden. He tripped on some cables and when he hit the floor he dislocated his ankle on impact and broke a bone in his leg.
As it was only 8 minutes into the show he didn't wanna stop and bail on the fans. He never considered it, so he got his crew to get him back on stage and proceeded to finish the show while the doctor held his ankle in place. It turned out that the doctor was also a Foo Fighters fan and didn’t want the show to end either. It was total bad-ass and total rock star.
Here is the link to the interview: www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7tRZlFIxWo
I went into town unexpectedly tonight, so I stopped into work to give Erika a book I had stashed by my desk for her. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. When I went into The Falls to give it to her she was on the phone, so I just leaned on the bar hangin’ out.
I looked across the bar and saw Brian sitting there. Big smiles and hellos from both of us! He picked off the book right away, “The Prophet?!” he exclaimed.
I said, “You know The Prophet?!” With a bigger smile on his face he said, “I know The Prophet and I know your hoodie.” I laughed and went over to talk to him. He was just chillin’ havin’ a beer before he went on stage to play a show.
As I walked up I saw some crutches sitting beside him. “Are those yours?” He assured me that they were, so being naturally curious, I asked him what the deal was.
He injured his ankle 8 years ago, and about two years ago he had another surgery on it. A couple weeks ago he had another minor follow-up kinda surgery to clean up some bone spurs and such.
I saw his boot-cast, so I got to talkin’ about when I had one of those too…and what a pain in the ass it was for driving. We compared minor notes and laughed about that.
**Getting my bike refit so I could ride with cast after I cracked a bone in my foot during the 2008 Vancouver Marathon
Brian should be up and rollin’ by spring time, so it wasn’t too big of a deal more than just a minor pain in the ass to deal with. He was telling me the timing actually worked out well with the gigs he was playing as he didn’t have any drumming shows at the moment…no kick-drum to have to worry about.
All this of course had my mind rolling on the kind coincidence of seeing that video of Dave Grohl and his broken leg only the previous evening. I love those who throw down through the shit. That’s pretty much the thing I love the most.
We got into talking about music and what he was gonna play tonight. He said he was gonna play a buncha new stuff. I was intrigued and asked him if he had been writing songs. Brian said he had been writing some new tunes but that he was also gonna dive into some new covers.
I asked him what kind of covers. He said Bruce Springsteen from ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad,’ and ‘Nebraska’ albums. I was psyched ‘cause those are fuckin' great albums!
Brian said he had just watched a 4 hour concert from right after the ‘Born to Run’ album was released. He started watching it and got drawn right in and ended up watching the whole thing from start to finish...mesmerized by it.
"I can see why they call him the boss!"
That led us to talking about old great story telling songwriters, and how that is a seemingly lost art these days.
It was time for him to play, so as Brian was crutching up to the stage I thought again how it was excellent that I had just seen that video of Dave Grohl. I thought to myself, “Lookkit Bri rollin’ all bad-ass rock star like!” It made me giggle.
When he started playing I fell in love with his voice instantly again. It's so deep and rich. It lures you in, in a Johnny Cash kind of way. It’s fuckin’ fantastic
I had my laptop with me, so I fired it up while he was getting settled and sinking into his first song. I was all set and ready when Brian broke into his second song, “Give My Love to Rose” by Johnny Cash.
Well, shiiiit…doesn’t he just have the perfect voice for that! I was fuckin’ psyched! After that he played a Paul Simon tune and then a Johnny ‘Tiptoes’ Prine song.
Tiptoes made me smile as I do every time I hear one of his songs. You see, when I went to do a triathlon at Disney World in Orlando, Florida in September 2008 I saw back-to-back John Prine shows on the two nights before my race.
I was actually there to see Josh Ritter, who was opening for him. They were incredible shows. I got to talk with Josh both nights. He’s such a great guy. (Paul has him playing here at Sprit Bar later this month. I’m psyched as fuck!”)
During the first show, as his old high school gymnastics teacher was in the audience, Johnny Tiptoes told the story of his high school gymnastics career that was pretty hilarious…turns out he’s actually a musician and not a gymnast. Anyway, the moral of the hilarious story for me was that his teacher nicknamed him, ‘Tiptoes,’ and so I have called him Johnny Tiptoes ever since.
It only took two notes into the next song after the Johnny Tiptoes tune for me to pull my head up from my computer and look to the stage with a big shit eatin’ grin. When I did, Brian was already staring at me with a fatty smile on his face too. He was falling into “Seven Curses” by Bob Dylan
The mini back story to that is that on Christmas night, when we were at Tara and Greg’s place, I started talking to him about when he played that tune at The Falls in the summer. I told him, of all the songs I have seen him play that was the one!
Brian was psyched, but also half surprised…almost at me even knowing it. You see, little did he know the Dylan freak that I am. Everyone knows me as a Jerry Garcia juggernaut, but Bob Dylan is made out of pure magik that changed my life.
Seven Curses is one of his tunes that stopped the world around me while I first heard it. A lasting impression is saying so little towards the impact it struck me with. It’s so gawd damned powerful that I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing while I was sitting on the floor on the living room floor in our place on Saltspring Island in 1998. I can still see the moment and feel it riveting through me.
When Bri was expressing his impressed-ness at me remembering him playing that in the summer, I told him that I don’t forget things like that. That made him smile.
I mean, Dylan really is something special to me. It's hard to put into words what his writing and songs have meant to my world. Bob Dylan showed that you can change the world with two simple chords and a pen. Riveting!
In mid January I sent Brian an amazing show of Dylan at Carnegie hall in 1963 because of the Seven Curses he played. Bri was psyched.
I've not been shy about expressing my love for acoustic music, and especially what one person can do with great writing and a solo acoustic guitar. That's one of the infinite things Dylan gave to me.
Sitting here listening to Brian took me on a journey of fascination. The tones of his voice, the deep richness of it, and the simplicity of the music he brings out of his guitar is the kinda thing that pierces right through the heart into the soul...weaving its web into the fabric of who I am. The way Brian plays, and what he chooses to play is what makes up so much of who I am. I could watch him play every day.
Midway through his first set Brian broke into a “Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad," so, I looked up again and thought to myself, “Of course you’re playin’ this tune yuh bad-ass mutha fucka! Daaaaamn!”
The easy way to say express that is that this song was on my list of 5 choices for picking a custom licence plate for my van. GDTRFB. Although it is an old traditional song, it is the Grateful Dead's scorching version that I fell in love with. (Surprise, Surprise!)
**Jerry on fire back in the day!
It is always great to hear someone like Woody Guthrie play it, but it's Jerry's smokin' lines on fire that grabbed me. Just listen to the GDTRFB they fall into out of the Jam at the final Fillmore East show in New York City on April 29, 1971. That shit's on fire!
Brian's rendition though comes across in a hauntingly beautiful way when combined with that ever deep richness of his voice that I keep eluding to. Simple, sweet, and so gawd damned powerful.
It made me smile every time I lifted my head and saw Brian tapping his left foot with his casted right foot sitting still while he sat there in front of his crutches leaning against the window sill beside his guitar case behind him. It was fuckin’ great!
When Brian played a Townes Van Zandt song I started looking at the musician map he was drawing:
Townes Van Zandt
…and also diving into old traditional songs that Bob Dylan’s biggest influence, Woody Guthrie, played.
Brian was drawing this musical journey painted by legends beyond words. It was like the musical terms of walking down a hallway with paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Monet and Michelangelo hanging in all their luster.
It told a story of his musical influence and knowledge. It was really something special to behold. The way he captures the essence of these icons is absolutely gorgeous too.
When you talk with him about music you can tell he is more than just playing their songs, or playing tribute to them, but honouring them in an astonishing way.
I drifted away in this thought when, of course, he just had to break into Dylan's, "Girl from the North Country.
I mean...c'moooon maaaan... That of course is from "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which I have considered the greatest album ever made since the first time I heard it when I was barely 18 years old. Sure, “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” did their thing, but the way this record influenced a generation during times of turmoil, change and revolution on several fronts... It was a foundation laying and changing moment in music history…from that time when Dylan was changing everything with those simple 2-3 chords and a pen.
Hearing Brian play this song finished off painting over 25 years of pure moving nostalgia for me!
The thing I see rolling through my mind while sitting here during the final song of his first set is a visual history of myself told through his guitar and sung from his rich voice. How do you really capture that into words? I'm not even sure despite all the words I have just written.
Thinking about it right now, the best way I can put it is like this…
Take a blind man down to the ocean during the most gorgeous of sunrises and give him the gift of being able to see for the first time, and then ask him to put it into words. Some things are just left unsaid. That’s the final impression Brian left me with tonight!
I’m so glad I stopped in to give Erika that book…a book that, in itself, has changed many lives and stuck with people for the rest of their days once they had first read it.
I didn’t have a camera with me, so I asked Erika to take a photo of Brian on stage for me.
What a fantastic surprise stopping into The Falls brought me tonight.
(I wrote all of this on August 9th, but never fine-tuned it til now)
I had about ¼ tank of gas when I left town on my way home from work. I was flying along the highway, gruuuvin’ to a Morning Dew blaring outta my stereo. I saw Taghum Shell approaching in the distance. It was the same as every other day…even the music.
Rollin' along n' gruuuuuvin'!
I keep the same tape in my van for at least a month at a time...usually much longer though. I love that I have a tape deck in my van. I went through a couple thousand Grateful Dead live show tapes from back in the day. I still have a few hundred that I refuse to get rid of. I love playing every one of them…even the dusty, shitty sounding old-school ones. From dusty soundboard to crunchy cracklin' soundboard, or even a good audience recording, they’re nostalgia in the literal definition of of the term!
Recently I gave Natalie a ride home from work. She picked off my tape deck right pronto and started making fun of me. “Who still has tapes?” (Daniella has since done the same.) I was quick to start making fun of her for Ipods, phones, n' shit. We made fun of each other and it was excellent...but I still stood my ground with tapes. Tapes kick ass!
Lately I have had the second tape of the New Year’s ’76 show at The Cow Palace in San Jose, California goin’. Every-so-often I think about changing it, but I don't. It’s just so freakin’ awesome! The transition from Good Lovin’ into Samson & Delilah is crazy. Scarlet Begonias is…well…Scarlet Begonias. The Help on the Way jam has something special about it; and of course, Not Fade Away > Morning Dew to close the show before encores = Daaaaamn!! Changin' it would just be stupid...no need to do that!
While I was blaring it, and gruuuuvin’ right along, whenever I glanced in my rearview mirror I would catch the odd glance of my doggie in her seat in the back. (By the way…Rearview Mirror is a great Pearl Jam song...just sayin'!)
Fennario always has such a big smile on her face when we’re cruisin' down the highway. That makes me thoroughly happy, as it wasn’t always the case when she was a little pup. She used to be absolutely terrified of vehicles to the point where she’d run and hide in the house if I even walked near my van parked outside. Inside the van she would slobber and foam at the mouth from anxiety or something. Now she’s totally stylin’ and I love it ‘cause I don’t like leaving her at home. I want her everywhere I am. I looove my doggie so much.
So, as I was sailing along the highway, gruuuvin’ full blast, I saw Taghum Shell approaching quickly. I didn’t need gas right away, but I was feeling ultra lazy, so, knowing they are full service, I said, “Fuck it!” and did a last second quick swerve off the road. I pulled up to the tanks like I was in a race car chargin' into the pit-stop scenario. I definitely rolled up to the pumps with some heat, that's for sure.
I’ve always felt kinda strange about a full service gas station where you don’t do shit. They just come and ask you what you want and take care of everything as you sit there doin’ nothin’ like a lazy-ass. Even when my body is completely broken down, I still feel like I can pump my own gas. It sure ain’t that hard of a thing to do after all. Sitting there though, as buddy was gasin’ me up, my lazy-ass did take time to appreciate the service.
Scott, Cam and Shawn Robertson…
(Photo by Matt Bolt for Kootenay Business Magazine)
The brothers who own Taghum Shell are awesome guys. For years I had no freakin’ idea that Scott and Shawn were two different people – twins! I remember finding that out and thinkin’ it was awesome, and of course laughed at my idiot-self once again.
For a long time they had talked about expanding their store and stylin’ out the whole place. After many, many years, they finally were able to get at it in 2016. I lived in Nelson during most of the renovation.
Every Friday I check out what movies’r playing at the theatre in Castlegar. I’ve been going to the movies since I saw the original Star Wars at the drive-in with my parents when I was a three year old kid.
(I miss the drive-in as a way to see movies…seeing classics like, Smokey and the Bandit, the original Superman, Cannonball Run, and many more!)
As I like to drive to Castlegar consistently on weekends to catch a matinee movie I got to see the progression of the remodel take place. I rarely ever see newspapers or anything, so I had no idea it was happening until I drove by for the first time after it had started. I remember yelling out loud, “Nice one boyyys!” As simple as that!
I lived up the lake for years, and after a 10 month stretch right in Nelson, I ended up moving on the other side of town again. Now I pass the Taghum Shell twice a day, 6 days a week. I always enjoy seeing it, because I know how long they had wanted to do that, and I’ve been happy for them to finally manifest it all. I love seeing people pull their dreams together. It's such a great thing.
Even back in the day, the boys always had the full service touch. It has always been easy to tell that they’re genuinely good guys. All you have to do is talk to them and you find it out right away.
(The way it was...)
As far as being a customer goes, they make you feel very welcomed and appreciated. It’s not a false front pitch to get your buck either. It’s as if they come from a lost time. Nowadays, in the service station industry, there is virtually no service whatsoever. It has all but disappeared. Everything is self serve "get it yourself, you pricks" gas stations everywhere you go. Not the brothers though. They still deliver the special touch from a seemingly forgotten era.
I’ve been going there for over 15 years, and I can say their level of service is not limited to them either. Their staff always shows that same standard too! That is simply because of who Cam, Scott & Sean are as people though. It brings to mind that old overused saying,
“Great leaders lead by example!”
All this rolled through my mind while I was sitting there getting gassed up today. It was more than confirmed when their employee walked up to my window after he was done gassing me up and asked if I needed my oil or windshield fluid checked.
"Freakin' right boys! Taghum Shell doin’ it right!
Their finished product is great. The building is gorgeous...the nicest gas station I have been in. There is a snack-y area that is on the side of the main store that has a variety of goods to grab and go, or chill out to sit and stare out the window if you desire.
The building is spacious, and stocked nicely. There's travel food, all the gas station-y things for your vehicle, fireworks, ATM, and a tad bit of party-time beverages.
Outside, they went from a simple two stall/two pump gas station set-up to a four stall/six pump system. Even with tripling their pump capacity they're still super busy. It's great. It shows how necessary their expansion was and that their longtime vision for their expansion was the right thing to do.
Scott, Shawn and Cam…I’m glad to support you guys all these years, and I'm really happy for you that you were finally able to pull off the massive site rebuild you have been dreaming about for so many years. The place looks freakin’ great! Nice one boys!!
I cruised outta there, back lost in my tunes with these thoughts rollin’ through my mind and a happy doggie in my back seat. Gruuuvin' down the road a little bit further thanks to the fellas.
5644 Highway 3A West
Posted on Facebook - September 9, 2017
In regards to my last post from September 8th...
For those who don’t know much about me, I just whipped off this short version of what I deal with… It might seem lengthy, but really is the short version... (this is not edited)
I woke up with a cold on September 9 (1993) after the Fall Tour kick-off show the night before. As I said, it progressed into the flu by the end of the month when we were in Boston. That was the loose thread that got pulled as my body started to breaking down quite rapidly.
I had given blood and had other tests done along with the x-rays when I went to the hospital straight off the plane from San Diego. I went to the hospital because I thought I had a broken toe and something else was also wrong with my foot as I couldn’t really put any weight on it. I saw several doctors and baffled ‘em all there. After seeing 6 different doctors, they brought me to the office of a specialist to make an appointment with him. It was just about Christmas holiday time, so I couldn’t get in til mid-January.
Over the Christmas holidays my body just said, “Fuck it!” and completely fell apart. I could hardly stand up. When I want to move around I had to hop on my left foot or crawl. I was too sore to sit, too sore to stand, and too sore to lie down. The shittiest part is that I was also too sore to sleep.
(That is when my journey into a different dimension of exhaustion began. I have only slept one full night through since that ’93 holiday season. I average about 4 hours of broken-up sleep a night when I am lucky. I have been through times like a 9 month stretch where I could only sleep 15 minutes twice a day. I was in so much pain I couldn’t let anything touch me, including chairs or my bed. I’d have to stand there for 23 ½ hours a day, often collapsing to the floor from the exhaustion and inability to hold myself up, but too much pain to sit down or crawl into my bed. When I would collapse like that I would get stuck down on the floor…too sore get up. Aside from dealing with the impact from hitting the floor, which inevitably made things worse, my dilemma from there was that the longer I was down there the worse it hurt, and the worse it hurt it was harder to get back up. I’d try getting up and pain would knock me back down. I didn’t like being stuck on the floor like that. The kind of toll that that takes on your body is quite fascinating. It is truly not a measurable or comprehendible thing. I have exhaustion laced in my soul and body beyond thought. It only gets worse with time too.)
When I saw the specialist in January he told me I had a rare specific kind of arthritis called Reiter’s Syndrome. He also said there was no cure, and that I would be like that for life, so get used to it.
I’m trying to keep this short, so needless to say, I was tripped the fuck out! I had only been 20 for a month, and I didn’t want to feel like that for another minute let alone the rest of my life, but that is when the journey began.
Since that fall of 1993, this is what has happened…
I have three different kinds of arthritis:
-Reiter’s Syndrome (1993)
I have nasty arthritis in every joint in my body…even my face and skull, jaw, etc; as well as all my tendons and ligaments. (They are supposed to be like elastics or whatever, but mine are hardening and solidifying, which is why I am so rigid lookin’.) My right hand is also a different kind of fucked. (The rheumatoid one)
Outside of my arthritis shit that hits everywhere in my body I also have osteoporosis, mystery stomach issues, and a currently a hernia that they fucked up last year and is now even worse. I have damage to my ears too, but that’s my fault.
Music is the only thing that didn’t hurt, and is the thing that has kept my sanity together. Aside from that I love it, everything happened on the Grateful Dead tour: the cold, the flu, and the changes after that. Their music has been such medicine for me…the only thing that has felt good. I don’t get to go on vacations from my pain and exhaustion. It’s there every second of every day…even in my broken up sleep. I have taken a lotta flack for the depth of my love of the Grateful Dead’s music over the years, but my connection with it is directly tied into the pain and collapse in my body and the only medicine that makes it a bit better.
(I’ve never understood why people give me shit about that. I mean…it’s only fuckin’ music, who gives a shit what someone likes and doesn’t like!)
I’ve spent year’s worth of my life bed-ridden. I’ve been on a cane. (which was a great thing for an air guitar) I’ve had to crawl instead of walk. I’ve choked on my food when too sore to swallow. I’ve almost suffocated with my mouth open because my body can freeze in pain making my lungs unable to function to let air in and out. It hurts my skin for clothes to touch it. My kidneys hurt. My liver hurts. My bones hurt. My muscles feel all ripped and torn. (Like proper pulled or torn muscles…I have had those through my athletic life. If you know me well, you know how much fun I make of all the pansy-assed professional athletes who sit out for those.) It hurts me to breathe. It hurts to go through the motion of eating and swallowing. My ears hurt. Then there are all my joints, tendons and ligaments, plus the fusion and thinning of my bones.
There is nothing on my body that doesn’t hurt inside and out…and then you lace the indefinable exhaustion within all of that. Through everything, the thing I hate the worst of all is the vicious headaches I can get from involuntary screaming in pain so loud from shots of pain from outta nowhere. (I feel like I have drunken down a few lakes worth of water from all the times that had happened when I am swimming.)
Between Western and Eastern natural and allopathic medicine, I’ve seen well over 200 healers...Specialists, Therapists, Technicians, Nurses…all that shit. I’ve been a guinea pig from the start because no one has seen anyone like me. When we were looking at my x-rays once, one of my chiropractors told me I deserved an award for how messed up I am. (I miss seeing her. She’s awesome! )
Through all the therapies and shit, I’m the guy that when something works on everyone, it doesn't work on me, so I just toughen up and roll with it. I could never count the times I get told, “I don’t know how you do it,” but what people don’t understand is that all the pain in my body, that’s the easy part. I just wanna go out and play.
(Above three photos by Phil Best - September, 2015 - www.bestphotos.ca)
I’ve left people mystified when I have done things like the 81 triathlons/duathlons I did in under 4 months through brutal hypothermic and frozen conditions while working full time. To me, it was nothing though. It was all limited and fractionalized to me because I couldn’t do it in a strong body charge the way my spirit knows how to. I have skied for one season since 1992. It was when I worked at Whitewater in 2008/09. It was kinda fun to be on skis again, but even when I was skiing through waist deep powder, which was a lifelong dream of mine, it was still boring because I couldn’t throw myself off of cliffs and huge jumps. I likened it to having to surf in a wave tank on the beach at Pipeline while all my friends were out in the ocean charging the fat waves. Who wouldda though skiing in waist deep powder could be such a mental torture?!
sleep with movies on so they take over my dreams, because if I sleep in silence I virtually always dream about skiing off cliffs, leading triathlons, tearing up a hockey rink, or dunkin’ balls…feeling great…then I wake up into my reality saddened in my soul that I don’t get to do that, instead I am just gibbled and fucked.
The big things I do that inspire a lotta people are nothing to me because it’s all just falling short of what could have been. Sure, that might be the wrong way to look at things, but it’s ingrained in me and will never leave. As long as I have breath in my body, I will be a gnarly-ass athlete lookin’ for the next intense thing for myself; but no matter how epic it may or may not be, it will always be falling short of what I know I have inside me if I only had the chance. That’s where the real pain lives, and it is in a place that transcends anything my body can throw at me. My body has robbed me of so much, but when it gives me a little window, I’m divin’ through that fucker and goin’ for it the way I can carrying the weight of a fractured heart on my shoulders while I do.
Posted on Facebook September 8, 2017
24 Years ago today I walked out of a Grateful Dead show in Ohio that left me with a cold as I walked through a rain soaked parking lot in bare feet and no shirt. A few weeks later my cold turned into the flu when I was in Boston at a bunch more Dead shows with Beef, and Bri. I had to miss Jerry Garcia Band shows later in the fall because I was throwing up and my body started getting bad pains in my spine and pelvis. (No "Shining Star" or "The Maker" for me.) I wasn't missin' the Dead's winter tour though, so I went out to California with Garb and Beef. (We met up with LBS and Brent Lawrence in L.A., and is where I met Stymie. :) ) I had to fly home early because real bad shit was happening in my body. (Garb and I flew together.) I went straight from the airport to the hospital for x-rays and more tests. I kept passing out on the x-ray table, and they were getting frustrated they had to keep waking me up to turn me over. I didn't care. By Christmas I could hardly walk or barely move from agonizing pain throughout my entire body. Official diagnosis in January...fucked for life. Get used to it.
I was 19 when I got the cold that triggered my collapse and robbed my body from my life in an instant. (Have to add in genetic markers and such to the cold and flu) I liked to have my fun, but I was healthy and strong, and in an instant it was all gone. Nothing in my entire body doesn't hurt terribly, and I have only slept one night through since then. I've made the best of it for what is left, all I see is the potential for what could have been, and it leaves me with a ripped off feeling because I know what I would really have been capable of otherwise.
Cherish your body for the miraculous gift it truly is. Nourish your potential to manifest your dreams as much as you can!
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.