Back when I initially started listening to the Grateful Dead, or rather following them, a friend of mine somehow became friends with a man named Dan. My friend used to get all of our tapes from this guy. He was a taper, and the way my friend, (I’ll call him) David, explained him I was kind of scared to meet the guy. Often times, we would get tapes within a week of a show. This sounds crazy in an era when you can get a CD copy of a show you just saw on the way out of the venue. Also, listening to shit on tapes. Come on.
(yes that’s me wearing a “Jamin (sic) With Jerry” shirt)
At one point, David took me over to Dan’s to pick up some tapes. The only reason I remember this guy and story is I recently drove by near where he lived. So we pull up to this small ranch house in Lynn, Massachusetts. David mentioned we were supposed to just “go in”. What David didn’t tell me is we would have to walk through the kitchen and see something horrible. There in a torn old nightgown was a young heavyset woman sitting at a table. Her face gave away that she was either blind, severely retarded or both. She was sitting there picking at a plate that had what looked like what a plate that used to have baked pork chops on it. It was all over her face and hands. Needless to say this was at a time when I was pretty much listening to The Dead and smoking quite a bit of marijuana. I was probably high as a kite when we walked through that kitchen and I’m sure I was probably standing with mouth agape, eyes half shut startled.
We made our way to the basement where Dan would be. My initial impression was he looked kind of like a cliche of a used car dealer…or “Artie Fufkin from Polymer Records”
David had mentioned he was a bit off, and although I am not making fun of OCD here, this guy was out of control. His face up close was all raw and red and clean shaven. I noticed razors around the room randomly so I assumed maybe he was an obsessive shaver. The room was cluttered with piles of papers, little stacks of rubber banded index cards and of course boxes and boxes of Maxell XLII-S blank tapes everywhere. Amongst the clutter on the floor, in the corner of the room was what David and I eventually ended up calling “the toy” It was one of those fake vaginas that you plug into a wall. For the same reason I will probably never fuck a robot, I can’t imagine putting my rock hard cock into something that is plugged into a wall. That’s just me though. Anyway, the discovery of this thing surely brought on some elbow nudging.
When you talked to Dan about the tapes, he was one of the early audiophile type so he would be telling you things that would fly over your head fast like speeding bullet. I remember him being serious about the low end and making sure your levels were down as “Phil will blow your speakers”. Phil Lesh is the bass player for the Grateful Dead, and sure he has probably blown a speaker or two in his time.
Over the next few years we would go by Dan’s after a tour and get tapes of shows we heard were particularly good and that kind of thing. Oh, the index cards…I remember at one point David and I were going to Hartford, CT to see the band and asked him what the best way to go would be. He pulled a stack of those index cards out and flipped through them eventually finding what would be “Hartford Coliseum” with turn by turn directions listed on the card, exact time it would take to get there from his house, miles away, etc.
We eventually lost touch with Dan, and then CD’s happened, and then Jerry died of course so who knows what happened to him. I know he worked in the mental health field and that house he lived in was his parents house but they had died so it was him and his sister. Oh yeah, the porn. How could I forget about the porn?! The porn went hand and hand or perhaps “cock and electrical socket” with “the toy” The porn was kind of the whole point of this story. Also in piles all over the room were video tapes, still in their cases, out of the cases, flattened video cases on the floor and then…eww just thinking about this is making me upset….wadded up tissues all over the place in that room. It was like some sort of Orgasmic Grateful Dead Shaving and High End Audio Tapes Palace of Masturbation this basement room. And that is where this story can probably end I guess.