Q: How about “Ripple”?
A: We were in Canada on that train trip [the Festival Express, 1970] and one morning the train stopped and Jerry was sitting out on the tracks not too far off, in the sunrise, setting “Ripple” to music. That’s a good memory. That was one of the happy times, going on that train trip.
Janis [Joplin] was the queen of that trip. One of my greatest memories is having breakfast with her on the train. She was having Southern Comfort and scotch, and she asked me if I heard that song by Kristofferson, “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,” and she sang it in my ear. Can you imagine?
Well today is 3 years gone and wow, so much has happened since the worst phone call ever in Auroville.
I won’t get into all the details but do want to catch you up on all the geo-locations (and other memorials) your ashes are distributed… for the time being at least.
Overall, you’ll be happy to know we’ve added a few more stamps to your figurative passport and there are many places scattered around the world where you are especially remembered.
We’ll start the world tour with the most obvious and familiar locations in Utah:
First, the Celebration of Life Monument in SLC right by the (fabulous) library. This wall took some doing to make it all happen but worth the work and looks great.
Your entire full name with all the middle names is engraved on the wall and allll spelled perfectly!
While dispatches and re-caps of various outings and events exist elsewhere in this archive, life is so wonderful right now i don’t want to miss a thing or fail to appreciate the glorious mundane details of just existing.
As such, what follows are bits and pieces which don’t fit elsewhere, a round-up of miscellany and odds and ends and mild annotations.
Starting with the pleasantness of stopping for a coffee and receiving a free lil sandwich plate (and seeing Ryoko’s adorableness :)).
The internets instructs food photos be posted with frequency.
Thanks Shiro-Kuma (white bear) cafe.
Regarding recently deceased Robert Hunter, so much goodness and inspiration and an unreachable level.
I also feel if one passes without much pain, with most faculties intact, with family/pals at hand and over 72ish, that’s a solid exit. Hunter made 78. Even better with a legacy which will last centuries. My erstwhile doppelgänger member of GD collective as he was the one playing the role i play in my head.
Here’s the Warlocks of Tokyo singing Robert Hunter’s (and others’) songs. Some translated into Japanese. Ole Hunter didn’t like to change a syllable yet feel he’d dig hearing his loquacious poetry crossing language dogma.
More Robert Hunter
Robert Hunter Gave the Grateful Dead Its Voice
By Nick Paumgarten, New Yorker, October 1, 2019
Hunter was born Robert Burns and had a peripatetic childhood, including some time in a foster home. He took the surname of a stepfather. He had a flirtation, in the sixties, with Scientology and a problem, for a while, with speed. He was a seeker, a restless soul, an outsider. A friend of mine, on hearing of Hunter’s passing, told me that, in some ways, by his reckoning, Hunter had been dead all along. The man seemed to know something about death. After Garcia awoke from his coma, in 1986, Hunter had a new song for him, called “Black Muddy River.” Hunter, who rarely explained where his songs came from, told the writer Steve Silberman, in 1992, that the inspiration for it was his recurring dream of a “black, lusterless, slow-flowing Stygian river. . . . It’s vast and it’s hopeless. It’s death, with the absence of the soul. It’s my horror vision, and when I come out of that dream I do anything I can to counter it.” The lone Grateful Dead hit to come out of the post-coma period was a deceptively jaunty number, composed a half-decade earlier, called “Touch of Grey,” which Hunter worked up while suffering a wicked cocaine hangover. Hunter knew that cocaine was diabolical, and identified its arrival on the scene (around the time he wrote “Black Peter”) as the forbidden fruit to their Eden, but he didn’t always abstain. It may be that some of the wistful we-had-something-special-but-now-it’s-gone undertones of Hunter’s post-sixties songs—the golden-era stuff of “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty,” along with a slew of beloved songs the Dead never recorded in a studio, such as “Tennessee Jed,” “Brown-Eyed Women,” “Wharf Rat,” and “Ramble On Rose”—owe something to the regret that gnawed at Hunter over the effects of cocaine on the whole enterprise.
Robert Hunter’s Words Helped Bring Life To The Grateful Dead
Piotr Orlov, NPR, September 25, 2019
Grateful Dead’s Robert Hunter on Jerry’s Final Days: ‘We Were Brothers’
The ‘Touch of Grey’ songwriter shares intimate details from the partnership that defined his life: “We were just getting started”
By DAVID BROWNE, Rolling Stone, MARCH 11, 2015
The visionary wordsmith Robert Hunter takes to the stage.
By John Donohue, The New Yorker, July 14, 2014
“One sunny afternoon in London, in 1970, Hunter wrote the words to three magical Grateful Dead songs, “To Lay Me Down,” “Ripple,” and “Brokedown Palace.” He is a lyricist with few equals, and, together with Jerry Garcia, he conjured up the majority of the Dead’s original songs.”
Seeking literary hero to admire? Meet Robert Hunter, primary lyricist for the Grateful Dead, ergo:
Robert Hunter joined the Grateful Dead in the fall of 1967, when he arrived at a rehearsal just in time to write the first verse of the band’s classic “Dark Star.” Though he’d never play onstage, he became not only a genuine band member but its secret Ace in the hole. Though Bob Weir’s words for “The Other One” would endure, most of the band’s early verbal efforts would not; it was Hunter’s work that would elevate their songs from ditties to rich, complete stories set to song. Hunter had fallen into the Dead’s general scene in 1961 when he’d met Garcia in Palo Alto, and he’d played in several of Garcia’s early bluegrass bands. But he’d always thought of himself as a writer — probably a novelist — and it was only in 1967 that he fulfilled his personal destiny, and enriched the Dead’s. He’s gone on to write several books of poetry, and is currently at work on a novel.