09 May 2007

Some Pricey Guitar Strings

$16,800 for a collection of guitar strings? Oh, but they're Jerry's strings, as in Jerry Garcia, the drug-addicted guitar wizard and paterfamilias of legendary hippie band, the Grateful Dead. Jerry's name proved sufficient to inflate the value of two old guitars and a bunch of junk to $1.1 million, which would only seem over the top or downright loony if you'd never met any hardcore Deadheads. Having spent a number of my formative years in San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin and Mendocino, however, I've had an extensive exposure to Jerry's Kids.

Some of them are essentially good-natured, and I've even met a few who had the ability to laugh at themselves and their obsession, but there were others - like the one whose face turned bright red and who was literally jumping up and down with rage because I'd mentioned in a Lookout article that Jerry was looking a bit, well, obese - who bordered on the feral and/or demented. After the Dead's demise, some of these more unhinged individuals, no longer having a band to follow around, settled down in places like Garberville and Arcata, where they may still be infesting public space with pleas for spare change and impromptu stoned-out jamfests.

I'm assuming they weren't the ones forking over thousands of dollars for empty speaker boxes and similar miscellany, unless the spare-changing business is doing better than I'd imagined. Seriously, I've met all sorts of Deadheads who've gone on to become lawyers, professors, financial managers, even doctors and shrinks, and anyway, given my own somewhat unusual and obscure musical tastes, who am I to judge?

Anyway, while in the past I've gotten quite a bit of mileage out of ridiculing the Dead and their camp followers, I've had to have a bit of a rethink, to the point where a few songs from the band's country-ish era (American Beauty and Workingman's Dead) nestle happily amid the pop-punk, doowop, big band and Hank Williams in my daily shuffle. I don't think I'll be accumulating any of their memorabilia, though, since for the last few years I've been all about trying to get rid of junk rather than collecting more of it.

Giving me one more reason to kick myself when Green Day/Op Ivy/Lookout Records souvenirs start bringing in the big bucks, but hey, you're looking at the guy who once had a near-complete collection of 1954-56 baseball cards, all vanished into the dumpster or some even less salubrious destination when I "outgrew" that sort of thing. But hey, if it weren't for clowns like me throwing away all the valuable stuff, it would never have become rare enough to be valuable. So I think you rich collector geeks owe us a percentage.

5 comments:

a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

Wow, you're quite hateful towards Deadhead. You really shouldn't generalize and those who don't jive with your way of living, is it really right to ridicule them?

mike from st. louis said...

fyi -- this person lists his occupation as "human being."

p.s. larry, you've now used the term "feral" three times in the past week. can i now safely picture you sitting, wide-eyed and enthralled (not unlike a deadhead stunned into ecstasy by mid-tempo blues-based dinosaur music) as the word "feral" circles around your head?

Larry Livermore said...

::Wow, you're quite hateful towards Deadhead. You really shouldn't generalize and those who don't jive with your way of living, is it really right to ridicule them?::

Yes.

Larry Livermore said...

::p.s. larry, you've now used the term "feral" three times in the past week::

Thank you for keeping track. I once counted Oscar Wilde using the word "tremulous" seven times in the first half of The Picture Of Dorian Gray and grew very indignant about that, so I have no defense for my overuse (I'd say once a week would be acceptable; would you agree?) of "feral." Except perhaps for my time spent in Australia, where the word is fairly common currency, both as adjective and noun, when referring to crusties, hippies, and, yes, Deadheads. But I'll watch my step from now on, and, failing that, thank you for watching it for me.

Jessie from SLC said...

"Having spent a number of my formative years in San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin and Mendocino, however, I've had an extensive exposure to Jerry's Kids."

Oh this gave me one of the best laughs in a long time.