I had what might be called "hippie tendencies" when I was in high school and for a couple years in college. I bought corduroys from the thrift store and had a huge poster of Bob Dylan on my wall. I bought a ton of Grateful Dead albums. I loved them, although I didn't ever love them in the way truly dedicated Grateful Dead fans love them. Like, when musicians jam for 45 minutes I kind of want to kill myself and therefore I can't ever be a huge Grateful Dead fan - or Phish fan for that matter (I used to like Phish a lot too, but honestly, they piss me off now - that's another post, though).
I listened to The Dead a lot and I totally dug their laid back vibe. I got all into the song "China Cat Sunflower" because it was so catchy! And awesome! And I was a free human being with dreams! Dreams! Even before I became interested in the music, I tried my best at hippie-type mourning when Jerry Garcia died by lighting a stick of incense on on my windowsill in my bedroom and I sat there just thinking about it all and trying to make myself cry. What in the name of God was I thinking? Incense smells terrible, I mean seriously, I hate it.
I don't know when the change took place. Maybe it was when I realized expensive jeans really flatter your body more than $2 jeans. Maybe it was when I got into the music I'm into now, or when I stopped trying to be a vegetarian (because I loved the Earth and the animals that inhabited the Earth) for the hundreth time. Anyway, the point is I got over it. I got over the Grateful Dead slowly, but surely.
Here's the thing about this one. I do I respect their talent. Also, I don't hate all Grateful Dead songs. I think "Workingman's Dead" is a really good album, and I think "Ripple" is one of the best songs of all times.
But when I hear some of their stuff, for real, I CANNOT sigh loudly enough, as in "J, if you do not turn this off RIGHT NOW..." "China Cat Sunflower" is particularly offensive. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling I get except that to say feeds my dislike of hippie-ness for the sake of hippie-ness, i.e. wearing long skirts and not washing your hair just because you like the way it looks. Come ON. Get a grip.
It's kind of like the time my brother, Vinnie, came to visit us in North Carolina and we went to Weaver Street Market, which is actually a really great place with organic foods, good coffee and baked goods, the whole deal. But weird nonsense just breeds on the place's lawn...girls in loose clothing hoola-hooping, people dancing to the music in their head. And that's fine and all, but Vinnie, who does not like to mince words, checked out the scene and explained to me that it made him want to beat everybody up, like seriously start some fights. I laughed, and told him that was mean, that these were nice people, but somewhere deep inside, I totally, totally got it.