Swatted like a fly. I got a knock on my door 10pm on a Weds. 10 years ago August 28th 2006. It was the Swat Team in full force, the ATF, the BSO, in full storm trooper gear. They sit me down in the middle of my apt. and put a gun to my head. I remember saying ” what are you looking for? ” as they ransacked the place. I was on probation hence they didn’t need a warrant or even probable cause. Like I said I was on probation so I didn’t even have any weed or anything illegal. They found my athame, a knife in a sheath in a tool box and not only said it was ” possession of a weapon ” but tried to get me to admit that I was going for it! Yeah right like the fucking SWAT Team comes to me house so I grab a knife, part of my Ren Fair costume it wasn’t even sharp. I had forgotten it was even in there. They charged me with a “technical VOP ” Violation of Probation and as you know in FL it’s come on Vacation, leave on Probation return on Violation.
So I was taken downtown ONCE AGAIN to the Iron Bar Motel, Fort Lauderdale’s Main Jail. That place really sucks. It’s the classic two tiered cellblock with metal tables in a main area with a t.v.. They keep you locked up in your cell most of the time.You’re stuck in a cage and it smells like a zoo. The way the idiots in their act you’d think it was a zoo. You can only watch so many episodes of COPS. My lawyer came to see me, now he was like “well you did have the knife” wtf? Who’s side was he on? I was obviously being railroaded and this is all he has to say? Oh right he’s already BEEN PAID.
They days wore on. Keep in mind I was a yoga teacher and Adjunct Faculty at a Medical School, Nova Southeastern School of Osteopathic Medicine, that had just started their fall semester. I could see the Downtowner from my cell window, just a week before I was playing there. I read anything I could get my hands on which wasn’t much. I signed up for anything that would get me out of my cell block for an hour or two. One day I heard about a ” Jesus cell ” in the Conte where there were better conditions but you had to do Bible study everyday and go to church. Even better they had a Preacher that came every week with a guitar and they sang in mass.
Well before you knew it I was born again. Yeah it was a bunch of Bible thumpers but there were better conditions at the Conte. I got to play Scrabble at night and before long I was playing for the Preacher every week. Were still friends to this day. When I got out I gave him guitar lessons. He had ass bad ass choir of 6 singing jailbirds and I loved playing with them. The very last day they had a going away party for me in the rec yard. The Preacher had brought a guitar and had arranged for me to play. I can remember playing to like 60 convicts yelling & standing on tables as I sang all the parodies of the Christian songs we’d been singing. I don’t remember them now but ” Jesus B. Goode ” sung to the tune of Johnny B. Goode was one of them. It was like something out of a movie.
So they finally reinstated my probation. Can you believe they jammed me up for a month on this nonsense? I almost lost my job at Nova but didn’t. The fucking cops were on a Goddamn training exercise to go house to house searching for weapons. That’s why the ATF guy was there. He was training them. Who better to train on then people on probation that you don’t need a search warrant to bust down their door ( and stick a gun to their head.) They found a measly little knife with a five inch blade that wasn’t even sharp. ATF? WTF? What am I on your list? Did my Wacko in Waco song touch a nerve or was it the Medical Marijuana thing? Is someone making anonymous phone call again? Can you all please stop stop fucking with me…are you that afraid of my Athame?
yeah Dinosaurs are cool ( or were ) but unfortunately Caveman Dave is not. I first ran into him outside a Phish show in Philly selling PBR’s ( I should have known… ) Being a fellow travelling troubadour, I had put him up for a week when he was passing through South Florida on the way to the keys. ( actually I hooked him up with another place to stay too and even tried to help him get a few gigs… ) I had told him I was going to the Rainbow Gathering in Vermont that summer and that he should check it out so I wasn’t surprised to see him there. I was happy to see him. I knew it was his first gathering so I looked the other way when he had to bring in alcohol and then hung out at A Camp when his supply ran out. I was dismayed when he shit in the woods and wouldn’t use the shitter like everyone else. Like a lot of guys that go to gatherings for the first time, his main reason for being there seemed to be to see topless hippie chicks.
After the Rainbow I was headed up to Maine to record with a buddy of mine in his home studio. I wasn’t sure how I was getting there and needed a ride. I thought Dave might be interested in going too so I invited him. We drove all day but it was way further than my buddy told me it was. We drove late into the night and were still far, far away. I kept telling him we should stop and get a hotel and drive the rest of the way in the morning. I would pay for it! ( I was already paying for all the gas. ) But as I was soon to find out, he had to do everything his way.
So the directions I was given were to drive ’til 95 ends and then take US 1 north. It was about 2 o’clock in the morning when I saw the sign that said end of 95. I woke him up and then the next sign we saw was Welcome to Canada. There was no exit and now there was no where to turn around. I pulled over on the side of the road and walked up to the booth and told them what had happened. They laughed and were like ” it happens all the time, we’ll let you drive through and turn around. ” Which we did. Now we were driving up to the U.S. Border having driven maybe 100 feet into Canada. We told the U.S. Customs Officer, we had just turned around and there’s no doubt they saw we did but still they made us pull up and get out of the car. I thought for a minute that I should put the miniscule amount of weed I had down my pants but it wasn’t anywhere I could get to easily and thought they would just check our i.d.’s and we’d be on our way, but no.
They made us wait, while they ran our i.d.’s and one of the officers took quick look at the car. My heart sank when the officer came back with an arm load of knives that Dave had strewn about the car in plain sight. ” You both told me you didn’t have any weapons, ” he said. Oh shit here we go. To make a long story short, they kept us there for hours they went through the whole car which was full of all kinds of trash and stuff. They found a little bit of weed in my bag ( .03 grams ) which I admitted was mine and they found a little bit of weed Dave had. We weren’t sure what was going to happen next but we remained calm. They told us if we each paid a $500 fine, we could be on our way. I tried to pay with a credit card but they told me it was denied. Turns out my bank had just put a hold on it earlier that night, because of supposed ” suspicious activity.” Dave’s lucky I had a backup card or we’d both would have went to jail that night. You’d think he’d be thankful but after making it clear he had to intention of ever paying me back ( and being obnoxious and outstaying his welcome on my friend’s couch for a week ) he got up one morning and left me stranded in Bumfuck, Maine. Even worse he took all the recordings we had made. So the trip was pretty much a total loss and it cost me another small fortune to finally get back home.
I had told him he had to pay his own fine and that I was going to stop payment. I did give him the opportunity to at least make some kind of effort to pay me back but still he went on FB and started trashing me which is one thing but he called the police on me telling them a bullshit story to try and scare me! Now he says he ” wants peace.” I’m sick of people my mistaking kindness for weakness. Just because I’m a Rainbow Brother who actually does love everyone, it doesn’t mean I’m a doormat. And tell Dave I don’t appreciate him coming into the Gathering and acting like tourist. He lived like king for a week with free food and weed. He could have contributed in some way, work at kitchen or dig a shitter, something. I could understand if I was dealing with an adolescent or something but he’s 39! I’m done with the dude. If you let him sleep on your couch beware. So the motto of the story is Don’t be a Drainbow like Caveman Dave.
All this week I’ve been celebrating Jerry Days, what they call in Deadhead parlance, ” The Days Between ” ( in reference to a song titled that which you probably don’t know if your not a Deadhead, it was one of their last and a really good song not on any of their official releases, you should check it out. ) The days between his birthday on August 1st and the anniversary of his death on August 9th. He lived from 1942 – 1995 and I consider myself fortunate to have seen him with the Dead for a good 10 years. The band was celebrating their 30th Anniversary that last tour. And while the music had it’s moments, it was painful to see Jerry fading away.
What a long strange trip it’s been ( W.A.L.S.T.I.B. ) since my first show in ’84 at Merriwether Post Pavilion in Maryland. I have to admit I was dragged there kicking and screaming by a friend that had dropped out of high school to go on Dead Tour and came back a die hard head. I was more of a punk/metal fan back then and I remember saying ” Why would I want to see a bunch of old hippies play country music? ” ( funny Trey said in an interview something to that effect about his first show too ) Well you can probably guess the rest, I got dosed and danced my ass off and have been a Deadhead ever since.
My last show was a surreal show in ’95 in Tampa. I made it up to the third row to see Jerry squinting at a teleprompter and flubbing the words to songs he use to know by heart. The band was rocking but Jerry was clearly struggling up there. It was sad.
What can I say ol’ Jerr Bear touched my soul and enriched my life and his music still lives on. Twenty One years later Dead and Co. are out on tour turning on new heads and keeping the longtime fans happy. I think Jerry would be proud.