Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Other One

I watched the Netflix original documentary "The Other One" over the weekend, today's post is mostly about that. I'm sure there will be some bus / travel content mixed in somewhere. The documentary is a somewhat autobiographical look at the life and times of guitarist Bob Weir.

First, an Apology
the man, the legend
After watching the documentary, I think I understand now why Bob stopped touring. In my blast of the Fare Thee Well shows (see: Fare Thee Okay), I kicked up a rumor that maybe Bob is sick. Maybe he is, how the hell would I know? In the documentary, you can see small glimpses into his daily life with his family. I hadn't really thought much about what an endless life on the road must be like. Personally, I'd hit the road, catch a few shows and be back in my normal routine after being gone for maybe a week. Bob spent most of his life from 1970 through 2013 on the road. I feel the heel for actually getting upset that he was going to stop. I have teenage kids, so I can absolutely relate to his unspoken motivation: I've spent too many years away from them, and I only have a few more years before they leave me to start their own lives. It totally makes sense.

Maybe I'm in an apologetic mood. Watching Jerry's daughter Trixie describe the burden Jerry felt really got me. Similar to my guilt over wanting Bob to tour more, I feel awful knowing that my friends and I who simply wanted "more" were part of the dynamic that led to Jerry's demise. Of course, Jerry owned his decisions, and after the diabetic coma in 1986 he chose to re-introduce heroin, but how great must the pressure have been? 20+ years under the radar to have In the Dark and Touch of Gray to launch them into stadiums. I was just a teenage kid, not knowing any better when the change happened, so I'm not sure what to do with this feeling. I'll go with "I'm sorry Trixie. No other guitarist could make me smile the way your dad could. It was magical and better than any other stimulus available at a Dead show."

Where's Phil?
As present as Bob's relationship with Jerry was in the documentary, his relationship with Phil was absent. As a bass player, I was expecting a great deal about how he and Phil worked together. Consider too, how many years the 2 of them toured together as Furthur. I think Bob looked at these later years as more therapeutic than anything else, working through his mourning for Jerry, the man best described as an older brother figure. Bob and Phil spent so many of those late years together, I'm surprised and a little disappointed that Phil wasn't involved in the documentary project at all. As I think back, I don't think he was even mentioned by name, which is a little weird. Phil was effectively lumped in with Keith, Donna and John Constanten.

John Barlow
Some of the best parts of the documentary, to me, didn't last long enough: the parts that focused on Bob's approach to the instrument. Maybe the producers and director thought that the average audience wouldn't be as interested. Personally, that's what I really wanted to hear: how did he construct songs with Barlow, where did Barlow go (why did he and Bob stop working together), what are Bob's triggers for changing his voicings on songs, etc. Still, getting a long-overdue reminder of his humanity and personal limits was welcomed. It was a good watch, and I'll watch it again. Knowing Bob's current life situation, I think it's time we went to him rather than continue to wait for him to come to us.

Ok, some bus stuff
I spent some time working on scraping the chrome off those 15" rims. I used a Dremel to soften up the skin and then used a putty knife to get under the edge and peel away some chrome-skin. Overall, 2 rims are almost completely cleared of chrome. As time presents itself this week, I'll hopefully get after the other 2. I am not up for driving too far on those old tires. They are over 10 years old, and spent far too much of their life sitting in one place. After the tire fail in Wheeler (see:Santa Clara by way of Wheeler) I'd rather drive contemporary transportation until the rims are cleared, painted and new rubber slapped on. Net-net, the bus may not be operational again this dry season. Oh well.

As always, thanks for following along. I'll be keeping my eyes and ears out for a Bob Weir show announcement. Maybe he'll be ready to hit stage about when Hapy the wonderbus is ready to hit the road. It would be really great to have the two in the same location one more time.

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