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PMoondancer
Platinum Boarder
Posts:1830

Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102183 2 years, 8 months ago
You are an Angel who plays like One

We love you Barry!

Our lives would be bereft without the gifts you share

and at time when we watch and hear you play, the music of the spheres is heard, and delights the soul.

Love,
Paige

From "The Best Damn Band You've Never Heard of" by Doug Fogel

..."That year, 1994, the DNB did three tours - two on the East Coast and one in Oregon.

"Gigs, gigs, gigs, gigs, gigs...it was a great tour," Nelson says, "But guess what? You had to brace yourself emotionally because some of the gigs had like, three people...12 people would be common.

"But we'd look at ourselves and say, 'Okay, we'll just keep playing, we can't expect everything, it's a new band.' So we just kept hittin' at it."

After the first couple of tours, he took a cassette tape of band highlights to his good friend Jerry Garcia.

"He's standing there on his big stairs," Nelson recalls. "We're talkin' a little bit and I hand him this tape and he's looking at it with his glasses real close and he says (perfect imitation of Garcia's voice), 'Is this you?'

"He puts it in his pocket, and later on I came and talked to him about it and he said, 'It's really great stuff.'"

Years before, Nelson had given Garcia a tape of his new songs, which featured Nelson playing guitar and singing, with the sequencer filling in the rest of the music.

Garcia had loved it and told him, "You gotta do something with that."

And so now he had with his new band. But the turnouts to their shows were so small! What, he asked Garcia, should he do about it?

He remembers Garcia telling him, "The way I see it, you just keep drawing until the page is all black. And then you tear off that page and you go to the next page and you start a drawing and you keep drawing and drawing and drawing and drawing until it's just covered with ink.

"And then you keep doing that (because) sooner or later somebody's gonna get it, and then when you feel that feeling - someone is getting it - play to them...just play to them."

Garcia's advice had a deep impact on Nelson.

"I thought, 'Wow!'" Nelson says. "That just sums it up, man.

"That's what kept me together in those early days when we didn't have a chance."

While he could have gone out and hired a promoter from the music industry, the band had made a commitment to never sell out to commercial interests.

"Usually when you do that," he says, "what happens is the industry eats you alive, chews you up and spits you out."

Instead they played what they wanted, confident their efforts would be appreciated.

"That's my first thing as an artist," Nelson says. "It has to be based on integrity.

"You've got to be true to your values."

***

Jasper and Paige MoonDancer had traveled around the country going to Grateful Dead shows for over 15 years. But now they sat in front of a TV, numb. They'd just heard the news that Jerry Garcia had died.

They figured their days of chasing the music as Dead Heads were over.

They packed up their purple touring bus - an old school bus with the top of a VW van welded on top - and headed out of Albuquerque toward Northern California.

It was a long, quiet trip.



David Nelson Band members and some fans pose
with Jasper and Page MoonDancer's touring bus in 1996

Photo courtesy of Dave Roberts

In Santa Cruz, they pulled over and saw an interesting poster tacked up to a telephone pole. It announced that a Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan tribute concert - which they later learned had been scheduled before Garcia died - was to be held at Palookaville in Santa Cruz that evening.

They decided they might as well go, so they parked their bus in front of the venue and hung out.

As showtime drew near, they saw some guys hauling speakers and instruments from a truck, so they helped them unload.

It was David Nelson and his band.

After helping them, Jasper and Paige - still shellshocked over Garcia's death - went inside with low expectations for the show.

But the DNB proved exceptional. Jasper and Paige were thunderstruck and found themselves at the front of the stage, whirling around to the music with abandon.

In the middle of the set, with Sless wailing on guitar and the band jamming for all it was worth, Nelson's microphone fell right into Jasper's hands. He handed it up to Nelson and pointed to his psychedelic bus, which was clearly visible through a window.

"You see that bus out front there?" he shouted up to Nelson. "You're on it!"

He and Paige were rejuvenated. They now had hope that the DNB would fill the music void that Garcia's death appeared to have created.

Now their bus had reason to live.

Some months afterward, Sony TriStar Studios invited them to a private screening of a soon-to-be-released documentary about Dead Heads. It was called "Tie-Dyed - Rock n' Roll's Most Devoted Fans," which prominently featured the couple.

When they arrived, they were delighted to see Nelson there. After the screening, they talked for awhile.

"What did you ever want from Jerry?" Nelson asked them.

"Just a ticket," Jasper said.

Then he told Nelson about their adventures while touring to see the Dead, about picking up every Dead Head hitchhiker they had room for, about how they'd helped him fix their bus when it broke down, about all the brotherhood they'd experienced on the road.

Finally, Nelson said, "You want a ticket? Well, you've got that with me."

When Jasper and Paige got home, they told all their friends about the great new band they had just discovered. Some of them would join the couple on tours to see the band whenever - and wherever - they played."
Last Edit: 2 years, 8 months ago by PMoondancer .
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chester, funky420, scar1et_f1re, SunshineSue, FurthurFlower67, rockinbob, JAugustW
SunshineSue
Platinum Boarder
Posts:31275
Life is sweeter for this!

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102189 2 years, 8 months ago
Have a very Happy Birthday, Barry!!

Paige, thanks for the wonderful tale; amazing how one always finds what one needs when you least expect it.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Paige MoonDancer
Paige MoonDancer
Senior Boarder
Posts:477

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102191 2 years, 8 months ago
Life continues to amaze me Sue:)

Here's one of Jessica, myself, Barry and friends in Dec 2010...for the scrapbooks;)

pointarenacdnbandfamily2010.jpg
Last Edit: 2 years, 8 months ago by Paige MoonDancer.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chester, SunshineSue
wlewis
Platinum Boarder
Posts:6472

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102194 2 years, 8 months ago
give me sless or give me death
who else is gonna bring you, a broken arrow?
The following user(s) said Thank You: Paige MoonDancer
FurthurFlower67
Platinum Boarder
Posts:5021
Good Love!

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102195 2 years, 8 months ago
How awesome! This made me smile!
Dreams are lies...it's the dreaming that's real!!!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: Paige MoonDancer
the highway terror
Platinum Boarder
Posts:6651
{({({({({(Health Vibes For Bobby)})})})})}

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102198 2 years, 8 months ago
happy birthday to barry sless !
Can't Live that Negative Way, Make Room for the Positive Day !
The following user(s) said Thank You: Paige MoonDancer
Paige MoonDancer
Senior Boarder
Posts:477

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102200 2 years, 8 months ago
dnbpointarenacdnbfamily2010.jpg
The following user(s) said Thank You: Chester, SunshineSue
rockinbob
Platinum Boarder
Posts:1467

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102204 2 years, 8 months ago
Happy Birthday Barry! Paige THANKS for the great story! God Bless and Merry Christmas!!
Aint No Time To Hate, Barely Time To Wait.........
The following user(s) said Thank You: PMoondancer
PMoondancer
Platinum Boarder
Posts:1830

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102205 2 years, 8 months ago
rockinbob wrote:
Happy Birthday Barry! Paige THANKS for the great story! God Bless and Merry Christmas!!


God Bless you Rob
Merry Christmas to all:)

And

Happy Holy Daze;)
Chester
Moderator
Posts:32811
More or less in line

Re: Happy Birthday Barry Sless

#102207 2 years, 8 months ago
Happy Birthday barry.
I can't come down, it's plain to see.
I can't come down, I've been set free.
Who you are, and what you do,
don't make no difference to me.
The following user(s) said Thank You: PMoondancer
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