Wow! I Can Keep Writing?

Ok here's where things get fun.
Episode One: Johnny’s disillusionment with college and the Delaware experiment. Or “how I learned to really Rock!”.

One quick note about high school. I can remember the exact moment i became part of the music counter culture of the 60's and 70's. I had always been fascinated by The Beatles. I had sung their songs as part of the cabaret i was in as a kid. And even studied them in Middle School during a music appreciation class. But it wasn't till my high school buddy Kevin gave me a mixed tape of their best songs that i began to weave music into my life. It was the first time where I would play a song, rewind it, and listen to the lyrics over and over until i knew what they were saying. It had a profound effect on me. My senior year, during the week of finals and graduation, my grandfather died on the West Coast ( I had run away from home my senior year of high school from California to New Jersey. But that's a whole different story.) I used this as an excuse to skate through the rest of school, took the train into Philadelphia to roam the streets at night, and just think about the big picture. I didn't really like my Grandfather. We butted heads alot. But the stubbornness he instilled in me remains today. It's the reason i won't grow up, cut my hair, and get a real job (as they say). I ended high school wearing a cutoff jean jacket, wearing round John Lennon specs, high, and never looking back.
I went o college the next year, but had already begun a career working backstage in theater hanging lights, building sets, skills that i had been honing since i was 13 or 14. I rationalized, "why am i going to school when i can make a living already?" So at the end of the summer following my 1st year of college, I was pretty much ready to get out of school which I never really liked despite being very good at it, getting straight A's. You want to know something? I almost went to Annapolis and the Naval Academy, having the grades and an "in" with the Governor of New Jersey (Tom Kean) having attended and mentored at The Governor's School of the Arts for two years in a row. What a different life i might have led. but back to "My introduction"

I was working "summer stock" theatre at Glassboro State College, as a Techie and debating whether to go to Virginia Tech (to chase Liz Long, my senior prom date and high school love for the past year) This being the latest school i had considered. But there, I would have been a small fish in a big lake, as opposed to staying S. Jersey and being a returning player of importance, in familiar settings at the smaller State College. I did neither, as i have indicated.
Taking a job at the Delaware Theater Co., I moved into a row house under renovation with my Boss Theresa (She 38 me 19!) I adapted well to the blue collar life, not just at the theater, but as a stage, light, and sound tech for touring acts in the area as well. I quit my job at DTC after a few months and took up being the roadie for The Bluerocks, a great band that “almost” made it. How I hooked up with these guys was classic. At 19, looking for a way into a rock and roll bar, I helped them load their equipment in to the club one evening. This was for their regular Thursday night gig (i did this before the bouncers started working the doors) and soon I was the guy who could get into any show, selling the line, “I’m with the Band”. Worked every time.
The soundman, “Rock” Hammer took me under his wing and taught me the “ins and outs” of setting up, mixing monitors, etc... and the next thing I know I’m working with the likes of Greg Allman, Dicky Betts, Bachman Turner Overdrive, the Dixie Dregs.... just to name a few. Largest show I worked: an estimated 100,000 + Tony Bennett concert for Delaware’s bicentennial. Loudest: Meatloaf at the Stone Balloon in Newark, Delaware. Those experiences, along with the earlier work I had done at a college outside of Atlantic City (and at Glassboro) which included a tour stop with a Russisan opera company, the Kirov Ballet, the Marsallis Bros., once again to name a few) had made me look pretty good on paper.My resume was impressive, and I thought I was headed places in the rock and roll world. I’d come a long way from the Hooters concert i worked at my High School which was the result of winning a radio contest proving we were the band's most loyal fan base. But something was missing. Hadn't quite figured it out yet, although I had started going to Dead Shows on a regular basis by then.
My relationship with Theresa had deteriorated by this time, and with my boss Rock’s referral, I moved out to the country (Kennett Square, PA across from the New Bolton Center, the University of PA’s vet facility) into an old three-story place called Dunleigh Castle. There, the landlord, Tim, turned me on to some exceptional bootlegs: The Dead, CSNY, It’s A Beautiful Day, Allmans, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd and the like. Hearing these live shows, combined with my experiences at the dozen or so Dead shows I had seen at the Spectrum, the Meadowlands, and Hampton Coliseum, my life had taken on a new flow. MUSIC was to be forever my only real calling. Not playing an instrument or singing, mind you (although I still fancy myself a crooner) but LISTENING TO & EXPERIENCING it. Connecting with the deeper symbolism and archetype I found in the music and lyrics of primarily 60’s and 70’s era S.F. scene bands. Many of these were introduced to me by Gabe, "The laid back guy " i refer to another story here on EP.. I remember fondly him quizzing me about who was playing on the radio. (Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Moody Blues come to mind) Bands, that to me, understood my psyche and were trying to communicate with me on some deeper level. It was if the music had some hidden message that I was supposed to unravel. I still feel that way today. I feel now, that despite all the work i did and shows I saw, that the work deciphering this enigma/hidden truth is really only beginning.
This is where things get a little hazy - but I pretty much remember that I was soon faced with the prospect of:
A. Continuing to work as a roadie, where I was quickly becoming jaded with the late night bar scenes, the bad bosses and hours, the booze and drugs, whatever...
B. Doing something really different in Rock and Roll and go on tour with a major act.... Was I really offered a job with Poison ? As well as The Allman Bros? I mean I did run in those circles. But like i said, things were kind of hazy around this time in my life.
C.Follow the Grateful Dead. And that's what I did I bought a one-way plane ticket to Minneapolis and struck out on my first Summer Tour, following them, my life changing forever.

"The bus came by and I got on, that's when it all began. There was Cowboy Neal, at the wheel, of the bus to "Never-Ever" land..."

You should have seen that kid. I had an old leather postman’s mailbag over one shoulder. A "bedroll" over the other, as i thought to myself, "Jack Kerouac had nothing on me…"

Another pause in the Introduction if You don't mind.
johnnybliss johnnybliss
41-45, M
Jul 25, 2010