Most people assume that hippies are easy going people, at least that is the most familiar to me. You know, that "all who wander are not lost" type, the flowing skirts and patchwork pants, the "yeah mans" and "Dudes!". The people who will drive from city to city collecting riders along the way as they work their way to the next festival or "show" of some band that plays 30 minute songs 3 nights in a row and the songs are "never played the same way twice".
I know these people. I spent most of the 90s in and among them. I was never as hardcore as some but I got it, and I still get it, but there is one thing I have learned along the way about these folks. Many are nowhere as near the care-free soul you might expect. Some of these "Deadheads" and "Phish Phans", "Brothers and Sisters" and dreads are the most uptight, unsatisfied people you will ever meet.
What inspired this post is the Deadhead who works at a coffee shop I frequent. She's about my age, maybe a bit older, cute in that plain jane, Deadhead kind of way but she is so depressing to talk with. She's like Eeyore. Its not what she says its how she says it. She hates everything, she misses the people and the places she's been and she misses "the scene". After a couple of chit chats with her I realized she wasn't the first person I met like this. In my years traveling to see these bands I met all sorts along the way but now I have some distance from the scene and the music. With that distance comes perspective. Looking back at the people I met there were so many who used the music as a veil. They weren't happy and they thought the music would make them happy. Now, I have to say I wasn't the happiest person during the 90s but I was never under the illusion that music & scene would make me happy. Shoot, being in the scene sometimes made it worse.
We all look for ways to define ourselves and music can quite often be the vehicle for self-discovery but this music was typically happy music - the exploratory nature, the non-sensical lyrics, the positive melodies and the peace and love sensibility - and so many would attempt to replace their dour being with the glory and joy of what they heard and/or experienced. Its sad to me for many reasons but mostly because I think it is a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of how music can be transcendental. I mean, who am I to say how anyone other than myself gets satisfaction about how to enjoy music but I think the music should help discover or understand not replace what you are feeling or who you are.
Anyway, it bugs me and saddens me to see folks who talk the talk of "going to shows" and "jerry this" and "trey that" but don't actually try to feel the music...
They're a band beyond description
Like Jehovah's favorite choir.
People joinin' hand in hand
While the music plays the band.
Lord, they're setting us on fire.