Hi everybody and welcome to this week’s episode of Attendance Bias. I am your host, Brian Weinstein. Today’s guest is author Peter Conners. If you’re a reader of nonfiction and enjoy books about The Grateful Dead or the jamband scene at large, chances are that you’ve at least heard of Peter and hopefully read some of his books. Some of his titles include: “JAMerica: The history of the jam band and festival scene,” “White Hand Society: The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary and Allen Ginsberg,” “Cornell ‘77: The Music, The Myth, and the Magnificence of the Grateful Dead’s Concert at Barton Hall,” “Growing up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead,” and “Beyond the Edge of Suffering: a book of prose poems.” You’ll notice that these titles have at least two things in common: first, they all somehow revolve around the Grateful Dead or the Jamband scene, and second, they’re all works of non fiction.
However, Peter’s latest release is a novel–his first published fictional work. It is called “Merch Table Blues,” and by the time this episode airs, it should be available everywhere you get books. Listen carefully to the first segment of this interview, and you’ll hear more specific websites where you can find it and simultaneously support independent booksellers. Also, you can find relevant links in today’s show notes.
For today’s episode, Peter picked “Chalkdust Torture” from July 20, 1991 at Arrowhead Ranch. I was thrilled when he chose that track and that show because it’s lived in my mind’s eye for so long. The 1991 horn tour provided so many of my first tapes so long ago that the Arrowhead Ranch shows in particular have gained legendary status. The first night of that two-night run opened with “Chalkdust,” which was a new song at that point, and the band never looked back. It was satisfying to hear about that show and that venue after listening to it for so many years.
So let’s join Peter Conners to talk about his writing process, upstate New York, and how Phish in 1991 was the same band, and yet entirely different, from the band we know today, as we discuss Phish’s performance of “Chalkdust Torture” from July 20, 1991 at Arrowhead Ranch in Parksville, New York.
Audio used in today's episode
Manic D Press