Books by Dean Budnick
Bill Graham once said, “They’re not the best at what they do, they’re the only ones who do what they do.” Graham was referring to the Grateful Dead, but this also applies to the legion of fans who traveled from show to show across America with the band. Might As Well captures the rich tapestry of the Grateful Dead scene in the late eighties by presenting an engaging account of one evening both inside and outside of a concert at New Jersey’s Meadowlands. Events unfold through the eyes of seven characters, including three-year-old Stella attending with her Deadhead mother, prep school hippie Steven on spring break with his crew, Taper Ted on hand to record the music alongside his skeptical brother, and trusty, crusty vendor Bagel Bob approaching his second decade on tour. Inspired in part by a true-crime incident involving a still-unsolved fatality, Might As Well explores the challenges, complications, and charms of this environment with insight, empathy, and humor.
Like the Dead scene itself, there is more than meets the ear, as the story also encompasses miracles and near misses, the killer and the kind, doses and duds, female Muppets, the Fairy Wing Guild, the stall sisterhood, the merits of Charles Bukowski and Marcel Proust, the connections between Full House and ALF, seat surfing, scurvy, setlist games, Schoolhouse Rock, Shakedown Street, tape trees, the Philsbury Doughboy, Three Bean Monty, Crock-Pots, counties, custies, dog liberation, DATs, Griffin Dunne films, and fire dancing. After all, the circus is in town.