Deadhead in Prison

It was all about living
And the good folks of the earth
It was all about loving
This crazy accident of birth
It was all about traveling
And hearing those shoe-bells ring
It was all about dancing
And hearing the fat man sing

And it’s like a bad trip in hell
Stranded and broke
Twenty years in this cell
It’s like a life up in smoke

Once I sought vision
With a sweet gypsy tribe
It was about feeling
The pulse of a vibe
And sure I smoked kind bud
Did windowpane
And soaked up the beauty
Of the warm summer rain


I slept in the shadows
Of Golden Gate Park
Watched the moon shine
Felt the breeze in the dark
The whole world was mine
But I lived for a song
Now I’m caged in this cell
And the good days are gone


And I never hurt no one
Never did harm
Wouldn’t want to cause
Any undue alarm
I used to believe
In karma and fate
And it scares me to wonder
If there’s no time to hate


“Deadhead In Prison” first appeared on the Live At Club Passim CD in 2000.

As a young man, following around the Grateful Dead (the Deadheads called it “going on tour”), I saw many other young people get arrested for using or selling minor amounts of marijuana or psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms or LSD. People I knew went to prison for many years for these “crimes.” Other people I read about went to prison for even longer, for the same things, but were just unlucky enough to be caught in the wrong state, got the wrong judge, fell victim to the wrong “tough on crime” political race.