From: Fred Lager

Re: Americone Dream/Cherry Garcia

Bob, Cherry Garcia was suggested to us by an anonymous postcard from two Dead heads in Portland, Maine. “You know it will sell,” they wrote, “because Dead paraphernalia always sells. We are talking good business sense here, plus it will be a real hoot for the fans.”  The flavor was launched on Washington’s birthday, 1987. At the time the Company only had sales of $20 million and was at the start of a national rollout that would unfold over the next two years.  With limited marketing dollars it was promoted with small ads in Rolling Stone and Golden Road, the Dead fan magazine. We also printed posters that featured Ben and Jerry, who were big fans of the band, in tie-dyed T-shirts, under the heading “Euphoria Again.” Just so there would be no missing the connection, the words “Cherry Garcia” on the pint lid were written in the psychedelic script associated with the band.  Press releases heralded the flavor as the first ever named after a musical legend. (At the time we didn’t know that a Bing Crosby ice cream had been sold in the fifties.)

We had great debates at Ben & Jerry Board meetings, while the flavor was being developed, as to whether we should seek Jerry and the Dead’s permission prior to its introduction. The guys had run into one of the editors of the Dead fan magazine while out in San Francisco on a promotional trip the prior fall and had run the idea past her. She apparently made some calls and then told Ben he should just go ahead and do it. “This kind of stuff is fine with Jerry,” she said, “but if you ask, the lawyers will get involved.”

Eight of the first pints we produced were sent via FedEx to Garcia in a cooler packed with dry ice.  I took the call from Jerry’s wife after they were received, and she said he’d enjoyed the ice cream, although we were never certain he had actually eaten any since he had survived a near death diabetic coma in July 1986.  His publicist quoted Garcia as saying, “As long as they don’t name a motor oil after me, it’s fine with me.”  The lawyers did eventually get involved and an ongoing royalty arrangement was amiably worked out, which continues to this day.

Americone Dream, which you raved about, is Jerry, (as in Ben & Jerry), Greenfield’s favorite flavor, so you’re in good company.

Fred “Chico” Lager, former CEO, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and author of Ben & Jerry’s: The Inside Scoop…How Two Real Guys Built a Business with a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor


Subject: RE: The Suzi Quatro Movie

I watched “Suzi Q.”, fueled by your recommendation and my teenage memories of that picture in the leather jumpsuit. Like you, I was aware of her from reading music magazines (I was a Rolling Stone/Circus kid), and definitely not for her music, which I never heard.  Like the Runaways, Quatro was on my radar for the titillating stories in those magazines, and in the days before ubiquitous porn, that was legit material!

And that’s a shame, because while she was not a breakthrough talent, she paid the full retail price in her bid for greatness.  If nothing else the doc shows us the side of her that was talented, committed and legit.

Joan Jett has always bugged me.  Almost completely bereft of talent–hell, she wasn’t the most talented member of the Runaways, and they were a punchline! Compared to Benatar, Nicks, Quatro and so many others its not even a discussion.  Like the Grammys, the RRHOF suits respond to the shiniest–or in this case loudest–thing.

Keep the tips coming…

Ted Doyle


From: Simma Levine

Subject: Re: Jazz Fest Cancels

Thank you.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people. I’ve been vaxed since March, husband April and daughter (aged 13) since the day they approved use for 12+.

She’s at summer camp – coming home Sunday after 7 weeks. 


Why? Because everyone older than 12 needed to be vaccinated. Her camp was on lockdown – no one (staff or campers) left for the entirety. I sent her with 150 disposable masks. 

They were all tested three days prior, rapid tested day of arrival, 3 and 6 days after arrival. Same protocol for session 2. 

The best part (aside from no Covid) – all the kids are having a BLAST. And when the camp is together as a whole, they’re all masked. In individual bunks and units, unmasked if age appropriate. 

The remaining 3 weeks of the summer – not going anywhere. Not even the local (crowded) amusement park. It’s more important we all stay healthy so she can go back to school in September. 

If camps can figure it out, why can’t the concert business. 

And.. the unvaccinated are going to destroy our health care system. Their selfish behavior will draw down resources for the truly sick (meaning the ones who vaccinated as soon as they were able). We will be treating the assholes while everyone else will be rationed. That means me, you, and those we love.

Rant over! 




Subject: Re: Stella

Hi Bob,

Thanks for a very timely and eye-opening piece. Us baby-boomers remember frightening tales of Nazi murderers living free in Argentina in the 50s and 60s. To put it in context it’s important to remember that it took Hitler over a decade to achieve absolute power and in the 1933 German election the Nazis received a minority of 43% of the vote before seizing absolute power shortly after. 

On my second album (Lost Generation 1975 Produced by Paul Rothchild) I had a song called “Eva Braun” in which I tried to express my fear that fascism could return and my horror that some rock stars were even flirting with Nazi style. I sang “And someday soon I fear they’ll sing that song again.” And when I watched those torch wielding white-supremacists marching in Charlottesville I was haunted by my own words. 

From Paris,

Elliott Murphy



Subject: Re: Skateboarding In The Olympics


So, I can’t speak for the skiing or skateboarding part of your statement…but I can relate to the line musicians walk to create, make a living, build credibility, and bowing to the corporate calf.

Paraphrasing your quote:

“But in order to play the long term, credibility game, you have to be willing to say no……Do what you feel, not what others tell you to. The audience, people can tell. You can’t measure it, but you can feel it.”

I was a member of the George Thorogood band during their most successful run (1985-1993). The Stones tour, Bad to the Bone, and Live Aid set those big wheels in motion. I had the job of playing guitar for a major league act, alongside a guy who had the energy and drive to light up a stage with his gift of gab. 

To his credit, George also had a singular ability to say no to the powers that be. The label (EMI) constantly tried to get us to invest in stage design (at a cost) , which George declined every time. At another point, EMI also released a single (Treat Her Right), which to their horror, George did not include in any of the New York shows at the time (Meadowland, MSG, and Nassau Colliseum). Not endearing to the label, but…..fuck it.

Now, you might conclude that George maintained his credibility by saying no…contributing to his longevity. And on the surface that would be correct. But ultimately, from my perspective, George passed on the big buy in, but still found himself hungry and at the mercy of the corporates (UPS? Brown to the Bone etc). 

I’m not one to judge, and I certainly am grateful to George for the opportunity to stand up next to him for 9 years, but I have to wonder if the sycophantic noise of the crowd is the voice that dictates outcome. George was more terrified of losing his core audience (sound familiar Donald?), than in growing and building a meaningful statement that connected to real people’s lives. The creative well ran ‘bone’ dry. God forbid they’d find out George isn’t really Bad to the Bone……. 

Years later, I mentioned to Terry Manning that it was disappointing to know George wouldn’t allow the creative process into his career and write some good new songs. Terry answered…. ‘Maybe he couldn’t?”

I’m reminded of one of David Bowie’s profound lines…..’It’s not really life, it’s just the power to charm’

Amen. You live and learn…if you’re lucky.

Steve C


Subject: Re: Billie Eilish-Happier Than Ever

Hey Bob

It’s kinda fast food for real these days for almost all artists.

Waaaaay back when I was young the record company developed us, then put out the first record and hoped for some good press and some touring and if you sold 100 thousand records that was amazing.

The second record was looking for more sales more press and bigger touring but THE THIRD RECORD was what had to make it or break it.

In 2006 I could see the biz was in a spiral so I took a gig as a consultant and music director for 19 Ent./ American Idol which was kinda the only game in town.

This was for me when it got weird.

We released a Jordan Sparks record and quickly sold two million records then Boom she was gone. We sold a million David Cook records and at that minute in time he was the most talked about person on the planet and Boom he was gone. Adam Lambert, the most famous guy in the world for a minute then boom gone.

I never thought an artist could sell platinum and then just get dropped.

There is NO artist loyalty anymore.

I myself would buy a new album by a band I loved without hearing a song first…nuts right?

And when I was an artist I couldn’t sell a record in America but I did well around the world and had a deal for twelve years.

There was no internet back then so when I would tour a country people were excited to get to see me.

Funny thing is because there was no internet everyone back home had no idea what I was doing for money, I am sure they all thought I was a drug dealer.

In today’s world if you are an artist you gotta follow the words of George Clinton….Hit It And Quit It

Stevie Salas


Typos courtesy of Geronimo’s Ghost


From: Peter Noone

Subject: Why?

When the so called British Invasion was starting to form in the early 1960 or more probably the mid 50s, the British “beat groups” could get their whole operation into a van.

Remarkably the Beatles, two roadies and lots of lugging by the fabulous foursome themselves of their amplifiers, their guitars, the pa, the venue provided the two chairs, and their cute little stage suits, all in that van, and when they got to The  Liverpool LOCARNO they would unload that van, all hand on deck, set up the gear, go for a pint or a pie or even a cup of tea, and then go onstage and deliver a SHOW. The shows were a cheap and affordable replacement for a big dance band with a brass section, a male singer, two girl singers, who sang every song the audience wanted as the audience did a thing called ballroom dancing and smiling to songs they already knew.

Did you notice Bob, that no one had fireworks, dancers, strippers, castanets, none of the requirements to put on a show. Affordable for everyone.

That was the difference. 

We cut the legs off the dance bands by putting together a business model that allowed EVERYONE who fancied “having a go”, and imagine The Beatles put together a high energy, I would say perfect show of pure energy and oh oops FUN. They had fun with each other, which is not like Nashville where all the musicals watch each other in awe no mater how good or bad the “bit”

LOOK AT EARLY BEATLES footage and note the fun they are having with EACH OTHER!!

I doubt I will ever see anything quite so inspirational for a teenager as that period when everyone could   “have a go” not like Chris Hillman’s Rock and Roll star but a let’s go play music and have fun …..what sings do you know Albert? I know Cumberland gap the Lonnie Donnegan version. show me the chords..oh it’s easy let’s get a drunmmer!

And then….”do all Chuck Berry’s  songs have these same chords? We should do Reelin and a rockin because the Beatles have stopped doing it……

Also notable was the lack of a musical education because this was before The College of music became popular  ( I went to one), and like most colleges were never able to teach a patron HOW TO MAKE MONEY? If your mum and dad are paying for your musical agent they are Patrons of the Arts.

I’m a working class English bloke but both my parents were accountants and often asked “ Can you make  money at this?”

And I was able to say yes  I made a few quid and I am able to make the payments on the van, and eat, and unwittingly I became a business man, running a beat group and having more laughs than any of my school friends. Being a persistent little shit served me well and I avoided that child star growing up sad syndrome by not having anyone making all my plans for me. all my child sat friends had one thing in common.. no two .. they were cute and they had a person who booked all th extra ell and hotels creating  A very easy to burst bubble of  a world where you learn nothing except how wonderful you are for a while.


Isn’t the problem nowadays that it is just too expensive to even get started?

I will confess that I never knew anyone back then who didn’t know how to play a Lonnie Donnegan song, a Buddy Holly song, had a room room full of rare 78s off their Auntie Celia, and most likely popular music was a fun pastime, and they really wanted to be Robert Fripp and have other Guitarist admire your works.

Recently I saw that a few bands (the new name for a  best group), have found themselves in a new situation , wherein they can’t afford to tour because they have a thing called an “overhead” aa word created by accountants to justify billing you for the advice you should have lived in every day “since you was born”.

I feel quite old when I am not onstage and I notice that musicians are much smarter than the average bloke but junkies are smarter because they need to get $100 bucks a day to pay for their habit and a musician can’t?

Sadly Mel and Neil aren’t around, so you musicians may have to load your amplifier yourself, maybe your mum can help you get it in the trunk of your Prius, and the club may have a lift so you don’t have to carry it down the stairs like the BEATLES and The Stones did. Another new thing will be changing in the men’s room which is also used by the employees and they wash their hands before they go back in the kitchen.

Strangely THEY will feel sorry for you, because apparently musicians have no future that’s why we don’t have a union health plan or a pension. Best marry an actor because they do have plans and never get sick or old. They fade away up in the attic.

Of course your 4 roadies in the matching black teeshirt, black shorts, black socks, black shoes and a flat in Culver City may have to forego the backstage crew vegan food with the rhubarb flavored drinks on ice, but perhaps they will form their own group, and that will leave more room on your $300000 bus. 

On the bus you could talk about music and wonder how the flock of Beatles got time to write all those songs and play guitars and drums so well, without a crew to set up the folding chairs, and act as band mummy.

Also, it’s worth noting that Big BILL Broonzy and Lightning Hopkins could do a one hour set three times a night without fireworks or a single dancer around. 

Even the audience didn’t dance.

I was looking at old bills from the early 60s and a few have “next week the Beatles 6 shillings “ How could they earn enough to live on that pittance.?

My accountant Dad often said “You have to live within your means”

Never knew what it meant as I have never earned enough money to relax, but the Beatles lived within their means by doing most of the work THEMSELVES. Whilst laughing a lot at each other, and singing harmonies in a van, together, driving around the British Isles together. That’s where they got it all from. Sharing with each other. Show me how to play an A-minor 7th Paul….

Notice when they all got posh girlfriends and cars they stopped being a beat group, because they stopped hanging around with each other 18 hours a day.

Me and the hermits followed them around a couple of years later and we stayed  in all the same hotels. The one they stayed in in Paddington was a room with six beds and a bathroom down the hallway, and no one was allowed to use the sink except to wash their hands and face and wash their hair before going to EMI Studios together.

One day you should get in a Commer van or a Bedford Dormobile. It’s more revealing than the Liverpool tour.

Like when you see the Mayflower. You will ask yourself “Is that all there is” How many men were in it? Blimey………No one would volunteer for that. Their girlfriends or their mums would never allow it and say “ you should go solo and let them go on the Mayflower” “you are better than that!


“My Uncle owns a label”

You know all that stuff, and I know there is a band playing somewhere tonight , who will reset the business again, like Nirvana,  and they will be sharing all their musical knowledge with each other, not caring what other musicians or friends think about their style. 

The dancers will only get a short ride in the van before the equipment is loaded, and they can come and dance with the group on the Grammys!

Meanwhile where is the new beat group playing?


From: David Jensen

Subject: Re: Vaccination Requirements

My high school gym coach said it ALL decades ago…

“You don’t have to dress for gym…But you don’t have to graduate either”

Cheers, DJ

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