APRIL 10, 2006


First, though, the bus had to be pampered.

As is said in Prankster lore, you're either on the bus or under the bus. George was under the bus, checking for oil leaks. Obviously, from the satisfied look on his face, all was well.

Phil and Ed (the old Kaintuck Kernel hisself, visiting from Derby country) were on hand to crank up the bus, plus the Capn and aforesaid George.

Zane drove, broadcasting and telephoning and making important points. A photographer from the Daily Emerald, the U of O newspaper, jumped aboard and did a little photojournalism, Swan and Zane his subjects.

Group shot. Bus girls. We cruised around passing out flyers and hooting and hollering. You may wonder why you don't see any of the NRPS gang. It's because their bus was late arriving and they had to go right inside for a sound check so we didn't get together until later on at the gig.

It was another day of protests all around the country of the immigration bill going around and around in congress and Eugene was no exception. We stopped at a red light on the corner where the protesters were gathered and of course everyone assumed we were there to offer support. And we were. We did a rousing chorus of Leesa, Leeesa, with bongos and echo.

David Nelson from New Riders of the Purple Sage and George Walker from New Roadies of the Prankster Stage.

Prankster skypilots took the stage during the NRPS break. We threw together a band with Simon on guitar, Andy as bass player, Sebree and Lisa on bongos, Swan on a synthesizer, Duffy who has the pipes and we did the usual mishmash grunting around stuff and they said up in the green room that Buddy yelled, I'm not going to miss this, and he ran down and sat in and from then on things really picked up. He was on fire. We did lovelight and the rest of NRPs came on and took over and for the next set they wailed with Dave Nelson really cranking it up.

Great crowd. lots of NRPS fans mixed with skypilots and others who got the word from the website. Someone spilled kool aid on my camera.

Buddy Cage, David Nelson, Michael
Falzarano, RonniePenque and Johhny Markowski

Robert Hunter, Grateful Dead lyricist and accomplished author in his own write, went to the NRPS show at the Mystic Theater in Petaluma, California and posted this report on

" Just got back from the New Riders show at the Mystic in Petaluma. It sure took me back. Packed out house singing along lustily on songs they didn't know they loved so much and suddenly discovered they did. Friends crawled out of the woodwork for this one. Betty Cantor was there and Annette Flowers; Michelle, who is to the Riders what Sue Swanson is to the Dead, first fan and lifetime helper. Dan and Patty Healy both looking great. Ramblin' Jack Elliot spry, spare, ancient and smiling. Other faces half remembered but accounted for. An aura of Joy quickly established itself, similar to the first night of the Dead at Alpine on an intimate scale (a weird parallel I know, but there you go) - the resurrection feel, not repeatable on demand. The spirit bloweth where it listeth. Everyone realized pdq it was one of those nights destined to be remembered, what the music is all about, all it was ever about: love, magic and kick ass songs.

I spent the night on my feet way up front, soaking it all in. Finally went to the back of the house, dead on said feet, with Maureen and Kate to await the encore, which was, fittingly, the late Buck Owen's "Truck Drivin Man" a song no Riders show ever omitted to play. The band's manager spotted me seated in the rear of the Mystic, said the band wanted me to do the last number with them. I said I'd worn my voice out singing along with the crowd, which was true, not to mention not having been on stage since opening for the Dead & the ABB at the Gorge a century or two ago - but there was some part of "no" he didn't understand, as a good manager shouldn't, so without bothering to have my arm politely ripped out of the socket I went up and did it.

Long time since I've been on stage but I can always pull a Ripple out of the hat. How sweet it was to finally sing with the New Riders of the Purple Sage after nearly forty years. A deep emotional experience on the heels of one of the best NRPS shows I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot of them. Old Nelson had tears in his eyes, Buddy sitting there like a great glowing Buddha of the pedal steel. Old home night in the 21st Century. The ghosts of Spencer Dryden, Dave Torbert, Skip Batten and Dale Franklin singing along on the chorus, JG present in the melody itself.

The missing Marmaduke seemed supernaturally imminent in the voices of Michael Falzarano of Hot Tuna, whose rhythm guitar is simple and absolutely superb, and of Ronnie Penque and Johnny Markowski of the DN band who acquitted themselves with honors. Each of the three is capable of believably copping the Dawson style without which it wouldn't be the Riders. So much so that it seemed like a chorus of Marmadukes on the harmony parts! I won't even get into what a storm Nelson picked on his Telecaster, and of course, Buddy is Buddy. Nuff said. If this sounds like a rave review, so be it. Go get 'em Riders!"

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2006

Yeah, we're going to drive around town in the bus, Further, with NRPS abord, hooting and tootling and passing out flyers and jacking up the action before the show when if all goes well there will be one conjoined number of NRPS Prankster Skypilots falling all over themselves.