Billy K is celebrating his 70th birthday today. Since I have read Deal, I discovered I already knew Billy. He is an open book with that shit eating grin that screams "You think you are having fun, I got the best seat in the house".We are damn lucky he did. If Jerry was the soul of the band, then Billy was the an choir during a windy thirty years. I love loud strange noises, whistles even the monks at shorline was cool. But while Cosmic Mickey played with his toys Billy just smiled and did his job. I think Billy is so easy going and has that desirably look of utter contentment because he always understand the gravity of Jerry's talents. I believe it was a beautiful friendship and both shared a mutual admiration. He was Jerry's friend and kept a promise between two friends. The Grateful Dead was a family and remained a unit during one crisis followed by another. Relationships are dynamic and always are evolving with in a family unit. When the world got to heavy they shared a passion for scuba diving. They found peace, natural beauty it was there safe place. The two over worked while burning the candle at both ends knew the life they lived was no good. Jerry got up and flew away. Leaving millions of heavy hearts in his departure to peace. Bobby decided the show could not take even one night off performing a brave scheduled gig with his then blues band Ratdog. Billy was heartbroken and one vanished dream he made with his brother when they were in the ocean"Deep Sea Of Love" was his connection. Billy dropped everything and went off to uphold his promise. No two Broken Hearts react the same, while most made sub par music he mourned his loss. I believe that he is smiling bigger than ever because he still drumming, diving and living with Jerry in his heart. Almost immediately after his passing he moved to Hawaii to retire for his friend. Their promise was a pipe dream until Billy gave it grace. It is no coincidence Billy rediscovered his grace by getting clean. His definition of sobriety differs from A.A. if I read his book correctly. I witness Billy K sit in with cheese in the late nineties and witness musical perfection. They told him the song was "Shakedown Street"but after a blistering beginning it morphed into a musical wormhole of improvisation heaven with the rare gem"land's End". Billy had the biggest smile in the Fillmore as he drove a band into the mouth of magic. I will never forget after it ended, Billy shouted Fuck Yea! You guys are wild. I later interviewed him and asked about that now historic jam at The Fillmore. He smiled and said I swear I thought they were Leftover Salmon. He said I would have showed up with my chops if I knew they had it. I knew exactley what "it" was and Billy carried it with him at all times. But most importantly if Jerry was the soul, Billy was the foundation without his stability I honestly believe that The band would not made it though Mickey's Dad stealing all their money. It was Billy that said sarcastically "We had money to steal"? Mickey left the band in shambles disgraced and broken. But I dare you to take the Billy Challenge. I failed and could not tell the difference between One Billy Kreutzmann drumming
or if it was him and Mickey blowing a Horn. Happy Birthday Billy! I officially
declare your birthday Nation Drummers Choice Day. Thank you for being an example of a human. And I hope your smile never gets lost again.
Words & the belief of Kevin Long
© 2016 Grateful Music LLC