Another Leaves the Bus: Fare Ye Well, Ramrod

    • gdread said...
    • User
    • 18 May 2006, 21:29

    Another Leaves the Bus: Fare Ye Well, Ramrod

    Famed Grateful Dead roadie and sweet spirit Ramrod is dead following a long, hard bout with lung cancer. He was 61 years old.

    The San Francisco Chronicle has a fine obit of a good and loyal guy:

    He was a psychedelic cowboy who rode the bus with Ken Kesey and took virtually every step of the long, strange trip with the Grateful Dead. Known to one and all solely as Ramrod, he died yesterday of lung cancer at Petaluma Valley Hospital. He was 61.

    "He was our rock," said guitarist Bob Weir.

    Born Lawrence Shurtliff, he was raised a country boy in eastern Oregon and once won a county fair blue ribbon in cattle judging. He got the name Ramrod from [legendary Merry Pranksters leader Ken] Kesey while he was traveling through Mexico with the author and LSD evangelist, at the time a fugitive from justice.

    "I am Ramon Rodriguez Rodriguez, the famous Mexican guide," he boasted, and he was known ever after as Ramrod.

    "It fit him," said Steve Parish, his longtime associate on the Dead crew. "He used to keep us in line."

    "I remember when he first showed up at 710 Ashbury," said Dead drummer Mickey Hart. "He pulled up on a Harley. He was wearing a chain with a lock around his waist. He said 'Name's Ramrod -- Kesey sent me -- I hear you need a good man.' I remember it like it was yesterday."

    Ramrod joined the Dead in 1967 as truck driver and was held in such high regard by the members of that sprawling, brawling organization that he was named president of the Grateful Dead board of directors when the rock group actually incorporated in the '70s. It was a position he held until the death of guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995. Like the rest of the band's few remaining staff, he was laid off last year.

    I feel old and sad.

    Bless you, Ramrod, and thanks for taking such good care of the guys way back when. May your new travels be kind and take you Furthur than you ever dreamed.

    Hear some samples of the kind mix at Grateful Dread Public Radio, , at tag "Grateful Dread." Then join us for our eclectic, diverse mix at GDR... It's a trip.

    And catch prog-news & activism info at
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