Coming Clean

Concertgoers come together to sober up and jam straight.

Jay got his first taste of jam-band music several years when he attended a Dead show high on cocaine. The combination was a bummer, he says. When he returned to the jam scene, free of a chemical influence, he worried that his interest in the music would decline. So far, though, that hasn't been the case. "I went to the [String Cheese] show, and now I'm addicted, so to speak," he says. "As goofy as it may sound, I find this music to be very spiritual in its effect on me."

That's no surprise to Steve, who constantly meets fans who are considering the sober lifestyle. "I tell them, 'Hopefully, you'll still be alive, and we'll be there for you.' You have to want to help yourself first. That's the only way to get clean," he says.

"Phil Lesh once told me in Denver a couple years ago that the Wharf Rats save lives," Don recalls. "That says it all. How many lives do you have to save for it to be successful? I've had innumerable people come up to me and get help they would not have otherwise had." Helping others, he says, "helps me stay clean and allows me the privilege of being there for somebody in need."

Higher powered: Fans of Widespread Panic hold support groups at the band's shows.
James Bludworth
Higher powered: Fans of Widespread Panic hold support groups at the band's shows.


Widespread Panic
7 p.m. Friday, June 28, through Sunday, June 30
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison
$35.50, 303-830-TIXS

The String Cheese Incident
6:30 p.m. Friday, July 5, and Saturday, July 6
Red Rocks
$30-$35, 303-830-TIXS


Steve also says his volunteer work helps keep him drug-free. Better still, the concert experience holds richer rewards now than it did before. "The music gets me high," he says, "I enjoy the shows now more than ever. I'm much more alert to what's going on. It's easier [to tell] when the magic isn't happening, when the band's not on.

"It's changed what I heard and how I felt about the music."

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