Jam Cruise raid followup: One Coloradan's take on the boat bust

As reported yesterday, several people headed out on Jam Cruise were busted for trying to bring drugs on board the ship. Like this is a surprise. Jam bands and mind-expanding drugs go together like...like...look, if I have to explain this, you just ain't gonna get it, man. So we got ahold of local quasi-celebrity The Joker -- Jam Cruise veteran, king of the disco-ball helmet movement and webmaster extraordinaire for the phish-heavy jam-band blog, Coventry Music -- to tell us what went down and how much of a buzzkill it really was.

By his account, Colorado's Big Gigantic played "the set of their career" on the pool deck under the stars in the middle of the Caribbean, with a dance party that went from sunup to sundown. The busts did nothing to stop the party from reaching the people. Still rocking (literally) from his cruise, Joker gave us a brief account of what happened on the (very) high seas:

Westword: We reported that there was a huge raid this year. This isn't the first time this happened, is it?

The Joker: Well, the boat getting raided isn't exactly true. What is more accurate is that last year we got off the boat and there were dogs and law enforcement there. There were a lot of people who left things in their pockets like joints or something in their suitcases. There was a fiasco getting off the boat because of it, and during the delay, they were going up and down the line with drug dogs. Last year, we felt like criminals being let off the boat.

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They did the same thing this year?

Well, everybody knew what happened at the end of the cruise last year. So we sent a scout to the port to see what was going on. Through text messages and phone calls, we found out there was law enforcement with dogs. A lot of them. They said there were five agencies there, all outside the boat and all in line. So word spread quickly not to have anything on you. You go through a metal detector, similar to airport security, like they're checking for weapons. There was a drug dog you had to pass by, but I saw very few people kicked out of line there. You had to pretty much have something in your pocket to get in trouble.

So it's being blown out of proportion?

The only people that happened to were careless or, for whatever reason, didn't get the memo. Mostly it was a waste of money and resources. Think about it: We were taking small amounts of personal drugs out into the ocean to use ourselves. They didn't nab hardly anybody. We were just like, the people who go on Jam Cruise have their shit together. We've all been to a ton of festivals. We know the drill. Fifteen arrests out of 3,000 passengers? That's less than 1 percent.

How was the music? What were the highlights?

It was awesome, as far as music goes. The story of Jam Cruise was the Big Gigantic played the set of their career on the pool deck. Everybody who was there now loves Big Gigantic. It was a dirty dance party. Last year, the story was Pretty Lights, and it was a similar thing. But everyone was amazed that these two guys could have such a huge sound. Mixing live instruments with the drums and saxophone with the whomp. It is such a unique experience. The artists were jamming a lot with people. Bob Weir's band played mediocre, but he played with God Street Wine on a a couple of songs, and it was great.

Anything else?

I don't know. All of the music is good because it is such a small community and everyone wants to outdo each other. One of my highlights was that Green Sky Bluegrass -- with longtime Durango resident Anders Beck -- and Nathan Moore, every day, played acoustic on a pool deck until the sun rose. People would be picking. The last night Kimock sat in with them, playing "You Are My Sunshine" with, like, fifty people singing along. It's stuff like that that isn't on a schedule but is really special.

We let The Joker get his sleep, but for more on his Jam Cruise adventures, check out http://phishcoventry.blogspot.com/


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