It started out on Colfax in a rundown motel which we wish had the sparkly, ambience of a rundown David Lynch movie. We couldn't do much for the outside, but we made the inside a thing of beauty. I went to the frame store everyday and tried to frame everything to save as much money as I could. The frame guy finally felt sorry for me and said he would give me the discount regardless. This was the beginning of a place called Quixote's True Blue. It got its namesake from Don Quixote and the spirit of imagination and adventure that he embraced which encapsulates the Grateful Dead experience. It got the other half of its name from a Vince Welnick song which he told me about in a letter he wrote to me in response to my letter I wrote because I was worried about him:
"No fear, no hate could be greater than the size of,
The love that I am seeing deep in the eyes of,
All of my friends, True Blue."
I called my brothers, and as in any great heist movie, they looked at me smiled, and said "You son of a bitch Jay, I'm in." I didn't bother to point out that the statement as they said it was self-reflexive and an insult to their mother as well as mine, but I digress. This was not a time to play semantics.
We ran an ad stating DEAD FREAKS UNITE. And they responded. We all needed this more than we ever knew.
We were all in and we transformed this little bar into a launching pad for so many bands: Zero and Steve Kimock, Umphrey's McGee, The Motet, STS9 and Dark Star Orchestra to name a few and a home away from home for so many Deadheads. We would listen to "sweet songs to rock our soul" over and over as the bar launched off and traveled to so many worlds. It was a VFW for Deadheads and Phil Bianchi would hold court everyday. We shed tears thinking about Jerry Garcia, we laughed, we cried and we became a family with all of our patrons.
But the little bar that could was pretty small and we needed to "grow into feet." We went down the road a bit and we found another home at 741 East Colfax. This place became Sanchos Broken Arrow, you may have heard of it. Sancho Panza was Don Quixote's trusty companion and tried to ground him when he flew too high as he was very wont to do. The "Broken Arrow" came from the time I requested the song for my dad who was dying of cancer. One day he was being a real jerk and he left the house and slammed the door, he came right back a half hour later with a slab of ice on a piece of cardboard and said "Margie do you need some ice?" We started laughing immediately because it was so ridiculous, but we knew he brought that ice, that "broken arrow" as an apology for his behavior. It did the trick, we forgave, and he didn't actually have to apologize. I wrote a letter to Phil Lesh and told them this story and requested the song. I handed the letter to Dennis McNallly and he said he would give it to Phil, but told me the band does does not do requests. When the song came on during the show, my dad appeared and someone came by and said "I need to take a picture of this because 'I know something is happening, but I don't know what it is.'" It was an awesome moment! On the plane ride back, Dennis McNally recognized me and said " You are the kid who wrote the letter, I want to tell you Phil Lesh read it and he was very moved and he absolutely, positively played that for your dad. I smile-cried.
Sancho's Broken Arrow with Phil Bianchi at the helm and strategically positioned by the Fillmore Auditorium became the best place to be before and after anything. He kept the place clicking with his overwhelming energy and it still runs on his fumes.
It had an overwhelming inertia that kept people in there for hours and hours and years and years. "They forgot about the time," but they created many a fine memory. It was a force to be reckoned with. There was no happier place on earth and
"There ain't no place I would rather be!"
Meanwhile, Quixote's True Blue started to hopscotch around Denver and moved to Broadway. A young kid named Scott Morrill stopped by and suggested we open another place. I suggested a place that I drove by everyday on the way home on a street called Welton in a notorious place called Five Points. I was not scared because we already "spent a little time on Colfax Ave, spent a little time on the hill" and I knew that our good vibes would always overpower the bad vibes. It was a wild and dangerous place and I almost got shot twice. This place became Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom and it was a thing of beauty. It was the pinnacle of all my creations so far. I named it after the author of Don Quixote's and it was a shining example of all the work I had done so far. It was the crown of my creations, my ultimate masterpiece, or so I thought.
In the meantime, we opened Dulcinea's 100th Monkey right next to Sanchos Broken Arrow on Colfax. Dulcinea was Quixote's princess who he imagined to be a beautiful princess, but she was an old hag. This bar represented the way to see the beautiful in the ordinary. The 100th Monkey is the theory that once you reach a critical mass of thought then it will spread like wildfire. Others who had no concept of your way of seeing things will just get it. This place is where Phil Lesh ended up playing on my mom's birthday after she died earlier that year on Easter. This place was dedicated to my mom and it was not just a coincidence that Phil Lesh played his first free show since the sixties by a member of the Dead on her birthday, and it is not a coincidence that the power went out at the Fillmore Auditorium that date, just as it is not a simple coincidence that the power went out their on Jerry's birthday so many years earlier and Dark Star Orchestra ended up playing at Quixote's so many years before.
From the high road to the low,
So many roads, I know
Sometimes, I get ahead of myself!
I was "Dancin' in the streets" with Leftover Salmon / Steve Kimock/ Dark Star Orchestra and I ended up out on the streets. My wings were clipped and I started over on 2151 Lawrence Street with Owsley's Golden Road which quickly became Quixote's again.
I know, I know! So fucking many roads.
I am not even going to mention The Oriental Theater on 44th and Tennyson!
Then we moved to 13th and Grant and was like finally again. And then there was the Dark Star Lounge on Federal and there were oh so many roads and memories.
And then there was Broadway and Pleasant street in Boulder with Owsley's Golden Road and Sancho's Boulder Arrow. And then I got fed up with so many Quixote's and so I opened a brand new place called Be On Key Psychedelic Ripple on 1700 Logan, a cavernous, labyrinthian mecca of music. And that should have been enough, I am getting exasperated describing this, but no, I added Owsley's Crazy Diamond to the ripple because I love 2 stages and I might be just a little bit crazy. Plus it faced 17th, so it was another road to add to this story.
To top it off, I guess I decided to reopen Quixote's True Blue on 2014 South University. If this all seems a little manic, I won't be the one to argue with you about it. Meanwhile my brother-my best friend died and perhaps, just perhaps I went a little bit crazier than my usual self.
Wind inside and the wind outside
Tangled in the window blind
Tell me why you treat me so unkind
Down where the sun don't shine
Lonely and I call your name
No place left to go, ain't that a shame?
And then came 2020 and put a drastic stop to everything, Sancho's closed down, Be On Key burned down and Quixote's trudged on. I was at the end of my road. I was being tested, and the only thing that kept me going was a quote from Ken Kesey, Author --" Always stay in your own movie!"
I decided what I always knew-- I control my own destiny.
So I decided to design my own destiny.
So many roads I know
All I want is one to take me home
From the high road to the low
So many roads I know
So many roads, so many roads.
All I need is one to ease my soul!
This is the one.
This is the place.
This is serendipity encapsulated!
As I type these last sentences, Row Jimmy is playing and I look to my side and I feel my brother's presence next to me. And I tear up and smile cry, and he smiles back at me. And we row together, "going to get there, I don't know, row. . ."
I present to you my finest accomplishment to this date.
This is our October surprise.
We will be open tomorrow October 21, 2020 at 4:20 for you to tour and enjoy this absolutely, fantastic culmination of 24 years and also, talk about serendipity, to celebrate Brent Mydland's birthday!