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It was fast approaching the summer of '98 and Esau was sitting at his desk in his mother's basement wondering what he could possibly bring/offer to the Further Festival tour scene. Having spent several years on the road following the Grateful Dead in '91, '93 & '94 as well numerous other shows from '89-'95, he felt much obliged to all the thousands of Deadheads who were out there creating 'The Scene' that had impacted and enriched his life so much. His vision was to return the favor by finding some way do the same for young people now. Phil Lesh was returning to the scene after a life-threatening liver transplant and the original, surviving members were reuniting for their first tour together since Jerry Garcia had died.
Esau knew the time was now, but what could he do? There had to be a vehicle, therefore, there had to be income. He had a few dollars saved up from designing web pages and delivering pizzas, but it wouldn't last long. This being a career move in his mind, something had to give. He'd watched how people did it selling food, drugs, t-shirts, pipes, dresses, artwork, and all sorts of assorted clothing and knick knacks, but he had to find something unique and not as intense as food or drugs. That's when his gaze turned to his bookshelf filled with books he'd already read. He'd never seen anyone selling books, or maybe he had, but not too often.
Thus, the the Helping Friendly Bookstore was born. Traveling at first by himself, then with fellow travellers he picked up along the way, then with his old friend from Grateful Dead tour, known as Slug. Together, they soon decided that documenting one of these tours was in order. Over the following years, Rob worked diligently on creating what would be 'The Bus', a novel that follows them on Fall Tour '98 and highlights the scene and being a part of it.
For ten years now Rob has been traveling the country from parking lot to parking lot, selling much needed and much appreciated brain food to the traveling fans of traveling bands. With the help of his wife, Niki, the Helping Friendly Bookstore is now to be found at many of the numerous music festivals about the country. Known simply as the 'Book Guy' to many, he carries with him an eclectic mix of literature on a wide range of topics and can often be found discussing the merits of some book or another with a concert or festival goer. His vision of how literature informs the soul and contributes to the collective and ritualistic nature of the live concert experience is the essence of the Helping Friendly Bookstore.
Rob can be reached at robg@bluepear.org