The time John Kasich got kicked out of a Grateful Dead concert

Brian Timmermeister/Flickr
Kent Hernandez/Fusion

August 9th was the 20th anniversary of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia passing away at the age of 53. To commemorate the man, let's remember the time his tour manager kicked John Kasich off the stage at a 1991 concert in Washington.


It's June 14, 1991 at RFK Stadium. Dwight Yoakam has opened the show and everyone is getting ready for the Dead to take the stage. The band is on their summer tour, and they've sold out just about every stadium venue they entered. Bill Walton was there because nothing ever changes.

Congressman Kasich was in attendance, too. According to the AP, the 39-year-old Kasich was a guest that evening of opener Dwight Yoakam, who had allowed Kasich to be on stage during his performance. After Yoakam's set was over, Kasich hung out backstage and later attempted to hang out on the side of the stage during the Dead's set. However, presumably some time between "Wang Dang Doodle" and "Tennessee Jed," Kasich was spotted by the Dead's tour manager, Cameron Sears who told Kasich he could not be there.

Then magic happened. Here's the Washington Post, reporting in 1991:

As the Ohio Republican was being urged off the stage, a witness reports, he was considerate enough to yell out his name several times, so those who didn't recognize him would know that he was a congressman.

When that didn't seem to sway the Grateful Dead's tour manager, who was trying to expedite Kasich's departure, the witness said the congressman suggested he could prevent the group from ever playing in this town again.

"Oh, come on," responded Kasich yesterday. "Telling the Grateful Dead you're a congressman is not going to get you onstage. This is way off the mark."


Witnesses at the scene described Kasich as "obnoxious," "disruptive," and "yelling." Kasich said that if he did any yelling it's because the music was so loud. Two Democrat Party Congressmen, from Hawaii and Oregon, who were guests of the headliners, were allowed onstage without incident.

During Thursday's Republican debate, Kasich drew praise for not being obnoxious, and drew cheers when he said, "We need to give everybody a chance and treat them with respect." Maybe he learned something from the Grateful Dead after all.


[h/t Elizabeth Brown]

Kent Hernandez/Fusion

All of the bands that have told GOP candidates to stop using their music (so far)

We asked hip-hop experts what they thought of this rap tribute to Ted Cruz

Ranked: The entrance music of the GOP candidates, from worst to best

The strange and surprising musical histories of the GOP presidential candidates

The time Eazy-E trolled a bunch of Republicans by eating lunch with them

David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on—hop on. Got a tip? Email him:

Share This Story