That Time John Kasich Got Kicked off the Stage at a Grateful Dead Show

A tour organizer totally harshed his mellow.
Photographer: Getty Images

John Kasich once got a little too into the music at a Dead show. 

It was June of 1991 at Washington's Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, according to a Washington Post article published back then.

Jerry Garcia played his guitar, and a gentle wind played his gorgous mane. Bob Weir was wearing his jorts. 

Jon Kasich Plays 'Name That Tune'


At the time, the current Republican governor of Ohio and possible presidential hopeful was a congressman. At the show, he tried to climb the steps to the stage, but was stopped by tour organizers. According to the story, Kasich had a pass around his neck, and said his name several times to the tour organizers who were trying to shuttle him off. It seemed to attendees that Kasich was trying to use his status to get on the stage, but he told a different story, responding to the paper, "Oh, come on. Telling the Grateful Dead you're a congressman is not going to get you onstage. This is way off the mark."

Kasich said at the time that he thought his pass would get him on stage, so he argued a bit with the person who was telling him this was not the case. 

Surrounding Deadheads were miffed.

Kasich, 39, who looks more like an Eagle Scout than a Deadhead, has been variously described by those familiar with the scene as "obnoxious" and "disruptive."

Asked what "disruptive" meant in this context, a member of the rock band's entourage who witnessed the scene said: "I mean, he was potentially a threat to the show. The man wanted to be onstage with the group. We don't allow anyone we don't know onstage.

"Look, you have to understand, we can't have this kind of thing up there. We've got a group that needs to perform. We have equipment. We have lights. We have cables -- it can be dangerous. Someone can trip on a cable and knock out an amp."

It turns out that Kasich had been invited on stage and given the pass by Dwight Yoakam, a country singer and the evening's opening act, and thought that his pass was good for the Dead's set, as well. 

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