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Ohio Congressman In Backstage Brouhaha At Grateful Dead Concert

June 21, 1991

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Rep. John Kasich learned the hard way that backstage concert passes have their limits. Especially at a Grateful Dead concert.

Where Deadhead after Deadhead failed, the clean-cut, buttoned-down, never- confused-with-a-Deadhead congressman also failed.

The Washington Post reported today that the Ohio Republican was booted offstage last Friday midway through the band’s performance at RFK Stadium.

Kasich was already backstage, courtesy longtime friend Dwight Yoakam, who had been the opening act and who allowed Kasich onstage during his performance.

Kasich said he joined Yoakam in his dressing room, then after an hour asked the country singer’s staff if it was OK to return to the stage.

Kasich said Yoakam’s people told him to go ahead.

But that didn’t matter to the Dead’s tour manager, Cameron Sears, who blocked Kasich’s way. They got into a shouting match and the congressman was told to leave.

″I argued with him for a few minutes and then I left. I probably should not have argued with the guy,″ Kasich told the newspaper. ″I don’t think I was angry. I’m a pretty upbeat guy.″

Kasich said that if he was yelling, it was because the volume of the music was so loud.

He disputed the account of an unnamed witness who told the newspaper Kasich yelled out his name, identified himself as a congressman and suggested he could prevent the Grateful Dead from ever again playing in Washington.

Kasich called that part of the story ″way off the mark.″

″Telling the Grateful Dead you’re a congressman is not going to get you onstage,″ Kasich said.