Octoberfest Party

On October 24 Grateful We're Not Dead entertained at the Ontario Gamma Etta Masters Chapter (Kemptville) of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority's Octoberfest Party. (How's that for a mouthful!) Gord was in Tanzania but our good friend, 'young' Al Owler, sat in with the band. We're always glad to have Al perform with us.

As usual, the food was excellent and the beer and Diet Pepsi were cold. The sorority ladies and their husbands were an appreciative audience and a delight to play for. However, we were disappointed with the lack of audience participation when we did Rodney Carrington's Show Them To Me. Maybe next year, ladies.

As is the tradition with group, the sorority made a donation to a charitable institution on behalf of Grateful We're Not Dead. This year, their charity of choice was Interval House, an organization offering a comprehensive range of programs and services to abused women and their children. We think this was an excellent choice.

We always enjoy doing this show and hope to be able to perform for the sorority again next year, "the good Lord willing and the creeks don't rise".

Bruce, Don and Al

Ottawa Peace Festival

As a clear indicator of the versatility of the Grateful We’re Not Dead, last Thursday, September 27th, the group provided musical accompaniment to accomplished Ottawa poet, Evelyn Voigt. Evelyn was invited by the organizers of the Ottawa Peace Festival to deliver a preview performance of material she will be presenting at an Education for Peace Conference in Vancouver in November. The title of her presentation is The Emotional Impact of Peace Learning Through Performance Art.

Playing musical accompaniment for a poet is a touch out of the GWND’s past comfort zone … no Over Sixty Blues, no Boob Song... but the band had a great time doing so and the feedback was excellent.

On Sunday, September 30, Don, Bruce and Al entertained at the Circle of All Nations Peace Concert on Victoria Island on the Ottawa River. This was held in conjunction with the Peace Festival and presided over by 92 year old Grandfather William Commanda, the hereditary chief of the Algonquins. The Grateful We're Not Dead played two short sets which appeared to be thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd.

Bruce, Don and Al
Circle of All Nations Peace Concert

The band's final task in support of the Peace Festival was to provide accompaniment to Evelyn in an encore performance on Tuesday night, October 2, at the closing ceremonies of the Peace Festival.

These events certainly fell outside the normal venues for the band, but we did enjoy the challenges.

Beta Sigma Phi Octoberfest Party

The Grateful We're Not Dead have been invited to play for the Ontario Gamma Etta Masters Chapter (Kemptville) of the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority's Octoberfest Party on October 24 at the home of Allan and Sherrill Ireton. This will be the band's second year to entertain at this event. We thoroughly enjoy performing at this party because the food is great and the people are friendly. Not once has anyone thrown a beer bottle at the band. Last year, as compensation, the sorority made a donation to a charity of their choice on behalf of the band. Thank you ladies.

Friends of Grateful We're Not Dead

The Grateful We're Not Dead have acquired a number of very close friends during their existence. The friends that I'm talking about are the ones who frequently perform with us. These are people willing to give up their time, use their own resources and be reimbursed in food and drink. Here are some of these people:

"Young" Al Owler
Al has to be one of our best friends. Al is quite a bit younger than the Grateful We're Not Dead and provides us with a link to our 'inner youth'. Al loves to play guitar and he performs with us on a regular basis. He is quite willing to pitch in to setup and tear down equipment. He provides his own amplifier, guitar, clothes and hat (I love the hat, Al). Al is quite proficient at locating new material for us on the Internet and elsewhere. We have to credit Al with finding the most recently added comedy item in our repertoire - Rodney Carrington's Show Them to Me. Thanks, Al. Al is also a regular participant at the monthly Music Night get-togethers. And of course, I mustn't forget that Al has provided us all with blow-up guitars so we won't attract the attention of by-law officers in the future.

Marg Penniston
Marg is Bruce's wife. (Anybody know if that statement is politically correct now?) Marg is quite skilled in arranging and leading sing-a-longs. On Canada Day 2007, Don had laryngitis and on short notice Marg prepared chord books for the band, lyric sheets for the guests and then led the sing-a-long while the Grateful We're Not Dead provided the music. Marg normally leads the singing at the monthly Music Night sing-a-longs and is dearly missed when she's not there.

Marie Rakos
Marie is a pianist supreme. She can play virtually anything you throw at her. We normally work with Marie at Christmas parties we play for because she's the only one that knows all the chords in the Christmas carols. :-) Marie frequently attends Music Night and her piano playing is a nice respite from guitars, guitars, guitars.

Diane McIntyre
Diane has a beautiful voice and has sung with us frequently at Christmas parties. She has also provided a venue for practice sessions (along with a BBQ). Diane is always a welcome addition to the Music Night vocalists.


The Grateful We're Not Dead has finally achieved a modicum of notoriety. Not quite to the same degree as entailed in Dr. Hook's Cover of the Rolling Stone:
Rolling Stone, wanna see my picture on the cover
Stone, wanna buy five copies for my mother
Stone, wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the 'Rolling Stone'.
but we did manage to attract the attention of a by-law officer.

On Saturday, September 22nd, we entertained at the Ariel Court End of Summer Party. After finishing the first one-hour set we were standing around having a beer when up drives a City of Ottawa by-law officer. Apparently, someone on a neighbouring street had phoned to complain about a band playing loud country music. This young chap was quite nice so we invited him in for a beer and something to eat (which he declined). He informed us of the City of Ottawa Noise By-law requirements:
The following is considered a violation under the by-law... operating a sound reproduction device in a residence between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. that exceeds 55 dBA when measured at or inside the property line of the person disturbed.
Now 55 dBA is less than the level of a normal conversation measured at 1 metre.

Seeing as he was there with a sound level meter, we asked him in to take a reading. The Grateful We're Not Dead then launched into J.D. Wilson's Boob Song
I think God made boobs for me.
They're about my very favourite thing to see.
I like them big and I like them small,
Don'tcha know I love them all.
I think God made boobs for me.
and we clocked in at 80 dBA (about the level of the dial tone of your telephone), measured about 10 metres directly in front of one of the PA speakers. So being good little Ottawa citizens we promised to turn down the volume for the next set and he went merrily on his way. But not before it was suggested that he invite the Grateful We're Not Dead to play at his next party.

All in all, the party was a resounding success. The food was excellent, the drinks were cold, the music was great (biased opinion) and we'd like to pass on a big 'Thank You' to the hosts: John, Barbara and Jayme Reid. Hopefully, we'll see y'all again next year.

We're Not The Grateful Dead

If you came here looking for the Grateful Dead then you're in the wrong place. We're not the Grateful Dead, we're the Grateful We're Not Dead. To help you on your way we've provided a few links to search engines that will take you to your desired destination.
Even though you may have ended up at the wrong place we want to thank you for dropping by. Y'all come back again, ya hear.

Who We Are

The Grateful We're Not Dead is a trio of musicians(???) (Gord Breedyk, Bruce Penniston and Don White) who enjoy performing outrageous and controversial songs as well as classic country and rock 'n roll. We operate out of Ottawa, Ontario. It's rumoured that we'll play for food and beer (but not necessarily in that order).

The group was originally formed in 1999 more as a joke than anything else. We all came together at monthly Music Nights held at Gord's condo. These gatherings had been going on since 1987 and Gord and Bruce had been involved since the get-go. Don, however, only joined the Music Night sing-a-longs in May of 1998. Once we realized that liked country music and other 'socially significant' songs the three of us would sit and jam on into the night and wee hours of the morning after all the other participants of Music Night had left. We then started doing some of our material at Music Night and the next thing we knew we were being invited to perform at various functions. Don's son, Jeff, suggested that owing to our ages (all seniors) we should call ourselves the Grateful We're Not Dead and thus the group was born.

And of course, being a 21st century group, we have a presence on Facebook:

Grateful We're Not Dead Facebook Group. Come and join us.

and a web site:

Grateful We're Not Dead Web Site.

Circle of All Nations Peace Concert

Grateful We're Not Dead have been invited to perform at the Circle of All Nations Peace Concert on Victoria Island on September 30, 2007.

The Concert is one of the events taking place during A Peace Festival for Ottawa, September 20 - October 7, 2007. Full details are available at Department of Peace

End of Summer Party (2007)

The Grateful We're Not Dead are playing for the Ariel Court End of Summer Party on September 22, 2007 - weather permitting. A big thanks to John Reid for providing the venue.

Last year it was cold, cold, cold. Did I mention it was cold. Hopefully, this year will be a bit warmer even though we are holding it later in the month. However, after playing for two hours with icicles hanging off our noses I still had to drag Bruce, kicking and screaming, over to the BBQ to warm him up. That boy does love to play guitar.

The above picture was taken at the 2006 End of Summer Party.

Over Sixty Blues

Back in 1990 a friend asked me to write a song for her husband's 50th birthday. The 'Over Fifty Blues' was the result. In 2005, another friend asked me to do a song for her husband's 60th birthday. After digging around in my files I resurrected the old lyrics, modified them slightly to create what has become one of our standards.


The Over Sixty Blues

My hair is getting thin now, my eyes are getting weak
When I shuffle off to bed it's mainly just to sleep
I've got the over-sixty, over-sixty blues
I'm in the autumn of my life now.
I've got the over-sixty blues

When I was in my fifties the ladies 'd ooh and aah
But now they look at me as if I were grandpa
I've got the over-sixty, over-sixty blues
There just ain't no more excitement.
I've got the over-sixty blues

I wish I were a doctor 'cause then I'd have the knack
To know if I've had an orgasm and not a heart attack
I've got the over-sixty, over-sixty blues
I'm living on the edge now.
I've got the over-sixty blues

So honey, heat my milk up and bring my cookies too
I'm gonna put my nightcap on and sit and watch the news
I've got the over-sixty, over-sixty blues
Yeah, them premature Kojakulatin'
Hours and hours of meditatin'
Nothin' left for me but waitin' blues
I've got those over-sixty, over-sixty blues.

© Don White 1990,2005

I Ain't Never Gonna Do That Again

Back in the 60s and 70s, I was playing with the Mississippi River Boys on the dance hall circuit in Lanark, Renfrew and Frontenac counties in Ontario. In those days most of the country dance halls did not have a liquor licence so the bar for the band was in the back of an amplifier. Needless to say, on many a morning I woke up with a hangover. At least one of those morning inspired the following lyrics.


I Ain't Never Gonna Do That Again

I ain't never gonna do that again
I've been drunk once to often and when
I wake up in the morning hung over I swear
I ain't never gonna do that again

I was playin' in a bar in a dive down town
For my booze and five dollars a night
I was half in the bag when the fists started flyin'
And somebody turned out my lights
Woke up in a cell bright and early next morning
With a little man running through my head
Opened my eyes, looked up at the ceiling
And to myself, I said

Repeat chorus

Last night I went to a joint downtown
And picked up a sweet little Miss
She asked me up to her place for a drink and some fun
And she gave me a hug and a kiss
She poured me a drink and before it was finished
I was starin' face down at the ground
I woke up in an alley and my wallet was empty
And that little girl was no where around

Repeat chorus

© Don White 1974