Disguise & Infiltration in New Jersey 1994-97

By Bob Rixon

The first & most simple disguise I assumed was for an Elvis Costello concert. I wore a tight-fitting, dark suit with pants that ended about six inches above my shoes; a very narrow tie; black, horn-rimmed glasses. This costume was so successful that several women thought I was a member of Mr. Costello’s band, resulting in an extended investigation at a motel near Red Bank, NJ.

The success of this venture gave me the confidence to tackle a Lynyrd Skynrd reunion concert. I wore a Harley-Davidson T-shirt; sewed a Dixie flag on a pair of old jeans,which I rubbed with a small amount of motor oil. I managed to sneak a bottle of Jack Daniels into the concert by disguising it as a Molotov Cocktail. However, I never got to hear “Free Bird”. I woke up with a roaring headache in the back of a Dodge pickup truck parked outside a bar in Easton, Pennsylvania. I went into the bar, but my identity was revealed when  it was discovered that I knew nothing about the World Wrestling Federation. Also learned about the intense dislike Phillipsburg, NJ police have for hitchhikers.

The relative success of this excursion resulted in an attempt to infiltrate a Grateful Dead concert. Frankly, I was frightened by this assignment. I feared what would happen to me if “Deadheads” discovered I was not only an unbeliever, but an atheist. To know the “Dead” & still reject them is considered a grievous spiritual apostasy.

I bought a wig resembling Cher’s hair circa 1970. I also invested in an expensive tie dye shirt & stocked up on love beads at a hippie shop on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. I borrowed some bongo drums, bought a pair of sandals at K Mart, & tucked several clove cigarettes & a small scented candle into a small leather pouch. For complete acceptance into Dead parking lot van culture, I re-recorded a legitimate live Dead album using a cheap tape recorder, marking the cassette with the cryptic code, “7/7/77 Sandusky”.

Near the arena, I cautiously approached a group of “Deadheads” who were sitting in a Volkswagon van, scooping humus from a plastic container with their fingers. I repeated the phrase, “I need a miracle” over & over. One of that group, a man I later learned had the name, “Tripping Skippy,” asked if I had anything to trade, as he might have the miracle I was searching for. I showed him my bogus cassette tape.

“Man, that’s not cool,” he said sadly. “I happen to know that Jerry was laid up with a toothache in Marin on that date, & Bob Weir was scuba diving with his dolphin friends near Santa Catalina Island.”   The Dead did play Sandusky, but not on the date I picked.

Although I failed to obtain a ticket  to the concert, I did accept a large glass of herbal iced tea from the Deadheads & spent the remainder of the afternoon marveling at how the lines on my left hand formed a perfect map of Tibet. Also, an iguana can stare for a long time without blinking its eyes.

The benefit concert for college radio station WSOU at the Birch Hill Club did not work out so well. As instructed, I wore a combination of leather & denim clothing with no creative alterations. However, there must have been some mistake by committee < researchers in their characterization of the sponsoring institution as, “Roman Catholic”. First, I forgot my ear plugs. Then, I asked for a glass when I ordered a bottle of Budweiser, which attracted a great deal of attention. Finally, certain remarks I made to a female “DJ” were misinterpreted, resulting in my being thrown to the floor & receiving a terrible puncture wound in my thigh from a spiked shoe heel. Please find enclosed bill from Raritan Bay Medical Center Emergency Room.

Despite that experience, I did attend the Marilyn Manson appearance at the 1997 Ozziefest. For the Manson show, I dyed my hair black, wore black combat boots, very white makeup, black lipstick & a black dress. I have having wonderful time until I jumped out of my seat, ran across the field, was tackled by a State Trooper & taken to the security office, where I was strip-searched by a police matron.

© Bob Rixon