Jeff Hellman Bio

My life in a nutshell…

Born in Chicago, moved to Boston area when I was 8
Attended Goddard College, ~ 2 years
Sold cars in OK at Uncles’ dealership, married first wife
Dealership folded during first gas crisis, moved back to Boston, became divorced
mostly floated until friend of Father wanted to consult on a business idea which eventually became Yogurtime and Salad Too, in the Mall of New Hampshire.
While this venture was very sucessful, it ultimately was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I sold my share to the partners, bought a van and went on the road to follow the Grateful Dead.
Before and during the salad venture I had fallen in love with the Grateful Dead concert experience. I had attended my first GD concert while in Oklahoma. While I enjoyed it, I didn’t realize what was really going on and it was a few years later that a friend took me to a show at the Boston Music Hall where the bus found me and pulled me in. This same friend and I started promoting cruises in Boston Harbor where we set up a sound system and played back tapes of live shows. It was hugely sucessful, sold out every time but we eventually had to stop over concerns that my friend might get sued if someone fell off the ship or some other bad outcome occurred. It was because of these cruises that I started travelling outside the Boston area to shows in order to record them and have better sounding content for playback. I eventually approached Dan Healy and asked him if he ever took on apprentices. No one had ever asked him before and he agreed to take me on. We have been friends since that time.
I got to know a bunch of the sound crew, including Don Pearson. Don was instrumental in convincing me to buy a Macintosh computer. I had been leaning toward an atari at the time, but the Mac ended up changing my life, much as the Dead had a few years earlier.
I eventually moved to the San Francisco Bay area and took the first Mac related job I could find. I had no money to speak of when I got there, but a small business located in a garage in the east bay, Julian Systems, hired me and let me sleep on the floor of the garage until I earned enough money to rent a room across the bay.
A few months later, I had learned enough to be able to open a small, hole in the wall, store in San Rafael dedicated to the Mac. We became an instant hit because we would answer questions and support anyone who called without requiring that they had bought something from us in the past. Apparently this was not the way others had been doing business.
The business grew and I married again. We had a beautiful daughter together. Prior to moving to California, I had managed to stop using Cocaine. It had grown into a significant problem for me and I was somehow able to stop. After opening the store I had access to more cash than ever before and the moment came where my resolve to stay away from it became less important than hanging out with some folks who were not staying away. This eventually led to losing everything I had achieved while not using.
After the store closed I held a couple computer related jobs and eventually got a lead on a QA position at Apple Computer. For me this was like working with the Grateful Dead, a chance to work with an organization that had been responsible for changing the direction of my life. I stayed there almost 10 years and was able to witness Steve Jobs being removed and then returning to save the company. It was an incredible time.
After my time at Apple was over, I bounced around a bit. I was about to start a new contract at another tech company when I suffered a myochondrial infarction, a heart attack. I drove myself to the hospital and they put the first of what would be several stents in an artery. Since that time I have had 3 other procedures where stents were placed.
In 2003 I decided I wanted to record a CD. My thought was that I would drive cross country when the cd was done and promote it by playing at truck stops along the way. Things did not turn out the way I planned. I documented the entire process and you can read about it if you like, at (new location coming soon)
In 2007, during a hospital stay, a cardiac doc decided I was depressed and put me on effexor. over the next few years a pyschiatrist added and modified a cocktail of anti-depressants that only ever seemed to make things worse. I stopped playing music. I had developed a tremor and muscle pain whenever I tried to play.
On January 1st, 2012 I stopped taking the anti-depressants. A couple months later, I stopped taking a cholesterol med as well as a diabetes med. Concurrent to this I got a prescription for cannabis. The muscle pain subsided and the tremor was dramatically reduced. Furthermore, I started playing music again. Since that time I have been working daily on new instrumental music, songs from my past and new songs that are coming to me once again.

      1. For Mom - Steelrain

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