Riverfront Times received the sweetest note this week from Jimmy Tebeau, the subject of our June 13 feature story, "He's Gone".
The lead singer of the popular local Grateful Dead cover band, the Schwag, reported to federal prison in South Dakota last month after pleading guilty to knowingly allowing the sale of drugs at his campground and concert venue, Camp Zoe. As our article detailed, Tebeau is believed to be the the first artist or event organizer ever imprisoned under a somewhat vague federal statute initially designed to stamp out crack houses.
But Tebeau didn't write to RFT to plead his case or argue that he's paying for the sins of others. (Tebeau, himself, was never accused of selling drugs. His crime, according to the feds, was not stopping others from doing so.)
The old Dead Head has moved on. Besides, he's too busy playing in prison bands to dwell on the past.
As Tebeau details in the letter (full copy on display on next page), he's playing in both a hard-rock band and a classic-rock band while in prison. Tebeau has also found a job in the prison's music department making 12 cents an hour. (A few million hours at that pay, and who knows? Perhaps Tebeau will have enough to purchase his 350-acre Camp Zoe out from federal-asset forfeiture?)
Concludes Tebeau in his letter: "I am making the best of my time while in prison to improve who I am and what I do. If life hands you lemons, you must make lemonade."
Jimmy would like to hear from you. He left this address for anyone who has ever wanted a prison pen pal.
James Tebeau 38712-044 Yankton FPC PO Box 700, Durand Unit Yankton, SD 57078 Continue on to read Tebeau's full letter to the RFT.