Jason Ronk: How Struggles Can Shape A Beautiful Life Pt. 2


Episode 77 is the second half of my conversation with fellow music fan, recovered alcoholic, remarkable stay-at-home Dad and future podcaster: Jason Ronk. 

We pick up the conversation right where Part 1 left off (if you didn’t hear that yet, take the time to go back… great stuff in there and, you know, it’s part 1 of 2. Would you watch The Godfather II without devouring the original first?)

Jason takes us back into his mid-’90s history and what music really started to do for him at that time of his life. He traces directly back to a friend of his putting on Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album and remembers that really driving him further in his desire to be a musician. 

In 1994 and 1995, Jason was not only getting introduced to the Grateful Dead and Phish but his one and only time seeing Jerry Garcia on stage was the Grateful Dead’s final official concert before Jerry’s untimely and unfortunate death: the July 1995 show at Soldier Field in Chicago. 

“…I found my people… I had no clue what it was, but I knew that I fit…” 

That snippet of Jason’s description of being around the community of Deadheads at Soldier Field, whether in the parking lot or in the actual show, I think resonates with a lot of us. It absolutely hit the mark for me… it all sounded incredibly familiar to my first time in a parking lot at a show back on New Year’s Eve weekend in 1990. Drum circle, and all. 

Jason walked through the most difficult times of his life, talking about all of the craziness that his struggle with alcoholism put him through. One of my favorite things Jason said during our entire conversation came soon after that: “…my life really began on July 4, 2015… when I met my wife…” 

I mentioned this in my intro of the episode, but a big reason that we talked when we did for these episodes was that Jason was set to meet with Trey before one of his shows. His re-telling of that night and the extraordinary circumstances surrounding it gave me goosebumps. It’s always refreshing when you hear about a celebrity or someone who spends some of their life “in the spotlight” and people talk about how humble or friendly or just overall cool that person is. Jason’s meetup with Trey fell right in line with that. And this is the way it seems like all of the stories of people meeting Trey out and about are, of late. 

I won’t spell out the whole experience here… it won’t do it justice. Truly. If for no other reason, you should check out the actual episode to hear Jason tell about this awesome experience.  

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