A Letter To Ben And Jerry From A Lesser Woodstock Act

Roderick O'Toole
Mar 17, 2020 · 4 min read
From silviarita on Pixabay

TO: Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield

1281 Waterbury Road

Burlington, VT 05676

October 10th, 1989

Hey there, peace and love to you, my fellow children of the sun! Bet you thought you’d never hear from Country Joe from Country Joe and the Fish again! Especially after all that angel dust I was doing at Woodstock. Hard to believe we are coming up on 20 years since the festival! I mean far out man, I can hardly believe it. Boy, times have changed since the sixties. You know the band isn’t playing together as much since Barry the Fish started his law practice back in ’82, but I’m still up here in Berkeley trying to keep the dream alive.

I ducked into a grocery store the other week to use the bathroom and I saw your ice cream in the frozen food section. Now, I thought maybe I was on a bad trip or somethin’, because I couldn’t believe it; old Ben and Jerry from Vermont? The Burlington Boys? I thought they just had the one shop! I asked the stock boy about it and he said “no they sell this ice cream all across the country.” Groovy, I thought, groovy! I’m sure some of the other old hippies are accusing you guys of “selling out” or saying that you should have stayed local instead of branching out so you could hock ice cream to yuppie scum, but don’t listen to them man. I’m sure you’re hearing that stuff all the time but forget them man. I tried that chocolate chip cookie dough and it was great, man.

And hey! While I was picking out a flavor, I noticed you guys make an ice cream called Cherry Garcia. I was kind of stumped by the name for a second; it sounded familiar but I couldn’t place it. But then I remembered that Jerry Garcia was in the Grateful Dead! That’s really clever, man. And that’s groovy of you to make an ice cream based on a musician. I remember the Dead’s set at Woodstock. I mean how could I forget? I am always floored when I think of that lineup. Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who, and my band, Country Joe and the Fish, among others. Wow, all of these legends gathered together for one show! All of these totemic artists who have gone on to be equally regarded as pillars of cultural influence. I guess I must have blanked on Jerry’s name since it isn’t in the title of the band like mine is.

Anyhoo, I bring all of this up because I wanted to tell you that if you’re interested, I’d be willing to let you use Country Joe and the Fish as an inspiration for a flavor. And look, maybe people would think that’s too obvious and I’m sure you’d have to expand your production facilities to meet demand, so I’d understand if your little operation isn’t ready to make that kind of leap. I just wanted to put it out there. You could call it Caramel Joe and the Ice Cream Dish or Flying Pie (like our song Flying High) or instead of Not so Sweet Martha Lorraine it could be Nice and Sweet Marshmallow Sorbet? And if anybody tries to tell you you’re selling out again or something, they’re wrong. You might be a business but you’re still true hippies at heart like the rest of us, keeping the dream of the sixties alive.

By the way, I don’t know what kind of deal Garcia got as far as licensing but I’m sure I could convince my lawyer (he’s not Barry the Fish) to reach a reasonable figure for you. I’d be willing to let you retain as much as 42% of net profits, post tax. If, however, you want to use my likeness on the carton, image licensing is probably going to set you back another couple hundred thou. Additionally, I’m a shareholder for Albertson’s grocery stores (not a majority shareholder, I’m no capitalist pig, man) and we’re going to need to have an exclusivity deal for my flavor in the territories where we do business. That’s non-negotiable. But hey, that’s only West of the Mississippi excluding a portion of the Sun Belt, so I’m still down to jam, my brothers!

Please respond with a notarized letter of intent and any concept art your team comes up with. And if you have any of that killer green bud lyin’ around, roll me one of your classic Js!

Love Peace & Chicken Grease,

Country Joe McDonald

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Roderick O'Toole

Written by

Kindly old coot. Performer, UCBNY.

Slackjaw

Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

Roderick O'Toole

Written by

Kindly old coot. Performer, UCBNY.

Slackjaw

Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

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