The Grateful Dead is one of those bands that is everywhere, and yet remains an enigma to us. This week, Bethanne kicks off Spooky Season 2021 with a delve into the unknown, and we are left with even more questions than we started with. And a craving for Cherry Garcia ice cream. And bread.
Show Notes and Images
Can I just say that one day, I want to meet your neighbors who put the damn skeletons in their yard. I’m surprised I have not put them on Reddit yet there, so there’s this house that I had to pass to come to Beth Ann’s house. It’s like the corner of the street or whatever. And they put out a different skeleton, like every month, I guess, the same skeleton.
And he’s doing something different every month. So like two skeletons and a dog’s skeleton. And not like the 12 foot home Depot skeleton, just like a normal human size skeleton that he does. Cool. They do cool stuff. So he’s like last fall or two falls ago, they made a whole fucking corn field and had them coming out of the corn field.
Um, it Valentine’s day, they had. There is supposed to be ice skating, but it, it looks like something else. Yeah. It looked like one was getting another one, a blow job. Um, they’ve had they mow the grass in the summer. Like they just do these cute little scenarios. They have done them. For Halloween. So the other night when I left, it was dark and all I saw was there was a skeleton in a canoe and I was like, okay, that’s cute.
Like they haven’t done them on a boat yet. So then one Saturday, when I came to pick that up for the stretch show, I see it in the light and they made a whole God damn shark with a little paddle boat that the little skeleton in the canoe is do, do, do, do the shark. Try to skeleton though. He’s he’s, uh, we’ll have shark, but, uh, I swear to you.
I don’t, I’ve never met him, but I guarantee you, they have to be production design of some sort, or they just have too much time on their hands. Yeah. But they’re the coolest fucking people they really are. And I would like to meet them. We’ll make it happen. We need to just take the dogs and we just need to walk them.
Yeah. Like just keep walking them until they notice. Oh, hi. Hi. We’re just really admiring your shark in your yard. Uh, we took a picture of the shark and put it on, go knock. Can I borrow some sugar? Do you got a cup of sugar neighbor? Oh, Hey, there’s there’s a shark in your yard. Um, I don’t know if know, come from, I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a shark in your heart.
You want me to get that looked at? Might want to get it anyway. This is not a shark podcast. No. But I’m Leah and I’m Beth and this is
yeah, he goes be like, pull up before I call you. Let me turn down thermostat.
So hit me up with the business, Leah. But first, may I say that? Welcome to spooky season 2021. Yes. Our third installation of spooky episodes. We’re going to be struggling next year when it comes to round four, I have already tried to start thinking of something. I have mine picked out. I might have mine picked up, but it kind of scares me a little bit.
I’m also. Sorry about the random sock that’s on my couch. I just noticed there’s also a sock in your couch. Oh, I was looking for that one. Actually. There, it was. It’s the, it’s my Shiba Inu. Sorry. I see it. Um, so yeah. Welcome to spooky season. This one may not be a spooky as you were hoping, but we’ll get there.
We’ll get there. Yeah. Um, the business business side of things. Um, it’s a little late now that you’re listening to this because it’s coming out. Voting closes, but we were nominated for a discover pods award. We’re pretty fucking stoked, which is shocking. I didn’t nominate us. So whoever out there nominated us.
Thank you so much. Like the way I found out is I’m in a group chat on Twitter and I’m driving to AAA one day to pick up my lunch and I get a text from, uh, I think it was our friends at moral combat and they’re like, Hey, she will rock you pod. Congrats on being nominated. I’m driving. And I’m like reading this on my apple watch.
Wait, what are we talking about? So I get to 12 and I’m like, what are you talking about? And waiting for my order to get ready? Cause I did a mobile order and they’re fucking slow in that. Yeah. And he’s like, here’s the link and I pull it up and I was like, what the fuck? And I’m just trying not to draw attention to myself and then 200 miles away.
Cause I’m on my way to. I am taking a nap in a car, which, which tends to be the pattern. I tend to get big news about the podcast when I’m napping and I feel Leah’s techs go off. And at first my NA and then I was like, well, I better look. And then I see it. And I’m like, holy shit. Um, so yeah, I think voting closes at some point on Friday.
Friday’s date the 15th, October 15th, 2021. If you’re listening to this at some point on Friday, go check out our socials and click the link and see if you can still vote. If you miss the voting window, follow us on social for next time. We’re nominated for something. I don’t know, hopefully fingers crossed, but we’re just really excited about it.
Be nominated. So thank you. People who did that. Um, this is number two. We have joined the team at quite the thing, meaning for your listeners who are listening to the. It really doesn’t mean much for you guys. Like you’re not going to see a change. It’s still our same show. We just have like more help on the consulting side of things.
Promotion, but you’ll probably start hearing other trailers for other, quite the thing productions. Um, half the shows are Scottish. So, you know, I’m all about that. If you’re into accents, you check my Outlander heart. I only had to read it as a Scottish podcast. I was like done. Done, but I’m really excited and really excited that we get to work with Jeff.
Yes, the podcast, the podcast, father podcast, father, AKA and D podcast. It’s going to be really great if you haven’t listened to our interview with him, go check it out. Yes, it’s really fun. Interview. Our audio is not great, cause we’re dumb, but that’s on us. I take that personally. I’m just kidding. Our box wouldn’t work that day.
And that was, that was pre Yeti mikes. Yeah, we didn’t have both. I don’t know if that’s our fault though. So don’t blame Jeff about audio sounds bad. Uh, I think that’s everything I needed to mention. Yeah, we did just, there’s a bonus episode coming out with this. You if you’re like subscribed and you’re listening to this, you’ve probably found it already, but, uh, go listen to it.
We went to some concerts. They were all great. Okay. I’m going to throw it to you. Cause we got a lot of shit. We do get a lot of shit to talk about with this one. So first off I am going to apologize. So previously I had chosen artists Iraqi to rock you. After black Sabbath, I had an artist picked out in my mind and I forgot who you were.
Marilyn Manson. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And so I had him picked out and then it turns out homeboy is a bad boy and not a bad boy in a good way. A bad boy, as in a sexual predator, Motley Crue way. We don’t want to talk about him on our show away. Yeah. So forget that loser. So my brain is like, think, think, think, think, think, and.
I was like, what about grateful dead? Because I knew about that podcast dead and gone, which I never listened to, but you know, I don’t like to bash other pods. But they took not a lot of content and stretched it out way. To me. That’s kind of what I got the vibes of after, after the fact after I chose it.
Um, so I figured what the name of the grateful dead. I would have some good spooky content there on theme, but like imagery wise. Yes, we’re on theme content wise. Not quite, but anyway, so I chose this ban partly because I barely knew them, which is spooky season in hindsight, not my best choice, but anyway, um, but I knew that they had an ice cream named after the guitarist.
It’s some really good ice cream Garcia. So like I said, after reading up on. I am still confused as hell about this band. Like there is just a lot to unpack about them and this outline is not even like scratching the surface. I feel like of what this band is, but it’s also harder to unpack it. Because it’s just different than anything else we’ve covered.
And a little bit of the information that I tried to get is not really readily available because it stays in the dead head community. We’ll talk about that more extreme gatekeeping. Yeah. Yeah. Like I was pretty like, you’ve researched grateful dead. Like usually when I research a band, like I’ll just type in their name and I’ll get some good articles that come up that didn’t really happen this time, which I thought was odd.
Like still some articles came up, like one came up that they’re releasing a Funko pop head of it. It’s about damn time. So that’s going to be cool, but it was. It was weird, like the length. Interesting. But anyway, so I’m going to do my best, but if I miss anything, always feel free to add me on Twitter. Just don’t come at me at me.
Just know I am Novus in this grateful dead. We are both very confused about the full day. It makes no goddamn sense to me. And I have tried and tried to put my detective hat on for this episode. And these are my findings, as I was telling you, this is what it is yesterday. I can’t name a single song by the grateful dead.
You know, it was weird. Cause I listened to it today to like, you know, listen to a little bit. And I was, I knew some of the melodies, which I thought was odd. Cause I was like, I’ve never heard this. In my life. I knew the melodies. So I don’t know what’s up with that plan. And some background music somewhere, probably it’s probably been in like every elevator you’ve ever stepped into some grateful dead, and you just don’t realize it.
So, anyway, like I mentioned, this is a completely different artist than anything we’ve covered and it requires a completely different outline, which really stressed me out when I was trying to write that. Three days prior. Um, so not a normal structure, but we’re going to start with the history and then we’re getting a little experimental, you know, LSD required.
Anyway, let’s get started to know the original members. We’re basically just going to cover the original members. We’ll give some others honorable mentions, but we’ll start with Mr. Ice cream himself. Jerry Garcia. I got to admit I’ve until like the age of. 1819. That’s literally all I knew about the grateful dead was that ice cream.
Well, I remember cherry Garcia as being the best selling ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s for awhile. Just really fucking good idea. It’s delicious. I haven’t eaten it in forever cause I always go for the tonight dough. Now I’ve gotten some. Oh, well next time next year. Uh, anyway, so Jerry Garcia was born on August 1st, 1942 in San Francisco, California.
Some big life events happen early on. So when he was four, his brother accidentally cut off two-thirds of his right middle finger. Yeah, they were splitting wood. Okay. That makes sense. But also why are they splitting? What at that age? What year is this? 1942. That’s why. Okay. Fair enough. Um, but anyway, he said it helped him play better.
It’s like a Tony EME situation, you know, Tony lost the tip of his finger. That’s the way I kind of see it. Like. You kind of relearn how to play it and you get to learn different chord structures is my interpretation of that. Anyway. And then shortly after that, his dad did pass away in an accidental drowning, which is pretty sad during a fishing trip.
So after that his mom bought out a bar that his dad co co owned for some friends and just works there full time. Um, she would eventually remarry and they would move around the California area. Jerry showed an interest in music early on. He loved rock and roll rhythm and blues as well as blue grass growing up his grandmother, like he used to play like the grand old Opry and things like that for him and even learned the band.
When he was a kid at age 15, he would receive his first instrument that every rock and blues obsessed teen wanted. It’s not a guitar is it’s an accordion. What the fuck? That I’m sure. Meant, well, I’m sure she meant very well, but that’s a read the room situation. Yeah. Also accordions aren’t cheap. So it was a cheap alternative.
So Jerry was a little bit disappointed as if Ralphie had received the pink bunny suit. So red Ryder BB gun. Um, so he like begged his mom to return it and eventually they would exchange it for an electric guitar and a small amp and probably got a refund on top of that. In 1960, he stole his mom’s car because why not?
And he was caught by the police and he was given the option jail or army them. So well, they did the same thing to Jimmy Hendrix and he chose the ladder. He went in the army. However, he was not good for military service, the same thing with Jimmy Hendrix, shocking, but in his situation, During basic training.
He wouldn’t basically just chill and miss roll call instead of. And doing, you know, a different kind of role. And I don’t know if that’s true, but that probably happened. And then safe to assume after a few months of just loafing. Um, I imagine like the cat version of Jerry Garcia, when I say that too, that looks like a loaf, just sitting there in his little army hat.
Yeah. They said, basically you’re out of here and they just discharged them. So basically the dude got caught once in the army and did nothing. He loafed his way out of the army, but he didn’t have to go to jail. He didn’t have to go to jail. So he just sat there. He just sat there. I see nothing out of this scenario cut out of it.
Um, so anyway, after that, he goes to San Francisco and once again, just starts to loafing. He’s a loafer. Um, and shortly around that time, he had he and a few friends. They went driving around and the driver took a really fast turn and like the car to start tumbling. And Jerry was actually rejected like through the window, like through the front.
Front, um, window shield. And it was so powerful. It took his shoes off. Damn. Yeah. He survived. Like he only had a broken collar bone. Oh, there’s, we’re not so lucky in that car crash. And that’s like one his, he says his life began and he just started taking it seriously. And he just started focusing on guitar.
You know, we’re most get a job, but you know, if that’s what makes you aware, dude, that’s his calling? That’s the calling. So let’s move over to Phil Lesh. Um, Phil was born on March 15th, 1940 in Berkeley, California. There’s really not much about the dude other than. From what I’ve heard from interviewers, he’s kind of, I get the impression he’s kind of like a musical genius and that he played violin and trumpet and studied jazz and like studied under a famous jazz, jazz musician.
Um, after meeting the members of the band, though, he decided to do bass guitar. Um, Cool basis has the most interesting origin stories really do. And it’s always because we’re pushed into it. Yup. No one wants to play the bass. No. And then we’re going to move on to Bob we’re. It’s either wire we’re and I’m not sure.
Bob was born on October 16th, 1947 in San Francisco. He was adopted and developed an interest in guitar. At age 13. He got into trouble in school a lot, like, um, academically, Y. Because he had dyslexia, which I can imagine, like made him run more for guitar when he was 16, he’s wandering the streets of Palo Alto, looking for a club to sneak into.
And he hears something in an alley. And I imagine it goes like
it’s Jerry Garcia playing banjo. Okay. I probably did.
I guess he was like, Probably like teaching kids guitar. Cause they just said, and he was waiting for one of his students. So that’s my interpretation of that. But anyway, we’ll pick up their story later. And then there’s Ron pig pen McKernan pig. Well, he was named pig pen after the peanuts character. Oh God.
Um, Ron was born on September 8th, 1945 in San Bruno, California. His dad was an R and B and blues DJ. Um, which led. Ron to be involved in R and B at an, at a young age, he first started with blues piano, then moved to guitar, the move to harmonica. He became friends with Jerry Garcia, age 14, which would come in handy later.
But before joining, alongside the grateful dead, he also just loafed around between coffee shops and music stores. And then last but not least, there’s bill craftsman. He was born on May 7th, 1946 in Palo Alto, California. He started playing drums at age 13 and would practice first on a kit, lent to him.
And then he would like go to a high school alone and play his music teacher first. You can’t keep a beat, but then randomly this prominent English writer and professor named Aldous Huxley. Wait, the guy who wrote 1984, I think so. Yeah, the fuck is randomly there. Okay. I thought George Orwell’s 1984 is the.
Huxley is the shit. We read his book. It’s another dystopian novel. It was terrible. We were saying we had to write a paper on it. Huxley, please look it up, but kind of bother me brand new world, brave new world and brave new. That’s what I’m thinking. Devil’s of London. Yeah. So Aldous Huxley just randomly shows up at his high school.
No context is given both in the documentary and Wiki wiser. He’s just there. Maybe it’s who knows? It’s ironic though, because based off his Wiki, he studied psychedelic experiences. That makes complete sense. I’m like something that’s like similar to LCD from my understanding, but I just think that’s very ironic because there’s going to be a lot LCD in the span.
LSD, LSD. What’d I say LCD TVs.
It’s all liquid crystal display. I really can’t stand. Sometimes these tongue twisters that my brain causes for me saying, yeah, you keep me straight. So anyway, he hears it and he tells young Billy that he’s like, never heard anything like it and keeps playing. And because I’m OCD, I’m going to say what always comes to my head.
When I read that, I remember the scene from SpongeBob. Uh, SpongeBob is a clarinet best Squidward. Yes, plain. And then the king goes, why did you stop playing that beautiful music? He’s going low.
So that’s, that’s what pops in my head when I read that for some reason. And I’m just going to leave you all with that. Cause that’s what goes through my brain a lot of time. SpongeBob references to things anyway. So how do these all loafs form into a bigger bread basket, if you will. So.
That’s it. That’s the title of the episode. I didn’t have a title name. That’s it?
Oh, graphics are good.
It’s my crowning achievement on this show. Dude someone out there on Tik TOK, please, please make me a bread scored with the, with the lightning skull. I bet it exists. Please do it. I need it now. We’re Googling that later. Anyway. So we first meet three future members of grateful, dead or GD for short, um, Garcia, Bob ware and pig pen.
They first. And they join a band together. So remember when Bob heard that sweet sound of Jerry’s banjo? Well guess what, they’re starting something called a jug band, like at my daughter’s jug band. Yes. You’re on the right track. A joke band for those who don’t know. And I kind of want to be respectful because it does have a lot of roots in African-Americans.
I just think of empanada it’s fair. It is a lot, it has transcended into pop culture for sure. But I do know it has a lot of roots in African-American culture, especially with her vaudeville. Um, so I want to be a little bit respectful, but basically what it is, it’s a. Basically making music with any household items.
So jugs, spoons, Washington, birds. Well, yeah, you got it. And um, so, you know, they think we’re in resurgence because it’s from the 1920s vaudeville and they’re like, there were surgeons that’s coming and they named their band mother McCree’s uptown jug champions, and they only had one. Which side note the artwork was an animated woodchuck or Groundhog, depending on what type of the world you’re in a frog, a rabbit and a pig playing instruments.
It really was, it was very, very similar. I’m sure Jim Henson. Because I imagine he’s a dead head. There’s no way you can tell me. He’s not my head. Canada’s that Jenn had Jim Henson was a deafness. He probably got inspiration from it. We’re cracking them up. It’s here guys. Yeah. Correct. After that album didn’t do that.
Great. They decided jug music is not the resurgence and they instead when psychedelic and changed her name to the warlocks, they also added Phil and bill. Um, however the warlocks name was taken, so they had to come up with a new name. So, what do you do when you have to come up with a new band name while you stare at random shit in your room?
Until I fears to you? You are correct, but this time you do DMT. Uh, so they did some DMT. They opened a Britannica and Jerry just stumbles upon grateful dead. This is just chaotic. Good. How they chose this name and the name. Someone who is dead, but are grateful for good burial. So imagine someone was dead on the side of the road and you’re like, ah, that shouldn’t be so you bury them.
That’s a grateful dead. Okay. Um, the lineup is as follows. Jerry is on vocals and guitar. Bob is on guitar and does some vocals as well. Bill’s on drums. Phil is on bass and pig pen is on. Does. Oregon and harmonica now want to take a moment and introduce to you some, some people to the story as if you didn’t have enough people to keep tabs on, but they are important to their story.
We’re not going to talk about them too, too much, but you should know about them. The first person we’re going to talk about is Ken Kesey. This bro is an author. Yes, but basically he’s a hit. That’s it. Okay. He’s a hippie. He’s a counter-cultural activists. Okay. Is his official title? Counter-cultural is very big in describing, um, the grateful dead.
Um, but you know, when you think of that, like hippy leader who got people on the bus, right? Like the scene from umbrella. Yes. That’s what this dude is. Okay. Basically he has a group of followers named the Merry pranksters, their goal, which a little bit of a strong word, their journey is to live communally at Ken Cassie’s house.
And take LSD. Um, in 1964, they would all load up in a psychedelic pain and bus called further and travel around and handout LSD. There also was a book I thought about putting this in, but now I wish I did. Um, it was called Kool-Aid. I’m gonna have to look it up. It’s like Kool-Aid journey or something like that, but it’s about a reporter who followed them.
Okay. And this information is important because their first show was in San Jose at one of Ken Kesey. Acid tests, which we’ll talk about more in a little bit, but basically to give you a little summary, it’s a party where you took LSD in a room with black whites, strobe lights and fluorescent paints. It was advertised on posters around the city, around San Francisco that said, can you pass the acid test?
I don’t like that. No, I don’t think I’d pass the acid test. Leah, you know, I would not pass the
emergency. I’m not calling you an ambulance
someday. You all will hear that story. Not that day is not that day. Um, the grateful dead was also considered members of the Merry pranksters. I think Jerry Garcia, marrieds Merry pranksters. Anyway. And then lastly, I would like to introduce Owsley bear Stanley. He would have two important roles. And the grateful dead career sound engineer for the band main chemists and LSD supplier to Kesey and the band.
The fact that there is a chemist on staff and sound engineer chemist. Hey a man. How many talents a man?
Maybe he bakes bread too. Probably he probably, he gives them their LSD. They get X, weed brownies. Sure. Fucking slap. And we brownies. Like, I didn’t talk too much about this, but after he goes through arrest, he just says, I think I’m just going to grow weed. So he just starts growing weed. You know, that’s probably a good move, but probably a better move from my well we’ll, we’ll talk about him sporadically throughout.
So anyway, the band started their career by performing a lot of these acid tests, which is testing for testing testing. They just go out there and they say, test, test, test, test to check, check, check, check mate. Anyway. So it’s very on brand for them. Um, they would essentially get. And see what music came out of them, which I imagine does take a lot of a talent because I feel like if I did anything like that, I would just be screaming loudly, like a possum, like
exactly. I think that’s what the music would be that would come out of me. Um, I feel like I forget how to play my instrument. Like I honestly don’t remember. It was literally like, I would just probably sit there and just. That’s like, I don’t understand when musicians go on super drunk or super high, don’t get a fuck.
Or you remember what you’re playing? You have to, like, your brain has to be chemically. You have to be Ozzy Osborne. Yeah. You have to have certain chemicals that allow you to do that. Cause I can’t, I can’t fucking that. Yeah, I guess probably, but they also will go on to play some larger festivals throughout their career mantra, rock dance, which we’ve talked about in the Janice Joplin episode side note.
If you remember Janice and pig pen dated for a time, they may have lived communally for a while as well. Cause there was a picture of her. In that kind of setting, um, Monterey pop festival, which we also talked about in the Janice episode and then festival express, which was a train that went across Canada with artists like Janis Joplin, the band, the flying burrito brothers.
That sounds cool as hell. I love that name. And then they would just play shows along the route. Then they would party like crazy and collab on music, like crazy while they were on the. And of course Woodstock, which fun fact they played a 50 minute version. Have a song, the song was turn on your love light of one song, one song.
They really forgot how to play. They were too high. They just kept going just, well, it’s actually funny you say that because like I listened to their music for the first time today, and this is not me hating on them, but just simply describing them, they just play the. Like the play one section of a song, and then they’ll play another section of a song then they’ll go back in.
So I can easily see that being stretched to 50 minutes if you do it. Right. But after a mantra, rock dance in 1967, they were signed to Warner bros, which is a very odd pairing. He has a limbs, a little corporate for them, but okay. And then under Warner bros, they release their first album, which was self-titled, which may I say the album cover once again makes no goddamn cell.
It is like, I can’t even describe it to you. You just got to go look it up. I’m not even going to attempt it. And I want to throw in a real quick disclosure. We’re not going to be talking a lot about the music and albums at length. We’re just more noting, like the change, the sound changes that they go through.
Um, there’s a reason behind my madness. You’re going to just have to wait and see. So. The first flourish of albums at the beginning of their career were very expensive experimental to say the least one scholar said regarding their album. Anthem of the sun. They were like mad scientists, slicing pieces of home recordings and some pieces of studio recordings.
And upon listening to their song, alligator, it definitely feels that way. Like it just like does something and then goes, does something else. And it does this. And then it goes, it knows that. Um, but then their albums working man’s dead and American beauty, they. With more folk bluegrass, which is what I feel like they kept for a long time after that.
And you know, that has a larger appeal. One song I did want to point out is trucking from their American beauty album. That song is based on a true story where the band was in new Orleans and had their hotel rated for LSD. Also fun fact LSD when the band started was legal and then it became illegal. It was legal, it was legal.
It was legal for a while. Wow. Well now, wow. I think it was created. I want to say in the fifties, As, you know, it’s basically lab made and then people were just it’s math 1.0 yeah. And then they just were making it, you know, and then it became illegal. And then the, you know, you can’t tell hippies once you give them something for free, they’re not going to take it away.
Um, but so their hotel was rated and they were arrested for the drugs, but then they posted bail and just went. The next night, like it was like nothing. Um, the bros don’t skip shows and then the charges were dismissed, but their friend Owsley Stanley was in some deep trouble. They did not drop his charges as he already had pending charges in California.
And I’m just going to quote this straight from. Stanley was the first known private individual to manufacturer mass quantities of LSD by his own account between 1965 and 1967. Sanli produced at least 500 grams of LSD amounting to a little more than 5 million. Doses, he’s breaking bad up in there, dude.
He is, he is Walter White jail. I am the one who loafs
everywhere. Um, he also supplied LST to the Beatles. Fine. That sounds exactly right. So anyway. So it is in that song that they have the lyric, what a long, strange trip it’s been. I see that quoted all the time. That’s what it’s going to bring up. It’s a mantra almost for Deadheads and it’s just everywhere because oddly enough, we have a lot of.
Like dead heads in this area. Yeah. We have the entire fucking lock-in festival dedicated to which company plays, which is a spinoff, which we’ll talk about. But it’s very interesting because I will literally see for pizza voter winery, long, strange festival, and, um, What is this? Yeah, there’s like a weird, dead head community.
I almost, I almost went to one just to prepare for this episode, but I didn’t have the time. So anyway, as you can imagine, the band is playing. They’re doing LSD. Sometimes both pig pens, a little different. He didn’t do drugs. He was a drinker. And unfortunately that has some big consequences in his life. By 1971, he has liver damage.
Super young. Um, his doctors tell him stop touring. He does take a brief hiatus, but then he comes back, but then he had to stop altogether at the end of 1972 on March 8th, 1970 2 73. He is found dead at the age of 27, 27. Yeah, he’s a. Which is pretty sad. Um, he was missed by the band. Um, however, while he was still in the band, they added a second keyboardist for a bit, but he left.
And then I’m trying to remember like, where read this, but I believe Jerry was approached by someone named Donna Jean. God show and said basically like some long lines of my husband is your next keyboardist. And she was right. Um, Keith God showed, joined the band on piano and then Donna joined a vocals a few months later.
So when pig pen died, you know, they had another keyboardist, um, ready to go and also worth noting the band had a second percussionist as well. So they have two key words. And two percussionists at one point in this band, um, his name was Mickey Hart. The second percussionist, he left the band brief. So I had a whole section rate about him and then I took it out.
But basically this dude, if I can kind of recap it because it plays into this next part, he both, his parents were drummers, which is very interesting. I’ve never seen that before, but his dad left early on and basically moved to California. And then he went to go track down his dad after he got out of the army and found his dad was sponsored by , which is a drum manufacturer.
He found his dad. They basically like they tried the founder of Rima volunteered to like make a connection. And the first time it didn’t go through the second time it did and him and his dad started this like music center called heart music center for a bit. But he was just kind of in and out in and out.
The reason I say this is because. Mickey Hart had to leave for a little bit because his dad basically embezzled like $70,000 from the band and makes me feel so bad for him because like his dad, like poles, the stupid shit, you know, Pulls the stupid shit anyway. So, but you did eventually go back to the band and join them.
Um, so with the new members, the band leaves, Warner brothers and forms their own record label called grateful dead records. It’s probably a good move. It is a good move. And the reason why it’s such a good move is basically they were told by a lawyer that they should own all our music, which helped them make a lot of money later on.
Yeah. Yeah, a lot of money. Um, anyway, more on that later. So their next few albums take a little bit of a different turn. They put out a jazz inspired album called wake of the flood, then. I wrote then another album called wake of the flood. That is not correct. It’s not put out two albums called wake of the flood.
Um, but after that, the band goes on a Torian hiatus a little bit. But before that hiatus, Jerry Garcia filmed some concerts with the intent of making a film. And he did just that. And he released a movie called the grateful dead movie in 1977, which was part animated part concert and parts. Skip. Okay anyway, but if you ever want to experience what it’s like to do LSD without the substance go wash the first five minutes of that movie.
And I’m going to attempt to summarize this for you, but basically it starts off here in space. And then an alien looking thing is playing an uncle Sam themed paint. Uh, pinball, I’m sorry. Pinball machine. Cause always goes back to pinball machines in the sixties. Yeah, exactly. And uncle Sam turns into a skeleton, which is one of their, like, it’s a skeleton that skeleton it’s like one of their like designs and he dances around for a little bit, you know, skeleton dance.
Um, He gets on a motorcycle and I’m assuming motorcycles through space. And then he ends up in a town which shows imagery from what is like a made up parody, religion called church of the sub genus. Of course, Ken Kesey is a subscriber to it. I don’t have time for that. That’s a whole other rabbit hole.
Read it about yourself. Then he’s in a desert made of mushrooms slash. What, what, yeah. They look like mushrooms, but they’re really feet mushroom feet. I was falling up until this point. Yeah. And you know what I mean? It’s an acid trip. There’s going to be mushrooms in it. Um, and then colored dots start flying around as if like poke it out, man.
Just visited. And then he’s in jail where the statue of Liberty breaks the skeleton out. Okay. That’s the first five minutes. Okay. I’m good. I can picture it. Okay. Okay. You’re good then. Um, I watched it for you. Thank you. In 1978, they go more in a disco direction with their album shakedown street, which actually was pretty good.
I did listen to one song from that today. Um, the same year they play three shows in Egypt, right at the base of the pyramid. That’s fucking cool. And the reason why. It’s because there was going to be a lunar eclipse and it was going to be this very like, you know, new age thing and also like grateful dead has some kind of tie to Egypt, apparently from my understanding.
Um, but the recordings from that were not the best. So no one really has. I know, but we do have a picture of Jerry Garcia, riding a camel. That’s all we need. So we have that, um, in 1979, Keith and Donna leave the band. Brings us to the eighties, which is a very strange time for the band. They’re continually releasing music and taurine, so that’s not changing, but in the mid eighties, Garcia developed some serious health issues from drugs, alcohol, and he has a diet Beatty’s diagnosis and he falls into a diabetic coma for five days.
It’s wild. And as a result, he has to relearn everything, including guitar. Oh man. Um, however, because of that event, it reenergizes him, which leads to the band, putting out an album called in the dark and their song, touch a gray for some reason like charts. So, so you have to understand about this band. I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit.
The band has like a little bit of Charney, but they don’t really chart at all, which we’ll talk about why in a second, but for like the F they’ve been together for 20 years and the song goes into the top 10, it gets MTV rotates. I never knew grateful dead was on MTV. Yeah. That’s weird music videos. Just them as skeletons.
Of course, of course I wouldn’t it be. Yeah. Um, but this brings a new fans, which is not the best for the band shows, um, up to this point. All grateful dead events are just very peaceful. And the new audience starts to get a little violent. Like three people die at a concert. I don’t know if it was like one concert or just different concerts.
And then there was like rumors that people were putting an LSD in war. Uh, events. So like, yeah. Um, yeah. Yikes. But this is kinda like the downslope unfortunately for the band, the way I see it. Um, one member passed away from drug overdose. His name is Brent Midlands, who was a keyboardist, but we don’t really talk about them that much.
Their last album was 1990 in 1994. They get inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. But in 1995 Jerry’s health conditions are just getting worse. He’s still drinking. Doing drugs, still having an health complications. His doctors forced him to go to rehab, but in August 9th, 1995, he dies of a heart attack at the age of 53, which is super young.
Yeah. Um, and from there, the band disbanded and every used the name grateful dead after that, but they did a bunch of offshoots of different bands. So when we talked about that in company, that’s Bob Weir and John. Yeah. And a couple of other people, I think John Mayer being a part of that project is so random.
Yeah, it is. But, you know, and then there’s just like the dead, which was we’re lash, Harton Kurtzman. Um, and then the other ones was an, but they just like, kind of have these off shoots and then we’ll usually have the word dead in it somewhere. In 2012, the bans recordings of a concert on May 8th, 1977 at Cornell university’s Barton hall was added to the library of Congress’s national recording registry in 2015, the dead did a 50 years of grateful dead show called fare thee.
Well, it was the last time we’re lash heart and Chrisman would play together.
So I could on the story. We are at like 42 minutes, but let’s see where that puts us after editing. But wait, there’s more. Yes. What’s the fun in that. I promise you something different and I’m going to give it to you. Dammit. Whether I like it or not take over the team. So instead for the rest of the outline, we’re going to put our philosophical hats on.
And during this philosophical sesh, we’re going to ponder the question. What the fuck were they this big? This is the age old question. Why? And let me take you step by step as to why I think this happened, the first answer, and we’re going to go back to the beginning of their career, where they’re on Haight and Ashbury district in San Francisco.
They would often play for free. They would just do that a lot. And this immediately developed an intense fan base early on because a lot of people in the Haight Ashbury, like during that time they were runaways. They, that’s why they lived communally a lot of times because people were just taking them in.
So they just, you know, they’re in the community. So they’re just playing. The second reason is these bros improv so much. And this is where, when I tell you this outline was tricky, this is why, because while we have recordings, they’re really known as a live band. They’re not really known for their recordings and a one scholar in the documentary from more music shows.
That’s on YouTube. Shout out for putting that on there. Um, for their second album, Anthem of the sun, what’s her name historian said, like they only had one song on the album that they felt represented them. Well, Rest like the band one rather you see them live to really understand who they were. And I would not be surprised if that sediment continue throughout their entire career.
They also were known for not playing a set twice ever best super-cool ever. And in the event that they played the same song consecutively, it would be done in a completely different way. So this is where dead heads start coming in. And we’re going to talk more about them in detail, but this is, was the initial poll.
They’re alive ban. They improv so much. And if you wanted to hear, like, you basically would just follow them to see if you get the opportunity. To hear one of your favorite songs. Yeah. Anyway, and then the third would be technology. So back to our everybody’s favorite sound engineer and LSU supplier Owsley bear Stanley.
He created something called the wall of sound. Not to be confused with Phil Spector. They’re two different things. One’s for recording. One’s for live. Okay. This is a literal wall of sound. So literally the dude was stacking speaker upon speaker upon speaker. They had the largest sound system ever built by 1974.
Damn to show you how big it was. I’m going to quote Wiki straight here, quote, they had. I think it’s a 9,300 watt solid state and 3, 350 watt vacuum tube amplifiers. I’m sure this means someone, something to someone generating a total of 26,400 Watts of audio power, which 604 speakers. Total 604 speakers, 104 speakers.
Total why they’re not 402. Why they didn’t stop there. I sample for a band that has such good branding. I know it doesn’t have a 20 Nope. They had to do 604. I can’t even picture that many speakers. I mean, literally just looks like Lego. I will put up a picture of it. Yeah. It’s insane. It’s insane to look at.
That’s insane. It didn’t last that long because it’s pretty difficult to maintain also moving all that shit around. Yeah. Um, but you know, that fan base loves the experimentation. It is cool. What’d you do is you get each deadhead to take one speaker to the show. Dude. They do it though. They do it. And then you got your whole wall and you would take a speaker of Lucas.
Yeah, absolutely. Fill my car speakers. I don’t care. Yeah. Yeah. Um, the fourth would be. Branding to remember. I told you that lawyer persuaded them to do their own music. Well, that helped them a lot because it also helped them own their branding. And these guys have. Made millions, millions just off the branding.
Like they don’t even need to get paid for the money. Yeah. You know, and they’re already giving the money away for free anyway. So like, they’re fine. But like there’s so much imagery in this band. Like there’s the bears dull bears. The bears come from the bears. They’re called the dancing bear. They come from Owsley bear Stanley.
Oh my God. They’re LSD producing bears. They’re LSD bears. Oh my God. So that’s where it comes from. Um, there’s a skull and roses, which is one of their first imagery. Um, the uncle Sam skeleton, as we mentioned, and then that lightning skeleton, I don’t know if that’s what it’s officially called, but picture it.
That is the one that one and the bears, I think are the most pictured one. So anyway, they establish some good branding. They’ve made a shit ton of money off of the branding. Good for them. Um, these four reasons in my view led to what we know is one of the biggest strangest fan bases ever that heads Deadheads have their roots from an ad that was on the sleeve of their second live album.
And it said dead freaks, you know, Who are you? Where are you? How are you? Send us your name and address, and we’ll keep you informed Deadheads PO box 10 65, San Rafael, California 9 4 9 0 1. So that’s yeah, that’s where it comes from regarding the contrary experience and keep in mind for these fans and the band itself.
It is really just about the live music. It is not really about the albums at all. And Mickey Hart, one said, quote, the grateful dead weren’t in the music business. They were in the transportation business to take it further. I came across this article from Grinnell college. I think college Senate wrote it.
Thank you for writing this because you helped me actually understand it. So I’m going to quote him directly in here. Quote, many scholars have studied Deadheads, and I’ve tried to explain why dead heads go so far beyond the ordinary music fan to form such an intense connection with the band. I believe some of the best answers revolve around scholars who have seen religious aspects of the dead had concert experience.
In other words, a grateful dead concert is not just about music, the features elements, similar to religious groups. I get that though. Yeah, I get it. But to, but then it gets weirder. This is still the same article the fans believed, oh no, this is, this is how I am. I wrote in our mind, but pretend it’s like the article.
Cause I think this is pretty well written. The fans believed that they could make psychic connections with the band to get them to somehow play their favorite. I’ve traveled all this way. Jerry Dan play the song. I’ve got 2 64 shows already play the song. That’s hilarious. And they believe like they, they wanted to make these psychic connections with the band to also like do improv that match their mood.
I just think it’s hilarious. It’s anyway, another aspect of deadhead culture. Um, one article cited that one. People would start to get attracted by the community. Kind of like what we were talking about in that bonus episode. And people wanted to get away from the top 10 formulas and the profits and music, but in the dead community, like in the sixties and seventies, people would like record bands playing live, and usually bands would be pissed because like, by my music.
The band actually welcomed these recordings, both one stipulation, you could never sell the tapes. You could only exchange and trade them. That is cool. I actually love this part. So basically there’s this whole like tape trading that still goes on today from my understanding of like trading tapes. And could you imagine as a collector.
That is so fucking cool. Cause you don’t have YouTube or anywhere to like post your clubs from this night set. So you’re just like hand making tapes. Well, I wish we had a way of preserving that. Cause I think I do like that aspect. I like that a lot. And then another aspect of it is. When they’re traveling, like they would like sell handmade goods, like homemade bracelets and things like that for cheap, so they can have food and just traveled to make it to the next show.
Like some of these people were just doing this full time. That’s that’s my dream. Yeah. Yeah. Um, so anyway, they also have an interesting hierarchy if you will. So basically, and I’m sure every fandom does this to an extent. It’s just kinda like the first time I’ve seen it spelled out, but there seems to be a structure or a psychedelic pecking order, if you will, of like the individuals will follow.
And I’m once again, going to directly quote this college students article, cause it’s really well-written and he explains it. Well, um, there’s the hardcore deadhead. This is a type of debt. Characterize as the ideal dead head and is the type most character charactered by the media, their level of personal internalization of the deadhead identity is the highest.
They often have a functional role in the deadhead subculture, such as a table. Vendor or part of the tour group, such as the rainbow family, then there’s the new dead head. New dead heads are characterized by their youthfulness and are generally in college and high school. They were likely part of the crowd attracted to that culture from the success of the album in the dark.
This group of dead head is blamed for the overpopulation of the subculture and looked down on their lack of experience or knowledge. Due to these negative perceptions, most Deadheads do not personally identify with this group yet many Deadheads say it exists. Thus, a dead head in this category has a strongly defined social identity, but a low level of personal internalization.
And Dan is like a psychoanalysis. And then there’s the stable bedhead staple. Dead heads are characterized by an occasional, yet consistent participation in subculture. They often have responsibilities outside of the subculture, such as jobs and families to provide for. They have moderate amount of personal internalization of dead head identity.
And then lastly, there’s this celebrity aspect, and I know I keep pulling quotes, but it’s just so interesting. I wrote a really, really good this time. So I’m just, this is from Wiki. One of the most fascinating aspects of the dead head subculture is the established, trusted. Of Deadheads, who are celebrities only within their own subculture and not outside of it.
This represents a continuance of the full crews, underlining the genetic group, mind of the Deadheads, a sense of living mythos in the now that continues to this day, the names of these heroes and legends are not widely shared with the uninitiated. So they’re are not listed here. What the fuck does that mean?
You can’t just all this, you just put down their damn names though, because like, Maybe it’s not that like direct same, but like in the strata community, we don’t share the ones who have the close connections to the band. All right. I guess that may get used and people hit them up and they’re like, say that we’re not going to release our sources.
You could just leave it at that, but no living mythos of the, now these heroes and legends. I I get it. Okay. I get it. I don’t personally get it, but I, I can respect that, but there are, they do instead, listen, some celebrities who are Deadheads, which I would have never predicted to ramble them off real quick.
Will Arnett Tony Blair. Bill Clinton, Martin Nancy Pelosi.
Okay. And then Leonard Nimoy who played the original Spock. Okay. And there’s like a shit ton more. Plus those are just ones I found. Interesting. So my closing thoughts here, if you’re wondering where I fall on the spectrum of grateful dead, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to pull one more quote, and this one’s from Joe Rose.
Cause he had, he had a three minute segment and I was like, this is actually pretty funny. And he said, people have different genes. Like I don’t have the grateful dead gene. Some people love it and I listened to it and I’m like, okay. I feel that, I feel that too. But if you’re a deadhead, just know I do appreciate your fandom.
Send us an email. Can we talk to you? I really have a lot of questions and I don’t know what I have to do to get initiated, but I not. And I’ll be honest. It is not initiated because I like grateful dead. I just truly want to understand who you guys are more I want the T I want the T of what this is. This is a standing invitation.
If you listen to this episode two years from now, We will interview you, please come on and fill up my sarcasm on this episode, deter. You genuinely want to know. We generally, I generally want to know, because this has been, like I said, a very different outline I have done, and I may not truly understand this band, but you clearly do.
And I give you all the props. I appreciate that. So overall, that is a small glimpse into the grateful dead, and I hope someone can address. This mish-mash of an outline I have created, let’s talk about our drinks. I have taught, I have taken two soaps of my beer and I’ve only taken two because I’m scared of it.
Uh, this is appropriately the atomic pumpkin, and it’s appropriate because one it’s fall and then to their main person is a skeleton we’re in a biker’s jacket and a. He has a little Shroom on his hat. I really chose as well. But anyways, from voodoo ranger, it’s a Belgium. The reason why I’m scared, it’s an ale brewed with pumpkin cinnamon.
That’s not why I’m scared that part’s delicious and chilies. It’s it’s weird. So when you treat. You get hit with the cinnamon and then the pumpkin. And that’s nice. And then if it would just ended like a beer, I would have been satisfied, but then it goes into a spicy taste and it’s raw. You lost me. You lost me after that, but I’m gonna take one more sip and see if I still like it.
It’s very weird. I tasted it. Not a fan. Nope. You still don’t like it. Uh, anyway. So that’s, that’s why the first one I’ve never like actually recommended. Usually we’re like, that’s good. Yeah. Don’t get this personally. It’s not, my beer should not be spicy. I like when beer gets experimental, but I don’t like the spicy version, but I appreciate you thinking of it.
I appreciate the creativity that went into this beer is like the. And it has hops in it. So it’s also like the grateful bread, but I appreciate, I appreciate the thoughts that went into this beer, the improvisation that went into this beer. But do I understand it? No, but I understand. You have created something here.
So there you go. I realized what happened to her notes. Last time two bullet points got deleted. That’s why good is hot.
Thanks for listening. You can leave us a review on apple podcasts or good. Special, thanks to death of fun for our intro. Riff, be sure to visit our website. She will rock you.com. There you’ll find links to our socials, our shownotes ways to contact us and you can buy some Merck, Merck, Merck, Merck, and remember don’t do drugs, especially acid tests.
Yeah. And like, if you know a sound engineer that souls you LSD, may I suggest not being friends with them? Yeah. Don’t don’t don’t do it. Just don’t.