Grateful Dead

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Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart, 1987.
Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart, 1987.
Background information
Origin San Francisco, California, USA
Genre(s) Rock
Years active 1965–1995
Label(s) Warner Bros., Grateful Dead, Arista, Rhino
Associated acts The Other Ones, The Dead, Jerry Garcia Band, RatDog, Phil Lesh and Friends, Rhythm Devils, Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson, Missing Man Formation, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Old and in the Way, Legion of Mary, Reconstruction, Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, Kingfish, Bobby and the Midnites
Former members
Jerry Garcia
Bob Weir
Phil Lesh
Bill Kreutzmann
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan
Mickey Hart
Tom Constanten
Keith Godchaux
Donna Jean Godchaux
Brent Mydland
Vince Welnick

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area.[1] The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, jazz, psychedelia, space rock[2][3] and gospel—and for live performances of long musical improvisation.[1][4] "Their music," writes Lenny Kaye, "touches on ground that most other groups don't even know exists."[5]

The fans of the Grateful Dead, some of whom followed the band from concert to concert for years, are known as "Deadheads"; they are renowned for their dedication to the band's music.[1][4] Many fans referred to the band simply as "the Dead". As of 2003, the remaining band members who had been touring under the name "The Other Ones" changed their official group name to "The Dead". Deadheads continue to use that nickname to refer to all versions of the band.[6]

The Grateful Dead's musical influences varied widely; in concert recordings or on record albums one can hear psychedelic rock, blues, rock and roll, country-western, bluegrass, country-rock, and improvisational jazz. These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world."[7]


[edit] Membership

Lead guitarist Jerry Garcia was often seen both by the public and the media as the leader or primary spokesperson for the Grateful Dead, but was reluctant to be perceived that way, especially since he and the other group members saw themselves as equal participants and contributors to their collective musical and creative output.[8][9] Garcia, a native of San Francisco, grew up in the Excelsior District. One of his main influences was bluegrass music, and Garcia also performed—on banjo, one of his other great instrumental loves, along with the pedal steel guitar—in the bluegrass band Old and in the Way with mandolinist David Grisman.

Classically trained trumpeter Phil Lesh played bass guitar. Bob Weir, the youngest original member of the group, played rhythm guitar. Ron "Pigpen" McKernan played keyboards and harmonica and was also a group vocalist until shortly before his death in 1973 at the age of 27. All of the previously mentioned Grateful Dead members shared in vocal performance of songs. Bill Kreutzmann played drums, and in September 1967 was joined by a second drummer, New York native Mickey Hart, who also played a wide variety of other percussion instruments. Hart quit the Grateful Dead in February 1971, leaving Kreutzmann once again as the sole percussionist. Mickey Hart rejoined the Grateful Dead for good in October 1974. Tom "TC" Constanten was added as a second keyboardist from 1968 to 1970, while Pigpen also played various percussion instruments and sang.

After Constanten's departure, Pigpen reclaimed his position as sole organist. Less than two years later, in late 1971, Pigpen was joined by another keyboardist, Keith Godchaux, who played grand piano alongside Pigpen's Hammond B-3 organ. In early 1972, Keith's wife, Donna Jean Godchaux, joined the Dead as a backing vocalist.

Following the Grateful Dead's "Europe '72" tour, Pigpen's health had deteriorated to the point that he could no longer tour with the Dead. His final concert appearance was June 17, 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles;[10] he died in March, 1973.[11]

Keith and Donna Jean left the band in 1979, and Brent Mydland joined as keyboardist and vocalist. Keith Godchaux died in a car accident in 1980. Mydland was the keyboardist for the Grateful Dead for 11 years until his death by narcotics overdose in July 1990,[12] becoming the third Dead keyboardist to pass away. Almost immediately, Vince Welnick, former keyboardist for The Tubes, joined on keyboards and vocals. For his first eighteen months with the Grateful Dead, Welnick was usually joined by Bruce Hornsby on piano. Hornsby had earlier occasionally appeared as an sit-in player beginning in 1988 (and he continued to do so after leaving the band), and he was invited to join the Grateful Dead after Mydland's death,[13] but with an already-flourishing career outside of the Dead, he could not commit to a permanent membership; eventually, these outside commitments led to his quitting the band after the March, 1992 tour.[14] Welnick died on June 2, 2006, reportedly a suicide.[15]

Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow were the band's primary lyricists. Owsley "Bear" Stanley was the Grateful Dead's soundman for many years; he was also one of the largest suppliers of LSD.[16] Eleven members of The Grateful Dead were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and Bruce Hornsby was their presenter.

[edit] History

[edit] Formation

The Grateful Dead began their career in Menlo Park, California, playing live shows at Kepler's Books.[17]

They began as The Warlocks, a group formed in early 1964 from the remnants of a Palo Alto jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions.[18] But as another band was already recording under the "Warlocks" name, the band had to change its name.[19][20] The Warlocks were originally managed by Hank Harrison, but Harrison went back to graduate school. After meeting their new manager Rock Scully, they moved to the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco. Bands from this area became known for the San Francisco Sound; groups such as Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother & the Holding Company, and Santana went on to national fame, giving San Francisco an image as a center for the hippie counterculture of the era. The founding members of the Grateful Dead were: banjo and guitar player Jerry Garcia, guitarist Bob Weir, bluesman organist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, the classically trained Phil Lesh and jazzist drummer Bill Kreutzmann.[21] Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead, he replaced Dana Morgan Jr. who had played bass for a few gigs. The Grateful Dead most embodied "all the elements of the San Francisco scene and came, therefore, to represent the counterculture to the rest of the country".[22]

[edit] Choosing a name

The name Grateful Dead was chosen from a dictionary. According to Phil Lesh, in his biography (pp. 62), "...Jer[ry Garcia] picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary...[and]...In that silvery elf-voice he said to me, 'Hey, man, how about the Grateful Dead?'" The definition there was "the soul of a dead person, or his angel, showing gratitude to someone who, as an act of charity, arranged their burial." According to Alan Trist, director of the Grateful Dead's music publisher company Ice Nine, Garcia found the name in the Funk & Wagnalls Folklore Dictionary, when his finger landed on that phrase while playing a game of "dictionary".[23] In the Garcia biography, Captain Trips, author Sandy Troy states that the band was smoking the psychedelic DMT at the time. The term "Grateful Dead" appears in folktales of a variety of cultures.

[edit] A new type of sound

The Grateful Dead formed during the era when bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were dominating the airwaves. "The Beatles were why we turned from a jug band into a rock 'n' roll band," said Bob Weir. "What we saw them doing was impossibly attractive. I couldn't think of anything else more worth doing" [24] Former folk-scene star Bob Dylan had recently put out a couple of records featuring electric instrumentation. Grateful Dead members have said that it was after attending a concert by the touring New York City "folk-rock" band The Lovin' Spoonful that they decided to "go electric" and look for a dirtier sound. Gradually, many of the East-Coast American folk musicians, formerly luminaries of the coffee-house scene, were moving in the electric direction. It was natural for Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir, each of whom had been immersed in the American folk music revival of the late 1950s and early '60s, to be open-minded toward electric guitars. But the new Dead music was also naturally different from bands like Dylan's or the Spoonful, partly because their fellow musician Phil Lesh came out of a schooled classical and electronic music background, while Pigpen was a no-nonsense deep blues lover and drummer Bill Kreutzmann had a jazz and R&B background. For comparison purposes, their first LP (The Grateful Dead, Warner Brothers, 1967), was released in the same year that Pink Floyd released The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and the Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The cover of the album American Beauty (1970), which is considered to be the Grateful Dead's studio masterpiece.[25] In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[26]

The Grateful Dead's early music (in the mid 1960s) was part of the process of establishing what "psychedelic music" was, but theirs was essentially a "street party" form of it. They developed their "psychedelic" playing out of meeting Ken Kesey in Palo Alto, CA and subsequently becoming the house band to the Acid Tests he staged.[27] After relocating to the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco, their "street party" form developed out of the many psychedelic dances, open-air park events, and closed-street Haight-Ashbury block parties at which they played. The Dead were not inclined to fit their music to an established category such as pop rock, blues, folk rock, or country/western. Individual tunes within their repertoire could be identified under one of these stylistic labels, but overall their music drew on all of these genres and more, frequently melding several of them. It was doubtless with this in mind that Bill Graham said of the Grateful Dead, "They're not the best at what they do, they're the only ones that do what they do."[28] Often (both in performance and on recording) the Dead left room for exploratory, spacey soundscapes.

Their live shows, fed by their improvisational approach to music, made the Grateful Dead different from most other touring bands. While most rock and roll bands rehearse a standard show for their tours that gets played night after night, city after city, the Grateful Dead never did. As Garcia stated in an 1966 interview, "We don't make up our sets beforehand. We'd rather work off the tops of our heads than off a piece of paper."[29] They would maintain this operating ethic throughout their existence. For a given night's show, the band drew their material from an active list of a hundred or so songs.[29] The band's varied song selection, combined with the improvisational nature of their playing, meant that no two Grateful Dead concerts were exactly the same.

The early records reflected the Dead's live repertoire—lengthy instrumental jams with group improvisation, best exemplified by "Dark Star"—but, lacking the energy of the shows, did not sell well. The 1969 live album Live/Dead did capture more of their essence, but commercial success did not come until Workingman's Dead and American Beauty, both released in 1970. These records largely featured the band's laid-back acoustic musicianship and more traditional song structures.

The year 1970 included tour dates in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the band performed at The Warehouse for two nights. On January 31, 1970, the local police raided their hotel on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, and arrested and charged a total of 19 people with possession of various drugs.[30] The second night's concert was performed as scheduled after bail was posted. Eventually the charges were dismissed, with the exception of those against sound engineer Owsley Stanley, who was already facing charges in California for manufacturing LSD. This event was later memorialized in the lyrics of the song "Truckin'", a single from American Beauty which reached number 64 on the charts.

As the band, and its sound, matured over thirty years of touring, playing, and recording, each member's stylistic contribution became more defined, consistent, and identifiable. Lesh, who was originally a classically-trained trumpet player with an extensive background in music theory, did not tend to play traditional blues-based bass forms, but opted for more melodic, symphonic and complex lines, often sounding like a second lead guitar. Weir, too, was not a traditional rhythm guitarist, but tended to play jazz-influenced, unique inversions at the upper end of the Dead's sound. The two drummers, Mickey Hart and Kreutzmann, developed a unique, complex interplay, balancing Kreutzmann's steady beat with Hart's interest in percussion styles outside the rock tradition. Hart incorporated an 11-count measure to his drumming, bringing a new dimension to the band's sound that became an important part of its emerging style.[31] Garcia's lead lines were fluid, supple and spare, owing a great deal of their character to his training in fingerpicking and banjo.

The band's primary lyricists, Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow, commonly used themes involving love and loss, life and death, gambling and murder, beauty and horror, chaos and order, God and other religious themes, travelling and touring, etc. Less frequent ideas include the environment and issues from the world of politics.

Although he intensely disliked the appellation, Jerry Garcia was the band's de facto musical leader and the source of its identity. Garcia was a charismatic, complex figure, simultaneously writing and playing music of enormous emotional resonance and insight while leading a personal life that often consisted of various forms of self-destructive excess, including well-known drug addictions, obesity, tremendous financial recklessness, and three complex, volatile, often unhappy marriages.[citation needed] What is less well known about Garcia was the fact that he suffered for most of his life from a condition called sleep apnea. His sleep apnea was apparently diagnosed before he died, but it is unlikely that he ever took any steps to treat it. That his case might have been relatively severe may be surmised by the comments of his bandmate, Phil Lesh. In Lesh's book, Searching for the Sound, My Life with the Grateful Dead, Lesh relates how he and others were impressed with Garcia's loud and widely fluctuating snoring.

Garcia's early life was profoundly affected by a series of tragedies. As a small boy, at the age of five, he witnessed his father's death by drowning in a freak accident while fishing in the Russian River. Earlier, at the age of four, the middle finger of his right hand was accidentally amputated by his brother while the two boys were splitting kindling. Finally, as a young man, he was involved in a horrendous car accident which resulted in the death of a close friend.

[edit] Dissolution and continuation of the band

Following Garcia's death in August 1995, the remaining members formally decided to disband. The main focus of the members was to pursue various solo projects, most notably Bob Weir's RatDog, Phil Lesh and Friends, and various projects by Mickey Hart, including music for the 1996 Olympics.

In June 1996 Bob Weir (with RatDog) and Mickey Hart (with Mickey Hart's Mystery Box), along with Bruce Hornsby and his band, joined five other bands and toured as the Furthur Festival. In 1998's Furthur Festival, Weir, Hart, and Bruce Hornsby were joined by Phil Lesh to form a new band called The Other Ones. The Strange Remain is a live recording of The Other Ones during the 1998 Furthur Festival. The lineup of The Other Ones would shift, notably involving the addition of Bill Kreutzmann, the departure, then return, of Lesh, and the departure of Bruce Hornsby to pursue his solo work; however, the band settled on a steady lineup by 2002.

Phil, Bobby, and Donna Godchaux sang the National Anthem at the last Giants game ever at Candlestick Park on September 30, 1999 (against the Dodgers). According to The San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick, these former members of "the Grateful Dead performed the anthem with dispatch, taking 1 minute and 27 seconds. Jerry Garcia would have been proud."[32] Bobby and Donna walked off arm-in-arm as Shakedown Street was played over the PA system.

The tour of The Other Ones in 2002 began with two huge shows at celebrated Alpine Valley and continued with a late October return to Shoreline Amphitheatre and an ensuing full Autumn and Winter tour culminating in a New Years Eve show in Oakland where the band played Dark Star among other fan favorites.[33] The tour that included Bob, Bill, Phil and Mickey, was so successful and satisfying that the band decided the name was no longer appropriate. On February 14, 2003, they renamed themselves The Dead, keeping "Grateful" retired out of respect for Garcia.[34] The members would continue to tour on and off through the end of their 2004 Summer Tour - the "Wave That Flag" tour, named after the original 1973 uptempo version of the song "U.S. Blues." The band accepted Jeff Chimenti on keyboards, Jimmy Herring on guitar, and Warren Haynes on guitar and vocals as part of the band for the tour.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Grateful Dead #55 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[35]

On September 24, 2005, the Rex Foundation [2] of the Grateful Dead family, sans Phil Lesh who declined the invitation and instead opted to attend his son's orientation at Stanford, held the "Comes A Time" tribute to Jerry Garcia at the Greek Theater. Phil Lesh's absence led to fan speculation about a schism in the band, which was exacerbated by the highly publicized music downloading PR debacle, which set tensions high within the community. Although differences of opinion were exhibited publicly by various band members, Phil Lesh helped clear the air about the "state of the band" by saying "A lot of our business disagreements are the result of poor communication from advisors. Bobby is my brother and I love him unconditionally; he is a very generous man, and was unfairly judged regarding the Archive issue." As for the future of the band, Lesh also said "The Dead is a big rusty machine that takes awhile to crank up. I am completely open to doing a Terrapin Station weekend and hopefully we will get it together for this summer."[36] In early May 2006 Phil Lesh announced plans for a 24 date summer tour with a band billed again as Phil Lesh & Friends. The tour began with Tennessee's Bonnaroo festival on June 18.

On August 19, 2006, Bob Weir, Donna Jean Godchaux, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, played together at the Gathering of the Vibes during the Rhythm Devils set.

On January 4, 2007 Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart reunited along with Bruce Hornsby, Mike Gordon (of Phish and the Rhythm Devils) and Warren Haynes to play two sets at a post-inauguration fundraising party for speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi. They were billed as "Your House Band" and performed some Grateful Dead classics such as "Truckin'" and "Touch of Grey". Other performers appearing at the event included Tony Bennett, Wyclef Jean and Carole King.[37]

On February 10, 2007, the Grateful Dead received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was accepted on behalf of the band by Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.[38]

On February 4, 2008, Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir, joined by John Molo, Steve Molitz, Mark Karan, Barry Sless, and Jackie Greene, performed a show entitled "Deadheads for Obama" at the Warfield in San Francisco, in support of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.[39][40][41]

Hart, Lesh, and Weir reunited again in support of the Obama presidential campaign, this time joined by Bill Kreutzmann, on October 13, 2008, in the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University, performing a show entitled "Change Rocks". Warren Haynes provided guitar and vocal support for the reunion, and Jeff Chimenti played keyboards.[42]

On January 1, 2009, the Dead announced a 2009 spring tour schedule. The lineup of the band will be: Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Warren Haynes, and Jeff Chimenti.[43]

Members of the Dead still actively tour with their own bands — Bob Weir and RatDog, Phil Lesh and Friends, the Mickey Hart Band, and Donna Jean and the Tricksters. Bill Kreutzmann toured the eastern U.S. in 2008 with Oteil Burbridge and Scott Murawski, and Tom Constanten often sits in with various bands.

[edit] Donation of archives to UCSC

On April 24, 2008, members Bob Weir and Mickey Hart, along with Nion McEvoy, CEO of Chronicle Books, University of Californa, Santa Cruz chancellor George Blumenthal, and UCSC librarian Virginia Steel, held a press conference announcing that UCSC's McHenry Library would be the permanent home of the Grateful Dead's complete archival history from 1965 up to the present. The archive includes correspondence, photographs, flyers, posters, and several other forms of memorabilia and records of the band. Also included are unreleased videos of interviews and TV appearances that will be installed for visitors to view, as well as stage backdrops and other props from the band's concerts.

Chancellor Blumenthal stated at the event, "The Grateful Dead Archive [44] represents one of the most significant popular cultural collections of the 20th century; UC Santa Cruz is honored to receive this invaluable gift. The Grateful Dead and UC Santa Cruz are both highly innovative institutions—born the same year—that continue to make a major, positive impact on the world." Guitarist Bob Weir stated, "We looked around, and UC Santa Cruz seems the best possible home. If you ever wrote the Grateful Dead a letter, you'll probably find it there!"

Professor of music Fred Lieberman was the key contact between the band and the university, who let the university know about the search for a home for the archive, and who collaborated with Mickey Hart on two books in the past, Planet Drum and Drumming at the Edge of Magic.[45]

[edit] Merchandising and representation

Hal Kant was an entertainment industry attorney who specialized in representing musical groups. He spent 35 years as principal lawyer and general counsel for the Grateful Dead, a position in the group that was so strong that his business cards with the band identified his role as "Czar".[46]

Kant brought the band millions of dollars in revenue through his management of the band's intellectual property and merchandising rights. At Kant's recommendation, the group was one of the few rock 'n roll pioneers to retain ownership of their music masters and publishing rights. After Jerry Garcia's death in 1995, the band still earned millions from the sale of live recordings and merchandise, including a royalty received by Garcia's estate from every pint of Ben & Jerry's "Cherry Garcia" ice cream.[46]

In 2006, the Grateful Dead signed a ten year licensing agreement with Rhino Entertainment. Rhino is managing the Dead's business interests, including the release of musical recordings, merchandising, and marketing. The band retains creative control and keeps ownership of the music catalog.[47][48]

[edit] Touring

The Grateful Dead are well-known for constantly touring throughout their long career, playing more than 2300 live concerts.[49] They promoted a sense of community among their fans, who became known as Deadheads, many of whom followed their tours for months or years on end. In their early career, the band also dedicated their time and talents to their community, the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco, making available free food, lodging, music and health care to all comers; they were the "first among equals in giving unselfishly of themselves to hippie culture, performing 'more free concerts than any band in the history of music'.[50]

With the exception of 1975, when the band was on hiatus and played only four concerts together, the Grateful Dead performed many concerts every year, from their formation in April, 1965, until July 9, 1995.[51] Initially all their shows were in California, principally in the San Francisco Bay Area and in or near Los Angeles. They also performed, in 1965 and 1966, with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, as the house band for the Acid Tests. They toured nationally starting in June 1967 (their first foray to New York), with a few detours to Canada, Europe and three nights at the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt in 1978. They appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, and at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Their first UK performance was at the Hollywood Music Festival in 1970. Their largest concert audience came in 1973 when they played, along with The Allman Brothers Band and The Band, before an estimated 600,000 people at the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen.[52] Many of these concerts were preserved in the band's tape vault, and several dozen have since been released on CD and as downloads.

Their numerous studio albums were generally collections of new songs that they had first played in concert. The band was also famous for its extended jams, which featured both individual improvisation as well as distinctive "group-mind" improvisations during which each of the band members improvised individually, while still blending together as a musical unit. Musically this may be illustrated in that not only did the band improvise within the form of a song, but also improvised with the form. The cohesive listening abilities of each band member made for a very elevated level of what might be called "free form". Their concert sets often blended songs, one into the next (a segue).

[edit] Wall of Sound

The Wall of Sound was an enormous sound system designed specifically for the Grateful Dead.[53][54] The band was never satisfied with the house system anywhere they played, so in their early days, soundman Owsley "Bear" Stanley designed a public-address (PA) and monitor system for them. Stanley's sound systems were delicate and finicky, and frequently brought shows to a halt with technical breakdowns. After Stanley went to jail for manufacturing LSD in 1970, the group briefly used house PAs, but found them to be even less reliable than those built by their former soundman. In 1971, the band purchased their first solid-state sound system from Alembic Inc Studios. Because of this, Alembic would play an integral role in the research, development, and production of the Wall of Sound. The band also welcomed Dan Healy into the fold on a permanent basis that year. Healy, considered to be a superior engineer to Stanley, would mix the Grateful Dead's live sound until 1993.

The Wall of Sound fulfilled the band's desire for a distortion-free sound system that could also serve as its own monitoring system. After Stanley got out of prison in late 1972, he, Dan Healy and Mark Raizene of the Grateful Dead's sound crew, in collaboration with Ron Wickersham, Rick Turner, and John Curl of Alembic combined eleven separate sound systems in an effort to deliver high-quality sound to audiences. Vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and piano each had their own channel and set of speakers. Phil Lesh's bass was piped through a quadraphonic encoder that sent signals from each of the four strings to its own channel and set of speakers. Another channel amplified the bass drum, and two more channels carried the snares, tom-toms, and cymbals. Because each speaker carried just one instrument or vocalist, the sound was exceptionally clear and free of intermodulation distortion.

Moreover, the Dead's Wall of Sound acted as its own monitor system, and it was therefore assembled behind the band so the members could hear exactly what their audience was hearing. Because of this, Stanley and Alembic designed a special microphone system to prevent feedback. This placed matched pairs of condenser microphones spaced 60 mm apart and run out-of-phase. The vocalist sang into the top microphone, and the lower microphone picked up whatever other sound was present in the stage environment. The signals were added together, the sound that was common to both microphones (the sound from the Wall) was cancelled, and only the vocals were amplified.

The Wall of Sound consisted of 89 300-watt solid-state and three 350-watt vacuum-tube amplifiers generating a total of 26,400 watts RMS of audio power. This system projected high quality playback at six hundred feet with an acceptable sound projected for a quarter mile, at which point wind interference degraded it. The Wall of Sound was the largest portable sound system ever built (although "portable" is a relative term).[citation needed] The Wall of Sound comprised two stages. One would go ahead to the next city to begin setup as soon as possible while the other was being used; the other would then "leapfrog" to the next show. Four semi-trailers and 21 crew members were required to haul and set up the 75-ton Wall.

Though the initial framework and a rudimentary form of the system was unveiled in February 1973 (ominously, every speaker tweeter blew as the band began their first number), the Grateful Dead did not begin to tour with the full system until a year later in 1974. The Wall of Sound was very efficient for its day, but it suffered from other drawbacks besides its sheer size. Synthesist Ned Lagin, who toured with the group throughout much of 1974, never received his own dedicated input into the system, and was forced to use the vocal subsystem. Because this was often switched to the vocal microphones, many of Lagin's parts were lost in the mix. The Wall's quadraphonic format never translated well to soundboard tapes made during the period, as the sound was compressed into an unnatural stereo format and suffers from a pronounced tinniness.

The rising cost of fuel and personnel, as well as friction among many of the newer crew members (and associated hangers-on), contributed to the band's 1974 "retirement." The Wall of Sound was disassembled, and when the Dead began touring again in 1976, it was with a more logistically practical sound system.

[edit] Deadheads

Fans and enthusiasts of the band are commonly referred to as Dead Heads. While the origin of the term may be shrouded in haze, Dead Heads were made canon by the legendary notice placed inside the Skull and Roses album by manager Jon McIntire:


Who are you?      Where are you?
How are you?
send us your name and address
and we'll keep you informed
Dead Heads

PO Box..."

Many of the Dead Heads would go on tour with the band. As a group, the Dead Heads were considered very mellow. "I'd rather work nine Grateful Dead concerts than one Oregon football game," Police Det. Rick Raynor said. "They don't get belligerent like they do at the games".[55]

[edit] Tapers

Like several other bands during this time, the Grateful Dead allowed their fans to record their shows. For many years the tapers set up their microphones wherever they could. The eventual forest of microphones became a problem for the official sound crew. Eventually this was solved by having a dedicated taping section located behind the soundboard, which required a special "tapers" ticket. The band allowed sharing of tapes of their shows, as long as no profits were made on the sale of their show tapes.[56] Recently, there have been some disputes over which recordings could host on their site. Currently, all recordings are hosted, though soundboard recordings are not available for download, but rather in a streaming format.[57]

[edit] Artwork

Dancing bears

Over the years, a number of iconic images have come to be associated with the Grateful Dead. Many of these images originated as artwork for concert posters or album covers.

  • Lightning bolt skull: Perhaps the best known Grateful Dead art icon is a red, white, and blue skull with a lightning bolt through it. The lightning bolt skull can be found on the cover of the album Steal Your Face, and the image is sometimes known by that name. It was designed by Owsley "Bear" Stanley and artist Bob Thomas, and was originally used as a logo to mark the band's equipment.[58]
  • Dancing bears: A series of stylized dancing bears was drawn by Bob Thomas as part of the back cover for the album History of the Grateful Dead, Volume One (Bear's Choice).[59] The bear is a reference to Owsley "Bear" Stanley, who recorded and produced the album. Bear himself wrote, "... the bears on the album cover are not really 'dancing'. I don't know why people think they are, their positions are quite obviously those of a high-stepping march."[60]
  • Skull and roses: The skull and roses design was composed by Alton Kelley, who added color and lettering to a black and white drawing by Edmund Joseph Sullivan. Sullivan's drawing was an illustration for a 1913 edition of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Kelly's design originally appeared on a poster for a 1966 Dead show at the Avalon Ballroom. Later it was used as the cover for the album Grateful Dead. The album is sometimes referred to as Skull and Roses.[61]
  • Uncle Sam skeleton: The Uncle Sam skeleton was devised by Gary Gutierrez as part of the animation for The Grateful Dead Movie.[62] The image combines the Grateful Dead skeleton motif with the character of Uncle Sam, a reference to the then-recently written song "U.S. Blues", which the Dead are seen performing near the beginning of the film.
  • Jester: Another icon of the Dead is a skeleton dressed as a jester and holding a lute. This image was an airbrush painting done by Stanley Mouse in 1972. It was originally used for the cover of The Grateful Dead Songbook.[63][64]

[edit] Band members

Grateful Dead lineups
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Mickey Hart – drums, percussion
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
  • Tom Constanten – keyboards
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Mickey Hart – drums, percussion
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Mickey Hart – drums, percussion
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
  • Keith Godchaux – keyboards
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Ron "Pigpen" McKernan – keyboards, harmonica, percussion, vocals
  • Keith Godchaux – keyboards
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Donna Godchaux – vocals
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Keith Godchaux – keyboards
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Donna Godchaux – vocals
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Keith Godchaux – keyboards
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Mickey Hart – drums, percussion
  • Donna Godchaux – vocals
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Brent Mydland – keyboards, vocals
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Mickey Hart – drums, percussion
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Vince Welnick – keyboards, vocals
  • Bruce Hornsby – keyboards, vocals
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Mickey Hart – drums, percussion
  • Jerry Garcia – lead guitar, vocals
  • Bob Weir – rhythm guitar, vocals
  • Vince Welnick – keyboards, vocals
  • Phil Lesh – bass, vocals
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums, percussion
  • Mickey Hart – drums, percussion

[edit] Discography

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  • Garofalo, Reebee (1997). Rockin' Out: Popular Music in the USA. Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 0-205-13703-2. 
  • Lesh, Phil (2005). Searching for the Sound. Little, Brown and Co.. ISBN 0-316-00998-9. 
  • McNally, Dennis (2002). A Long Strange Trip: the Inside History of the Grateful Dead. Broadway Books. ISBN 0-7679-1186-5. 
  • Ward, Ed; Geoffrey Stokes and Ken Tucker (1986). Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock and Roll. Rolling Stone Press. ISBN 0-671-54438-1. 
  • Harrison, Hank (Various Editions 1972-1992). The Dead Vol 1 & Vol 2. Arkives. ISBN 0-918501-12-1. 
  • Silver, Murray, 2005. "When Elvis Meets the Dalai Lama," (Bonaventure Books, Savannah), in which the author recounts promoting the Dead's first appearance in Atlanta in 1970, and the band's attempts to dump LSD in the city's water supply.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b c Santoro, Gene (2007). "Grateful Dead". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved on 2007-02-04. 
  2. ^ "purveyors of freely improvised space music," -- Blender Magazine, May 2003
  3. ^ ""Dark Star," both in its title and in its structure (designed to incorporate improvisational exploration), is the perfect example of the kind of "space music" that the Dead are famous for. Oswald's titular pun "Grayfolded" adds the concept of folding to the idea of space, and rightly so when considering the way he uses sampling to fold the Dead's musical evolution in on itself." -- Islands of Order, Part 2,by Randolph Jordan, in Offscreen Journal, edited by Donato Totaro, Ph.D, film studies lecturer at Concordia University since 1990.
  4. ^ a b "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – Grateful Dead detail" (asp). Inductees. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. Retrieved on 2007-01-16. 
  5. ^ Kaye, Lenny (1970). "The Grateful Dead – Live/Dead". Music reviews. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2007-01-16. 
  6. ^ Selvin, Joel. "Marin Icons Now The Dead", San Francisco Chronicle, February 12, 2003
  7. ^ Garofalo, pg. 219
  8. ^ "The way it works is it doesn't depend on a leader, and I'm not the leader of the Grateful Dead or anything like that; there isn't any fuckin' leader." Jerry Garcia interview, Rolling Stone, 1972
  9. ^ "Garcia's influence on the overall chemistry of the band was surprisingly subtle, McNally tells NPR's Scott Simon. 'Jerry was not the leader, except by example... He was a charismatic figure.'"Simon, Scott. "'A Long Strange Trip': Insider McNally Writes a History of the Grateful Dead", NPR Music, January 11, 2003
  10. ^ Scott, Dolgushkin, Nixon, "Deadbase X", New Hampshire, p.23. ISBN 1-877657-21-2
  11. ^ McNally, Dennis, "A Long Strange Trip", New York 2002, p.584. ISBN 0-7679-1186-5
  12. ^ "Grateful Dead Member Died Of Overdose, Coroner Rules". New York Times. August 12, 1990. 
  13. ^ McNally, Dennis, "A Long Strange Trip", New York 2002, p.447. ISBN 0-7679-1186-5
  14. ^ Scott, Dolgushkin, Nixon, "Deadbase X", New Hampshire, p.79. ISBN 1-877657-21-2
  15. ^ Carolyn Jones, (June 3, 2006). "Grateful Dead's last keyboardist, Vince Welnick, dies at 51". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  16. ^ McNally, Dennis, "A Long Strange Trip", New York 2002, pp.118-19. ISBN 0-7679-1185-7 and Brightman, Carol, "Sweet Chaos", New York 1998, p. 100-104. ISBN 0-671-01117-0
  17. ^ Bove, Tony. "Rockument's Rise and Fall of the Haight-Ashbury" (html). Retrieved on 2007-02-27. 
  18. ^ [1]The Music Box, May 1999.
  19. ^ Stanton, Scott (2003). The Tombstone Tourist. Simon and Schuster. pp. 102. ISBN 0743463307. 
  20. ^ Herbst, Peter (1989). The Rolling Stone Interviews: 1967-1980. St. Martin's Press. pp. 186. ISBN 0312034865. 
  21. ^ Rolling Stone, pg. 332
  22. ^ Garofalo, pg. 218
  23. ^ Weiner, Robert G. (1999). Perspectives on the Grateful Dead: Critical Writings By Robert G. Weiner. Greenwood Publishing. pp. 145. ISBN 0313305692. 
  24. ^ Jackson, Blair (1999). Garcia: An American Life. Penguin Books. p. 67. ISBN 0140291997.
  25. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "American Beauty review". Allmusic. All Media Guide LLC. Retrieved on 2007-08-28. 
  26. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine (2003). "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2007-08-28. 
  27. ^ Wolfe, Tom (1968). The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Farrar Straus & Giroux
  28. ^ Bjerklie, Steve. "What are They Worth?", MetroActive
  29. ^ a b The Grateful Dead: Playing in the Band, David Gans and Peter Simon, St Martin Press, 1985 p. 17
  30. ^ "Drug Raid Nets 19 in French Quarter", The Times-Picayune, February 1, 1970
  31. ^ Cavallo, Dominick. A Fiction of the Past: The Sixties in American History. St. Martin's Press (1999), p. 160. ISBN 0-312-21930-X.
  32. ^ Kroichick, Ron. "Farewell Candlestick", San Francisco Chronicle, October 1, 1999
  33. ^ OtherOnes.Net - The Other Ones & The Dead Information Archive
  34. ^ "Surviving Members of Grateful Dead Rock for Obama", USA Today, October 14, 2008
  35. ^ "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone. 
  36. ^ Phil Speaks Out
  37. ^ Relix: Dead, Phish, Allmans Members Serve as “House Band” for Pelosi-palooza
  38. ^ Reuters article by Sue Zeidler, February 11, 2007
  39. ^ "Grateful Dead, Deadheads reunite for Obama", Reuters, February 5, 2008
  40. ^ Selvin, Joel. "Grateful Dead Bury Hatchet, Reunite for Obama", San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2008
  41. ^ Selvin, Joel. "Grateful Dead Reunite for Barack Obama Benefit Show", Rolling Stone, February 5, 2008
  42. ^ "The Dead Reunite for Obama at Scorching Penn State Benefit Gig", Rolling Stone, October 14, 2008
  43. ^ Official Dead '09 Tour Page
  44. ^
  45. ^ Scott Rappaport (April 24, 2008). "Grateful Dead Donates Archives to UC Santa Cruz". UC Santa Cruz News and Events. 
  46. ^ a b Barnes, Mike. "Grateful Dead lawyer Hal Kant dies", The Hollywood Reporter, October 22, 2008. Accessed October 24, 2008.
  47. ^ Light, Alan (10 July 2006). "A Resurrection, of Sorts, for the Grateful Dead", New York Times. Retrieved on 12 December 2008
  48. ^ Liberatore, Paul (4 August 2006). "Only the Memories Remain: Grateful Dead's Recordings Moved", Marin Independent Journal. Retrieved on 12 December 2008
  49. ^ Deadbase Online Search, ver 1.10
  50. ^ Garofalo, pg. 219, quote in Garofalo, cited to Roxon, Lillian Roxon's Rock Encyclopedia, 210
  51. ^ Scott, Dolgushkin, Nixon, Deadbase X, ISBN 1-877657-21-2
  52. ^ McNally, Dennis, "A Long Strange Trip", New York 2002, p.455-58. ISBN 0-7679-1185-7
  53. ^ Pechner Productions- powered by SmugMug
  54. ^ Alembic History - Long Version
  55. ^ Brock, Ted (1990-06-26). "MORNING BRIEFING: IN OREGON, THEY'RE GRATEFUL FOR ALL EXTRA CASH THEY GET". Los Angeles Times: p. C2. 
  56. ^ Internet Archive: Grateful Dead
  57. ^>
  58. ^ Creation of the lightning bolt skull, as told by Owsley "Bear" Stanley
  59. ^ Back cover of History of the Gateful Dead Vol. 1 (Bear's Choice) on
  60. ^ Creation of the dancing bear, as told by Owsley "Bear" Stanley
  61. ^ Grateful Dead (Skull and Roses) on
  62. ^ McNally, p. 499
  63. ^ "Grateful Dead Songbook (Front)" on
  64. ^ "Mouse Grateful Dead Songbook Jester" on

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