An Inside Look at "The Grateful Dead".
You are walking around a parking lot full of almost clown like dressed people with long hair. The smell of patchouli oils cannot be escaped everywhere you turn. There are men and women with gray hair and young teens mixed in together. Volkswagen buses seem to be the vehicle of choice for many of these people. Every aisle you walk down people are selling clothing, food, pictures, bumper stickers, and an assortment of drugs. "Where am I?" you ask. There is only one place like this in the world, a Grateful Dead concert. This band started acquiring a cult following in their formation in the 1960's and that following is still strong today. The Grateful Dead saw many happy times, as well as, many sad times. Jerry Garcia, the lead guitar player, died from a long life of drug abuse and accompanied bad health in 1995. The band also saw three keyboardists die while they were playing. Two died from drug abuse and the other died in a car accident. In this essay, I will give biographical details of this incredibly successful, popular band and their musical influences and roots. I will also talk about the many aspects of this band which make it different from other bands. I will then discuss how the band was a reflection of the times in the 60's and 70's. Finally, I will critique one of their more popular albums.
The Grateful Dead, now known as The Dead, were first known as The Warlocks. They changed the name to the Grateful Dead in 1965. The members of the Warlocks included: Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Ron Mckernon (Pigpen), and Bill Kreutzmann. Garcia and Weir were the founding members and met in 1963 while working at a music store in Palo Alto, California. They were both giving guitar lessons and decided to form a band one evening when they broke into the music store they both worked at after hours and jammed all night. Jerry Garcia was the backbone of The Grateful Dead and grew up close to San Francisco in a rough neighborhood.