Grateful Dead (1965-1995)
Jerry Garcia (guitar, vocals) 1965-1995
Bob Weir (guitar, vocals) 1965-1995
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (keyboards, harmonica, vocals) 1965-1972
Phil Lesh (bass, vocals) 1965-1995
Bill Kreutzmann (drums) 1965-1995
Mickey Hart (percussion, drums) 1967-1970; 1974-1995
Tom Constanten (keyboards) 1968-1970
Keith Godchaux (keyboards) 1971-1979
Donna Godchaux (vocals) 1971-1979
Brent Mydland (keyboards) 1979-1990
Vince Welnick (keyboards) 1990-1995
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Ben & Jerry's has an ice cream flavor called Cherry Garcia, named after their guitarist. Garcia donated the royalties to his favorite charities. Garcia also had lines of shirts and ties. His ties have been seen on people as influential as Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
The name Grateful Dead refers to a motif in English (and other cultures') folktales and ballads in which a poor traveler spends his last coin to pay for the proper burial of a pauper, and is later rewarded for his good deed by some creature or person that reveals itself to be the spirit of the "grateful dead." (thanks, Gwyn - Fairfax, VA)
While on tour with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in 1986, Garcia fell into a diabetic coma. He was in the process of recovering from drug addiction. The coma lasted five days.
The Dead were into preserving the world's rainforests. Some of them went so far as to purchase a jungle in Costa Rica. They were going to try to make chewing gum from the rubber trees.
Hart and Kreutzmann composed percussion-heavy music for the Apocalypse Now soundtrack in 1979.
Garcia died in his room at Serenity Knolls, a treatment facility in Forest Hills, California. He was there battling his heroin addiction and died of a heart attack. His death marked the end of the Grateful Dead.
There were sections at Dead shows specifically designed for the hearing impaired. They were seated next to the speakers and given a person to translate the lyrics into sign language.
At the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, the Dead played a set in between The Who and Jimi Hendrix. They also played at Woodstock on the second day between Canned Heat and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
The Godchaux's were husband and wife. Keith had been Dave Mason's piano player. They were asked to leave in 1979.
Hart was kicked out his High School band because his teacher didn't think he could keep a beat.
Kreutzmann loves diving and has filmed a fifty-minute documentary called Ocean Spirit.
Garcia designed a suite at the Beverly Hills Pescott Hotel. The room features his paintings, pillows, bathrobes and towels.
The fans of the Grateful Dead are known as Deadheads, and have often been called the best fans in rock n' roll. They frequently followed the Dead from town to town, attempting to see as many shows as possible. They usually wore tie dyed clothing and would also engage in the use of many illegal substances.
Garcia was in the army for nine months in 1959 before meeting longtime collaborator Robert Hunter in Palo Alto.
Pigpen, Weir, and Garcia were members of Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions in 1964. Also in the band were John Dawson (New Riders of the Purple Sage) and Bob Matthews, later a Dead engineer and founder of Alembic Electronics.
As the Warlocks, the band were the house band for Ken Kesey's Acid Tests. These were public LSD parties held before the drug was outlawed.
They have lost 3 keyboard players. McKernan died of cirrhosis, Godchaux was killed in a car accident (The Dead fired him a year earlier), and Mydland died of a drug overdose.
By the end of the 1960s, the Grateful Dead owed Warner Brothers $100,000 for studio time. Their first three albums were not commercially successful.
Pigpen's last show with the band was at the Hollywood Bowl on June 17, 1972. He died of liver disease a year later.
Welnick was a member of the Tubes. Sometimes, Bruce Hornsby would sit in on piano during concerts.
Starting in 1984, they let fans tape their shows, which made them a lot more popular. They did it because the bootleggers that gathered in front of the soundboard drove the audio engineer nuts.
They got very little radio play and did not sell many albums, but they are one of the top-grossing concert acts of all time.
The band was friends with Lithuanian basketball player Sarunas Marciulionis, and when the Lithuanian team needed money to play in the 1992 Olympics, The Dead helped them out. Lithuania won the bronze and wore tie-dyed uniforms on the podium to repay the favor.
The name "Grateful Dead" was chosen from the dictionary. Some claim it was a Funk & Wagnalls, others, the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book Of the Dead), but according to Phil Lesh in his biography
(page 62), "Jer (Garcia) picked up an old Britannica World Language Dictionary... in that silvery elf-voice he said to me, 'Hey, man, how about the Grateful Dead?'" The definition there was "A song meant to show a lost soul to the other side." (thanks, max - virginia beach, VA)
When The Dead were touring with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
in 1986, Garcia was recovering from drug addiction and fell into a diabetic coma for 5 days.
The sound system they set up for shows was called "The Wall Of Sound." It was a huge array of speakers and amplifiers that required 4 trucks to transport. There were 2 copies of The Wall, as one would travel to the next show while the other was in use. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Throughout their career the Grateful Dead played 317 cover songs and 184 original tunes. (thanks, Paul - Freeland, PA)
They performed a quickly arranged concert the night before the 2008 Super Tuesday primaries in support of Barack Obama. The Deadheads For Obama concert was the band's first show since their 2004 reunion tour. According to Phil Lesh, it was the first time they've ever performed at a political rally. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
The king of Christian worship music explains talks about writing songs for troubled times.
Penny Ford of Snap!
The original voice of Snap!, this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.
Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"
With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.