The Grateful Dead


I have chosen to do my report on the Grateful Dead. They were a rock and
roll band from the sixties that stayed popular and still influenced rock and
roll until 1995 when the lead singer, Jerry Garcia, died and the band dissolved.
The Dead remained popular for so long because of the style of their live
concerts that made people keep coming back. In 1959 when Jerry Garcia was thrown
out of the army, he picked up his guitar and started playing music with his
friend Robert Hunter. Robert Hunter would later become the Grateful Dead\'s non-
performing song writer. Robert and Jerry lived in San Francisco, California.
On one New Year\'s Eve party, Garcia and Hunter met Ron "The Pig Pen" McKerman,
who played harmonica, keyboard and was also a vocalist. Pig Pen was the janitor
at the music shop where Jerry gave banjo lessons. During the concert of that
night, they also met guitarist Bob Weir and together they formed a band called
Mother McCree\'s Uptown Jug Champions. A few weeks later Bob Matthews,who later
became a part of the Grateful Dead electronics and recording family,joined the
group along with John "marmaduke" Dawson,who later joined the New Riders of the
Purple Sage. Work was scarce for the Jug Champions until Dana Morgan, owner at
the store where Jerry taught banjo and Pig Pen worked,provided the money and
equipment for them to become electric. After they had become electric they
renamed the group the Warlocks. Dawson and Matthews were soon to leave and they
were replaced by drummer Bill Sommers (Krentemann) and Phil Lesh, who was a
trumpet player who learned to play bass guitar in a very amazing two weeks just
to get the spot. This completes the now familiar Dead line up. The Warlocks
played their first concert in July 1965 and they played pretty straight rock and
roll music until the "acid tests." In early 1965 a state hospital in the Palo
Alto area was conducting experiments with hallucinogenic drugs. This was still
legal at the time. Robbert Hunter and others volunteered to try them. Before
long the whole music group was participating in "acid tests" and their music
became more diffused, the numbers stretched out and the volume turned up. Jerry
Garcia became known as "Captain Trips" and they played at the Ken Kesey
organized trips festival. In February 1966 the Warlocks had to change their
name due to threats by an older group with the same name. Legend has it,
according to ,"during a acid trip Garcia opened a dictionary and pointed to the
word "grateful" on one page and the word "dead" on another", and the Grateful
Dead were born.
In June of 1966 the Grateful Dead moved to 710 Haight - Ashbury district
of San Francisco, California. This was the center of the counter culture that
is known by many as "Hippie". The group was about to explode in a blaze of
publicity. The Dead were playing for free at parks and a place called the
Family Dog. Jerry Garcia was the group\'s guru figure despite his denials.
After a while, word started to spread about the Grateful Dead and their
incredible sound. By 1967, the summer of love, they were regulars at the Avalon
and Carousel Ballrooms and the Filmore West. In 1969 the Dead packed their bags
and headed to Woodstock, New York. This outdoor concert would go down in history
as the largest outdoor rock concert. On August 16, 1969, the Grateful Dead,
along with many famous rock and roll groups, played in front of thousands of
people. From 1965 and on,there has been over 3,000 Grateful Dead concerts, that
range from San Francisco to the pyramids in Egypt. After each of them, at least
one more person became obsessed with the band and became part of the group known
as the "deadheads". According to the Dead heads "there is nothing like a
Grateful Dead concert". The Grateful Dead have many fans that follow them from
concert to concert; these fans are called deadheads. These fans thrive off of
the Grateful Dead\'s live performances. The deadheads would almost do anything to
get a ticket to a dead show. A typical deadhead would go to 25 or more shows a
year. Dead fans are so loyal, "They would come under water, from Utah, backwards,
to stand in line to see them play". Many people say that if it was not for
Grateful Dead live shows the dead would still not be popular today. In 1972 the
Grateful Dead went on a European tour. They