December 5, 2008

Yipee Rosalie!

Mickey is in good company. Our very good friend Rosalie Sorrels has also been nominated this year for a Grammy. Rosalie's Strangers in Another Country (on Red House Records) is up for Best Traditional Folk Album! It's Rosalie's special tribute to Utah Philips. (see:
Special Collections holds the Rosalie Sorrels Papers documenting her life as songwriter, musician, performer, and peace activist.

December 4, 2008

Grammy good news

First, congratulations to Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju and Giovanni Hidalgo. Their Global Drum Project (on Shout Factory) has just been nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album!

This week also marks the opening of the long awaited Grammy Museum. It's located on Olympic Blvd & Figueroa in Downtown LIVE L.A. And like the town and the industry, it's really big: 30,000 SF with four floors of exhibit space for displays of artifacts, instruments, photos, room for film screenings, and lots of interactive exhibits. There is the promise that exhibits will capture the "legacy of recorded music and reveal the many ways in which it intertwines with social and cultural history." See for lots more.

Traveling on a High Frequency

"The Grateful Dead is where it all started for me," says Jay Blakesberg about his launch as a rock photographer. His new book Traveling On A High Frequency: Jay Blakesberg Photographs 1978-2008 is a retrospective look at performers and performances, lavishly illustrated with works from his photographic archive. It's just out from Rock Out Books. Blakesberg, a San Francisco based artist is also known for his Between the Dark and Light: The Grateful Dead Photography of Jay Blakesberg (Backbeat Books, 2004.)

November 2, 2008

Best buttons

Steven Heller gives honorable mention to Deadheads for Obama in 2008, in his Nov.1, 2008 article in the New York Times The Best Buttons of 2008, In One Man’s Opinion.
In the opinion of another however, as much as we really like it Deadheads for Obama should come in a very close second for best political swag right behind Shephard Fairey’s Obama Hope button.


The passing of two close collaborators of the Grateful Dead was noted this last week. Please see LA Times obituaries on keyboardist Merl Saunders and on lawyer Hal Kant, respectively at:,0,5811025.story


October 21, 2008

Slide Ranch tribute

Slide Ranch, a non-profit teaching farm, just paid tribute to the Grateful Dead for their long time influence and involvement in its programs, and presented Bob Weir with its Silver Trowel Award. Located in a historic dairy in the Marin Headlands of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Slide Ranch offers programs to children on the value of healthy foods, environmental awareness and appreciating the sustainable use of natural resources.

Reunited and it feels so good

The Grateful Dead reunited on October 13th at Penn State University before a crowd of grateful and devoted Deadheads and Barackheads alike. The “Change Rocks” concert was the second time band members played to raise awareness for Senator Obama and the upcoming election, but the concert at the Bryce Jordan Center marks the first time the Dead have been united in four years. In speaking of friendship (to Leah Garchik of the SF Chronicle in September) Mickey Hart has said the Grateful Dead is “build on true love” and should they possibly tour together again they would be “embarking on the next step of our long strange trip for the right reasons.”
To read a transcript of Obama’s videotaped message shown between sets at the Change Rocks concert, which BTW is laced with references to several Dead songs, see:

October 19, 2008

Gleason's rock classics on DVD

Late this summer Eagle Vision released two additional TV programs, originally produced by S.F. Chronicle’s jazz and rock critic Ralph J. Gleason and aired on PBS, on DVD. Go Ride the Music and West Pole closely follows Gleason’s A Night at the Family Dog, which came out last year on DVD. The Dead are featured in all three. In A Night at the Family Dog (one hour recorded in 1970 in Chet Helm’s ballroom) Pig Pen is caught singing Hard to Handle and the band goes into China Cat Sunflower and I Know You Rider. Santana and the Jefferson Airplane also perform.

In the newer (almost 5 hour) two disc set Jerry has a cameo appearance alongside with Quicksilver, David Crosby, and the Jefferson Airplane. On West Pole, the band does New Potato Caboose, and the Sons of Champlin, the Steve Miller Band, and others appear. All three programs are evocative of early 1970s San Francisco. Michael Parrish reviewed Gleason’s A Night at the Family Dog in the Dec. 2007-Jan. 2008 issue of Dirty Linen. He found the DVD release to do “an excellent job of conveying the sights and sounds of an era that is often discussed but rarely portrayed as clearly and vividly as it is here.”

September 24, 2008

The Music Plays the Band

Jeffery Pepper Rodgers interviews Bob Weir in a revealing article "The Music Plays the Band" in the August 2008 Acoustic Guitar (Vol.19, No. 2,p.52-59.) Bob talks about the guitar, singing, playing, writing, and the dynamics of a band. "I've always viewed writing and playing as being a storyteller."

Fillmore: The Last Days Revived

When the neighborhood around the original Fillmore Auditorium became too rough, Bill Graham took over the lease of the Carousel Ballroom in downtown San Francisco, which had been run for the previous eight months by the Dead, along with a couple of other prominent San Francisco partners (like the Airplane). Renamed the Fillmore West, the beautiful second-floor ballroom served as the counterpart to Graham's famed Fillmore East in New York City, closing on July 4th, 1971. Before it closed that summer Bill Graham put on a five-day concert send-off that was filmed and released the next year as the documentary Fillmore: The Last Days. Memorable too was the 3 LP box set with concert highlights (Grateful Dead's Casey Jones and Johnny B. Goode, and contributions from Quicksilver, Santana, Hot Tuna...) and the special packaging that included the closing week's poster, a used ticket, and a booklet with a listing of all Fillmore West shows.

The 1972 documentary (105 mins) is now coming out on DVD in November, but if you want to see it sooner it will be shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival, Throckmorton Theatre on October 3rd.

Sound to the image of fire, the birth of a volcano

Mickey Hart and frequent collaborator and classical tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain have created the soundtrack for the new blast of the famous Las Vegas Mirage 's volcano. Video and photos of the creation and performance are available at:

September 9, 2008

Grateful Dead 365

The availability of Holly George-Warren's Grateful Dead 365 has just been announced by publisher Abrams. In 744 pages George-Warren covers five decades of "intimate portraits, candid backstage shots, and colorful performance images." Holly George-Warren was an editor at Rolling Stone from 1993-2001. She co-edited The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, and she received a Grammy nomination for Best Historical Recording in 2001 for co-producing Rhino's 5 box CD set R-E-S-P-E-C-T: A Century of Women in Music.

September 7, 2008

Hip hip for hip hop

Congratulations go out to Cornell University's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections for its new acquisition of a major archive on the history of hip hop and rap music. You can read a lot more about this great gift of Americana music at:

It's only rock and roll but the V&A likes it

Here's another auction high for a rock and roll artifact. London's Victoria and Albert Museum has just purchased John Pasche's tongue and lips original art work used on the Rolling Stone's Sticky Fingers album. Read more about a pop culture logo making it into a big league museum in Sunday's Sept. 2nd, 2008 New York Times article by Julie Bloom. (Or if you subscribe online to the Times here's the reference:

Of Lucifer's tail and Fender stratocasters

Yes, Jimi's guitar just went for 280,000 (pounds sterling) at auction. Here's a fun article on it and more "Pop Memorabilla Are The Holy Relics Of Our Time" by Craig Brown:

August 25, 2008

McNamee talks about bands and business

Roger McNamee of Elevation Partners (and of the band Moonalice) spent three years advising the Grateful Dead on their business. Avram Davis interviews him in the August 1st issue of Mergers and Acquisitions Journal. McNamee explains how music shapes his work in “Inspired: It’s no secret Elevation Partners’ Roger McNamee is into his music…” He talks about the similarities between launching a band and building a company.

Summer exhibit of Altman photos

Robert Altman, chief photographer of Rolling Stone during the 1960s has a retrospective of his work now showing at London’s Idea Generation Gallery. Altman is known for his photos of Dead concerts, antiwar demonstrations, and writers, musicians, and cultural figures of the time such as Ken Kesey, Carlos Santana, and Timothy Leary --memorable events and iconic figures from an important historic American period.


Author and neurologist Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (Knopf, 2007) “investigates the power of music to move us, to heal and to haunt us.” As Emma Williams notes in her review of this work in The Lancet (vol.371, March 22-28, 2008) Sacks leads the reader through summer camps, concert halls, hospital wards, and a Grateful Dead concert in search of illumination. With its “meditations on self and will, memory and creativity, illness and healing” he provides insight on what it means to be human.

July 30, 2008

NPR features Dead Sympony No. 6

NPR’s Scott Simon in last Saturday’s Weekend Edition show (July 26) interviewed composer Lee Johnson about the upcoming premiere of his Dead Symphony No.6 by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. It happens this Friday AUGUST 1. To listen to the interview go to

Johnson talks about the piece’s origins describing it as a symphony based on American culture. (Here’s the sequence: Dead Overture, Saint Stephen, Here Comes Sunshine, Mountains of the Moon, Blues for Allah, Sugar Magnolia, To Lay Me Down, If I Had the World to Give, Stella Blue, Bird Song, China Doll, and a Dead Finale.)

We're mentioned in SAA's Archival Outlook

Special Collections gets a tip of the hat in the current “Archival Outlook,” the newsletter of the Society of American Archivists (July/August 2008, page 19.) They’ve picked up a piece from the San Jose Mercury News on the archive coming to UCSC and are running it as one of the national news clips.

July 22, 2008

Moonalice, Parish, and posters

Steve Parish, for many years stage manager for the Grateful Dead, has now joined Moonalice as "liaison on the road." And here's great local news... Moonalice (with G.E. Smith, Jack Casady, Peter Sears, Barry Sless, Ann McNamee, Roger McNamee, and Jimmy Sanchez) will be playing Don Quixote's (6275 Highway 9) in Felton on August 9th. We're happy to know that poster art is a huge part of Moonalice; look for the band's collaborations with well known artists Stanley Mouse and Chuck Sperry, as well as with extraordinary, new, and innovative artists at Moonalice's web site:

July 8, 2008

“The Family Dog Presents The Art That Defined a Generation”

A large selection of lithographic posters created by Alton Kelley, Stanley Mouse, Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso as part of the Family Dog collective, are on display at Jack Gallery (6333 W. 3rd St. and 14th Los Angeles.) They herald the early performances of Big Brother, Quicksilver, Jefferson Airplane and the Dead. Rhino Entertainment, the artists, and S2 Editions are mounting the exhibit, which runs through July 14.

Productions celebrate the spirit of Rock ‘n’ Roll

Chelsea on the Rocks, Abel Ferrara’s new film (which debuted at this year’s Festival de Cannes) chronicles the Chelsea Hotel, New York’s legendary residential hotel through vintage archive footage, re-enactments, and interviews with current and recent residents (including R. Crumb who was once a local resident around our region.) Those who’ve seen this film say its most wondrous moments involve Janis jamming with the Grateful Dead. And then there is Tom Stoppard’s play Rock’N’Roll directed by Trevor Nunn which continues to be touted as “dazzling,” “passionate,” and “epic.” It sweeps from Cambridge in 1968 to Prague in 1990, and songs from Pink Floyd, the Stones, and the Grateful Dead (“Chinatown Shuffle”) underlie and support emotional performances from the cast.

All Graceful Instruments

All Graceful Instruments: The Contexts of the Grateful Dead Phenomenon by Nicholas G. Meriwether and other contributors (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007) got a great review in The Journal of Popular Culture (see volume 41, Issue 2, pps 352-353.) The book, a compilation of essays in areas of literary criticism, musicology, sociology, philosophy, and business theory explores “the meaning and significance of the music of the Grateful Dead, the implications of their artistic and commercial success, and the social dimensions of their following, the Deadheads.” Scott MacFarlane, writing in The Journal of Popular Culture notes the book “provides analysis into, not only the band and its music, but also the way the Dead’s phenomenon engendered a sociospiritual microculture of Deadheads that evolved into the most intriguing fan base in rock history.” MacFarlane touts the work’s breath and comprehensiveness, and praises All Graceful Instruments as “compelling.”

June 12, 2008

Dead Symphony No. 6

In tribute to the Grateful Dead and appropriately on Jerry’s birthday August 1st, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of composer Lee Johnson's "Dead Symphony No. 6.” The Symphony has orchestral arrangements of "Saint Stephen," "China Doll," "Stella Blue," and other songs. For the premiere at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore Grateful Dead memorabilia will be shown, including Amalie Rothschild’s photos of the Band performing at the Fillmore East. For more info. see:

Dawg at UCSC

David Grisman, long time collaborator of Jerry Garcia, leads this year’s “Mandolin Symposium” along with Mike Marshall at the UCSC campus June 23-28th. The Symposium now in its 5th year exposes students of mandolin to “the diversity of music and technique that has developed over the past few hundred years throughout the world and here in America.”

Slugs & Roses (....we love the name!)

Slugs & Roses, Santa Cruz’s Grateful Dead cover band publicly debuts this Friday, June 13th at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center (320-2 Cedar St.Santa Cruz) Band members Larry Graff, Doug Greenfield, Mike Sammet, Dave Faulkner, August West, Brett Packer, and Covey Potter, explore the Dead’s vast catalog of songs at this renowned venue.

June 8, 2008

Dead as business pioneers

Some people have said that everything they know about business, they learned from the Grateful Dead. New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman writes about "Bits, Bands, and Books", and the Dead as business pioneers in the June 6th issue.

June 5, 2008

Confessions of a (tech) Deadhead

Deadhead and Seagate Technology CEO Bill Watkins is a friend of the devil and a friend of ours. He’s helping us raise funds to support the Grateful Dead Archive. has a great June 3, 2008 posting “Confessions of a (tech) Deadhead.” You can read it at:

Alton Kelley June 17, 1940 - June 1, 2008

Like others this week, we were sadden to hear of the death of Alton Kelley, one of the original members of Family Dog and an extraordinary graphic artist whose iconic art is so closely connected to the Dead. We’re honored to hold his work as part of the Grateful Dead Archive.

Joel Selvin captured some wonderful, funny reminiscences and personal notes from Alton Kelley about living and making art in 1960s San Francisco. It’s part of Selvin’s “Summer of Love: 40 Years Later” series which can be read at:

Donna Jean plays Santa Cruz

It's not too late to catch Donna Jean. She's at Moe's Alley tonight with the Tricksters. 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Hurry down she starts at 9:00 pm.

Welcome to Dead Central!

Welcome to Dead Central, the blog for the Grateful Dead Archive at UC Santa Cruz! We've seen a lot of interest and enthusiasm about the archive since the offical press conference at the Fillmore on April 24. People have been interested in the arrival date of the archive, the contents, accessibility and how they can contribute to the development and organization of the archive. We'll use this blog to keep everyone informed about the status of the archive as well as news and updates on all things related to the Grateful Dead and associated archives. We welcome comments and feedback from everyone!