Understanding the Grateful Dead isn’t just being able to rattle off setlists and songs, or knowing what kind of guitar picks Jerry Garcia preferred (Dunlop Adamas Graphite 2mm). It also requires familiarity with the situations and events that shaped the personalities behind the music. Show posters, letters, press clippings, and mountains of editorial content are available to any ‘Head who wants to take their Dead education to the next level. The Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California at Santa Cruz is the official repository of Dead history, much of which can be found online. There’s also no shortage of books, including scholarly analysis of the band and scene. But some of the most insightful observations come from outside of academia.
Our special guest Blair Jackson—author of Garcia: An American Life and former publisher of The Golden Road—has spent decades documenting the Dead through interviews with band members and thoughtful analysis of their art. His stuff is thrilling to read, and serves as a cornerstone of what has come to be known as Dead Studies. You won’t want to miss our conversation with Blair about his motivations for writing about the band. Casey and Eduardo also talk about why the Dead have become attractive to scholars, and Feed Your Head profiles original archivist and office manager Eileen Law. Check the show notes for a reading list!
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