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Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3215
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2012 - 4:03 pm:   Edit Post

On Saturday I was at a CD/DVD sale and saw a Grateful Dead DVD so I thought, "let me fill in the blanks in my knowledge about the band" and bought the said DVD as it was only 3.00.

I have to say it is the worst excuse for a biography of any band you could imagine. It has a cartoon tv set in the middle of the screen with low quality live footage but no actual music of the band on the dvd. Some dude sitting on a sofa who seems to know nothing about the band. The backing track for the whole dvd is some pretty decent blues inspired music but nothing I think is related to the Dead.

This is the one...

Some reviews on that site are pretty accurate...
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3288
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 3:52 am:   Edit Post

Jazzy. For a real insight into the band I can recommend Dennis McNally's book - 'A long strange trip'. He was the band's publicist so does know what he's talking about. Phil Lesh's 'Searching for the sound' chronicles the same era but gives a more personal view.
For a great insight into what life was like as a fan and also some cool concert footage I'd get hold of 'the grateful dead movie' on DVD.

There are of course loads of movies from around the late 60's that give some feel for what was going on back then. more recommendations..

festival Express - 4 or 5 of the biggest bands of the time take a train trip across Canada stopping off to play gigs and buy booze. It's chilling to watch and see how many of them are dead - janis, jerry, Pigpen, half of The Band etc.

Gimme Shelter - Ostensibly a rolling stones movie but the altamont chapter is fascinating in a car crash sort of way.

Magic Trip - Ken Kesey's drive across america in his schoolbus - Further.

a whole bunch of grateful dead DVDs -
Anthem to beauty - includes some insights into the recordings,

the closing of winterland - hours of concert footage from their 1978 new years eve concert - one of the best.

To be honest, there are loads of DVDs out there now chronicling the late 60's. Some are ok , many aren't. Check the reviews.

I've also just noticed the dawn of the Dead on amazon which looks to be a new 2 hour documentary about 60's san francisco psychadelia. Gets some great reviews so it'll be on my Christmas present list.

I'd like to see the complete monterey pop DVDs sometime but they're currently only available on region 1 as imports and are very expensive.

Senior Member
Username: cozmik_cowboy

Post Number: 1331
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 8:16 am:   Edit Post

To Graeme's suggestions I would add:
Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip (no author credit; just "DK produced in collaboration with Grateful Dead Productions") - a coffeetable-sized book with a timeline running across about 450 pages, from March 13, 1940 ("Phillip Chapman Lesh is born in Berkley, California") to August 13, 1995 ("Memorial Celebration held at Golden Gate Park"); the rest of each page is filled with highlight blurbs & photos. Gives a framework for the events in the other books.
Blair Jackson's Grateful Dead Gear: The Band's Instruments, Sound Systems, and Recording Sessions from 1965 to 1995; Looks at the technological development they went through - and usually created.
David Dodd's The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics. Gives expalinations to the words of every song they ever wrote, which puts light on what I feel is the most over-looked aspect of the GD magic; Robert Hunter is one of my two nominations for Greatest English-Language Poet of the Twentieth Century. Dodd does an excellent job - but not a perfect one (I will insist the "Franklin's Tower" has nothing to do with Benjiman Franklin, but is clearly using the imagery of Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle as allegory for the psychedelic experience).
Rock Scully's Living With The Dead is interesting, but a total downer, amplifying every negative aspect of their history.

Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 73
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 7:16 pm:   Edit Post

They were probably out of tune, anyway.
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5279
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 9:47 am:   Edit Post

I just watched "Dawn of the Dead" (no not the Zombie's in the mall flick) last night. Really nice DVD if you're interested in not only the Dead, but the whole 60's San Francisco scene (which gave birth to Alembic). I only noticed two errors:

1. They say Phil was the first bass player when Mother McCreedy's morphed into The Warlocks. Actually it was Dana Morgan, Jr., though he was soon replaced by Phil.

2. They say Jerry joined NRPS that included his friend Ron Nelson. It was David Nelson.

Just a couple of very small boogers. Otherwise, well worth the price of admission.

Oh yea, one other thing, though I can't fault the filmmakers for this one:

Everyone being interviewed looks so old!

Bill, tgo

(Message edited by lbpesq on November 17, 2012)
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5281
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 9:36 am:   Edit Post

Oops! I meant Mother McCree's, as in Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions.

Bill, tgo

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