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Report On The Grateful Dead

1236 words - 5 pages

Report on 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...

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