Grateful Dead Magazine Articles

Playboy Interview w/J. Garcia Pt. 12

Collected from
Back Previous Bus Stop Forward (Beth Dyer)
Organization: University of California; Santa Cruz
Reprinted without permission from Playboy, March 1972...

GRATEFUL DEAD I HAVE KNOWN (pt. 12) by Ed McClanahan

Pigpen: Hey, Magazine, y'wanna know the secret of m' success?

Me (eagerly): Yeah, sure, hell yes!

Pig: (growling sotto voice behind his hand, mock furtive as a Disneyland Foxy Loxy): Take thirty-five percent off the top and split!


"Well I think the Grateful Dead is basically, like, a good, snappy rock'n' roll band, I mean that's its basic character. So when we do country stuff, for instance, people sometimes tend to think we've suddenly gotten very pure, very direct. But we don't actually do it very purely or directly at all, compared to, like Roy Acuff, say. And if we're talking about country music, we have to compare it to those kind of guys. I mean, when we play it, it's still us ..."


"An Evening with the GD": fillmore west, second set, new riders of the purple sage: garcia on pedal steel, dave torbert on bass, david nelson on electric guitar, mickey hart on drums, and most of all, marmaduke, nee john dawson vocalist-lyricist-acoustic-guitarist, lovely little guy all decked out (unlike other deads and new riders in the shitkicker roughrider cowboy funk) in high-style western sartorial splendor, dude duds, hand-embroidered cowboy shirt, hand-tooled high-heel boots, trimly blocked stetson atop incongruously long pale blond locks, a psychedelic roy rogers -- they open w. the great dave dudley truck-driver song "six days on the road", leap blithely from that to the stones' dope-disease-and-dark-night-of-the-soul song "connection", then to "henry", a very funny rock'n' rollicker by marmaduke, about the travails of a dope runner ("...went to Acapulco/to turn the golden key...") who gets himself involved in a wild keystone kops car chase after sampling his own wares ("henry tasted, he got wasted/ couldn't even see...") --crowd loves it, fillmore is jammed to the rafters with dead fans by now and they're unanimous in their enthusiasm for the new riders-marmaduke onstage is really something to watch, he's so fresh, so ingenuous, so enthralled by the whole rock'n'roll star trip, even backstage he can hardly keep his hands off his guitar, and out front when the crowd shows it digs him he blushes and grins all over his face and practically wags his tail with delight-new riders do 2 more marmaduke songs, "dirty business" and "the last lonely eagle" (which yr. reporter, ripped again, keeps hearing as "the last lonely ego", but fortunately does not fail to note that garcia plays brilliantly on it despite the fact that he's only taken up the pedal steel seriously in the last year or so, none of the mawkish, whiny, hawaiian-war-chant rebop; his pedal steel, like his guitar, is crisp and intense, it weeps, of course -- it wouldn't be a pedal steel it if didn't-but it's properly melancholy, never merely sentimental) -- then marmaduke does a yodeler that I don't recognize (yodeling? in the fillmore?), then they finish off the set by bringing the whole house to its feet with the stones' "honky tonk woman"-as marmaduke, beaming happily, basks in the warm applause, it occurs to me that these guys rank right up there near the top of the lower order of eternal verities: rock'n'roll stars may come and go, but there'll always be the sons of the pioneers...

Turn to Part 13. . .

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