The Olompali Sunday Times, No. 2, June 1967
You can't really understand or fully appreciate The Grateful Dead, unless you are aware of what they are spokesman for. The scene in S.F. is largely generated by the rock and roll. It is the means of income or the whole community. It started with the young people getting turned-on by the rock music at the Fillmore and Avalon. Then, before long it began to follow them home, very soon it was definitely part of their lives, how they are dropping-out of suburban home life, high-school society, and coming to the big, weird city.
In Haight-Ashbury where the bands home is, the streets are filled with young people who are concerned with the well-being of each other, and the rest of the world too. They know that in order to get the whole planet as peaceful and free as their own society, they Post BE what they preach. They live peace and love, They share food, cloths, cars, dope, and anything they own. They element of EGO has been reduced --- people are becoming more tolerant and calm-- there is a feeling in the air of sharing, just because that is so much more positive than being selfish. The negative attitude is being forced out of existence.
Walking down Haight St. is glorious. You see after smile. The only perplexed faces are the middle-aged tourists who aren't sure just what to think. They are handed flowers, oranges, printed poetry, and all sorts of nice things. They leave knowing that they saw -, new idea working ---an idea that they never allowed to think-- They never hod the chalice to be mentally free. it inherited the evil and "out chose to ignore them to death- - rather thin to try and kill off everyone who does not see Utopia as we do.
All this love has several points - one big one is the Dead. They were the first to play in the Park for free, now it is happening every took-end, and sometimes during the week---- all the top bands, all the little bands, and every-one turned-on in the bay area got together and rave for a day. the movement of Joy is spreading, and we are glad to be a part of it.
In the past several month, the DEAD have been doing filming for two very interesting and different programs. The first one filmed was with a crew from England's BBC. The film, called "THE SCENE" (to be shown July 17) will be the first color TV broadcast in England. The show included shots of the Dead at home, at the Avalon Ballroom, and in a new S.F. rock club, The Rock Garden. The more recent filming, was in Richard Lester's new movie "PETULIA", starring Julie Christie and George C. Scott. The band was in one scene being San Francisco atmosphere, and in another scene they were playing live in a warehouse here in the city. (VIOLA LEE BLUES is what you'll hear in the movie.)
HERE IN S.F .... During the month of April, Sunday afternoons meant thousands of tourists on foot and in their cars jamming the streets in the Haight-Ashbury. Tourists came to look at the hippies, and the hippies came to see if tourists really came to look at them. People just looking at each other in the street on a beautiful, sunny after noon, with nothing to do, and nowhere to go.
In an effort to make people happy by giving them something to do, the Dead played unannounced in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park on a flatbed truck to anybody who would come and listen to them. Needless to say, people were much more interested in spending an afternoon in the park listening to music for free, than walking in the crowded streets looking at each other. Sunday afternoon, Saturday afternoons, and sometimes during the week, various bands from the area play to whoever wants to listen amongst the sun and trees in the park.
June 1, the band goes to New York City. The first time that N.Y.C. will hear the Grateful Dead, will be in the park. After playing there for free one afternoon, they will start a two week job at the Cafe Au Go Go. They will return several days after their two weeks is up, just in time to attend and perform in the Monterey International Pop Festival on June 16,17, and 18.
The Festival seems to be the biggest thing happening all over the country in the filed of popular music. The Festival is a non-profit happening with proceeds over expenses going to San Francisco community efforts like the Diggers.
"Tellers of Tall Tales"
Lead guitarist, Jerry Garcia, known to San Franciscans as "Captain Trips'' because of the excursion boats he once piloted up the Sacramento River, was born in Mazatlan, Mexico, of Spanish noble parents. They fled their native country during the Civil WAS after their nutmeg plantation was burned and looted. But soon after Jerry's birth, they were assassinated in an obscure Chilean coup attempt, and he was left to be raised by a wizened OLD Hopi lady, assisted by a pack of wolves, who immediately accepted the little Garcia as one of their own. Many acute listeners have identified, in Garcia's far-out solo runs evocations of long-remembered Hopi chants. Jerry spoke no English until 1957 when he moved into ban Francisco's Hopi colony. A graduate of the San Francisco Academy of Stringed Instruments, he began his rock-and-roll- career doodling with the radio on the Thresher, the converted mine-sweeper with which he took weekly tourist excursions between Stockton and Oakland. Now he belongs to the ages.
Bass player, Phil Lesh, was well-known to two generations of American youngsters as the loveable lass Frances of "Ding Dong School". Lesh's remarkable ability at characterizations was further demonstrated in 1960, when he campaigned for the Presidency in several states under the name of Richard Nixon. Lesh grow up on a nutmeg plantation in southwest Luoisiana, and his interest in music stemmed from his childhood habit of humming musical radio commercials to himself as he worked in the fetid bayous. However, Phil later received classical musical training, and he spent two years as featured singer Pith the San Francisco Opera, handling such varied roles as the leads in Aida and Falstaff. Entering rack-and-roll because of the social stigma attached to operatic performers in this country, Lesh quickly established himself as the outstanding big-beat interpreter of the songs of Stephen Foster. In his non-performing moments, Phil sculpts miniature figurines of major San Francisco political figures, a common pastime of the city's "hippies''.
Ron (PiG-Pen) McKernan organists and harpist,, enjoyed several successful years as leader of an all-organ blues band before joining the "Dead" Born and raised in Palo Alto, California, McKernan earned his nickname while in high school. In his senior year, for a biology project, Ron shared his room with several young porkers, subjecting them to unusually intense study, and eventually turning out a research paper on "The Habits of Pigs." (He got an A). Flunking out of the nearby San Francisco Academy of Pedaled Instruments on grounds of thirst, McKernan tool a job as a shipping clerk in an Oakland nutmeg works, where the songs shouted by the workers along the noisy assembly line gave him his obvious feeling for urban blues. Then, for several years, Ron was organist for several of radio's top snip operas (careful listeners can detect the he sneaks the "Guiding Light" theme into every solo).
Percussionist, Bill Sommers, began his lifelong fascination with rhythm as a poor, but honest, newsboy on the streets of San Francisco. In order to stimulate sales, he cried out the headlines in rhythmical sing-song, devising little tap-dance steps to attract further attention. This procedure was so effective (during the famous circulation war, the Chronicle and Examiner continually attempted to outbid each other for his services) that Sommers kept the job all the way through college, paying for his tuition and investing in several small dormitories on the side. Banging up his dancing shoes forever, Sommers joined the Jug City Trombone Ramblers a local band, and introduced the novel approach of using jugs as percussion instruments. His rapid-fire technique, however, soon broke every jug the Ramblers owned, and Sommers quickly turned to a part-time job as a door-to-door nutmeg salesman until he was invited to join the "Dead". The rest, of course, is history.
Bob Weir, is the scion, of son, of a socially prominent family on the San Francisco peninsula. Expected by his parents to become a doctor, Bob maintained the fiction that he was going through medical school while secretly sitting in on guitar with big-name dance bands traveling through San Francisco. Only 18 years old, he is, nonetheless, the youngest rhythm guitarists ever to play with the "Dead." Weir still manages to convince his parents that he is, in fact, a doctor, by subscribing to medical Journals and stuffing his hair under a surgical cap whenever they visit. The most literary of the "Dead," Weir has to his credit two books documenting Communist influence in rock-and-roll music. and a collection of poems and drawings about the Russo-Japanese War. It is Weir's drawing of McKernan that appears on the thousands of "Pigpen" t-shirts being worn by San Franciscans, one of hundreds of sketches and photos of McKernan that hang in Weir's room. No one has yet asked why. It is, by now, well established that Weir invented the word "hippie."
Again, in their own words:
THE GRATEFUL DEAD, VERSION 11
NAME: JEROME John Garcia
"I wake up automatically at 9:00 EVERY morning ( except for sometimes when I wake up later or earlier,) and gaze out the window at the flocks of geese flying north/ south for the winter/summer and ask myself what does it all mean? I drink as much orange juice as I can get my dirty hands on because I know that it's gonna taste good. My boots don't fit me perfectly, so my little toe hurts. Sometimes I see someone that I think I recognize and I say hello or smile or something like that. It's fun to shoot at strangers while they're innocently passing the house, with the sonic blaster. Especially if they're pretty, heh. Philosophically, I have nothing to say. At Christmas, everybody gives me stuff that's red, white, and blue, cause that's what I like. It seems like we used to live in Palo Alto, but you couldn't prove it without dated film or something like that. If I had a rocket ship or some extraterrestrial friends you'd never see me. I hope that humanity survives the incredibly stupid hassels that we've gotten ourselves into. There's still hope. I like to see people dance. At night I modestly turn off the light in my room and snore profoundly for several hours. That's the partial truth.''
NAME: Robert Hall Weir
"IÕm afraid I was born in 1947, and I ain't dead yet.''
NAME: Philip Chapman Lesh
''Born in a jail cell the last of a line of at least three generations of horse thieves. Thereafter, history took over leaving me bewigged, altered and ready for the axe. (The axe fell and I was killed, of course. What you see is but a more shadow of my former self, incarnate in 3,000,001 eras of eons and kalpas as the one and only Chicken-Licken, Magistrate Auspiate and Ex-minister Plenipotentiary From The Land Of Mayonnaise.''
"Fortunately, however, I was able to extricate myself from the clutches of the Great Kumquat, who hid confined me in a no-dimension under the alias of Adzerbadger, The Sugarless Gum King. Wending my way through the galaxy's largest parking lot, I commandeered a 1902 Blitzen, driven by none other the Max Post Lingo, proprietor of the great copulation pits of Heliodor. After a pleasant, but exhaustive visit to his domain, he was kind enough to furnish me with a one-way ticket on a fly by night ptorodactyl, which left me off at the corner of California and 1965, so there you have it ...all there is to know.''
NAME: Ron (Pig-Pen) McKernan
"Can't think what to write, but there's an an hobbling around on this table. Absquatulato with the funds will ya? Had any prune-tang lately? There's a broken helicopter outside the door, looking bum-tripped after having fallen down on Happy Land Street, and belonging to the people who work in the hangar next door. Foot, still at a loss. I like fun and making people happy, Sue just loves my blue bow.''
NAME: WILLIAM KREUTZMANN JR, (SOMMERS)
" At 0 velocity you are not moving very fast. Information about me is not important, because everything is relative to the CENTER of it all, which is music in motion through time and space... which tells you nothing about me... and I like it best that way.'