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  1966  Interview with the Grateful Dead  

Pigpen:  Ron "Pigpen" McKernan     Garcia:  Jerry Garcia
Kreutzmann:  Bill Kreutzmann     Weir:  Bob Weir
DJ:  Unknown interviewer (disc jockey)

DJ:  Our perspective tonight: we want to lead off the whole thing by talking to some wild characters called the Grateful Dead.  And uh, I should have had you guys on before because you’re one of the popular groups around the area.  And uh, I’ve had other groups and I said ‘Okay, who’s sounding good?’  And they said the Grateful Dead’.  And I just finally got around to getting you on the show.  Around the, uh, table we’ll go, meet first Pigpen.  What a horrible name.

Pigpen:  Not my fault, Jerry gave it to me.

DJ:  What’s your real name?

Pigpen:  Ron.

DJ:  Ron?  Uh, your fan club yesterday or something was telling me you’re 21 years old...

Pigpen:  Um-hm.

DJ:  You look like 38... what happened, I know.

Pigpen:  Umm... couldn’t tell ya.

DJ:  Uh, Jerry Garcia.  Jerry was on a previous show with us when Ken Kesey was down.  And uh, Jerry’s name is mentioned quite often when we talk about guitar pickers.  Many times on this show...

Garcia:  Guitar pickers...

DJ:  Yeah, we’ve talked about guitar and who’s doing this well and that well and somebody always mentions Jerry Garcia.  It’s good to have you back on the show.

Garcia:  Thanks.

DJ:  And a wild shirt on today.  Uh, Bob was the real name... I didn’t catch... Bill, oh, first of all Bill... okay, doesn’t matter.

Kreutzmann:  Uh, Bill Kreutzmann’s the real name...

DJ:  Kreutzmann...

Kreutzmann:’s just too long to pronounce.

DJ:  And your instrument is...

Kreutzmann:  Drums.

DJ:  Drums.  Okay, and Bob...

Weir:  I’m the rhythm guitarist.

DJ:  Are you the spokesman for the group?  You threw something like an 18 syllable word out a while ago here... knocked the whole thing dead.  Is he the mouthpiece...

Garcia:  No, that was a long mumble.

DJ:  Oh, is that what it was?  And there’s one member... better give him credit.

Garcia:  Phil Lesh...who’s the bass player, who’s off on an errand or something... somewhere.

DJ:  And uh, well, off on an errand is fine.. yeah.  But the Grateful Dead, playing almost every weekend somewhere or another around San Francisco... things have been going pretty good for you, right?

Garcia:  Oh yeah, I’d say so...

Weir:  Real good.

Garcia:  ...remarkably good.

DJ:  I’ve had a chance to catch you a couple, three times at the Fillmore... a lot of good blues.  And uh, one thing I know about the Dead, seems like the instruments... everything is always right together, there’s never any sloppiness... bing-bang, you know, the guitars are always... everybody hits at the right time.  Is that what it is?

Garcia:  It’s pure luck.  All of us have a sense of time that’s funny at best... uh, somehow after being together for a year, uh, we’ve learned to keep it the same type of funny.

DJ:  Okay, where did the name ‘Grateful Dead’ come from, and how did the group get organized?

Pigpen (to Garcia):  Run it down to him.

Garcia:  Okay, we were, uh, we were trying to think of a name for the band.  Our name was originally The Warlocks, uh, not ‘Originally The Warlocks’, just ‘The Warlocks’.  But first it was... anyway... ‘The Warlocks was our new name now.  We discovered that there was a band back east, or something like that, recording under that name.  We decided... oh, no, we can’t have that, uh, we can’t be confused with somebody else.  So we were trying to think up names and for about two or three weeks we went on the usual thing of like coming up with thousands and thousands of very funny names but none of which we could use.  Like uh, ??mnee and the Vivasectionists...

Weir:  ...and the Reality Sandwich.

DJ:  That’s a wild thing... the names of groups.  Somebody just came up with the Grateful Dead’ and it sounded right?

Garcia:  Well no, we didn’t come up with it.  Here’s what happened... we were standing around in utter desperation at Phil’s house in Palo Alto, and uh, there was a huge, uh, Webster’s New World Dictionary, I believe... big, ya know, a big monolithic thing.  And I just opened it up.  And uh, there in huge black letters was "The Grateful Dead" and it was just so, ya know...

Kreutzmann(?): ...prophecized...‘out of the book’.

Garcia: ...just... canceled my mind out, kind of... and I thought well, you know... So we, we decided to have it, but, it was funny ‘cause like we didn’t really like it too much at first, and we thought it was... it kinda made us shudder.  And uh, you know we were worried ‘aw, nobody’s gonna go for it -- it’s too weird’ and whatever and....  But, finally enough people called us that and we called ourselves that enough times that that’s who we are by now.

DJ:  About a year you’ve been together then?

Garcia:  Uh year-and-a-half... just about a year and a half.

DJ (to Kreutzmann) Bill, how’d the group get together... what were all of you doing?

Kreutzmann:  Uh, we were working separately at other jobs as musicians -- other bands...

Weir:  Jerry, me and Pigpen were in a jugband -- Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions.

Kreutzmann:  We had a different bass player at one time, who brought us all together and knew all of us.  We didn’t really know each other necessarily, and uh, put us all together.

DJ:  And then he canceled the scene, huh?

Kreutzmann:  Yeah, he couldn’t... he couldn’t play six night at the clubs and things, so we found another bass player.

DJ:  Uh, how often do you have to rehearse?  Or do you rehearse?

Garcia:  We try to rehearse every day, and um, we put in about six hours a day.

DJ:  Really?

Garcia:  Yeah, well that’s because its the only thing we do, really..

DJ:  Yeah.

Garcia:  Uhm, we try and do it as good as we can, uh, and put as much time as we can in on it, but because we’re all human beings and we’re all friends, we can’t make it work, you know I mean we can’t be... we can’t say okay this is punch in and let’s play and then punch out.  It’s like we get together and sometimes we might not play at all, we might just sit around talking for an hour or so, telling jokes or something, and then play a little and get some ideas and it kinda works like that.

DJ:  Oh.  (To Pigpen) Pigpen, you, uh, play sitting down -- all the time or many times?

Pigpen:  Not any more.

DJ (perplexed) Not any more...

Garcia:  Pig buried the stool.

DJ:  That kinda cancelled out my question didn’t it.  I was gonna... alright, why did you play sitting?

Pigpen:  It was to easier to play that way.

DJ:  Is that right?  Just, uh, straight guitar though, I mean, uh, you like sitting down doing it?

Pigpen:  Not any more.

DJ:  I thought maybe you were an Arthur Lymann reject or something, with the old Hawaiian guitar.

Garcia:  Well, he plays the organ... organ and uh, harmonica.  He’s not one of the guitar players.  He uh...

Pigpen:  Thanks for straightening it out.

Garcia:  Okay, don’t mention it... anytime. (laughing)  And uh, the thing about the organ is that...

Pigpen (interjecting)’re stuck to it.

Garcia: have this footpedal, you know, and uh, its more comfortable for Pigpen to sit down and work the footpedal, but we’ve... after a few...

Pigpen (interjecting) ...prodded me...(laughing)

Garcia:  ...sessions of uh...(laughing)

Pigpen:  ...long sticks...(laughing)

Garcia:  ...we finally convinced him.

Pigpen:  ...then they threw my seat away.

DJ:  Yeah, I hear there’s something called the ‘Pigpen t-shirt’...

Pigpen:  Yeah.

DJ:  Does that mean you’ve’re a star now or something?

Pigpen:  Well, its their fault... over there, sitting down.

DJ:  They’re the fan club sitting down in the other part of the room.

Pigpen:  Yep.

DJ:  I’ll have to get ahold of one of them... Are they in production right now or something?

Pigpen:  The, uh, people wanted to do for you...

DJ:  Oh, is that for me?

Pigpen:  That’s for you.

DJ:  Alright!

Weir:  Good news... its fluorescent, no less.

DJ:  Oh, is that lovely.  Yes it is you.  And I remember the picture now of one of the posters that, uh I think, Family Dog did.  Didn’t he use the same picture?  Or somebody?

Garcia:  Who knows?

DJ:  I don’t know, they’re so many posters.  Lovely things too... I’m doing a wall in ‘em right now.  Hey, thank you.  I’ll figure out somewhere to wear that...(laughter)

Garcia:  Wear it anywhere.

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- The source, interviewer and exact date are unknown.