Grateful Dead

Welcome to My (Blog) World!

Why a weekly blog? Well, for a while now I’ve wanted to have a place where I can talk about music, issues, events and people related to the Grateful Dead and the post-GD world on a regular basis — and also hear what you have to say about this unique and fascinating universe we’re all wrapped up in to varying degrees. Basically, for the past few decades, much of my mind and spirit have been dominated by my interest in the Dead and the many tangents that have led from that incredible source of light and life. Of course, I’ve held jobs that have nothing to do with the Dead, raised two great kids, led what for all intents and purposes is a “normal” life, and listened to thousands upon thousands of hours of non-Dead music. But the Dead have always been at least in the background, and often in the foreground, of my life ever since Live Dead came out in November of 1969 and I subsequently saw my first show at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York, March 20, 1970. As Bob Weir sang (of a woman, I presume) in “Lazy Lightning,” “it’s an obsession, but it’s pleasing.”

I suspect most of you have seen my byline around this site on stories or product promos, have read liner notes I might have penned for various Road Trips and other releases, and some may go back to my days as editor/publisher of The Golden Road Dead fanzine, or even further to my years at BAM, the free Bay Area music magazine I worked for between 1976 and 1983. If you went to Pelham (New York) High with me in the very early ’70s, you might’ve read my first-ever Dead review—of the Vintage Dead album.

Golden Road magazine publishers
Regan and Blair on duty
at Red Rocks, 1987
I moved to the Bay Area from suburban NY in the fall of ’73, arriving just in time to catch the 11/11 Dead concert at wonderful Winterland — quite a contrast from my previous GD show at giant and decrepit Roosevelt Stadium in Joisey on Jerry’s 31st birthday. For a few years, I’d felt I was destined to live in the Bay Area someday. Then, spending some of the summer of ’73 living with my older bro in the Oakland Hills and going to see several Garcia-Saunders and Old & in the Way shows (not to mention Van Morrison and all sorts of other faves who played in clubs here), pretty much convinced me to transfer to UC Berkeley for my last two years of college. I got my degree in Political Science (was and still am a political junkie), then went to the graduate School of Journalism there, with an eye toward being a rock critic. That segued into my long tenure at BAM, and that’s what allowed me to write my first book about the Dead, The Music Never Stopped (which, at the time, 1983, was the only history of the band available). The following year, my wife, Regan, and I started The Golden Road, which took me even deeper in the Dead world and gave me the opportunity to interview and write about so many of the cool folks who have been part of the scene through the years. We put out 27 issues between the winter of ’84 and the middle of ’93, by which point we were about to have our second child and didn’t have the time or space in our house to keep putting out a magazine. During that time my main gig was being a writer and editor at Mix, the leading U.S. sound and recording magazine, and I continue to write for Mix to this day.

After Jerry died, I spent a couple of years working on the book Garcia: An American Life (published by Viking in 1999), co-produced the So Many Roads box set with my buddies David Gans and Steve Silberman, and also got involved with helping put out posthumous Garcia releases, including the All Good Things box. When Rhino took over the management of the Grateful Dead’s archival release program a few years ago, I signed on to work occasionally for the re-vamped Dead.net website and joined with Vaultmaster Supreme David Lemieux to play a small role in shepherding the Road Trips series.

So, that’s who I am. In coming weeks, I’ll be bringing up various issues connected to the Dead world that we can bat around and (hopefully) have some fun with, I’ll talk about some recent books and films (good and bad) that have connections to the scene, no doubt take a trip or two down memory lane, and we’ll see where it all leads. If there are issues or questions you’d like to see addressed, let me know. Don’t be shy! We’re all friends here…

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gratefaldean's picture
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Joined: Jun 22 2007
Excellent news, Blair

Looking forward to more to come. But I'm thinking that you need to post a more recent picture of yourself than one from 1987....

Nice news to hear about both Paul Simon and Robbie Roberston, have been looking forward to both albums and, frankly, hoping that I wouldn't be disappointed. If I only see one "old geezer" band this year, I want it to be Buffalo Springfield, but Simon is a close second.

Rock on!

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Auburn, NY 13021
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42° 55' 54.2424" N, 76° 33' 57.7908" W
Joined: Mar 18 2010
Fantastic!

Hey folks!

I love this idea, I always wanted to tune in to The Golden Road on the Grateful Dead channel and it's nice to have a similar idea here.

At 17 years old and Deadicated I am so grateful to have found the Dead and all these WONDERFUL people.

Thanks to all!!!

Nathan.

cosmicbadger's picture
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France
Joined: Jun 13 2007
deadessays

Thanks Blair. I am looking forward to this!

Talking of Blogs are you following this one

http://deadessays.blogspot.com/

The posts are fascinating, but are often very long and require an age to read and digest. Do you know who is responsible for them?

A shorter and snappier blog here would be a great counterpoint to deadessays (unless of course you feel like writing 10,000 words at a time!)

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Sunnyvale, CA
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37° 22' 7.788" N, 122° 2' 10.86" W
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Ry Cooder

I guess it was a just a two disc set..
but a pretty good one from Rhino in Oct 2008;
The Ry Cooder Anthology: The UFO Has Landed

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Oakland, CA
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37° 46' 20.3628" N, 122° 12' 53.6292" W
Joined: May 26 2007
Great idea!
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Europe Box Set

Ok. Someone has to do it so it might as well be me.

Why was this box limited to begin with and when it was discovered that there was huge demand, why wasn't it made available to everyone past the 7200? I got a personalized box and I dont really give a %$^% if there are more made past the 7200. I want everyone who wants one to get one and mostly, I don't want others to capitalize on this.

Also, has this whole scenario changed the way large scale releases will be handled in the future?

I am so excited that this weekly blog is happening. I am an old reader of the Golden Road and was dissapointed at its demiose. Understand the reasons but still,, I loved it

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St Peters, MO
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38° 46' 42.51" N, 90° 36' 19.0116" W
Joined: Sep 8 2007
Blair - Always loved your

Blair -

Always loved your writing. This sounds like fun. Please get those old Golden Roads reprinted! Or better yet save some trees and put them online.

Namaste
Eric

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Stepinac...

I think us south Westchester Pelham whitebread types thought Stepinac was trouble, iGrateful! White Plains, right?

iGrateful's picture
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Midlothian, VA 23112
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37° 26' 49.2216" N, 77° 39' 54.2376" W
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Blair

Hey Blair... nice job... looking forward to it...

Pelham HS huh? Stepinac here... unfortunately I was only 6 for the Port Chester shows :-)

Can you give us some "Stories from the Vault" in your blog?... Your first encounters interviewing band members, roadies, extended Dead family in the background for your books?

I think that could be interesting

As always,
iGrateful

marye's picture
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Oakland, CA
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RY COODER BOX!!!

WOOHOO!

Mind you, I haven't seen the man since Laguna Seca, but still.

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