1972 Rolling Stone Interview with Jerry Garcia

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From: Konstantin <[email protected]>
Subject: 1972 Rolling Stone Interview with Jerry Garcia
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Originator: [email protected]
Sender: [email protected]
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Organization: University of Virginia
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1993 04:22:26 GMT
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This is the interview that Rolling Stone Magazine had with Jerry Garcia in
1972. It is taken from the book, "The Rolling Stone Interviews", that came
out in 1980 or so. It is reproduced without permission, so if you have any
negative attitude towards people reproducing copywrighted material,
without the proper permission, then don't read it.

Lcking a scanner, I had to fax it to myself, and send it through a OCR
program, and then correct the mistakes, of which there were many. I know
that I didn't catch all of the mistakes, so you will find some, as you
journey through this interview.

I remember reading another Rolling Stone interview with Jerry in about
1976. If anyone knows the date of that interview, I would appreciate it
if you could send me that bit of info. Or maybe someone that has it,
could post it here.

So sit back and enjoy!! It is quite lenghty

Jerry Garcia, the highly acclaimed and highly
articulate lead guitarist, singer, songwriter and
spokesman with the Grateful Dead, had long
been a candidate for a ROLLING STONE Inter-
view, but . . . well, here's how editor Wenner
told it, in the fall of '71:

" 'The Interview with Garcia' was always one
of those things we put off into some indefinite
future because Jerry was always around," he 
wrote. "What finally brought it on was
meeting with Charles Reich, the law professor
from Yale who wrote The Greening Of America. It
turned out he was a Dead freak, and he hit me
with the question: How come you haven't done
an interview with Garcia yet? I hadn't really
listened to a Grateful Dead album since their first 
one and had only recently heard "Casey Jones."

"The truth of the matter is that I was an
original Grateful Dead freak. The first time I saw
them was in San Jose, California, after a Stones
concert, when I wandered into a Kesey scene that
turned out to be their first Acid Test. I distinctly
remember walking up to someone who turned
out to be Phil Lesh and asking who they were.
He said, 'We're the Grateful Dead.' The impact
in my state of mind at that point, was severe.
Anyway, it took this professor from Yale to turn
me on to the Dead again."

Reich suggested that he and Jann interview
the twenty-nine-year-old Garcia together. I
thought his enthusiasm a little . . . naive, " said
Wenner, "but what the hell . . . Reich was
obviously very up on them, and I knew their past
history. It would be a good combination. And
God knows, Charles 'Consciousness Three' Reich
meets Jerry 'Captain Trips' Garcia could turn
into something of its own."

In his own original introduction, Wenner
picks up the action.
and told him what the shot was: Reich would be on the
Coast some time in early summer. Open and always
amiable, he agreed. In July, Rheich was at the office
raring to go and to settle who was going to make sure
the tape recorder was operating correcrtly (me).

Jerry Garcia lives near the Tamalpais Mountains
(a range with magical significance in Northern
California Indian lore) overlooking be Pacific Ocean,
in a casual 1950 suburban house with his old lady,
Mountain Girl, (once of the Merry Pranksters and a
close friend of Kesey's in those days) and their little
girl. The house is surrounded by eucalyptus trees, huge
shrubs and six-foot rose bushes (beyond which is a
magnificent view of the Pacific and the Far East, as
far as the imagination can take you).

On the front lawn, which looks onto that magnifi
-cent view, Charles Reich, myself and Garria sat on a
sunny afternoon and turned the tape recorder on. Five
hours later, I packed up the machine and headed back
to the city, not entireiy sure I could drive too well and
not entirely sure at all what had just gone down. Reich
was wandering around somewhere in back of the house,
remarking on the vibrancy of the trees (never found out
exactly when and how he left that day), and Jerry had
to be somewhere at 7 for a gig.

A few days later, Reich called; there was a
recording session he wanted to go to and he wanted to
see Jerry again . . . Sure, sure, what the fuck, I
didn't know what my old aquaintance Garcia
thought of me at all at that point, so might as well let
it roll.

I received the transcriptions of the tapes about three
weeks later. What had happened was one interview
that i did with Jerry, based on an old familiarity,
best described as the good old Grateful Dead trip; and
there was a whole ohter interview that Reich was
trying to do: Garcia as spokeman, teacher, philoso-
pher. If I played participant and historian, Reich was
the true fan and amazed adult. To be honest, there
came a point in that afternoon where I sank into my
chair with my hands over my face, wanting out of the
whole proposition. Reich was asking questions I
thought either achingly obviovs or obviously un-

Reich went back a few weeks later and did another
two hours on tape.

In the fall, I returned also to talk to Jerry for
another four hours, to complete the interview. Charles
Reich put it all into a rough chronologicai order, and
then I edited it for publication. Reich is identified as
the interviewer in several passages where I felt it
important to indicate the dialogue between the professor
and the proffessional. The rest is, at long last, "The
Interview with Garcia."


Far out. We were in the first one
too, "Grateful Dead Busted."

RS: I wrote that story.

I loved it. It's got some stunning
pictures .

RS: In one picture you can see Phil in dark glasses,
holding a gun.

And there's a picture of Bobby handcuffed to
Florence, coming down the stairs with a vic-
torious grin. It was incredible.

Reich: Start at the beginning.

Which beginning?

RS: Your beginning--the day you were born.

My father was a musician. He played in jazz
bands in the places that I play in San Francisco,
the same ballrooms. I never knew too much
about my father; he died when I was young. He
played clarinet, saxophone, reeds, woodwinds.
He was an immigrant, with his whole family,
moved out in the Twenties or the Teens from

My mother was born in San Francisco. Her
mother is a Swedish lady and father is Irish, gold
rush days people, who came to San Francisco
then. My mother met my father somewhere back
then in the Thirties, something like that; he a
musician, she a nurse.

Then the Depression came along, and my
father couldn't get work as a musician. I under-
stand there was some hassle: He was blackballed
by the union or something 'cause he was working
two jobs or something like that, some musician's
union trip, so he wasn't able to remain a
professional musician, and he became a bar-
tender, bought a bar, a little bar like a lot of
guys do. He died when I was real young, and my
mother took over that business.

All through this time there was always instru-
ments around the house because of my father,
and my mother played piano a little and I had
lots and lots of abortive piano lessons, you
know.... I can't read, I couldn't learn how to
read music, but I could play by ear. My family
was a singing family, on the Spanish side, every
time there was a party everybody sang. My
brother and my cousin and I when we were pretty
young did a lot of street corner harmonizing . . .
rock & roll . . . good old rhythm & blues, that
kind of stuff, pop songs, all that. It was radio
days, Lucky Lager Dance Time and all that.

And then, my mother remarried when I was
about ten or eleven or so, and she decided to get
the kids out of the city, that thing, go down to
the Peninsula, and we moved down to Menlo
Park for about three years and I went to school
down there.

Somewhere before that, when I was in the
third grade in San Francisco, I had a lady teacher
who was a bohemian, you know, she was colorful
and pretty and energetic and vivacious and she
wasn't like one of those dust-covered crones that
characterize old-time public school people; she
was really lively. She had everybody in the class,
all the kids in this sort of homogeneous school,
making things out of ceramics and papier-mache.
It was an art thing and that was more or less my
guiding interest from that time on. I was going
to be a painter and I really was taken with it. I
got into art history and all of it. It was finally
something for me to do.

When we went down to the Peninsula, I fell in
with a teacher who turned me on to the intellec-
tual world. He said, ''Here, read this." It was
1984 when I was eleven or twelve. And all of a
sudden it was a whole new---that was like when I
was turning on, so to speak, or became aware of a
whole other world that was other than the thing
you got in school, that you got in the movies and
all that; something very different. And so right
away I was really a long way from school at that
point . . . there was two or three of us that got
into that because of this teacher, who ultimately
got fired that same year because of being too
controversial---got the kids stirred up and all
that---all the classic things.

We moved back to the city when I was about
thirteen or so and I started going to Denman, a
good old San Francisco rowdy roughneck school.
I became a hoodlum, survival thing; you had to
be a hoodlum, otherwise you walk down the
street and somebody beat you up. I had my
friends, and we were hoodlums and we went out
on the weekends and did a lot of drinkm' and all
that, and meanwhile I was still reading and
buying books and going to San Francisco Art
Institute on the weekends and just sort of leading
this whole secret life.

I was fifteen when I got turned on to mari-
juana. Finally there was marijuana: Wow! Mari-
juana! Me and a friend of mine went up into the
hills with two joints, the San Francisco foothills,
and smoked these joints and just got so high and
laughed and roared and went skipping down the
streets doing funny things and just having a
helluva time. It was great, it was just what I
wanted, it was the perfect, it was---and that wine
thing was so awful and this marijuana was so
perfect .

RS: So what's happening to music all this time?

Nothing much, I'm goofing around, I'm
trying to play rock & roll piano and stuff like
that, but I'm not settled in with my mother
particularly, I'm sort of living with my grand-
mother and I don't really have any instruments. I
want really badly a guitar during this time,
about three years, I want a guitar so bad it hurts.
I go down to the pawnshops on Market Street
and Third Street and wander around the record
stores, the music stores and look at the electric
guitars, and my mouth's watering. God, I want
that so bad! And on my fifteenth birthday my
mother gave me an accordion. I looked at this
accordion and I said, "God, I don't want this
accordion. I want an electric guitar.''

So we took it down to a pawnshop and I got
this little DaneIectro, an electric guitar with a
tiny little amplifier, and man, I was just in
heaven. Everything! I stopped everything I was
doing at the time. I tuned it to an open tuning
that sort of sounded right to me, and I started
picking at it and playing at it. I spent about six
or eight months on it, just working things out.
It was unknown at the time, there were no guitar
players around. And I was getting pretty good,
and finally I ran into somebody at school that
played guitar.

Reich: Can  I ask for the date?

August 1st---let's see, I was born in '42--
Christ, man, arithmetic, school, I was fifteen--
'57. Yeah, '57 there you go, it was a good year,
Chuck Berry, all that stuff.

RS: I wanted to get a historic date like that.

Yeah, well, that's what it was, August 1st,
1957, I got my first guitar. And that was it.
Somebody showed me some chords on the guitar,
and that was the end of everything that I'd been
doing until that time. We moved out of town up
to Cazadero, which is up by the Russian River,
and I went to a high school for about a year, did
really badly, finally quit and joined the Army. I
decided I was going to get away from everything.
Yeah, seventeen. I joined the Army, smuggled
my guitar in.

Reich: In joining the Army, it was probably the
time to leave home.

Well, it was the time to leave it all. I wanted
to just be some place compIeteIy different. Home
wasn t working out really for me and school was
ridculous and, I just wasn't working out. I had
to do something. At that time the only really
availabIe alternative was to join the Army, so I
did that.

RS: Do you have any brothers and sisters?

I have an older brother. Circumstances made
me a different guy from my brother. Made it
always--it was difficult for me to communicate
with my brother. He was in the Marines for four
years. AIl that 's evened out now since he 's gone
kind of through a straight trip and ....sort of
fell out the other side of it, and now he 's a head,
and living in the new world, so to speak, so now
we can communicate whereas it used to be that
we couldn't.

I lasted nine months in the Army. I was at
Fort Ord for basic training and then they
transferred me to the Presidio in San Francisco,
Fort Winfield Scott, a beautiful, lovely spot in
San Francisco, overlooking the water and the
Golden Gate Bridge and all that and these neat
old barracks and almost nothing to do. It started
me into the acoustic guitar; up until that time I
had been mostly into electric guitar, rock & roll
and stuff.

I was stuck because I just didn' t know any-
body that played guitar, and that was probably
the greatest hindrance of all to learning the
guitar. I just didn' t know anybody. I used to do
things like look at pictures of guitar players and
look at their hands and try to make the chords
they were doing, anything, any little thing. I
couldn't  take lessons---I knew I couldn't  take
lessons for the piano---so I had to learn it by
myself and I just worked with my ear.

When I got out of the Army, I went down to
Palo Alto and rejoined some of my old friends
down there who were kind of Iiving off the fat of
the land, so to speak, a sort of hand-to-mouth
existence. Some were living off their parents;
most of 'em, most people were Iiving off people
who were living off their parents .

Reich: This was the beginning of the dropout

Yeah, yeah, well, we were-- well like that's 
the period of time I met (Robert) Hunter.
Immediately after I got out of the Army.
Hunter, who is Iike a really good friend of mine
all this time, he 'd just gotten out of the Army---
he had an old car and I had an old car when I got
out of the Army, and we were in East Palo Alto
sort of coincidentally. There was a coffeehouse,
'cause of Stanford, university town and all that,
and we were hanging out at the coffeehouse and
ran into each other.

We had our two cars in an empty lot in East
Palo Alto where they were both broken. Neither
of them ran anymore but we were living in them.
Hunter had these big tins of crushed pineapple
that he'd gotten from the Army, like five or six
big tins, and I had this glove compartment full
of plastic spoons, and we had this little coopera-
tive scene eating this crushed pineapple day after
day and sleeping in the cars and walking around.

He played a little guitar, we started singin'
and playin' together just for something to do.
And then we played our first professional gig.
We got five bucks apiece.

RS: What did you and Hunter used to play?

Oh, folk songs, dippy folk songs. It was before
I got into a purist trip and all that.

RS: Who are some of the people you met on the
coffeehouse circuit?

I didn't  get into playing the coffeehouses until
a little bit later than that, really playing coffee-
houses---most of that time before that I was
learning in play well enough to play anywhere---
'61 or '62, I started playing coffeehouses and the
guys who were playing around then up in San
Francisco at the Fox and Hounds, Nick Grav-
enites was around then, Nick the Greek they
called him; Pete Stampfel from the Holy Modal
Rounders, he was playing around there then. A
real nice  San Francisco guitar player named Tom
Hobson that nobody knows about, he was one of
those guys that was sort of lost in the folk
shuffle, but he 's still around and he 's still great.

Lets see . . . in Berkeley there was Jorma
(Kaukonen) playing coffeehouses about the same
time that I was, and Janis (Joplin), in fact, 
Jorma and Janis and I met at the same time.
They played at the place in Palo Alto I played at
a lot called the Tangent. They came in one night
and I lust flipped out. Janis was fantastic; she
sounded like old Bessie Smith records, and she
was really good. And Paul Kantner was playing
around; David Freiberg was playing around,
David and Nikelah they called themselves, him
and his chick played left-handed guitar, they did
these rowdy Israeli folk songs. Michael Cunney
was around then too. He 's a guy that 's kind of
like Pete Seeger's junior version, he 's very good,
he still plays around, banjo and some. Let 's see
. . . a lot of the people that are around now, that
are still doing stuff now.

RS: Did you begin hanging out with Jorma and Janis?

Well, I wasn't really hanging our with them
but our paths would be crossing, playing at the
same place  the same night, and pretty soon after
two or three years of running into them you 're
friends. You never planned it or anything like
that, it's just what's happening.

RS: Were you making enough money  to  support  yourself?

Nah . . . I was either not making money and
mostly living off my wits, which  was pretty easy
to do in Palo Alto---things are very well fed---or
else I was teaching guitar lessons in record stores.

Hunter and I were still more or less together;
at this time we're mostly living at this place
called the Chateau in Palo Alto, and me and
Hunter and Phil is there a lot, Phil Lesh and
Pigpen and all these . . . my fellow freaks.

RS: Where did they turn up?

The old Palo Alto Peace Center was a great
place for social trips. The Peace Center was the
place where the sons and daughters of the
Stanford professors would hang out and discuss
things. And we, the opportunist wolf pack, the
beatnik hordes, you know, would be there
preying on their young minds and their refrigera-
tors. And there would be all of these various
people turning up in these scenes, and it just got
to be very good, really high.

RS: How did they come along?

Phil was from Berkeley and he had spent . . .
his reason for being anywhere on the Peninsula
was that he had done some time at San Mateo
Junior College playing in their jazz band. Now,
Phil, who I met down there at the Peace Center,
was at that time composing twelve-tone and
serial things. He'd also been a jazz trumpet
player. We were in two totally different worlds,
musically. But somehow he was working at
KPFA as an engineer, and I was up there at a folk
music thing or something like that, and Burt
Corena who ran the folk music show there
wanted me to do a show for KPFA as a folk
singer, so Phil and I got together at a party. He
put together a tape of me playing in the kitchen
and it sounded pretty good to us. He took it up
there and played it for them; they dug it, so I
went up to the studio and he engineered my little

RS: Whose idea was a it to have a band?

See, what happened was, I got into old-time
country music, old-time string band music, and
in order to play string band music you have to
have a band, you can't play it by yourself. So I
would be out recruiting musicians. One of the
musicians I used to play with in those days was
Dave Nelson, who plays guitar for the New
Riders, so that's another germ, and me and
Nelson were playing old-time music and we got
into bluegrass music, playing around at coffee-
houses. And Bobby Weir was really a young kid 
at that time, learning how to play the guitar, and
he used to hang around in the music store and he
used to hang around at the coffeehouse.

Bob came from Atherton---he's from that
really upper-class trip, his folks are really weal-
thy and all that; he was like the Atherton kid
who was just too weird for anybody. He didn't
make it in school and people were beatin' up on
him and he was getting kicked out of schools all
over the place. His trip was he wanted to learn to
play the guitar and have a good old time, and so
he'd hang around the music store.... I met
him when, I was working at a music store---he
was one of the kingpin pickers on the town---I
always played at the coffeehouse and Weir would
come and hear me play, and so it was that kind of

At that time he was like fifteen or something,
really young. He's the kid guitar player. And the
band thing kept happening various ways. Blue-
grass bands are hard to put together because you
have to have good bluegrass musicians to play,
and in Palo Alto there wasn't really very many of
them---not enough to keep a band going all the

Now Bill Kreutzmann was working at the
music store at the same time I was. My first
encounter with Kreutzmann was when I bought
a banjo from him way back in '61 or '62. He was
just a kid then playing rock & roll. He was in
high school. I may have even played a gig with
him once when I was playing electric bass in a
rock & roll band on weekends.

Since I always liked playing whether it was
bluegrass music or not, I decided to put together
a jug band, because you could have a jug band
with guys that could hardly play at all or play
very well or anything like that. So we put
together the jug band, and Weir finally had his
chance to play because Weir had this uncanny
ability to really play the jug and play it really
well, and he was the only guy around and so he
of course was the natural candidate. And Pigpen,
who was mostly into playin' Lightnin' Hopkins
stuff and harmonica . . .

RS: Where'd he come from?

He was another one of the kids from around
there, he was like the Elvis Presley soul and
hoodlum kid. His father was a disc jockey . . .
he heard the blues, he wanted to play the blues
and I was like the guitar player in town who
could play the blues, so he used to hang around,
that's how I got to know him, He took up
harmonica and got pretty good at it for those
days when nobody could play any of that stuff.

So we had the jug band with Pigpen and Weir
and Bob Matthews who's the head guy at
Alembic  Studios now, and Marmaduke (of New
Riders) even played with the jug band for a
while, I believe.

The jug band we're talking about is pretty
recent, that's like '63 . . . '63 or '64... Phil's
back from '61 or '60.

RS: And you ran around and played the . . .

Played anyplace that would hire a jug band,
which was almost no place, and that's the whole
reason we finally got into electric stuff.

RS: Whose idea was that?

Well, Pigpen, as a matter of fact, it was
Pigpen's idea. He'd been pestering me for a
while, he wanted me to start up an electric blues
band. That was his trip . . . because in the jug
band scene we used to do blues numbers like
Jimmy Reed tunes and even played a couple of
rock & roll tunes, and it was just the next step.

And the Beatles . . . and all of a sudden there
were the Beatles, and that, wow, the Beatles,
you know. Hard Day's Night, the movie and
everything. Hey, great, that really looks like

RS: So Pig fronts the blues band . . .

Yeah, well . . . theoretically it's a blues band,
but the minute we get electric instruments it's a
rock & roll band. Because, wow, playin' rock &
roll, it's fun. Pigpen, because he could play some
blues piano and stuff like that, we put him on
organ immediately, and the harmonica was a
natural and he was doin' most of the lead vocals
at the time. We had a really rough sound, and
the bass player was the guy who owned this
music store that I had been workin' in, which
was convenient because he gave us all the
equipment; we didn't have to go out and hassle
to raise money to buy equipment.

But then, we were playing at this pizza parlor,
this is like our first gig, we were the Warlocks,
with the music store owner playing bass and
Bobby and me and Pigpen . . . and Bill. And so
we went . . . and played. We played three gigs
at that pizza parlor.

RS: What was your repertoire?

We did . . . we stole a lot of . . . well, at that
time, the Kinks, and the Rolling Stones' "King
Bee," ''Red Rooster,'' "Walking the Dog" and
all that shit, we were just doing hard simple rock
& roll stuff . . . old Chuck Berry stuff,, "Prom-
ised Land," "Johnny B. Goode," a couple of
songs that I sort of adapted from jug band
material. "Stealin'" was one of those and that
tune called "Don't Ease Me In'' . . . it was our
first single, an old ragtime pop Texas song . . . I
don t remember a lot of the other stuff.

RS: That first gig . . .

That first night at the pizza place nobody was
there. The next week, when we played there
again it was on a Wednesday night, there was a
lot of kids there and then the third night there
was 3-400 people . . . all up from the high
schools, and in there, man, in there was this rock
& roll band . . . we were playing, people were
freaking out.

Phil came down from San Francisco with some
friends because they heard we had a rock & roll
band and he wanted to hear what our rock & roll
band was like, and it was a flash to see Phil
because he had a Beatles haircut, and he'd been
working for the post office and livin' in the
Haight-Ashbury. He wasn't playin' any music.
though, and he wasn't writing or composing or
anything, and I said, ''Hey, listen, man, why
don't you play bass with us because I know how
musical you are, I know you've got absolute
pitch and it wouldn't take you too long and I
could show you some stuff to get you started."
He said, ''Yeah, well, that'd be far out." So we
got him an old guitar to practice on and
borrowed a bass for him, and about two  weeks
later we rehearsed for a week, and we went out
and started playing together.

We never decided to be the Grateful Dead.
What happened was the Grateful Dead came up
as a suggestion because we were at Phil's house
one day; he had a big Oxford Dictionary, I
opened it up and the first thing I saw was "The
Grateful Dead.'' It said that on the page and it
was so astonishing. It was truly weird, a truly
weird moment.

I didn't like it really, I just found it to be
really powerful. Weir didn't like it, Kreutzmann
didn't like it and nobody really wanted to hear
about it. But then people started calling us that
and it just started, it just got out, Grateful
Dead, Grateful Dead....

We sort of became the Grateful Dead because
we heard there was another band called War-
locks. We had about two or three months of no
name and we were trying things out, different
names, and nothing quite fit.

RS: Like what?

Oh, the Emergency Crew, uh . . . the Mythi-
cal Ethical Icicle Tricycle . . . ha, ha . . . we had
a million funny names, man, really, millions of
'em, huge sheets of 'em.

RS: What were the others?

Oh, God, man, I can't remember, really, you
don't want to hear 'em, they're all really bad.

Reich:I'd Iike to know about your life  outside of 
playing. What kind of scene was that?  

Well, I got married back there somewhere,
and it was one of those things where she got into
trouble, you know, in the classic way. "I want to
have the baby," "Well, okay, let's get married.''
We got married, and the parents thing and all
that, and it was like I was tryin' to be straight.
kinda. I was working in the music store, you
know, in earnest now, and our baby was born
and it was okay and all that, but it wasn't really
workin'. I was really playin' music, I was playin'
music during the day at the music store practic-
ing, and at nights I would go out and gig.

Reich: Were you interested in anything besides

Yeah, I was interested in everything besides

Reich: I want to hear about that, too.

Well, name something. I mean, I've never had
any hobbies but music; I was never doin' any-
thing, but anything that came up would interest

Reich: Well . . .

Drugs, of course.

Reich: Okay, let's talk for a minute about that,
how they came in at that time . . . it was an old

I'd been getting high for a long time, but
marijuana turned up in the folk music world and
there was speed. The thing about speed in those
days was that you stayed up and raved all night,
or played. The Doors of Perception and stuff like
that, we were talking about. And there was
mescaline; we could not find mescaline, but we
could find peyote. That was the only psychedelic
around at that time.

Reich: Religion?

Religion, yeah, Martin Buber and that whole
existential thing was just leaving at that
time . . .

Reich: Poetry, literature, stuff like that?

All that, all of that, and on all levels. That
was like a continuing thing, but then along came
LSD, and that was the end of that whole world.
The whole world just went kablooey.

Reich: Whats the date of that?

Let's see, LSD came around to our scene I
guess around . . . it all was sort of happening at
the same time, around '64, I guess. We started
hearing about it in '63 and started getting it
about in '64.

When we were living at the Chateau, even
earlier, like '61, '62, I guess, or '63, the
government was running a series of drug tests
over at Stanford, and Hunter was one of the
participants in these. They gave him mescaline
and psilocybin and LSD and a whole bunch of
others and put him in a little white room and
watched him. And there were other people on
the scene that were into that. Kesey. And as soon
as those people had had those drugs they were
immediately trying to get them, trying to find
some way to cop 'em or anything, but there was
no illicit drug market at that time like there is

Reich: Two questions together; how did it change
your life and how did it change your music?

Well, it just changed everything, you know,
it was just--ah, first of all, for me personally, it
freed me, you know; the effect was that it freed
me because I suddenly realized that my little
attempt at having a straight life and doing that
was really a fiction and just wasn't going to work
out. Luckily I wasn't far enough into it for it to
be shattering or anything; it was like a realiza-
tion that just made me feel immensely relieved, I
just felt good and it was the same with my
wife--at that time it sort of freed us to be able to
go ahead and live our lives rather than having to
live out an unfortunate social circumstance,
which is what the whole thing is about.

Reich: In what sense did it free you?

In making it all right to have or not have.
That is, I think the first lesson that LSD taught
me in sort of a graphic way was . . . just . . . it's
okay to have something and it's also okay to not
have it.

Reich: I don t understand yet.

That's it, there isn't anything to understand.

Reich: No. its just a question of saying it another

Well, let's see, let me think about it.

RS: Accepting things the way they are.

Yeah, right.

RS: When was the first time you played music on LSD ?

Uh, when we were, let's see . . . we . . . oh,
we were the Warlocks and we were playing in a
bar in Belmont, we were playing this straight bar
and we would do five sets a night, forty-five on
and fifteen off, and we'd be sneaking out in the
cars smoking joints between each set and so
forth. One of those days we took it. We got high
and goofed around in the mountains and ran
around and did all kinds of stuff, and I remem-
bered we had to work that night. We went to the
gig and we were all a little high and it was all a
little strange. It was so weird playing in a bar
being high on acid, it was just too weird, it was
not appropriate, definitely wasn't appropriate.

The first time that music and LSD interacted
in a way that really came to life for us as a band
was one day when we went out and got extremely
high on some of that early dynamite LSD, and we
went that night to the Lovin' Spoonful . . .
remember that thing, the Lovin' Spoonful what-
ever, the Charlatans and whoever else down at
the Family Dog, Longshoreman's Hall, it was
one of the first ones, and we went there and we
were stoned on acid watching these bands play.

That day--the Grateful Dead guys---our
scene---we went out, took acid and came up to
Marin County and hung out somewhere around
Fairfax or Lagunitas or one of those places up in
the woods and just went crazy. We ended up
going into that rock & roll dance and it was just
really fine to see that whole scene---where there
was just nobody there but heads and this strange
rock & roll music playing in this weird building.
It was just what we wanted to see.

Just Goodwill junk--old clothes. I had some
striped shirts---I think that was the hippest
thing I owned. We had some Acid Test pants
that were painted Day-Glo---but you couldn't
call it hippie stuff. There never was any hippie
stuff really.

It was just truly fantastic. We began to see
that vision of a truly fantastic thing. It became
cleat to us that working in bars was not going to
be right for us to be able to expand into this new
idea. And about that time the Acid Test was just
starting to happen.

RS: How did the music change? You're still playing
country music and you' re playing blues and . . .

Well, we got more into wanting to go . . . to
take It farther. In the nightclubs, in bars, mostly
what they want to hear is short, fast stuff, uhm
. . . and we were always trying to play a little,
stretch out a little. . . .

Mountain Girl: More . . loud.

Jerry: So our trip with the Acid Test was to be
able to play long and loud. Man, we can play
long an loud, as long and loud as we wanted
and nobody would stop us.

Mountain Girl: Oh, God . .

Reich: So like would you take something you'd
played before and just make it longer and longer and
louder and louder? And you were improvising?

Of course, we were improvising cosmically,
too. Because being high, each note, you know, is
like a whole universe. And each silence. And the
quality of the sound and the degree of emotional
. . . when you're playing and you're high on acid
in these scenes it is like the most important thing
m the world. It's truly, phew, cosmic....

Our Consciousness concerning music is open-
ing up more, so the music is becoming. . . is
having more facets than it seemed to, having
more dimensions . . . and we've also seen the
effect of all of a sudden we find a certain kind of
feeling or a certain kind of rhythm and the whole
place is like a sea and it goes boom . . . boom
. . . boom, it's like magic and it's like that
somethlng you discover on LSD and you discover
that another kind of sound will like create a
whole other, you know . .

We're just playing what's there, is finally what
it comes down to, because we're not in a position
to be deciding.

RS: When did you meet Kesey and how?

The Chateau, where we were all livin' several
years earlier, was situated physically about two or
three blocks from Kesey's place, and there were
people from Kesey's that were over at our scene
and so on. We didn't hang out down there too
much because at the time it was a college trip,
you know, they were college people kind of, and
it was, it made us self-conscious to be there, we
were so, you know . . . undesirable, they didn't
really want us, nobody really wanted us hangin'

When I first got into that scene, they re-
minded me of college people. They were all
bright and clean and their whole scene was
bright and clean. They were colorful, snappy and
quick---college stuff.

But then, years later, here we are a rock & roll
band. They were hearin' about us up at Kesey's
place from our friends who are stayin' up there
and gettin' high and comin' down and gettin'
high with us.

There was this interaction goin' on. Just like
there was interaction between our scene down on
the Peninsula and the San Francisco scene . . .
the San Francisco scene, all these little networks
of one or two guys that go back and forth;
sometimes it's dealers, sometimes it's musicians,
you know, that was like the old line of communi-

So, it became obvious since you guys are a
band and we're right up here in La Honda, and
we're having these parties, we want to move the
parties out into the world a little bit and just see
what happens. So they had this first one down in
San Jose, we took our stuff down there and . . .

RS: Had you met Kesey?

No, I had never met Kesey. It was Page, John
Page Browning, he was sort of the messenger. I
don't think there was any . . . ever any real
decision, just sort of a loose thing.

It was in a house . . right, after the Stones
concert, the same night, the same night. We
went there and played but---you know, shit, our
equipment filled the room, damn near, and we
were hke really loud and people were just, ah
. . . there were guys freakin' out and stuff and
there were hundreds and hundreds of people all
around, in this residential neighborhood, swarm-
ing out of this guy's house.

We just decided to keep on doing it, that was
the gist of it. We had all these people at this
house that wasn't adequate, but the idea was
then to move it to a different location, and then
the idea was to move it to a different location each

They had film and endless kind of weird tape
recorder hookups and mystery speaker trips and
all . . . just all sorts of really strange . . it
always seemed as though the equipment was able
to respond in it's own way. I mean it . . there
were always magical things happening. Voices
coming out of things that weren't plugged in
and, God . . . it was just totally mind-boggling
to wander around this maze of wires and stuff
like that. Sometimes they were like writhing and
squirming. Truly amazing.

That was the Acid Test, and the Acid Test was
the prototype for our whole basic trip. But
nothing has ever come up to the level of the way
the Acid Test was. It's just never been equaled,
really, or the basic hit of it never developed out.
What happened was light shows and rock & roll
came out of it, and that's like the thing that
we've seen go out.

RS: Where was the second Acid Test?

The second Acid Test, was that at Muir
Beach? Or was it at the Big Beat?

Mountain Girl: It was at the Big Beat, I think.

Jerry: It was at the Big Beat, a plushy little
nightclub in Palo Alto. That was a real nice one.
There was the stage with the Grateful Dead setup
on it over here.... The Dead's onstage, and on
the other side there's a kind of a long sort of a
runway affair. It's sort of an L-shaped room, and
on the point of the L is the Grateful Dead, and
down here is where the Pranksters have their
setup, which is like . . . it kinda looked like a
cockpit, there was like these tables up on this
runner with tape....

Mountain Girl:.... that weird table organ.

Jerry: Yeah, yeah, the Day-Glo organ and all
these weird tape recorders and stuff and micro-
phones and Babbs, who had on one of his quasi-

Mountain Girl: That was the first week of the
Pranksters shirts.

Jerry. The Pranksters shirts were quasi-uni-
forms, almost like uniforms but not quite, and
Babbs looked kind of like a superhero.

Mountain Girl: Except they were bright green
and orange and white stripes and shit like that,
so they were pretty loud.

Jerry: Yeah, they were real bright, everything
was getting real bright; that was what we were
all starting to flash on then.

Mountain Girl. Oh, there was the two straight
ladies who owned the place or something.

Jerry: Oh, right, right. They were hanging
around behind the bar the whole time . . .

Mountain Girl: . . . worrying what was going

Jerry. Middle-aged ladies.

Mountain Girl: We had rented this place from
them for fifty or a hundred dollars or something
like that. They were just freaking out. Nobody
could believe that Page had gotten this place--
when we actually did come we were sort of
surprised about it--because nobody ever took
Page seriously; it was the first real thing he ever
did . . . oh, man, we just got in there and set up
our shit and everybody shows up and . . .

RS: Who came?

Well, all the other psychedelic scenes at that
time: There was Dick Alpert and his scene, Leary
and that; Leary wasn't there, Dick Alpert may
have been to that one; and there was the Berkeley
psychedelic scene which was pretty well de-
veloped by that time because of the Cabale
coffeehouse in the old days, the mescaline scene
and all that.

Mountain Girl: A lot of drifter Palo Alto types
. . . and speed freaks, lots of speed freaks.

Jerry: And weirdos. There was always weirdos
at the Acid Test. There were always a lot of
people that didn't know from LSD; they were
like bums and hobos and strange truck driver
types and shit like that who would always
somehow turn up there and find themselves in
this weird other world.

Mountain Girl: Oh, and Neal Cassady and Ann
Murphy were there.

Jerry: Neal was really good. There was a
strobe light in between our two setups. Just one
small strobe light hanging out, but it was real
bright, enough to flash the whole place because
it was a fairly small room. We'd play stuff
and the Pranksters would be doin' stuff and there
was this incredible cross interference and weird-
ness. Stewart Brand was there with his Indian

Mountain Girl: He had this little slide show
and recorded music, taped music, and he'd just
show all these beautiful slides of Indian trips and
Indian homes.

Jerry: All kinds of Indian trips, things like
neon arrowhead signs and highways, long ex-
panses of highways that were really lovely im-
ages, each one a jam.

Reich: How did you get into the idea . . . playing
and having this  visual thing?

It was just the idea of everybody having their
various stuff and doing it all at once.

Haight-Ashbury. Where did you Iive
and who did you live with and what was
the scene like?

We came back from L.A. and
moved into Danny Rifkin's house on Seven Ten
Ashbury. Actually we hung out there for about a
week, we didn't  actually move in because we
were Iooking for a place in the country.

We ended up  with a ranch--Rancho Olom-
palli--whlch is the site of the only Indian battle
ever fought in California. It s up in Novato. It
was a great place. It had a swimming pool and
barns and that sort of thing.

RS: Who lived at Seven Ten Ashbury?

A whole bunch of people. We had just one
room there, and we were kinda in and out. We 
were mostly just catching as catch can. We were
all on our own, going around staying at different
places and hanging out with people.

Then we got another place out in Marin.
Camp Lagunitas it was called, it used to be a
summer camp. We had our office in San Fran-
cisco at Ashbury because there was only one room
there that was legitimately ours. Our business
was done in the city, and we were living out at
Camp Lagunitas. Finally we messed that up and
got kicked out and we ended up back in San
Francisco at Seven Ten. By this time most of the
other boarders had moved out so we got the
house, and a whole Iot of us moved in. Not
everybody Iived there. Bobby and I and Pigpen
of the band lived there, and Danny and Rock,
who were our managers at the time, Tangerine,
who was Rock's old lady and a really good chick,
and just various other assorted people hanging
out at various times.

Riech: Was it like a commune?

Well, our whole scene had been completely
co-operative and entirely shared. We never struc-
tured our situation where anybody was getting
any money. What we were doing was buying
food, paying rent, stuff like that. That was our
basic scene, and that's basically how  we still
operate .

Reich: How- many people came drifting in off the

Our place got to be a center of energy and
people were in there organizing stuff. The
Diggers would hang out there. The people that
were trying to start various spiritual movements
would be in and out; our friends trying to get
vari ous benefits on for various trips would be in
and out. There would be a lot of motion, a lot of
energy exchanged, and it was all reaI high in
those days because at that time the Haight-
Ashbury was a community. We had the Psyche-
delic Shop-- the very first one--down in the
Haight-Ashbury, and that was news, and other
people were starting to open stores and starting
to get underway. They  were looking real good. It
was just about that same time that people started
to come to town to find out about the hippie
scene, and that's about what the hippie scene
was--it was just the very smalI neighborhood
affair when we  were all v orking for each other's

Most of the people of the Haight-Ashbury
scene were people who had been at San Francisco
State and gotten into drugs and acid and stuff
like that and  were living out there experimenting
with  all the new things that they'd discovered. It
was a very high, healthy kind of thing--there
were no hard drugs, only pot and LSD.

Reich: No rip-offs? No paranoia?

No rip-offs--none of that kind of stuff. No
shootings, no bombings, no explosions.

Mountain Girl: No hassles with spades.

Jerry: None of that kind of stuff. Nothing that
we weren' t working on or handling or taking care
of pretty good.

Then when the big media flash came out--
when the Time  magazine guys came out and
interviewed everybody and took photographs and
made it news, the feedback from that killed the
whole scene. It was ridiculous. We could no
longer support the tiny trickle that was really
supporting everybody. The whole theory in hip
economics is essentially that you can have a small
amount of money and move it around very fast
and it would work out, but when you have
thousands and thousands of people, it s just too
unwieldy. And all the attempts at free food and
all that, certain people had to work too hard to
justify it.

At the early stages we were operating com-
pletely purely  without anybody looking on,
without anybody looking through the big win-
dow. We were going along really well. And then
the crowds came in. All the people who were
looking for something.

Mountain Girl: The Hollywood  people came.

RS: But it wasn't the "media" which killed the Haight.

No. Do you want me to tell you the incident
where I thought it started to get weird?  I was
walking down Haight Street, and all of a sudden
in a window was a little notice. It said "Com-
munications Company"--and it was that guy,
what's his name--Chester Anderson? And it was
this horrible bummer of a depressing story about
some thirteen-year-old meth freak getting raped
by nine spades and smackheads . . . it was just a
bummer. Bad news. This guy took it upon himself
to print up bad news and put it up

Then he started putting out the whole "Free
the Street" trip, and he just brought in all this
political heavy-handed East Coast hard-edge shit
and painted it on Haight Street, where none of it
was . . . it wasn't happening like that. It was
still groovy. And that was the point where I
thought, this scene cannot survive with that idea
in there. It just goes all wrong.

RS: I was working at 'Ramparts' at the time, and I
remember when Chester Anderson first came around the
office and got them started on doing the first "hippie"

He was the guy who did it. He was representa-
tive of the thinking which was not inimicable to
that sceneof the people who had already gone to
school and heard speeches and heard all that shit.
The peace movements and aIl that.

Everybody had already been through being
disillusioned. It represented a step backward. I
thought, "Aw, man, not this shit again." I
thought we had aIready gone through it and now
we're into the psychedelic era. There was a whole
new consciousness starting to happen and it was
really working nice, but then the flood came and
that was it.

RS: The "flower power" thing had it's own inherent

Right, the inability of not being abIe to say,
"Get out, go away." That tells us something
about what innocence is. It's that which allows
itself to become no longer innocent. There's
some lesson in there. There was a thing about
freedom which was very much in question all
through that, with the Diggers and Free and all
that. Emmett [Grogan] said a thing to me once
which I thought was far out, and I think it still
applies. He was talking about being in his house
and having somebody walk in, and the guy's rap
was "Aren't I free to walk in?" And Grogan was
on the trip of "Well, if there's freedom, then I'm
free to kill you for entering my house. I'm free to
do whatever I think I need to do."

RS: What happened to move you out of that scene, and
then where did you go?

We didn't really move out of it--we didn't
get up and leave. We hung around for a long
time. We lived on Ashbury for a couple of years,
anyway. Various of us were living in other parts
of the Haight-Ashbury--up on the hill. Our
scene has always been too big to be central, and
we've never really been able to get a really big        
place where everybody could stay together.

It just hadn't been working. We ultimately
got busted in the Haight-Ashbury and that was a
good reason for everybody to leave. That was the
point at which we all started to leave. We just
started to find new places to be. I was the first
one to move out to Marin County--to Larkspur.
Then everybody else came out.

Reich: You have a reputation that during the 
Haight-Ashbury time and later, that you were the sort
of spiritual adviser to the whole rock scene.

That's a crock of shit, quite frankly.

RS: Jefferson Airplane says that on their first or second

I know. that's because at that time, they were
making their second record and they were con-
cerned about it--they didn't want it to be like
their first record. And RCA had given them the
producer, and he was like this straight producer
who used to produce Andre Kostelanetz or
somebody like that, and he didn't really know
what they wanted to do, how they wanted to
sound or how they wanted their thing to be. The
Airplane thought it would be helpful to have
somebody there who could communicate to their
producer who they could communicate to, and
since they all knew me and I understood their
music and understood what they were doing
pretty much at the time, it would be far out. I
went down there and hung our and was a sort of
go-between, between them and their producer
and helped out with some arrangements and stuff
Iike that--I just hung out.

Reich: But that's a big difference from being the
"guru" of the whole scene?  

Here's the thing--I would like to preface this
whole interview by saying I'm one of those guys
who's a compulsive question answerer, But that
doesn't necessarily mean I'm right or anything.
That's just one of the things I can do. It's kinda
like having a trick memory. I can answer any
question. I'm just the guy who found myself in
the place of doing the talking every time there
was an interview with the Grateful Dead.

RS: How about among the musicians themselves?

I've played with nearly all the musicians
around and we all get along okay. But the whole
music scene is very groovy. Here there's very
little competition, very few ego games. Every-
body knows what it takes to make music pretty
good around here. It's that thing of being high
and playing. I think it's the scene this area has
that makes it attractive for musicians, and that's
why a lot of them moved here. That freedom,
that lack of competition, the fact that you aren't
always having to battle and you can really get
into what playing music is all about. But as for
coming to me for advice and shit like that, that's
ridiculous. That's like "Captain Trips." That's
bullshit .


professor and ask you a long thing? 
People that write about rock say that it
started as a rebellion, that it spoke to
these needs in people to express their
feelings. Tin Pan Alley was music that didn't tell the
truth and rock did. The question is, do you think that
rock began with that kind of revolt and has it

I don't know. I don't go for any of that stuff.
If I were going to write about rock & roll music,
I wouldn't write about it from that sociological
standpoint and so forth because all that stuff
really had to do with who you were. If you were
wearing a black leather jacket and swinging a
chain in the Fifties and listening to rock & roll,
yeah, it was the music of rebellion. But if you
were a musicologist following what music does,
or a musician, it was something wholly different.
It depends on who you were or who you are when
they hit you.

Reich: What I'm trying to get at is your idea of
what rock meant .

It was music I loved. That's what it meant; I
mean it didn't mean anything--it meant have a
good time, it meant rock & roll. Whatever--I
like the music, that was the thing. It was the
background music for the events of my life. My
theme music. Them rock & roll songs--that's
what was happening.

The people that are writing about rock & roll
are doing it as writers, and they've got to create a
situation to write about. Because if you don't
create something to write about, you're left with
no excuse for writing. That's not true of all
writers. There are some writers that write for the
flash and writers that write about the flash, too.
And it's easier for me to read the flash than it is
for me to read about the sociology. I think you
could make a better movie. Rock around the Clock
think was a good movie about the source of
what rock & roll was and Rock around the Clock
was he background music for 1958 and that was
right on.

Reich: Well, if knife fights and stuff like that was 
the background for the Fifties, what's the scene from
which your music comes now?

It's everything that I've ever experienced. It's
everything that we--the Grateful Dead--have
ever experienced as a group. It's a combination of
every crowd we've ever seen, of every time we've
ever played.

RS: How did you avoid the music business taking over
your lives? Because nobody wanted it?

Yeah . . . that's a good part of it. And with
us, we've never really been successful in the
music business; we've never had a superbig hit
album or a hit single or anything like that.
Grateful Dead freaks are our audience, you
know.... We're not mass market or anything
like that, which I think is supergreat. I think
that we've been really lucky because we haven't
had to put up with all the celebrity stuff, or star
stuff. At the same time, it's been somewhat of a
struggle to survive, but we're doing good, we're
doing okay . . . so it worked out okay.

RS: Do you, think you could cope with a Crosby, Stills,
Nash & Young type of success?

I might be able to cope with it, but I don't
think that I could be really that comfortable with
it, you know, because I . . . the place where I
get strung out is . . . is . . I'd like to be fair,
you know, I want to be fair, so I don't like to
pull the thing of having somebody at the door
that says, "No, fuck you, you can't see Garcia,
you know, you're not going in no matter what,
no matter how good your rap is."

Our backstage scene and all that is reaI open;
we try to let as much stuff possible come by,
and I just've gotten into the thing of being
able to move around pretty fast so I don't have to
get hung up into anything, but I like to let it
flow rather than stop it. I think that if there's
more pressure along that line--it's getting now
to where maybe 50 or 100 or 200 people
backstage is getting kinda outrageous and if we
were like superpopular it would be that many
more, and that (I'm thinking in purely physical
terms) would start to get to be a problem . . .
somewhere in there, if we get much more

That's why I feel pretty good about finishing
up out Warner Bros. thing, stopping being part
of that mainstream and just kinda fallin' back so
t at we can continue to relate to our audience in
a groovy intelligent way without having to be
part of a thing that . . . really, that other world
of the higher-up celebrity thing really doesn't
seem to want us too badly, so, you know, we're
abIe to avoid it. We're really not that good, I
mean star kinda good, or big-seIling records

RS: Do you think it'll go on for a long time . . . the

Uh, I don't see why not. Barring everybody
dying or complete disinterest or something like
that. As long as it's groovy and the music is
happening . . . I don't see why it shouldn't Just
keep on going. We don't have any reaI plans, but
we're committed to this thing . . . we're follow-
ing it, we're not directing it. It's kinda like
saying, "Okay, now I want to be here, now I
want to go there," in a way. Nobody's making
any real central decisions or anything. Every-
thing's just kinda hashed out. It stumbles. It
stumbles, then it creeps, then it flies with one
wing and bumps into trees, and shit, you know.
We're committed to it by now, after six years.
What the fuck? It's still groovy for us. It's kinda
like why break up the thing when it's working,
when it seems to be working good and every-
body's getting off.

RS: What happened to Mickey (Hart)?

Mickey is still working on his record. He's
still got his barn and all that. He's in a good
place. I saw him last night, he was at the Crosby
and Nash's concert, Mickey is a very even dude.
He's pretty together in his own way. He likes to
walk on the edge of the cliff. But he stays cool
behind it, he's able to do it. I like him.

RS: What's the scene with Pigpen now?

He's pretty sick. But he's living. He was
really, really extremely sick. I don't really know
how sick, because I never hung out at the hospital
that much, although I did give him a pint of
blood. We all did. He was really fucked up; his
liver was full of holes and then he had some kind
of perforated ulcer . . . just all kinds of bum
trips from juicing all these years. And he's a
young dude, man, he's only twenty-six. I think
he might even be younger than that.

>From juicing! It's incredible, but he survived
it, and he isn't dead. He survived it, and now
he's got the option of being a juicer or not being
a juicer. To be a juicer means to die, so now he's
being able to choose whether to live or die. And
if I know Pigpen, he'll choose to live. That's
pretty much where he's at. For the time being
he's too sick, too weak to go on the road, and I
wouldn't want to expose him to that world. I
don't think it's good for him at this point. It
would be groovy if he could take as long as it
takes to get him to feelin' right, and then to
work on his solo album and get himself together
in terms of becoming . . . it's sorta like stepping
out of the blues story, 'cause Pigpen is a sort of
guy who's like been a victim of the whole blues                
trip. It's like Janis exactly, in which you must
die. That's what the script says. So Pigpen went
up to the line, and he's seen it now, so the
question is how he's going to choose.

Reich: You feel like it's on the prow of a ship up
here, that's a very good way to think of it because you
can see the captain's stands.

Right, it's kinda like a retired admiral's place,
little brass telescope, cranky parrot.

Reich: That's fine, captain's cabin, that's what I've
been thinking of you as, see . . .

I know, that's an attractive image and some-
times it seems like it, but I always thought that
Kesey was. But he ain't either. Nobody is, man,
there isn't anybody, it's just a convenient, its
just a place you can be.... It's just a way to
express yourself....

The way it works is it doesn't depend on a
leader, and I'm not the leader of the Grateful
Dead or anything like that; there isn't any
fuckin' leader. I mean, because I can bullshit you
guys real easy, but I can't bullshit Phil and
Pigpen and them guys watchin' me go through
my changes all these years, and we 've had so
many weird times together. But it's that kind of
thing--I know in front that the leader thing
don't work, because you don't need it. Maybe it
used to, but I don't think you need it anymore
because everybody is the leader when it's the
time for them to be the leader, you know what I
mean, it all of a sudden, you're the guy that
knows in that situation . . .

RS: That's right.

You know, I think the Grateful Dead, the
Grateful Dead is like one dumb guy, instead
of five, you know . . . dumb guys, it's like
one dumb guy, and it seems like everything
that we learn comes in the form of these big
dumb, you know, take this, you know, the
manager, kreccccchhh, and we get hit over the
head, oh yeah, manager, manager, yeah, it takes
like a big one for us to notice it, man. That's
kind of the way I see it.

RS:   . . . persevering . . .

Yeah, that's all we can do . . . I can't do
anything else hahahaha, and the Grateful Dead is
still a good trip through all of it, through all of it
it's been a good trip and I've dug every minute of
it, man, it's just like I really love it, it's really a
good trip, and that's the payoff, ultimately, you
know, and that's the reason why we're all doing
it, really, that's the one thing that still makes it.
And you know, now actually for us everything is
making it, everything is . . . it's just going real
good, it's going good enough where we can
actually decide what the hell we want to do,
which is--aw, fuck, what's that?


of making your music--do you make
it as you go along on the road or do
you make it when you're settled back
in San. Francisco or do you make it all
the time? 

I'd say we make it all the time. Because we've
all pretty much decided after a long time that
we're in fact musicians and . . . it's just some-
thing you do, it's in your head, musical pieces
and records and all that. As a band, for the last
two years, our music has been evolving as we
play it. We haven't been rehearsing because we
haven't had a place to rehearse--like that's a
whole other school of problems, rock & roll
rehearsal spots.

Reich: How does a song come into being, and how
does it grow from it's beginnings into what you might
hear eventually on the record?

They're all different. Sometimes I'll start out
with a set of chord changes that're just attractive
to my ear. And then I'll hear a sketch of a melody
over it. Then I'll just sort of let that be around
my head, for however long it is there, for three or
four weeks. I won't . . . I never try to work on
stuff, you know, like sit down and labor it. But
pretty soon there'll be more adjoining pieces to
any one phrase, a melodic phrase, say. Then I
hum it to myself for a long time and kind of play
it on the guitar for everybody who's around, and
then I'll get together with Hunter who writes
our lyrics and we'll go through what he's got. If
he's got lyrics already written that he likes I'll see
if anything fits, or else we'll start working on
something from scratch. But the whole thing is
completely organic--there isn't . . . I don't have
any scheme . . .

Reich: It comes from somewhere outside.

For sure. And what happens is that you're
lucky enough to remember a little of it as it's
going by. And then what it turns into after it's
become a song in your head is it turns into a
piece of material for the band--everybody plays
an equal role in that part of it--and that's the
way it finally evolves as a song on a record or
something like that. If it's one of my songs, it's
never what I originally heard, it's always some-
thing that includes more than I might have
conceived myself.

Reich: And the words probably came by, too, is that

Well, that's the way Hunter writes--he writes
his words pretty much the same way. Things
come to him, you know. An idea comes by, or a
picture, an image, sort of floats by, it's all in the
air kind of. It's a matter of being able to tune
into it.

RS: Who wrote "Casey Jones"?

Me and Hunter. He wrote the words, I wrote
the music.

RS: Did you start off to write the same thing or did you
have the melody first and then. the words?

No, he had the words, and the words were just
so exquisite, they were just so perfect that I just
sat down with the words, picked up a guitar and
played the song . . . it just came out.

RS: In one sitting?

Yeah, it just came out . . . it just triggered.
Play it, here it is.

RS: Do you alter the words when you write with

Many times, yeah . . . sometimes I use pieces
of three or four of his different songs and put
them together. I also adjust the phrasing. I sort
of edit . . . to make the things more singable
usually. But he's gotten to be really a craftsman
at it lately. In the last year or so, he's gotten to
really understand what it is to sing words, and
just the technique, that vowels sing a certain way
and consonants sing a certain way and what you
have to do. Certain things you can sing real
gracefully and other things you can't sing to save
your soul.

RS: "Truckin'" seems to be the story of the Dead.

When Hunter first started writing words for
us . . . originally he was on his own trip and he
was a poet. He was into the magical thing of
words, definitely far out, definitely amazing. The
early stuff he wrote that we tried to set to music
was stiff because it wasn't really meant to be
sung. After he got further and further into it, his
craft improved, and then he started going out on
the road with us, coming out to see what life was
like, to be able to have more of that viewpoint in
the music, for the words to be more Grateful
Dead words. "Truckin'" is the result of that sort
of thing. "Truckin'" is a song that we as-
sembled, it didn't . . . it wasn't natural and it
didn't flow and it wasn't easy and we really
labored over the bastard . . . all of us together.

Reich: It comes out of somewhere in the past  the , doesn't

It comes out of nothing specific but it's really a
lot of like the way it is, just a lot like the way it
is, the pace of it and the flow of it and the kinda
like fast thoughts that you have as things are
happening around you; the ideas in it are right-
on in that sense. I like "Truckin'" a lot,
"Truckin'"s one of my favorites.

RS: In "New Speedway Boogie" you say "one way or
another, this darkness has got to end. " Have you seen
that way yet?

Ummmm.... Ahhh.... I think that that
song's an overreaction, myself. I think that it's a
little bit dire. Really, the thing that I've been
seeing since Altamont is that periodically you
have darkness,and periodically you have light,
like the way the universe is in the yin/yang
symbol. There's darkness and light, and it's the
interplay that represents the game that we're
allowed to play on this planet. Just the fact that
there are two opposing elements in the universe
is the grace of that cosmic game that we're
allowed to dick around here, you know, on the
planet .

RS: What if somebody came up to you and asked you,
"What's psychedelic music?" 

Ohhhhhhh, goddamn . . . Phil defined it
pretty good once. He said ummmmm . . . Oh,
somebody asked him once what acid rock was--
which is psychedelic music. Okay, whatever,
we'll use those two as an equation--and he said,
''Acid rock is music you listen to when you're
high on acid." Psychedelic music is music you
listen to when you're psychedelic. I think that's
what its real definition should be because subjec-
tively I don't think that there really is any
psychedelic music , unless except in the classical
sense of music which is designed to expand
consciousness. If you use that as a definition of
psychedelic music, then I would say that Indian
music was definitely that, and that certain kinds
of Tibetan music are, too.

RS: If you wanted is play all the instruments on your
own record, you would lose the whole group feel,
woudn't you?

Yes, of course, except that that's the chal-
lenge. If it were possible for me to make a record
where I could play by myself and sound like the
whole group, I would consider it to be a
successful record. In the context of this kind of
experiment and in the nature of the kind of
material I'm doing on my solo album, it'll be
that kind of an experiment. I'll be able to make
myself sound like a band. The reason, musically,
I know I can do it is because it's all coming from
my head, it's going to at least agree. But then
you get this unified, too-much-agreement sort of
sound, and you don't have that excitement of
interchange .

RS: Does the group  have a producer?

No, we are our own producer. A producer is
just one of those recording studios.... The
function that a producer sometimes fills is that
he's the guy who sits in the recording studio
while the band plays and tells them whether
they're playing well or not, what's wrong with
what they're playing, whether they're out of
tune, in tune, whether it needs to be a little
faster and so on. He's an ear. He translates the
band's wishes to the engineer. That's essentially
what the producer does.

Reich: How has your music changed from one record    
to another?

The first one was called The Grateful Dead. At
that time we had no real record consciousness. We
were just going to go down to L.A. and make a
record. We were completely naive about it. We
had a producer whom we had chosen--Dave
Hassinger--and we were impressed by him
because he'd been the engineer on a couple of
Rolling Stones records that we liked the sound
of; that was as much as we were into record-

So we went down there and, what was it we
had . . . Dexamyl? Some sort of diet-watcher's
speed, and pot and stuff like that. So in three
nights we played some hyperactive music. That's
what's embarrassing about that record now; the
tempo was way too fast. We were all so speedy at
the time. It has its sort of crude energy, but
obviously it's difficult for me to listen to it; I
can't enjoy it really. I just plain cannot enjoy it
just because even as soon as we'd finished it there
were things that we could hear . . .

Mountain Girl: Man, it's so fast, it's just

RS: What music was it?

Just simply what we were doing onstage.
Basically that. Just rock & roll. Plus we wanted
to have one extended cut on it. But in reality,
the way we played was not really too much the
way that record was. Usually we played tunes
that lasted a long time because we like to play a
lot. And when you're playing for people who are
dancing and getting high, you can dance easy to
a half-hour tune and you can even wonder why it
ended so soon. So for us the whole time thing
was weird 'cause we went down there and turned
out songs real fast--less than three minutes,
which is real short.

It was weird and we realized it. The first
record was like a regular company record done in
three nights, mixed in one day--it was done on
three track, I believe--it wasn't even four track,
Studio A in L.A., an imposing place--and we
really didn't much care about it while we were
doing it. So we weren't surprised when it didn't
quite sound like we wanted it to.

It's hard for me to go back to the past in terms
of the music because for me it's a continuum and
to stop it at one of those points it's got . . . to
me it always looks underdeveloped and not quite
working. Which in fact it was.

RS: What kind of places were you playing at then?

We were playing all the places that were
trying to become the Fillmore or trying to
become the Avalon, as well as the Fillmore and
the Avalon. And there were places down in L. A.
that were trying to get started and places in San
Diego, but all the rest of that stuff is stuff that's

RS: 'This is '66 by now, something like that.

Yeah, '66, right.

Then on the second record, we went the whole
other way. We decided we'd spend time on our
record. We're going to work on it, we're going
to make sure it sounds good, we're really going
to get into recording and go on some trips with
it. So our second record turned out to be a
monumental project. We started out by record-
ing for a couple of weeks, experimentally, in
L.A. where we accomplished absolutely nothing.
Then we went to New York to try some studios
there, and we got our producer so excited that he
quit. We got him uptight--because we were
being so weird and he was only human after all
and didn't really have to go through all that, so
he decided not to go through it and we decided,
"Well, we can do it ourselves." So we just
worked and worked and worked--mostly Phil
and I--for months, maybe as long as six
months--at least six months. It was an eight- 
track recording, and we worked a lot in San
Francisco. We assembled live tapes, and we went
through the most complex operations that you
can go through in a recording studio.

RS: Did Phil use his background or did you just learn it
from scratch?

Phil used what he knew, and I was learning
from scratch. I had had some experience after
working with the [Jefferson Airplane, pretty nom-
inal, but at least I had some idea. And we had an
engineer, Dan Healy, who is like a real good fast-
on-his-feet, able-to come-up-with-crazy-things en-
gineer. And we worked and we assembled an
enormous amount of stuff, and since it was all
multi track, it all just piled up.

With Anthem of the Sun, after an enormously
complex period of time, we actually assembled
the material that was on the master tape. Then
we went through the mixing thing, which really
became a performance, so Anthem of the Sun is
really the performance of an eight-track tape;
Phil and I performed it and it would be like four
hands, and sometimes Healy would have a hand
in. We'd be there hovering around the boards in
these various places at Criteria Studio, Miami,
and in New York. We selected, from various
performances we did, the performance which
seemed the most spaced, and we did that all the
way through. So there's a spaced record if there is
one .

RS: How was the music different from the first record?

We were thinking more in terms of a whole
record, and we were also interested in doing
something that was far our. For our oven amuse-
ment--that thing of being able to do a record
and really go away with it--reallv lose yourself.

RS: What do you think of that second record, 'Anthem
of tile Sun'? 

There's parts of it that sound dated. but parts
of it are far out, even too far out. I feel that that 's
one of those things . . . see, it 's hard for me to
be able to listen to any of char stuff objectively,
'cause I tend to hear a thing like Anthem of the Sun
matching it up against what it was that we
thought we were gonna do, intellectually speak-
ing. So I have to think of it in terms of
something we were trying to do but didn't
succeed in doing. I listen to what's wrong with it.
I tend to listen to it in the inverse way; but on
the other hand, if I have the right kind of head,
and I'm not on an ego involvement trip with
it . . .

RS: Did the next record mark any kind of change?

No. The next record was really a continuation
of the Anthem of the Sun trip-- called Aoxomoxa--
a continuation in the style of having a complex
record. When we started, Aoxomoxoa was an
eight-track record, and then all of a sudden there
was a sixteen-track recorder in the studio, so we
abandoned our entire eight-track version  and
went to sixteen-track to start all over again. Now
at the time we were sipping STP during our
session, which made it a little weird--in fact,
very weird. We spent too much money and too
much time on that record; we were trying to
accomplish too much and I was being really
stupid about a lot of it, because it was material,
some new runes that I had written, that I hadn't
really bothered to teach anyone in the band and I
was trying to record them from the ground up,
and everybody was coming in and doing over
dubs. It was weird--we went about it in a very
fragmentary way. We didn't go about it as a
group at all.

RS: Some of the  music is pretty strange.

Now, I like that record personally, just for its
weirdness, really. There are certain feelings and a
certain kind of looseness that I kinda dig; but it's
been our most unsuccessful record. It was when
Hunter and I were both being more or less
obscure. and there are lots of levels on the verbal
plane in terms of the lyrics being very far out.
Too far out, really, for most people.

That was one of my pet records 'cause it was
the first stuff that I thought was starting to
sound like how I wanted to hear songs sound.
And the studio stuff was successful. I'm really
happy with the remix . . I hope you get a
chance to hear 'em. All the new mixes that are
coming out will say on them, ''Remixed.''

RS: The next one is 'Live/Dead.'

It's good. It has "Dark Star" on it, a real good
version of it. We'd only recorded a few gigs to
get that album. We were after a certain sequence
to the music. In the sense of it being a serious,
long composition, musically, and then a record-
ing of it, it's our music at one of its really good

Live/Dead was actually recorded about the
same time we were working on Aoxomoxoa. If you
take Live/Dead and Aoxomoxoa together, you
have a picture of what we were doing at that
time. We were playing Live/Dead and we were
recording Aoxomoxoa. When Live/Dead came out,
it was about a year out of date.

After Aoxomoxa we hadn't made a studio
record for almost a year since Live/Dead came out
in its place. We were anxious to go to the studio,
but we didn't want to incur an enormous debt
making the record like we had been. When you
make a record, you pay for the studio time out of
your own royalties. That costs plenty. Live/Dead
was not too expensive since it was recorded live.
It ended up paying for the time on Aoxomoxoa,
which was eight months or some really ridiculous
amount of time. A hundred grand or even more
than that--it was real expensive. And we ended
up at our worst, in debt to Warner Bros. for
around $180,000.

So, when record time came around and we
were getting new material together, we thought,
"Let's try to make it cheap this time.'' So we
rehearsed for a month or so before we went in to
make Workingman's Dead. We rehearsed and we
were pretty far into the material, and then we got
busted in New Orleans. After we got busted, we
went home to make our record. And while we
were making our record, we had a big, bad scene
with our manager. Actually, making the record
was the only cool thing happening--everything
else was just sheer weirdness.

RS: How had your music changed?

We were into a much more relaxed thing
about that time. And we were also out of our
pretentious thing. We weren't feeling so much
like an experimental music group but were
feeling more like a good old band.

RS: Does "Casey Jones" grate on you when you hear it

Sometimes, but that's what it's supposed to do

RS: It's such a sing-songy thing....

Right. And it's got a split-second little delay
which sounds very mechanical, like a typewriter
almost, on the vocal, which is like a little bit
jangly, and the whole thing is, well . . . I always
thought it's a pretty good musical picture of
what cocaine is like. A little bit evil. And hard-
edged. And also that sing-songy thing, because
that s what it is, a sing-songy thing, a little
melody that gets in your head.

RS: What songs on 'Workingman's Dead' do you
particularly like?

I liked all those tunes. I loved them all,
(laughs) to give you the absolute and unashamed
truth. I felt that they were aIl good songs. They
were successful in the sense you could sing 'em,
and get off and enjoy singing 'em. "Uncle John's
Band" was a major effort, as a musical piece. It's
one we worked on for a really long time, to get it
working right. ''Cumberland Blues'' was also
difficult in that sense. The song that I think
failed on that record is ''High Time.'' It's a
beautiful song, but I was just not able to sing it
worth a shit. And I really can't do justice to that
kind of song now.... I'm not that good of a
singer. But I  wish someone who could really sing
would do one of those songs sometime. I would
love to hear some good singers do that stuff. I
mean, it would just tickle me. There are some
people doing ''Friend of the Devil,'' I under-
stand. But other than that we haven't heard of
any people doing our song at all.

RS: What stands out it your  mind about 'American
Beauty'?  Each song sounds closer to the others.

There isn't too much difference. And that's
. . . well, I tried to block that whole trip out.
You see, my mother died while we were making
that record. And Phil's father died. It was
raining down hard on us while that record was
going on. They're good tunes, though. Every one
of em s a gem, I modestly admit.

RS: They had one of the few things Pigpen sings by

One of his own tunes. He's come up with a lot
of them lately.

RS: What side of you does 'American Beauty' represent?

Well let's call Workingman's Dead a song
record, a singing record because the emphasis is
on the vocals and on the songs. And American
Beauty is another record in that trend where the
emphasis is on the vocals and the songs. And
that's basically what we're doing, the music
being more or less incidental--not incidental--
but structural rather than the end product.

The records are not total indicators, they're
just products. Out of the enormous amount of
output that we create in the course of a year,
they're that little piece that goes out to where
everybody can get it.

RS: The new album, the live double set, is like listening
to, the old Grateful Dead

It's us, man. It's the prototype Grateful Dead.
Basic unit. Each one of those tracks is the total
picture, a good example of what the Grateful
Dead really is, musically, Rather than ''this record
has sort of a country light acoustics sound '' and
so on--like for a year we were a light acoustics
band, in somebody's head. The new album is
enough of an overview so people can see we're
like a regular shoot-em-up saloon band. That's
more what we are like. The tracks all illustrate
that nicely. They're hot.

RS: What places did you use most in that record?

The one we used most of was Fillmore East.
And the one we used least was Winterland. At
Winterland we used one track, "Johnny B.
Goode. "

Reich: Why are you doing an album by yourself?

I'm doing it to be completely self-indulgent--
musically. I'm just going on a trip. I have a
curiosity to see what I can do and I've a desire to
get into sixteen-track and go on trips which are
too weird for me to want to put anybody else I
know through. And also to pay for this house!

RS: Are you doing it with anybody?

I'll probably end up doing it with a lot of
people. So far I'm only working with Bill
Kreutzmann because I can't play drums. But
everything else I'm going to try to play myself.
Just for my own edification. What I'm going to
do is what I would do if I had a sixteen-track at
home. I'm just going to goof around with it.
And I don't want anyone to think that it's me
being serious or anything like that--it's really
me goofing around. I'm not trying to have my
own career or anything like that. There's a lot of
stuff that I feel like doing and the Grateful Dead,
just by fact that it's now a production for us to go
out and play, we can't get as loose as we had been
able to, so I'm not able to stay as busy as I was.
It's just a way to keep my hand in so to speak,
without having to turn on a whole big scene. In
the world that I live in there's the Grateful Dead,
which is one unit which I'm a part of, and then
there's just me. And the me that's just me, I 
have to keep my end up in order to be able to
take care of my part of the Grateful Dead. So
rather than sit home and practice-- scales and
stuff--which I do when I' m together enough to
do it--I go out and play because playing music is
more enjoyable to me than sitting home and
playing scales.


into business, you got into management
duties and you got into records, and
somehow you stayed yourselves.

Well, we didn't really get into any
of those things is the reason. See, our managers
were Rock Scully and Danny Rifkin, who were
really our friends, and they were a couple of
heads, old-time organizers from the early Family
Dog days, and they agreed to sort of manage us.
Which they did as well as they could. They
investigated the music business and learned as
much about it as they possibly could, but really
they weren't too experienced at it and we weren't
very experienced at it, and so what we really
managed to do in that whole world was get
ourselves incredibly in debt, just amazingly in
debt in just about two years.

Mountain Girl: They never wrote anything
down or anything like that.

Jerry: And we never cared. I mean it was just a
. . . it was a . . we were mostly interested in
just keeping going.

RS: Didn't anybody in the band think, "Hmm, we're
getting more and more in debt and . . ."

Well, no, because we didn't know about it.
But nobody knew about it. Rock didn't know,
Danny didn't know about it. Really. We didn't
know about it until we tried to get ourselves
completely organized.

Reich: Is this a different story than the other stories? 

lt's similar, it's different but similar; every
band has gone through trips kinda like it.

Reich: So the real story is you just didn't . . .

We didn't give a shit.

We were just happy freaks, man; we didn't
know anything about money, or bills, or any-
thing of the rest of that stuff. It wasn't bad,
though. Don't get the idea it was bad because it
lust wasn't real, and because it wasn't real was
the reason that it got so outrageously out of
hand. And it wasn t until somebody started
saying, hey, listen, you guys are really in big
trouble .

RS: Who started saying that?
Lenny, who is Mickey's father. Now Lenny
comes into the picture. And we had our office re-

RS: How did you finally get the financial act together?

All of a sudden there was a concern there that
was fictionalized in our minds by somebody else.
It's entirely possible that we could have fixed it
without ever knowing about it. But we were
made conscious of it and we became paranoid;
"You guys are really in big trouble; you're out of
money and there's no money coming in and
you're going broke, and I think these guys have
been ripping you off,'' and all. That is really a
poisonous kind of thinking and we went for it,
foolishly we went for it and said, Okay, you be
our manager. So Lenny Hart said, ''Okay, boys,
I'll take care of you,'' and we thought, ''Ah, at
least here's a manager that we don't have to
worry about, he's an old businessman and he's
Mickey's father, well, we can trust him, of
course, we can trust him, you know, he's his

But along the way all the people who were our
friends and people that we trusted to work for us
began to leave. He was putting them uptight
. . . it was really a classical manipulation trip
and really creepy. Looking back on it, at the time
we were just really not sure of what was
happening and we were testing Lenny a lot, too;
we were putting him on the line a lot, like, 'We
don't want to do these kind of gigs; we don't
want to do that, or we don't want you to go out
and talk to people, we want to talk to 'em
ourselves, you just stay in the background as
much as possible.''

I'd been concerned about our management
scene because I knew that Lenny didn't under-
stand us and we didn't understand him and it
really wasn't working out, but we had no way to
replace him. But these old friends of mine, the
Parkers, who had been having straight gigs for a
long time, had just gotten back from a vacation.
They had nothing to do and they were kinda
looking for work, and I said, ''Wow, here's some
people that can maybe help us out.'' At the same
time--this was after Altamont--Sam Cutler had
come back to the United States after having gone
through that Altamont scene and he was looking
for something to do--he came and hung out at
my house for a while. I thought because of his
experience in the music business that maybe he
could sort of look into our scene and see if maybe
he could suggest some stuff.

Sam started looking into it and they dis-
covered that Lenny had really been taking a lot of
money and that the books were really weird and
there were odd bank accounts and it came down
to a real heavy scene. We were recording
Workingman's Dead when we actually fired Lenny;
we'd just been busted in New Orleans and things
were really looking heavy, this New Orleans
threat hanging over our heads and Lenny was our
only contact with the New Orleans District
Attorney. What happened, what finally sprung
it, was Ramrod, who's our head equipment guy,
who's been with us a long time, said, "Either you
gotta get rid of that Lenny guy or I'm quitting.''
And that flashed us: ''Wow, we can't work
without Ramrod, we've gotta get rid of Lenny."

RS: What did Mickey say about all this?

Well, Mickey was dismayed. He'd never
expected anything like that, of course. He knew
his father had been into shady trips before but he
thought he was reformed, just like we all did. He
was really shocked, and he was right with us
about our decision to get rid of Lenny. In fact, he
was really good about working it out just 'cause
it was so tacky.

As soon as we started to get closer and closer
to finding out more and more of the truth and
trying to get bills and old things from Lenny, he
just disappeared. A great deal has been lost and is
missing and has never been filed or put anywhere
. . . a lot of it . . . there's really no way of
estimating how much money we've lost, as a
result of that. There isn't . . . there's only sort of
rough estimates. That was the weirdest ever;
God, that was incredible.

RS: Have you ever gotten straigtened out financially?

We just got straightened out financially.

RS: What makes you think it's going to last?

Nothing. It won't . . . it can't last, you know;
it's just that now at least we can decide to fuck
up, we're at least free to decide to fuck up rather
than bumping into it all the time.

RS: The last time we talked about what you might do as
a business by starting a true, small record company. Is
that any more real now?

It's as real as it was then; that is to say, it still
depends on whether or not . . . what it depends
on is us getting Out of our present contract, or it
expiring.... Then we're in a position where we
can start to think about that. We've been
planning to do it seriously and really, but it's
still a question of how best to . . . it's still an
idea. See, Grunt Records is still RCA. There's no
question about it. It's not truly independent.
And our fantasy is to be completely independent, if
we can do it.

At this point it's open-ended. Obviously we
want to be able to employ the people who are our
friends. Who are talented and all that, and who
are interested in what we're trying to do. That
whole "Deadheads Unite" message [on the latest
LP] was on that level. That's our story, like the
basic groundwork, what we were gonna use.

RS: Well, its not a dislike for Warner Bros. but an
antipathy towards the current form of record company

Right. I don't think that they're that bad; I
just think that they're incompetent. That's prob-
ably the worst thing about them. I don't object
to the idea of record companies at all; in fact,
record companies are good.

But we're already getting reports . . . this is
the kind of thing that really fries me . . . we're
getting reports that our new album has a slight
skip on every record. Goddamn, it makes me
want to scream. We go to every length we can to
insure quality all along the line, on our end of it.
We even suggest a place to Warner Bros. where
they can have 'em pressed, where they can receive
the attention that we want to give them.

I'm gonna do it with my own record, my solo
record. Insist that they be pressed at a place that
uses quality vinyl and allow the proper drying
time and all the test of that. Think of the billions
of records that a big pressing plant has to rush
through. Then when you hear that your record
has a side that nobody can play, especially a
double record, which is expensive, it just burns
me. I feel that we have a responsibility to the
people who put out their money for our record,
because they are the people who are allowing us
to continue what we're doing.


York, when you go on tour?

For me, it's lock yourself in the
hotel room more or less, turn on the
TV, stay real high and hang out
with your friends. That's one of the things about
traveling with a band, like the Grateful Dead
scene, a big family, and all that. You have an
insular situation that reinforces what you believe
to be true, although in New Yolk it looks as
though it maybe isn't.

I like to remain open to some extent, just in
case there's anything to see. I don't like to turn
people off, yet there ate people calling up and
they want to talk to me and stuff like that. It's
only because of being a rock & roll star and all
that which makes it very weird for me there. I
think it would be groovy to go there and be
anonymous, walk around and see what the street
scene is like, but I've never been really able to do

RS: What good things have you? seen New York--
that you left yourself open for?

Well--it's mostly people. There are like good
people in New York that are kind of bravely in
the middle of it there, fighting the good battle.
And . . . it's like year after year you go there,
you see these same few people that are hassling it
out in New York and you see New York just
staying the same and . . . God, it's weird.

RS: Do you find traveling on the road exhausting?

Yeah, yeah. The regular tour is exhausting,
especially for us because we do a long show. We
try and pace it so that we don't play every night,
but it hardly ever works out that way. The
alternatives are that you can either go out on the
road and play as often as you possibly can and get
it over with as quickly as possible and come
back--that's like one school of thought that you
can space it out and pace yourself while you're
out on the road, but it means that you'll have to
live out there for a while. We've tried a lot of
different ways. This last tour (spring 1971) was
around the East Coast and it was shorter dis-
tances, 300-400 miles and that sort of thing,
and we did a lot of traveling by bus, and that was
really fun, we were just able to hang together all
the time, we didn't have to go through a lot of
airports and that. And we got to see some of the
countryside. It was a little more like traveling
and less like matter transmission.

RS: But you play all night, that's what. . .

That's what makes it hard, that's what makes
it really difficult. What we're doing now is
working generally two or three nights in a town,
in one spot, so that we have the advantage of
being able to get into the room that we're
playing so that it starts to sound good by about
the second night and so that we don't have that
oversold house and an uptight crowd that can't
get in.

But really, it's getting trickier and trickier to
do it, it's getting harder and harder. In Boston
we played for two tights, and even so there were
still about three or four thousand people outside
each night that weren't able to get in because the
place was sold out, and the police Maced them
and did all that, it was . . . I mean, you wonder,
you begin to wonder why you're doing it if what
you're doing is leading people into a trap.

RS: How many people go on the road?

This next time there's gonna be twenty-two
going out; there's us and the New Riders, and
our combined equipment guys, who are Jackson,
Ramrod, our guys; and Sparky, who's one of the
P.A. guys; and then there's this guy Gary, who's
one of the New Riders' guys; and John Hagen,
who's also one of the New Riders' guys. So
there's those five guys, then there's Matthews,
going out to mix, and then there's both bands, so
that's twenty-two. Then there's Rock, he's going
along, and Hunter's going along to do the radio
stuff; it's great to have Hunter on the road, he's
got like the perfect viewpoint, to be able to keep
you from getting too crazy out there. The more of
us there are, the cooler we stay, you know what I
mean? If we go out there in a small group, we
feel intimidated and get weird fast. If we go out
there with a lot of us, it's much cooler. Going
through airports and shit like that is much easier
when there's twenty people straggling through.
Fuck, they don't even want to mess with you.
They don't want to know who you are or nothing
(laughs). Get 'em outta here! Get 'em outta here!
At any rate, that's the show.


mont? Did you see what was coming?

No. God, no. It was com-
pletely unexpected. And that was
the hard part--that was the hard
lesson there--that you can have good people and
good energy and work on a project and really
want it to happen right and still have it all
weird. It's the thing of knowing less than you
should have. Youthful folly.

Reich: But the things you didn't  know about had
nothing to do with music; they had to do with logistics
and they had to do with things commercial and
economic . . .

Yeah, but it was the music that generated it. I
think that the music knew, it was known in the
music. I realized when the Rolling Stones were
playing at the crowd and the fighting was going
on and the Rolling Stones were playing "Sympa-
thy for the Devil," then I knew that I should
have known. You know, you can't put that out
without it turning up on you somewhere.

RS: I remember seeing that scene down at the Heliport,
waiting to fly over to Altamont. 

Going over to the big rock festival.

Mountain Girl: And that girl trying to get on
the helicopter, oh, man, was she weird.

RS: And there were the Stones, walking around, and the

Totally weird.

RS: I saw you talk to Mick for a second or two.

Mountain Girl: What did he ask? "What time
is the helicopter coming?" he said. And his little
entourage caught up with him and forced him
away so he had to keep walking real fast to keep
ahead of them.

RS: When you look back on it, do you see anything in
those moments leading up to it?

No, not really. I was completely unsuspect-
ing. There was one thing beforehand that we all
should have spotted. (Emmett) Grogan wrote up
on the blackboard up at the Grateful Dead office,
just as the site had been changed from whatever
the first one was, he wrote a little slogan up on
the blackboard which said something like "Char-
lie Manson Memorial Hippie Love Death Cult
Festival." Something along those lines, some-
thing really funny, but ominous. And there had
been--the street, certain people certain ele-
ments of the street had been saying . . . it was a
very weird time on the street in San Francisco at
that time, if you recall. There was a lot of
divisive hassling among all the various revolu-
tionary scenes; the Red Guard was on one trip
and Chicanos on some other trip and people were
carrying guns and stuff, there was a lot of that
kind at talk.

Originally the idea was that the Stones' thing
was going to be a chance for all these various
community elements to participate in a sort of a
party for the Rolling Stones. That was the
original concept, but then we couldn't have it in
Golden Gate Park, so that really was the end of
the plan as it was supposed to have happened.
That eliminated the possibility for any com-
munity scene in San Francisco because of the
transportation problem--how many Chicanos,
Chinese or blacks or anything like that are going
to be able to get a bus out to wherever the fuck?
That was really the end of the original plan. And
then we began operating on just sheer kinetic
energy.... Rolling Stones was in the air,
Rolling Stones, Rolling Stones, and thus it was
just being swept along; but everybody was
feeling--and it was all good people--everybody
was feeling very good about it. Chet Helms was
there doing stuff, and Emmett and Chip Monk
and all these solid, together, hard-working peo-
ple, but somehow the sense of it escaped every-

RS: Whose idea was it to have the Stones to do the thing
in the first place?

Rock and Sam originally conceived the idea,
although it was, again, it was the music, it was
an idea that was in the air. It was like San
Francisco had free stuff; the Rolling Stones
hadn't been touring, they were suddenly going
to be in the United States, somebody Rock used
to know, Sam, and it just seemed as though it
was an obvious step--and could have been under
the right circumstances, I'm convinced--but it
wasn't meant to be that.

RS: Why do you think so?

I've thought about it a lot. A friend of mine,
Steve Gaskin, capsulized it better than I eve
could about, ''Why did it happen?'' Just period,
"Why did it happen?" He said, and this has been
quoted somewhere else, ''Altamont was the little
bit of sadism in your sex life, that the Rolling
Stones put out in their music, coming back. It
was the karma of putting that out for all those
years, it was that little bit of red and black.'' Just
there. The Hell's Angels, it's that same image.

RS: Do you accept the necessity of haveing that in life,
that little bit of evil?     

Well, it's there, whether you accept it or not.
It just has to do with how you conceive your own
destiny or your own journeys through life. I just
think that it's there, I'm not into judging it,
really, it's not my game particularly--but I do
know it's there.

RS: People used Altamont as an attack point on rock &
roll, to prove by it that rock & roll was no good.

That discussion is all gone now. I think that
lt's run its course and it's all over. There's too
much other shit that's happening that's too
important. We've seen a change of consciousness
in the last year and a half traveling around the
East Coast and places like that. People are really
thinking differently. At last. I think that the
whole negative thing is done what it's gonna do,
it's killed a lot of people and left a lot of them
. . . it always does. All we can hope is that the
next cycle will be faster. We'll be able to say,
''Ah, here it is. Zip! Here's your hat, what's your
hurry?'' That kind of thing. Get it out, quick.
Run it through, run it through fast.



I think it was a mistake; I think
it was an accident, like driving
your car off the road. I don't think
that there was any why to it,
really. She probably hadn't had smack for a while
or something Iike that . . . she probably had a
few drinks or something after a gig, coming back
to the hotel, take a hit and on out, go to sleep for
the night, and it was probably more than she
expected, and she just died. That's how easy it
can happen; it can happen to anybody if you
don't know. what you're getting, and that's the
way it is when you're having to deal with things
that are illegal.

I think that it's the law that killed Janis, if
anything killed her, because she couldn't go and
get exactly the right hit for herself of exactly the
proper purity in a drugstore and do herself up;
she wouldn't be dead now. That's the thing that
I think did it. In my opinion, Janis handled it
pretty good, and she got a lot of weirdness, but
she was more on top of it than a lot of people I've
seen. I don't think that fame killed her, I don't
think that being a celebrity killed her. She just
accidentally, like cutting yourself with a razor or
something, just accidentally died.

Reich: And Jim Morrison?

It's just--everybody dies. He was a musician,
and that's the only reason people are talking
about him dying. If Jim Morrison had been
anybody else, nobody would be talking about
Jim Morrison dying. And that's the same with
every other musician. Statistically people die,
and that's all. Every profession--people die in it.

RS: What music do you listen to now?

I listen to all kinds of stuff, just all kinds of

RS: Do you listen  to the Band's records?

Some of them I do. At first I just wanta say,
"Wow, they're getting into this repetitive bag,"
each time I hear the record for the first time.
Then after a few weeks it starts creeping into the
back of my mind and I start thinking, "Wow,
what was that tune?" And I go and find the
record and put it on . . . it's like scratching an
itch. Some of them I really dig, others I probably
will, and then other ones I think are halfway
efforts; it's just like anybody. I dig their music
more or less consistently, so I don't really know
whether the records good or not.

RS: Which tunes on the the new one do you like?

I love ''Life Is a Carnival'' . . . that's beautiful.
Shit, that's great. All the stuff in there, all those
great parts. The Dylan song is great, too. I love
that song. I'll probably sing that with the
barroom band. I like to do those kinda tunes.
They're good songs, and good songs are fun to

RS: You like Robbie Robertson?

Yeah, yeah. he's one of the few guys I've ever
liked. I went and visited with him one day, when
we were on the East Coast. And I really dug
being able to sit down and talk to him. It was
just like that kinda stuff you do where you've
never met anybody before, but you know what
they do, and you respect them. We were both
kinda there cause we'd been on that tour--we'd
met before, actually on that tour with Janis,
that Canada thing. We got off on their music, of
course, and they dug our music, 'cause really,
they're kinda similar. We just have slightly
different viewpoints of an almost similar trip.

When I got together with him, we were
talking on pretty groovy grounds, in terms of
mutual respect and understanding. It was good.
We talked about guitars, and pianos, and music
. . . and I went over and dug his studio. Just a
friendly scene. It's one of those things that
sometime in the future, I'd love to be able to
spend some time and actually work with those
guys, actually play music together with them,
under some circumstances or another.

RS: How would you describe his guitar playing?

He's one of those guys who descended from
Roy Buchanan and those Fifties Fenderpickers. I
can hear where he's picked up a lotta his stuff.
His approach to it is more or less orchestral. The
kinda stuff he plays and the music is like
punctuation, and structural. He's an extremely
subtle and refined guitar player, that's the way I
think of him. I really admire him.

RS: How would you describe your own guitar playing?

I don't know . . . I would describe my own
guitar playing as descended from barroom rock &
roll, country guitar. Just 'cause that's where all
my stuff comes from. It's like that blues instru-
mental stuff that was happening in the late
Fifties and early Sixties, like Freddie King.

RS: But your guitar playing also has to do with the
harmonic and the structural role....

Right, and that has to do with the way I see
myself in relation to the band that I'm playing
in.... It must be like much the same way
Robbie Robertson sees himself, in the sense that
you write songs and you tend to think a certain
way, about how the music is supposed to work,
what kind of background you're lining up. It
depends on whether you're approaching it on the
level of a texture or whatever. I tend to think of
it in terms of punctuation and stuff. Same thing.

When I get ready to go on the road, I make up
cassettes of all my favorite music. Country &
western stuff. Just whatever. Ali Akbar Khan;
Crosby, Stills and Nash.

RS: When did you decide to stop doing the blues stuff,
the harder rock & roll thing, and go into the stressed

That was really the result of hanging out with
Crosby and those guys . . . just because they
could sit down in any situation and pick up an
acoustic guitar and it's instant music, these
beautiful vocal harmonies.          

I think that nothing really communicates like
the human voice. It is really the ultimate
instrument. I used to think of myself as a guitar
player, but hearing singing, and seeing it up
close, has kinda made me want to sing a lot; it
just makes me want to do it, I don't really know
what it is . . . and it's real satisfying to sing. I've
always gotten off on a good singer, and that's
what I'm basin' it on.

That's part of where our music wants to go,
but it's record companies and the music business
structure that's making it that difficult. It should
be possible for everybody to do everything,
especially in music, where music can only get
better when people get together in different
combinations. But record companies wanta be
exclusive. They're getting looser and looser, and
hopefully the thing could get loose enough where
everybody could do whatever they want. That
would be ideal.

RS: What guitarists have you learned the most from?

I think Freddie King is the guy that I learned
the most volume of stuff from. When I started
playing electric guitar the second time, with the
Warlocks, it was a Freddie King album that
got almost all my ideas off of, his phrasing,
really. That first one, Here's Freddie King, later it
came out as Freddie King Plays Surfin' Music or
something like that, it has "San-Ho-Zay" on it
and "Sensation" and all those instrumentals.


right off one of the evening talk shows, 
and that is, "Dr. Garcia, how do you
stayay high?" 

I smoke a lot of dope.

Reich: Do you think that's . . .

Would you like some?

Reich: Do you think that that's it?

Well, in reality I don't really stay that high,
although I get high a lot, smoking a lot of pot, is
what I'm trying to say. That's what it comes
down to, but that doesn't necessarily mean that
I'm high. A certain amount of seeming to be
high has to do with my being more or less well
rehearsed in the role of Jerry Garcia, 'cause it's
kinda been laid on me. In reality, I'm like lots
more worthless than any of that would make it

Reich: Among the different things the kids say about
you, one is "Mr. Good Vibes."

Yeah, but that always is part-true bullshit,
because my old lady can tell you about how often
I'm on a bummer. Really, I'm just like every-
body else and it's just that I really love those
times when I'm high, so my trip has always been
to make them count as much as possible.

Reich: What I'm trying to get at is that you believe
in being high, and many other people not only don't
believe in it but think it's dangerous and hatefull.

Well, you know, I . . . everybody's . . . one
man's poison is another man's dope.

Reich : For instance, I believe in being high but not
as much  as you believe in it. In other words, I have
more reservations about it than you do--or less
experience with it, how about that?

That's it right there. I don't have that many
illusions about it because I was never around in
that world where you had to read about it. For
me, it came in the form of dope. You got a joint,
you didn't get a lecture; and you got a cap, you
didn't get a treatise or any of that shit. You just
got high; you took the thing and found out what
happened to you; that's the only evidence there
is. Being programmed by dope talk or any of that
stuff is like somebody trying to tell you what it's
like to fuck if you've never fucked anybody.

You can't know it that way, that's all, and also
it'll put weird ideas in your head, misinforma-
tion and shit. Misinformation is the root of all
. . uh . . . ah . . . er . . . ah . . . ignorance---
nah, that's not it--ineffectuality . . . nah, fuck
it, well, nice try, maybe next time.

Really, I don't think that. I think that the
whole discussion about drugs, whether to take
them or not, is like . . . well, I don't think that
there's a side on that. I know a lot of people who I
respect super-highly that don't take anything,
and, of course, I know people that get really high
and I respect them as highly, too; and I know
far-out junkies. There are people doing every-
thing, and I just don't think that anything's it.

Reich : How do you manage to be so optimistic? 

Music is a thing that has optimism built into
it. Optimism is another way of saying "space.''
Music has infinite space. You can go as far into
music as you can fill millions of lifetimes. Music
is an infinite cylinder, it's open-ended, it's space.
The form of music has infinite space as a part of
it, and that, in itself, means that its momentum
is essentially in that open place.

Reich: You said you would only play on optimistic
days or  I said [ would only write on optimistic days.

That might be optimum, but my experience
has been that a lot of times we've played sets that
we didn't like or that I didn't like, or I didn't
like what I was doing, but it got on and it
sounded good on tape and the audience got on.
There's lots of degrees. I don't like to try to paint
everything in those real, specific cartoony figures
because there's degrees all over the place. For
example, if I'm super-, superdepressed, I some-
times play the highest music I play.

Reich: How do you do it?

Because music can contain all of it. It can
contain your bummers, it can contain your
depressions, it can contain the black despair,
man, it can contain the w hole spectrum. The
blues is a perfect example. The blues is that very
effect, operating in a very sublime way. You
hardly ever hear anybody say they're depressed
because they've heard a lot of music. That's a
pretty good example, right there. Even the worst
music--the poorest, baddest, most ill-thought-
of music on earth--doesn't hurt anybody.

Reich: I know some people that are a angry at
Lennon's album with the screaming and crying, they
call it self-pity. Does that bother you?

No. I love the album myself.

Reich: I love it, too. It's very different from the kind
of music the Dead plays.

That's true, but we haven't been exposed to
the really extreme pressure that John Lennon has.

Reich: I read a book on rock & roll recently that
said the real medium of rock & roll is records and that
concerts are onIy repeats of records. I guess the Grateful
Dead represents the opposite of that idea.

Right. Our records are definitely not it or ever
have been. The things we do depend so much
upon the situation we're in and upon a sort of a
magic thing. We aren't in such total control of
our scene that we can say, ''Tonight's the night,
it's going to be magic tonight.'' We can only say
we're going to try it tonight. And whether it's
magic or not is something we can't predict and
nobody else can predict; and even when it's over
and done with, it's one of those things where
nobody's really sure. It's subtle and it's elusive,
but it's real.

Reich: And the magic comes not just from you but
from the whole thing.

The whole thing. The unfortunate thing about
the concert situation for us is the stage; and the
audience has either a dance floor where they all
sit down or seats where they all stand up. It's too
inflexible to allow something new to emerge. lt's
a box that we've been operating in, and we've
been operating in it as a survival mechanism, yet
hoping to get off when we can. But basically it's
not set up to let us get off, and it's not set up for
the audience to get off either. The reason is that
anarchy and chaos are things that scare every-
body, or scare a lot of the people--except for the
people that get into it.

RS: Why doesn't it scare you?

Because I've had enough experience with it to
where I like it. It's where new stuff happens. I
have never understood exactly why people get
scared, but they do get scared for reasons, like to
protect oneself, to protect one's own personal
visions of oneself. They're all paranoid reasons.
That's the thing you stimulate if you fight it. It's
like any high-energy experience; if you fight it, it
hurts; if you go with it, it's like surfing, it's like
catching a big wave.

Reich: Do you think they don't believe in magic?

I think that our audience definitely does. Or,
rather than dwell on the idea of magic, they
know that there's a certain phenomenon that can
happen, and if they come to see us enough,
they've observed it, they've seen it, they've been
part of it. And that's the payoff. That's the
reason to keep on doing it. We know that it can
happen, and the problem has been in trying to
figure out how can we make that happen and at
the same time keep our whole scene together on a
survival level. And that's essentially what we're
doing .

Reich: Why is it important to get high? Why is it
important to stay high?  What good does it do
anybody--the world, the community or people them-

To get really high is to forget yourself. And to
forget yourself is to see everything else. And to
see everything else is to become an understand-
ing molecule in evolution, a conscious tool of the
universe. And I think every human being should
be a conscious tool of the universe. That's why I
think it's important to get high.

Reich: Getting zonked out or unconscious is a whole
different thing.

I'm not talking about unconsciousness or
zonked out, I'm talking about being fully con-
scious. Also I'm not talking about the Grateful
Dead as being an end in itself. I don't think of
that highness as being an end in itself. I think of
the Grateful Dead as being a crossroads or a
pointer sign, and what we're pointing to is that
there's a lot of universe available, that there's a
whole lot of experience available over here. We're
kinda like a signpost, and we're also pointing to
danger, to difficulty, we're pointing to bum-
mers. We're pointing to whatever there is, when
we're on--when it's really happening.

RS: You're a signpost to new space?

Yes. That's the place where we should be---
that's the function we should be filling in
society. And in our own little society, that's the
function we do fill. But in the popular world---
the media world and so forth--we're just a rock
& roll band.

We play rock & roll music and it's part of our
form---our vehicle, so to speak--but it's not who
we are totally. Like Moondog in New York City
who walks around, he's a signpost to otherness.
He's a signpost to something that isn't concrete.
It s that same thing.

RS: Where did you get the idea about pointing to new
new place?

We never formulated it, it just was what was
happening. We were doing the Acid Test, which
was our first exposure to formlessness. Formless-
ness and chaos lead to new forms. And new
order. Closer to, probably, what the real order is.
When you break down the old orders and the old
forms and leave them broken and shattered, you
suddenly find yourself a new space with new form
and new order which are more like the way it is.
More like the flow.

And we just found ourselves in that place. We
never decided on it, we never thought it out.
None of it. This is a thing that we've observed in
the scientific method. We've watched what

What we're really dedicated to is not so much
telling people, but to doing that thing and getting
high. That's the thing; that's the payoff, and
that's the whole reason for doing it, right there.

Reich: Does the new culture scene seem to be falling
to pieces?

It does seem to be doing that, but it always
seems to be doing that. It depends on what level
you're looking at it. If you're looking at it on the
level of what you hear about it, yeah, it's going
to pieces. If you look at it on the level of the guys
you know and what they're doin', I think that
things are going pretty good. Everybody I know
is doing stuff and nobody I know is on a
particularly declining trip.

Reich: That's what I see; individual people are
doing fine. Then why are we being told that it's aIl
dying and falling apart?

I think that the people that are interested in it
not dying and falling apart are probably a lot
closer than we think they are. I think that's
probably it. There's always somebody that has to
say that it's not happening; and the people who
are into saying that it's not happening are the
people that aren't into stuff.

Reich: You refuse to say that the rock music world is
going through some terrible times and seems to be dying.

I think the whole world is going through a
terrible thing.

RS: What about the new culture?

I don't see the rock & roll scene as being the
new culture. I think the rock & roll scene is just
the rock & roll scene. Basically it's a professional
trip. It's business and stuff like that and that the
music and musicians are still a whole other world
really, and I don't think that what the musicians
are up to and what their heads are like is ever
really filtered out into that world. The "rock
scene" is a fabrication of media. Anytime you
have people doing the same thing, you have
shoptalk, you have a shop scene, you have a
professional scene. Because music is a high-
energy trip and it's important nowadays, it's this
thing called the rock scene. But I know an
artists' scene that's at least as clannish as the rock
scene---the comic book artists' scene. It's all
kinds of scenes that are all doing stuff, and
accomplishing stuff and creating stuff and defin-
ing culture and doing all those things that
everybody says they're doing. They really are
doing it, but I think that what is really new and
what is happening now in the postrevolutionary
thing is not being focused upon. I think that it's
good that it's not, because it might have a chance
to develop into something that really works
before the focus lays in on it.

I think that what's happening is an almost
infinite number of possibilities of ways to live
your life are being thought out. Ultimately
people are going to be able to choose any
possibility and find a scene that does it.

Reich: How are you going to communicate between
one kind of scene to another?

Just by hanging out.

Reich: The music scene comes to me through records.
And it isn't that hard to translate. Some people think
it is.

No. I think everybody sees. Now everybody in
America has had so much of the same kind of
influence; communication is supereasy, and im-
ages and stuff are available to everybody, and it's
possible to really lay stuff out and have people
know what it is. The problem with artists
communicating is that the old avant-garde art
world is doing what it was doing twenty years
ago---it's dying and it's pretty much dead now.
The new stuff, which has real energy, real
vitality and really talks to people on the level of
what's going on in their lives, on the level of
what their personal images are and so forth,
works. It's like new definitions of what has been
lost in our culture in terms of where art fits in or
where culture fits into people---whatever those
weird terms are.

Reich: Well, it's aIl in the way we tell each other
about what we've found out. This leads me to our
ending, something that we agree about although we
come from very different worlds. We both think that
everybody really knows the truth underneath aIl their
appearances. Could you just say what you think that
means, and then I'll say what I think it means.

What the truth is?

Reich: Well, when we both say that everybody
knows something that most people aren't letting on to.

I don't know what it means. There is some
basic premise there are some basic forces that are
occurring in the universe that--in inhabiting
this universe---you can't escape knowing what
they are. I think of it as a universal--a cosmic
conspiracy. Or, the information we're plugged
into is the universe itself, and everybody knows
that on a cellular level. It's built in. Just
superficial stuff like what happened to you in
your lifetime is nothing compared to the con-
tainer which holds all your information. And
there's a similarity in all our containers. We are
all one organism, we are all the universe, we are
all doing the same thing. That's the sort of thing
that everybody knows, and I think that it's only
weird little differences that are making it diffi-
cult. And there's been a trend among humans to
try to stop everything, that we're going to stop
the force called change in the universe and we're
going to stay here. But it just doesn't happen.
The thing that everyone should know is that
change is the thing that's happening, all the time,
and that it's okay to change your clothes, it's
okay to change your face, it's okay to change
anything. You can change. And you can create
change. And you can do it knowing that it's
what you're supposed to do.

Reich: You and I and aIl the others in this thing
have almost a conspiracy going among us. 

There's no losing. I think the way you can
have a conspiracy is to have trust. A certain kind
of trust. For example, the way the old power
dynasties were built was somebody would marry
somebody's sister and stuff like that and it would
be blood trust, which is the old way of thinking
it. But now it's like a new family trust--global
village trust. The thing is that we're all earth-
lings. And in the face of the enormity of the
cosmos, it's best for us to stick together as
earthlings. The earthling consciousness is the one
that's really trying to happen at this juncture and
so far it's only a tiny little glint, but it's already
over. The change has already happened, and it's a
matter of swirling out.

It has already happened. We're living after the
fact. It's a postrevolutionary age. The change is
over. The rest of it is a cleanup action. Unfor-
tunateiy it's very slow. Amazingly slow and
amazingly difficult.

Reich: But everybody knows it now?

Well, if they don't, they will.

Reich: So the thing is to keep on . . .

Keep it on, keep it on. Just keep on keeping
on, folks.