[sixties-l] Other Ones Keep Grateful Deads Spirit Alive

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 01/08/01

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    Other Ones Keep Grateful Dead's Spirit Alive
    December 28, 2000
    No one turns the clock back and does it all over again. But someone seems 
    to have forgotten to explain that to the Other Ones, that band of Grateful 
    Dead survivors who took to the road five summers ago as their way of 
    grieving for their late leader, Jerry Garcia.
    By now, logic has it, the Other Ones should be retired or performing on the 
    lounge and state-fair circuit to dwindling audiences trying to remember 
    their youth.  Instead, they are playing to hordes of 20-somethings, like 
    the group that filled to capacity the 6,125-seat Universal Amphitheatre in 
    Los Angeles earlier this year; the same venue the Dead sold out on a 
    similar night 27 years ago.
    "It must be magic," said drummer Mickey Hart, 57, sitting backstage in the 
    band's hospitality room as the crowd built outside. "Isn't that what they 
    call it when they can't explain something? It must be magic." Outside, the 
    fans gathering in the parking lot looked like they'd been time-warped from 
    the '60s. Tie-dyed clothes, face paint, pounding drums, psychedelic drugs.
    "The parking lots are kind of a timeless place," said rhythm guitarist Bob 
    Weir, who co-founded the
    original Other Ones, a string band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug 
    Champions, after a chance
    meeting with Garcia on New Year's Eve 1963. Two years later, the band 
    evolved into the Grateful Dead, a San Francisco-based group that never had 
    a hit record but became an American icon through decades of touring.
    "As you get older, you get families, you get settled, it gets hard to make 
    it to the shows," said Weir, 53. "So the kids are the ones out there living 
    life as hard and as fast as they can, as they should be."
    Where he could sometimes be curt offstage, particularly when asked about 
    the Dead's place in history, Weir now seems more relaxed. "There's no 
    infernal hurry," he said, leaning back and smiling as he acknowledged that 
    he still has to grab a guitar before the show to work through a few songs 
    (his own group, Ratdog, has a new album, "Evening Moods").
    Still a rhythmic powerhouse on guitar, Weir has adopted Garcia's subtler 
    stage manner. He led the band through several signature Dead songs, 
    including "Touch Of Grey," with its anthem-like defiance of age:
    "I will get by. I will survive."
    Weir, like most of the Other Ones, can't imagine how he ever considered 
    quitting after Garcia died of a heart attack in 1995. Instead, the group 
    plans to expand its Furthur Festival tour to twice a year, and expects the 
    only missing member, bass player Phil Lesh, will return.
    Lesh left complaining that the Other Ones had become too commercial. He put 
    together Phil Lesh and Friends, which toured with Bob Dylan last summer. 
    His band and the Other Ones have competing New Year's Eve shows scheduled 
    in the Bay Area. Weir acknowledged the split was acrimonious, but said of 
    the group's survivors, "We're closer than brothers."
    "All we ever wanted to do was play music like crazy," drummer Bill 
    Kreutzmann, 54, said. "That's all we ever did, from the acid trips on," he 
    said, recalling the period chronicled in Tom Wolfe's book "The Electric 
    Kool-Aid Acid Test," when the Dead was the house band for Ken Kesey's 
    psychedelic drug parties.  "Which all seems like a different lifetime now."
    Weir said he talks to Garcia every day. "He's certainly alive and well in 
    my imagination," he said, rising from his dressing room couch to get his 
    guitar. But is it just imagination? There are persistent rumors on the 
    Deadhead circuit of Weir trying to channel Garcia's spirit.
    "Who knows?" he said, laughing. "If you'd had him going on in your ear 
    every day for 35 years, you'd probably still hear him, too." 

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