To mark the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead‘s first shows together in 1965, first as the Warlocks before adopting their household moniker, the legendary jam band have a number of projects on the horizon to celebrate the occasion. Chief among them: An official, career-spanning documentary produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Amir Bar-Lev that will be stuffed with never-before-seen archival footage plucked from the Dead’s vaults, live performances and new interviews with band members and “other characters and pranksters from the Dead universe.”
“The Grateful Dead were more than just a band. They were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and proud to be involved,” Scorsese said in a statement. Director Bar-Lev added, “It’s been 10 years since I first set out to make a film about the Grateful Dead and I’m thrilled that it’s finally happening.” Longtime Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux, who handpicks Dead shows for the band’s Dave’s Picks bootleg series, will serve as the film’s music supervisor.
“Millions of stories have been told about the Grateful Dead over the years. With our 50th Anniversary coming up, we thought it might just be time to tell one ourselves and Amir is the perfect guy to help us do it. Needless to say, we are humbled to be collaborating with Martin Scorsese,” surviving Dead members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and Bob Weir said in a joint statement.
“From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living In The Material World, from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved,” the group continued. “The 50th will be another monumental milestone to celebrate with our fans and we cannot wait to share this film with them.”
The legendary director is juggling even more music-related projects for the future. Scorsese, Mick Jagger and Sopranos producer Terence Winter currently have their Seventies-based rock n’ roll drama series in production over at HBO. The director has also been recruited to make a pair of musical biopics: one based on the Ramones, the other on Frank Sinatra.