A new film, Fire on the Mountain, combines the excitement of action sports with the classic tunes of the Grateful Dead. Directed by Chris Benchetler and Tyler Hamlet and narrated by former basketball star and television sportscaster Bill Walton, it features pro surfer Rob Machado; snowboarders Jeremy Jones, Danny Davis and Kimmy Fasani; and skiers Benchetler and Michelle Parker. The film was shot on Mammoth Mountain in California, as well as the North Pole and Indonesia. Psychedelic lights are strewn across snowy mountains, creating patterns that resemble the aurora borealis, while the surfers wear neon skeleton wetsuits that glow in the water.
The soundtrack — consisting of Dead favorites from Jerry Garcia’s masterpiece “Dark Star” to Bob Weir’s “Playing in the Band” — was supervised by David Lemieux, the Dead’s legacy manager and audiovisual archivist. “In the 20 years I’ve been working with the Grateful Dead, I’ve been a part of many astoundingly beautiful projects,” Lemieux tells Rolling Stone. “Fire On The Mountain, and working with Chris and his entire team, has been one of most exciting productions I’ve been involved with. It was collaborative and respectful at every step along the way, and the footage, athletic performances, and music work perfectly together.”
The song “Fire on the Mountain,” a funky highlight of the Dead’s 1978 album Shakedown Street, was written by Robert Hunter and composed by drummer Mickey Hart. “As my friend Bill Walton always reminds me, music and sports have a lot in common,” Hart says. “To succeed in either field, you must have good rhythm. Fire on the Mountain is a beautiful film that really makes that connection clear.”
“Being involved in this film pushed me to new limits in every way,” Machado adds. “From snowboarding Mammoth in the dead of night and surfing in the pitch black, I had to rely solely on instincts in a way that I never experienced. A lot of trial and error and some exhausting nights, but I’m really stoked on how it came together.”
Fire on the Mountain is now streaming worldwide here.
Fire on the Mountain Tracklist
1. “Brown Eyed Woman” (Live) – From Europe ‘72
2. “The Other One” (Live) – From Europe ’72 Vol. 2
3. “New Speedway Boogie” – From Workingman’s Dead
4. “Dark Star” (Edit) – From Steppin’ Out With The Grateful Dead: England ‘72
5. “Playing In The Band” (Live) – From Europe ’72 Vol. 2
6. “Fire On The Mountain” (Live) – From Cornell 5/8/77
7. “Ripple” – From American Beauty