Jerry Garcia talks Woodstock and Altamont, the San Francisco music scene and the Grateful Dead’s relationship with fringe political groups in a previously unreleased interview set to appear on the deluxe edition of Amir Bar-Lev’s Grateful Dead documentary, Long Strange Trip.
The deluxe edition will be released November 16th exclusively via Dead.net. The edition will be limited to 6,500 copies each on DVD and Blu-Ray, though regular versions will also be available.
The previously unreleased interview footage was recorded in May 1970 in England during the Grateful Dead’s first overseas trip. The band was set to play the Hollywood Festival in Newcastle, and the interview opens with Garcia talking with a British journalist about how Woodstock and Altamont were “two sides of the same coin.”
“It’s like two ways that kind of expression can go, of a huge number of people and no rules,” Garcia says. “One of the ways, obviously, can go to a terrible bummer like Altamont, and one of the other ways is to an immensely enjoyable scene like Woodstock. And they both had their extremes, but they were both sort of characterized by this heaviness, this sort of historical heaviness.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Garcia discusses the Grateful Dead’s California contemporaries, from fellow San Francisco acts Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, to Los Angeles’ avant garde maestro, Frank Zappa. The journalist also presses Garcia on the Dead’s relationship with the Hells Angels’ motorcycle gang and radical political groups like the Weathermen.
Referring to the Weathermen as more of a “campus phenomenon,” Garcia says, “Our aspect of society is not a college trip. We’re part of a whole huge community of head adults, if there’s any label, that’s who we are. There’s a lot of us and we’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for a long time.”
Along with the interview, the deluxe edition of Long Strange Trip will feature footage from the Grateful Dead’s Hollywood Festival set, as well as backstage footage and other behind-the-scenes moments. Grateful Dead archivist David Lemieux discovered the material in 2003 while digging through outtakes for the DVD release of The Grateful Dead Movie.
In a statement, Lemieux said the 16mm footage featured “not only rare, exceptional quality material from the performance at the Hollywood Festival, but loads of other terrific footage, showing the band at a Warner Bros. Records party in London (Pigpen surrounded by suits!), at a photo shoot … at a rehearsal hall performing ‘Candyman’ vocal harmonies and, most exciting of all, backstage at the festival. This is truly some of the most remarkable, candid, and interesting footage in existence of the Grateful Dead and we’re thrilled to be releasing the entirety of this wonderful historical document.”
The deluxe edition of Long Strange Trip will also include two live performances from 1989 (“Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”). Snippets of both those performances, and the footage from the 1970 England trip, were used in the original film, though this will mark the first time they’ve been released in full.