Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Cult Following of The Grateful Dead
Nearly every band dreams of having what the Grateful Dead had - extremely loyal fans. In fact, their fans were so loyal that much of their popularity came from their popularity. Meaning that they were sometimes known as a band that had extremely loyal fans. These loyal fans were known as "deadheads."
So who were the Grateful Dead? They were formed in San Francisco in 1965. This was a great time and place for a band to start. They are now known as the godfathers of jam band. However, they played many genres. Some of these genres include rock, blues, jazz, bluegrass, psychedelia, country, americana, and reggae. Their broad list of genres attracted a large audience. Their lengthy jams and exciting improvisations kept them. They may have had the most loyal fans of rock history.
Their fans traveled with them wherever they went. When they toured their fans would tour with them, often attending every concert on a tour. They would make and sell various items like tie-dye shirts and food at each concert in order to have the money necessary for living. Drug use as a spiritual ritual was common at many of these concerts. They would often use peyote or LSD to enhance their musical experience or keep a spiritual connection with the music.
There are not many bands like this nowadays. The simple, carefree lifestyle of traveling with a band has become rare, but it still does exist. Take the band Phish for example. They took obvious influence from the Grateful Dead, notably in their lengthy jams and improvs, but mostly in their loyal fans. Their fans operate in the same way as the Grateful Dead. They sell items at shows and they always travel with them.
(If you don't know Phish you should check them out; I'll be hoping to see them this June in their reunion tour)