Around this time the band decided to plug in more directly to all the Dead Heads. The Dead Freaks Unite campaign, introduced inside the ‘Skull-& Roses’ LP in ’71, had been a tremendous success – we’d built up a mailing list of 30,000 names – and we knew a direct mailing list and newsletter served as an effective communication link with the Dead Heads. To reach even more people, we decided after Wake Of The Flood to send a Grateful Dead Records promotion booth on tour with the band. Our gambit worked: We signed up another 50,000 on the ’74 tours.
The booth was designed by Michael Gaspars of Bolinas and consisted of two pairs of 4 x 8-foot folding plywood panels, each with a custom Courtenay Pollock tie-dye representing one of the four seasons. A 12-foot table in front of the booth was also trimmed in Courtenay dyes. (Many Dead Heads know Courtenay’s work from the ’81, ’82 and ’83 Greek shows, for which he created the stage backdrops. He also made the Dead’s famous early ’70s amp covers.) Signs over the booth were made by Kelley & Mouse that read: ‘FREE STUFF’ and ‘GRATEFUL DEAD COMMERCIAL MESSAGE.’ On the table for people who came to the booth already feeling a little strange, we had a mirrored infinity box containing a lovely two-headed skull-and-roses sculpture by David Best. It was a unique experience, to say the least, manning this kaleidoscopic wonder throughout the ’74 tours.
Giving out posters and postcards of all our records, signing up people on our ‘junk mail’ list and getting direct feedback about the Dead and their records seemed an appropriate and friendly way of doing Grateful Dead business. Most rewarding to me was meeting all the wonderful people at Dead concerts all across North America and Europe. I was never in need of any booth handling help, setting up or taking down. Some Dead Heads would follow along and help for a whole regional tour. Local Dead Heads would turn me on to their scene and their town. I’ve often felt that the best ‘product’ that the Dead have produced has been their fans.
– Steve Brown (The Golden Road)
This crowd shot shows an afternoon of joy at the Greek Theatre.
There is the Band, the Family around them which is the subject of this book and then the dearly beloved Extended Family, aka the Deadheads.
The copy on the page describes how the band reached out to its fans in unique and special ways. This remix of the Family Album continues in that tradition – we are reaching out to you via digital media and we hope you will respond by getting in touch with us by leaving a comment and sharing the experience with your Friends. -Jerilyn
David Nelson in the early days of the New Riders of the Purple Sage.
Send news to the hermit waiting
sudden departure seized us
(being full of hours)
to a distant opening of springs
Today our tongue-fingers make the issue:
resonance of species
back into the white bird-pecked sea
Photo Credits: All – Herb Green