Since the Winterland finale, a full-time staff of four editors has worked in the Mill Valley film house of the Dead’s production company, appropriately named Round Reels. Thus far 125 hours of raw footage have been meticulously screened, matched to a soundtrack and cataloged.

“We used as many as nine crews, each with a cameraman, an assistant cameraman, a sound man, a loader and a runner,” Rakow said. “Together with supervisory personnel we hired 46 people on 11 days notice. But by the third night we were all a unit. We loved working together. And good cinematographers like AI Maysle and Kevin Keating. And Don Lenzer — he shot a lot of Janis and Woodstock. I knew it was gonna be good when Lenzer went up to Phil as he was tuning his bass. Somehow Don’s camera motor registered on the amp through Phil’s bass pickup, and the two guys started this raving, screaming dance together. Phil’s personality, which is incredibly bizarre, came tumbling out at this joyous expression of new weirdness.” (Rolling Stone, 11/6/75)

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Now it all appears to have been a mixture of science fiction, hallucination, baloney and, yes, some reality. But after taking several financial whippings, getting ripped off and writing off most of their dreams to experience, they show little sign of abandoning their pursuit of entropy. In the face of their overwhelming inability to pull off anything as planned, the Dead just go on jousting with windmills.

-Greg Barette (Roll & Roll News, 4/77)

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Calico of the Hog Farm with her son Joey

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Wonderful picture of Keith

Madonna Donna with her and Keith’s son Zion

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If there is any one objective that emerges from the welter of purposeful activity — of documentaries, distribution deals, solo albums and new bands — it’s the Grateful Dead’s eventual liberation from the economic necessity of always having to be the Grateful Dead. “I think we’ve got a chance;’ Weir remarked, “of establishing ourselves to the point where the Grateful Dead will be self-sustaining for as long as we’re into it. We’ll be able to keep going and to fulfill ourselves as a group. Maybe by the time we’re old and gray people will still be listening to us.”

For his part, ‘Cash Flow’ Ron Rakow is not about to wait that long: “With everyone out making a living on his own, the Dead will achieve the status of being patronized by its members. And that’s when I think they’re gonna do their farthest out stuff yet. We’re already working on some killer ideas — flying ballrooms and holographic reproduction. Really out there. We’re even looking at a concert structure that Buckminster Fuller is doing some design work on right now. I can’t give you details but it’s gonna be sensational, really transcendental.”

-John Grissim (Rolling Stone,11/6/75)

Photo Credits: Donna and Zion – Peter Simon, Others – Ed Perlstein