The ‘Skull and Lightning Bolt’ icon is one of the Grateful Dead’s most prominent visual images, the other being the ‘Skull and Roses’. The original concept was Bear’s and the rendering was done by artist Bob Thomas. It appears in countless forms – album covers, stickers, belt buckles, T-shirts, embroidered jackets, flags, patches, postcards and hubcaps – official and unofficial, well and badly produced. It’s important to esoteriscists that the lightning bolt has 13 points. It’s important to iconographers that the colors are red, white, and blue. It may be important to paleontologists that the skull has 8 teeth.
The icon was the cover of the nightmare album contractually committed to United Artists before Rakow went weird and disappeared. This is the album that Phil called Steal Your Face.
Sweet William aka Bill Fritsch was a Poet, Digger and Hells Angel. He passed away March 14, 2015 at the age of 80.
Loose Bruce aka Bruce Beverly Baxter was from a wealthy Texas family and loved to have a good time. The Harley he’s reclining on was built by a Hells Angel friend. The silver skull topped cane he’s using to balance himself, was acquired due to a wreck on his previous motorcycle.. Bruce left the planet way too young in the late 70’s due to the “live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse” school of living.
Photo creds: Top to bottom – Jerilyn Lee Brandelius, Tom Brister