Saturday, January 30, 2016

Alex Bennett interviews the Dead, September 16, 1970

Bennett, Alex, “Alex Bennett with the Grateful Dead. Interview broadcast on WMCA in New York City in 1970 [radio broadcast],” Grateful Dead Archive Online, accessed August 2, 2015,

Nothing here is verbatim, but hopefully this can provide some markers if anyone else wants to go check this out.

A few things of interest.

First, the date is 9/16/70, just before the Fillmore East "An Evening With the Grateful Dead" run.

Second, this is the day they flew on the plane with Huey Newton.

Third, I love that Bob Weir was reading the Times.

Fourth, with Paul's passing I'd like to go back and see what they said about Kantner.

Fifth, some time-stamping on American Beauty, which is just being finished. I think we knew that, but anyway.

Sixth, note they say they are going to go out and jam somewhere this night. I wonder?

Seventh, already talking about playing the base of the Great Pyramids. Badass.

Sketchy notes follow.


Garcia, Weir, Lesh, Cutler, Mickey,

How do you like the Big Apple?

Plane flight.

0138 JG we were on the plane sitting with Huey Newton and David Hilliard.

0228 we just talked, we raved for the whole flight [with Huey Newton]

Q what did Huey Newton say?

JG 0245 he said a lot of things. They were all good. 

0457 Spiro Agnew in the newspaper yesterday about pop musicians and the drug culture

! ref: Naughton, James M. 1970. Agnew Assails Songs and Films that Promote a ‘Drug Culture’. New York Times, September 15, 1970, p. 18.

Perfect foil for us freaks. Nice and slow, dull-witted. 0545

Kantner and Croz

We just got off a 5 hour flight

0950 new GD album so well produced and so commercial. Why all of a sudden?

Phil we sold out

JG That’s what we started out to do, but we have been incredibly unsuccessful with that. Finally we’re good enough where we can get our stuff to be communicative to a large body. It looks like we’ve gotten simpler, more direct, etc. Starting off with the incredible, crystalline, baroque, Taj Mahal structure which we’ve hammered and chiseled down to a fine little diamond. After a long period of time we’ve come out with a sound that’s commercial blah blah.

BW 1115

Putting out a free record … 1200

Happy with the record?

We are just finishing the other new album.

1228 Workingman’s Dead is a nice lead-in to the new album. I like it a lot.

Bill Kreutzmann arrives

Reference to Marmaduke being in the room

Pigpen’s a no-show 1400

Messrs Cutler and McIntire are also present

Goofy chaos

1722 just gonna keep asking stereotype questions

1744 Bonnie radio station up in Canada story about Jerry

1857 How does your mother feel about your long hair?

Bob’s parents asked Phil and Jerry to keep Bob in school.

Highest gig was Haight Street 3/3/68 ca. late 20s over 30

The Be-In was a great one.

Haight Street crumbled right after that

Late 32 speed and smack brought down the Haight

3320 where do you draw your limit on drugs?

JG everybody can choose their own poison. Everybody can mess themselves up whatever way they want.

3354 if someone asked you

There’s no situation in which we would be considered to be experts.

3445 JG drugs to be one of the ways for a person to eliminate themselves from endless karmic recycling. You can think about drugs in the way you think about automobiles. … it used to be there were a lot of natural deaths. Now everybody is kept alive. So the automobile is an out for that. Drugs are that, too, maybe.

3555 life kills

3618 cyanide and cigarettes

3655 suicide in the widest, broadest … might as well be an act of freewill. Laws that have to do with preventing injury to one’s body. That’s a big Christian trip.

3819 are the Dead doing something about it

Traveling across the country making a film. No we didn’t do that film. Ripoff. Ripoff. WB was making a movie of a caravan going across the country. 3954 a whole bunch of other people and they were putting it together. It wasn’t our scene, we didn’t do it. Somewhere some money hungry lawyers. At the last moment they slapped us with some silly contract. 4028

Now it’s 8:15 they’re gonna go and jam tonight somewhere. This will be on 9/16. We’re doing the FE right now, Capitol Theater in first week of November. October on the east coast doing schools. 41:17

Boston 4200 in November on the 20th and the next weekend.


4917 what trip would JG like to do musically?

Base of the Great Pyramids! 4930

5215 anything else you’d like to impart to the people?

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