CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is proud to present a major exhibition devoted to a truly unique American rock and roll band, Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip. The exhibit will open to the public on Thursday, April 12, as a part of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Week events. The Mickey Hart Band, featuring the Grateful Dead drummer, will perform on the Rock Hall’s Main Stage for an exhibit opening event on Wednesday, April 11.
“The Grateful Dead is a band that is identified with a remarkable era in American history, and, inasmuch as they embody that era, their work is timeless,” says Jim Henke, vice president of Exhibits and Curatorial Affairs. “They’ve inspired many performers and bands, but none has exhibited their musical depth and cultural resonance. In a 30-year career, this group wrote their own rules and created a community unlike any band before or since.”
Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip explores the band from a non-linear point of view. Individual sections within the exhibit will be devoted to Grateful Dead as a recording group and a touring band, the fans who devotedly followed them, tapers and fellow travelers (people who were important to the band). It will include finished and working manuscripts for classic songs, handwritten notes from legendary taper Dick Latvala, artifacts from original sound designer Owsley “Bear” Stanley, and promoter Bill Graham’s Father Time robe and Grateful Dead Hotline answering machine.
Art and design have always been closely associated with Grateful Dead, and this exhibit will include an unprecedented collection of original artwork that is immediately recognizable from the band’s album covers and posters. It will feature numerous instruments used by the Grateful Dead over the years, including keyboards, drums, percussion, guitars and elements from the legendary Wall of Sound PA system. The Grateful Dead Archive at the University of California-Santa Cruz has loaned a significant number of items from their extraordinary collection, which will open to the public in spring 2012.
Additional highlights include:
Five Jerry Garcia guitars, including his Travis Bean TB5
Mickey Hart’s custom-painted drum kit
Two Bob Weir guitars, including his first Ibanez “cowboy” custom guitar
Several original lyric manuscripts, including “Truckin’,” “Box of Rain” and “Sugaree”
Several original Grateful Dead-related artworks, including images from Workingman’s Dead, Without a Net and Fillmore Auditorium poster art
Bill Graham’s “Father Time” robe
Formed in Palo Alto, California, in 1965 from a previous incarnation as a bar band called the Warlocks, the Grateful Dead were at the epicenter of the sweeping cultural event that was San Francisco in the Sixties. Their music was informed by a diverse set of influences – contemporary classical composition, bluegrass, rhythm & blues, free jazz, rock and roll and the blues. Fueled by a cultural underground of writers, poets and bohemians that stretched from Oakland and Berkeley in the East Bay to Palo Alto on the peninsula, the Grateful Dead developed an ethos that embraced true artistic pursuits over commercial concerns, improvisation over rote arrangements and mind expansion through the use of psychedelic drugs.
At the exhibit opening event on the 11th, Mickey Hart Band will perform new songs from his forthcoming album to be released this spring as well as Grateful Dead classics. Hart will be touring this spring in support of his new album which he told Rolling Stone features samples of “light waves from the cosmos, starting 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang.”
This exhibit will be open through December 2012.