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  • [Music: Grateful Dead "Franklin's Tower"]

  • >> Joe Smith: So when the band finally fell into place as The Warlocks

  • it was basically what was the Grateful Dead.

  • >> Jerry Garcia: Absolutely. Kreutzmann. Me, Phil...

  • >> Joe Smith: Pig and Bobby, huh?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: That's right.

  • >> Joe Smith: And what did it sound like?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: It sounded like hell. It sounded really awful for the first few gigs.

  • [Music: "Franklin's Tower" continues]

  • >> Joe Smith: Was it The Warlocks very long before you became the Dead?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: About a year.

  • >> Joe Smith: And what triggered the new identity?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: Well we finally discovered that there was a band

  • that was recording using the name Warlocks.

  • We thought: "oh, shit, we can't have that kind of confusion."

  • So we went on the band hunt, you know, looking for a name.

  • >> Joe Smith: The name came from whom? Who dug it up?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: Well I found it in an old dictionary at Phil's house. I just opened

  • it up and there I saw "the Grateful Dead."

  • >> Joe Smith: You could have been... could you imagine

  • what would have happened: the Warlockheads. The dictionary changed society.

  • >> Jerry Garcia: It absolutely did. Yes it did.

  • [Music: Grateful Dead "Franklin's Tower"]

  • >> Jerry Garcia: That was about the time we fell in with the acid tests

  • with Kesey and those guys. We had starting taking acid ourselves

  • while we were still The Warlocks. We didn't do it at shows.

  • At the time we were playing the divorcees' bars up and down the peninsula.

  • You know. Our booking agent was this guy who used to book

  • strippers and dog acts and magicians and everybody else.

  • It was the standard gig: six nights a week, five sets a night. Standard bar stuff.

  • We were doing that for about a year. And, you know, after that you're ready for anything.

  • We knew a lot of the people in Kesey's scene, because

  • it was all part of the Palo Alto scene, which we were a part of.

  • And they knew of us. The one guy, named Paige, who was one of the Pranksters,

  • came to one of our late night sets at one of the bar's we were playing at.

  • [Music: Grateful Dead "Cream Puff War"]

  • >> Jerry Garcia: And said: "hey, you guys, we're having these parties up at Kesey's

  • place in La Honda [California] every Saturday night. why don't you guys come?"

  • I said: "well, we're working all the time." Luckily the following week we got fired.

  • And we had nothing to do. So Saturday night came around.

  • We went to the first one of those parties, which later became the Acid Tests.

  • >> Joe Smith: What did you do there? It was just experimenting?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: No. We just set up the equipment. Everybody got high.

  • And stuff would happen.

  • Now Kesey and his Pranksters have been doing this for a long time,

  • so they had instruments and they played weird music.

  • But mostly it was completely free. There was no real performance of any kind involved.

  • Everybody there was as much performer as audience. You know.

  • [Music: "Cream Puff War" continues]

  • >> Jerry Garcia: These guys had never been confronted

  • with a regular rock and roll band, you know.

  • And we plugged our gear in which looked like space age, military nightmare stuff.

  • Compared to all their stuff, which was all hand painted and real funky you know.

  • [Music: Grateful Dead "Golden Road"]

  • >> Jerry Garcia: And WHAM, we played for about five minutes. Then we all freaked out.

  • You know. We played for about five minutes, but it completely devastated everyone.

  • So they begged us to come back to the next one.

  • And that's how it happened essentially.

  • >> Joe Smith: When you guys now you're doing some acid, you were playing around.

  • What did you expect to be? Were you going to be a Beatles?

  • Were you going to be a great rock n roll... what were you going to do?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: We didn't really care whether we went somewhere specifically.

  • We mostly wanted to have fun. And when we fell in with the Acid Tests

  • we a started having the most fun we'd ever had ever.

  • More than than we could have ever..... I mean it was just incredible.

  • [Music: Grateful Dead "Friend of the Devil"]

  • >> Joe Smith: And how long did that go on?

  • >> Jerry Garcia: For about six months. But that was probably

  • the most important six months in terms of directionality.

  • Because the neat thing about the Acid Tests was we could play if we wanted to.

  • But if it was too weird, we could always not play.

  • So that was the only time we ever had the option of not playing.

  • [Music: "Friend of the Devil" continues]

  • >> Jerry Garcia: I think The Grateful Dead kind of represents the spirit

  • of being able to go out and have an adventure in America at large.

  • You know what I mean? You can go out and follow the Grateful Dead around.

  • And you have your war stories. Something like hopping railroads. Something like that.

  • Or being on the road like Cassidy and Kerouac.

  • >> Joe Smith: That's interesting.

  • >> Jerry Garcia: But you can't do those types of things anymore.

  • But you can be a Deadhead. You can get in your van and go with

  • the other Deadheads across the United States and meet it on your own terms.

  • Sort of a niche for it, in a way.

  • Subtitles by the Amara.org community

[Music: Grateful Dead "Franklin's Tower"]

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Jerry Garcia on The Acid Tests | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios

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    VoiceTube posted on 2016/09/20
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