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

52 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on September 20, 2016
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