The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir (2014) Movie Script

This is how it goes.
I bought this house in 1972.
I'd just signed my first
solo record contract.
So I decided,
"Okay, I'm gonna build
a little studio for myself
to play around in."
I've done a lot of work in here.
We made Blues for Allah in here.
Both of my kids were born in
our living room in front of our fireplace.
I've probably got around 100 guitars.
Gonna have to do.
This one, I bought in 1970.
350 bucks was all the money I could
think about at the time.
It's a 1959 Gibson 335.
Like, the Holy Grail of thin body guitars.
I played it for four or five years
with the Grateful Dead.
I'd prefer not to travel with it, but...
I can't seem to not do it.
This is a Grammy here.
Lifetime Achievement award.
And, uh... wow.
We managed to put over a million
people into Meadowlands Arena.
They, uh, awarded us for that.
This one is supposed
to have a record on it...
a big gold record and it's the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame. That was in 1994.
Jerry just one day handed me this.
Said, "Here, you need this."
I play it every now and again.
Just for fun.
We had a very strong bond
and a shared sense of purpose.
Jerry was my older brother, basically.
Here's my Jerry bobblehead.
I guess it's you and me, bub.
Uh, Bob.
I've led kind of an unusual life.
I was young for the experience
of leaving home...
and going out and seeing the world.
But I was ready for it.
It was such an amazing adventure.
The music was an adventure.
The people I was doing it with
were an adventurous group.
I've seen stuff that no one's seen.
Spanish lady, come to me
She lays on me this rose
Rainbows spiral round and round
They tremble and explode
Left a smoking crater of my mind
I like to blow away
Heat come round and busted me
For smilin' on a cloudy day
Comin', comin', comin' around
Comin' around
Comin' around in a circle
Comin' around
Comin', comin', comin' around
Comin' around
Comin' around in a circle
Comin' around
Mine has been a long, strange trip.
Well, I was born in San Francisco in 1947.
I was adopted at birth.
My adoptive father was an engineer.
I'll just pull up here.
My mom was something of a socialite.
They couldn't have any kids.
And so they decided,
"Okay, well, let's adopt some."
This wall didn't used to be here.
They adopted my older brother
and then they adopted me.
And then a couple of years later,
to their surprise,
my mom became pregnant
and my sister came along.
Well, there's nothing here.
Our old house is gone.
We had a very quiet,
peaceful household.
We had a beautiful home.
But our family was not really emotional.
Our father came from the East Coast.
It was more puritan and quiet.
Bob certainly was
the exception in the family.
I was pretty wild.
I guess it's just in my blood.
I'm pathologically anti-authoritarian.
I've never been actually
checked out on that, but...
I'm right.
He was the guy
who never met a school
that he could stay in
for more than two or three months.
Come to think of it,
I was kicked out of play school.
I dropped a hammer out of a treehouse
on a kid's head.
And I'm not entirely sure why I did it.
I think I just wanted
to see if it'd hit him.
Teachers knew that
he had a problem reading,
he had a problem learning how to write,
and they figured he was stupid.
In retrospect, my academic career
would never have gone very far,
'cause I'm dyslexic.
It's just not gonna happen.
You know, I read a lot.
But it takes so long
that I would never have been
able to study and make the grade.
The first time I ever met Weir, we were
both freshmen at Fountain Valley School
that specialized in bright
but unmanageable kids.
And I'd turned around
and there's this really dorky kid
with really thick horn rims
and his leg is going...
For some reason,
just immediately liked him.
My older brother, John,
taught me how to tune a radio
right at the height of rock and roll
hitting the airwaves.
The guys who caught my ear were
Chuck Berry,
the Everly Brothers,
Roy Orbison.
What they had going was cool.
I could hear that, I could feel it.
I could feel the excitement.
Then I got my first guitar,
which is a pivot point in my life.
At some point,
he got a new guitar
and stood there as proud
as anybody can be
and said,
"What more could a boy want?"
I'm not sure I'd ever discovered
I had any talent or anything like that.
It was just dogged persistence.
I had to have the music
and so I went after it.
There was a little music store
in Palo Alto, Dana Morgan Music.
This is the first time
I've been back here in decades.
I used to work in the back there
teaching lessons.
Now it's a bed store.
I'll tell you what,
we'll go around the back.
I think we might be able
to get through over here.
So back here somewhere was
the back door to Dana Morgan Music.
And this is where, uh...
It was right here where this wall is,
I guess, now.
This has been built out.
This is where, uh...
This is where on New Year's Eve of 1963
going into '64...
You know, knocked on the door
and met Jerry.
Jerry was sort of a famous musician
around the Palo Alto area.
He was a banjo player primarily.
All the kids that I was hanging with
had great reverence for him.
I'd been backstage with him a time or two
when we were playing the open mic nights
at the Tangent, but...
never actually formally met him.
I was walking this way,
heard some banjo music coming
from this area over in here...
and figured it was Jerry.
Knocked on the door
to see if he was into hanging,
and he was,
'cause his students weren't showing up
because it was New Year's Eve
and he was unmindful of that.
I don't think he had thought that through.
So we got to talking
and then he asked me,
"Want to grab some instruments
from the front of the shop?"
And so we played all night.
He was also
a great guy to hang with.
He was a lot of fun,
and we hit it off.
We kept each other laughing
and all that kind of stuff.
Soon, we were a jug band
and not long thereafter
we were a rock and roll band.
We were out of Palo Alto
and into the city and... off to the world.
So, we started a band
called the Warlocks.
I remember
the first time I met Bob very well.
I'm standing there talking to Jerry
and I ask him,
"Well, where's the weed, man?"
And he says, "Oh, my guitar player's
coming with some weed right now."
You know, any minute now."
So we go outside and we get in the car
and there's Bob.
Apparently, he had just
scored from Neal Cassady.
We sat in the car and rolled up,
and we all got good and high, you know.
And it was killer weed.
You know, Bob had that
beautiful manner about him
that made everyone really
love him from the get-go.
He was sort of like the magic object
in the middle of the band.
If you look back there,
you can see a swimming pool.
To the right of that,
there was a big lawn area.
We played a lawn party there one time.
A little after dark,
the neighbors started complaining,
and the party got shut down.
My folks were trying to get cozy
with my new career as a rock and roller.
I was a 16-year-old kid
when I started playing with Jerry.
And that's kind of where
the ride began for me.
You know,
I wanted to play music,
I wanted to have
a little adventure in my life.
And here it was, big as hell.
I took LSD every Saturday,
without fail, for about a year.
First time I took acid
was on Jerry's birthday,
August 1st, 1965.
I remember ending up
on a hilltop with Sue Swanson.
She did manage to coax out of me
if I'd had any insights.
I told her, "Yeah. You know, music.
That's what I'm here for. Music."
I guess I was officially done with school
when I ran off with the Pranksters.
It was the night
of my second Beatles concert.
I was high on acid at the time.
Out in the parking lot after the show,
there was the bus,
with all the Pranksters in full drag
hanging off it,
swinging off it like monkeys.
Yes, the Merry Band of Pranksters
are everywhere.
I just, you know,
I followed my bliss right onto the bus.
I have the whole thing
all grooved out.
And there was Kesey.
Mr. Kesey, do you feel
that you have the right to do what
you want, whatever you want?
I feel a man has the right to be as big
as he feels it in him to be.
And then there was
this other guy on the bus
who seemed to be his grand vizier,
who just chattered and spoke...
quite often in rhymes.
Fourth dimension.
We are actually fourth dimensional beings
in a third dimensional body
inhabiting a second dimensional world.
That was Neal Cassady.
We are an Intrepid Trips production.
But the Intrepid Trips production,
at the moment, is the Acid Test.
Acid Test.
So Ken Kesey and
the Merry Pranksters come along
and they want to spread the word
about this amazing new drug, LSD.
And so they start having these parties
called the Acid Test.
The Acid Tests were permissive bedlam.
They were large rooms
in which numbers of stoned people
were singing, fucking,
chirping, imitating animals.
Anything that you could possibly imagine
was going on at the Acid Test.
I think they charged a buck at the door.
There was LSD in the Kool-Aid
and everybody got a cup of Kool-Aid for
a buck and got to go into the party.
It was a big success.
It was a big, monster party,
but there wasn't any music.
We brought our equipment and took LSD,
and we plugged in and we played.
We all had Prankster names like,
Phil was Reddy Kilowatt.
Billy was Bill the Drummer.
Jerry's was Captain Trips.
I was the Kid.
It was impossibly fun.
When you take LSD,
your awareness is greatly expanded.
At the same time,
you're profoundly disoriented.
Yeah, you've got your hands
and you know how to play a few chords
and you know how to play rhythmically,
but when the guitar's
turned into some snake-like critter,
and you're watching notes in lines...
in color go by...
You know,
it's hard to relate to all this stuff.
"What is the deal here?"
And still you got a gig,
you got to play.
There were a few times when we'd take acid
and we'd walk out and try to play
and couldn't make sense of anything.
We'd just throw up our hands and flee.
But then we'd come back together
and we'd play like demons.
We'd take a song and at the end,
we'd just, rather than ending it,
let's just stretch it out.
Play with the rhythm,
play with the texture.
That's kind of how we learned
to extend and improvise.
"I'm gonna work
this chord change for a while.
I've heard the jazz guys do it,
and I'm gonna try my hand at it."
There was a lot of extrasensory
communication going on.
And, you know,
I don't want to call it "telepathy,"
'cause there was that, too,
but there was more than that.
You could see through other people's eyes,
you could hear through
other people's ears.
That was the kind of stuff
that we were exploring back then.
The pressure wasn't on us.
So when we did play,
we played with a certain kind of freedom
that you rarely get as a musician.
Not only did we not have to fulfill
expectations about us,
but we didn't have to fulfill expectations
about music either.
We played the topless places
after the Acid Test,
while we were still
sort of drifting around,
and we were already
starting to stretch out our tunes.
And the girls hated us 'cause they were
used to a two minute, 30-second tune,
and then another girl would come up.
And we'd go out,
we'd play for like 15 minutes
and they'd just run out of gas.
So they didn't dig it that much.
So we're playing really long
and this poor chick turns around,
her tits are flying,
sweat's flying off her tits going,
"Please, can't you play a little shorter?"
So we found out
the meaning of jam band right then.
But that was, you know, just early stuff.
And then Bobby took her home
probably after the show.
And that was the start of
what became, for all intents and purposes,
the Grateful Dead.
It's legendarily hard
to make a living being a musician anyway.
You know, my folks couldn't
see much future in it.
I'll never forget the time
his mom showed up at Jerry's
and she made us swear mighty oaths
that Bob went to school every day.
And if we did that,
she would let him stay in the band.
Well, you can imagine
how that turned out.
Bob would wake up for dinner,
and then go out and perform all night,
and then he'd come home for breakfast.
My mother kept saying,
"Can't you have a normal life?"
So when Bob turned 18,
our mother finally said,
"Enough! I can't deal with any more."
So she asked Bob to move out of the house.
Bob looked so young.
And back in the day,
he looked like a baby.
But there was something
about their looseness
in terms of life
and in terms of their music
that was picked up by the crowds.
There was that great time
when we put
the flatbed trucks together
in front of the Straight Theater.
We filled all of
Haight Street with people.
As far as you could see,
there was people.
It was like, it was coming...
It was so fast
and there was so much good energy
that you couldn't really
take any one part of it.
It was like this beautiful picture,
you know?
And that was just amazing times.
Then they actually started doing
free concerts in Golden Gate Park.
You know, when I left home,
I was, you know, following my bliss.
And my folks had no answer for that.
They couldn't say I was wrong
because they could see that I was
really doing what I wanted to do
and I was making something of it.
The whole experience, it bonded the band,
it made us tighter than brothers.
They say that blood is thicker than water.
What we had was thicker than blood.
Bob didn't maintain
much contact with his family.
So the band was his family.
The Grateful Dead
weren't a birth family,
they weren't an adopted family,
these were his family.
And he was very close to them,
they were close to one another.
The relationship between
Jerry and Bob, I think most of the time,
it was that kind of big brother,
little brother thing.
You know, we all know that Weir joined
the band when he was, like, 17.
I think the guys in the band
were his family.
And same with Jerry, you know?
He didn't have a strong family at home.
You know, he...
That was his family.
And the experiences that they went
through together made them closer.
You know, Jerry and I
didn't need to talk
to know what each other was thinking
or how each other was feeling.
Most of the stuff we talked about
was horseshit, uh...
just to keep each other amused.
We were bros.
And we were on a huge adventure,
and we were loving it.
- Thanks, Murray.
- Hey, no problem. Thank you.
- Love you, Bobby.
- Hello.
Hey, Bobby, have a good show.
Love you, Bobby.
- See you in a bit.
- You bet, thanks.
Compass card is spinning
Helm is swinging to and fro
Where's the dog star?
Where's the moon?
You're a lost sailor
Been too long at sea
Now the shorelines beckon
Yeah, there's a price for being
Okay, now here it is.
A long time ago, I lived here.
We used to hang on the steps a lot.
This tree wasn't nearly as big,
so there was a lot of sun on the steps.
Was it the same color?
No, this neighborhood has been sort of...
- Repainted?
- It's been repainted and rebuffed.
- Wait, who lived here with you?
- Uh, the whole band.
This is the house of a popular
local band which plays hard rock music.
They call themselves the Grateful Dead.
They live together comfortably
in what could be called "affluence."
710 Ashbury,
it was like that famous Bob song,
"We can share the women,
we can share the wine."
But we weren't doing so much wine,
but mostly pot.
We were a family living in a house.
We were a business,
we were a band.
I was a city boy suddenly
for the first time.
This was Pigpen's room in here.
- And then this was your room.
- Yeah.
I had a big brass bed
against that wall.
It was my chore to answer the door.
I was the only guy in the band
with any manners.
I think this might have been
where Phil lived.
I'm a little hazy
on who was where.
This might have been where Jerry lived.
Jerry used to practice a lot in that room.
The Grateful Dead's concept
of a new style of life is,
in most cases,
drawn from the drug experience.
The people that live in the community
and, you know,
play around with dope and stuff like that,
they don't have wars, you know?
And they don't have a lot of problems
that the larger society has.
You know, we were, sort of,
relatively famous around here.
My roommate was Neal Cassady.
He lived there with us.
Now, Neal Cassady is a guy...
um, that I'll tell you girls about
when you're a little older,
'cause it's hard to understand.
The guy lived in a lot of places,
a lot of different dimensions.
He could hold a conversation
with a table full of people.
It would be one-on-one conversations
with the whole table.
One line that he would voice
would be part of a totally different
conversation with everybody else.
He was an amazing man.
Neal was like our speed freak uncle.
And he was good friends with Jack Kerouac
and Allen Ginsberg,
and what he really liked to do
was to help us fill in the gaps
in our educations,
about Beat literature,
about the multidimensional universe
that we live in,
and 1,000 other themes that had to do
with driving fast cars on a nice day.
He taught me to drive.
I try not to practice this method
of driving too much these days,
'cause I don't want my kids
to try to learn it.
But he could drive through
rush hour traffic in San Francisco
at 50, 55 miles an hour.
Never stopping for a stop sign,
never a stop light.
Somehow he never hit anything.
He just knew where everything was
and what was coming
and knew how to be in the right place
at the right time.
But he lived wherever he wanted to live.
His body was here,
but his spirit, his soul, his...
Whatever it is that we are,
it could be wherever he wanted to be.
You just had to see it to...
see it.
Neal influenced me greatly.
He embodied the American Zen.
I got to watch this enough,
so that...
I like to think
that I kind of picked up some of that.
The first song I ever wrote
was "The Other One".
And Neal Cassady helped me sort it out.
This was my first real adventure
with songwriting.
It was a story that was trying to be told.
I was just being the character
that I saw in the movie...
and the character in the movie
was kind of a cartoon version of me.
Spanish lady, come to me
She lays on me this rose
It rainbows spiral round and round
It trembles and explodes
It left a smoking crater of my mind
I like to blow away
But the heat come round and busted me
For smilin' on a cloudy day
The first verse ends in,
"The heat came round and busted me
for smiling on a cloudy day."
That was autobiographical.
I threw a water balloon
in the vicinity of a cop,
and, of course, went to jail for that.
Escapin' through the lily fields
I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded
Left a bus stop in its place
The bus come by and I got on
That's when it all began
I was going back
to the good ship, Furthur,
the bus that I left home on.
"And there was cowboy Neal at the
wheel of the bus to never-ever land."
There was cowboy Neal at the wheel
Of a bus to never-ever land
Comin', comin', comin' around
Comin' around
And I knew I had the verse
and I had the song,
and we played it the next night.
And that was the last night on the tour
and then we came home.
And when we came home,
we came home to the news
that Neal Cassady had died.
He'd checked out that night
while I was writing the song.
He died walking the railroad tracks
somewhere near San Miguel de Allende
in Mexico.
And so it didn't
take me long to figure out that
Neal was there with me that night.
He was also, at that point,
free of the bonds of space,
so he could be there with me,
though he was busy dying,
or dead, in Mexico.
That verse is a little bit of him alive,
I think, whenever I sing it.
Wait, where are you?
I don't think you're there, honey.
- Mmm-mmm.
- Who is that?
It's Jerry and Pigpen.
He's not there.
- Oh, it's because he's not dead.
- Oh, yeah, hello...
Got my chips cashed in
Keep truckin'
Like the do-dah man
More or less in line
Just keep truckin'
Oh, oh, oh
In 1970, the Grateful Dead put out
the two seminal albums
of their career, really.
The ones that defined them
for most of the audience
that would like them
for the rest of their career.
Workingman's Dead
and American Beauty.
And American Beauty
had some interesting tunes
that Bob was primarily responsible for.
One was "Truckin'," of course,
which was their first hit single.
Busted down on Bourbon Street
Set up like a bowlin' pin
Knocked down
It gets to wearin' thin
They just won't let you be
People had heard
of the Grateful Dead,
and maybe heard
some of our live recordings,
but that stuff was rough.
We weren't as developed
as recording artists.
When we actually got around to
making some proper studio records,
we started picking up fans in numbers.
Sometimes the light's
all shinin' on me
Other times I can barely see
It was a big step for us
because we got a sense of,
"This is what we're here to do."
What a long, strange trip it's been
We were being successful
making music,
and people are gonna pay us to do this.
And that was like Christmas for all of us.
I'm a-goin' home
Whoa, whoa, baby
Back where I belong
Back home
Down to patch my bones
Get back truckin' on
Oh, oh, oh
We weren't starving artists anymore.
We moved out of the saloon circuit
and started playing theaters.
We hit the road. We never looked back.
There was no point in looking back.
And also we got a gold record
and I got to bring that home
to my parents.
That made them feel
a whole lot better about, uh...
about my having run off
with the circus, basically.
We're gonna take a short break,
and we'll be back in just a few minutes,
so don't go nowhere.
It's real hard for me to put into
words what it is that I do with Garcia,
but I try to provide counterpoint
for what he does.
We had fairly defined roles.
I was the rhythm guitarist,
Jerry was lead guitarist.
I was there to supply chords and rhythm
for Jerry to play over the top of.
But the traditional role
of a rock and roll rhythm guitarist
is somewhat limited.
I got to where I was feeling kind of
hemmed in with what I was doing.
At the same time, I was listening
to a lot of jazz and stuff like that
and I was listening to the piano players.
Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner.
And I listened to the way they chorded.
Particularly McCoy Tyner, the way
he chorded underneath John Coltrane
and supplying John Coltrane
with all kinds of
harmonic counterpoint
to what he was doing.
That appealed to me greatly.
And so I started trying to learn to
do that on the guitar for Jerry.
Garcia completely wove his stuff
around the expectation
of what Weir would weave in.
If Jerry had the line with
the most energy, the most life to it,
we'd fall in behind him.
If I was that guy,
then they'd fall in behind me.
That was what the band was all about.
Supporting whoever is
moving the story furthest, fastest.
An awful lot of attention went to Jerry.
And yet to me,
it was more really the interplay
between Bob and the band.
That is what I found the most exciting.
We developed a sort of
an intertwined sense of intuition.
I could intuit where Jerry was going
with a line for instance, on stage.
And try to hustle up,
get the full drift of that
and then be there when he got there
with a little surprise for him.
With Weir, he's an extraordinarily
original player,
you know, in a world full of people
who sound like each other, you know?
I mean, really, he has really got a style
that's totally unique as far as I know.
I don't know anybody else that
plays the guitar the way he does.
That in itself is, I think,
really a score,
considering how derivative
almost all electric guitar playing is.
Bob arguably has the most unique
guitar style of anybody playing in music.
And I've loved it forever.
I spent a bunch of years
trying to emulate the kind of way
he would voice chords.
'Cause I just felt like it was so unusual.
He was super creative in this way
that nobody else was doing.
First time I ever played with Bob,
you know, we started playing
straight up 12-bar blues.
And I'm noticing that in one key of E,
he's played about
12 friggin' inversions of...
He don't play just, E, E, E.
He goes, E, E, E, E, E, E, E.
He knows so many inversions of a chord
that it blew my mind.
You know, number two's
as important as number one.
If you don't have an ego,
you can be the best
number two on the planet,
and that's kind of what Bob became.
It makes him special.
Where does it want to go from there?
Let me just listen
in my head for a minute.
In writing songs,
it's best if it all comes at once,
but that rarely happens.
Most often, I think,
what I probably end up doing is, uh...
is just fumbling around on the guitar
and just playing
and finding something I like
and then starting to string
things together from there.
That one I've been playing with
for a little while.
And I'm gonna find somewhere to take that.
Maybe even over the weekend.
There's no logic to it.
It comes through the window
when it wants to come through the window.
There are countless nights
that I'd rather have been sleeping,
but I was up writing.
The first real writing for keeps
that I ever did
was when the Grateful Dead,
when we were just
writing stuff all together
and I'd come up with a line here,
a phrase here.
Being younger,
I had difficulty being taken seriously.
I really had to be kind of forceful,
otherwise I was gonna get overlooked.
Lost now in the country miles
in his Cadillac
I can tell by the way you smile
You're rolling back
Come wash the nighttime clean
Come grow this scorched ground green
There are hardly any
more important musicians
than the Grateful Dead and Bob Weir.
Yeah, he's just a super down to earth,
genuine person,
who happens to be this total icon.
You and me, Cassidy
Quick beats in an icy heart
Catch-colt draws a coffin cart
There he goes, and now here she starts
Hear her cry
Flight of the seabirds
Scattered like lost words
Wheel to the storm and fly
Yesterday, he was sort of
breaking down "Cassidy" for us
and kind of just, sort of, unlocking
the magic of the parts as it happened.
And then as we started to play, like,
"Oh, it sounds, you know...
It's like, Without a Net, 1989."
We're like...
So we kind of, you know...
It was pretty electric.
Flight of the seabirds
Scattered like lost words
Wheel to the storm and fly
Did you think when you were starting
that it would ever evolve
into this mystique
that has come to surround the group
called the Grateful Dead?
- We didn't think when we were starting.
- No, we didn't think.
We started to get the drift that
our fans were a little bit different...
when we started seeing the same faces
in the front row every night on a tour.
It came home a little more when we started
seeing tents set up in the parking lot.
And realized, okay, we've got kind of
a little gypsy entourage here.
We had this following of people
who had dropped out of normal society
and just followed us around
and created their own little society.
That's kind of what I did.
I dropped out of normal society,
left home, left school
and ran off with this rock and roll band,
chasing the muse, chasing the music.
They're the best fans
any band has ever had.
I mean, there's never been a band
that has attracted the same sort of
devotion on so many
different kinds of levels.
There are people who will...
who can actually sit there
and tell you the difference
between the "Scarlet/Fire" at 5/8 '77
and the one they played
three nights later at 5/11
and the one two nights later at 5/13.
- Gotta see what's happening.
- There's never been two shows alike, ever.
The Deadheads have
a certain sense of adventure.
And it's tough to come by adventure
in America nowadays.
You know what I mean? It's a little
uptight and everything like that.
They are people who are strong enough
to seek adventure
in this new, lame America.
I need a woman 'bout twice my weight
A ton of fun who packs a gun
with all her other freight
Find her in a sideshow
Gonna leave her in LA
Ride her like a surfer
running on a tidal wave
When it was flowing and we were one with
the music and one with the audience...
And hell!
One more thing I just got to say
I need a miracle every day was undeniable.
Went down to the mountain
I was drinking some wine
Looked up in the heavens
Lord, I saw a mighty sign
Written fire across the heaven
Plain in black and white
Get prepared
There's gonna be a party tonight
Everybody had girlfriends.
Pigpen had a steady girlfriend,
Phil had a steady girlfriend.
Bobby didn't really
have steady girlfriends.
He had lots of girlfriends.
It's Saturday night
He was
the best looking guy in the band.
Come on,
what are you gonna do?
Everybody's dancin'
down the local armory
With a basement full of dynamite
and live artillery
Bob Weir was the handsomest guy
in the Dead, okay?
I've been that guy in other bands before.
I know what it's like.
It's Saturday night
Yeah, uh-huh
One more Saturday night
Ow! Saturday night
Jerry always said that they
needed one good looking guy in the band
to catch the ladies, and
that's why they put up with Weir's shit.
The band loved him
because A, he was really cute
and drew the girls.
And then the biggest part,
the most important part is
he was game for it all.
Here's beautiful Bobby
surrounded by the ugly brothers.
You know?
I mean, if you're gonna go to bed
with somebody from the band,
is it gonna be Pigpen?
Bob had the "party room" all wired.
He had a big boom box made.
Too big to get into the room.
So he had to split it in half
to get it in there.
And then, after the show, you know,
the quippies man the door, you know.
"No guys. Just gals."
And so we all used to take Bob's run off.
So I guess I got a reputation as being
kind of the heartthrob
of the Grateful Dead.
So after the show,
if there were folks backstage,
the girls were gonna come my way mostly.
And they did.
am I gonna complain about that?
I got to shop around a bunch.
The first time I met Bob,
I was in 10th grade.
My girlfriend at the end of the show,
she said, "I'm gonna get us backstage,"
and I really didn't believe her, but I...
She grabbed my hand
and ran me through the crowd
and then Lin said,
"Hi, we're here to meet Bob Weir."
And then, a minute later,
he was walking over.
They were 15 at the time.
So, you know, "Okay, I'm... You know..."
But they were a lot of fun.
We began a friendship
and then we remained friends.
I used to see him on the road
and I would sleep in the parlor,
but then he would have,
like, a woman in there or women.
I would wake up and then suddenly
there's lingerie in the bathroom.
The only kind of plans we ever made
were, like, going to Egypt
and playing under the Pyramids.
Those are the only kind of plans
we ever started out with.
And we actually got around to it.
- Some of 'em.
- It was in 1978.
Egypt was a hell of an adventure.
I felt the weight of the antiquity.
Time went away.
Future, past, all of it was right here.
We played at the Son Et Lumiere Theater,
an ancient, ancient amphitheater.
When the pyramid
was lined up with the Sphinx,
I would hear echoes in the sound
that seemed to go
far beyond this place and time.
At dusk,
the mosquitoes come out.
And I looked at my arm,
it was covered with mosquitoes,
and I'm thinking,
"Okay, welcome to hell."
And then something flies by my face.
It was a bat.
I look across the stage,
and the stage is swarmed with bats.
And they're taking out the mosquitoes.
They're saving our asses.
It was a rock and roll band
on a thousands of year old stage
at the foot of the Great Pyramid
surrounded by a cloud of bats.
And I think to myself, "Take me now, Lord.
I want to remember it just like this."
I can't believe that you both
started together, because you look...
- Forgive me--
- Well, I'm older than him.
Oh, oh!
I thought, maybe you both
started out the same age
and somehow you'd progressed a little bit
more rapidly than the rest of us.
I put more time in the years than he did.
Remember back in the '60s
when all the parents were afraid
that the kinds of music
their children were listening to
would somehow corrupt them
and make them forevermore not worthy
of living in the American society?
What was going through those
people's minds at the time?
Hard to tell.
Phil and I had to make a long speech
to Weir's mother back then
because Bob was
dropping out of high school
to play rock and roll, you know.
We had to make sure--
We had to assure her that everything
was gonna be okay, you know.
I knew something was fishy when I came
over to his house for practice one day,
and there were Phil and Garcia sitting
there like the cat that ate the canary.
"Finish school, Bobby."
What changes do you see
in what you've done over the years?
And how have you managed to be
evolutionary and stay current?
- I don't think we've stayed current.
- You don't?
I don't think we ever were current.
Yeah, right.
That's probably closer to the truth.
Yeah, we never were current,
I don't think...
I think we've been sort of singular
in our whole endeavor.
And probably stay that way.
I mean, all we try to do
is just satisfy our own standards.
- And they're pretty steep.
- Mmm-hmm.
Get on out of here!
Oh, the video simulcast.
It's a video simulcast. Yes.
The video simulcast on Halloween.
- It's gonna be very scary.
- Right on.
- So, you know what I mean?
- I mean, it's Halloween.
I mean, if you have the guts
to come to the video simulcast,
come on to the simulcast.
But I really don't think you can do it.
Friend come by
Say he's looking for his hat
Wants to know where your husband's at
I don't know
He's on his way to the pen
But come on, pretty mama
Let's get on the road again
On the road again
Sure as you're born
Natural born easement
on the road again
On the road again
Sure as you're born
I went to my house
My front door was locked
Went 'round to my window
But my window was locked
Jumped right back
I shook my head
Big old rounder in my folding bed
Shot near the window
Broke the glass
Never seen that little rounder
run so fast
He's on the road again
Sure as you're born
Natural born easement
on the road again
On the road again
Sure as you're born
The late '80s,
the whole situation changed a lot.
The "Touch of Grey" album came out,
they got really big.
And I think the dynamic changed.
In the late '80s, Grateful Dead shows
became a destination.
"Touch of Grey"
was their first hit single
and this assault on the mainstream
that was unthinkable
in the Grateful Dead world.
Must be getting early
Clocks are running late
Faint light of the morning sky
Looks so phony
Dawn is breaking everywhere
Light a candle
Curse the glare
Draw the curtains
I don't care 'cause
It's all right
I will get by
I will get by
I will get by
I will survive
The crushing part of fame
is just boring.
Being famous is boring,
and it's confining.
We were kind of hoping
to be successful on our own terms
and maybe sidestep fame.
Whistle through your teeth and spit
'cause it's all right
We hit a peak of popularity
in the late '80s.
It had gotten to the point where
it was hard to walk down the street
without getting just mobbed, basically.
We had a hit single and
a video that was played a lot.
Jerry was singing the song,
and he was good on camera,
and he was evocative on camera.
That brought a focus to Jerry
that we hadn't seen before.
- Yeah, Jerry's God, man.
- Yeah!
It gives you something to look forward to,
you know.
There was a cult of people
and they deified Jerry.
The temptation, I guess,
or the tendency was there
to equate it with religion or
something like that, which it isn't.
It's just music.
It's just art.
We weren't high priests
or anything like that.
And to have that thrust on Jerry,
for instance, it was unsettling to him.
It's a weird thing to try and
understand what it must be like
for someone like Jerry
to be in the position
to have all these people deify him.
He was a great, mellow,
you know, humble guy.
The stress of being someone
so idolized like Jerry...
It's a big burden for anyone
to have to be that person, I think.
We had a gig, as I remember,
at RFK Stadium.
We played with Dylan and it was hot.
108 degrees or something,
and humid.
And Jerry wasn't real good
with hot weather to begin with.
We went home and, uh...
a couple of days later, he was in a coma.
You know, Jerry once told me that heroin
takes all your troubles,
all your concerns, all your worries,
and ties them neatly together
into one little, tiny little package.
"Where's my next hit?"
You don't think about diet,
you don't think about exercise.
He was grossly overweight,
and I'm just gonna go ahead and assume
that he had a cholesterol situation
that you wouldn't wish on a mad dog.
While he was in the coma,
he couldn't be taking drugs
and they didn't give them to him.
And so by the time he came out,
he was cleaned up,
and he stayed that way
for a couple of years.
And he was a lot of fun
when he was straight.
Those were the funnest times
we had together
since we were much, much younger.
- It's your verse, man.
- No, it's your verse.
- You didn't do "She never stumbles."
- You come in after.
- Oh, that's true.
- No, you didn't do "She never stumbles."
It's true, you didn't do
"She never stumbles."
We only did two verses
before the instrumental.
Yeah, you did two verses.
I did the second one
- and then you did the instrumental.
- Oh, right.
You used to do the third verse,
then we did the instrumental.
- We'll have to do this perhaps again.
- Okay. Keep rolling.
Keep on rolling.
Yeah, well, here we go.
Let's see.
Bob. Bob.
What are you looking at, man?
What are you looking at?
The chances are
I spent more time standing on stage
playing guitar and singing
than any human that ever lived.
How many shows
did the Grateful Dead play?
Something like 3,000,
and then you at least double that.
It's a lot of time singing
and playing guitar.
We can share the women
We can share the wine
We can share what we got of yours
'Cause we done shared all of mine
Night after night on stage,
I spent a lot of time thinking about
my life and my adoptive parents.
They were proud of me
by the time they wrapped it up.
And they were real happy.
And I loved them and they loved me,
and I knew that.
But for adopted kids,
you're always gonna wanna know
where you come from.
So I finally hired a private eye
to look into my birth.
But the private eye guy
could get nowhere with it.
And so I didn't think
I was gonna get anywhere.
Jack Straw from Whichita
Cut his buddy down
Dug for him a shallow grave
And lay his body down
A half a mile from Tucson
By the morning light
There's one man gone and another to go
My old buddy
You're moving much too slow
We can share the women
We can share the wine
On Sunday in Indianapolis,
a Grateful Dead concert
had to be canceled.
As many as 4,000 people
stormed gates behind the stage
and later threw rocks
and bottles at police.
Hundreds of Grateful Dead fans
tried to push their way
into a concert in Orlando last night.
Police lobbed tear gas and pepper gas.
In the early '90s, there was so much
crowd control difficulty at our gigs.
People crashing gates
and there were so many people
getting hurt, and that kind of thing.
It got to be a bit much.
Big problems
with the Grateful Dead.
Two deaths from apparent drug overdoses.
It's dirtier.
People are grosser and they're
much younger than I ever remember.
And much higher.
People weren't going
to the shows for music,
they were going to the shows as...
just to party down
and to get as wasted as they could.
And this was not exactly
what we were all about.
But be that as it may,
that's what we kind of got pegged with.
Most of the real true Deadheads
weren't that way.
They went for the music.
The Dead, well,
their music is a form of communication
of the highest of the ideals of the '60s,
which is peace, joy,
bringing people together.
But the whole thing, it's the concert,
it's the party, it's the band.
I don't know.
And you can't really describe it.
It's just a feeling you get
when you're with all these people.
What do I do once I'm in there?
I dance. We all dance.
- Yeah!
- We all dance.
If they can make it work
making falafels,
or tie-dyes in the parking lot,
so that they can get into the shows
and squirrel enough away
so that they can live between tours...
You know, if it rings
those lofty bells for them...
uh, what's wrong with that?
At the same time,
if it takes your life down,
then that's another story.
So that's a double-edged sword.
It's a pretty iffy thing to be doing.
If you're a kid and you wanna
spend a summer on the road,
that's one thing.
If you're gonna cast your lot there,
I hope you have the talent to do it.
If you're selling drugs,
I have limited sympathy.
And the rest of those folks...
if they're making it work,
my hat's off.
And throughout
the '70s and the '80s,
the Dead still played by
their own rules in creating
influential fusions of rock,
and blues, and country
on such classical albums as
Workingman's Dead and American Beauty.
To induct the Grateful Dead,
their sometime partner,
their fulltime fan, Bruce Hornsby.
- Yeah! Bruie! Yeah!
- Bru! Bru!
- Bruce!
- Bru!
You know, Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame, I don't know what to make of it.
I'm innocent.
You're hanging an innocent man.
You're hanging an innocent man!
It's nice to be a Hall of Famer
and all that,
but still, you know,
it wasn't a goal of mine or anything
like that when I started playing.
As the bumper stickers
have proclaimed for over 20 years,
there is really nothing like
a Grateful Dead concert.
And frankly, I don't understand
why they didn't get into this thing
last year.
Everybody but Jerry
went to that event.
Jerry wasn't in great shape
and he didn't like the idea
of the cult of personality.
Ladies and gentlemen,
here's to the Grateful Dead
and another 28 years.
Thanks a lot.
I think he associated the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame Awards with that.
He was having some...
some issues with his health.
Somewhere in the early '90s,
he got back into the heroin.
I do remember vaguely
thinking to myself,
"Well, we've seen this before.
Well, maybe he'll snap out of it."
But something told me, "Nah,
we're in for another long row to hoe."
For a while, actually,
I was his bagman.
I carried his dope around for him,
'cause number one,
he knew that I wasn't gonna get into it.
And then secondly,
he knew that I was gonna be--
I wasn't gonna give him more
than he had told me to.
And he trusted me to do that,
so I was his bagman.
There were a couple of times
when the guys in the band
got together and said,
"Okay, we're gonna do
an intervention with Jerry.
We're gonna go and tell him
that he's got to clean up."
We figured out very quickly that
that wasn't gonna work.
We just sort of accepted him
for who he was
and what he amounted to
on a given day.
As his friend, as his bro,
I just tried to keep him happy.
If I could support him doing something
that I thought was a healthier,
a good kind of thing to do,
I'd support that.
We took a yoga instructor with us
on the road for a couple of years,
and Jerry took a couple of classes
with him, but we never saw that.
He wasn't about to do
that around any of us.
I think Bobby was probably
the most influential right there,
as in, helping Jerry
to find a healthier lifestyle,
because I think Bobby was
already really into that kind of thing.
He was doing yoga and eating right,
and spiritually sound, too.
And Bobby wanted Jerry
to be happy and healthy.
It was important to him
that that happened.
So he--
I know he tried really hard.
He was just so goddamn famous
that he couldn't go out on the streets.
What are you gonna do?
You gotta hide from it someway.
And drugs were a convenient way
to do that.
He wasn't God.
He wasn't there to pontificate.
He was just there to play
and chase the music,
and chase the adventure, and be a kid.
That's all he wanted to do.
I remember a conversation
with Garcia one time.
I said, "I'm not sure that Weir's
well equipped to handle celebrity."
And he said, "Nobody is."
Jerry and I
used to take vacations together.
We'd get a couple houses in Kauai
and live it up.
In later years, Jerry took up diving
and informed me I was signed up
for scuba instruction.
I'll be forever in his debt
for doing that.
Jerry was a big guy
and deal was, when Jerry was
underwater, he was weightless.
This one time,
he goes up to this hole.
This big, broad,
flat fish face comes out.
This is not a fish,
this is a great big eel.
Fish comes a little further out
and Jerry goes like this,
and he starts stroking him under the chin.
We used a tank of air in, like,
half the time, just laughing.
We had a lot of fun underwater.
I had a dream.
In the dream,
I found a can of invisible paint.
So I painted myself
with the invisible paint.
And then Jerry came into the dream.
And Jerry was looking pretty swell.
He was in Castilian splendor,
he was tall.
His hair was all black
and kind of combed back,
and he had a velour cape on
with a silver clasp on it.
And he looked me square in the eye,
and I was saying,
"Hey, Jerry, check it out.
Invisible paint."
And he wasn't interested.
He was intent on something.
He was searching for something.
And then he was gone.
Jerry Garcia,
the Grateful Dead guitarist,
who kept the counter-culture of the 1960s
rocking and rolling right into the '90s,
died today in California.
He was 53.
Garcia was found dead
at a drug rehabilitation center,
reportedly of natural causes.
Fare you well, my honey
Fare you well, my only true one
The last time I saw him,
it was on the back of the stage
at Soldier's Field in Chicago.
And we were hugging after the show.
He was going one way
and I was going the other,
and you know,
he slapped me on the back
and said, "Always a hoot.
Always a hoot."
Those were his last words to me.
I owe Jerry an immense
debt of gratitude
for, you know, showing me
how to live with joy,
with mischief.
Take your heart,
take your faith...
and reflect back
some of the joy that he gave you.
He filled this world
full of clouds of joy.
Just take a little bit of that...
and reflect it back up to him.
Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
to rock my soul
I think that when
Jerry died, Bobby probably, um, felt...
Bobby probably
felt a lot like Jerry's kids did.
Like, I think that Bobby probably
felt like he lost a brother.
Bob was very, very--
I mean, this was his closest friend.
This was, like, you know,
a father, a brother to him,
and he was devastated.
I hadn't really thought about
how he must have been feeling.
Still, it's tough.
After Jerry checked out,
I went back out on tour with RatDog
and I pretty much stayed there
for a while.
I think that was probably
my grieving process.
What am I gonna do? Stay home
and snivel, and kick furniture,
or feel bad about it,
and not play?
Jerry would have a fit.
Good music can make sad times better.
We've got our...
We've got our work
cut out for us this evening,
so we'll just get started.
You know, I gotta go out and play.
I've gotta go out
and make it better for people.
I'd stayed on the road for a while.
I had to do it for me,
I had to do it for the folks,
I had to do it for Jerry.
You know, I had to do it
because the music demanded it.
By the time I was edging towards 50,
I was looking around and wondering now,
"Is it possible to be a rock and roll
tomcat and do it gracefully?"
And I looked around
and I saw, like, Mick Jagger
and guys like that, and I gotta say...
didn't look promising.
We remained friends forever
and we still are.
Except we're married now with kids.
I remember Bob out on the porch
one day at his house saying,
"You know,
I think I'm in love."
You know, she was pretty,
she was bright, she was a lot of fun.
This girl's a great catch,
why don't we try this settling down thing?
You know, he's really smart, fun.
I think he's brilliant.
Natascha's a very
loving individual.
The love he was feeling
from her is something
that just probably
filled a big void in him, too.
And then with the birth of Monet,
it was just mind-boggling for him
to have that experience.
He was present at the birth.
And that feeling of being a father
and just the incredible
miracle of creation.
Our lives changed dramatically
after Monet and Chloe.
He did a 180.
Became dedicated father, family man.
And he has so much love for me.
He's dedicated to his family.
He's just so present when he's with you,
and that's what I love about him.
I feel lucky
to have the family that I have,
and I feel lucky to have held off
as long as I did,
until I was ready for it.
I got a phone call one morning
from my office
and they said they had a lady on the phone
by the name of Phyllis.
She had some information that
I'd only seen on my birth certificate.
When I heard this, I realized
that this has got to be my mother.
And then I went and met her the next day.
She had 12 other kids.
I didn't feel like
I was a huge hole in her life
that I needed to rush right in and fill.
But we maintained a relationship.
And she, at one point, gave me some
information on my biological dad.
I didn't wanna blow up his life
'cause he probably
didn't know that I existed.
My curiosity finally got to me.
I got the phone call and I said,
"Who's calling, please?"
And he said, "Robert Weir."
And, uh...
I said, "Okay.
Doesn't mean anything to me."
So I said, "I've been doing some research"
and I've come up with some information
"that might be of considerable
interest to you."
I went back to my son, Anthony,
and I said,
"Should I know somebody
named Bob Weir?"
He says, "I don't know."
The only one I know
plays guitar for the Grateful Dead."
Then I asked him,
"Did you know and
were you, perhaps, romantically involved
with a young lady by the name of Phyllis?"
And there was a fairly long pause.
Actually, I think the blood
left my head about that time.
And I said, "Well, sir,
I don't know how many kids you have",
but there is a fairly strong likelihood
that you have one more than you know."
And he said, "You're my father."
I mean, I was stunned.
We chatted for a while
and then we met the next day.
We sat for about two hours together
and talked.
At first, we were just
sort of sniffing around,
but after a little bit,
we got to like each other.
We didn't have to.
There was no onus.
But we did.
I went away
very proud to be his dad.
We grew very close.
He's my confidant, he's my brother,
and now he's my dad.
Natascha's become a good friend of mine
and my wife's,
and I'm very fond of the whole family.
We're very close.
He had an empty space
inside him
after Jerry died,
and his dad came along.
Jack was the perfect guy to fill it.
Bobby has a great
relationship with his dad
and I feel like they have done
so much living together
and spending time together that, you know,
they're really catching up on a lot.
I had a pretty complete existence.
Um, but it...
My existence got added on to,
substantially, I'll say that.
There were days
There were days
There were days between
Jerry is an incredible legend,
but Bob is as much of a legend
and he's still alive.
Polished like a golden bowl
The brightest ever seen
Bob knows music is a passageway
to some greater part of the universe.
Why else would someone play
6,000 gigs in their life and keep going?
Hearts of summer held in trust
Still tender, young and green
Left on shelves collecting dust
Not knowing what they mean
Valentines of flesh and blood
Soft as velveteen
Hoping love would not forsake
The days that lie between
Lie between
I haven't put a lot of thought
into my legacy.
I'm not proud of anything.
If I'm proud of something,
I have to take a good look at myself
for being proud.
I don't trust pride.
But when you realize that we are all one,
you can be proud of being part of that
gigantic entity that we all are.
Life has endless depth to it,
endless resonances and reverberances
throughout time and space.
And making sense of all that is something
that I'm just sort of
taking my time doing.
My life has been kind of instructing me
to look for the timeless.
That's what I'm chasing.
Spanish lady, come to me
She lays on me this rose
Your rainbow spiraling
round and round
It trembles then explodes
You left a smoking crater of my mind
I like to blow it away
Well, the heat come round and busted me
For smilin' on a cloudy day
Comin', comin', comin' around
Comin' around y'all, now
Comin' around
Comin' around
Comin', comin', comin' around
They're comin'
Comin' around y'all, now
Comin' around
Comin' around
Escapin' through the lily fields
I came across an empty space
It rainbowed then exploded
Left a bus stop in its place
Bus come by and I got on
That's when it all began
There was cowboy Neal at the wheel
Of a bus to never-ever land
Comin', comin', comin' around
Comin' around y'all, now
Comin' around
Comin', comin', comin' around
They're comin', comin' around
Comin' around y'all, now
Comin' around
Comin' around
Well, okay, thank you all.