The Grateful Dead are thanking their stars that their tour draws to a
close this week-end at Chicago's Soldier Field, not only because of
the string of bad luck that has been plaguing the band's followers,
but because Jerry Garcia has been receiving death threats. A source
close to the band after much coaxing, revealed to ATN that Garcia
started getting threats sometime last week. The Dead organization put
their heads together to decide what to do--whether to call the rest of
the tour off, or take extra precautions. But Garcia was having none of
that, and instead during two of the bands shows, and a sound check
thumbed his nose at the offender, and played all the Dead songs that
dealt with death. His only concession to the danger was to play with
the house lights on during the bands appearances in Deer Creek,
Indiana and St. Louis, Missouri.
But this is not to discount the awful things that have befallen the
Deadheads during the past month. Deadheads have been stuck by
lightning at RFK Stadium in Washington DC, they've died of heart
failure, they've set fire to a suburban high school in Holly,
Michigan, and they even staged a mini-riot in Indiana last weekend
(when they couldn't get tickets) which resulted in the cancellation of
the next night's show. And that's not all. More than 100 Deadheads
were injured Wednesday (July 5) when a two-story pavilion at a
campground in Wentzeville, Missouri collapsed on them. Two hundred
fans had taken cover in the pavilion during an electrical storm.
Police in Wentzeville said yesterday that at least sixteen fans were
still hospitalized, nine were in serious condition and five were still
critical, with pelvic fractures, and head, neck, and back injuries.
Earlier that day, the bodies of two other Dead fans had been found at
the campgrounds, dead from alleged drug overdoses. Grateful Dead
representative Denis McNally talked to the wire services about the
deaths, expressing his sorrow over them. "They're part of the family,
and there's been a tragedy in the family," said McNally. "We're
shocked, saddened, bummed, and praying for them."
The Grateful Dead having been taking all these things very seriously,
and the following letter was handed out as people exited the first St.
Louis Grateful Dead show:
"The Darkness Got to Give"
Dear Dead Heads:
This is the way it looks to us from the stage:
Your justly-renowned tolerance and compassion have set you
up to be used. At Deer Creek, we watched many of you cheer on and
a thousand fools kick down the fence and break into the show. We
play music and watch plywood flying around endangering people. The
security and police whom those people endangered represent us, work
for us -- think of them as us. You can't expect mellow security if
you're throwing things
at them. The saboteurs who did this can only do it if all Dead Heads
allow them to. Your reputation is at stake.
Don't you get it?
Over the past thirty years we've come up with the fewest possible
rules to make the difficult act of bringing tons of people together
work well -- and a few thousand so-called Dead Heads ignore those
simple rules and screw it up for you, us, and everybody. We've never
before had to cancel a show because of you. Think about it.
If you don't have a ticket, don't come. This is real.
This is first a music concert, not a free-for-all party. Secondly,
vend. Vending attracts people without tickets. Many of the people
tickets have no responsibility or obligation to our scene. They
give a shit. They act like idiots. They think it's just a party to
get as trashed as possible at. We're all supposed to be about higher
consciousness, not drunken stupidity.
It's up to you as Dead Heads to educate these people,
and to pressure them into acting like Dead Heads instead of maniacs.
They can only get away with this crap if you let them. The old slogan
is true: if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the
Want to end the touring life of the Grateful Dead?
Allow bottle-throwing gate crashers to keep on thinking they're cool
anarchists instead of the creeps they are.
Want to continue it? Listen to the rules, and pressure
others to do so. A few more scenes like Sunday night, and we'll quite
simply be unable to play. The spirit of the Grateful Dead is at
and we'll do what we have to do to protect it. And when you hear
somebody say "Fuck you, we'll do what we want," remember something.
That applies to us, too.
Billy Jerry Phil Mickey Bobby Vince