May 28, 2015

Jerry Garcia's Film Soundtracks

Through the years, Jerry Garcia dipped his toe into film soundtrack work from time to time. As a longtime film buff, he was always interested in how films were put together, and welcomed the chance to take part in the moviemaking process. His involvement in other people’s films wasn’t very frequent, though, and much of it is still little-known today.

I’ve put together a few notes on Garcia’s intermittent film career, in case any readers are interested in exploring this sideline. This is just a preliminary report, though – there are still uninvestigated areas, and more research is left to be done.

This film list doesn’t include the Dead’s own concert films, videos, TV appearances, or performances used in films. Garcia put a lot of work into the Dead’s productions – the Grateful Dead Movie, Dead Ahead, and So Far – but that could be a topic of its own.

I did include a few other Garcia projects that aren’t soundtracks but seemed to fit here.


From Garcia biographies:
“In the early 1960s he had spent a considerable amount of time working on film soundtracks at the Stanford University Communications Department when he was with his first wife, Sara, and he had enjoyed the experience… Garcia met Sara in early 1963 when she was at Stanford University studying communications. Sara was into film, and Garcia spent a lot of time with her learning about filmmaking at the school and working on soundtracks for other students’ films.” (1)
“Sara was then attending film classes at Stanford, and they borrowed an 8mm camera from David Parker to make their own movies.” (2) Garcia filmed his friends in comical little stop-action vignettes (though with no soundtracks).
Blair Jackson adds more details: “Dave Parker, who worked part-time in the mailroom at General Mills while he attended San Jose State, managed to snare a super 8 camera and projector that had been left on the loading dock, unsigned for, so the group made a number of primitive home movies, some of which have survived. "We liked making people disappear [on film]," Parker says. "We called them 'zot scenes.'" Parker also remembers making a movie after hours in the deserted halls of Pacific High School, a huge Victorian mansion where Laird Grant worked as a caretaker. Garcia ran the camera for that one.” (3)
“At Stanford, Sara had become a communications major, with a particular interest in film and broadcasting… ‘I did make a few little films, some using guys like Dave Parker and Dave Nelson as my actors.’ Jerry also performed the soundtrack for a movie that one of the graduate students made about a camp for diabetic children. ‘That’s a treasure probably nobody even knows about – Jerry playing pretty guitar or banjo music, I can’t remember which.’” (4) 

A commenter has pointed out that this film still exists. "1964. Jerry Garcia’s earliest paid soundtrack work can be heard on this one-of-a-kind 16mm film entitled “I Want To Be A Camper,” produced to fulfill a Stanford University student’s Master of Arts in Communication degree requirement. Upon completing the filming at a summer camp for diabetic children in King’s Canyon National Park, a friend of the filmmaker suggested Garcia for the job of augmenting the film with suitable acoustic guitar instrumental music – a job for which he was paid $50. The filmmaker relates: 'I doubt if we had to do any re-takes, as I remember him getting the feeling I wanted very easily. I also remember being impressed with how much hair he had!'" (4-1)


In late 1969, Garcia was invited to work on the soundtrack for Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Zabriskie Point, playing the guitar music for the “Love Scene” in the desert. Antonioni had a difficult time selecting music for the soundtrack – Pink Floyd, Kaleidoscope, and John Fahey all separately recorded tracks for the film and that scene, most of which were rejected. Garcia was excited to work with Antonioni – as McNally writes, “Very much a cinephile, Garcia had admired Antonioni’s Eclipse and had studied him.” (5)

Garcia flew to Los Angeles to record in the MGM studio soundstage. He described the scene in an interview with Howard Smith in February 1970. (The film had just been released, but he hadn’t seen it yet.)
“It’s a whole lot of people balling in Death Valley… A friend of mine, in fact, is in that scene somewhere. The guy that painted the album cover for our second album. Nice tie-in, you know – that thing of we’re all doing the same thing, and it turns out to be making Antonioni movies… Well, what happened was that apparently [Antonioni] had heard ‘Dark Star,’ and used a little piece of it somewhere, and was interested in having somebody – he wanted some sort of music behind that particular scene and hadn’t had anything successful after repeated tries with other bands, and other musicians and conventional scores and that sort of thing, and he just wasn’t successful. So they got in touch with me eventually. I went to LA, to the MGM place, and spoke to him and he showed me the rough cut, and [I] immediately went down to the studio, brought my guitar and amplifier, and in about two hours, it was like what he wanted. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was what he wanted… I would have preferred to have taken a week or so to really study it and really determine the time of events and certain key cuts and that sort of thing, so as to comp to something a lot more specifically, but he liked the sort of randomness. I mean, I would have gone about it in a more methodical way, had I more time.”

Garcia also told the story to Blair Jackson in 1985:
“I sat down and just played, and [Antonioni] said, 'Oh, I like that very, very much. That's very, very good.' And I said, 'Hey, wait a minute. C'mon, give me a chance!' And he said, 'Oh no, no. That's exactly what I want!' I wanted so badly to do something good because, well, it was Antonioni for chrissakes! He was satisfied so quickly I didn't know what to think. I was unhappy about it. I was just getting warmed up and, boom, that was it.
He did discuss it with me for an awful long time, but when it got down to doing it, he was just beside himself with happiness. I was terribly disappointed. But he was a really nice guy. I liked working with him… But I didn’t get to do anything. I mean, there I was on the old MGM scoring stage where they used to do Gene Kelly musicals and The Wizard of Oz — just me and my electric guitar and a little amplifier. And Antonioni's back there with one engineer, and the scene is playing on a huge screen, and I'm picking along, trying to get my ideas. That part of it was a flash. I like Antonioni’s work so much. It's so modern — his sense of space and time and all that.” (6)

Blair Jackson writes, “According to Don Hall, music supervisor on the film, Garcia actually did have a bit of time to work on the piece, first trying it on acoustic guitar, then tracking four different performances, two of which were fused into the final music for the film. ‘I think Jerry was actually down for about three hours,’ Hall remembers. ‘And he was great to work with; everybody thought so.’” (7)

The soundtrack CD liner notes offer more details and a somewhat different memory from Don Hall:
“‘Michelangelo liked The Grateful Dead, and I had a friend who lived across the street from Jerry at the time,’ Don Hall recalls. ‘He talked to him about the movie and we got together. It was almost done as an afterthought. Michelangelo wasn't even in town when we did the music, he was back in Rome. We went into the large studio at MGM which they usually used for the symphony orchestras. And Jerry sat there by himself, on a stool, laying it down. They had the love scene on a loop, and he played live while the film was running. He didn't want to do it away from the film and then cut things in. He played right to every single shot in the scene. That's why there are certain notes over certain frames, over people moving in the desert. He played right while watching it. It was miraculous – pure genius.’” (8)

Deborah Koons also wrote in the liner notes:
“I remember, prevideo, Jerry taking me to see old Antonioni films like Red Desert (Il Deserto Rosso) at repertory houses. Of course we saw The Passenger as soon as it came out and marveled at its great style. Jerry was a true film buff and appreciated both the artistic and technical aspects… He told me in 1970 (or '69) that Lenny Hart, who then managed The Grateful Dead, had mentioned to him that "some Italian guy has been calling, wanting you to work on a film soundtrack." When Jerry found out this Italian guy was Antonioni, he immediately said yes, of course, he would be thrilled to be involved in the project. So Jerry went to LA and set up in a huge soundstage with Antonioni and played. He was pleased with his work, proud to be part of the film, and honored to have worked with the director.” (9)

Ironically, Garcia ended up never getting paid for his work, since Lenny Hart stole the check from MGM. Rock Scully recalled, “When he ran off on us, he’d just gone to LA with Garcia to negotiate for music in Zabriskie Point. Well, he just took the check and split.” (10)

I don’t know the exact date of Garcia’s recording session; but Live/Dead was released in November ’69, and the film was already being shown in theaters in February ’70. My guess is the session was sometime in December ’69. The extended CD version of the soundtrack features four takes of Garcia’s ‘Love Scene Improvisation,’ parts of which were edited together for the film version.
An excerpt from the Live/Dead ‘Dark Star’ was also used in the film – Garcia mentioned that Antonioni “used part of ‘Dark Star’ and liked the way that worked,” before calling him in. Actually Don Hall, the music coordinator for the film (and a DJ at the LA radio statio KPPC-FM), picked that and some other songs in the film from his own favorite tracks. “I was trying to do a soundtrack using the many different types of music that were being played on FM radio at the time.”


Though Garcia wasn’t involved with this film himself, "Deep Blue World," an underwater short made in 1973, uses 'Eep Hour' from Garcia’s solo album as the soundtrack:



David Grisman worked on the soundtracks for a few Roger Corman movies in the mid-‘70s, including the gangster films Big Bad Mama and Capone. My guess is he called in Garcia to help him with these – this was shortly after they played together in Old & In The Way. Garcia is said to play banjo and guitar in these film scores, but isn’t credited. (Capone trailer)

I haven’t been able to find any firsthand accounts of Garcia’s work on these movies, and for now his presence is still unconfirmed. Big Bad Mama was released in September 1974 - Grisman played with the Great American Music Band (recorded by Bill Wolf), perhaps one of the same configurations that played live in mid-'74. For Capone in 1975, Grisman collaborated with mandolinist Rudy Cipolla; I don't know who else played.

Afterwards, Grisman also recorded a bluegrass music score for Eat My Dust (a 1976 Corman-produced car-chase movie), and a jazz score with violinist Stephane Grappelli for King of the Gypsies (produced by Dino de Laurentiis in 1978). In the late ‘70s, Grisman was no longer speaking to Garcia, since he hadn’t been paid after the release of the Old & In The Way album; otherwise it’s possible Garcia might have collaborated on these films as well.

Garcia next played on Corman’s 1978 sci-fi movie Deathsport. The movie-review book Claws & Saucers notes that director Allan Arkush “knew Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead’s Fillmore shows, and he got Garcia to contribute guitar licks for the soundtrack that were later run through a synthesizer.” (11)

Arkush was actually a Dead fan and friends with Garcia, and has an interesting history. This interview introduces him: “He started in show business at Bill Graham’s legendary Fillmore East concert theater in New York City, then worked for the equally legendary low-budget movie producer Roger Corman.”
When he was a film student at NYU film school, Allan Arkush had worked at the Fillmore East from '68-71, as an usher and part of the stage crew - in fact, he worked in the light show during the Dead's concerts there from '69-71.
“I was at the Fillmore the night they opened. I think it was March ’68. The very first show was Big Brother & the Holding Company, Tim Buckley, and Albert King… A few months later, a friend of mine literally saw an ad posted in his dorm: ‘Looking For Ushers - The Fillmore East Theatre.’ …Eventually I became the leader of an usher group. We took the tickets, and then counted them again in a back room to make sure everything added up. Maybe a year later [in 1969], I became part of the support crew; I was the guy who brought the beer and soda to the bands. Then I got on the lighting crew – helping out with the light shows they used for the different bands.”
He worked at the Fillmore until it closed in 1971. “The Fillmore was the premier facility. They had everything. A lot of people who did their lights and sound had studied theater, or they came from Broadway, or off-Broadway. These skills they’d learned to present stage shows were now being applied to rock concerts. All the bands did back then was show up with their amps.” (12)

Arkush adds: “For several years I was Artistic Director for Joe’s Lights at the Fillmore East, and during that time must have seen over 400 rock concerts… I have always been an unabashed rock ‘n’ roll fanatic: a person with an obsessive interest in the artist, the songs, and the directions rock has been taking over the years.” (13)

Arkush has been interviewed recently by a few authors -  John Glatt’s book Live at the Fillmore and David Browne’s book So Many Roads have a few anecdotes from Arkush about his Fillmore East days and seeing Garcia & the Dead. Unfortunately, nothing about Garcia’s film work with him has been printed.
Working with the Joshua Light Show, Arkush started screening film clips and cartoons during the breaks between bands. “They’re a captive audience and you’ve got them sitting in the dark. Even though it was a fast changeover – fifteen minutes – you want to keep them occupied, so we came up with the idea of bringing cartoons… ‘The Sunshine Makers’ was a huge success. We’d run it before the Grateful Dead.” (14)
“One night we turned off all the lights in the theater, and just had the light show screen. And then the ushers turned on their flashlights and aimed them at the Grateful Dead. They would play those first notes of ‘Dark Star’ and there would be a cheer, and then they would settle in.” (15)
“A lot of Hell’s Angels were coming to visit them, so you always had this incredible mix of people backstage at a Dead show…you were basically living a Crumb cartoon. [In early 1970 the Angels brought a canister of nitrous oxide for the Dead.] …They are all in the dressing room on nitrous oxide and laughing. We took them down and they were giggling, and Garcia practically fell down the steps getting on the stage… The light show started, and the Dead just stand there giggling. Then the giggling turned into Jerry noodling on ‘China Cat Sunflower’ with the chords. And it sounds like he’s laughing on the guitar, so to speak. Then the band kicks into ‘China Cat Sunflower’ and we’re off and running…” (16)
He remembers the 2/13/70 show: “Someone had put acid in the water, so we were all under the influence.” (Another stagecrew member also says of the Dead, “They would dose everybody.”) (17)
As an aside, Martin Scorsese was then teaching film at NYU, and Arkush got him tickets to see the Band in 1969. “He was crazy about the Band, and we had to get him really good seats.” (18)

In 1973, Arkush moved to California to work in the movies, and got started in Roger Corman’s trailer department. He had also become friends with Garcia, and would visit him at home. (Around Christmas 1973, he and Garcia watched Only Angels Have Wings at Garcia’s house.)
“Someone like Jerry Garcia, who I knew for a long time—I wouldn’t go back to the hotel after a show and hang out with them, party with them, y’know? I’d go to a show, talk to him a little backstage, and then I’d leave. Or he’d come over to my apartment if he was in town, and we’d watch movies together.” (19)

Deathsport, in 1978, was one of the first movies Arkush directed. Garcia was keen on sci-fi, and was probably tickled at the opportunity to help with the soundtrack.
Garcia was also involved with another movie that year…


Garcia was listed in the film credits this time as one of the musicians. He had a small part playing the banjo music for Harry, a park beggar with a banjo who is later turned into a mutant dog.
Garcia even joined the Screen Actors Guild in December ‘77, though I don’t think he actually appears in the film. Maybe he initially planned to work as an extra, but the beggar with the banjo was played by another actor, Joe Bellan; Garcia just provided the music track, which was recorded separately.
The banjo music only appears very briefly in a couple scenes, but Dead fans will quickly recognize that the song is ‘Goin’ Down the Road.’ I can’t tell who is singing it, though – it doesn’t sound like Garcia.
I don’t know who invited Garcia into the production, but no doubt he jumped at the chance to be involved with a sci-fi film being made in San Francisco.

Engineer Phil Sawyer, who’d worked briefly on the Aoxomoxoa mixes back in ’69, bumped into Garcia again: “Jerry reminded me of [the Aoxomoxoa sessions] around 1978 during the making of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." (I was the Music Production Coordinator and he played the banjo "source" music for the character that eventually turns into the hideous half-man-half-dog.)” (20)

Supposedly, Garcia also appears as an extra in Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, in the Indian chanting-crowd scene filmed in early 1977:
While this makes for neat internet trivia, it’s totally untrue. If Garcia made a trip to India in ’77 to work as a film extra, it has eluded his biographers!  Nonetheless, the film did make an impact on him – he saw it “about six times” when it came out in November ’77, and the alien theme soon snuck its way into a few Dead shows, most notably 1/22/78.

Meanwhile, in 1979 Allan Arkush directed the Ramones in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School – which safe to say had no Garcia involvement. (I don’t know whether Garcia ever saw it.)

The Ramones were startled to discover their director was a Grateful Dead fan. Arkush recalled, “They came over to my place, and that's when John saw my record collection. He was looking through it, and saw some Grateful Dead records. I believe his response was, "What the fuck is this?! You like these guys or what?" And they all turned to me. I said, "Well, I think you guys and the Grateful Dead are similar. I think you're both auteurs." And John was a smart guy, he knew what that was. Whatever music you play, you make it sound like yours. Even a cover song, it becomes a Ramones song. Like when the Grateful Dead do "In the Midnight Hour," "Dark Star," whatever, it becomes a Grateful Dead song. That's why I love both these bands, they're so pure at what they do. That satisfied Johnny. Then later, Joey admitted to me he'd actually been to a Grateful Dead concert, at Roosevelt Stadium. But he said he left after a half hour because they never played a fast song.” (21)


Arkush’s next film was Heartbeeps in 1981, an Andy Kaufman comedy about a robot family. Garcia didn’t play the music soundtrack for this film, but did guitar effects for the voice of Phil, the robot child.

Arkush called the movie “a complete failure.” He then made a rock-music comedy based on his experiences at the Fillmore, Get Crazy, which was also a failure, and has mostly worked in TV ever since.
David Browne writes: “Allan Arkush had been accustomed to hanging out with Garcia, talking and watching movies (Garcia could recite all the dialogue from Network, for instance); in 1981 Garcia provided, via his guitar, the ‘voice’ of a robot baby in Arkush’s comedy Heartbeeps. By the early eighties, though, that interaction stopped. Rarely did Arkush pick up his phone anymore to hear Garcia’s voice merrily say, ‘Hey, come over and watch movies.’ …Arkush says, ‘He’d say, “Call me,” but never pick up the phone.’” (22)
Garcia eventually became more social again, and in later years Arkush would still visit Garcia backstage, where Garcia would complain that touring had become “homework, a chore.”

Arkush says, “The two musicians in my life who I've had the closest friendships with are Joey Ramone and Jerry Garcia… Garcia would say about the Acid Test, "We were just living in the moment and trying to do this chaotic thing. It was all about freedom. But then, as we got big, as much as we'd like to be chaotic when we play, we were kind of codified by this thing we're 'supposed' to be."” (23)


In the early ‘80s Garcia withdrew from contributing to other people’s projects, and his next outside soundtrack work after 1981 was done with the rest of the Dead for the Twilight Zone TV series in 1985.

Blair Jackson writes:
“During the first week of March, Garcia and the other band members went into the studio to record music and sound effects for a new version of … The Twilight Zone. The new series' producer, Phil DeGuere, had been a Deadhead for years, and had even been instrumental in the making of a 1972 Grateful Dead concert film that was never released, called Sunshine Daydream. DeGuere hired Merl Saunders, who had worked with him on a couple of projects for Universal Studios, to be the music supervisor for the series, and then, with DeGuere's approval, Merl brought in the Dead.
Mickey Hart was hired as the primary sound designer on the series, and he noted at the time, "We're using anything that fits: the sound of rain, light bulbs breaking backwards at half-speed, branches falling, car crashes, wood breaking. It's kind of a 21st-century orchestra." Hart worked on the series for most of the year, whereas the involvement of Garcia and the other band members was more limited. The band and Saunders worked out a new main theme, which was a short dissonant burst of "space" ending in a variation of the original Twilight Zone theme by Marius Constant.” (24)

Dennis McNally also describes the project:
“Phil DeGuere had come to the band’s attention with the failed 1972 film project called Sunshine Daydream. Since then, he’d moved up the Hollywood TV ladder… Now, he was the producer of a new version of Rod Serling’s classic Twilight Zone. Few shows could possibly have been more appealing to the Dead and Garcia, who remarked, ‘Man, I live in the Twilight Zone.’ They leaped at the chance to record their own version of the signature three-note motif…that identified the show. They didn’t stop there. DeGuere and his music director, Merl Saunders, came to a board meeting to discuss the band’s doing all of the music for the show, the ‘stings’ and ‘bumpers’ that set the atmospheric soundscape. Garcia left the meeting early, announcing that he voted yes. Lesh was ‘adamantly opposed,’ recalled DeGuere, and the decision was made to proceed without him.
They set to work, and while their music was appropriate and effective, the deal’s business aspects were badly handled, dooming the project to continuous friction among all parties involved… [Negotiations with CBS were done by] an associate who didn’t know the Dead very well and produced a fairly standard contract. The head of the music department at CBS didn’t like the deal, since he had no control, which now put Merl in the middle of both an unhappy CBS and the Dead. Very quickly, Mickey Hart took the lead for the Dead in the studio, and proved to have a gift for sound design. Just as they began, he went into the hospital for back surgery…and he produced music for the first four episodes from bed.” (25)

Garcia talked about the Twilight Zone sessions in an interview with Jackson:
“Phil DeGuere is the guy who originally wanted us apparently, and it was Merl that brought us in. I guess DeGuere is the music coordinator or producer or some such. He wanted us specifically… I think DeGuere is into the band…
“They didn’t give me any kind of guidelines. They might have given Merl some, but what we got was a collection of little music inserts called stings and bumpers – little hunks of non-specific music of various lengths that have different moods. One might be a mood like, 'Don't open that door!' or 'Don't go up in the attic!' or, 'I'm going to work, honey. Are you sure you'll be OK at home alone?' They go all the way from a sort of noncommittal [light, playful guitar noise] to a real ominous 'Braaaaaugh!' They gave us a huge menu of those — 40 that are like five seconds, 20 that are six-and-a-half seconds; a bunch that they can fade in and out. Then it's the music editor who actually fits them into the show…
You’ve got to be there and be able to knock it off. They don’t do run-throughs anymore, they don’t rehearse, and that’s part of the ‘art’ of it. [The music has to be] simple enough so that even an idiot can execute it the first time through. The rest of it is real safe, real stock. Generic music that they use over and over again…
It’s pretty easy to do… It doesn’t take very much time, and it doesn’t cost an awful lot. Usually they don’t offer that much for incidental music in a series, or even in the movies. So what happens is the more inexpensively you can produce it and bring it off, the more of the budget you get to keep for yourself. That’s the strategy for the local players trying to survive doing this. The world of Hollywood professional music is funny. It doesn’t yield a lot of bucks for the regular guys who work in it.” (26)

Mickey Hart ended up doing most of the work on the Twilight Zone soundtrack, and was credited as the sound designer on many episodes. Garcia laughed, “Mickey overworks things, rather than underworks them. He works on them until they’re dead! Mickey is usually more the driving spirit than the actual head of those sorts of things. He keeps a tight rein on the buggy whip: ‘C’mon, do another take!’” (27)
Since the mid-'70s Hart had his own fascination with film soundtracks, even recording a soundtrack for a film that hadn’t been made yet, The Silent Flute. His work for Apocalypse Now is best-known, though he’s also worked on a number of documentary soundtracks since then. (But all that is another story.)

Robert Hunter also did a bit of writing for the Twilight Zone series, writing some narration and one segment, “The Devil’s Alphabet” (based on a 1910 short story, “The Everlasting Club”). As Wikipedia summarizes the plot about a group of Cambridge students: “Upon their graduation, they make an oath to meet at the same time every year, joking "even if we are dead." When one member commits suicide twenty years later, the surviving members discover that they are indeed bound by their oath. The remaining members die, either by violent accident or suicide, until the final surviving member returns to the meeting place and asks the deceased members present to agree to end the pact, which releases their spirits.” (28)
I have to suspect Hunter was consciously thinking of the Grateful Dead when he chose this story!
Hunter wrote later, “It was a large charge to write something and see it brought to life by professional actors… That was just a plus, as I was hired to write the Serling-like intros to the series, even auditioned to be the voice but (luckily as I now realize) lost out to a honey voiced commercial overdubber. I was "under" script advisor Harlan Ellison, one helluva dissident sci-fi author… Harlan is a serious science fiction god, and I but a rock and roll lyricist hired mostly because the executive producer, Phil DeGuere, was a friend and a deadhead… I'm still grateful that a steady salary for the two seasons The Zone ran helped make the house payments and put food on the table for our family of five back when the GD was staggering financially and I was set running around the country doing low paying solo gigs to support us.” (29)

A soundtrack CD of the Dead’s Twilight Zone music was released in 1998. (outtakes)


Al Franken and Tom Davis of Saturday Night Live wrote and starred in this teen comedy, playing in a bar band called Badmouth. Tom Davis asked his friend Garcia to produce Badmouth's music in the movie. Davis said, "Jerry understands the integrity of live sound, and he made sure to retain several of the band's mistakes to make it sound authentic." (29-1)
Garcia produced five songs for the live-music scenes, and it turns out he even played one of Tom Davis' solos in the movie. Al Franken recalls, "We hung out with Jerry, he kind of produced some music we did for One More Saturday Night. At one point, we just had Jerry lay down a solo for Tom. Basically, we played the stuff, because we were going to play it in the movie. We played a bar band. But at one point we had Jerry lay down a solo for Tom. And Tom didn't know it. I think he was in the bathroom. He came in, heard it, he just knew it was Jerry." (29-2)

At the time, the summer 1985 Golden Road reported that "Garcia traveled to Wheaton, Illinois, for five days to produce sessions with the group [Badmouth] at Jor-Dan Studios. It turns out that the band was being fronted by comedians Al Franken and Tom Davis (both well-known Deadheads and hosts of the Dead's Radio City broadcast on Halloween in 1980), and the sessions were for a film the two are involved with called Date Night. According to Jor-Dan's Dan Zimbelman, the music Al, Tom, and Badmouth cut was primarily for the film's bar scenes. 'It was pretty rough stuff,' he told us. 'If you've heard the duo play before, you know why they are comedians and not musicians.'" (29-3) 
The spring 1986 Golden Road followed up on the film, specifying that the name One More Saturday Night was chosen by Columbia Pictures, and the Dead's song was not used. Al Franken said, "When I told Weir about the name change, he smiled and said, 'I'll sue.' When we told Columbia it was the title of a Grateful Dead song they said, 'Good!' But they didn't want it for the movie because they thought it was the wrong style for the movie and it would make people think about the '60s or something. Also, they said they wanted a new song so they could make a video for MTV." (So the title song turned out to be a new Motown track.)
Franken joked about Garcia as a producer: "He was a real taskmaster in the studio. He worked us real hard. As you know, he's an exercise nut, but even we were surprised that he brought his exercise bicycle into the studio. He'd be up there all day yelling out orders at us while we recorded."
Franken also spoke about Garcia's guitar solo in the film: "The band that was Badmouth was the core of Tom's band, The Tom Davis Experience, and so Tom was actually the guitarist on the tracks. At one point there's this close-up of Tom doing a solo, and Tom really couldn't quite pull it off, so Jerry redid it based on what Tom was trying to do. We fall over laughing every time we see it. It starts off almost sounding like one of Tom's solos, but it becomes so identifiably Jerry." (29-4)
Some viewers have heard Garcia's solo in the film, but I haven't traced which song. Garcia didn't participate in another feature-film soundtrack until 1995.


“Sell out? Where do I sign?”

Garcia started a new acoustic band in early 1987 with old friends David Nelson, Sandy Rothman, and John Kahn. One of their first projects was a radio commercial Garcia had been persuaded to do.
Sandy Troy writes that in March ‘87, “Garcia also recruited Nelson and Rothman to help him cut a short radio advertisement for Levi’s 501 jeans when the San Francisco-based company offered him the opportunity to make a 30-second spot. The commercial, Garcia’s first, was part of an ad campaign that included commercials by other musicians… Jerry played acoustic guitar and sang, ‘A good pair of Levi’s are bound to set me free’ and ‘Levi’s 501 jeans shrink to fit only me.’” (30)

Blair Jackson writes: “Garcia, Rothman, Nelson and Kahn convened with engineer John Cutler at Club Front to record a down-home radio commercial for Levi's 501 jeans — a seat-of-the-bluejeans composition with words by Rothman and music by Garcia, in the style of the Blue Yodeler, Jimmie Rodgers. This was the first time any member of the Dead had been part of an ad, and Garcia acceded to the request only after numerous entreaties from Levi's... At the time, he told friends that he did the commercial spot mainly to make a few bucks for his friends Rothman and Nelson and to have an excuse to get together in the studio with them.” (31)

Mary Eisenhart asked Garcia about it later in ‘87:
Q: “Some people have wondered about your Levi's commercial, since you're pretty much on record as saying the Grateful Dead will never do a commercial.”
Garcia: “It wasn't the Grateful Dead. I make that distinction. Other people don't, but hey, that's their problem. The reason I did it, really, was because I had some friends that needed work. And you know, work for musicians…especially for bluegrass musicians, country musicians…I had a lot of them out there starving. And when it's possible to do something to be able to let some of those guys do some work, hey, you know…” (32)

This seems to have been particularly true of Sandy Rothman, who lived with Garcia for a while that year: “I was homeless living out of my car, and so Jerry said, ‘Why don’t you stay here?’” (33)
Garcia would respond to accusations that he’d sold out with something like, “We’ve been trying to sell out for years, but nobody’s buying!”

At the end of 1988, McNally writes, “Dead Heads [were] in an uproar over the use of ‘Eep Hour,’ a piece of music from Garcia’s first solo album, on a television advertisement for Cher’s Uninhibited perfume… Garcia snorted, ‘Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke. I can sell anything, even my ass, if I want.’” (34) (Cher perfume)

Garcia would record for Levi's again as well. A New York Times article in September 1991 mentioned, "He has just appeared in some ads for Levi's jeans: 'Me, Hornsby, and Branford Marsalis,' Mr. Garcia said. 'Spike Lee directed, and I figure if Spike can sell out, so can I.'" (34-1)
Garcia said the same in his October 1991 Rolling Stone interview: "We figured, hey, if Spike Lee could sell out, we could sell out. What the hell... For those ads, we just fucked around, really. They mixed the music so far back that you can just barely recognize us. You can almost make out Branford. I mean, you can't hear me or Bruce." (34-2)
Garcia forgot to mention bass player Rob Wasserman, who also played with them and composed the music for several Levi's ads. Bruce Hornsby later reminisced, "Branford Marsalis, Jerry Garcia, Rob Wasserman and I did some crazy space music for some Levi's jeans ads that Spike was making in 1991. We were out there rehearsing at Front Street, the old Dead studio when I was playing with them, and we recorded this crazy space music that he used." (34-3) Hornsby went on to work with Spike Lee on several later films.
Garcia was thinking of forming a new improv band with the others: "Bruce, Branford, Rob Wasserman and I have actually talked about putting something together. I had this notion of putting together a band that had no material, that just got onstage and blew. And maybe one of these days, we'll make that happen." (34-2) 

SMOKE 1995

In January 1995, the Jerry Garcia Band recorded two songs for the soundtrack of Smoke at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. It was an unusual movie for Garcia to be involved in, an episodic film about characters in a Brooklyn cigar store. The director was Wayne Wang, who had a personal contact with Garcia - he'd met him while living in the Bay area in the '60s, and had been a JGB roadie in the '70s. He'd wanted to use Garcia for a film soundtrack for some time, and must have invited him to work on the movie. Wang chose the song 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' (by Jerome Kern, Garcia's namesake), and John Kahn picked another song to do as well, Otis Redding's 'Cigarettes and Coffee.'
The Garcia Band hadn't been in a studio since 1981 (with some different personnel), but Kahn said, "The sessions went amazingly fast. We did it in a couple of days and had a great time. I kind of wish we'd had the time to do a whole album with that band." (34-4)
In April '95, Garcia made a video for 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes' at the Tosca Cafe in San Francisco, with Ashley Judd. Jay Blakesberg was there taking photos and remembered, "She was playing it cool but seemed very nice and very interested in Jerry, who had an ear-to-ear grin." (34-5)
Smoke came out in summer '95, and was still playing when Garcia died. The video wasn't part of the movie itself (the song was used in the closing credits), but it was shown before the movie in some theaters after Garcia's death. Wang gave a little tribute to the press: "Working with Jerry Garcia on Smoke was like taking lessons from a great music teacher. He was equally passionate about rock, blues, jazz, country, and classical music. He loved to talk about music, and illustrated everything with his playing. It was an honor to be his student." (34-6)   

I think this was the only time Garcia worked on a non-Dead music video aside from doing the stylish black & white 'The Thrill Is Gone' video with David Grisman in 1991. That was directed by Justin Kreutzmann, who's written a little piece about making the video:
It's a small irony that Garcia, who grew up in a bar, made two music videos in the '90s that both featured him playing old standards in smoky San Francisco bars. 


There are some other films Garcia was involved with (or considered working on) that are worth mentioning though they don’t include soundtracks from him.

As part of the “San Francisco scene,” the Dead had the opportunity to appear in two movies in early 1967. Their fan club newsletter the Olompali Sunday Times announced in April ‘67, “There is a chance the band may film a little in Richard Lester's movie "Petulia". They would only be playing in the background in a club, but that's okay, because they want experience before they do any major filming.” (35)
The next issue, in May, reported that the Dead would be “in Richard Lester's new movie, "PETULIA", starring Julie Christie and George C. Scott. The band was in one scene being San Francisco atmosphere, and in another scene they were playing live in a warehouse here in the city. (VIOLA LEE BLUES is what you'll hear in the movie.)” (36)

Aside from the Viola Lee segment, the band and some friends got to be extras as “San Francisco atmosphere,” playing loitering hippies in one scene. (The band had to join the Screen Actors Guild in order to appear.) As the battered and unconscious Petulia is carried on a stretcher out of an apartment to the ambulance, they hang around on the sidewalk making mean comments: Garcia tells her, “Write if you get work.”
Garcia can also be seen on posters in the background in the film – the Dead’s first album had recently been released when filming started in spring ‘67 (though oddly, the poster was for an October ’66 Fillmore show).

Perhaps the main reason Garcia would have wanted to take part in the film was the director, Richard Lester, who had made the two Beatles films that had a profound impact on the Dead. McNally writes, “Their friends at the satirical troupe the Committee, who were also in the movie, had recommended them, and the shoot was a fine opportunity for a good talk, even if the interminable delays of moviemaking were a bore. Lester was funny and accessible, jamming with them on organ during one break.” (37) Garcia was impressed by how small a film crew Lester used.

There had also been an earlier offer from Hollywood, which the Dead rejected.
Blair Jackson reports: “The Dead had first been approached by Hollywood producers in January, while the group was recording its album. ‘We got a movie offer from ABC-Paramount,’ Garcia said in February '67. ‘We got an offer to be in a James Coburn movie in which he plays the psychiatrist for the president, who runs off from his job for a series of misadventures, one of which is to spend a certain amount of time with us — with a rock 'n' roll band that is traveling around in a nomadic fashion. We're written into the script, with speaking parts and everything. We've agreed to do it, provided we have control over the section we're in. So we might not do it because they might not give us control. We don't want to be in a movie unless it's good, and it won't be good unless we do it ourselves.’” (38)

They turned it down, McNally writes, “because ABC-Paramount would not give them creative control over their part.” (39)
Instead, the Los Angeles band Clear Light appeared in the film, playing ‘She’s Ready To Be Free’:

McNally describes another brief encounter between the Dead and Hollywood:
“Just a month or two before, Otto Preminger had visited 710, ostensibly to discuss a film, only to be greeted by MG, Sue, Connie, and Weir, armed with water balloons and firecrackers. Shouting what MG recalled as ‘vile epithets’ on the subject of mogulism and Hollywood, they sent the famous director scurrying back to his limousine. Weir wasn’t even sure who Preminger was…” (39)
Presumably Preminger was interested in the Dead for his bizarre comedy Skidoo, featuring LSD & hippies. Their reaction was wise.

A couple years later, the Dead again got the chance to go Hollywood, and again rejected it. McNally writes that while Lenny Hart was managing them, they nearly participated in “the film Zachariah, a bizarre western with electric guitar-slinging cowboys. Arguing that it would provide good exposure, Lenny briefly convinced them that the idea could fly. In the end, they didn’t trust Hollywood and opted out of the movie… but before that…they toured the MGM back lot and were fitted for costumes, and then Mickey, the experienced rider, took the band out for lessons at his ranch.” (40)
Blair Jackson adds another detail: “Hunter recalled that around that time the band had written a tune for a rock Western they were approached to appear in called Zachariah, and that perhaps ‘Mason's Children’ was that song. Ultimately Country Joe & the Fish took their place in the film.” (41)
It appears ‘Mason’s Children’ may have been intended for the movie – before playing it at the 1/3/70 Fillmore East show, the Dead gave a little introduction.
Phil: This here song we wrote for a movie which was gonna be shot in a parking lot – no, it was a drive-in restaurant – no, it was a drive-in movie – in downtown Albuquerque, was it? (Jerry: Something like that.) Yeah, with parked cars for an audience.
Jerry: We decided not to do it finally.
Bob: But we’re gonna do the song anyway. (42)

The movie was initially written by members of the Firesign Theater, though it was later rewritten in Hollywood. The Dead were replaced by Country Joe & the Fish, who played the Crackers, a gang of inept stage robbers. (The movie also featured jazz drummer Elvin Jones, fiddler Doug Kershaw, and Joe Walsh & the James Gang, among other bands.)
Zachariah was filmed in 1970 and released in January 1971. It’s hard to say just when the Dead were involved. McNally says it was “one of Lenny’s first acts,” suggesting early or mid-’69; but Mason’s Children wasn’t played live til December ’69; and the March 1970 issue of Circus magazine reported that the Dead were to star in Zachariah, and would ride horses “wearing holsters with electric guitars.” (43) In any case, the Dead backed out of it by early 1970.

Ten years later – a 1980 Rolling Stone article reported on the Dead’s film plans:
“Mickey Hart got a taste of film work when he scored part of Apocalypse Now, and he wants to do more. Jerry Garcia…who has done musical and sound effects on such films as Phil Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Roger Corman’s Big Bad Mama, hopes to direct a movie version of Kurt Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan, to which he has secured the film rights.
‘Moviemaking,’ he said, ‘is something I’ve always wanted to do. Not all the ideas I’ve had are music. Making a movie is really solving problems – visual and dramatic problems – of various sorts, and I’ve convinced myself I can do it, and do a good job of it.’
Meantime, Garcia is providing the voice, via his guitar, for a robot child in a movie, Heartbeeps (starring Andy Kauffman and Bernadette Peters). He has something up his sleeve with Deadheads Tom Davis and Al Franken, and he and Dead lyricist Robert Hunter are considering making a movie out of various Grateful Dead songs. ‘There’s a latent story there that we’ve been fooling with all these years. There’s a story that kind of runs through.’” (44)

In 1985, Garcia had a long interview with Blair Jackson talking about films:
“Working on the Dead movie was a product of my interest in film. It’s something I found myself doing because I’ve always been into film. But being in a rock and roll band doesn’t allow you that many opportunities to make films, so having that film to work on gave me a chance to just work on my filmmaking chops, so to speak. I’ve had other projects I always wanted to do, and other ways I’ve wanted to relate to the film world other than music, but they require hands-on work. I’m a student of film, you might say, and a film buff and all that. But there are things I’ve wanted to do because there are certain ideas I have in the form of films. Lacking those ideas, I don’t know if I’d be interested in film from a technical point of view. If I ever expect to see those ideas executed, it means I have to have a sense of how film works…
For me, Sirens of Titan is one of those things. It occurred to me as a real cogent cinematic experience in my mind’s eye. Strangely, my movie ideas don’t have any music to them…
If I’m going to make movies, I’m going to make them on my terms. I’m not going to become a filmmaker as a career. I’ll do it like Jean Cocteau – do a couple of tasty movies and that’s it. I don’t know if I could do somebody else’s ideas. For one thing, I don’t know if I’d want to. And making a film is a hassle. You have to live with an idea for an awful long time, which means the idea has to have great power. You have to love it a lot or else you have to be real tolerant. For me, ideas lose their sheen…real fast, and it’s only the power and longevity of some ideas that have made me want to stick it out to that extent. Sirens is one of those long-lived ideas that has stayed good no matter how much I’ve thought about it, and how much time has passed. That kind of freshness, that kind of real love for a piece, is the only thing that would make me want to make a film of a piece…
Most of the things that occur to me, I feel I would have some success directing them. That would be my role. Lacking that, I think there are a lot of good directors around. Directing is really dog work on a certain level. It’s really hard… To seriously direct takes a lot of work and is not that much fun. That’s why I’d only do it with something I seriously cared about. But there are people I think I could trust.” (45)

Per Blair Jackson, in the late ‘70s “Garcia, Richard Loren, and John Kahn had acquired the movie rights to Kurt Vonnegut’s science fiction novel The Sirens of Titan, and through much of 1984 Garcia had been in close contact with Tom Davis as the writer/comedian prepared the first draft of a script… By early 1985, Gary Gutierrez, the skilled animator who had worked on the Grateful Dead Movie, was preparing detailed storyboards for the film-to-be, which would be directed by Garcia.” (46)
McNally adds, “As 1984 wore on, Garcia set to work with his old friend Tom Davis on creating a script… Many of their earliest sessions had more to do with laughter and television than work. Jerry and Tom eventually produced a script… Davis managed to arrange a meeting that included the Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz and SNL star Bill Murray, but nothing came of it, and the script languished.” (47)

Greenfield’s oral biography Dark Star has more details on the Sirens of Titan project (page 214), and Tom Davis & Richard Loren have also written about it extensively in their memoirs. I don’t want to focus on it too much here, though, since the film never got made and the idea was eventually abandoned, though Garcia kept the movie rights to the book until his death. His screenplay is still floating around out there as well, though other writers have tried tackling the book since then. (So far with no success.)

Garcia also had storyboards worked out with Gary Gutierrez. In direct contrast to his preferences in making music, Garcia said that when making a movie, “you have to have…an exact idea of what you want… You can waste your time making a movie and do every scene over and over again from a million different angles, or you can have a little discipline and have a shooting script with numbers for each shot. My approach is to have a shooting script and a story board and have every camera angle down in advance. That’s what I see.” (48)

Garcia talked about Sirens of Titan in other interviews sometimes, most extensively with Mary Eisenhart in 1987:
“I have all the patience in the world about Sirens... My real interest in Sirens of Titan is preventing it from being made into a bad movie. So everybody who I meet in the movies, every contact I make—as I get closer and closer to the center of the cyclone, I turn more and more people onto the script, and onto the idea, and Tom and I work on it regularly. Tom Davis is the guy who co-wrote the script with me, and we both are very much in love with the project. But I'm not in any hurry. I don't care how long it takes to see the screen, just as long as when it does go to the screen, it really goes well. That's my interest there, that I'm maintaining as much control over it as I can from my point of view, in terms of ownership of the screen rights and so forth, to make sure that it doesn't fall into the hands of a hack. That's the thing I fear most…
I don't think that Slaughterhouse-Five was successful movie material. In fact, Vonnegut's books mostly I don't feel are movie material… The tone of them is a lot of what makes them, that wry voice, the author's voice. Which is something that you can't put on the screen. You can put style on the screen in place of it.
But Sirens of Titan is the one that goes—and also Mother Night, which I think would be a wonderful movie—it's a simple enough, and a direct enough A-B-C-D, linear, Act One, Act Two, Act Three kind of dramatic structure—it would work as a play, it would work as a movie. Sirens has that format also, only it's tremendously convoluted, you know, and that's the fun of it…
Our version keeps all the major characters, but—if you read it through carefully, there's really not so many subplots. It really is very simple in a way… There's really three basic characters that are having things happen to them. Three main characters. Which is to say Malachi, Rumfoord, and Bea. It's like a triangle, a complex, convoluted love story. And it's really that simple. So our task has been to take the essential dramatic relationships, make it playable for actors, so that it's free from the Big Picture emphasis of the book. The book is all kind of long shots, you know? But the ideas and the funny stuff and the human part of it... There's also some extremely lovely, touching moments in the book. It's one of the few Vonnegut books that's really sweet, in parts of it, and it has some really lovely stuff in it. It's the range of it that gets me off, the thing that it goes from that black comedy kind of, and the Why Me plot, all that stuff, the ironic twists and so forth, and that stuff which is just fun, to the really sweet, the tender things… I'm a sucker for that kind of stuff… I love that. It's wonderful stuff. But it took some work for us to start to really understand the simplicity of it. And it really does—our screenplay really works good…
When I was in New York I met with Jonathan Demme…he's a good director. He was very excited about it, because he's done a Kurt Vonnegut project before. I also found out he was a Deadhead… But like I say, I'm not trying to—I'm not flogging it. I have a lot of faith in it, and it's one of those things where I'm real ready to wait around. I don't care how long it takes…
When I read it, it was a movie in my head. All the others are novels in my head. This one, when I read it—every time I read it—boom!—it plays like a movie in my head. If it wasn't a movie I never would've taken it on. For me, the ideas come the way they come… I mean, just because you're a musician doesn't mean all your ideas are about music… In this case, Sirens of Titan, when I read it, it's a movie. It plays like a movie, so it's a movie idea. If I didn't see it as a movie I'd have no faith in doing it. I feel it's a movie; I feel enough confidence in my own vision of the movie of Sirens of Titan that I feel I could direct it, no problem. I see it. It's that simple… It plays in my head—I see the blocking, I see the action, I see the camera moves. I see—it just plays. And that's one of those things—I didn't ask for that, that's just the way it hit me back when I first read it in '61 or something. It's been that way every time I've read it since then…” (49)

There are also a couple movies Garcia financially contributed to, though he wasn’t directly involved with their making.
Blair Jackson writes that Leon Gast, a documentary filmmaker, “first contacted Garcia and Ron Rakow in early 1973 to see if they would help finance a documentary he’d been working on about the Hell’s Angels. Sandy Alexander, president of the New York chapter of the motorcycle club, introduced Gast to Garcia and Rakow, ‘and we hit it off,’ Gast says. ‘Jerry came by one day, all alone, to look at what we had. I showed him maybe an hour of material and he loved it. Rakow loved it too, and he said, ‘Well, what do we do?’ We shook hands and that night we made a deal and they agreed to provide the financing to complete the film, which I believe was about $300,000.’ Garcia also agreed to appear in the film, speaking on camera about the Angels and playing with the Saunders-Garcia band during a September ’73 Hell’s Angels ‘Pirate Party’ aboard the ferryboat SS Bay Belle circling around Manhattan.” (50)
In 1974, Garcia & Rakow turned to Gast to film the Dead’s October shows at Winterland; Gast was the director and supervised the filming, but quickly left the project once editing started and Garcia took control. “They put on their own editorial team and they did it themselves. I dropped out of the project because they were going to cut the film their own way.” (51) It seems he got more funding from Rakow up to ’76 for the documentary Hell’s Angels Forever, but it was not released until 1983. 

Garcia was always something of an arthouse-film buff – Joe Craven of the David Grisman Quintet remembered “a recording session at the home of David Grisman in the winter of 1989 in which, in the middle of a take, Jerry stops playing, lights up a cigarette, and launches into a dissertation on foreign film directors with almost professorial confidence and delivery.” (52)
Back in the ‘60s, Garcia had seen the 1965 Polish film The Saragossa Manuscript at the Cento Cedar Cinema in San Francisco – the heavily edited two-hour American cut. It apparently became his favorite film, and in the ‘90s he offered the Pacific Film Archive funding to acquire the full three-hour print. Garcia’s request to Edith Kramer at PFA was “that Jerry and friends could come and see the print whenever they wanted.”
Per one SF Chronicle article, “Henry Kaiser, a buddy of Garcia’s, asked Kramer if she would be interested in acquiring a print of the complete film for the archive if Garcia put up the money.” Garcia donated $6,000, and a print was eventually found in Europe. But Kramer said, “Sadly, the day after the print arrives I receive the phone call that Mr. Garcia had died.” (53)
More restoration was needed to recover the complete film, and Martin Scorsese funded the rest (for a total cost of $36,000). The restoration was finished in 1997; Francis Ford Coppola aided in its theatrical distribution, and it was released on DVD a few years later. The DVD cover reads: “In dedication to Jerry Garcia.”

Joey Ramone had a few words on Garcia’s passing:
“I’d like to talk about the death of Jerry Garcia... I went through a short phase where I got into two Dead albums, something I would never have revealed. I went through a period in my life where I was stuck in a place and I got turned onto Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty. I really liked ‘Ripple’ on American Beauty. The thing I liked about the Dead was they were real. They were a roots band, they had their own sound and it was honest. It’s a loss. It’s an end of an era, with Jerry Garcia’s demise. It’s the last gasp of the ‘60s. The ‘60s are really within those who got something out of the ‘60s. All those kids who wanted a taste of the ‘60s and followed the Grateful Dead around, I mean. This is what they thought it was all about, now they need to get into punk rock.”  (54)


1. Sandy Troy, Captain Trips, p.184, 47
2. Dennis McNally, Long Strange Trip, p.74
4. Blair Jackson, Garcia, p.61-62
5. McNally p. 405
6. “Garcia On Film, Video & ‘The Twilight Zone,’” Golden Road, Spring 1985
9. Ibid.
10. Jackson p.182 (see also McNally p.361)
11. David Goldweber, Claws & Saucers
13. Rock & Roll High School DVD notes
14. John Glatt, Live at the Fillmore East, p.198
15. Glatt p.221
16. Glatt p.264 (see also Browne p.13)
17. Glatt p.269
18. Glatt p.216
22. David Browne, So Many Roads, p.294
25. McNally p.553
26. “Garcia On Film” Golden Road, Spring 1985
27. Ibid.
29.!topic/  (Robert Hunter journal entry 2/4/05)
29-3. "Deadline," Golden Road, Summer 1985
29-4. "Deadline," Golden Road, Spring 1986
30. Troy p.224
33. Jackson p.371
34. McNally p.571
34-1. Peter Watrous, "Grateful Dead: Alive and Thriving," New York Times 9/9/91 -
34-2. James Henke, "Jerry Garcia: The Rolling Stone Interview," Rolling Stone 10/31/91 - 
34-4. Jackson, Garcia, p. 438
34-5. Jay Blakesberg, Between the Dark and Light, p.176
37. McNally p.190
39. McNally p.191
40. McNally p.307
43. David Dodd/Robert Weiner, Grateful Dead Annotated Bibliography, p.10
44. Ben Fong-Torres, “Fifteen Years Dead,” Rolling Stone 8/7/80
45. “Garcia On Film,” Golden Road, Spring 1985
46. Jackson p.340
47. McNally p.551
48. “Garcia On Film,” Golden Road, Spring 1985  
50. Jackson p.257


  1. I can't wait to read this, thank you!

  2. "When I read it, it was a movie in my head. All the others are novels in my head. This one, when I read it—every time I read it—boom!—it plays like a movie in my head. If it wasn't a movie I never would've taken it on. For me, the ideas come the way they come… I mean, just because you're a musician doesn't mean all your ideas are about music… In this case, Sirens of Titan, when I read it, it's a movie. It plays like a movie, so it's a movie idea. If I didn't see it as a movie I'd have no faith in doing it. I feel it's a movie; I feel enough confidence in my own vision of the movie of Sirens of Titan that I feel I could direct it, no problem. I see it. It's that simple… It plays in my head—I see the blocking, I see the action, I see the camera moves. I see—it just plays. And that's one of those things—I didn't ask for that, that's just the way it hit me back when I first read it in '61 or something. It's been that way every time I've read it since then…”

    A little rambling, but this Garcia quote about Sirens of Titan is amazing. I haven't read that much Vonnegut, but I see what he means about Sirens, overall. And this imagery, of it hitting him exactly like a movie, is just so indicative of Garcia's whole phenomenology. As music had colors, books can play like a movie, in your head.

    1. In the same interview, Garcia also said that Nikos Kazantzakis' epic Homeric poem The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel also played like a movie for him: "for me it's just total sensual, visual experience, and I think it would make an incredible movie."

      I wondered when Garcia ever read it! Maybe in the early Palo Alto days, when he had lots of time on his hands...

  3. More Sirens

    "When I was in New York I met with Jonathan Demme…he's a good director. He was very excited about it, because he's done a Kurt Vonnegut project before. I also found out he was a Deadhead… But like I say, I'm not trying to—I'm not flogging it. I have a lot of faith in it, and it's one of those things where I'm real ready to wait around. I don't care how long it takes… "

    This must have been September 1987 (while GD were at the Garden) or October 1987 (when Jerry was on Broadway). Richard Loren's account of this is really interesting, it's among the hurts/regrets he expresses that Jerry more or less abandoned him on Sirens. On meeting Demme: RL set up a meeting between himself, Garcia and Jonathan Demme, but "Jerry was too enervated by then to muster enough energy and enthusiasm to interest Demme, and Demme was distracted by problems he was having on the set of his film, so the meeting went nowhere … As Vonnegut himself cryptically wrote, 'And so it goes'" (Loren 2014, 229).

    1. This is a good example of Garcia's positive outlook - he says that Demme was "very excited about it," whereas Loren said "Demme was the meeting went nowhere!"
      As it turned out, the Sirens project was pretty much on its last gasp already - Garcia just sat on it til he died, unable to rouse any Hollywood interest.

      With all the firsthand sources we have now, it should be possible to write up a complete account of Garcia's Sirens quest over the years - even with screenplay excerpts - but that was outside my parameters here.

  4. Fascinating stuff, I'd never heard of the Corman involvement before.

    The Antonioni Zabriskie Point session was on Tuesday 1970-01-20 according to the credits in the booklet for the double CD soundtrack. That's pretty close to the release in February.

    1. Extremely close. Some of Garcia's comments here came from a New York interview on February 11, 1970, where the interviewer had already seen the film. I am a little surprised that the film could have been edited & distributed that quickly - unless the soundtrack for that scene was the last work done on the film. It would also make Garcia very much a last-minute choice for Antonioni!

    2. researching some of the recordings, i too have been amazed at how close to 'deadline' projects were still in flux. the europe 72 record labels were still being worked in late september for the start of november release.

      :-) yes, back in the analog days, things were done just so much faster than in these digital days. :-)

      I-) ihor

  5. > BIG BAD MAMA 1974

    the credits list:

    music performed by the great amercian music band

    recorded and mixed by bill wolf

    the whole film is still here: Big Bad Mama 1974 - USA Movie

    I-) ihor

    1. Nifty bluegrass theme in the credits. Though the opening credit is just "music by David Grisman," it's definitely the whole band playing - perhaps one of the same configurations of the GAMB that played live in mid-1974. I presume Garcia is on banjo, but admittedly can't confirm it's him.
      (The film was released in September 1974.)

      Bill Wolf's involvement is also notable - he and Grisman also produced the first Rowan Brothers album, and Wolf would go on to record the Dead's Oct '74 Winterland run. Later he'd be a recording engineer on the Diga and Seastones albums, as well as several Grisman releases.
      The Big Bad Mama soundtrack is perhaps as close as we'll come to a GAMB studio session.

    2. > I presume Garcia is on banjo, but admittedly can't confirm it's him.

      what bothers me is it does not sound like garcia on banjo (in Big Bad Mama). for one, the banjo playing is way too fast and clean and 'techinical' compared to what garcia sounded when he played with OAITW.

      it would be great if it was garcia on banjo (or guitar).

      I-) ihor

    3. here is a good discussion of the GAMB and their origins: The Birth of the Great American Music Band

      I-) ihor

    4. Until a firsthand source turns up, Garcia's involvement in Big Bad Mama & Capone must be unconfirmed.
      However, the 1980 Rolling Stone article on the Dead did mention that Garcia had played in Big Bad Mama. Either the writer got it from Garcia directly, or he read it somewhere; but that's at least one piece of secondhand evidence.

    5. Grisman has just released "Dawg Works Volume 1 The Collected Compositions Of David Grisman 1963-1975" on Acoustic Oasis. This includes three tracks from the "Big Bad Mama" soundtrack. "New York Ramble (Dawggy Mt. Breakdown)" is credited to Grisman mandolins, Garcia banjo, Scarlett harp, Rothman guitar and Bing Nathan on bass. "Wilma's Theme" has Jack Bonus on sax, Sy Perkoff piano and Nathan on bass and "Bad Mama Romance" is a Jack Bonus flute solo. There are a few "Capone" tracks as well, Grisman released a full "Capone" soundtrack in 2021 credited to Grisman, Rudy Cipola, Richard Greene, Perkoff, Joe Carroll and Dick Oxtot's Golden Age Band so it looks like we can discount any Garcia involvement with "Capone".

    6. Good confirmation of Garcia's presence on "Big Bad Mama"! (And lack of presence on "Capone".)
      Possibly by the time Grisman recorded for "Capone" in 1975 he'd drifted away from playing with Garcia, though there may have been other reasons Garcia didn't appear.

  6. don't discount the 'get crazy' film as having no GD content. tells me that :

    Get Crazy ( ) This August 5, 1983 released film was directed by Allan Arkush. He had worked at the Fillmore East and this musical comedy is loosely based his experiences there, on Bill Graham, and the Fillmore East. An SYF poster is often seen in the background. In the credits, Candace Brightman is listed as "Lighting Consultant".

    I-) ihor

  7. > advertisement for Levi’s 501 jeans

    the says that:

    Levi's 501 Jeans (Levi Strauss Co., San Francisco, CA) A 30 second radio commercial featuring Jerry Garcia, Sandy Rothman, David Nelson, and John Kahn playing a old time country blues tune, and Garcia singing '...a good pair of Levi's bound to set me free ... Levi's 501 jeans shrink to fit only me...'. Aired in early 1987. During rehearsals, several different versions of lyrics were written and practiced: "These old blue jeans, that I got on, they shrink to fit, they're 501, Levi's blues, the blues for me, just as blue, as the deep blue sea.". Another version was: "...staking down vampires, raising the cross, over sick monsters, Levi's are us..." and "...the bloodbath, Levi's are us, after we burn down, the ghouls and the fiends, we'll still be wearing, our 501 jeans", . Yet another version: "You'll find my name, on the back of my jeans, Levi's blues is what I mean, a good pair of Levi's, bound to set me free, 501 jeans, shrink to fit only me, yo-de-le-e-oh...".

    Levi's 501 Jeans (Levi Strauss Co., San Francisco, CA) During a 501 Jeans commercial with the fish, Jerry Garcia, Branford Marsalis, Bruce Hornsby, and Rob Wasserman are playing in the background. This commercial was directed by Spike Lee, and aired in 1991.

    I-) ihor

    1. Thanks for bringing up the 1991 commercial; I'd completely forgotten about it, and have added it to the post. Could not find a video, though.
      For that matter, I don't have any audio of the 1987 Levi's session except for the youtube outtake clip.

  8. I seem to remember an interview with Tom Davis about "One More Saturday Night," a tepid movie he made at the tail end of his work with Al Franken. Davis played a guitar player in rock band and during a concert scene his solo was actually played by Garcia. That was back in 86, I remember seeing a story and photos about it in the Golden Road back then. When Davis told Weir what the title of the film was, Weir smiled and said, "I'll sue."

    1. Thanks for mentioning it! I'd never heard of this movie. I found more details and added it to the post.

  9. It seems likely that the 16mm ephemeral film "I Want to Be A Camper" contains the earliest recording of Jerry Garcia's guitar playing. Like most movies of this nature, "Camper" is pretty much unwatchably dull. The brief sections of guitar playing in the background (assuming it is Garcia because I don't believe he's credited on the film) would be of interest "only" to a Deadhead wishing to knock a few more soundwaves off his/her bucket list. I doubt most people -- including most Deadheads -- would be able to confidently identify the guitarist as Jerry Garcia by the playing alone. It's just folk guitar playing of the kind you'd expect from someone asked to contribute some folk music to a movie about a summer camp specially set up for kids with diabetes (pretty sure the name of the camp is "Bearskin Meadow Camp"). That said, the music doesn't sound like early Bob Dylan, John Fahey or Bert Jansch either. ;)

    Unfortunately a dupe of the film has never made it to YouTube, nor does it appear to be in the Prelinger Archives (where it most definitely belongs!). I assume Santa Cruz has a copy of it. At the very least someone out there should upload the short snippets of soundtrack (I'm guessing a couple minutes total) with Jerry's playing on it to the Dead archive. Or YouTube.

    Some other Internet commentary:

    ******Category: Grateful Dead
    Starting Bid: $500.00
    Number of Bids: 13
    Current Bid: $1464.10

    1964. Jerry Garcia’s earliest paid soundtrack work can be heard on this one-of-a-kind 16mm film entitled “I Want To Be A Camper”, produced to fulfill a Stanford University student’s Master of Arts in Communication degree requirement. Upon completing the filming at a summer camp for diabetic children in King’s Canyon National Park, a friend of the filmmaker suggested Garcia for the job of augmenting the film with suitable acoustic guitar instrumental music – – a job for which he was paid $50. The filmmaker relates: “I doubt if we had to do any re-takes, as I remember him getting the feeling I wanted very easily. I also remember being impressed with how much hair he had!” The never released soundtrack is sold with full copyright.*******

    1. To clarify: "earliest recording of Jerry Garcia's *solo* guitar playing"

    2. Wow, that's an amazing find - I thought this film would be long lost. I hope it is made public someday.

    3. In retrospect I'm a little pissed that I sold my 16mm print without making a digital copy. I just figured the music at least would be circulated quite quickly by others and then I'd be "stuck" with some truly bulky old media that I had no interest in watching or (frankly) listening to again.

      My guess is that Prelinger would know where to find a copy. If nothing else, I would expect someone associated with Bearskin Camp to have a copy squirreled away in their closet somewhere.

  10. "Around Christmas 1973, [Arkush] and Garcia watched Only Angels Have Wings at Garcia’s house."

    My favorite Hawks movie, followed by "Monkey Business". Both star Cary Grant (another famous and outspoken LSD pioneer and advocate who struggled with his own celebrity). The latter is a comedy with Ginger Rogers, a very young Marilyn Monroe, and a plot involving a drug that turns stodgy, bored adults into youthful pranksters. A chimpanzee dumps the drug in the water cooler and chaos ensues. Seems like something Garcia might have enjoyed, assuming he wasn't averse to screwball comedy.

  11. Although marginally off-topic, since there won't likely be a "Vince Welnick" filmography, it seems relevant to point out Vince Welnick's epic performance in hte 1982 movie Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, starring Diane Lane and Laura Dern. Vince plays the guitarist in a group called The Metal Corpses (Fee Waybill is the lead singer). Vince's character's death allows the Fabulous Stains to join "the big tour."

    It was actually a good movie, if somewhat of a time capsule.

    1. While we're at it, John Barlow also had a small role as a mercenary in the 1982 film Endangered Species, about conspiracies & cattle mutilations.

  12. In the new interview book Jerry on Jerry, Garcia talks at length about working on Petulia and Zabriskie Point, p.159-164. (McNally also prods him on President's Analyst, which Garcia had completely forgotten about.) Garcia was especially taken with the technical side of how Richard Lester recorded sound & dialogue for Petulia; and he also expresses his admiration for Antonioni.

    There's another section (p.40-49) where Garcia talks about films with McNally, particularly Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It sounds like Garcia was particularly taken by the European arthouse films of the early '60s - unfortunately McNally was not much of a movie watcher, so that discussion doesn't get too in-depth, but Garcia was an admirer of La Dolce Vita, Last Year At Marienbad, and Blow-Up. (He also recommends the '80s movies Videodrome and Dreamchild.)

  13. Director Allan Arkush was interviewed for the new book This Is All A Dream We Dreamed, which has a number of comments from him on his relationship with Garcia over the years, including more info on the making of Heartbeeps:
    In 1981, "I told Jerry I was making this science fiction movie. He said, 'Any way you want to get me involved in it, that's great.' It was just talking, you know. Everyone always asks favors of Jerry. I called him up with this idea of having the voice of one of the robots be like a guitar speaker, and that Jerry would do the guitar, because the robot was put together from spare parts, and one was an old Fender amp. The idea would be that he would talk like the sound of a Fender guitar, like an R2D2, but with a Fender. [Jerry] had a really interesting idea - he would just play lots of guitar, and he would use an electronic gate and speak the dialogue, and it would gate the guitar sounds like a vocoder. We did a bunch of that stuff, but we never got it the way we wanted it. We came up with different methods, but Universal didn't want to spend the kind of money on sound effects that Jerry deserved to get. Jerry did it anyway. And then Universal changed everything. I got taken off that picture after the preview, and they re-edited it and changed the sounds, made everything more conventional... Jerry's part was pretty much gone." (p.311)

    There's also some more from Merl Saunders on the making of the Twilight Zone soundtrack - producer Phil DeGuere approached him with the idea. "He said, 'Do you think you could get the Dead involved in it?' I said 'sure,' called up Jerry, and told him I was getting involved with the Twilight Zone. He said, 'Fuck yeah, man!' I called up Mickey and went up to his ranch and started creating the theme. Mickey would show me different sounds we could mix it with."
    Merl also asked Bob Bralove to work with him. Bralove says, "I started with Merl on the Twilight Zone. I was writing some of the score, and I was producing stuff. I got involved with Mickey, who was doing sound design. I was the only principal in the scene who was working with both Merl and Mickey - I was the only one who knew what the entire soundtrack was sounding like. [We all did the music] for at least one full season, and Mickey did some more. The band did the theme song, and then members of the band were involved in the score, but Merl was going to deliver the score. We would compose the score; sometimes band members would come in and do things. I was also asked to sample the band; I would lock Bobby in a room and he'd come up with all these wild sounds off his guitar. We would drop them into, like, the opening of a box - the coffin opens and wee-oww!" (p.316-17)

    1. Allan Arkush mentions a few of his encounters with Garcia in This Is All A Dream We Dreamed (check the index of speakers for more), but this statement is most pertinent here:
      "Whenever we saw each other, we talked about movies. In the mid-'70s, whenever he was in town and had the night off, he'd come over and we'd watch movies together. We watched [Fellini's] 8 1/2. He had never seen Hellzapoppin' [a 1941 comedy], which he thought was just about the greatest, weirdest-ass movie...
      "I went out and watched them mix the Grateful Dead Movie. He came to me a lot for advice about the movie - structure and editing. He and [producer] Eddie Washington and I would talk about sound, and the mix, and 'would this work?' They were trying to break barriers, as always. We would have technical discussions...I gave opinions. Then they were worried about selling the movie. I was doing trailers [for Roger Corman], so I said, 'I'll cut you a trailer.'" So Arkush made the trailer for the Dead Movie over at the New World Pictures editing room. (p.261)

    2. Arkush shares more tales in a recent Deadcast, including some extra details on Deathsport (1978).
      "I was doing this Roger Corman movie...and I was trying to save some really bad samurai-biker-science-fiction movie called Deathsport. And it's a lot of rayguns and futuristic motorcycles, and it's really bad. And I was telling Jerry about it, and I said, 'Jerry, even you couldn't help this.' He said, 'Well, if you need anything...' I said, 'You wanna send me some sci-fi sounds, like laser beams and so forth, I'll cut 'em in.' So he stayed up one night, and on his guitar he did all kinds of sounds - if you see the movie, the death machines and all that stuff have Garcia feedback notes twisted in [them]." [sound effects] (40 minutes in)

  14. A fascinating, rarely mentioned aspect of the Dead's participation in "Petulia" - the band refused to go along with one requirement for membership in the Screen Actors Guild, and through that refusal played a pivotal role in destroying one of the last lingering vestiges of the McCarthy-era blacklist.

    My brother stumbled across this revelation maybe about 15 or so years ago, while helping my niece research a school assignment about Hollywood in the blacklist years. He found an article from a 1998 special edition of the SAG members’ magazine, which contained this quote from the union’s then-President, Richard Masur (if the name doesn’t ring a bell, believe me: you’ve seen him in a million things):

    "When I joined the Screen Actors Guild in 1973, I signed the loyalty oath that, 20 years earlier, the SAG Board of Directors had made a requirement for membership. I never stopped to consider what it was I was signing. It was one in a series of papers I needed to fill out, and I was so eager to join the Guild, I probably would have signed anything they put in front of me. And I did. That's one of the most frightening legacies of the Blacklist Era: the institutionalization of fear and prejudice.

    You see, the Guild Board had not yet removed the loyalty oath from our bylaws. In fact, no action was taken until some new members refused to sign it. Those new members were the rock group The Grateful Dead, and the year was 1967.

    Only after The Grateful Dead refused to sign did the Board of Directors reconsider the necessity of a loyalty oath as a precondition for joining a union of artists. Even so, the oath had become so ingrained and institutionalized by that time that initially it could not be entirely eliminated. It was simply made optional. Another seven years would pass before, in July of 1974, a year after I joined, the loyalty oath was finally removed from the Screen Actors Guild bylaws."

    1. McNally also mentions this in his book (p.191), and it's also in the SAG timeline online, but it is a little-known tale. It's a neat illustration of the times, that the SAG loyalty oath went unquestioned for years until a group of hippies who didn't care about being in the movies refused to sign it. It's also telling that there was apparently no actors' outcry about the issue; it was just gradually, quietly dismissed as a relic of the past.

  15. Have you heard of the 1995 film Smoke? The JGB did two songs for it and there is this video:

    I have not seen the film so I don't know if the songs are actually in the film or just the soundtrack album

  16. I believe Garcia recorded his Heartbeeps thing on 4/13/81, since you have been dying to know.

    ! ref: Grateful Dead Archive, MS332, Ser. 2: Business, Second Accrual (preliminary), Box 1005C, folder "tour planning/itineraries, 1981". Special Collections, UC Santa Cruz.

  17. Garcia made a radio commercial for what sounds like family planning. I have no idea when this was but have it on tape. I understansd that Weir may have also made a similar one.

    1. Weir did a short anti-heroin announcement; haven't heard it.
      The sponsor for Garcia's radio ad was the Population Institute - the announcer says, "When you're out truckin' around, the Population Institute urges you to think about having a child before you make a baby."
      To the jaunty background of Truckin', the announcer says that Garcia was "truckin' around" too much and Garcia admits, "I was definitely not ready to be a parent when I had a first kid. I never have been that kid's parent as a result - I mean, I never have, really. Now I'm a different person and I have kids now and I like 'em a lot. The neat thing now is that there's enough space to make it so that if a kid, if somebody wants to experiment, they can do so without having to worry about getting pregnant or baby or whatever, it's just a matter of knowing, as much as you can know about it. But I really don't have anything to say about it; if I understood that stuff, I wouldn't be in trouble all the time. (laughs) I might be a normal person!"

    2. The ad aired in May-June 1976, in a series of ads the Institute did aiming to get teens to use birth control. From a news article that ran at the time:
      "If I had a kid right now, the kid would probably be psychotic by the age of ten," says Alice Cooper. "I think I could afford a kid, but I'm just not mature enough to have a kid. you know. And I think that's really important."
      Alice, the guy who welcomed us to his nightmare and sang about billion dollar babies, is now offering your Americans advice about birth control. Alice's message is one of a series of public service radio spots sponsored by a group called the Population Institute and being played on a number of rock stations around the U.S. The theory must be that if Alice Cooper isn't "mature" enough to have kids, who is? Among other artists who have participated in what the non-profit institute calls its "Rock Project" are Maria Muldaur, Jerry Garcia, Grace Slick, Kinky Friedman, Janis Ian, Charlie Daniels, Loretta ("The Pill") Lynn, Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt.
      Janis Ian, who originally became famous for her song "Society's Child," says on one of the spots: "I know people who've had babies because they've wanted their old man to marry them. To have a kid in order to leave home is out of the frying pan and into the fire. To have a kid to get married — it's a huge step, it's a lifetime commitment."
      The 30 and 60 second spots are usually accompanied by a background of the performer's music and a concluding message by an announcer who says, "The Population Institute urges you to think about having a child before you make a baby."
      Al Wilson, the station manager of radio station WABX-FM in Detroit, which broadcasts the messages, said that the spots were started about two months ago and most run between midnight and 6 a.m. "So far we haven't had any complaints," said Wilson.
      The Population Institute started the project in response to what they call "alarming statistics about teenage ignorance of birth control." As a spokesman for the Institute explained, "Rock music has always been full of sexist lyrics that often advocate strange ideas about sex. For example, when a teenage girl listens to Paul Anka singing "Having My Baby" 15 times a day she gets the idea that that's the way to show her old man that she loves him. So we got rock stars, many of whom came to us and volunteered, to talk frankly to kids about sex and birth control from their own experience. Their comments were taken from longer interviews with the artists."
      "We want to encourage responsible sexuality among young people," said the spokesman.
      (This article ran in the 6/20/76 Salt Lake Tribune, "Here's Some Frank Advice From Stars," and the 6/13/76 Detroit Free Press, "Rock Stars Make a Plea for No-Kid Stuff," among other papers.)

  18. A contemporary report on "Zachariah," from Cash Box magazine, "Meanwhile, Back on the Ranch..." Feb 21, 1970:

    "Last weekend we visited the set of "Zachariah." The flick, a rock western, is a perfect merging of the two artforms, with the music and musicians skillfully blended into the plot (as opposed to the old idea of building a plot around the musicians).
    Ginger Baker, the first rocker cast for the film, is out, being replaced by jazz drummer Elvin Jones... After a series of scheduling problems with the Grateful Dead, the film's producers switched over to Country Joe & the Fish. If the Jones move works out as well as the Fish switch, the movie will be a monster, for the Fish playing an unsuccessful but happy outlaw gang, turned in outstanding performances. When we left, one of the ABC Pictures execs was already mulling over a TV series idea with the Fish recreating their movie roles as the Crackers."

    The article mentions that "the group played the Fillmore West this past weekend" (Feb 12-15), so Country Joe was filming in Feb '70. The Dead had probably backed out in late '69 (I wonder if the "scheduling problems" were a polite coverup).

    It's also mentioned that the Fish would appear in "Arrowfeather, a Roger Corman sci-fi movie about a gas that wipes out the adult population." This would be released later that year as "Gas-s-s-s - or - It Became Necessary to Destroy the World In Order to Save It," and Country Joe & the Fish play in a concert scene:
    It was filmed in December 1969. According to Corman, he was originally going to have the Grateful Dead in the movie, but just before filming they asked for more money to appear, so the budget-conscious Corman replaced them with Country Joe & the Fish. The Dead were probably lucky to escape this film, but it's interesting to find a possible Garcia-Corman connection so early.

  19. There is a "Zachariah" script in the GD Archives, noted as revised and dated 11/28/69.

    ! ref: "Printed Material – 'Zachariah' original screenplay by Joe Massot & The Firesign Theatre," Grateful Dead Archive, Special Collections, UC Santa Cruz, MS.332.ser. 2, box 6, folder 23.

    1. Good to have a solid date on it.
      The Dead apparently wrote Mason's Children for the film in mid-December '69 after getting the screenplay. Per one article, "They had just received a screenplay that demanded immediate theme music. Bob Hunter...flipped through the script and jotted down some lyrics. Jerry Garcia...glanced down at the lines and began to improvise a few chords on his guitar. The [others] joined in. By the time they stopped playing, the group had composed a powerful number, based on a beefy chord progression, called 'The Mason Song.' The movie company decided the song didn't suit them."