Steve Silberman on how he became a "professional Deadhead"

"I was 14 years old, all on my own because my friend bailed on me at the last minute, and relatively clueless," says science writer Steve Silberman in the story of how he became a Grateful Dead devotée. "Then the Dead came out... I knew I had never heard music as beautiful, adventurous, and alive as this in my entire life. That was the moment I became a Deadhead, and I never stopped."


  1. I can understand why someone would like the Dead based on culture, or drugs, but never got why anyone listened to their tunes.  In music there’s no accounting for taste, I guess.

    1. The dirty little secret of the Grateful Dead is that they’re a bluegrass band. In my opinion a very, very good bluegrass band. And Jerry Garcia is a very, very good bluegrass player and singer. But if there ever was a genre that isn’t for everyone, its bluegrass.

      1. The dirty little secret of the Grateful Dead is that they’re a bluegrass band

        That may be so, but I don’t think it follows that if you like bluegrass then you’ll like the Grateful Dead. 

        1. I think you’re assuming people who are generally fans of a genre like everything in that genre, which is somewhat obviously not the case.

          But I think its accurate to say that bluegrass fans have a good chance of liking their acoustic stuff, like the album “Reckoning”, which strips off a lot of the cruft to show their bluegrassy core (example).

          But there’s a reason bluegrass giants like David Grisman and Jesse McReynolds record albums of their songs.

  2. There is no accounting for taste. That the Grateful Dead have any sort of presence or existence beyond brief appearances in documentary clips about the excesses of the late 1960s is proof of this.

  3.  I find that most Dead haters are such due to ignorance and haven’t
    really listened to even a single song, let alone paid attention to a

    Even Al Franken and Ann Coulter can agree that the Grateful Dead rock!!!

    1. My experience of the Grateful Dead mostly consisted of me hoping that the Jefferson Airplane would come back for a second set.

      1. Worth noting, members of the Dead (Jerry & Mickey Hart) played on the first Jefferson STARSHIP album.   And another fun fact, it was nominated for a Hugo Award.

    2. I’ve been to four Dead shows, owned a few albums, heard tapes of shows, had friends who were heads who played a lot of Dead tunes all the time.  I don’t hate them, but I’d never willingly choose to listen to the Dead ever.  I don’t enjoy listening to their music.  I don’t mind differences, some people slag jazz, while I adore Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, and so many more.  But I do assume they have heard it and just don’t like it. 

  4. These comments make me sad.  You have no idea how much joy you are missing out on.  I once joked that you had to be on drugs to like the Dead,  now their music makes me weep with joy like no other ever has.  

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