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Reading the Grateful Dead

A Critical Survey

Edited by Nicholas G. Meriwether

Since the 1960s, the Grateful Dead have welcomed and participated in academic work on the band, encouraging scrutiny from a wide variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives, from anthropology to sociology. Interest in Dead studies is growing across the country and around the world, and UC–Santa Cruz’s Grateful Dead Archive continues to attract a high level of attention.

In Reading the Grateful Dead: A Critical Survey, Nicholas G. Meriwether has assembled essays that examine the development of Grateful Dead studies. This volume features work from three generations of scholars, including a wide variety of perspectives on the band and its cultural significance. From insiders like lyricist John Perry Barlow and longtime band publicist and historian Dennis McNally to well-known Deadhead scholars such as Barry Barnes and Rebecca Adams, the contributors to this volume offer valuable insights into the Grateful Dead phenomenon.

No other Dead book focuses on the growth and development of the discourse, contains such a range of critical approaches, nor features work by luminaries Stan Krippner and Barnes, among others. The four sections of the book describe aspects and approaches to Dead studies, along with overviews of how the discipline evolved and what it comprises today. This collection will appeal to scholars, students, and teachers interested in Dead studies and fans of the band.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 346Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-8108-8371-0 • Hardback • June 2012 • $81.00 • (£54.95)
978-0-8108-8372-7 • eBook • June 2012 • $79.99 • (£52.95)
Nicholas G. Meriwether studied history at Princeton and Cambridge and archival practice at the University of South Carolina. He is the Grateful Dead Archivist at UC Santa Cruz.
“Halloween Costume Party” Bob Cooperman
Introduction: “The Secret of This Tie That Binds”: The Interdisciplinary Discourse of Grateful Dead Studies Nicholas G. Meriwether
1. The Education of a Deadhead: A Letter from a Novelist Matthew Armstrong
2. The Grateful Dead in the Academy Dennis McNally
3. Thinking About the Dead: Amateur Anthropology, the Human Comedy, and Making Good Ancestors John Perry Barlow
4. “The Thousand Stories Have ComeRound To One”: Studying theGrateful Dead Phenomenon Nicholas G. Meriwether
5. Mapping the Deadhead Social Science Trip Natalie Dollar
6. How the Grateful Dead Learned to Jam Michael Kaler
7. “Terrapin Station,” Postmodernism, and the Infinite Jon Ney
8. A Super-Metacantric Analysis of “Playing in the Band” Robert H. Trudeau
9. “And Closed My Eyes To See”: Buddhist Resonances in the Lyrics of the Grateful Dead Ryan Slesinger
10. The Dead Play Egypt, Thirty Years Later: Myth, Memory, and Marketing Nicholas Meriwether
11. Crowned Anarchy: Songs, Segues, and the Golden Road to Unlimited Devotion Joseph Holt
12. The Grateful Dead Religious Experience David Bryan
13. Shakedown Street: A Benjaminian Approach to the Grateful Dead James Revell Carr
14. What Are Deadheads? An Informal Survey Alex Kolker
15. Terrapin Station Demographics and “Deadication”: The Furthur Festival ’98 Data Rebecca G. Adams
16. Autobiographical Memories of Grateful Dead Concerts: Two Descriptive Approaches Mark E. Mattson
17. “And I Done Some Time”: Bobby Petersen and the Grateful Dead Christian Crumlish
18. Nomadic Musical Audiences: A Historical Precedent for the Grateful Dead Jacob A. Cohen
19. Deconstructing Deadheads Mark Tursi
20. The Psychedelic Experience, Contemporary Music, and the Grateful Dead: A 1969 Study Revisited Stanley Krippner
21. “Bound to Cover Just a Little More Ground”: A Heideggerian Reflection on the Grateful Dead Stanley Spector
22. Jerry Garcia and Leadership Styles in the Grateful Dead Phenomenon Barry Barnes
22. Cold Roses: A Skeleton Key to the Grateful Dead in the Music of Ryan Adams Matthew C. Armstrong
23. Tapes and Memories: A Letter From a Latter-Day Fan Jacob A. Cohen
24. “One Last Wish” Jon Ney
About the Contributors
About the Editor
In addition to the remarkable variety of contents and approaches represented in the main articles, the collection is framed by a handful of poems, anecdotes, and addenda to enhance the whole package. But it would underestimate this collection’s importance to think of it as a feast for Deadheads. This offering does more than show the intrinsic interest of the Dead as a musical phenomenon; these essays establish their significance as a watershed in the development of American counterculture, not as a mega-influence (in the manner of the Beatles), but as a microcosm of the many cultural threads that came together in the sixties and continue to weave their way through the very different decades that followed.
Dead Studies