I’ve had the pleasure of drinking a few beers down in Texas with Daniel Chamberlin, the editor of the now defunct Arthur Magazine. If you’ve been to this rag in the past, you know that CS is a fan of the Grateful Dead, and after getting on the topic the other night at a bar in Marfa (where Chamberlin now resides), he pointed me in the direction of an article he wrote in May of 2009 called “Uncle Skullfucker’s Band.” In it, he explains the “discreet charm of the Grateful Dead” and, of all things, the relationship between Throbbing Gristle and American Beauty. Whether you’re a fan or despise all things Grateful Dead (shame on you), I highly recommend you sit down and read it:
“When I think of the Grateful Dead, I think of a flag and I think of a rose and I think of a steak and I think of a gun,” said Richard Loren, a former Dead manager, in Carol Brightman’s Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead’s American Adventure. “I think of the West and I think of consciousness expansion. I think of irreverence and anarchy and I think of something pure.” I heard all of these things in American Beauty. But when I thought of the Grateful Dead I also thought of 16-year-old burnouts flunking chemistry class and gas-huffing drug addicts shooting cats. When punk friends made the switch to Deadhead, they sold me their Fall and Naked Raygun tapes for what I assumed was drug money, given their new logy disposition. I was heading with Jeremy to the parking lot scene at the Dead show looking to replace these associations with the ideal that Loren was talking about.