Grateful Dead “Making of Touch Of Grey”


This mystical Tweet emerged from the Grateful Dead’s official Twitter account this morning:

The film is actually called Dead Ringers: The Making of Touch of Grey and was directed by Justin Kreutzmann, Billy Kreutzmann‘s son. It’s a 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary about the origins of the song and infamous MTV video where the band performed as skeletons.

The song had been around for quite some time before it became popular in 1987. In the video, Jerry Garcia says he first heard “Touch of Grey” performed by lyricist, Robert Hunter, who wrote the lyrics in 1980 with a different melody. Jerry rewrote the melody and the Dead first performed it in 1982. That’s how things move in the Dead’s world. By ’87, Jerry said the song had become an anthem on tour and taken on a life of its own.

The Dead finally released the song as the lead single for their 1987 album In The Dark, and, on a whim, decided to film a music video to try to promote the record. The video became a smash hit on MTV, and propelled “Touch Of Grey” into the top ten. In the Dark, which is not a standout record by Dead standards or otherwise, became the band’s best-selling studio album. The Grateful Dead would never be the same.

We will get by / We will survive

50th Anniversary Of The First Grateful Dead Show

The Warlocks 1965

On May 5, 1965, a band called the Warlocks played their first show at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park.

From Jerry’s Brokedown Palaces:

They played every Wednesday in May. The club was packed with students from Menlo Atherton High School, thanks to shrewd campaigning by the group’s first fans. However, despite the promising start to the young band, bassist Dana Morgan was not cutting it. Garcia’s friend Phil Lesh saw the last Wednesday night gig (on May 26), and Garcia invited him to replace Morgan (Garcia had to teach Lesh to play bass, as Phil only played trumpet, piano and violin).


The atmosphere inside Magoo’s was strictly pizza parlor—bright overhead lights, long tables, ovens in the back. The band was set up by the front plate glass window, confined to a rather narrow area without a stage. Jerry Garcia was on the audience’s left, Pigpen on the far right. Those two, especially, looked somewhat menacing (at least to a suburban 15 year-old). They reminded me of outlaw bikers. Bob Weir, Dana Morgan, and Bill Kreutzmann were clean-shaven and looked more like guys you might see in a high school band.
The music was stunning. I have never forgotten it, although I cannot recall the specific set list. I think they did some Stones covers and I know that Pigpen sang “Little Red Rooster.”

Later in the year, the band changed their name to the Grateful Dead.