Grateful Dead chatter
Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Vince Welnick, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann discuss politics, movies, and drugs
ON BILL CLINTON: Let’s face it, the guy was the governor of Whatchamacallit — I mean, Marin County has more money than Arkansas, for Christ’s sake. So I’m not convinced he can do a great job. Though I think he wants to.
ON AL GORE: He’s a good guy. He’s definitely a hands-on kind of guy. The environment has a shot with Gore in there. I know Al Gore. He wears my ties.
ON FILMS: I have the film rights to Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan, and I’d love to direct it. I was just fooling around with the idea of rewriting it as a play, maybe directing a local theater group. I don’t think I can act, but I’ve been offered some films. Paul Mazursky wants me to be in one of his movies — but when am I going to have the time to do it?
ON HIS NEW HOBBY: Scuba diving satisfies the yearning of going to space; you’re in a place where there’s no gravity. It kind of takes up the space that drugs left. Night diving is especially magical: The ”night shift” comes out — all the creepers and crabs and lobsters and eels and manta rays tumbling in reverse, backward in loops. You dive every day for a month and it really changes your consciousness.
ON PAINTING: I love the surrealists, especially Max Ernst, Paul Klee — for his wit and a certain lightness and whimsical quality — and Giorgio de Chirico. I’m graduating from watercolors to oil painting. It’s really f—ing messy, but you get over that.
ON HORROR: When I was about 5 or 6, somebody took me to see Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. It’s a great Abbott and Costello movie. It’s wonderful, and it scared me — and from then on, I was fascinated by horror.
ON SUCCESS: We never did buy the Hollywood stardom business. That’s not how we’ve wanted to live our lives. We’ve wanted to be able to relate with people.
ON JOINING: Being the new keyboardist in this band is like being the new guy in ‘Nam.
ON DRUGS: Psychoactive drugs played an important part in the development of the Grateful Dead’s music. It gave us a road map to the imagination. But you don’t have to take acid every day or every week or every month to know the experience. We don’t take psychedelics and play together anymore. That’s not what we do now. It’s just a different version of it.
ON LONGEVITY: The Grateful Dead have proven that you can get there from here. It’s just that there are no tickets available.