Grateful Dead on archive.org

Yesterday the Grateful Dead’s archive was removed from public access at archive.org. From the announcement:

…the Internet Archive has been asked to change how the Grateful Dead concert recordings are being distributed on the Archive site for the time being. The full collection will remain safe in the Archive for preservation purposes.
Here is the plan:
Audience recordings are available in streaming format (m3u).
Soundboard recordings are not available.

The howling has begun, and the sense of entitlement that has always concerned me is in full flower.
Many are quoting the famous Jerry Garcia statement, “Once we’re done with it, you can have it,” or words to that effect.
I think we need to get a little perspective here.
First of all, when Jerry said that – and he said it more than once, so we know he meant it – tape trading was an important aspect of life in the Deadhead community. It was a one-to-one affair, for the most part, and although there were some social pathologies in evidence, it was largely a manifestation of our love for the music and our desire to enlighten the world and turn our friends on.
That is a far cry from what is happening now. The internet Archive and all the other online distribution sources are high-speed, mass-distribution systems that make the best quality recording available to all who know where to look for them. That is a good thing, of course, culturally – but there is an economic element to this that must be taken into account.
I’ve read a ton of angry posts in the last 24 hours, from people who are convinced the greedy Grateful Dead are doing this to preserve their champagne-and-Porsche lifestyles. “I’ve given them thousands of dollars over the years, for tickets and CDs and t-shirts,” I read. “How dare they take away my instant access to all their music just so they can make money off it?”
A couple of weeks ago there was another round of layoffs at GDP. A few more people – friends and fellow Deadheads – lost their jobs because GDP isn’t making enough money to keep them on board. I heard that one of the casualties of this last downsiziing was Ram Rod, who was a member of the GD road crew from the beginning. I really don’t think anyone took lightly the decision to let that brother go.
“They are doing this in order to protect their download business,” is another cry I’ve heard. Well, yeah, and in what universe is that an unreasonable position?
I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I have a job on the periphery of the Grateful Dead organization, but I am not privy to their decision-making process and I don’t depend on them for my income. I help to promote their official releases by playing them on the radio, obviously, but I also play a lot of unreleased music (and I’ve gotten some of that unreleased music from archive.org).
I have sympathies on both sides of this issue, but I am also detached enough from it to have a perspective that I hope you’ll at least consider.
There’s a petition online directed at GDM and promising a boycott. “Now it appears doing the right thing for the fans, has given way to greed.”
I think it is worthwhile to ask ourselves if there isn’t some greed on the other side of the equation.
update: Another petition
Update 11/26: another petition – much more kindly worded.
Update 11/28: Given the violence of the response my post has gotten (on other blogs, on rec.music.gdead, etc.) – which to a certain extent proves my point about the bad attitudes of some Deadheads – I suppose I need to make explicit what I thought was pretty clear: I am not blindly supporting the GD organization’s decision here. I think they’re within their rights to shut off the high-speed free download service, but I also think it is not likely to give them the result they seem to be looking for. Nor has anythiing been said about discouraging smaller-scale trading of soundboard tapes.
And of course, the complete absence of an explanatory word from the organization is (although pretty much par for the course) a big part of the problem.
To those who have blithely asserted that I have no right to comment since I can get whatever I want from the vault, my “collection is complete,” and I have no need for archive.org myself, I need to say: sorry, none of those things is true. I have gotten lots of great music from the archive for the radio show, and I haven’t had access to the vault since Dick Latvala passed away six years ago. I’d also like to suggest that pure self-interest is not the only possible point of view, and assassinating the character of people who disagree with you – especially since it’s possible they don’t really differ so much – is not terribly constructive.
This is a complicated situation. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Update 11/29: RollingStone.com news item quoting this blog, w/ Dennis McNally saying, “David Gans’ comments were dead — you’ll pardon the expression — on.” I wonder what that portends for the official announcement.
Update 11/30: Jeff Leeds of the New York Times calls me for comment after talking to Dennis McNally. “Deadheads Outraged Over Web Crackdown“:

David Gans, who is the host of a syndicated radio program, “The Grateful Dead Hour,” said in an interview yesterday that the battle is rooted in the band’s “historically lackadaisical attitude toward their intellectual property.” He added: “When they were making $50 million a year on the road, there wasn’t a lot of pressure to monetize their archives.” Now, however, it may be difficult to put the genie back in the bottle. While the move to revise the Live Music Archive may deal a blow to what many fans considered an organized library of material, “the idea that they could stop people from trading these files is absurd,” Mr. Gans said, adding: “It’s no longer under anyone’s control. People have gigabytes of this stuff.”

Update 11/30: Phil Lesh has posted a statement on his web site:

It was brought to my attention that all of the Grateful Dead shows were taken down from Archive.org right before Thanksgiving. I was not part of this decision making process and was not notified that the shows were to be pulled. I do feel that the music is the Grateful Dead’s legacy and I hope that one way or another all of it is available for those who want it . I have enjoyed using Archive.org and found it invaluable during the writing of my book. I found myself being pulled back in time listening to old Grateful Dead shows while giggling with glee or feeling that ache in my heart listening to Jerry’s poetic guitar and sweet voice.
We are musicians not businessmen and have made good and bad decisions on our journey. We do love and care about our community as you helped us make the music. We could not have made this kind of music without you as you allowed us to play “without a net”. Your love, trust and patience made it possible for us to try again the next show when we couldn’t get that magic carpet off the ground. Your concerns have been heard and I am sure are being respectfully addressed.
– Phil

135 Responses to “Grateful Dead on archive.org”

  1. Daniel Nelson says:

    Having never emailed David Gans I found myself emailing him the morning so many of us awoke to hear and see those precious SBDs taken down. The attitude David Gans has gotten is really disgusting, is there anyone that has turned more people onto this great music, especially post JerryÕs death than David Gans? I wish people would give him the respect he deserves.
    I really struggled to deal with this decision to pull the boards down. The live music of the Grateful Dead to me was always free to me, pre-Internet it was about buying cassettes and trading with people locally. The thought that it was now wrong to download SBDs and listen to them according to GDM just made me sick to my soul. ItÕs just so poor that they have not made a statement still yet, I think they really need to explain themselves. Obviously if the entire ÒvaultÓ is to be sold online by them there are some serious questions Ð such as how will they be sure that what the sell was created by members of the organization and not by fans. Or will they sell shows patched with AUD sources, or even SBD sources that were made by average Deadheads? The music is free until 2005 and what is left of the organization can make profit over recordings made by fans? See without any statement we can only assume what the logic is behind this move.
    But what is the trading policy? Is it ok by GDM to trade SBDs in any format? If they are telling me itÕs wrong to download boards then itÕs wrong for me to spin my dusty copy of 5/8/77 to turn someone on to this great music that has never heard a Grateful Dead show. This would kill much of the meaning of the music.
    But for GDM the question I have for them is this. We (Deadheads) did purchase commercial releases. I pre-ordered Rockin Rhein. Where is the organization at in terms of mastering all the multi-track recordings? I have no idea what is left to be mastered but if those resources are not completely exhausted I am disappointed Ð those would be something that could really benefit both camps. What about existing video? That 2nd disk of the Grateful Dead DVD was just brilliant. I just hope they havenÕt given up new truly worthwhile projects to just sit on the now digital vault bring in revenue.
    -Daniel

  2. Steve Pitrowski says:

    Well an interesting turn of events :
    Barlow on death of Grateful Dead music sharing, fans protest
    “Archive.org has been forced to take down over 1000 soundboard recordings of the Grateful Dead by Jerry’s wife and a few (perhaps one) remaining member of the band.”
    John Perry Barlow, EFF co-founder and former Grateful Dead lyricist, tells Boing Boing:
    You have no idea how sad I am about this. I fought it hammer and tong, but the drummers had inoperable bricks in their head about it.
    What’s worse is that they now want to remove all Dead music from the Web. They might as easily put a teaspoon of food coloring in a swimming pool and then tell the pool owner to get it back to them.
    It’s like finding out that your brother is a child molester. And then, worse, having everyone then assume that you’re a child molester too. I’ve been called a hypocrite in three languages already.
    How magnificently counter-productive of them. It’s as if the goose who laid the golden egg had decided to commit suicide so that he could get more golden eggs.
    This is just the beginning of the backlash, I promise you.
    This is worse than the RIAA suing their customers.”
    Tho not an official statement from the band but at least it’s a start.

  3. Joe F says:

    David, I appreciate your position that we should wait to hear from GDM before casting stones here, but I think its a little naive to assume that all of our “heroes” are without common flaws that the rest of us possess. The position you assert is very similar to that of a person who believes professional athletes or politicians must be “better” than everyone else, and then the person is shocked to find out that the “hero” uses drugs or beats his wife. I am also baffled by the report of financial straits of the company that you have suggested. Considering, like I said, that I still and will continue to spend $$ on vault releases and DVDs, and I can’t be the only one (look at the huge array of “products” available in the Almanac), it is very hard to believe the revenue stream has dried up.
    I guess I am just expecting the worst, in hopes that I will pleasantly suprised when GDM comes up with some reasonable scheme to allow easy access and not gouge everyone in the process. I am not counting on it, because I can comprehend the vastness of the Dead’s family and what it must take to support it, especially (like I said earlier) living and working where many of them do.
    The other thing has only been touched on lightly is that fans were the ones who lovingly patched (using AUD sources), restored, remixed and remastered those beautiful shows in lossless formats like FLAC & SHN. That’s all gone. And last time I checked, GDM’s “Download Series” does not provide these formats. That’s a shame.

  4. David Gans says:

    Thank you for posting the Barlow quotes, Steve.

  5. Ed Wood says:

    David,
    It is not suprising that someone who has provided nothing artistically and who has LEECHED from the Grateful Dead for his living would try to provide a lame justification for this action. There is no justification and there are no legal grouds to try to reclaim what has been in the public domain for many years. I suggest you and the other head LEECH, Dennis McNally,stop spreading your propoganda. You’re starting to sound like the Bush administration. How dare you defend your livelihood with this hypocritical, self serving, kiss ass statement. I have nothing but pity for you as you have obviously sold out any integrity you might have had years ago.

  6. Philip says:

    David- Boy,they really spun your words in that rolling stone thing, didn’t they?i feel bad for you,i feel bad for me,for the band…for everyone. Jerry’s death left a lot of frustration and hurt and anger just below the surface.It has come out over the last ten years in many unusual ways.You could feel a bad wind blowing on the last few tours;it seems to be kicking up again. Grateful Dead music is a way to look deep inside yourself.i hope no one loses sight of that.see ya

  7. greaves says:

    The real problem is Koons. She displayed her real colors when she went against Jerry’s wishes and cut-off John Kahn – in essence, killing him. If she does not care about Jerry’s long-time friend, why would she care about the fans? Unfortunately, the bottom line seems more important that the fanbase – such is life.
    The GD have been in my life for 25 years, and I will allways have fond memories. But, I refuse to have to beg the royal tapers for shows when they were available for nothing at Archive. The best thing about Archive (other than the access) was taking the Heady tapers out of the picture. If you were around in the “old days” you will remember – if you didn’t know a taper you were never going to get good quality recordings, period. Then, the Archive comes along and equalizes everyone!!! I know one thing’s for sure – this move will STOP the new generations of fans from ever happening. That is a shame.
    As far as I’m concerned any money spent at GDM is more money that goes to Koons – no thank you. I tolerated this fact for the last 10 years, but will no longer give that %$@^%* one more dime. I hope the rest of the boys will figure this out.

  8. Bob says:

    David: I appreciate your attempts at a thoughtful discussion of this issue, but think you missed the larger point. What pulled most of us into the Dead scene in the first place was their approach to taping and trading. Yes, internet downloads are not ÒtapesÓ in the literal sense. Nonetheless, there has been a tacit understanding between the band and its fans for decades: the band releases albums, sells tickets and merchandise; the fans buy said product and, if so inclined, freely trade recordings of the concerts. This has served both sides quite well. IÕve been a fan since my sophomore year in high school Ð 1973 Ð and have spent tens of thousands of dollars on the band in the intervening years Ð and as one who has never been more than a middle-class wage slave those dollars were not thrown around lightly. Yes, GDM has a legal right to do with the music as they see fit. However, I, as a long time fan, also have a right Ð the right to react negatively to a change in the tacit agreement that has governed our relationship all these years. If Òthe drummersÓ decide to tighten the clamps, so be it. They have every right to do so. Just as I have every right to decide I have contributed my last dollar to GDM.

  9. RB says:

    In addition to today’s Rolling Stone news article, it looks like NY Times has also picked up on the story:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/30/arts/music/30dead.html
    I am glad that Barlow was able to shed a little light on the situation and eagerly await more news from the band.

  10. Insanity's King says:

    A long, long time ago…
    I can still remember
    How that music used to make me smile.
    And I knew if I had my chance
    That I could make those people dance
    And, maybe, theyÕd be happy for a while.
    But august came and it made me shiver
    With the very thought that he has left here…
    Bad news on the doorstep;
    I just couldnÕt take even one more step.
    I remember how I cried
    When I read about his early demise,
    But something touched me deep inside
    The day the music died.
    So bye-bye, free music bye bye.
    they took away the music
    and left us high & dry
    And them good old boys were playinÕ all night
    SinginÕ, “this is the way we should dance…
    “feelin’ life was given another chance…”
    Did you write the book of love,
    And do you have faith in God above,
    If the Bible tells you so?
    Do you believe in rock Õn roll,
    Can music save your mortal soul,
    And can you teach me how to dance real slow?
    Well, I know that we’re all in love with him
    `cause I saw you dancinÕ in the gym.
    You both kicked off your shoes.
    Man, I dig those rhythm and blues.
    I was a trippin’ teenage long haired kid
    With a paisley pants and a dayglo truck,
    But I knew that we were out of luck
    The day they took the music away…
    I started singinÕ,
    So bye-bye, free music bye bye.
    they took away the music
    and left us high & dry
    And them good old boys were playinÕ all night
    SinginÕ, “this is the way we should dance…
    “feelin’ life was given another chance…”
    Now for ten years weÕve been on our own
    And moss grows fat on a rollinÕ stone,
    But thatÕs not how it used to be.
    When the jester sang for the all with glee,
    In a thought he borrowed from Bob Dylan
    And a voice that came from you and me,
    Oh, and while the king was looking down,
    The jester stole his own spotlight.
    The audience twirled and spun
    they just danced until the dawn.
    And while lennon sang his Revolution,
    The band just practiced in the park,
    And we sang dirges in the dark
    The day the music died.
    so We were singing,
    bye-bye, free music bye bye.
    they took away the music
    and left us high & dry
    And them good old boys were playinÕ all night
    SinginÕ, “this is the way we should dance…
    “feelin’ life was given another chance…”
    Helter skelter in a august swelter.
    We all flew off with a fallout shelter,
    Eight miles high and falling fast.
    It landed foul on the mass.
    The players tried for a forward pass,
    With the jester on the sidelines without a last.
    Now the Furthur-time air was sweet perfume
    While the band played a familiar tunes.
    We all got up to dance,
    Oh, but we never got the chance!
    `cause the players tried to take the field;
    The Furthur band refused to yield.
    Do you recall what was revealed
    The day the music died?
    We started singing,
    So bye-bye, free music bye bye.
    they took away the music
    and left us high & dry
    And them good old boys were playinÕ all night
    SinginÕ, “this is the way we should dance…
    “feelin’ life was given another chance…”
    Oh, and there we were all in one place,
    A generation lost in space
    With no time left to start again.
    So come on: Bob be nimble, Phil be quick!
    Mickey Hart sat on a candlestick
    Cause fire on the mountain would make us groove
    Oh, and as I watched them on the stage
    My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
    No angel born in hell
    Could break that satanÕs spell.
    And as the flames climbed high into the night
    To light the sacrificial rite,
    I saw satan laughing with delight
    The day the music died
    He was singing,
    So bye-bye, free music bye bye.
    we’ll take away the music
    and leave ya high & dry
    And them good old boys that were playinÕ all night
    You know that had to be a lie…
    they never played all night long…
    I met a girl who sang the blues
    And I asked her for some happy news,
    But she just smiled and turned away.
    I went down to the sacred store
    Where IÕd heard the music years before,
    But the man there said the music wouldnÕt play.
    And in the streets: the children screamed,
    The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
    But not a word was spoken;
    The hearts amany, all were broken.
    And the man I admire most:
    (((Jerry Garcia))) I raise a toast,
    He caught the last train for the coast
    The day the music died.
    And they were singing,
    So bye-bye, free music bye bye.
    they took away the music
    and left us high & dry
    And them good old boys were playinÕ all night
    SinginÕ, “this is the way we should dance…
    “feelin’ life was given another chance…

  11. Ole Uncle John says:

    Having just read McNally’s coments in NY Times all I can say is I hope this isn’t the official statement we’ve been waiting for.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/30/arts/music/30dead.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1133316210-MEuN0Q6B4wLrtHrrVWT/Zw
    He basically claims the shows were pulled because having them on Archive wasn’t ‘building comunity’ and that the site didn’t represent ‘Grateful Dead values’.
    As if pimping them for $20 a shot, you supply the disks,covers and artwork, was going to better ‘build community’.
    What a load of crapola. Bad enough they treat us as mere consumers, now they treat us as stupid ones.
    Shame on you guys.

  12. Andrew H says:

    David,
    Its seems no-one has raised the issue of shows that are missing from the Vault. I remember Dick stating that many shows are missing, especially the early 80’s, one of my favorite periods. By taking the AUDs of these shows off Archive, many folks will be deprived of this music, sans old school trading. I have no problem paying for Dick’s picks or downloads, but most of 1982 is not in the vault, so those shows will never be offered. Dick’s pick’s 32 is the exception, and most Auds are much better. Additionally, I love listening to certain shows that are not perfect. You mentioned the “beginning of the end” at Ventura in 1983, and while I agreed at the time, many 1983 shows are a joy to listen to, but will also probably never be offered as well, because of Jerry problems. But isn’t this what made our experience as deadheads so great? To be able to appreciate the good w/ the bad? But is anyone truly going to pay for a show that may only have a few sparkling moments in it? And if no-one is going to pay for it, does that mean it is now worthless? I don’t think so.
    Anyway, I’m also waiting on the official statement before I draw any conclusions. Just my thoughts at this time.

  13. Mark says:

    When Deadheads wanted to hear the Dead on the radio, David Gans stepped up.
    When Deadheads wanted to know more about the Dead, its members and their histories and families, McNalley wrote “Long Strange Trip”.
    When Deadheads are no longer able to get free downloads off of the Archive, they call Gans and McNalley “leeches” of the Dead family after stating the obvious: That accusations of greed by Dead fans have a mirror image in the current attitude of some fans themselves.
    This is a sad time indeed for the Dead community.

  14. Patrick Kelley says:

    Are there any other lawyers or law students out there that see a problem here?? When someone owns a recording of a Dead show (owns, with no “licensing” restrictions or anything else), that all the band members have explicitly abandoned as being their own (read- abandoned property–remember the rule of finders?), how can the band or its agents decide to restrict access to it after it’s been posted in a public forum? I realize that many traditional property concepts don’t apply in IP cases, but I know that express relinquishment does. If it’s just a matter of the Internet Archive people respecting the wishes of the band, why don’t they get some balls (and some legal advice) and tell the GD “tuff turds!” If the GD decides to sue, what are they going to sue for? Do they have a copyright on each show? I’m not sure that they do. What are the damages? How can it be enforced against a website that absolutley doesn’t charge a penny for the music. Too many issues. If anyone can respond who knows more about this and who reads this (I do labor and employment litigation), please do.

  15. Daniel Nelson says:

    Another intesting thing to consider are the new “matrix” recordings.
    FYI – Deadheads take the SBD and compliment it with an AUD providing a great sound from both outside and inside the system at once. 5/8/77 is a great example the person used two other AUD sources and created something that is just above and beyond the straight SBD. There were a handful of these recordings on achive.org before they were pulled but I scored a few more in the past few days and they are AMAZING. ;)
    I wonder if this is the future of Grateful Dead shows – people creating these great maxtrix recordings that beat what the Grateful Dead officially sells of the same show (straight SBD digitally) and Deadheads trade shows illegally against the bands wishes.
    PS – We made NYTimes and Rolling Stone – we are famous I tell you!

  16. Rich McDermott says:

    David,
    Considering how strong Phil’s endorsement is of the LMA I feel you owe all those who criticized the banning of LMA an apology. Your “entitled Deadhead” comments have been used for a week by alot of people. After reading the Barlow and Phil comments it seems that your initial response was, as we say, dead-ass wrong. You had it completly wrong. Unless of course you represent the Debra koons faction that endorses the Sue Doug Irwin mindset. I love the dead hour radio show I still have cassetes of it I just think the LMA evened the playing field and made everyone a friend of Dan Healy…not just a select few

  17. Greaves says:

    From NYT article:
    “In particular, fans have expressed outrage that the shift covers not only the semiofficial “soundboard” recordings made by technicians at the band’s performances, but also recordings made by audience members.”
    What a load of bull. The “technicians” used to throw out a line so people could patch in – these recording belong to the TAPERS, not the band. The Vault is missing many shows that Deadheads have, and now they are claiming ownership over IP that they basically gave away for free. WTF?

  18. greaves says:

    Editor’s note: This message appears under the link “11.30 Update Message” on the front page of phillesh.net
    http://www.phillesh.net/
    It was brought to my attention that all of the Grateful Dead shows were taken down from Archive.org right before Thanksgiving. I was not part of this decision making process and was not notified that the shows were to be pulled. I do feel that the music is the Grateful Dead’s legacy and I hope that one way or another all of it is available for those who want it . I have enjoyed using Archive.org and found it invaluable during the writing of my book. I found myself being pulled back in time listening to old Grateful Dead shows while giggling with glee or feeling that ache in my heart listening to Jerry’s poetic guitar and sweet voice.
    We are musicians not businessmen and have made good and bad decisions on our journey. We do love and care about our community as you helped us make the music. We could not have made this kind of music without you as you allowed us to play “without a net”. Your love, trust and patience made it possible for us to try again the next show when we couldn’t get that magic carpet off the ground. Your concerns have been heard and I am sure are being respectfully addressed.
    – Phil

  19. EstimatedProphet says:

    I have so much respect for Phil right now. I want to thank him for speaking out. It’s good to know there is someone up there that we can still trust. Thats all I needed to know. My heart is at ease today.

  20. xian says:

    I also wonder whether the band has supplemented its vault collection with digital copies of the missing shows that were assembled for the archive?

  21. smueller says:

    I feel vindicated that Phil was always my favorite. A true mensch. Jerry was the public face, but face it, they really had a duet going on up there with Phil leading us to the musical places we’d never imagined. As for the other remaining members (until we hear from them otherwise): phooey and a pox on all your houses! It’s to hell in a bucket with them. Hope they enjoy the ride.

  22. smueller says:

    Another thought comes to mind. A quote I heard on NPR by Giorgio Gomelsky, the original promoter of the Rolling Stones in their early bluesy days. Of their musical and cultural devolution through the 70s and beyond, he had this to say:”They turned into a bunch of bourgeois nincompoops.” Bourgeois is one thing. It’s the cultural virus of the late 20th and early 21st centuries and there is seemingly no vaccine. But it’s the nincompoop angle of this whole thing that drives me to want a padded cell. If you’re going to be a ueber-bourgeois ex-member of the Grateful Dead, at least do it with a modicum of guilt. But to behave just like every other corporate nincompoop? As Joseph Welch put it so well in the 1950s, speaking to Joseph McCarthy, “Until this moment, I think I never really gauged your … recklessness. … You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

  23. spinneresque says:

    Here is the petition:
    Grateful Dead music inspires in its fans an extraordinary passion, hence this news of pulling the archive is breaking the heart of thousands of people today. We see the Grateful Dead historically as a representation of something pure and good. In order to love something so much, you have to trust it. Despite the stereotypes and social mockery, we have proudly remained fans of the Grateful Dead for all these years, defending it and ourselves because we knew in our heart that this music we are following is good, and pure. Some say we have no right to protest this mid-game Ôchanging of the rules.Õ But what those people are not accounting for is the MILLIONS of hours that Deadheads have collectively spent in combining, uploading, remastering, patching flawed recordings…..voluntarily, and out of love, and trusting that it would be shared freely. In our opinion, at this point to stop the free sharing of these recordings is so sad, and so wrong. Jerry is gone, and he has no say, and we all know what he would have said. This is unfair to us. So much work has gone into building the archive. Please let it stand.
    You can sign it here:
    http://new.petitiononline.com/02108108/petition.html

  24. SadHippie says:

    This is such a slap in the face to Jerry’s memory and to John Perry Barlow, who besides being one of the lyricists for the Dead is a founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that has fought tooth and nail to keep the internet free and open, created the notion of “creative commons” and helped establish the internet archive.
    This is Bob Weir’s doing, not Phil Lesh’s.
    Being that Bob was raised in Atherton, Ca., an enclave for the superrich next to Palo Alto (Larry Ellison lives in Atherton), Bob is just coming home to roost.
    Many hippies would like to think that because the Dead made the music that they love, that the Dead are hippies too. That might have been the case for Jerry and Phil (an artist with an honorary PhD from Stanford), but Bob was born with a diamond-encrusted silver spoon up his rectum. Of course, they were all wealthy because of the band, but they were artists first and foremost. I know a few folks that know Bob, including somebody from RatDog, his solo band. Bob Weir is and always was a spoiled rich kid for whom this whole “strange trip” always was about the money. He has the arrogance to match. Of course now that they are taking a hit on concert tickets, they (Bob) are trying to monetize their recordings.
    As is, Bob Weir is just milking the last of the Dead legacy dry, and touring with Jerry “sound alikes” as opposed to really moving forward with his music. He could easily live for years on end on the money he has and never feel a pinch or keep on making a name for himself as an artist with current art. He’d rather
    rest on his often coked-out (this I say from talking to folks that know) ass and rehash old songs that will never be the same because Jerry isn’t alive to give those songs (even Bob’s songs) their magic. He just doesn’t have the creative juice to be original and relevant anymore, if he ever did. Without Jerry’s tutelage, it’s not obvious he would have lasted long enough in public memory to have the option of pissing on his fans 30 something years later.
    Bob betrayed his fans years ago, and only now they are catching on.

  25. David Gans says:

    “Sad Hippie” indeed.
    Yeah, I know a guy who knows a guy, too.
    But more to the point, I know Bob Weir. And Phil Lesh. And the members of Ratdog.
    I don’t have the stomach to refute your vile spew point by point, so let’s leave at at this: you’re full of shit.

  26. Ziggy says:

    David:
    http://www.dead.net allowed it’s users to tree soundboards years before there was an archive.org. that’s been up for 3 years.
    The only difference I see in trading 10 years ago and now is the method of delivery has been organized and sped up incredibly (and the fact that Jerry is gone). I don’t have an issue with people trying to make a living, but I’ve bought every vault release and pick even though i’ve had almost every one in pristine quality (typically – including 9/21/82 and the Fillmore run). There are people like us around – fewer now though i suspect.
    I don’t know what this talk is of sense of entitlement is, but let’s face it, trading soundboards has been around forever. People like Lemieux interviewed for the Compendium series. After the three books and the addendum – was there some confusion still about the soundboards? They were covered in great detail in those books, type of tape, who recorded etc etc. When people do something for 20-25 years like trading boards, it’s not entitlement. It’s a fact. Boards were treed on DNC, the Deads own website. That’s a fact. Folders discuss the shows ad infinitum on their site. That’s a fact too. There’s been a cottage industry on the Dead in terms of books (with yourself included) who discuss tapes and trading and soundboards in one way shape or form. That’s a fact too.
    This is about money and nothing else. If you want revenue get some sharp people to put together a good business plan and open up the vaults more for download and be more innovative with the product. One a month is a pittance. Release runs. Open up the entire vault for download. It should be all digital by now :)’
    This was a major faux pas by the band members and their management. It’s not the SONY rootkit – but considering who it is – it’s just as bad.
    Frankly I don’t give a rip about the boards – I’ve got everything i want on DAT or CD and in pristine quality. This action is going to make me think before i decide to purchase in the future and I’ll always question their motives now. That’s sad if you think what this community was 10 years ago, or even 33 years ago when i saw my first show.

  27. spinneresque says:

    I can’t not love Bob. I will always love him. But I disagree with this action, and strongly. I am attempting to point out that so much work of so many people went into building this archive, and for that reason it’s unfair to take it apart.

  28. Cappy says:

    I’ve been downloading dead music and trading from the start, I was on e-tree way back when and this notion that those of us who download the deads music as anti-social is so sterotypical it hurts. Most of the music I dowloaded from etree and elsewhere where duped and given to my less computer literate dead-buds over and over again. I remember taking a guy who really dug Brent’s keyboarding on a magical tour of the Pig Pen era and watching him just explode with excitement.
    I’m not a poor college kid anymore, and I’m more than willing to pay per recording or a membership fee to dowload dead shows. As long as I can continue to listen to them before I pay for them.

  29. Greg says:

    Well, things, as they always do, have revealed themselves. I feel that all the bitching has proven to have made an impact on things for the better. I do however repudiate the foul tone a lot of you were taking. So, to all you fake hippies out there, YOU ARE ALL DICKS. You should re-evaluate your tactless reactions and embrace a more kindly approach to judgment. Never jump to conclusions about matters so detached from you.
    And for all with tact and a sense of respect, YOU CAN EAT CAKE.

  30. S. Debon says:

    here’s what I see:
    part of the reason Deadheads chose to support the dead over the years was the attitude of the band towards taping. Fans knew that their concert tickets were buying them both the show and the ability to record and trade it. The money spent was a sort of an investment package, so after 40 years, the long term investors in the Grateful Dead organism are displeased, as one would be who paid for anything that didn’t serve according to his expectations.
    then there’s the other side- they’re not actually limiting the trade of sound board recordings, they’re just trying to take advantage of the huge trend in music trading so they can support themselves, their families, and their concerns (which, if a fan is such a fan for so long, are likely to be similar in scope to the concerns of the fan.)
    While the band draws funding from, say new listeners, the long term investors and people familiar with the system- loyal fans, can still trade via many other veins.

  31. S. Debon says:

    the band always received revenue from CD sales, and it is partly because of CD/record sales that the band was able to thrive. We have record evolve into=åÝtapes=>cds=>digital media- mp3’s etc. People won’t be walking to the store, they’ll buy music online, so to obtain business from the people who would typically buy records at the store, the band has to evolve, and what better way than to team up with itunes? Viva the Grateful Dead! You can still trade, it just takes a little bit more work to get the shows, and the little bit of effort will fund the band. If we love the band (I do,) don’t we want them to live comfortably.

  32. S. Debon says:

    Xian – listen to your words man-
    you intent is powerful
    -listen to your curse ‘pox on their houses’ and how you wish hell upon everyone but Phil
    who are you, and why would someone like you have any interest in this band?
    war war war
    any fire-breathers please let rip on my words

  33. S. Debon says:

    After thinking a bit I still think it would be so much cooler if they would just set free all of their recordings- maybe if they get their finances figured out they will be able to open the gates again.

  34. lisa says:

    Remember, “The Music Never Stopped” but the touring did, thus the money. But let’s hope all the heart and soul is not dead

  35. Patrick Boucher says:

    I got on the bus late in the tour but I think the Dead were\are an important avenue\slice\inspiration of not just americana or music but of history! The Daed cannot really be defined nor should they. I would like to make recordings of their live concerts so I can listen to them and pass them down “the line” for all to hear and enjoy. Please make them available for listening!!!

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