The Grateful Dead have long had a connection with the North Bay. The group was formed in 1965 in Palo Alto amid the rise of the counterculture movement. Jerry Garcia spent part of his early years in the tough outer Mission District of San Francisco before moving up to Sonoma County. He attended Analy High School in Sebastopol where he won his first battle of the bands. He helped write “Dark Star” in Rio Nido while performing there in September, 1967. The lyrics were symbolic of how “far out” the universe could get, and Captain Trips wanted to stick around as long as possible to see how weird it all might become. Unfortunately, however, he retreated to Marin where his demons caught up with him, dying of a heart attack in 1995.
Grateful Dead in the North Bay:
The Grateful Dead have performed at several venues in the North Bay including The Barn (Rio Nido Dance Hall), River Theater in Guerneville, The Inn of the Beginning in Cotati, and the Veterans Memorial Building as well as the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rose. Also, for a few months in 1967, the Grateful Dead lived and gave concerts at Olompoli in Novato, alongside Grace Slick and Janice Joplin.
Bob Weir, the youngest member of the original ensemble, played rhythm guitar and shared vocals with Jerry. Bob now lives in Mill Valley and tours with his band, RatDog. Phil Lesh was a classically trained trumpeter and played bass guitar for the Dead. He has settled in San Rafael where he manages Terrapin Crossroads, a restaurant and local music place. New Yorker Mickey Hart joined the band as a second drummer in ’67 and played several other percussion instruments as well. He has taken roots in the hills of Occidental where he is still experimenting with musical radio waves and brain patterns. Rumor has it that Mickey is using members at Monte Rio’s Bohemian Grove as guinea pigs. Long live the Dead!