With Election Looming, The Dead May Rise Again
A Barack Obama presidential candidacy may give Grateful Dead fans reason to rejoice this year. The Dead's surviving members got together in February to perform at a Deadheads for Obama rally in San FrA Barack Obama presidential candidacy may give Grateful Dead fans reason to rejoice this year.
The Dead's surviving members got together in February to perform at a Deadheads for Obama rally in San Francisco. "It was our first straight-up political event ever," notes guitarist Bob Weir, who's now on the road with his band Ratdog. "We had fun." And, Weir tells Billboard.com, the group, which is largely dormant these days, may want to have a little more fun in the near future.
"I would be surprised if we don't get around to playing again at some point," he says. "But, really, my hot hand right now is Ratdog, and I think that goes for Phil (Lesh) with his group, and Mickey (Hart) has his project and Billy (Kreutzmann) is sort of happily retired over in Hawaii. But we'll get together again. I'm sure of that."
Weir says the Dead men like Obama "for different reasons." Mostly, he explains, "I think it may be the last chance in our lifetimes to get money out of politics, to show special interests the door. It's also a chance to get younger people involved in politics for the first time in many years; once they're involved, I think they'll stay and that's important because it's their future being decided now."
Weir, who initially supported John Edwards' presidential bid, adds that he liked what he's read about Obama's position on the environment, which is his primary interest. Weir is putting together an "environmental project" that he hopes to announce "in the next few weeks. I have to get on the phone and see if I can bring some folks on board, and if I can do that then it'll be time for a roll-out."
Weir also continues to look for a producer for his musical about Negro Leagues great Satchel Paige, and he says a new Ratdog album -- the group's first since 2001's "Live at Roseland" -- could be in the offing.
"We keep talking about it," Weir says. "We've got enough tunes to do it. The problem is going to the effort and expense of making a record; we occupy a place that's square in the middle of the file-sharing demographic, so as soon as we've sold one record everybody who wants it has it. We're chewing on what to do about that."