How exactly are Grateful dead 'psychedelic'?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by holyroller, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. The psych-factor of the Grateful Dead isn't heard as much on the their studio albums as it is in the live improvisations. There are now plenty of CDs that chronicle the concert experience. What one "gets" out of it is largely up to the listener ~ one's perception and temperament.
  2. Veni Vidi Vici

    Veni Vidi Vici Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    A major part of their second set.
  3. Dovetail7

    Dovetail7 Pragmatic Purist

    Or some of the massive segues during the Wall of Sound era!?!?!
  4. jdlaw

    jdlaw Forum Resident



    Seriously though, I'm surprised the OP doesn't consider 'Anthem' in particular to be all that Psychedelic. It features two hallmarks of the genre....jamming and studio trickery. IMO, the intro to New Potato Caboose is as psychedelic as it gets!
  5. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Senior Member

    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Check out the Infrared Roses CD for a sampler of obviously psychedelic passages from drums/space segments played in the 80s and 90s. Dark Star without the training wheels.
  6. Keith Lyons

    Keith Lyons New Member

    Longwood Florida
  7. Duos

    Duos Well-Known Member

    Wow, dsdu's post above takes me back! At a incredible concert in Vermont during 1970, of Taj Mahal performing with an electric band (this shortly after his killer first album was released), I met a dude who had just returned from California. From him, I acquired a sheet of blotter acid with each hit labeled Sacraments of the Neo-American Church.

    From the linked to Wiki article, the Neo-American Church "was founded partly as an absurdist religion, partly as a religious expression of the psychedelic movement, and partly as a device to gain religious exemption from American drug laws such as those outlawing LSD."

    These sacraments I acquired were the real thing, made by Owsley, the person pictured in dsdu's post. I never took much acid, but can attest that Owsley's was clean ultra-high quality significantly different from anything else on the market. And quite possibly was a religious experience.

    Neo-American Church - Wikipedia

    [Please excuse my slight change off course relative to this thread's topic.]
  8. palisantrancho

    palisantrancho Forum Resident

    Maybe you had to be there? I went to around 6 or 7 Dead shows. Each one was a totally psychedelic. The mushrooms helped, but the vibe and music was right on target. On record the first three albums are proof.
  9. Ignatius

    Ignatius Forum Resident

    "To one who doesn't hear the music, the dancers seem insane"'.
  10. Hammerpeg

    Hammerpeg Forum Resident

    Manitoba, Canada
    ^^ If this isn’t psychedelic, I don’t know what is.
  11. mcrichley

    mcrichley Forum Resident

    Truckin’ and Uncle John’s Band probably wouldn’t be considered psychedelic, but both have composed sections which get pretty far out there.

    Psychedelia was another songwriting tool in their toolbox throughout their career.
  12. ceddy10165

    ceddy10165 My life was saved by rock n roll

    Avon, CT
    That’s it, right there. It’s in the ear of the beholder.
  13. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek I’m a ray of sunshine & bastion of positivity

    I like GD alright, but I can’t imagine listening to that stuff while tripping.
  14. Jack Lord

    Jack Lord Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    I think the Dead has always suffered from incorrect perceptions. To this day, for example, I encounter people who are convinced they are some kind of Satanic Metal band due to the name and skulls. Of course they are anything but that, but these people won't even listen to one song.

    My first exposure was seeing them on SNL in 1978. They did Casey Jones, I Need a Miracle, and Good Lovin. I then heard Shakedown Street which I liked, but all of this was hardly akin to Syd Barrett. I recall thinking they were a mellower version of the Allman Brothers, not a totally crazy observation on some levels.

    Finally some Heads I knew sparked one up and threw Anthem of the Sun on. Got on the Bus and have kept my seat ever since.
  15. holyroller

    holyroller Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    New York
    more like psychedelic albums because all those bands abandoned psychedelia after like 69,70
    SF Sorrow - The Pretty Things
    13th Floor Elevators
    Tangerine Dream - Kaleidoscope
    Strange Days - Doors
    Picturesque Matchstick - Status Quo
    plenty plenty more to name. When i think of psychedelic music i think of bright sounds, layers, multiple arrangements, nothing formulaic, harmonies, and out of this world lyrics. I'd say SF Sorrow is probably the best demonstration of those things.
    YardByrd and ianuaditis like this.
  16. erowid

    erowid Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit des Seins

    Vienna, Austria
    If you ever heard one of their live sets between 67 and 78 under the influence of lsd, psilocybin, mescaline or 2cb you will know what's so psychedelic about the dead.
    talkingleaf, Chris M, CliffL and 5 others like this.
  17. Bradd

    Bradd Now’s The Time

    Chester, NJ
    I'm getting the impression from some that you can't enjoy the music unless you're high. I disagree. If that's the only way you can enjoy it, something's wrong; music should be enjoyable whatever condition you're in.
  18. RudolphS

    RudolphS Forum Resident

    Rio de Janeiro
    Hm, so you need to be stoned out of your mind to "get" the psychedelic nature of Grateful Dead. But the reality is that if you're stoned out of your mind even ABBA sounds damn trippy.
    FranzD, Tim S, Scott222C and 8 others like this.
  19. fishcane

    fishcane Dirt Farmer

    Finger Lakes,NY
    As evidenced by the crazy disco bus that played all night in parking lots and campgrounds after dead shows in the 80s
  20. RayS

    RayS A Little Bit Older and a Little Bit Slower

    Out of My Element
    50 or shows for me, every one of them sober as a judge. The lyrics, music and improvisational band interplay of "The Other One" are the embodiment of what I'd consider psychedelic music.
  21. KDubATX

    KDubATX A Darby Man Never Says When

    probably too naughty but this is where 'sober as a judge' takes me

  22. US Blues

    US Blues Undermining Consensus Reality

    The hanging judge was sober, he hadn’t had a drink...
  23. Rne

    Rne weltschmerz

    Anthem of the Sun is a psychedelic masterpiece.
  24. Terrapin Station

    Terrapin Station Master Guns

    NYC Man/Joy-Z City
    One definition of psychedelic is that psychedelic stuff is trying to mirror or resonate with drug experiences. Not every drug or every experience is like a Looney Tunes version of a Salvador Dali-designed side show cranked up to eleven.

    So it might be an issue of expectations that need adjustment.
  25. dsdu

    dsdu less serious minor pest

    Santa Cruz, CA
    Looks like it's time to listen to Anthem of the Sun again.


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