Archive.org / Grateful Dead Roundup

In case you missed it, we had some guest-bloggers stop by last week. Based on the very positive response, this is something that we’re going to try and keep going as long as the words keep flowing in. Jesse Jarnow stopped back by and filed this post below. You can find him bloggin’ on his own site, Jesse’s Frank and Earthy Blog, or he can be reached via email at [email protected].


The Grateful Dead/archive.org story keeps going and going. Thanks mainly (I think) to the blogosphere (and further fueled by the fact that there were three f***in’ New York Times stories about it), it’s swiftly become the most public tiff between band members since Jerry Garcia’s death a decade ago. Who knew that civilians still gave a s***?

There’s much to be learned from the various posts below. The Dead have always operated by their own particular brand of anarchy, much of which was just unspoken and generally agreed upon by the misfits-in-charge. Now, it seems, everybody has a slightly different rendition of what it all meant. On one hand, the story itself is getting a little tiresome, but–in a way–it’s turned into something of a philosophical reckoning for its participants (and that includes the Deadheads) and that’s all kinds of interesting.

It’s also a variety of reckoning that’s tied genetically to the recent furor over rootkits and Digital Rights Management, which makes the good ol’ Grateful Dead into something they haven’t been in a long time: relevant. Welcome back, guys.


(Thanks to Sirs Gans and Crumlish for many of the below links. Great commentary on both of their blogs.)

(I’m also reminded of the scene from Festival Express where Weir reacts to hippies’ demands that the bands play for free.)

Two fascinating posts from Dead family members:

At Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow unpacks the meaning of the Dead’s new streaming soundboards / downloadable audience tapes policy. (Xian responds.)

Permalinks to New York Times stories:

Previously: Grateful Dead vs. Archive.org and the Fans

7 COMMENTS

  1. Great point regarding “Festival Express.” That image of an angered-to-the-point-of-being-redfaced Weir for me was – after the Danko freakout/jam session – the most surprising scene from the film. As a fan of the band for nearly 20 years now, my view of “Bob Weir: Elder Hippie Statesman” has been blown out of the water by the Festival Express tirade 35 years ago, as well his current archive.org stance. I had always assumed that because of his environmental work, his leadership of the crusade against Ticketmaster, and, well, his beard, too, that he was a voice you could always count on to be raised for “us.” But well….I guess this is what happens when Ratdog ticket sales start to get a little sluggish, huh?

  2. Great point regarding “Festival Express.” That image of an angered-to-the-point-of-being-redfaced Weir for me was – after the Danko freakout/jam session – the most surprising scene from the film. As a fan of the band for nearly 20 years now, my view of “Bob Weir: Elder Hippie Statesman” has been blown out of the water by the Festival Express tirade 35 years ago, as well his current archive.org stance. I had always assumed that because of his environmental work, his leadership of the crusade against Ticketmaster, and, well, his beard, too, that he was a voice you could always count on to be raised for “us.” But well….I guess this is what happens when Ratdog ticket sales start to get a little sluggish, huh?

  3. I guess it’s hard to know–I mean, I can relate to Bob on this (slightly) regarding having rules where no rules existed before.

    It’s not easy to try and make stuff up as you go along (and it can result in serious backlash), but that is the truth to the world in which we live in. It just is–it’s just unfortunate that Bob is so self-confident that he thinks he can be an asshole about it.

  4. I guess it’s hard to know–I mean, I can relate to Bob on this (slightly) regarding having rules where no rules existed before.

    It’s not easy to try and make stuff up as you go along (and it can result in serious backlash), but that is the truth to the world in which we live in. It just is–it’s just unfortunate that Bob is so self-confident that he thinks he can be an asshole about it.

  5. I guess it’s hard to know–I mean, I can relate to Bob on this (slightly) regarding having rules where no rules existed before.

    It’s not easy to try and make stuff up as you go along (and it can result in serious backlash), but that is the truth to the world in which we live in. It just is–it’s just unfortunate that Bob is so self-confident that he thinks he can be an asshole about it.

  6. Bob was outraged in the movie because someone had beaten a cop. I thought he was expressing compassion and a desire for peace.

    I also thought of the Festival Express comparison. People expected those shows to be free. The guys footing the bill for the tour were “the Man” and deserved no filthy lucre to replenish what they had outlaid. This is the economic theory of the parasite.

  7. Bob was outraged in the movie because someone had beaten a cop. I thought he was expressing compassion and a desire for peace.

    I also thought of the Festival Express comparison. People expected those shows to be free. The guys footing the bill for the tour were “the Man” and deserved no filthy lucre to replenish what they had outlaid. This is the economic theory of the parasite.

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