As long as I can remember, my father had our garage filled with posters from all over the world, record of his travels and adventures all over the globe. There was one poster that always seemed to capture my attention.
It was brightly colored with neons and a large, gruff figure in the middle wearing a San Francisco Fire Department hat. I knew this man was no firefighter what with his large toothed necklace, long hair and big mustache. Something about him always appealed to me and I could never figure out just what it was.
Years later I would listen to the radio with my mom in the car and sing along, the Beatles, Momma’s and the Poppa’s, Bob Dylan, and the Grateful Dead. I would sift through my mother’s albums, especially loving the Beatles Yellow Submarine and Sgt. Pepper’s fold out covers with their bright images and colorful characters.
When I was about 11 years old “Santa” gave me a gift in my Christmas stocking that stuck with me for the rest of my life, a handful of cassettes to go with my new boombox he had also given me. The Beastie Boys Licensed to
I loved that music and still do to this day, but there was just something about the Grateful Dead that stuck to my soul. I loved the Grateful Dead music so much so that I hopped on tour for 5 years.
During that time, I was not close with my parents and it was not until years later when I was home one day talking with my father about how I got into the Dead that I explained to him the story behind that poster he had. How I had found out that it was Pigpen from the Grateful Dead and how he always had this mysterious aura to me. He has no idea how he even had gotten the poster anymore. The poster was a silk-screened one, made in
My father was never a fan of the Dead. He was a Jefferson Airplane and Doors kind of guy (no need to try and explain the Jerry/Surrealistic Pillow, I know, and he could not care less, it was the music of the Dead he did not get) who refused to go to
I tried to explain to my dad how Pigpen was not a “druggie” as he assumed. I had to explain how the poster was so ironic because Pigpen really did not care of LSD or mushrooms, or really many drugs, but liked his in a bottle, Southern Comfort and the like was much more his style. For Pigpen do be the “Psychedelic Child” was like saying his beloved Jim Morrison was the poster boy for celibacy and sobriety!
It was during this interesting discussion years ago that I realized as much as I love to read about the things I love, music, nature, historical figures, so much has been written about Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead before and after his passing, that Pigpen really has no historical record amongst those volumes of books.
Sure, he is covered in the early goings on, I mean he is Pigpen after all, but nothing was for Pigpen, who in his short life of 27 years, contributed so much to the Dead. His contributions still influence their music to this day as they prepare for their 2009 Spring Tour as The Dead.
This book is to bring him back to life, if only for a little while, to see who he was, what brought about his and Jerry Garcia’s meeting and give Pigpen more then just a few chapters and archival music. This is for Pigpen…..
AND IS NOW FOREVER
ONE OF THE