Today (Aug. 9) marks the 15th anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death; he would have turned 68 on Aug. 1. SoundCheck thought a taste of the Dead, in an unusual environment,
might be appropriate for this commemorative Monday, especially since we won’t be hearing Garcia’s music in the forthcoming biopic about him.
The clip below was originally seen on Hugh Hefner’s late night show “Playboy After Dark” in July 1969. While the visual quality is very spotty, we’re posting it for several reasons. First of all, it displays the Dead at the peak of their considerable powers, performing one of their finest tripped-out tunes. Second, you can’t beat this performance for cultural incongruity: We can imagine the Stones in the Mansion Grotto, but not the Dead. Lastly, it reminds us, scarily, of Ronnie “Z-Man” Barzell’s party in Russ Meyer’s “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” Enjoy.