|"Grateful Dead" founded in San Francisco
Formerly the Warlocks, Phil saw an album by another band of the same name. Many other names were considered, including Emergency Crew, Mythical Ethical Icicle Tricycle, and Nonreality Sandwich. Smoking DMT one day at Phil's place, they decided to try
Valentinian chance - using a randomly selected passage from a book.
Jerry recalled: "One day we were over at Phil's house...He had a big dictionary. I opened it and there was 'Grateful Dead', those words juxtaposed. It was one of those moments, you
know, like everything else went blank, diffuse, just sort of oozed away, and there was GRATEFUL DEAD in big, black letters edged all around in gold, man, blasting out at me, such a stunning combination. So I said, 'How about Grateful Dead?' And that was
it." The phrase has been attributed to several sources, with much confusion.
Funk & Wagnalls New Practical Standard Dictionary of the English Language:
GRATEFUL DEAD: The motif of a cycle of folk tales which begin with the hero's coming upon
a group of people ill-treating or refusing to bury the corpse of a man who had died without paying his debts. He gives his last penny, either to pay the man's debts or to give him a decent burial. Within a few hours he meets with a travelling companion
who aids him in some impossible task, gets him a fortune, saves his life, etc. The story ends with the companion's disclosing himself as the man whose corpse the other had befriended.
They later came across this supporting text on the burial of
Egyptian pharaohs in the Egyptian Book of the Dead:
"We now return our souls to the creator, as we stand on the edge of eternal darkness. Let our chant fill the void in order that others may know. In the land of the night the ship of the sun is
drawn by the grateful dead."
Original Grateful Dead:
Jerry Garcia, 23 - guitar, vocals
Bob Weir, 18 - guitar, vocals
Phil Lesh, 25 - bass, vocals
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, 20 - keyboards, harmonica, vocals
Bill Kreutzmann, 19 - drums