Dating a fellow band member
"Everyone wanted to say, ' All right, this is the time to make a statement and not just be a psychedelic weirdo hippie band.'" As a record-company ad that year read, A NEW DEAD ERA IS UPON US – which, as the band would learn, was both a blessing and a dead were coming off a troubled few years.
In 1973, beloved founding member Ron "Pigpen" Mc Kernan had died as a result of a longtime drinking problem.
But Deadheads who caught the Palladium shows witnessed a startling sight: a firm and focused Grateful Dead.
"It's as close to a flawless Grateful Dead tour as I've ever heard," says band archivist David Lemieux.Starting in January 1977, the band and Olsen bore down on new material – including the epic "Terrapin Station" suite and Weir's reggae-influenced "Estimated Prophet" – at Sound City, the funky but first-rate San Fernando Valley studio recently immortalized in Dave Grohl's documentary.More so than probably any previous studio collaborator, Olsen put the bandmates through their paces, making them rehearse and replay parts until they nailed them. So he got away with a few things."Although he got high with Garcia on at least one occasion, Olsen didn't become fully acclimated to the Dead universe until the later wrap-up sessions in New York, when Belushi came by, did cartwheels in the studio and hung out.As the recording sessions started to drag throughout the winter of 1977 – and the band faced the possibility of not finishing the record before going on tour – Steve Parish, a member of the crew (and later Garcia's manager), came up with a novel idea: Nail the studio door shut. "But we were under the gun, and it kept the guys in there."The finished album, , was the Dead's most polished, professional effort to date, foreign adjectives that didn't necessarily thrill everyone in the band.Hart was upset when Olsen overdubbed strings on one of his parts without telling him.
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"A college gig in New York, and it's snowing, and you just play the gig," she says.