Dead Space

Infinite Playlist

"It's a real challenge, if you're not already a Deadhead, to love The Grateful Dead. Because there's so much distraction. But, if you ignore the rabid fans and the entire lack of all the expected elements of American entertainment, then you will find there's a richness that fills your soul. The Grateful Dead explored freedom, and they were the cutting edge of a phenomenal re-examination of American values.

The Grateful Dead were the most American of all bands because each musician that started that band came from a completely different place musically, and they somehow managed to make it work. You got a bluegrass banjo player, a blues harmonica player, a folky guitarist, an R&B drummer, an avant-garde classical composer picking up the bass, and not long after that, a marching band drummer. And a genius lyricist who created, in his lyrics, a non-literal hyper-Americana.

Take all these streams, dissolve egos with LSD, and stir vigorously. That's Grateful Dead music."

- A Long Strange Trip, Dennis McNally

Never before have there been as many people interested in the Grateful Dead as there are today. I’d be lying if I said that the Dead’s omnipresence in popular culture has not had me a bit defensive about the band—perhaps due to my incessant (and mostly failed) attempts to get others to explore the Grateful Dead’s music. But given the fact that there’s now an overwhelming 1.3 million hours of recorded music available — it feels like we are just scratching the surface of what this band may have to offer new and old fans alike.

The Deadhead diaspora is wide-reaching, and there are so many with different lives, skills, careers whose journeys have been influenced in some way by this band. Dead Space is a weekly entry from one these people, sharing what they love about the Grateful Dead and why the band has left something with them. One song a week, taking place in an ever-growing playlist and within an ever-growing space to explore.

dissolve egos with  LSD  dissolve egos with  LSD 

ANDY WEISSMAN - № 5 - RUBIN AND CHERISE

There are moments you have that linger, revealing their essence over time and upon consideration. As Mamet wrote: “A great meal fades in reflection. Everything else gains.”

There are also moments you have that, upon their occurrence, show themselves and their core immediately and in full.

I’d been seeing the Dead since 1983 (and every year through 1995) dozens upon dozens of times. Of course, after college, I backpacked through Asia in full freak flag.

As a traveler - to places far, spaces within, or just to the next show - one tends to chase moments, certain surprises that you should not expect yet at the same time know will move you beyond words. Being deep into a band, many of these moments are known as “bust-outs.”

On the evening of March 17, 1991, the Dead played in an arena on the outskirts of Washington, DC. The Capitol Centre was an otherwise indistinguishable basketball and hockey location demolished about a decade later. Tucked towards the end of an otherwise typical 90s setlist, was the surprise we wanted, but could never have imagined. The first time the Grateful Dead played Rubin and Cherise. If asked, I could probably tell you what happened during the rest of that show, or many others, but prefer not to. Getting to see your favorite band play your favorite of their songs, wholly completely unexpectedly, is enough. Listen to the crowd. I’m in there.

Andy Weissman is a managing partner at Union Square Ventures in NYC. You can find him on his Twitter and website daily.

If you could see in my heart ∞ you would know it's true 🏹 If you could see in my heart ∞ you would know it's true 🏹

JAKE LONGSTRETH - № 4 - PEGGY O

I love when the Dead interpret old folk songs. This version is locked in a groove that's both muscular and low key. It starts to really heat up during the solo but they manage to keep it just below a boil. Kreutzman is great on this track. It's an awesome, restrained Garcia vocal performance with a lot of tension in it. Of course his solo is beautiful too. Bob is in the zone, flirting with lead lines at times and otherwise holding it down. I listen to this on repeat sometimes. I think its feel and BPM reflect a sort of natural stasis for me, lol.

Jake Longstreth is an acclaimed American painter, musician, and internet radio personality. He is currently the co-host of the Apple Music 1 show, Time Crisis with Ezra Koenig and member of Grateful Dead cover band–Richard Pictures, as well as his own musical outfit, Mountain Brews.

MASON WARNER - № 3 - TURN ON YOUR LOVE LIGHT

My single favorite Grateful Dead song is Turn on Your Love Light. Although Love Light is a cover, it is truly my favorite song for many reasons. It generally closed whatever show it was played in. It is a Pig Pen anthem and this particular version (Dick’s Picks 4, Fillmore East 1970) tops 30 minutes. It has a really long Pig Rap, one of the only versions with an audience call and response, and Jerry absolutely goes apeshit!

The perfect Grateful Dead “Trinity'' consisting of Dark Star St. Stephen The Eleven Love Light (which is funny because it’s actually 4 songs–5 if you isolate the William Tell Bridge) is my absolute favorite Grateful Dead!!!

Mason Warner is Charlie Milkshake’s dad.

🔏 @pinksinks
🚐 @fromthelot
💀 @alwaysplaydead
🐱 @charliemilkshake

AARON LEVINE - № 2 - ONE FROM THE VAULT and LIVE / DEAD

So I thought about this for a while. And thought about it. And fell into rabbit holes. I tried to think of things maybe folks haven’t heard, interesting versions of favorite songs...but I thought I’d go back to basics. And I’m going to cheat. I love the Grateful Dead and guess I wanted to share what really sealed the deal for me - One from the Vault, August 13, 1975.

The first three tracks, after the Introduction: Help is on the Way, Slipknot, and Franklin's Tower...are amazing. This show changed my life, really. The first time I heard Help Slip Franklin's Tower I just lost my mind. Like one of those first times you get really, really stoned. And hearing it for the first time...it was like being reborn.

ALSO, Live / Dead. Dark StarSt. Stephen ➺ the most face-meltingest The Eleven ever. This was also BIG time for me.

I love the Relisten app, it’s an amazing resource for anyone who loves the Dead and live music in general. I thought I’d share something that was super easy to access and where there are incredible versions of some of the most impactful music in my life.


Aaron is the SVP of Design for Men’s and Women’s clothing at Abercrombie & Fitch, where he has been instrumental in their ongoing evolution. As a fashion industry vet for close to two decades, Levine is intimately familiar with the challenges and pressures that come along with working in high-profile jobs, particularly in a competitive field like design and fashion. Outside of his day job, Aaron uses his Instagram as a platform to offer his audience a break from the daily grind with stories of other humans that are out there, maybe struggling with work, life, or whatever they’re up against. A positive, well-intended blast of sunshine and empathy.

CHRIS KASKIE - № 1 - ALTHEA

There are things in life that come and go, and there are things in life that are constant. For me—at least since the 7th grade—there is nothing more constant in my life than the presence of the Grateful Dead’s music. My favorite Grateful Dead song (and version) is Althea - live at Nassau Coliseum in NY, 1980. Althea wasn’t the first song I heard, nor the song that I would have said in 1994 was my favorite Dead song, that’s for sure. But around my 28th birthday when I was newly married and having my first kid, there was something new about this song that hit differently. As with literally any lyric of any song, you can always make it personal. With Althea—which is likely very much about Robert Hunter writing to Jerry Garcia through the eye of his heroin habit—it illuminated a message to me of the importance of reframing, refocusing, and simplifying my life. Being present, welcoming what is around me, seeing things that are possible, and pushing my consciousness to take all that the world gives, and think as intensely as possible about as little as possible. Happy in the flow, and focused on the goals ahead. The song was also personal ammo against the feeling of FOMO, helping me see that I don’t care to be missing out in the first place. Thinking about it, recognizing it, and then focusing on what matters most in my life vs just what is fun or brings joy.

Althea was released formally when I was in college in 2002, and even before it was my favorite song, it was always my favorite live version of a Dead song. There are many songs that I never tire of hearing, but if there is one that I can identify as *the one* favorite song (aside from my wedding song) ever, this is it.