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Who Are The Grateful Dead And Why Are They Following Me?

By John Romualdi


In August of 1995, members of the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kruetzmann, and Bob Weir, stood on a stage in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park surrounded by about 20,000 people to pay tribute to their departed bandmate, Jerry Garcia. Hart, one of the Dead's two drummers, said "If the Grateful Dead did anything, we gave you the power...the groove, you have the feeling...take it home and do something with it." Sitting in the crowd that day, I wondered if I would ever be able to convey to a friend or family member what the heck this was all about. How positive and deep this whole long, strange trip was for us. To someone who may have heard of the Grateful Dead but scratched their head as to what the big deal was. Some quarter-century later (what's the rush?), here's an attempt to do just that, with some of what my camera captured along the way.
About the Author

John Romualdi received his Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh before moving to Los Angeles to train as an actor with master teacher Sanford Meisner.

He has been taking photographs since an old Pentax film camera was passed down to him when he was fifteen.

He now lives in Pittsburgh and Southern Spain.

Check out this video from a recent photography exhibit.

There’s an expression in Spain for describing impossible things: “you can’t bite your elbow.”  It’s true.  You can’t.  That’s how it always felt when I attempted to describe what was so compelling about the Grateful Dead.  It just felt impossible.  I’m guessing other deadheads can relate.  So, my hope is that through this brief dip into a stranger’s world as it was experienced in and around Dead concerts, the reader can get a pretty good feel for it all.  You don’t need to be a fan, this isn’t a book about details of the band or their music.  There are some really good ones of those already out there.  My hope is that this book can find its way into the hands of friends and relatives who missed this bus, but are curious enough to take a look.   It’s not too long, it can be read in a short sitting.  I hope you and whoever you might grab a copy for, enjoy it.  If you want a copy to go directly to a friend, just put their address in the "Shipping details" space.  We’re updating this site often, so please stay in touch...


With great pleasure I read (and reread) your book—It is beautifully designed and your photography compliments the text….I sense a joy in the writing especially how you capture the spirit of the music—the “wild” interpretations that combined Rock, Jazz, Blues and even Gospel—you made me feel with you the cosmic lure and burning need to immerse your being into sounds that reached unique heights...the thing is a work of art—thanks for the journey...

Tasso Katselas
Architect - Pittsburgh International Airport

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Crystal clear and tight version of Sugaree...Bobby sitting in with Jackie Greene of Black Crowes, etc...

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© 2021 by John Romualdi