Whether or not you've heard every song in their catalog, spent countless hours learning the chords to "Casey Jones," or were one of millions lucky enough to have seen them live, odds are the Grateful Dead are not complete strangers to your world.
Rock 'n' roll's seminal jam-band, the Grateful Dead were one of the planet's most successful touring rock bands to ever set foot on the stage. Formed in 1965 and disbanded after the death of Jerry Garcia, their lead guitarist, in 1995, the Dead entranced countless rabid fans with a mind-altering mix of no-rules songwriting, feel-good harmonies, and musicianship that took a backseat to no band.
At the core of the Grateful Dead experience was the world’s most devoted fan base: Dead Heads. Addicted, in the best possible definition of the word, to the music and the experience, Dead Heads went to extraordinary, often inspiring, lengths to get their hands on concert tickets by mailing the band and its staff. After all, the only way to get tickets for the Dead was to go directly to the source. Most often, this took the form of letters (and envelopes) with personalized Dead artwork the likes of which the U.S. Postal Service had ever seen.
Since the band's earliest days, Grateful Dead staff saved tens of thousands of decorated ticket-request envelopes sent to them by Dead Heads hoping to capture the ticketing staff’s attention with their mind-bending designs. These envelopes are inspirational and hugely insightful, not to mention brilliantly illustrated and unique within the world of rock. Now, for the first time in print, these unique pieces of art have found a home.
From author, rock historian, and the Dead Head of all Dead Heads, Paul Grushkin, Dead Letters: The Very Best Grateful Dead Fan Mail collects more than 300 of these mind-blowing envelope masterpieces, all presented in 14 thematic chapters. Fully authorized by the Grateful Dead, Dead Letters also includes, for further historical context, many rare historical photos and memorabilia, all creating a trip, as it were, down memory lane. A foreword from basketball legend (and supremely dedicated Dead Head) Bill Walton rounds out this one-of-a-kind package.
The end result is a portrayal of the Grateful Dead as related by those who loved them the most -- a love song from fan to artist, all sealed with a stamp.