A new limited-edition archival release series that's modeled very much in the image of the storied Dick's Picks
series, which was discontinued in 2005 - six years after its namesake,
Dick Latvala, passed away - is being launched by Grateful Dead's current
archivist, David Lemieux, who took over for Latvala in September 1999.
And now, instead of Dick's Picks, it will be called Dave's Picks.
"Every show by the Dead - whether it was in the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties or Nineties - was a journey," Lemieux tells Rolling Stone.
"They weren't writing out setlists before the show, but wherever that
show took them was part of a journey that became part of what was
special about that show. And one of the great things about the Grateful
Dead was that every show was a complete and unique adventure - for them
and for us. Here we are 16 years after the Grateful Dead stopped playing
and I think one of the best ways to bring people back to that Grateful
Dead experience is by presenting this music to them."
Thus, Lemieux says, that unlike some the band's other archival releases, Dave's Picks
will primarily consist of entire shows, start to finish. The first such
release, scheduled for January 2012, will feature the Dead's complete
concert from May 25, 1977 at the Mosque in Richmond, Virginia. Listening
to Lemieux talk about it is not unlike hearing a teenager describe the
latest X-Box game that they want for Christmas.
"It's one of the best shows from one of the best tours - and it
sounds great," he says. "The second set jam is, to me, definitely one of
the best of the tour. It's unique, it's inspired and it's incredibly
well played. We wanted to kick off the series with a bang, kick it off
with something that we know is great - and May '77 is one of those eras,
just as Europe '72 is, where there is so much great music."
Dave's Picks will be available both individually and by subscription through the Grateful Dead's official website. Subscribers will get all four quarterly 2012 releases as well as a collectable bonus CD. Each Dave's Picks release will be limited to 12,000 numbered copies.
Of course, the band members themselves will each get copies but,
Lemieux says, he doubts they will actually listen to them. "If you look
at what they've been doing for the last 16 years and continue to do,
it's always something current with their current bands, whether it's
Furthur, the Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers, Phil and Friends, Ratdog, all
of that stuff. They are so focused on what they're doing now, that I
don't think listening to a Grateful Dead show from 35 years ago
interests them very much."
Fair enough. But it certainly does still interest Deadheads, and
Lemieux says that all of the band members remain keenly aware and
respectful of that - which is why they've encouraged him to continue the
archival work that his predecessor, Dick Latvala, first began before
the Grateful Dead disbanded in 1995. "He was as big a Deadhead as I've
ever met, in terms of not only his love of the music but also his
knowledge of the music," says Lemieux. "A lot of the time, we do ask
ourselves 'What would Dick think?'"
With the launch of Dave's Picks comes the end of another much-loved archival series, Road Trips. Above, stream this exclusive track ("The Music Never Stopped") from the final Road Trips release, Vol. 4, No. 5, taken from the Boston Music Hall on June 9, 1976.
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Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
- David Lemieux
- Dick Latvala