For fifty years and more than two thousand shows, the Grateful Dead have been earning the "deadication" of more than a million fans. Along the way, Deadheads have built an original and authentic American subculture, with vivid jargon and rich love, and its own legends, myths, and spirituality.
Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads is the first map of what Jerry Garcia calls "the Grateful Dead outback," as seen through the eyes of the faithful, friends, and family, including Bill Walton, Elvis Costello, Tipper Gore, Al Franken, Bob Bralove, Dick Latvala, Blair Jackson, David Gans, Bruce Hornsby, Rob Wasserman, and Robert Hunter. Skeleton Key puts you on the Merry Pranksters' bus behind the real Cowboy Neal, uncovers the origins of Cherry Garcia, follows the dancing bear on its trip from psychedelic artifact to trademarked icon, and unlocks the Dead's own tape vault.
Informative reading for the new fan or the most grizzled "tourhead," Skeleton Key shines throughout with Deadheads' own stories, wit, insiders' knowledge, sincere appreciation of the music of the "band beyond description," and the diverse and soulful culture it inspires.
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Hey Now, WebHeads! Welcome to the Skeleton Zone.
Some of the Nice Things Folks Have Been Saying About Skeleton Key:
"A modern day Joycean epiphany...colorful, witty and persuasive...One can't help but be lulled into the feeling that if you're not a Deadhead, you're missing out on a good time."
--Bob Kelly, Wired
"Replete with a healthy sense of humor and an obvious love for its subject...the mix of concrete and the absurd reminds you of the Dead's music itself."
--Steve Futterman, Rolling Stone
"This indispensable guide to all things Grateful Dead-related is the only dictionary you can laugh your way straight -- or not so straight -- through from beginning to end."
--Matt Groening, creator of "The Simpsons" and Life in Hell
"One of America's great underrated wonders, the Grateful Dead reflect everything that is glorious, tawdry, and strange about this land of ours. Skeleton Key is an elegantly written, one-size-fits-all passport to Deadhead culture's rich, weird pageantry."
--Richard Gehr, Village Voice
"A patchwork portrait of the Grateful Dead aesthetic....This gold mine of history and commentary will appeal to even the most seasoned Deadheads."
--Al Kemp, Wilmington News Journal
"An informative and pleasurable read for any neophyte fan...[and] a must for the Dead freak who can't get enough."
--Brett Pauly, Los Angeles Daily News
"Indispensable...captures the essence of the Grateful Dead experience, both enriching it for experienced Deadheads and explaining it for 'newbies.'"
--Gersh Kuntzman, New York Post
"Loaded with more jargon, humorous slang terms, anecdotes and minutiae than you can shake a kind veggie burrito at! ...this book is way entertaining."
"The Key to understanding our subculture...truly the Rosetta Stone of the Deadhead scene."
--Mike Maynard, Unbroken Chain
"Not just the best book at what it does, it is the only book that does what it does.... This book has left trails of multi hued memories alive and kickin' in my head.... Even the PICKIEST PICKY DEADHEADS will approve of Skeleton Key.... Skeleton Key not only passes the acid test, it defines it."
--Blair Jackson on "Skeleton Key"
from the '94 Year in Review feature in Dupree's Diamond News #30, Winter '94
Steve Silberman's tribute to Jerry Garcia, 1942-1995
Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads is 400 pages of lore, history, interviews, and thoughts on the Meaning of It All, from what guitarist Jerry Garcia calls "the Grateful Dead outback" - the diverse global community that is nourished by the music of the Grateful Dead and the shared experience of Dead shows.
Skeleton Key is a labor of love and "deadication" by Deadheads David Shenk and Steve Silberman, published by Doubleday/Main Street Books in 1994. Skeleton Key celebrates the magic, humor, and significance of the Deadhead community, while it investigates the history of the Long Strange Trip - from the days of be-bop jazz and the Beat Generation writers whose literary adventures inspired many Deadheads' own on-the-road journeys, to now, when Deadheads swap tapes and tales around the virtual campfires of Deadhead cyberspace.
1995 marks the 30th year of the Dead's experiment in improvisational telepathy. Skeleton Key is the first detailed road map of the culture and lifeways of Deadheads, featuring interviews with hundreds of fans and family, including Elvis Costello and Bill Walton, and thoughts on the music and community by people like Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, mythographer Joseph Campbell, and Grateful Dead Hour host David Gans.
Skeleton Key features a foreword by John Perry Barlow, Dead lyricist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The psychedelic lettering on the cover is by Alton Kelley, one of the original San Francisco poster artists, who also designed the covers for the Dead albums American Beauty and Europe '72. The icon on the cover of Skeleton Key is a 200-year-old Tibetan thangka used for meditation, of skeletons dancing in a cloud of fire, an image of enlightened consciousness awakening even in the midst of death.
We hope that whether you are a committed Deadhead, or just a curious Websurfer, you'll poke around this site and get a taste of the beauty, joy, humor, and mystery of Deadhead life. Feel free to pop on a tape and make yourself comfortable as the first notes sing your blues away, and you enter the Skeleton Zone...
A Word from the Authors
Since the publication of Skeleton Key last fall, Steve and I have been overwhelmed and overjoyed by the nice reviews from fellow Deadheads and from the press. To me, the best compliments have been along the lines of, "I can't wait to show this to my Pop - now maybe he'll understand!" I wanted to help articulate why we all love this music so much, and report to the world about the generous spirit of the community which has formed around it. If you haven't yet, I hope you'll get a chance to check out the entire book sometime soon. We'd love to hear what you think. Drop us a line at Skeleton1@aol.com.
Howdy folks! After spending 20 years of my life dancing happily in the Phil Zone at Dead shows, I'm deeply thankful I was given the chance to offer something back to the community which has given me more joy and meaning than any other: a deep picture of our extended family. I hope you enjoy it, and you may learn a few things along the way, whether you're an old-time tourhead or a newbie who just got on the bus. Be well. See you in the Zone!
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Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97803854740230000000
Book Description Random House Inc, 1994. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VR-9780385474023
Book Description Main Street Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0385474024 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2132239369
Book Description Random House USA Inc, India, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 206 x 140 mm. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. For fifty years and more than two thousand shows, the Grateful Dead have been earning the quot;deadicationquot; of more than a million fans. Along the way, Deadheads have built an original and authentic American subculture, with vivid jargon and rich love, and its own legends, myths, and spirituality. Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads is the first map of what Jerry Garcia calls quot;the Grateful Dead outback,quot; as seen through the eyes of the faithful, friends, and family, including Bill Walton, Elvis Costello, Tipper Gore, Al Franken, Bob Bralove, Dick Latvala, Blair Jackson, David Gans, Bruce Hornsby, Rob Wasserman, and Robert Hunter.Skeleton Key puts you on the Merry Pranksters bus behind the real Cowboy Neal, uncovers the origins of Cherry Garcia, follows the dancing bear on its trip from psychedelic artifact to trademarked icon, and unlocks the Dead s own tape vault. Informative reading for the new fan or the most grizzled quot;tourhead,quot; Skeleton Key shines throughout with Deadheads own stories, wit, insiders knowledge, sincere appreciation of the music of the quot;band beyond description,quot; and the diverse and soulful culture it inspires. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780385474023
Book Description Main Street Books. Book Condition: Brand New. Ships from USA. FREE domestic shipping. Bookseller Inventory # 0385474024
Book Description Main Street Books, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0385474024
Book Description Main Street Books, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0385474024
Book Description Main Street Books, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110385474024
Book Description Main Street Books, 1994. Book Condition: new. Shiny and new! Expect delivery in 20 days. Bookseller Inventory # 9780385474023-1
Book Description Main Street Books, 1994. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 388 pages. 8.25x5.75x1.25 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 0385474024