Sep 17, 2012

March 1972 Newsletter (excerpt)

The first issue of the Dead Head newsletter came out shortly before the Europe tour. Most of it recounted the history of the band, which I'll skip - but here I include the beginning & end of the newsletter.

? ? ! ! DEAD HEADS UNITE ! ! ? ?

You probably have been wondering what it's all about...just as much as we have at times. We originally had hopes of establishing some sort of communication system between all of you out there. However, our own lack of money has prevented us from doing what we had originally intended.
"We can't afford to do what 'Dead Heads' was supposed to have done, but what we can do is let everybody know we got their letter. The way it could have worked out for example, if we had it really super together, if we had a lot of money, what we could have done was to organize like rough lists of members of the Grateful Dead weirdness scene or whatever, and have them get together in their town and put on some trips or provide a communication system of some loose sort. But we're limited economically because the Dead Head trip doesn't have any income, and the Grateful Dead doesn't make all that much money." -- Garcia
'Dead Heads' is not a fan club as such; we don't really think of it that way at any rate. We had hoped to be able to keep in contact with all of you, but the number of all of you seems to multiply far faster than we can accomodate your questions and requests. Hopefully in the future you will be able to visualize our situation a little better and understand our difficulties in trying to respond to the thousands of you that are out there all over the world. There are relatively a small number of family members and friends here who are trying to somehow keep track of who you are and where you are and respond to some of the requests and questions you have. As we are far from being mechanized or computerized, (all manual labor as it were) you may find us slow in returning your letter. We regret the delay, but we're moving as fast as we can and you'll just have to 'hang loose' as far as hearing from us goes. We really are making an effort to keep in touch.

Since we are asked time and time again some of the same questions regarding the band's history, where the name came from, etcetera, we would like to try and fill you in on certain things. If you're really interested in reading about the Dead try getting a hold of the following issues of ROLLING STONE : issue #40 - August 23, 1969, #100 - January 20, 1972, #101 - February 3, 1972, and the March issue of PLAYBOY magazine.

. . . .

This whole 'Dead Heads Unite' idea started with hopes of being able to bring you people together, but as it stands we are able to do little more than enjoy your letters, keep your name and address on file, and occasionally (maybe only twice a year) send you a newsletter, circular, or an itinerary of the Dead's tour plans.
Please let us know when you write to us whether you've written before; it's to help us so that we don't duplicate our energy and waste time recording and filing your name and address when it's already in our files.
"Since we can't provide any way for you people to get together and since we haven't got any money to do that, everybody ought to think of ways to get together with other Dead freaks. Don't hold your breath waiting for replies -- that's the whole thing in this matter...don't hold your breath. At any rate, we know where you all are, we have all your addresses, and WE HAVE YOUR NAME." -- Garcia
We hope you will continue to turn us on to what's happening where you are and where you're at. Thank you all for all the far out letters and drawings you've sent us; we've all really enjoyed them, and we hope to hear from you again. Don't give up on us; we will be in touch with you again, but we can't promise when.

Take care, have fun, and stay high,


  1. The 1971 live album had included an invitation for fans to write:

    Who are you? Where are you? How are you?
    Send us your name and address and we'll keep you informed.

    And the fans wrote. By April '72 there were over 9300 people on the mailing list; by September '73 there were 25,700; and by January '75 there were 60,000.

    The Dead ended up sending out a newsletter far more than twice a year - over the next couple years they'd be issued on most touring months, so by the hiatus almost 20 had come out.

    Granted, not much "news" was in these newsletters... Generally, they'd include: the planned tour schedule of the next month (often not finalized), some odd poetry & drawings, and some doodles about Hypnocracy.
    I'll make no effort to reproduce those here. (They are all in the Archives clippings.) But in a few cases there are interesting letters to the fans, which I'll include.

  2. I included other parts of this first newsletter in the "1972 Promotional Bio" and "1972 Newsletters" posts, but you can find the full thing here: