Wednesday, January 07, 2015
KALW-FM (SAN FRANCISCO) -- The band broke up after Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995, but this seemed like a unique chance to see what the fuss was about. Peter Richardson, a lecturer at San Francisco State, was teaching a course on the Grateful Dead at a school for adults over 50. A cultural history class where the students were likely part of both the culture and the history? Fascinating, right? But would I leave the class a “Deadhead?” Richardson says the Grateful Dead’s fan base is much more diverse than how it’s usually portrayed. “There have been three U.S. senators, there have been athletes like Bill Walton, there have been scholars like Joe Campbell. And that if you’re really trying to understand the Dead’s audience, you have to include those people, too, and not just the stereotypical Deadhead selling a dream catcher or a veggie burrito out in the parking lot,” Richardson says.