I really do.  There is something about their ecosystem that makes my skin crawl.  All that tribal tramping around.  All that hemp clothing. All that camping without adequate sanitation facilities. All that patchouli.  And the swirly dance thing. Oy, the swirly dance thing. Really, the Dead's music is fine if you use the time allotted to the various spacejams to, say, rebuild a 1960 BSA Gold Star to concourse condition, or further your education by getting a PhD in, well, anything that takes a really long time. Actually, some of their music is legitimately great and a worthy extension of musical Americana, if the sounds are taken strictly as music and not a social movement.  However, if you took the ecosystem away from the Grateful Dead, then they wouldn't be The Dead at all.  They'd be a good and long-gone band. Which is what makes David Meerman Scott's and Brian Halligan's new analysis of the brilliance of the Dead's marketing "program" so insightful.  DMS and BH show why The Dead -- by happy accident or direct guidance -- drew the blueprint for modern social marketing more than 30 years ago, and how this blueprint has help The Dead maintain as a thriving concern today, long after the band dissolved and the titular leader of the organization (Jerry Garcia, the Dead's Steve Jobs/Bill Gates/Zuck) left the building. I have to give it to them (the Dead, as well as David and Brian).  But, at the same time, I'm working on my own messaging theory grounded in the musical universe.  This will revolve around a band that, regardless of genre or musical mode, kept their message consistent, yet creative, through a variety of environmental changes and guises.  More on this to come (as I make it up), but I'll just end with this question for now, "What Would Joe Strummer Do?"

AuthorJen Simonson