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Grateful Dead - an Underground Labor Movement

Updated: Sep 8, 2023

"DROP DEAD!" Labor Day, Unions, NYC Subways and the Grateful Dead

We built NY's Underground: My Irish Grandfather Thomas Burns - for who I'm named - was a Sandhog

Union Station Tunnel

--in any authentic spiritual tradition, "UNION" is our destination...and, as the Band sings:

"...if we look at it right..."

...UNION will occur right here and now...Union within ourselves, with other travelers and with "G-d" as we understand "G-d"...

1966 NYC Subway Workers Strike

“The judge can drop dead in his black robes, and we would not call off the strike. Personally, I don’t care if I rot in jail!”

--Mike Quill, president Transit Workers Union

Notice the VW Bus in this photo of the Grand Central Parkway during the strike.

Mike Quill...RIP

Shortly after he damned the judge, he had a heart attack and died of congestive heart failure. He had reached the...

A Change of Pace: Are you KIND?

We're never too old to play with trains...

Seguing from Fred to Jerry...

NYC's Original Underground Playground for the DEAD...

Don't have a ticket??? Just get on board...

The guy with the mic in the next photo reminds me of A.J. in Witches Brew Coffee House in West Hempstead, NY. He's my Grateful Dead Subject Matter Expert and a "Grate" barista!

Weir everywhere - NYC subway edition

Posted this as a comment the other day but figured it deserved a full post. I was listening to a very slow Bertha by D&C in headphones while waiting on the platform at the Union Square subway station in NYC last weekend when a guy in a tie-die stealie sweatshirt walks by. I said "yo I'm listening to the dead right now!" (Close enough lol.) The guy goes "oh, dude--" and turns around, lifts his shirt over his back, and reveals a MASSIVE stealie tattoo in full color. Thing had to be 10 inches wide. And then launches into the story of how he got it: he was selling weed to a guy who had no cash but wanted to barter with shotguns and Kalashnikovs and shit. Since our hero is a "total pacifist," he was eager to barter away the guns, and finally found a taker: a tattoo artist. He said the tattoo had gotten him into a dozen shows and "30-40 tabs" for free. I couldn't say much besides "wow, that's dope." If you're familiar with the culture on the NYC subway system, you'll know that there are not many things that you could have in common with a stranger that would make him comfortable with you taking off half your shirt and telling a story about trading guns and winding up with 30-40 tabs of LSD, but I was happy to be along for the ride.

Stealie tattoo man, I hope that you're having a real good time and that I see you at a D&C show real soon!

In this next underground trip, off to the right of the screen is a gal with green hair…Hmm…reminds me of a certain youngun' at the Brew who occasionally changes her hair coloring…

--includes this video:

Same vibe here:

Jerry S on Jerry G...

The Ways and Means Committee

Dallas, got a soft machine

Houston, too close to New Orleans

New York's got the ways and means

But just won't let you be, oh no

At around 1:30 in this next video, the speaker says the Dead have always been associated with the New York underground…

As part of my new selfcare practices, I gave myself permission to stop taking notes. It’s a letting go of control. I have hundreds of draft posts because I want to add my comments. As a result, they don’t get posted.

A change is gonna come.. NO! A change is HERE…NOW…No more comments...

I can dig it: Building the NYC Underground Railroad: Architectural Digs

Behold the beauty of the system's first station:

Extra Sets...for old and new fans...with a pre-Halloween vibe...grateful DEAD...

Tales from the CRYPT...

Dawn of the Dead Documentary

The documentary provides an in-depth analysis of the rise of the San Francisco underground music scene, the emergence of the psychedelic scene and the definitive band surrounding the movement, the Grateful Dead. While the film focuses on the Dead and their position at the helm of the movement, it also explores the worlds of Big Brother & The Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane, The Charlatans and Quicksilver Messenger Service. In addition to live and studio footage of Grateful Dead and the other San Francisco bands, the documentary also includes news reports from the time as well as brand new interviews with Grateful Dead manager Rock Scully; the Dead’s experimental professor, Tom ‘T.C.’ Constanten; Big Brother’s Peter Albin; Mike Willlhelm of The Charlatans; publicist and official Dead biographer, Dennis McNally; Counter-Culture and Dead author and journalist (and host of ‘The Grateful Dead Hour’), David Gans; Merry Prankster and best friend of the late Ken Kesey, Ken Babbs, plus commentary from noted journalists from the scene.

Couldn't find Part 3...


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