Bob Weir and John Mayer Talk Grateful Dead Ethos
June 15, 2017
Dead & Company are currently on the road for their summer tour, with a return to Boston’s Fenway Park slated for this weekend, when they’ll play two nights at the storied stadium. And in a new interview with the Boston Globe, the band’s guitarists, Bob Weir and John Mayer, discussed the ethos that fueled the Grateful Dead and continues to influence Dead & Co., plus the story of Mayer reaching out to Weir and company as an avid fan just looking to join the family.
“I’ll never be able to express how much I appreciate Billy and Bob and Mickey letting me have a home in this music,” Mayer says, referring to Dead & Co.’s core of the three former Grateful Dead members. The guitarist continues the metaphor, saying that while he’s not a permanent resident yet, he has “a futon in this home” and “some stuff in the fridge.”
Mayer also touches on his time at Berklee College of Music, reflecting on how momentous it is to be able to return to Fenway for the Dead & Co. shows, and calls himself an “obsessed” “fan boy” when it comes to Grateful Dead music.
Weir, for his part, waxes poetic on the current state of the band, saying that they are in “full-on Grateful Dead operational mode…We plug in and take it for a little walk in the woods. And [Mayer] is more than capable of doing that.” Weir also says that Dead & Co. is his favorite non-Dead band, besides with RatDog.
Weir also speaks on both Mayer coming into the Dead fold and his own genesis in that world, when he met Jerry Garcia in a California music store. Mayer also remembers the moment he made his case to Weir:
“I explained to them what their music meant to me,” he says. “At the end of my sermon, Bob said, ‘What are you doing March 7?’ From then on, everything took a backseat to showing them this is something we could do…That will always be the over-arching ethos of the Grateful Dead: If you think you can do the job, come help out. This is not music you want to listen to, but participate in.”