It's Been a Wednesday of Highs and Lows for the Grateful Dead's Faithful

On one hand, a cover band festival is cancelled. On the other, a lost manuscript finally surfaces.

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Apr 10, 2024

We imagine that these many decades later, fans of the Grateful Dead are, well, grateful to have such a powerful artistic force in their lives — meaning they're fully equipped to take the good with the bad when it comes to some major events in Deaddom this fine Wednesday.

First, the good news: Rolling Stone reports that a lost manuscript from late Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter will be published this autumn.

Unearthed by his widow, Maureen, The Silver Snarling Trumpet: The Birth of the Grateful Dead — The Lost Manuscript of Robert Hunter chronicles the early '60s origins of the eternally popular group.

Hunter, who passed away in 2019, wrote the lyrics for Grateful Dead staples including "Casey Jones," "Truckin'," "Dark Star," "Scarlett Begonias," "Touch of Grey" and more. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside the band in 1994, and was later inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Arriving October 8 via Hachette Books, Silver Snarling Trumpet captures "the early days of Hunter, [Jerry Garcia], and their cohorts, who sit at coffee shops passing around a single cup of bottomless coffee because they lacked the funds for more than one. Follow these truth-seeking souls into the stacks at Kepler's Books, renting instruments at Swain's House of Music, and through the countryside on mind-expanding road trips," per an abstract.

The tome features a foreword written by noted Deadhead (and Dead and Company guitarist) John Mayer, alongside an intro by Dead biographer Dennis McNally and an afterword by Brigid Meier, a longtime friend of Garcia and the band.

Now, the not-so-good news: music festival Skull & Roses — which welcomes Grateful Dead cover bands and dedicated Deadheads to Ventura, CA, for an annual celebration of the group's music — has cancelled its sixth edition only 10 days before it was set to begin.

In a message shared via Instagram Tuesday (April 10), founder Chris Mitrovich wrote that "financial devastation" of their 2023 event made it "impossible to sustain the weight of the new production," while also noting that ticketholders for 2024 will not be refunded. You can read it in full below.

In February, the Grateful Dead broke the record for Most Top 40 Albums on the Billboard 200 charts.

Latest Coverage