The Music Never Stops...

Grateful Dead

For over 5 decades, music fans from all over the world have been captivated by The Grateful Dead’s sound, and feel good legacy. Stance is back with an all new collection of Grateful Dead casual and performance styles to keep you comfortable for your everyday truckin’... We also connected with some of our friends to better understand what is it to be a Dead fan. 

Check out the interview with NBA legend, Bill Walton, @billwalton, artist Darren DrX Romanelli, @drxromanelli, and our very own East coast sales lead Mike LaPilusa, @goofyfoot

The Grateful Dead / Bill Walton

Tell us about the first time you heard The Grateful Dead, and what about their sound made you a fan?

The bus come by and I got on, why we do the things we do...?San Diego, California 1967… while living a life of curiosity, exploration, and experimentation, I came upon the Grateful Dead, scanning the FM radio dial, when I was 15 years old. The DJ played the long-form songs in their entirety, and told the story of the band. It all sounded so cool, real, authentic, and relevant… it was who, and what, I wanted to be.The DJ alerted us to an upcoming and nearby concert, so we went, not knowing a thing, we got to the front, I was struck by how happy and friendly everyone was. I arrived with nothing, but I left with everything, including huge doses of hope, opportunity, and purpose. That was 54 years ago, I’m still there, and now, I have even more, of everything.

Why do you think after 56 years the Grateful Dead’s music continues to relate to younger fans just discovering their music?

The Grateful Dead have built a community of culture, style, and identity. They live like they talk, and they dream, like we do about a better tomorrow, for all of us. No band has inspired more original artwork or literature than the Dead. They're a reflection of our human spirit, condition, character and personality. They're engaged citizens who embody a world as it can, could, and should be, as we all search for meaning and direction in our lives, there is nothing better than being part of something special and bigger than our own individual selves. After 56 years of creativity, imagination, collaboration, and the confluence of all good things, the Grateful Dead have succeeded magnificently at bridging the ever-evolving and changing generations, with today’s massive and expanding fan base comprised of the best our world has to offer. Emblematic of the diversity and demographics that reflect our insatiable desire for goodness, quality, and exceptionalism…we are everywhere, we are everyone.

Favorite Grateful dead album and why?

Sustained success in a group dynamic requires outstanding and visionary leadership, and a quality product line, for the Dead, that product is the music. Yes, the merchandise is a valuable component, as this new partnership with Stance will be, but the music and lyrics are what drives this train, inspiring boundless pride, loyalty, and gratitude. The musicians are incredible in their talent, skill, creativity, and professionalism. The contributing lyricists, Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow, are brilliant in their phraseology and understanding the emotional spectrum of life. The Grateful Dead have always been an extended, inclusive, and diverse family built around the musical messaging and story-telling, the people who make and stand behind it, and the crew that delivers it. Some of the endless elements that make this such a special, unique, and consistent experience are that the music is never too loud, and that you can always hear every single note, by every single musician in the band, at every moment. The Dead have forever been about the use of science and technology to help make everything better, and the radiant light shows bring a visual cacophony of life that’s beyond description…. The Dead have a huge catalogue of music, and everyone of the songs and albums are distinct as can be. I boarded this bus 54 years ago…I'm a Deadhead, I come to learn, to heal, seeking knowledge, fun, joy, and confidence, among lots of other things, and now Stance socks ---- like the Dead—the best of the best, experience has taught me that it’s all one song, and it’s all one show, with varying lengths of time and space in between. The Grateful Dead are about empowering and enabling your freedom and independence where you'll be able to find what you’re looking for. When you do get there, please come up, say hello, and show me your Stance socks, they will serve as your certificate of authenticity and cool. When the time between gives you a paused moment of reflection, maybe you’ll be able to proclaim, as I did my very first time, and still do to this day.

"I’m with those guys" - Bill Walton @billwalton

The Grateful Dead / DRx Romanelli

Tell us about the first time you heard The Grateful Dead, and what about the band made you a fan?

I was born in San Francisco and spent the first eight years of my life in San Rafael. You couldn’t help but see their iconography plastered throughout the city. I remember the “steal your face” being so electric - the lightning bolt grabbing my attention at an early age. Definitely the visuals drew me in first, before ever hearing the music. Just in the visuals there was an energy - you could feel it in your bones. I am lucky enough to have an older brother that turned me onto the music in high school and I am so blessed to have seen a bunch of Grateful Dead shows in the early 90s.

Why do you think after 56 years the Grateful Dead’s music continues to relate to younger fans just discovering their music?

The Art! The Grateful Dead remain relevant after 56 years because they are representative of a generation that was about exploration, love, freedom, the open road – and most importantly the idea of searching for something greater than yourself. With the live shows there is also this idea that you never know what you’re going to get - as every show is different. Anything was possible, once the audience and band stepped together into the arena. It’s the adventure of the unknown. Especially now, with technology allowing fans to be able to swipe through shows quickly. They are literally able to scroll through the years. The modern generation has the ability to swipe between eras - instantly locking in on specific venues, songs, etc. It is pretty remarkable, the younger generation’s access. I think it’s a mix of that accessibility and energy. The band represents a hybrid sensation that’s undeniably infectious. They continue to be an emblem of positivity. They capture a lost language that people all ages - understand. If you connect with the feeling, then it is a mystic, sacred connection. If you ask me what religion I am I would say the closest thing I have to a religion is the Grateful Dead.

Favorite Grateful Dead album and why?

Favorite Album has to be EUROPE 72 - This was my first Grateful Dead album , I remember also it being hard to tell it was live album not much crowd noise if any really... also Pigpen’s last tour before he died at age 27 in 73.


The Grateful Dead / Michael Lapilusa

Tell us about the first time you heard The Grateful Dead, and what about their sound made you a fan?

I distinctly remember in 8th grade a friend who was really into music and played guitar made me a tape. One side of the tape was titled Diesel and the other side was titled Steam. The tape had a few GD songs on it. I forget the exact track list but I know Hell In A Bucket was on there. They didn’t immediately stand out as something life-changing to me. I was a bigger Pink Floyd fan at the time. But over the next few years, that same friend, Mike Nichol, started going to shows and coming home with t-shirts he’d gotten in the lot. Morning Dew in the Mountain Dew logo, Calvin & Hobbs ripoffs, etc. That’s when I started to understand the whole kit. The music is one layer. The people are another. No band has ever had as dedicated of a fan base as the Grateful Dead.

Why do you think after 56 years the Grateful Dead’s music continues to relate to younger fans just discovering their music?

There are a lot of elements that make the GD interesting even to a young kid in 2021. The stories and the rumors draw you in, I am sure. The rebellious nature of their image. Long hair, Drugs, 60’s, etc. There are young kids that are drawn to that like we were 25 years ago. Once you hear them, realize that the live recordings are the real gems and then start down that wormhole, it’s never-ending. If you like Peggy O, then there are probably thousands of live Peggy O versions for you to go dig thru and find the one. It’s the search. The tapes were a real thing. Tapes were a big commodity before Napster, etc. The music made its way around and caused a tipping point. Kudos to all the former members and their current respective musical projects. They have done a great job at driving the ship into present times. Hiring Jon Mayer didn’t hurt being relatable to young fans. Good on them for that!

Favorite Grateful dead album and why?

Trick question. Everybody knows that producing polished studio albums were not these dudes main aim. They were best seen or heard live where they operated purely off of instinct and they still continue to waive the flag of spontaneity like no other. So any live recording is a better example of them. Regardless, if you are talking albums that came out traditionally, then it’s the live concert album Europe ’72. There are some heavenly snips on that one such as China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider… Wish I had a time machine!


Photo: Peter Pabon