For the first weekend of Coachella, Monet Weir asked her father, guitarist Bob Weir, to join her and her friends for a desert adventure in Indio, CA. The Grateful Dead founding member could have easily flown under the radar in the pop-centric territory, as the majority of the crowd focused on headliners like Beyoncé, The Weeknd, and Eminem. However, as the 70-year-old legend poked around the desert with his 20-year old daughter, Monet captured some of their father-daughter experience on video, ultimately resulting in a roar of amusement from her 43,000+ followers, many of whom are Deadheads.
We reached out to Monet Weir to learn more about her Coachella experience and how music has colored her relationship with her father over the years. Happily, at the last minute, Monet invited her dad to offer his thoughts on their father-daughter festival experience, and their relationship overall. Read below for Live For Live Music’s conversation with Bob Weir and Monet Weir on Coachella, popular music, and the influence of the Grateful Dead.
Monet Weir: I go to Chapman University, and I’m a sophomore, and pretty much all my friends go [to Coachella] every single year, and this particular weekend, I had a friend who has a house down there. He offered my closest friends to stay there for the weekend, and I had never been. Obviously, knowing that it was a musical festival, I asked my dad if he wanted to go with me, and then he was like, “Yeah.”
And I liked that. Because I have a history of having anxiety at big events, it was nice to have a family member there, too, so that I didn’t have to go as hard as my friends, who are kind of more comfortable with that environment.
Bob Weir: As a little bit of background, we also spent spring break together in Cabo San Lucas, and a bunch of her friends went down there and rented a house, and Monet stayed with us, with a friend. By about halfway through the week, about half of the group of friends who rented the house had gone home injured. It’s not like they take it easy at these events.
Kendall Deflin: So, tell us about the music you guys saw at Coachella.
Monet: For me, we saw the big names, obviously. It’s Eminem, Beyoncé, and then honestly, a lot of my friends here are really into the EDM kind of music, so we saw a lot of those artists like Snakehips.
Bob: Hard for me to pick a favorite out of them. I saw some EDM stuff. We didn’t go to all the same stuff—about 2/3 of the stuff we attended together and about 1/3 of it, she split off and went with her crew. Of the ones that we saw together, I was impressed by Post Malone. That gig and thing. Of course, Beyoncé, but that goes without saying. We saw HAIM. I thought that they were good. I was surprised at how well they played. They were a real band. It wasn’t a straight-up pop act. It wasn’t a straight-up, synth-driven, quick-driven pop band. It was the real thing. They can play their instruments. They know what they’re up to.
Monet: We also saw The Weeknd and St. Vincent.
Bob: The Weeknd was good. The Weeknd was real good. The kid can really sing.
Monet: He was good. He was really good live. You could tell that he was live, but he didn’t sound that much different from his recordings, I’d say.
Bob: Some of the folks were lip syncing a little bit, that I saw. I’m not big into that. I understand why it has to be done if you’re trying to dance and all that at the same time that you’re trying to sing and work a microphone. Working a microphone is a delicate art. It’s not possible to do that and do complicated dance steps and stuff like that. I understand. For instance, The Weeknd–however you pronounce that–he moved around a fair bit, but at the same time, he was actually singing most of the time, I think.
Monet: He came to a lot of the pop stuff because I took him to those places. When I was with my friends, his manager was there and took him to some of the music that he might like. For the most part, he was seeing the pop music stuff with me.
Kendall: What were your greatest takeaways from the weekend?
Bob: I would have to say that the whole experience was fairly magical for me. It was a great opportunity for me to… Well, when you have kids, you get to see the world anew, through new eyes as they’re growing up. This was part of that. Back when Monet was a toddler, she would see a new event—for instance, it would snow or something like that, which happens rarely in California. It was like I was seeing again as a toddler. I’m well advanced in my years now. Once again, this was one of those experiences where I got to feel and experience the music alongside someone who had a fresher outlook, whereas I would be critical of this or that in their production or their presentation and not as open to taking in the entire experience as a whole. She made me do that. That was great and good for me.
Monet: It was fun. I liked having him there. I think I would rather have that experience with him than just how everyone else experiences it. I felt safer and more comfortable. He also knows a lot about music so his commentary was interesting.
Bob: I’ll say this, it was really a lot of fun and also richly rewarding going to—just going and being a spectator or audience member at Coachella with my daughter. It was hugely rewarding to me on many levels.
Kendall: How often are you two able to see music together as spectators, without having the obligation to perform?
Bob: Not as much as I’d like.
Monet: Not very often at all. When I was living at home, I didn’t go to a ton of concerts, and when I did, it was because all my friends were going. It was a very friend-oriented event. Being in college now, I’m never home that much and he’s not down here that much either. So, not really. That was one of the first times. When I was younger, in 7th or 8th grade, I made him take me to Justin Bieber. I was 13 or 14, I don’t know. I was really young. We saw Taylor Swift, too. It was earlier and they were big names. The last time that happened I was probably 15.
Kendall: Now that you’ve had this experience together, are there any other concerts or festivals on the docket?
Bob: I’m sure there will be.
Monet: Yeah. I don’t honestly go to that many concerts. I’m sure if there was someone I really wanted to see or, honestly, just Coachella next year.
Kendall: Has there been any music that Monet has turned on to Bob, or that Bob has turned on to Monet, that might have been out of left field for your musical tastes?
Bob: I’m going to say that about eight years ago—seven or eight years ago now—Monet wanted to learn to sing Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep”. She was listening to that in her room and I walked by and it caught my ear. I don’t listen to much pop music. I don’t listen to the radio hardly at all. It caught my ear and I asked who that was.
Then, a couple weeks later, she wanted to learn to sing the song for a concert recital at her junior high school or middle school. I learned the song to accompany her. I worked up an accompaniment with her and that was something of a revelation for me. She was a budding pop artist at that time. I got into it. That was probably the first time. And then, I became familiar with Taylor Swift. And then on we went. Now it’s The Weeknd and Post Malone and those folks.
Kendall: Did Monet have anything to do with the Lady Gaga cover that you and Trey [Anastasio] did at Wanee?
Bob Weir: Nope. That came out of the blue.
Monet Weir: She has spoken in interviews saying she was a Grateful Dead fan. I think it happened more through that.
Kendall: Monet, what about you? Are you into any of the music that your dad listens to?
Monet: Not until recently did I really pick up older music. I think growing up, I was around it so much on tours that it had almost an opposite effect where I strayed away from it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve listened to more and more of it. Honestly, old hit songs like “My Girl”, or The Beatles songs, “Stand by Me”, the classic ones. I’m also named after the song “Baby It’s You” by The Shirelles and The Beatles did a cover of it, as well. After I found that out, I started listening to that too.
Bob: When she was in her first band, she did an Etta James tune that I helped her with.
Monet: “At Last”.
Bob: It’s not an easy song to sing. Its got complicated jazz chord changes, harmonic development. You have to have an ear to be able to hear that. What they call a jazz ear. She was born with one. It’s something you’re born with or you’re not. That was a bit of fulfillment for me, I was happy about that.
Kendall: There are videos online of you two collaborating when you were younger, singing. How much of your childhood was music a part of? Did you find yourself wanting to be musical and wanting to perform because of your Dad? Is music something you’ll pursue at this point in your life? Tell me a little bit about that side of you.
Monet: I grew up doing pretty much all forms of performance. I started with ballet. I did that for a really long time. I did musical theater for the majority of my childhood. I sang a little bit too—I started singing when I got to be about 13, 14. In high school, I stopped doing theater and joined the music program at my school, which it’s known for. Every semester, you’d be put in a band with a different genre of music that you had to do, like country, jazz, rock, folk. It was a different genre every semester. I liked doing that, but I think it was more of a hobby for fun. I don’t think I could see myself doing it as a career.
Because I have grown up around performance, I do want to do something in that realm. I think I’m trying to get back into acting right now. I really liked that. That was the main thing I did. I like that it’s performance. It’s following my dad in that way, but it’s also following my own path at the same time.
Kendall: Going off that, how has your experience being raised in the Grateful Dead family shaped your life and who you have become?
Monet: I think it was really good for me, especially because of the hippie values—for lack of a better word—of that culture. Not caring as much about material stuff, being more in touch yourself—not necessarily in terms of spirituality, but just being more mindful. More involved in things that aren’t materialistic. I grew up vegetarian. I grew up doing yoga. Helping animals.
Kendall: You grew up learning how to care for yourself and the world around you.
Monet: Yeah, taking care of myself. When I arrived at Chapman University, I found myself surrounded by people that are very successful in their own fields, but they have an obsession with brands, looks, and materialistic needs. I guess I got the best of both worlds. I get to be that normal 20-year-old girl in that sense. Get dressed up on the weekends, cute outfits, whatever.
At the same time, I also grew up not caring so much about material stuff. During the week, I can just wear sweats and no makeup to class and not care about it or feel inferior or self-conscious. I feel more comfortable in myself because of that. It’s also made me really able to connect with other people easily because I have a lot of different experiences with a lot of different people. I have pieces of myself that can relate to different kinds of people.
Kendall: Of course, the Grateful Dead culture is very colorful and there are also some wild aspects. Bobby, how did you decide to prepare your daughters for what they would inevitably learn about your past?
Bob: I think the operative terminology here is “bit by bit.” It wasn’t a revelation to her, it was more of a slow osmosis—how she became familiar with that culture and all that it brings.
Monet: I think that I always knew that it was out there, just because I was little and I would walk around and I would see people with dreadlocks and spinning around. I think I always knew it was there. As I got older and older, I learned what drugs were and all that sort of stuff. Nothing really came as a surprise to me, I guess. The more I learned, the more things made sense. It was all just missing pieces that kept getting put into place as I got older.
Bob: Bit by bit.
Kendall: It sounds like it was a no-judgment, no-censorship zone, and a lot of honesty and open-mindedness in your household.
Monet: Another thing that was important in that was being around so many different people. There are so many different people that are fans of the Grateful Dead that I would meet backstage. There are the classic devoted fans. There are ones who are more on the hippie side. Then, there are really successful businessmen in suits and ties, who you wouldn’t expect. Then, there are the celebrities. There are so many different people. I had just met so many different people growing up, it wasn’t hard for me to not judge people. I saw such a multitude of personalities.
Kendall: How much of your childhood was spent on the road?
Monet: Since I was an infant, my mom would take care of me on the tour bus. I would go on most of my Dad’s tours until I was about ten or eleven when I couldn’t miss as much school. Then I would primarily go on the summer tours but would sometimes go for a little of the other ones, too.
It was just such a familiar feeling being on tour for me. I was really comfortable with it. Some of my friends who I took on tour with me would not be able to sleep on the rocking bus, but it actually put me to sleep. It’s really cool waking up in a different place almost every day and exploring new things and seeing different kinds of people. The crowds can be so different depending on the place, so it’s fun to people watch.
I also love going to the Shakedown Streets because I think it’s really cool seeing the people who follow the tour and seeing new art and merch in every place. It’s always fun and invigorating watching my Dad play too. We have different family friends in different cities too, so it’s also an occasion to see people you haven’t seen in a while.
Kendall: Will we see you on Dead and Company tour this summer?
Monet: Yeah. I’m going to go to as many shows as I can with my schedule this summer. I’m definitely gonna try and be at the big ones, like L.A. and New York, Boulder, that sort of stuff. I’m going to try and go to as many of them as I can.
Bob: She grew up living on a bus, so she’s no stranger to that.
Bob: She’ll pop out and do that.
Monet: It’s almost weird for me not going on tour in the summer if that makes sense.
Kendall: I’m curious to hear about your experience last year bringing your dad and John Mayer to your sorority’s Red Dress Gala.
Monet Weir: I didn’t actually invite [John Mayer]. My parents invited him. At first, I was hesitant of him coming, just because I was new to the sorority and the school and I didn’t want people to think I was trying to be flashy. But, that’s just kind of part of my life, and those are our friends, so I did it anyway.
It was cool. It was fun. Honestly, there’s not even that much to say about it. It wasn’t anything crazy. I already knew John ahead of time. The people at our table were people I already knew. It wasn’t that crazy. I would say the girls at the event were pretty respectful for the most part. Not a ton of people came up heckling or anything like that. A few, but not a ton.
It was also cool, because we raised a lot of money for the American Heart Association, specifically benefitting women with heart disease. We auctioned off tickets, two tickets and backstage passes to any Dead & Company show of their choosing that summer. We raised a ton of money. We raised more money than we have ever raised at that auction. That was pretty cool.
Kendall: That’s amazing. Hilariously, it seemed like the girls in your sorority were more interested in John Mayer than your dad. Does being the daughter of Bob Weir ever affect your college experience?
Monet: For the most part, my immediate friends, my close friends, are really respectful. I’ve had a couple instances where people will ask me to get them tickets to a John Mayer concert or if they can go backstage. Stuff that’s obviously not going to happen, but they ask anyways just because they don’t care, I guess. That’s annoying. It’s especially weird because those people that ask, I’m never that close of friends with, so it’s not people that I have to deal with in my daily life. My immediate friends are super respectful. The most I’ll get asked is what he’s like, but nothing like inappropriate. Nothing uncomfortable.
Kendall: Right. It sounds like you are treated the same for being who you are, which is really important. I’m happy to hear that.
Monet Weir: Yeah. Totally. When I came to Chapman, no one really knew who my dad was or anything like that. It was something that surfaced over time, but I would say it wasn’t until the second semester that a bunch of people knew.
Kendall: And what are you studying in school now?
Monet: I am a strategic and corporate communications major and psychology minor. I’m trying to get a degree in something interesting. It is communications, so it relates to acting in that way. The communication between people and what draws people in and what doesn’t. Same with psychology, getting to know people. I don’t really plan on doing much with it. I plan on pursuing acting.
Kendall: Are you planning on also pursuing any more modeling opportunities? Tell us about your collaboration with Victoria’s Secret.
Monet: No, I don’t think I’d want to go into modeling. For me, I don’t know. I don’t think I could really do that as a career. The social media thing is super new to me. You’re right. In the last year and a half, I’ve gained all of my following. It’s super new. I think it’s a cool experience to have a platform to be able to reach a ton of people. If you need advice—one time I needed advice on sleep, and I got a ton of responses. If I need to get a link out to a cause or something, it’s cool to have that connection with that many people.
The Victoria’s Secret thing, that was one of the first offers I got for a collaboration. Obviously, being Victoria’s Secret, I was like “of course,” because that’s a big company and that would be really cool. I get free stuff from them. I think I’m probably going to slow down on the ad stuff after. Just because, I don’t want my Instagram to turn into a career. I don’t want my career to be based on Instagram, especially because I’m trying to pursue acting. I feel if you make yourself an image in one realm, it’s hard to join another.
I’m probably gonna slow down on [Instagram] a little bit, but after [the Victoria Secret campaign] is over, once here or there, I will do a promotional thing. I think I’m gonna keep my Instagram just pictures I want to post for the most part. I’m not really looking to turn that into a total career. It’s more something fun on the side, just to have a cool connection to people.
Kendall: Recently, you wrote your senior speech on labels and stigmas and wrote a touching note on Instagram Story about how your social media doesn’t define you who you are in real life. Now that you have experienced such a jump in your social media following, with a lot of your followers stemming from the Grateful Dead community, there are a lot of eyes on you. Do you have a message you want to deliver to the Deadhead community that might help them see you for who you are?
Monet Weir: I think the interesting thing about social media, especially for people who are my age, is that it’s primarily based on looks. There aren’t many people that just have Instagram to share their thoughts. It’s not a thought-based form of social media. It’s all about pictures. It provides a mostly surface-view perspective about who someone is. I think that gets mistaken a lot of the time.
If someone posts a photo that’s more provocative, it looks like it’s sending a certain message. Maybe it is in some cases, but I think the most important thing about it is you can’t really judge people that much on it. No one’s going to write a paragraph on their caption explaining how their day was or what they’re doing with their life. It’s just a picture. It’s all it is. It’s supposed to be visually attracting, in whatever sense that may be, for what kind of account you’re on. There’s nothing much more to it than that.
Kendall: For now, your social media should just reflect who you are, and one day it will serve as a platform for whatever message you want to deliver. It will have all led up to that moment and will be rewarding in that sense.
Bob Weir: It occurs to me, with regard to Instagram or Snapchat, those things, where you post thoughts or pictures—you know, brief thoughts or pictures and stuff like it. I don’t do that kind of stuff. There’s no time in my life for it. But it occurs to me, if you’re going to do that, one way to look at it is each of your postings is a line in a poem. The poem can be a much longer piece. People can get a much more in-depth picture of what it is you’re trying to put out if you view it as such.
Kendall: The post becomes the medium of your overall message.
Bob: A photo would just be part of a pastiche. Aside from that, I’m trying to get into Snapchat because it’s the best and most readily available way to communicate with my other daughter. It’s posing something of a challenge for me.
Catch Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann, along with John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti on the road this summer for Dead & Company’s summer tour! Head here for tour dates.