Back in the early days of 1969, an up-and-coming band called the Grateful Dead was making waves along the West Coast. The band was generating some excitement, and CBS booked it to appear on a Hugh Hefner-hosted program called Playboy After Dark. Naturally, it being the Grateful Dead, things got totally out-of-hand, but everything wound up working out just fine.
The January 18th, 1969 performance has become something of a legend in recent years, especially after Bill Kreutzmann’s telling of this story on Conan back in May 2015. As the legend goes, the Dead’s sound engineer/LSD chemist Owsley “Bear” Stanley slipped some of his homemade psychedelic concoction into the Playboy After Dark crew’s coffee supply, effectively dosing the entire staff for the late-night program.
Hefner went on to interview Garcia before the band performed a handful of songs on the program. You can watch footage of the occasion below, including performances of “Mountains of the Moon” and “St. Stephen”.
Grateful Dead – Playboy After Dark
In response to the occasion, Hefner sent the following glowing letter to the Grateful Dead just a few days after the airing:
[Photo via Dead.net]
Here’s some full-show audio coverage on the anniversary of this Playboy After Dark performance, as provided by Jonathon Aizen:
You can also watch drummer Bill Kreutzmann reminisce about the incident decades later with Conan O’Brien below:
Bill Kreutzman on the Grateful Dead’s LSD-Fueled Playboy After Dark Spot
[Video: Team Coco]
[Originally published: 1/18/17]