Almost 50 years ago, the Grateful Dead released their third studio album, the heavily-psychedelic Aoxomoxoa. Later this month, on June 20th, the early-Dead psychedelia masterpiece will celebrate its 50th birthday, and the band has already released a 50th-anniversary reissue of the album featuring previously unreleased live recordings and alternative mixes.
On Saturday, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart took to his Twitter to share a recent profile piece published about Rick Griffin. For those who may have never heard of Rick Griffin, the now-dead American artist’s work is noted for its impact on psychedelic artwork, in addition to his contribution to designing the cover art for Aoxomoxoa. Griffin is also widely respected in the surfing community as one of the original “surf artists.”
The blog post, which is a fantastic read for anyone interested in the visual world of psychedelia, talks about Griffin’s educational background at the Chouinard Art Institute, (now Cal Arts), to how one of his first San Francisco rock posters was for the now-famous “Human Be-In” in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1967, where the Dead performed.
“Rick’s work was in high demand,” the story reads. “Drawing on influences as diverse as Native American culture, the Californian surf scene, and of course, the burgeoning hippie movement … He made posters for legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Albert King and the Grateful Dead, the logo for Rolling Stones magazine, and many album sleeves; perhaps the most well known being the Grateful Dead’s ‘Aoxomoxoa.'”
A few years later, Griffin would become a devout Christian and his work took a change towards the vastly different world of religion. Read the whole story about Rick and his contributions to the counterculture through his art here.
Fans can catch Mickey Hart and the fellas of Dead & Company perform some of the old tunes off of Aoxomoxoa throughout their ongoing spring/summer tour. Listen to the newly-released 50th-anniversary reissue of the 1960s rock masterpiece album here.