New Documentary on the Grateful Dead Gets Scorsese as Exec-Producer

By October 24, 2014

Acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese may not have worked on an acclaimed cinematic narrative since The Wolf of Wall Street, but that doesn’t mean that the 71-year old is slowing down by any means. After creating a handful of projects that have been focused on music, like the Rolling Stones concert film Shine a Light and an as-yet untitled rock ‘n’ roll project for HBO, according to The Hollywood Reporter Scorsese is now adding his name to another effort based on the genre of music that he seems to love by executive producing a documentary on highly influential 1994 Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees the Grateful Dead.

The Grateful Dead, or “the Dead” as they’re often referred to, of course began life in 1965, consisting of Jerry Garcia on lead guitar, Bob Weir on rhythm guitar, Rob “Pigpen” McKernen on harmonica, percussion, and keyboards, Phil Lesh on bass guitar, and Bill Kreutzmann on drums. The Dead are widely credited with being a strong voice in the emergent counter-cultural movement of the 1960s, as well as successfully blending a series of musical genres into their own, unique sound. Their ’94 induction into the Hall of Fame was simply a cap on an extremely broad and storied 30-year career, during which they received countless awards, and a great degree of recognition for their status as a transformative band. Although they never had a number one single on the Billboard Top 100, most of the “Dead Heads” around the world will likely point out that this is irrelevant. And they’d be right.

The project is also said to involve the use of retro interviews with the band during its heyday, along with new material created in cooperation with surviving members. It will be directed by Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story), who has been spearheading this passion project of his for the better part of the last decade, Both Scorsese and surviving members of the band have made statements about the project, with Scorsese stating “The Grateful Dead were more than just a band: they were their own planet, populated by millions of devoted fans. I’m very happy that this picture is being made and [am] proud to be involved.” The band’s statement reads, “From The Last Waltz to George Harrison: Living In The Material World, from Bob Dylan to the Rolling Stones, he has made some of the greatest music documentaries ever with some of our favorite artists and we are honored to have him involved.”

The new documentary is planned to be released next year, which will be the 50th anniversary of the Dead’s formation. For more info on this project as it develops, keep a tab open to!

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.