Ron “Pigpen” McKernan Episode 4: Rushed in the Studio, A Midnight Hour Secret, and Busted Down on Ashbury Street


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As the Grateful Dead’s star continued to rise, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan felt he would rather be a dark star, invisible to the world. But he couldn’t hide. Not from the throngs of fans. And not from the San Francisco Police Department. Maybe they saw Pig’s leather vest and cowboy hat and figured he was an outlaw. Or maybe they just wanted to outlaw his type and the whole freaky scene along with him. And they tried to do just that in the fall of 1967, as the sun set on the Summer of Love and the Dead waited like sitting ducks at their house at 710 Ashbury Street.


A Long Strange Trip: The Inside Story of the Grateful Dead, by Dennis McNally

Living with The Dead: Twenty Years on the Bus with Garcia and the Grateful Dead, by Rock Scully with David Dalton

Searching for the Sound, by Phil Lesh

The Grateful Dead FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Greatest Jam Band in History, by Tony Sclafani

This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead, by Blair Jackson and David Gans

Why the Grateful Dead's Debut Was So Hastily Recorded (Ultimate Classic Rock)

Joe Smith Digital Collection (Library of Congress)

RCA's Studio B, 6363 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, CA (Jerry’s Brokedown Palaces)

Joe Smith Ran Record Labels and Signed the Grateful Dead (Wall Street Journal)

Grateful Dead first record contract (Julien’s)

The Grateful Dead: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Album Review (Pitchfork)

That Time Joe Smith Sent the Grateful Dead a Letter Complaining About Their Work Ethic (Rolling Stone)

Grateful Dead Guide: The Very Short Tale of Golden Road (Dead Essays)

Joe Smith obituary (The Guardian)

Brian Jones at Monterey Pop (YouTube)

Monterey Pop Festival – 40 Years Ago (YouTube)

Opinion | The Greatest Music Festival in History (NY Times)

Anatomy of a Love Festival - Part Two (Criterion)

Today in 1967: Otis Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival (Rhino)

The Grateful Dead Did Get It: Reporters and Cops (Rolling Stone)

Big Event: Grateful Dead and '67 Ashbury drug bust (SF Gate)

Grateful Dead 1967 Ashbury Street bust (YouTube)

Grateful Dead Pot Bust 1967 (SF Chronicle)

50 years later, Grateful Dead’s drug bust looks much different (SF Chronicle)

Grateful Dead press conference, October 1967 (KPIX)

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Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse and many more musical icons all died at the age of 27. Scandalous, tortured, dramatic, and incredibly talented, these artists torched a wild path to their early graves and shifted and shaped our culture along the way. 27 Club tells their stories. 27 Club is hosted and created by Jake Brennan, host and creator of the award-winning music and true crime podcast DISGRACELAND. 27 Club is not a journalistic podcast. It is an entertainment podcast inspired by true events. For more shows like 27 Club, check out

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