Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (Episode 6): Coming Down from One Long Strange Trip, Awakening to a New Nightmare, and Shooting up a Led Zep Photo Shoot


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Though Ron “Pigpen” McKernan continued to feel like he was being pushed out of the Grateful Dead’s creative circle, he could still make an impression. Just ask Led Zeppelin, who got an up-close and personal look at Pig’s .22-caliber pistol. The fear that they felt standing next to what seemed like, to them, to be an American cowboy in the flesh was dwarfed months later…by the fear and violence that ran rampant at the Altamont Speedway.

This episode contains content that may be disturbing to some listeners and includes graphic depictions of violence.


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

Inside Herb Greene’s Led Zeppelin Photos (YouTube)

The Dead vs. Led Zeppelin (Dead Essays)

Pigpen Look Alike Contest (Part Two) (

No Woodstock: Grateful Dead's role in infamous Altamont concert (East Bay Times)

Good Old Grateful Dead (Rolling Stone)

Pigpen Solo Projects 1969, 1971, 1973 (Why?) (Live Lost Dead)

December 21, 1967: Owsley Bust (Dead Sources)

Grateful Dead – 1969 Sealed 1st Pressing AOXOMOXOA, With Original Mix (Record Mecca)

Death, debris in Altamont concert wake (UPI Archives)

Altamont At 50: The Disastrous Concert That Brought The '60s To A Crashing Halt (Forbes)

The Manson Family murders and Helter Skelter, explained (Vox)

Manson Family Murders Fast Facts (CNN)

Leno And Rosemary LaBianca: The Couple Brutally Murdered By The Manson Family (All That’s Interesting)

Who Were Manson Family Victims Leno And Rosemary LaBianca? (Oxygen)

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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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