The new Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip will see limited theatrical release today and tomorrow before streaming on Amazon Prime starting June 2, and one of the film’s focuses, Dead bassist Phil Lesh, has given his two cents on the movie in a new interview with Rolling Stone, saying the Amir Bar-Lev-directed and Martin Scorsese-executive produced documentary is “great as far as it goes, but it’s not the whole story.”
“The Grateful Dead is sort of a phenomenon that you cannot encapsulate in any one medium or any one event or any one film or recording,” Lesh says, adding a nice metaphor: “It’s like a blind man feeling a leg and saying it’s a tree or touching a tail and saying it’s a rope.”
Lesh does say he is fine with Long Strange Trip‘s scope, however, saying that “the producers and directors had a certain vision and that they realized that just as well as they possibly could,” but the bassist expects more film and documentaries to be produced that help fill in the band’s extensive history. Read more about Long Strange Trip in our recent interview with Bar-Lev here.
Lesh also spoke with Rolling Stone about his upcoming Terrapin Station 40th anniversary celebration with Bob Weir and The Terrapin Family Band, which will take place at this summer’s Lockn Festival. On the prospect of inviting the other two surviving members of the Dead, drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, Lesh simple states, “We have a drummer.” He adds, “We don’t really communicate much at all, but that’s just the way of the world.”
The bassist wishes his old bandmates well, though, saying he hopes their “having a good time” with Dead & Company. “They’re bringing the music to the people just like we always wanted to do, and I commend them for it,” Lesh says. “It’s not something I could do myself. I’m done with that kind of touring.”