Bob Weir Talks Breathing New Life Into Grateful Dead Songs On CBS’ ‘Sunday Morning’

Watch both a feature on the Grateful Dead guitarist and an extended interview.

By Scott Bernstein Nov 28, 2022 7:07 am PST

Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir‘s recent foray into orchestrating the band’s music was the focus of a feature that aired yesterday on CBS’ Sunday Morning. Weir sat for an extended interview with CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone as part of the profile with footage of the chat shared on the program’s YouTube channel.

Weir and an expanded version of his Wolf Bros ensemble teamed with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. last month for a series of four concerts featuring orchestral versions of Grateful Dead classics. The Sunday Morning profile included behind-the-scenes rehearsal and live footage from the historic run.

Bobby partnered with Italian composer Giancarlo Aquilanti of Stanford University to reimagine Grateful Dead songs as classical music. “I’m not sure if the orchestral players know what they’re walking into,” Weir exclaimed. “The music of the Grateful Dead, there’s so much material that somehow, once you get into it, when you get deeper into that understanding how they work – again musically, counterpoint, harmony, rhythm – I found that it translates into the orchestra in a very natural way,” Aquilanti said about a collaboration with Weir more than a decade in the making.

Blackstone asked Weir if Bobby’s passion for pushing the music of the Grateful Dead forward is related to Jerry Garcia passing away at the early age of 53. “Well, he left some unfinished business,” said Weir of Garcia. “We were partners. I’m going to do my best to tidy some stuff up for him. That’s what you do for your friends.”

In the extended interview, Bobby recalled a recent experience in which he encountered Garcia in his sleep. “Not long ago Jerry came to me in a dream, he does this from time to time, he wanted to introduce me to a song that was a jazz ballad that we were going to sing a duet on,” Weir remembered. “He invited the song into the room … in the dream it was like an enormous ethereal kind of English sheepdog. It sniffed me and I patted him on his dead I batted around a little bit and we went back and forth a little bit. We immediately established a little rapport there. And then we settled in and we started singing it.”

Weir has showed no signs of slowing down. While Dead & Company will call it a career after a final tour next summer, he aims to continue keeping the music of the Grateful Dead alive. “My major consideration is, what are people going to say about what I’m doing in 300 years?” Weir said. “A lot more doors are open to me now. And I’ll be stir fried if I’m just going to walk past that. If you’ve worked for your entire life to be able to work with a symphony orchestra on a meaningful level, how can you pass that up?”

Blacstone asked Weir if he’d consider retiring. “I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I didn’t have this,” Bobby responded. “I do know I’d be lost if I didn’t have the music to chase.” He noted while touring is a “chore,” he feels it’s important for both his fans’ happiness and the environment he travels to fans rather than have them come to him. Other topics hit upon are Weir’s struggles with stagefright, the appreciation of Deadheads and more.

Watch the CBS’ Sunday Morning feature and extended interview below:

Feature

Extended Interview

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