On a recent episode of the Broken Records podcast, Pete Townshend of The Who discussed the Grateful Dead’s relationship with their audience. The rock star admitted that he is “envious” of the connection they were able to forge with their fans. His words were: “It was interesting to see how dedicated their fans were. The [Grateful] Dead were notable for giving their road crew the same percentage as they received themselves, in my memory. Do you realize that? Because it was a true cooperative, nobody became wealthy. They earned a living, but they did not become wealthy.
Pete said that he wished for the band’s relationship with its Deadheads and that everyone, including the road crew, be treated equally. He stated:
They were in some ways a challenge because they were actual band contemporaries and I was envious of the relationship they had with their audience. Many people have referred to the Deadhead fans as being “most loyal” to the band, and as time passed, it evolved into a culture and way of life. There were several factors that contributed to how they created a community. For example, no two concerts were the same because the band always had a new set list. The band also urged fans to capture their performances.