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Rosie McGee's Autobiography

Page 3 of 4

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Rosie-69By the time I met the members of the Grateful Dead and joined the inner core of their family of friends, I was deeply immersed in an alternative culture made up of artists, underground radio disc jockeys, musicians, coffee house bartenders, vagabonds, actors, poets, and improv comedians.  It all came together for all of us from the mid-'60's onward, in North Beach and in the Haight, in the parks, and in the dance halls and nightclubs, where we loudly celebrated life and friendship through music, art, poetry, sharing, laughter, and largely indiscriminate behavior of all kinds.

Since I'd already been photographing the events and people in my life for years, it was mostly routine for me to take pictures during those special years. Kreutzmann-85This was especially true with the Dead, starting with the early days when we were all just hanging out together and I happened to have a camera with me much of the time. Even later on, during the middle years of their success, gaining access to the Dead to take photos wasn't too much of a huge deal. Of course, it helped a lot that I'd been around "forever", but still, it was casual and friendly. I just had to know when it was ok to take pictures and when to put down the camera. I treasured the access I had and respected the boundaries that were set, and I got some nice shots over the years. When things got a little dicey as a result of the Dead's worldwide fame, I most often put down the camera. Instead, I concentrated on my duties as their travel agent, or their translator, or just on being a friend hanging out behind the scenes at gigs, recording sessions, or other locations. But later on, it got more and more difficult to take photos of the Dead and my other musician friends, and after a while, I just stopped trying.

The '70's brought many changes to my life, starting with a luminous trip to my birthplace, Paris, my first since I'd left there as a child. Paris.Dusk
I'll always treasure the memory of arriving at the Eiffel Tower at dusk on the back of my good friend Milan Melvin's motorcycle. We stared in awe at the City of Light, exhausted from an incredible brain-rattling ride through many cobblestone-paved villages all the way from France's northern coast, where we'd earlier led the throng of cars coming off the Dover-Calais ferry with a proper Harley-Davidson full-throttle roar.

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