Grateful Dead "Skull and Roses" banner from the Grateful Dead movie, used by Bill Graham at Winterland
Natural canvas and purple cotton, embroidered with red and yellow; age soiled, waterstained.
According to Rudson Shurtliff, a Merry Prankster and Hard Trucker, "This Skull & Roses banner was hung at Winterland in SFO. Upon the closing of Winterland Bill Graham gave this banner to his good friend Ram Rod. Now it can be yours ..."
Rock Scully remembers, "Bill Graham told me when we were discussing the Dead's five night stand at Winterland in S.F., 'This is going to be big, Rock, really big.' Bill was talking about his new set of two gigantic banners. One was this Skull and Roses the other the Stones' Lips logo. Bill's crew had just finished suspending them from the rafters behind the stage. Off hand I replied that it was a good thing they were big since they were going to be in the movies. 'What movie?,' cried Bill. Hence began an historical tirade at top volume. In the end Ram Rod and I had to sit him down and cool him out. We began by explaining that we were all feeling pretty worn out. It was time for the Dead to take a break. These were probably going to be our last shows for a year or maybe forever and hence Jerry's keen desire to film and record them. Bill was stunned and when I left Winterland that afternoon Ram Rod went to Bill's office to try and console him. Later in San Rafael, I asked Ram Rod how Bill was taking this news. He said Bill was feeling better after being reminded how much better those banners were going to make his shabby old Winterland look in the movies.
The Skull and Roses banner hung there for another four years before Bill decided to shut the place down before it fell down. The bands final show at Winterland was New Year's Eve 1978. Not long after that Bill asked Ram Rod he could come over to his house in Marin. At that meeting he gifted this banner to Ram Rod thanking him for their many years of friendship and reminding him that he wanted to be the first to know when the Dead wanted to work again."
360 x 360 in.
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