Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart admits his band has always been wary of plastering its name or likeness onto products. "People would bring us suggestions for merchandise and we used to run 'em out of town every time," says Hart. "You didn't want to turn the Dead into a knickknack-trinket business."
But, as Hart says, "Times and attitudes have changed." In the coming years, the Dead will be everywhere. A slew of products sporting recognizable Dead logos, from luggage tags to ceramic mugs, will go on sale this year. Grateful Dead Game - The Epic Tour, a new video game featuring Dead songs and imagery, will be up and running online in April. And with the band's blessing, the Hollywood talent agency ICM is working on a movie along the lines of Julie Taymor's Beatles-driven Across the Universe that will integrate Dead songs (and possibly song characters) into a fictional story. "Who knows what Loose Lucy looks like?" says drummer Bill Kreutzmann. "Anything to get the Dead out there is good."