EXCLUSIVE: A number of films about the Grateful Dead have cropped up, but the challenge has always been to get music rights. Now ICM has the opposite situation. The agency has been granted unprecedented access to the seminal band’s music catalog and will package a narrative-style feature film built around those tunes. ICM lit agent Bruce Kaufman is leading the charge. He has done this before, including brokering the use of 20 re-recorded songs from The Beatles for Across the Universe. He’s working closely with The Grateful Dead team that includes band archivist David Lemieux and Mark Pinkus, GM of Grateful Dead Properties at Warner Music Group’s Rhino Entertainment. The band granted Rhino exclusive management of The Grateful Dead’s intellectual property back in 2006.
Formed in 1965, the San Francisco-based band broke up in 1995 after frontman/guitarist Jerry Garcia passed away shortly after the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Dead spent 30 years together and did 2300 live performances attended by a rabid following of Deadheads who followed the band cross country to hear these endless improvisational performances. The expectation is that the music will be used not for a biopic, but rather a film that captures that psychedelic Haight-Ashbury hippie spirit of the late 60s and early 70s, grounded by Dead songs like Truckin’, U.S. Blues, Dark Star and Good Lovin’.