It pains me to chide an artist/writer that I admire and a publication that I feel the same way about but both Carrie Brownstein and the L.A. Times owe the Grateful Dead an apology. Brownstein wrote about and the L.A. Times reported on (in a blog post) how supposedly the Dead didn’t want her to include “Friend of the Devil” in an online mixtape unless the band was subject of a story that she would do.
Turns out that ain’t the case. The band itself didn’t ask for any of that. Their label, Rhino, did. That’s a big distinction.
LAT did correct that later but as you know, the correction is usually forgotten more quickly than the initial story (which turns out to be the wrong story)- note that the headline to the LAT blog post that reported the story still has the Dead making the request in the headline. Brownstein and LAT have a powerful platform as they’re easily able to connect with a lot of people thanks to their rep and as such, they gotta be more careful about who they point fingers at in a story like this.
As for Rhino, I respect them a lot for taking up the slack of a lot of labels who let material fall outta print but this was kind of a boneheaded request to make of Brownstein. As the LAT post notes, the Dead ain’t exactly hurting for recognition, even today. Also note that in the comments to the LAT posting, along with some shots at Brownstein, some other commentators question the Dead organization itself for the way it’s run.