In California: the Dead Live On

An unbeliever claims that only 10,000 people in the entire world are followers--cultists, really--of the durable and idiosyncratic rock band called the Grateful Dead. What gives the band its undeserved appearance of popularity, he adds with exasperation, is that Dead Heads, as these fans call themselves in what should be apology but probably is boasting, are so zonked on Dead music that they all show up for every concert, no matter where on the planet it is played.

"I don't know," says J.R., 25, an engineering student from the University of Massachusetts. "I missed some concerts this year." He is standing...

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