Ex Grateful Dead boss Scully loses cancer battle

Former Grateful Dead manager Rock Scully has died aged 73.

His brother Dicken Scully, who previously worked for the band as their merchandise manager, told the New York Times he died in hospital in Monterey, California after a lengthy battle with lung cancer.

Scully hooked up with the band in 1965 just after they changed their name from the Warlocks and was instrumental in their rise. He organised their original record deals, planned their early tours and famously demanded that Woodstock organisers pay the group up front ahead of their 1969 performance. In 1968 he masterminded a plan to smuggle the group through a group of striking students who had shut down the Columbia University campus for a show.

He was fired from his position by the band in 1984 because of his addiction to morphine and cocaine but returned to the fold in 1985.

Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir paid tribute to Scully saying he was a huge part of their success and stated that together they “made history.”

He says on the band’s website: “When last we spoke, he was full of wonder and curiosity as when we first met him back at the Acid Test. His mischievous sense of adventure made him a perfect candidate for the position of manager for a band with similar sensibilities and an equally similar disregard for the way things were supposed to be done.

“We bowled ahead and made history together – the kind people write books and make movies about. Rock was a big part of it all. He put in the miles with us. He knew the words to all the songs. He knew the right things to say, to tell people, to let them know what we were all about without ever actually explaining anything because he knew it couldn’t be explained.”

The Grateful Dead released eight previously unreleased live shows from 1990 in a 23-disc box set in September.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.