Grateful Dead superfan and TV personality Andy Cohen mixed business with pleasure on Tuesday night when he hosted Bob Weir on Watch What Happens Live. The Grateful Dead guitarist and Dead & Company bandleader (for one more year) appeared as a featured guest on the Bravo talk show alongside Andy’s New Year’s Eve partner Anderson Cooper.
With two guests from disparate ends of the entertainment spectrum, Cohen touched on a wide range of topics. One of the highlights was a game of Have You Met Them, where Cohen asks his guests if they’ve met certain famous people. Weir rattled off a Walk of Fame’s worth of names including Steve Jobs and Jimi Hendrix, the latter of whom he called “a sweet guy.”
Cohen also asked if Weir had met a ghost, and you know damn well Bob Weir has met a ghost. This one in particular was the spirit of a Finnish settler who haunted Weir and songwriting partner John Perry Barlow‘s log cabin. The settler hung himself in the cabin just days before his son was set to return on his 21st birthday to kill his father. “So it was good and goddam haunted,” Weir said. Not to be outdone, Cooper shared that his house is on a haunted house tour of New York.
A shocking revelation came when Weir announced he had not, in fact, met any of the Spice Girls. He also remembered Janis Joplin, who had passed away exactly 52 years prior, and her romance with the Dead’s original frontman, Ronald “Pigpen” McKernan. Reflecting on the evenings when Pearl would stay over at the band’s Lagunitas, CA ranch with cardboard walls Weir recalled, “All night long, ‘Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!’”
Taking some fan questions, Weir revealed, “My favorite all-time venue was the Son Et Lumiere [Sound and Light] Theater in Giza in Egypt at the foot of the Sphinx. It’s like thousands of years old … and it’s at the foot of the Sphinx which is at the foot of the Great Pyramid and they light it all up very nicely. I hit some timeless moments there.” His other favorite venue is Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, “just from the way the room sounds.”
Related: Jam Along With The Grateful Dead’s ‘Sunshine Daydream’ Concert Using Interactive Playing In The Band Mixer
The most fascinating part of the appearance actually came during the online aftershow, as Cooper plugged his new podcast All There Is. The series follows Cooper as he cleans out the apartment belonging to his late mother, famed artist/actress/fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt, and how he processes his grief as it overlaps with entertainment history. Cohen used the conversation to ask Weir about how he dealt with the loss of Jerry Garcia. “How did you get your head around that?”
“I tell you what, I’m not sure if I ever did,” Weir responded seriously. “I was just wondering about that. I think, what I did, ‘What am I gonna do? I’m gonna hit the road, that’s what Jerry would’ve wanted me to do.’ And I did, I stayed on the road for a long time after Jerry checked out. And you know, by the time I finally came home and my wounds were all licked, I was okay. … I guess I processed the grief to a greater extent than not just by playing.”
The deft interviewer in Cooper connected this sentiment to a recent conversation with Laurie Anderson (on his podcast) who said that people turn into other things after they pass, and that Jerry became the music Bob continues performing to this day.
“Every bit. I found him there, I could hear him in the back of my head,” Weir agreed. “I could feel him, ‘Don’t go there, don’t go there, agh! Okay if you gotta go there then don’t do that.’ It was, our relationship never changed much. … I gotta say, I don’t grieve all that ferociously about anybody’s passing. I had two sets of parents and they’re all gone now. And all the rest of both my families grieved heavily, some of them grieved heavily, and I just don’t do that. I just carry them with me. You know, I’m of the persuasion that life is eternal and we will reincarnate so there’s really limited point in grieving your own loss when you should actually feel happy for their liberation.”
Check out Bob Weir and Anderson Cooper on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen. The full episode will be available to stream on-demand on the Bravo website.
Bob Weir Discusses Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and Janis Joplin’s Romance | WWHL
Bob Weir’s Favorite Places to Perform | WWHL
Anderson Cooper Found Telegrams From Frank Sinatra to His Mom | WWHL
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