Grateful Dead's Bob Weir Hints at Painkiller Addiction

By Shawn Dwyer 11/10/14

The Dead's rhythm guitarist gave a revealing interview to Common Ground magazine.

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While it's no secret the members of the Grateful Dead have taken their share of drugs, it was something of a revelation when rhythm guitarist Bob Weir hinted at a painkiller addiction in a recent interview with Common Ground magazine.

In August, fans were taken aback when Weir suddenly canceled tour dates for his solo band, Ratdog, well into the next year. Many feared that he might be suffering some serious medical issue, but it turns out that he may be trying to clean up his act.

“I had to take painkillers for a shoulder issue for a number of years, and that’s something I’m still dealing with," he told Common Ground.

The interview touched upon many subjects, including another recent revelation that Weir used to carry Jerry Garcia's heroin around while the band was on tour.

"I used to be his bagman. At the beginning of the tour, he would tell me, 'Okay, no matter what I say, no matter what I do, just give me this amount,'" Weir said. "Every now and again he would invite me to join him, and I would. But I never got into it."

"It was fun to go into his world on a given evening after a show, but it’s not a place I found I wanted to stay—or at least that part of his world," Weir continued "It was fun going into that little corner of his world where he didn’t let other folks in. A place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there."

Weir first suffered his shoulder injury in April 2013 while performing at a Furthur concert with Grateful Dead bassist, Phil Lesh. He collapsed mid-song and continued to perform in a chair, but canceled the next day's concert.

Whether or not Weir has sought professional treatment remains unclear, but he did offer advice to today's youth about drugs."Bottom line: you’re better off straight. Stay the hell away from heroin; it’ll take you out. It’ll ruin your life. Meth, the same thing. Cocaine—stay away from cocaine and any of the addictive drugs. Try not to take sleeping pills in your life. If you have a chronic pain issue, better to figure out how to deal with it other than with pain medication."

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.

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