The Upful LIFE Podcast- Ep.050: JAY BLAKESBERG (rock photographer/ filmmaker / GD-culture anthropologist)


Honored to welcome to Episode 050 the great JAY BLAKESBERG, a photographer, filmmaker, and cultural anthropologist who really needs no introduction, though I give him a lengthy, fawning one to kick off this program. Jay is best known for his iconic work shooting (and following) the Grateful Dead since the late 1970’s, and has continued to chronicle the various offshoots and band developments thru the years. He’s also a Bay Area institution, a world-renowned photographer /filmmaker/historian all over rock music, stretching out far beyond the ever-sprawling GD diaspora where he first made his bones.

  • Introducing Jay Blakesberg- @ 7:00 
  • Interview w/ Jay Blakesberg @ 14:00

For this particular conversation, we focus on the legacy, psychedelia, and undying, inter-generational appeal of the Grateful Dead, told thru Jay’s journey with them and his camera, plus myriad points between. In addition to geeking out about various eras, performances, legends and lore of the mighty GD, we also discuss our membership in a far-less cool but no less interesting fraternity: incarceration and the drug war. Both of us privileged and extremely fortunate, in no uncertain terms we explore these experiences and parallels, as Jay blesses us up with pearls of wisdom, knowledge of self, deeply held convictions and overstandings rooted in that harrowing chapter of his life. We also touch on music media in the digital age, & the next generation of jam bands that Jay is stoked on.

Jay’s done a number of great podcasts in recent years, about the Dead and his career, but I believe ours to hit just a wee bit different. If you choose to tune in, turn on, and drop out for this 90 minute free exchange of ideas, you’ll find out just why.

Follow all things Jay Blakesberg at BLAKESBERG.COM 

@jayblakesberg & @retroblakesberg on instagram

Special thanks to all the artists, musicians, producers, promoters, movers, shakers, lovers and angels who have made themselves available and open to discuss their lives and careers in this format and context.

Large UP & a deep bow of profound gratitude to all the listeners out there who have empowered this program to reach it’s 50th episode. I’m humbled by the love and support, I hope to produce another 50, Jah-willing.


Vibe Junkie JAM-

“Althea” – Springfield MA 9.03.80

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Theme Song: “Mazel Tov”– CALVIN VALENTINE