Deadhead Spotting! Easiest Ways to Spot a Deadhead

Deadhead Spotting! Easiest Ways to Spot a Deadhead

Grateful Dead Merchandise

Deadheads are among us all, both visible to the eyes and behind closed doors. You may think you have recognized a deadhead, but how can you be sure? We’ve narrowed down a fool proof way to identify deadheads both inside and outside their natural environment.

Out and About

As a whole, it is best to start by looking out for middle-aged, peaceful people that are at a greater spiritual level of coolness than anyone else you have met before. You will find a deadhead wearing various shades of tie dye or questionable quality fan designed “lot shirts.”

You may not be able to get too close to a deadhead at first, but you may be able to spot one while on the road. When a deadhead is driving, you can start to identify one by the cars they drive. Look out for the Volkswagen Bus, Volvo station wagon or a Subaru. You may or may not be able to see the deadhead at first due to the stained glass effect of their windows from being covered in various colorful stickers. The license plate may say something along the lines of “HEY NOW”, “GR8FUL” or a coded acronym of the following: GDTRFB, FOTD, NFA, or WALSTIB. If you are lucky enough to see into the cloudy, stained glass windows, you will see the deadhead bobbing their head and seemingly humming to a bluesy-country song and if they see you, it’s common for them to flash you the two-finger Peace sign.

In The Home

If you are favored enough to enter a potential deadhead’s home, pay attention to the tone of the house and you may hear an echo of Grateful Dead music in the background. Be sure to keep an eye out for key signals in their album collection (which, of course, they still have even in the digital age). You are not exactly looking for Grateful Dead albums, even though that is a great place to start. More importantly, you will want to see the size of their live recording collection. If their live recording collection of the Grateful Dead is larger than their normal albums, you’re in luck! 

Grateful Dead Merchandise

Keep looking, they may have accumulated various research books such as Mickey Hart's Planet Drum, Phil Lesh's Searching for the Sound or a variety of Dupree's Diamond News Fanzines. A true deadhead will definitely store non-digital audible art in the form of cassette tapes, mysteriously named only by dates. You may notice that your prospective deadhead uses terminology including the words “noodling”, “you had to be there, man”, "Right On" or "I was at that show!" in everyday context. A "dead" giveaway that you're in the presence of a deadhead is that they tend to get anxious around the time of year when tour dates are being announced! 

On your way out, pay attention to their meal for the night, they may give you a gourmet veggie burrito or garlic grilled cheese for the road. When leaving the premise of a deadhead, don’t worry if you accidentally bump into them, unlike other music enthusiasts, deadheads will just give you a blank stare and continue grooving along. Try inconspicuously bumping into the potential deadhead the next time you are unsure! 

You’ve Spotted One!

If you've spotted a deadhead or are just looking at a tie dye loving hippie, just know that befriending a deadhead is one of the best experiences you can have, filled with nostalgic memories of the “good ol’ days”, amazing music and honest friendship that will last a lifetime. There is no better time than one with a deadhead, so whether you spot a deadhead or find that you are one yourself, stand tall and proud that you're a part of one of the greatest tribes of all time!





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