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The truth about Bob Weir's iconic short shorts

It’s safe to say that every member of The Grateful Dead was – or still is – a legend of the music industry. The band’s late frontman, Jerry Garcia, needs no real introduction, and his immense legacy remains etched into the legacy of alternative music. Aside from Garcia, members such as Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter are also icons in their own right, and the fact that the surviving Dead members have remained so prolific as artists is something that all budding musicians could learn a thing or two from. 

Then, of course, we have Bob Weir. Currently performing in spin-off group Dead & Company, Weir is a guitarist extraordinaire, and as a musician, he can do it all. Possibly the most prolific surviving Grateful Dead member, his style is unmistakable. Weir first met Garcia on New Year’s Eve 1963, and this chance encounter would change both their lives life forever. Only 16 at the time, he and a friend were wandering the back alleys of Palo Alto, California, looking for entry into a club.

Whilst wandering around, the teenagers heard the distinct sound of a banjo. They followed the music and found themselves looking at Dana Morgan’s Music Store. Here, a 21-year-old Jerry Garcia was waiting for his students to arrive. Weir and Garcia got talking and spent the night playing music together. Afterwards, they decided to form a band. This was to be the start of the rest of their lives and, by the end of the decade, the duo would be two of the biggest names in the countercultural movement. 

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It wasn’t just Weir’s guitar playing that became so monumentally famous, though. His incredibly short shorts also made a name for themselves. This pair of tiny jean shorts are iconic, and we can see where Lemmy got the inspiration from.

Discussing the outfit, Weir revealed all during a 2019 interview with GQ Magazine: “For me, when I’m onstage, the name of the game is ‘beat the heat.’ It’s always July under the lights, and I have something of an aversion to heat. So, short shorts made real good sense to me. It’s form following function. At the time, I was sort of losing my sense of propriety. I’d been wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and trying to look a little turned out, shall we say.”

Adding: “But by the time I got to my late 20s… I don’t want to say that people took me seriously. But I started to feel like I could get away with more. So I didn’t have to follow any trends. I could sort of start making my own”.

We always knew Weir was an iconoclast. It also makes you wonder, if the mullet can make a comeback, then surely short shorts can too?

Get a glimpse of the shorts in all their glory, below.

(Credit: Alamy)