The Ram Rod Shurtliff Collection: Life on the Golden Road with the Grateful Dead

May 8, 2007 San Francisco

Ram Rod, born Lawrence Shurtliff (1945-2006), began an association with the Grateful Dead in 1967. He worked with the psychedelic era’s most beloved music makers for more than 30 years – as a truck driver, an equipment manager, and ultimately became one of their most loyal inner-circle members.

Known as Ram Rod his entire adult life, Lawrence Shurtliff got his nickname from the 1960s icon Ken Kesey (of The Merry Pranksters fame). Legend has it that when Kesey met Shurtliff and asked his name, Shurtliff responded, “I am Ramon Rodriguez Rodriguez, the famous Mexican guide.” Kesey accepted the obviously invented name, though promptly shortened it to Ram Rod, a suitable moniker that stuck for life.

Over the many years as friend and coworker, Ram Rod was gifted a multitude of cherished objects associated with the band: stage-played instruments, equipment, gold records, and original artwork, much of which will be offered to fans and collectors on May 8.

Sale highlights include several guitars personally owned and used by Jerry Garcia including the first electric guitar made by noted guitar maker Doug Irwin, and another made by Travis Bean. Equipment used on stage, flight cases with Grateful Dead stickers and other annotations will be offered, as well as original artwork by Jerry Garcia.

The auction will be preceded by a free open-to-the–public preview of the collection (May 4-6) and the fully illustrated catalog is expected for sale in the weeks leading to the auction.

For specific information about this auction, please contact Margaret Barrett directly at
(323) 436-5467 or [email protected]

The Ram Rod Shurtliff Collection