How the Grateful Dead Cut the Lights for ‘In the Dark’
Their first LP in six years was tracked over the course of a week in a theater, and turned out to be their most commercially successful album, reaching No. 6 on the chart and giving them their only Top 40 hit, “Touch of Grey,” which went to No. 9.
“We set up like we would onstage, but it was a serious recording,” Hart told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show. “We actually were looking at each other, but there was no audience. I came up with the idea to turn the lights off. … What I did was, I told my equipment guy, ‘On my signal, turn the lights off.’ I didn’t tell anybody [else], I said, ‘Just turn everything off!’”
Watch the Grateful Dead's ‘Touch of Grey’ Video
When the signal was given, he enjoyed the results. “They couldn’t see their fretboards and we couldn’t see our cymbals and our drums, and it was chaos!" he recalled. "Obviously we were playing a song, and it just turned into some maniac band. Then, of course, it was getting dangerous; we didn’t know what we were doing, everyone was laughing too hard. So I signaled ‘em to turn the electricity back on, and we just stopped and we looked at each other and we laughed our brains out. I said, ‘Yeah, it’s great to be playing music in the dark.’”
Hart noted "that’s how In the Dark happened. … It was a great album. It sounded a bit liver than our sterile studio records of the past.”
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