Grateful Dead organic deodorant line and Nike sneaker line debut: We will survive

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and guitarist-singer Jerry Garcia are shown in concert.
Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart and guitarist-singer Jerry Garcia are shown at one of the band’s concerts. Garcia died in 1995.
(Photo courtesy of Bill Walton)

‘Wharf Rat’ didn’t make the cut, but ‘Sunshine’ and ‘Skull & Roses’ are two of the scents


Holy scarlet begonias!

It may not quite qualify as a harmonic convergence, but last month’s announcement that Nike will unveil a line of Grateful Dead x SB Dunk Low sneakers this summer was a prelude to Friday’s announcement of a new line of official Grateful Dead deodorant.

Made by Indiana-based North Coast Organics, the Grateful Dead Organic Deodorants line comes — perhaps somewhat surprisingly — in entirely cannabis-free scents. The scents include “Sunshine” (blood orange and bergamot); “Workingman’s” (Cedarwood and juniper); “Skull & Roses” (lavender and rose); “Timber” (Douglas fir and sage); and “Unscented.”

As an added bonus, the five scents of 100 percent organic deodorant are vegan and made with “edible ingredients.” (“Honey, the dog ate my roll-on again!”)

This appears to be he first deodorant line inspired and sanctioned by any rock band, let alone the enormously influential Grateful Dead.

The Bay Area band was launched in 1965 and created a musical and cultural niche whose impact continues to be felt today, 25 years after the group disbanded in the wake of guitarist-singer Jerry Garcia’s death. A hugely popular concert attraction, the band’s annual tours between 1986 and 1995 together grossed more than $300 million.

The current iteration of the band, Dead & Company, features two of the band’s co-founders, Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann, along with Mickey Hart, who joined in 1967. Guitarist-singer John Mayer, who was born in 1977, has been a member of Dead & Company since its inception in 2015.

The Grateful Dead’s scores of longtime followers range from Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll and onetime San Diego actress Whoopi Goldberg to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and San Diego basketball legend Bill Walton, who — as of 2015 had seen teh band perform more than 850 times.

“We are beyond thrilled to be collaborating with the Grateful Dead,” North Coast Organics CEO Nathan Morin, a Grateful Dead devotee since 1999, said in a statement.

“The music and spirit of the Grateful Dead have influenced our core principles, been a source of inspiration, and kept us true to our main mission of social responsibility,” continued Morin, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from Ball State University.

His eight-year-old company’s pre-Grateful Dead deodorants include Revolver, Naked, Al Sol (a citrus scent that also is a natural bug repellent) and Death by Lavender. Were it not for the coronavirus pandemic, North Coast Organics would have been a sponsor of the 2020 edition of San Diego Vegan Fest in April.

“Our North Coast Organics line has been in Whole Foods in San Diego all the way up to the Bay Area for five years now,” Morin told the Union-Tribune, via email, Monday.

Why did the surviving members of the Grateful Dead decide to go into business with Morin, who told an interviewer in 2015 that he went for years without using any deodorant products of any kind?

David Lemieux, the band’s archivist and “legacy manager,” explained it this way in a statement.

“Along with our love of the music,” Lemieux said, “Dead Heads also often identify themselves as socially and environmentally conscious, and with that awareness is a love of the world around us, and the desire to help protect it. That goes for ourselves as well.

“As much as it’s important to be mindful of what we put into our bodies, it’s also essential to be aware of what we put onto our bodies. We’re so happy that a company like North Coast Organics exists, as they share our love of organic, healthful products for the body. Ethical and kind, North Coast Organics lives and functions as we do, with an awareness that the future’s here, we are it, and we need to take care of the planet and ourselves.”

As for the names of North Coast Organics’ new line of deodorants, company CEO Morin said: “The Grateful Dead have inspired us to stay true to our main mission of social responsibility. We took care in creating special oil blends that reference the Grateful Dead’s music.”

Should a second line of similarly inspired deodorants be in store, such Grateful Dead favorites as “Wharf Rat” and “New Potato Caboose” will likely have little traction as product names. But “China Cat Sunflower,” “Scarlet Begonias” and “Morning Dew?”

Well, you never can tell.