Richard Loren started as a music agent at the Agency for the Performing Arts in New York City and promoted the ascendancy of rock ‘n’ roll in the United States from 1966-69. He scouted, signed, and worked with, new and up-and-coming artists and groups—most notably, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Chambers Brothers, Iron Butterfly, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Steppenwolf, Love, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee and Tim Buckley.
In 1970, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he worked as Jerry Garcia’s personal manager. He worked closely with the Garcia-Saunders Band, and facilitated the formation of Old & In the Way—a bluegrass band comprised of Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, John Kahn and Vassar Clements.<--break->
From 1974-1980, he was employed by the Grateful Dead, first as their agent and then their manager. He was the de facto Executive Producer of The Grateful Dead Movie and is credited with innovating a unique distribution system for the movie, enabling the film to be seen exclusively in select concert halls nationwide. He coordinated diplomatic negotiations between the governments of the U.S. and Egypt to fulfill his dream of having the Grateful Dead play a series of concerts in front of the Sphinx and the great pyramids of Giza—making them the first rock band to ever play at that site. For the thirtieth anniversary of the historical event, he was the Executive Producer of the commemorative CD/DVD, Grateful Dead: Rocking the Cradle Egypt 1978, and directed “The Vacation Tapes”—the documentary segment of the DVD. In 1979, he edited Volume 5 of Ken Kesey’s Spit in the Ocean: The Pyramid Issue, A search for the Secret Pyramid that is now a collector’s item. To celebrate the Grateful Dead’s fifteenth anniversary as a band, he achieved a booking first. As the first rock band in history to play at The Radio City Music Hall in New York, the Dead played eight consecutive sold-out performances. He enlisted the comedians Al Franken and Tom Davis of Saturday Night Live fame to host the concerts, and with John Scher, initiated the idea of using closed circuit video to simulcast the last show, Halloween night, to twenty theaters around the country. He produced a compilation of the event’s concert footage, entitled Dead Ahead, originally released by Monterey Video on VHS and recently re-released by them on DVD.
Interviewed for books by noted Grateful Dead biographers, he is extensively quoted about his experiences with Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead in Dennis McNally’s—Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead; Blair Jackson’s—Garcia: An American Life; Robert Greenfield’s—Dark Star: An Oral Biography of Jerry Garcia; and Carol Brightman’s—Sweet Chaos: The Grateful Dead’s American Adventure.
He continues to be interviewed and frequently quoted by music-industry authors, magazine writers, and show hosts not solely about Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead but also about his varied and unique experiences in a career that spanned a revolutionary time in music history.
He retired from the music business in 1981, returning briefly in 2008. He currently lives on the coast of Maine.
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