"You mentioned writing some new material. Why do the Dead seem to have such difficulty writing songs these days?
Well, I don't write them unless I absolutely have to. I don't wake up in the morning and say: "Jeez, I feel great today. I think I'll write a song." I mean, anything is more interesting to me than writing a song. It's like "I think I'd like to write a song…. No, I guess I better go feed the cat first." You know what I mean? It's like pulling teeth. I don't enjoy it a bit.
I don't think I've ever actually written from inspiration, actually had a song just go bing! I only recall that happening to me twice — once was with "Terrapin" and the other was "Wharf Rat." I mean, that's twice in a lifetime of writing!
What about when you made Workingman's Dead and American Beauty? Those two albums are full of great songs, and they both came out in 1970.
Well, Robert Hunter [Garcia's lyricist] and I were living together then, so that made it real easy. Sheer proximity. See, the way Hunter and I work now is that we get together for like a week or two, and it's like the classic songwriting thing. I bang away on a piano or a guitar, and I scat phrasing to him or lyrics, and he writes down ideas. And we try stuff.
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