How did Grateful Dead get their name?
The Grateful Dead began their career as the Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto, California jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. Initially known as the Warlocks; coincidentally, the Velvet Underground (similarly influenced by avant-garde music) was also using that name on the East Coast. Gigging as a bar band, the group quickly changed its name to the Grateful Dead after finding out that another band of the same name (not the Velvet Underground, who by then had also changed their name) had signed a recording contract. The first show under the new name was in San Jose, California on December 4, 1965, at one of Ken Kesey's Acid Tests.