Dead roadie’s story to big screen


Michael Grais will adapt "Home Before Daylight," an autobiography by a longtime Grateful Dead roadie, for the bigscreen.  He's also producing.  Project will trace the music- and drug-filled exploits of the Bay Area band, which mingled with the likes of Ken Kesey and Jefferson Airplane during its heyday and developed a devoted following on the concert circuit well into the 1980s.

Grais ("Poltergeist") is producing with tome's author Steve Parish, who has already garnered the support of Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir and Jefferson Airplane's management.

Grais, who previously produced the music bio "Great Balls of Fire," first saw the Dead perform while working at the Fillmore East as an usher in 1970.

"It was the longest night of my life because they played all night," Grais said, "which is what they used to do."

He said he and Parish immediately bonded over music — it helped that his wife used to be a backup singer for Jackson Browne and Tom Petty. He and Parish have already spent a month in Northern California hashing out the adaptation.

Parish said he wrote the book because, though there have been many books published about the Grateful Dead, none "were from the inside. They were not about the fun we had.

"There has never been and probably never will be another cast of characters like the Grateful Dead."

Others have talked about adapting his 2004 tome into a movie, but Parish said he shares a rapport with Grais.

Parish said Weir — "a good friend" — has agreed to serve as music coordinator for the project, which will include other music of the era.  And the manager of Jefferson Airplane, another longtime pal, has also pledged rights to its music from the era.

Parish, who joined the band as a troubled teen, worked with the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia band for 35 years.

Grais is also writing a movie based on Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" for Chuck Gordon's Daybreak Prods.