He may be KPFT’s resident Grateful Dead expert, but Sandy Weinmann is also one of the radio station’s best known personalities. From service on KPFT’s local and national board of directors to spinning music that weaves folk, blues, jazz, rock and other genres into lovely quilts on weekend afternoons, Sandy closes up Saturday’s powerhouse programming with DeadBeat.
What was the moment that made you want to get on the radio?
Not sure exactly what that was. I was asked to ‘play a part’ in an on air prank by those filling in for a host. Later, I was asked to do the back announcements on what was played during segments of a music show.
Who is your dream guest, living or not, and what would you ask her/him?
I have hosted so many great folks that I never thought I would get to meet let alone interview and engineer as they sat a few feet away and played live. Warren Haynes, Bill Kreutzman, Fred Tacket, Paul Barrare, David Nelson, Jorma [Kaukonen] and Jack [Casady] from Hot Tuna, Anders Osborne, Donna Godcheaux-McKay, David Gans, Carolyn Wonderland, Dennis McNally and so many others.
Certainly Lowell George (I did interview his son) and Jerry Garcia are two folks that are not with us anymore that I would have loved to have had the chance to meet and interview. Although I have met Bob Weir he has never been in the studio and the same can be said for Phil Lesh!
What listener remark or experience sticks with you?
I get so many kind phone calls each week and all of them are appreciated and special. But one comment in particular has always stuck with me; during a pledge drive we took a call from a 12 year old who said that his aunt had made him listen to Dead Air for many years so as to learn the music of the Grateful Dead. Somewhere we made a difference not only in terms of musical education but in the relationship he shared with this relative – that was really something knowing that its more than a microphone, CD player and buttons to push!
What interests do you have that might surprise people?
I go to spin class about 4-5 times a week and ride my fears and worries away!
What’s the first record you bought with your own money?
It was Johnny Rivers “Battle of New Orleans.” I was about seven or so and my father took me to Manhattan one day. It was purchased at “Waxie Maxie’s.”
What book first inspired you?
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (I carry a towel)
If you were invited to speak at a college commencement, what three things — whether that’s advice, a reading or anything else — would you recommend to your audience?
- Stay in School – the real world sucks…
- School ends, work does not…
- Dance awhile – it won’t ruin ya!
What song would you want played at your funeral, and why?
“He’s Gone” by Robert Hunter. It may sound obvious. The song was written for Leonard Hart, the father of Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart and one-time manager of the Grateful Dead who absconded with all of their money at one point around 1971. I visited Dennis McNally about four years ago in San Francisco and actually held in my hand the original notebook paper the song was penned on by Robert Hunter, it was like holding a live wire. “Nine mile skid on a ten mile ride/Hot as a cracker, but cool inside/He’s gone and nothing’s gonna bring him back.”