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Rosie McGee's Autobiography

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I'd always had a call to wander, and that trip to Paris and my friendship with Milan led to many travels around the world. I went back to France with the Grateful Dead in 1971; was brought on their European Tour as French interpreter in 1972; Nepal statuesspent a month
in Nepal in 1974; spent two months visiting Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Bali in 1978; made several trips to Canada and Mexico in the '80's and '90's; went back to Paris as often as I could save up the frequent flyer miles; and visited Hawaii and Oregon in the early '90's.  I loved to travel, and I loved to photograph the new places I visited.  And as I got more confident, it became easier for me to photograph the people as well.

Taos.Mtn.scanIn 1974, I moved to Taos, New Mexico, to live with the man who would become my husband and the father of our son.   We returned to California a few years later, and I went back to working in the music business, first for The Doobie Brothers, and then for a second time as a travel agent for the Grateful Dead and other Bay Area touring bands. Our son was born in 1980; at the time we lived in a converted school bus in a Sausalito boatyard, and I was managing a small business importing gold jewelry from Thailand.That was followed by a year living in the bus at 4,000 ft. in the mountains of Northern California, a situation perfect for bonding with my infant son, but just too difficult in many other ways. Eventually, I moved on to other environments and other relationships.

crater lakeFrom 1991 to early 2003, I lived just south of Portland, Oregon, and the gorgeous Pacific Northwest lured me into studying the art of scenic photography, and the photography of flowers. I also shot some informal black and white portraits.

yavapai point

In the Spring of 2003, I was offered a wonderful opportunity to work and live at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, and so I went from the magnificent, lush Pacific Northwest, to the dry pine forests at 7,000 ft., next to one of the world's greatest sights. The seven years I spent there were life-changing.

And then, in mid-2009, I got a phone call about licensing some of my Grateful Dead photos for an exhibition celebrating the rock music scene in Marin from the sixties through to the present. This led to my coming full circle. In June of 2010, I returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and its wonderful music community after a 20-year absence, to take a job managing the music center in which the exhibition would live.

Unfortunately, that project was shelved after I'd worked only a few months and I left again, this time to isolate myself in New Mexico to write the first draft of my photo memoir. In 2011, I returned to the Bay Area once again to finish my book and get it published.

Unable to get a deal with a traditional publishing company, or even secure an agent, I went out on my own and formed my own publishing company. The first edition of my book "Dancing with the Dead--A Photographic Memoir: My Good Old Days with the Grateful Dead and the San Francisco Music Scene 1964-1974" was released on July 4, 2012 as an e-book.

Within a few months, I received many requests for me to put it out in print, and August 28, 2013, the print edition was launched.

Again, there were requests for another format - this time, an audiobook. So I went into a professional recording studio in Portland, Oregon, and narrated my stories for the audiobook, which was released in January of 2014.

The publication of my book opened many doors for me; most notably, requests for me to hold book signings, which I combined with photo presentations and book readings, occasionally adding live music to the mix.

This led to appearances at academic conferences and at university classes. I enjoy all of this tremendously, as it incorporates my love of travel and exploring, along with the meeting of interesting people of all kinds.

Wherever I go, I'll continue to document the people and events of my life, and while I'm currently taking a break from long-range world travels, I'll always be a gypsy traveler at heart.

- Rosie McGee
© 2002/2003/2010 and onward - Updated December 2015

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