Laurence Shurtliff

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Laurence Shurtliff
Born(1945-04-19)April 19, 1945
Pendleton, Oregon, United States
DiedMay 17, 2006(2006-05-17) (aged 61)
Petaluma, California, United States
Other namesLawrence Shurtliff
Ram Rod
Music executive
Known forRoadie for the Grateful Dead

Laurence Shurtliff (April 19, 1945 – May 17, 2006)[1] (also spelled Lawrence Shurtliff and a.k.a., Ram Rod) was an American music executive and roadie. He was President of Grateful Dead Productions, Inc., from 1976, the year that the Grateful Dead incorporated, until the death of guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995. He also was the Grateful Dead's "head roadie" and equipment manager during and prior to those years, and began his first role with the band as tour truck driver in 1967.[2][3]

In 1972, Shurtliff co-produced Jerry Garcia's Warner Bros. Records solo album, entitled simply Garcia, along with Bob Matthews, Betty Cantor and Bill Kreutzmann.[4][5]

Shurtliff received his nickname "Ram Rod" from Neal Cassady of the Merry Pranksters, while traveling through Mexico with author Ken Kesey. "I am Ramon Rodriguez Rodriguez, the famous Mexican guide," he had boasted, and after he successfully "ramrodded" seven adults into a Volkswagen Bug, Cassady bestowed the nickname upon him.[6]

An auction of Shurtliff's collection of Grateful Dead memorabilia by Bonhams & Butterfields Auctioneers in San Francisco on May 8, 2007, netted more than $1.1 million. The collection included several guitars that had been owned by Garcia, including a cream-colored Travis Bean electric guitar that sold for $312,000.[7]


  1. ^ "Lawrence Shurtliff, 61, a k a Ramrod, Is Dead". The New York Times. Associated Press. May 20, 2006.
  2. ^ Selvin, Joel (May 18, 2006). "Lawrence 'Ramrod' Shurtliff: 1945–2006; Mainstay of Grateful Dead crew dies – 'he was our rock'". San Francisco Chronicle.
  3. ^ Rifkin, Glenn (Winter 1997). "How to 'Truck' the Brand: Lessons from the Grateful Dead". Strategy+Business. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  4. ^ Hunt, Ken (May 28, 2006). "Obituaries: Lawrence Shurtliff, the Grateful Dead's 'Ram Rod'". The Independent. London. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  5. ^ Garcia at The Grateful Dead Family Discography
  6. ^ Liberatore, Paul (May 18, 2006). "'Ram Rod' was Dead's trusted crew chief". Marin Independent Journal.
  7. ^ Greenhaus, Mike (May 9, 2007). "Ram Rod Auction Brings in Over $1.1 million". Relix. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.