After performing at this year’s Americana Awards, where he was given a Lifetime Achievement award from Jim Lauderdale, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter is launching an eight-date solo tour, his first in a decade. Hunter, 72, tells Rolling Stone that part of the inspiration behind the tour is to pay for medical bills he’s accrued fighting bladder cancer.
Hunter had some interesting things to say about his upcoming tour, the band Furthur, and his collaborations with Bob Dylan; the two teamed up most recently on “Duquesne Whistle” from 2012’s Tempest.
There’s almost no story on things like that. Dylan gave me that tune and said, “Can you write something to go with it?” I wrote something to it and he took it. He’s the only guy I work with who I give the liberty to change things. After all, he is who he is. And something came out, a combination of what we do. I don’t know if it’s better or worse. I’m not able to judge that sort of thing. We set it up in person, and sometimes we do it on the phone and continue by email. Anyway you can do it in this day and age.
Hunter said that he plans to cover “Pancho and Lefty” in his sets.
I always like to throw in a cover. I used to do “Shelter from the Storm,” but that’s too much for my memory. I’ve really been into Townes Van Zandt lately. That man was a hell of a songwriter, one of the true originals. The actual set list will happen on the day I do the show. I’ve got about 40 songs to draw from.