Fed Chair: 'What Can I Say?' I'm a Deadhead

At House hearing, Jerome Powell raves about recent Dead & Company show
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2023 12:39 PM CDT

A blurry photo taken at a Dead & Company concert in Virginia earlier this month caused quite a stir on social media. Viewed 2.8 million times as of this writing, it shows a gray-haired man in a collared shirt and baseball cap among the crowd of fans watching the Grateful Dead spinoff band perform in Bristow. Why all the attention? According to journalist Jake Sherman, the Deadhead pictured is Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Powell confirmed as much Wednesday during a hearing of the House Committee on Financial Services, which veered just a little off topic, per CNBC.

Though Powell was on Capitol Hill to testify about efforts to tackle inflation, Democratic Rep. Wiley Nickel plucked up the courage to ask about Powell's musical interests. (After all, "you just gotta poke around.") Noting he's a Deadhead himself, who missed the chance to see Jerry Garcia in concert in 1995, Nickel said he was "excited" to hear that Powell had attended the recent show. "Did you like it?" Nickel asked. "It was terrific. What can I say? It was great," Powell replied. "I've been a Grateful Dead fan for 50 years." "I like people who like the Grateful Dead," responded Nickel, as Powell raised both fists into the air.

Powell not only likes to listen to the band—he reportedly attended his first Grateful Dead concert in Washington, DC, in 1973—but he also enjoys strumming the band's tunes on guitar, Barron's reported, per Forbes. The outlet also reported that Powell's sister Monica played a role in the formation of Dead & Company, having first introduced bass player Oteil Burbridge, an old friend, to the Grateful Dead's music. Dead & Company is currently performing its final tour. (Meanwhile, a Grateful Dead biopic is in the works.)

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