Interesting. Usually I write something to memorialize the late Jerry Garcia in the first week of August — he was born Aug. 1 in 1942 and died 12 years ago today. This year, the emotion has gotten to me; I haven’t been well, so that may be part of it. At any rate, GDPR will pay tribute to Jerry today at 4PM Eastern, and I’ll leave this year’s written tributizin’ to The Moderate Voice, which presented an honest warts-and-all article on Garcia to mark his 65th birthday last week.
Jerry Garcia did not seek out fame. A gentle soul who just wanted to play music, fame found him. And despite a long career as an extraordinary guitarist that brought him adulation, gold records and eventually wealth, happiness remained elusive and fame finally killed him.
It may seem off putting that I remember the man Rolling Stone magazine named the 13th all-time greatest rock guitarist for his demons, but I have often reflected on the lives that great musicians live away from the spotlight as what is left of my hair has turned to gray. This helps explain the ambivalence that I and some – if not many – other people with deep musical connections feel for Garcia and for the Dead. To riff on Goldilocks, this is because when they were good they were very, very good. And when they were bad they were horrid.
Now read the whole thing and listen to our tribute!