Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead

I'm adding a section to preface my book on Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead because they had such a profound impact on my life.  Jerry was like a second father to me in a way.  He was the reluctant guru of a profound subculture movement that influenced millions and millions of Americans and people all around the world, mostly for the better.  Yes, the music is better enhanced while under the influence of hallucinogens; however, you do not need to take drugs to understand the transcendental effects of where the music can take you.  I'm leaving you with a few choice recordings in the event you've never heard them.  Give them a listen!  

Jerry was simply the coolest guy on the planet to many and certainly a cultural icon whose legacy continues to grow after his untimely death in 1995.  Even though many millennials haven't heard of him or the Grateful Dead, the magic of his music lives on in the several hundred jam bands that continue to play his tunes throughout the country, namely Dead & Company which showcases John Mayer and three surviving original members of the band including Bob Wier and the two drummers Mickey Hart and Billy Kreutzman.  

The following is a great interview with Jerry, at arguably the peak of his career in 1989 when he was on fire on stage with an energy that dated back to the 70's.   They had gone "mainstream" with their single hit "Touch of Grey" that was a gateway song to listen to the whole album and attract that many more people to their concerts.  

Once you have Grateful Dead in your blood, it's hard to shake.  They had so many great influences from previous eras and genres from Motown to rock 'n roll, to jazz to gospel.  "Once a deadhead, always a Deadhead!"

Grateful Dead from Wikipedia


The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rockfolkcountrybluegrassbluesgospel, and psychedelic rock for live performances of lengthy instrumental jams, and for their devoted fan base, known as "Deadheads". "Their music", writes Lenny Kaye, "touches on ground that most other groups don't even know exists". These various influences were distilled into a diverse and psychedelic whole that made the Grateful Dead "the pioneering Godfathers of the jam band world".  The band was ranked 57th by Rolling Stone magazine in its The Greatest Artists of All Time issue. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 and a recording of their May 8, 1977, performance at Cornell University's Barton Hall was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2012. The Grateful Dead have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide.

The Grateful Dead was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area amid the rise of the counterculture of the 1960s. The founding members were Jerry Garcia (lead guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (rhythm guitar, vocals), Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (keyboardsharmonica, vocals), Phil Lesh(bass, vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums). Members of the Grateful Dead had played together in various San Francisco bands. 


Drummer Mickey Hart and non-performing lyricist Robert Hunter joined in 1967. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, and Hart, who took time off from 1971 to 1974, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history. The other official members of the band are Tom Constanten (keyboards; 1968–1970), John Perry Barlow(nonperforming lyricist; 1971–1995)[17]Keith Godchaux (keyboards; 1971–1979), Donna Godchaux (vocals; 1972–1979), Brent Mydland(keyboards, vocals; 1979–1990), and Vince Welnick (keyboards, vocals; 1990–1995).  Bruce Hornsby (accordion, piano, vocals) was a touring member from 1990 to 1992, as well as a guest with the band on occasion before and after the tours.

After the death of Garcia in 1995, former members of the band, along with other musicians, toured as the Other Ones in 1998, 2000, and 2002, and the Dead in 2003, 2004, and 2009. In 2015, the four surviving core members marked the band's 50th anniversary in a series of concerts that were billed as their last performances together. There have also been several spin-offs featuring one or more core members, such as Dead & CompanyFurthur, the Rhythm DevilsPhil Lesh and FriendsRatDog, and Billy & the Kids.