Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Jerry Garcia gone but not forgotten

Jan Goldstein, 44, of Danielson painted this 17-foot-by-13-foot image of Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia at Goldstein's Rain Desert restaurant in Danielson. Today is the 10th anniversary of Garcia's death.

From the Norwich Bullitin:

Jerry Garcia gone but not forgotten
The Grateful Dead band member died 10 years ago today.
By BRIAN WALLHEIMER Norwich Bulletin

Ask members of the Hippie Generation where they were 10 years ago today and they're likely to remember it as vividly as when John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the Challenger blew up or John Lennon was shot.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of Jerry Garcia, a musician who transcended any particular musical genre and helped create a cult-like following unlikely ever to be recreated.

"The Grateful Dead were more than just a band, it was a lifestyle for a lot of people," Jan Goldstein, owner of the Rain Desert restaurant in Danielson, said. "Garcia was great, but it was that band that really epitomized what a band was. I don't know that that phenomenon can happen again in this day and age."

Goldstein, whose band Desert Rain covers numerous Grateful Dead songs, said Garcia did things with music and melodies he has never heard other musicians do.

"Good music is good music," Goldstein said. "There's a reason why people still listen to Mozart. There's a reason why you can hear the Beatles at any given second on the radio. I think some of that will carry over with the Dead."
During the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the Grateful Dead found themselves being followed around the country by thousands of "Deadheads," many of whom claim to have seen thousands of shows.

Deadhead Art Falconi of New London said he took weeks at a time to follow the band when it toured in the Northeast and has seen the band 254 times.

Falconi likened following the Grateful Dead to the last form of the American circus party -- weeks-long drug and alcohol binges -- the Hippie Generation grew up in and read about from Jack Kerouac, Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson.

"It was a wild time. It was great," Falconi said. "It represented to a lot of people freedom. The music was great, but the community was a big part of it too."

Fans adored Garcia's ability to play different types of music -- jazz, rock, bluegrass, country.
"His appetite for playing with other people saw him playing with Carlos Santana ... to Huey Lewis," said Phil Simon, owner of Simon Says Booking in Massachusetts.

Eventually, the older Deadheads, who grew up with the band in the 1960s and 1970s, decided the partying was beginning to outweigh the music and saw the end nearing.

Dan Curland, owner of Mystic Disc record store, said the concerts became more like a stereo in the background of a huge party.

"When the Dead got that big, I just stopped going," Curland said. "I'm not sure the kids even knew what the Grateful Dead were all about."

Garcia was known to use hard drugs in the 1970s and later and eventually checked into a drug rehabilitation center where he died Aug. 9, 1995. He was 53.

Born: Aug. 1, 1942, San Francisco.
Personal: Dropped out of high school in 1960 and joined the Army, where he was discharged after two court martials and eight times being absent without leave.
Music: Played piano, guitar, banjo, steel guitar. Played in several bands, including the Grateful Dead, the Jerry Garcia Band, Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, the Warlocks, Old and in the Way, Black Mountain Boys, Legion of Mary, Reconstruction and the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band.
Interesting note: Garcia was quite accomplished with string instruments despite losing his right middle finger just below the first knuckle while chopping wood when he was young.
Died: Aug. 9, 1995, at age 53 of heart trouble.
-- Source: www.wikipedia.org.


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