Happy birthday, Jerry Garcia! It’s impossible to put Jerry Garcia’s impact into words. He went where no musician had gone before, stretched the boundaries of our imaginations, and loved relentlessly through his music. Jerry may be gone, but it’s up to us to keep his spirit alive and to keep on truckin’. On August 25 and 26, Dead & Company will celebrate the magic, the music, and the community of the Grateful Dead at LOCKN’. Thanks to Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti, Jerry Garcia’s spirit is very much alive today.
The Beginning of Dead & Company
“There are things you can replace, others you cannot.” At this moment in early 2015, Mayer and Weir make a strong connection during the Hunter/Garcia classic, “Althea.” A new era of The Dead began!
The Resurrection of the Grateful Dead
“If I knew the way,” Jerry sang to us all those years. “I would take you home.” As long as the music keeps playing, we will survive together. Thanks to Dead & Company, the future of the Grateful Dead is certain, and we will keep spreading the dream.
Dead & Company band members have been vocal in expressing their appreciation for Garcia, striving to keep the flame burning by bringing fans the spirit and joy of the music. Here are some personal notes that showcase how the band and its members strive to summon the love, joy, and sense of adventure of Garcia.
John Mayer on Garcia
“We’re about to begin what I believe in my heart will be the best tour so far for Dead & Company. Something is definitely spinning up in the air around us. But as I sit at the end of my bed with my guitar in my hands I feel like I need to post this. I’m only here as an interpreter of a master. This band has developed a soul all its own but I play in constant emotional, psychological and musical deference to Jerry Garcia. I suppose I thought it would become easier each tour to stand on that stage and go reaching for that sound and those colors, but it in some ways it gets harder – the deeper I go into the music, the more I realize what it deserves. Just know that with every show we play, I’ll never forget why it is I’m standing there. This is the great ongoing privilege of my life. See ya round campus.” via Instagram on November 12, 2017
“The night before a new Dead&Co tour is always deeply felt. I wish I was going to a Grateful Dead concert tomorrow. I wish I was dancing with my friends while we listened to Jerry and the band play. But it’s the honor of a lifetime to convert my love for this music into the further telling of this beautiful, timeless story with some of its brilliant authors. I’m like anyone else who was ever moved by this music, who was discovered by it, and not the other way around. My love for the Grateful Dead is immense, but not extraordinary. I am in that crowd, just represented from the stage. And I think of Jerry Garcia and his intentions with every song we play. I’m only there so that on my best of nights, you might get to him. “The storyteller makes no choice, soon you will not hear his voice, his job is to shed light
and not to master”” via Instagram on May 30, 2018
Oteil Burbridge on Garcia
“I never thought I would be singing lead at all when I started playing, much less in a stadium, much less with original members of the Grateful Dead, singing one of Jerry’s songs. It’s all very surreal.” via JamBase on June 22, 2017
“When I’m old and gray, Jerry Garcia’s voice and playing will always remind me of my son’s childhood. Nigel was just 4 months old when I started really digging into my first 100 Grateful Dead songs. While this music is the soundtrack to many people’s childhood it is, for me, the soundtrack to parenthood.
It’s no secret that I love the ballads that this band has written. Getting to sing some of Jerry’s ballads with Dead & Company has been a really transformative experience in my life.
Hearing what I call the “available fragility” in Jerry’s voice when he sings those ballads is very healing. It reminds me that the good times are so incredibly sweet that it’s worth persevering through the hard winters of life. And that it’s necessary to embrace and accept your own fragility in those hard seasons and keep faith that spring is coming again.
Jerry’s voice and his guitar really does the trick whether you are feeling down or jubilant. He was a rare and precious spirit and he let you see all of his soul with your ears. That’s an invaluable gift to possess. Thank you for sharing it with us all. Happy birthday, Jerry. #Garcia75th” via Facebook on August 1, 2017
Jeff Chimenti on Garcia
“I, unfortunately, had never seen Jerry Garcia nor the Grateful Dead in concert, although I wish I had… I have been fortunate enough to be able to share music with them (except Jerry obviously) on stage over the years. It is also inspirational that after 50 years of the GD (technically), the guys are still out there doing it with such love and vigor to keep the music alive! Thank you Bob, Bill, Mickey, and Phil!” via Live for Live Music on November 16, 2015
Bob Weir on Garcia
“I still hear Jerry in these tunes – more so now, perhaps, than in any instances on a bad night when he was playing with us. Since Jerry checked out, he hasn’t departed in the least. I can still hear him crackling away somewhere behind me, above and off to the left, if you will. I can hear the crackle of his harmonic content, where he would live in a song. And I relate to that like I always did: “I’m going to take it here, then I’m going to take it that way. But that gets fed through what somebody else is doing now. And it’s wonderful to see these songs reinvigorated – regenerated with new life.” via Rolling Stone on May 31, 2016
Mickey Hart on Garcia
Mickey Hart created the Jerry Garcia Global Moment Of Gratitude. Hart asks fans to, “Call your mom, forgive an old friend, purposefully send light and love out into the universe in honor of Jerry, the music, mother Earth, and mankind.” via Facebook on August 8, 2017
Bill Kreutzmann on Garcia
“He was so charismatic, just bigger than life, and the first time I saw him play, with Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, I thought, “I’ll follow this guy forever.” He was almost a father figure, but more like an older, wiser, very warm brother. That was the feeling, and he had an unlimited amount of love that he could offer. There was this very open feeling about him that was really cool. Jerry was also my best and most complete music teacher.” via an interview with Alan Paul
Jerry’s Spirit Lives Inside of Each and Every Fan
Jerry Garcia’s music taught us about the joy and beauty in life. He showed us the magic within ourselves and within our souls and spirits. Dead & Company’s positive outlook on the future of the Grateful Dead will continue to touch our lives each day.
It’s Up to Us to Pass on the Beauty of the Grateful Dead
Deadheads around the world are connecting with each other through Dead & Company tour and passing the torch to the next generation. For those who are still wondering what to do after Jerry’s passing, let us suggest three words: love, light, and life!
Photos by Jay Blakesberg
HeadCount’s Participation Row is Back at LOCKN’!
After following Dead & Co on tour, Participation Row is back at LOCKN’. P-Row continues to embody the spirit of Jerry Garcia’s generosity. As HeadCount puts it, “There are many elements to Participation Row, but it starts and ends with the idea that participation matters. Whether it’s registering to vote, learning about issues so you can make informed choices at the polls, or taking socially and environmentally-conscious actions – we all can make a positive difference when being at a show.”