Grateful Lives

What Jerry Is To Me

From: Clash <[s p liff] at []>
Date: 10 Aug 1995 20:00:36 GMT

I'm sitting here at work with tears in my eyes, still not quite believing I won't be going to another show soon.

It's hard to sum up all that Jerry and The Dead have meant to me over the years, but the image I keep coming back to happend only recently. It was at the show at RFK this June. During the second show, I was feeling a little aprehensive (chemically caused) and it was between sets, so I had to find something to mellow out on. I was watching the kids jump over the railing from the seats on to the field. There was this one Jerry-Girl, probably about 16 or 17, still hung up in the seats because the security guys wouldn't let her down. All her friends were on the field, and they kept motioning for her to jump down. Whenever she tried, though, one or two of the security guys would get right underneath her and stop her.

Anyway, a rush broke out several sections over from her, and most of the security guys left to take care of that. So she jumps down and runs over to her friends. And while she's running, she is absolutely jumping and dancing for joy. She spun around and I saw the biggest, most genuine and heart-warming smile I've ever seen in my life. She ran over to her friends who all hugged her and then they all started dancing and running and celebrating all over the infield. It was pure joy and exhaultation and celebration-of-life. I was overwhelmed.

And when I think of the hundreds of thousands -- the millions -- of people all over the world who Jerry has made feel this way, I can take some comfort in knowing his was a life that touched so many others.

I can't believe you're gone, Jerry. I'll miss you more than you can ever know.


Thank you, Jerry

From: AWOL Pete <[p b xtalk] at []>
Date: 11 Aug 1995 03:13:56 GMT

[c--a--b] at [] (Chas. ) wrote:

> "Fare you well, fare you well,
> I love you more than words can tell"
> <<< Chas. >>>

Chas, is that you?

If it is, remember the trip to Tahoe? Too funny to relate in Usenet. We were warm, while others who had denied us when we were cold, got their Karma back.

Oh. Well. Ain't no time to hate, so we were told. Jerry didn't have that time, we probably don't either.

Anyway, here's my Story.

Faced with the ugly choices of a poor boy, and starving on the streets, I joined the army. I don't say that it was a good choice, on the contrary, the worst choice I ever made. nothing was in sync. I felt my soul was being bargined for, and no matter the choice, I was the loser.

So I joined the Army, the Losing Army, the Army that had just lost Vietnam. I watched NCO's who had been battlefield Captains crack up, and go insane. This reinforced my idea that war was stupid, espeiciaslly that Southeast Asian war.

So I did what I thought I had to do, joined a commune in Berkeley (Earth Peoples Park), and eventually turned myself in after going AWOL and Insane for 3 months. It wasn't long before I was out, and I hitch-hiked my way back north. Thank God I was released when I was, because when I got a ride to San Francisco, I found all my brothers and sisters in Golden Gate Park, providing security for the Greatful Dead-Jefferson Starship concert in Marx Meadows!

I felt so vindicated! I felt so high when Grace laid us out with "Volunteers".

Then the Dead took the stage, and I felt sky-fucking-high when Jerry slipped into "U.S. Blues".

The feeling was enormous! I felt we would live Forever! I knew we would all Live Forever!

I want to thank Jerry for being the best host of any party I have ever been to, and I've been to parties with Tim Leary as the Host. Jerry had them beat, even without providing the Get-High!

If there's an Eternity, I want to share it with my old comrades, and Jerry has a better band there then he left behind!

God Bless and Keep You, Jerry Garcia. Thank you for the soundtrack of my life.

Love, AWOL Pete (EPP 1974-?) Peace.

Dear Jerry

From: pthomas <[p t homas] at []>
Date: 10 Aug 1995 01:09:54 GMT

Dear Jerry

I need to talk to you today and the internet seems an appropriate place to do it. I'm 49 years old and followed the band faithfully in the late 60's and 70's. I never missed a concert. There was nobody out there like you guys- I didn't want to go to any other concerts at Winterland or the Fillmore. Nobody else could evoke the feelings I felt when I was at a Dead concert. I swooned in the melodies and cacophonies. I realized early on that late in the 2nd and 3rd sets, when the 1st set warm-ups were finished, the improvisations were a window to your soul. I didn't know you personally, but I glimpsed your soul and I loved you for it- I will always love you for it. I was afraid at first of the dischordant and chaotic places the band went- probably due to the acid- but I found out that you knew where you were going, perhaps not how you were going to get there, but knowing that you would get there. And sure enough, through the chaos, a melody line would appear, growing as the others picked it up, taking on strength until finally it crescendoed in thundering beauty. The chaos was intended and purposeful and brought home to me the idea of Yin and Yang. How can one appreciate the beauty of order without knowing dischord. More than once you brought tears to my eyes when the music climaxed.

I once saw you guys in Santa Rosa at the fairgrounds one cold wintry night. The New Riders played first, then the Dead. My fingers were numb and I didn't know how you could play, but you managed. What I remember most was the 2nd set. You guys used the echo off the back of the quonset hut type building as part of the music. I swear that Billy only played half the drum notes, letting the echo provide the other half. The sound would go from one end of the building to the other. You guys used a tape delay also and really messed with our minds. Nobody could dance as the beat was everywhere- true audio hallucinations. The girls who always swirled around at the concerts had to sit down. Some people freaked as a lot of them were pretty high- myself included. I remember that you danced a little jig at the height of it, obviously enjoying every minute of it, grinning at Phil. That night cemented my love for the band. You guys were awesome- I mean I was in awe.

I can't write down everything that's in my heart Jerry. A light has gone out of my life. I haven't been to a concert in 20 years or so. I'm married, working, raising children but I've never not been a devotee. I guess I'm a Deadhead although the purists would probably deny me membership since I haven't participated for so long. I don't really care. It felt good knowing that you and the band were out there. I had to tell you finally how I feel even though it's too late and to say good-bye. You touched my soul in a profound way Jerry and I'm going to miss you terribly. Death truly don't have no mercy! Good-bye my friend and thank you.

Deborah Koons Garcia's words]

From: John R Bean <[j--e--n] at []>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 1995 04:56:21 GMT
Organization: North Bay Network, Inc. news server - not responsible for content

Deborah Koons Garcia (Jerry's wife): "...He dies in his sleep with a smile on his face. He was working hard to purify himself, and we thought it was going to be for a good long life but it was for another journey. And he loved his life. He loved all of you. And what I learned from Jerry was to open my heart and live fully in the moment…"

Jerry was There (poem)

From: patrick j cunniff <[p--nn--f] at []>
Date: 15 Aug 1995 19:22:49 GMT

It's been six days and this is the third time I've broken so I decided it might be thereputic to write a poem, it's real personal so if you tire and can't read it I understand.

  • mean, young punk I was, acne and bad teeth
  • I hated everyone and everyone hated me
  • Jerry was there.
  • mellowed some and began to run,
  • smoked herb, played soccer and dosed. In that order
  • Jerry was there.
  • 18, I came home, saw my shit piled up in the middle of the family room,
  • Mother said it was time to go.
  • Jerry was there.
  • Already had sex but never made love.
  • met Mary, learned love.
  • Jerry was there.
  • 2.35 an hour at Denny's Fina wasn't cutting it. Had a Bug with good
  • tires, me and a bro' went to Hotlanta for a show.
  • Jerry was there
  • followed 'em for a month or so, ran out of ways and means, had to go
  • Jerry was there
  • Joined the military, what a move!
  • Oh well, 3 hots and a steady check
  • Jerry was there.
  • Phil decided himself to kill, I cried and if you see him Jerry tell him
  • I think of him and I love him still.
  • Jerry was there
  • Went through Rosa, Sandrine, Dawn and Jean and some chick named Michelle
  • Jerry was there
  • Got a Degree, started working on another,met Donna and became a Pagan
  • Jerry was there
  • Had a place on an Island with our own little temple, four cats, one with
  • three legs. That was Teacup.
  • Jerry was there
  • Teacup died and I cried. Donna got pregnant, looked like a dream was
  • coming true. They were twins, but we lost them...but there still there.
  • I see them up in the sky on a dark night
  • Jerry was there.
  • Donna's gone ,though we talk still. I still miss Phil though it's been
  • almost 8 years. Got new cats, a new sweet women and a touch of grey.
  • Jerry are you still there?
  • I love you man and I'll see ya there when my time comes.

Matt Groening Tribute

From: Doug Piercy <[b--dd--a] at []>
Date: 18 Aug 1995 20:44:21 -0700

Matt Groening (rhymes with complaining), creator of the Simpsons, had a sweet tribute to Jerry in this week's "Life in Hell" strip.

If you have access to this strip in any of your local papers, read it. (It's not usually found in mainstream-type papers, so look around)

I don't want to type in the whole storyline, so here's a brief synopsis: READ NO FURTHER IF YOU DON'T WANT THE STORY SPOILED.


Matt describes himself in April 1967, as a 13-year-old miserable, confused boy scout, who spends troop meetings saluting the flag, reciting scout laws, and getting chewed out by his scoutmaster for being the worst scout in the troop.

One weekend, the troop goes down the coliseum to be ushers at an evangelical rally, when he spots the strange and exotic Psychedelic Shop from the bus window.

He sneaks out of the coliseum, and goes to the Psychedelic shop:

"Inside, I stare at all the wild posters and sniff my first incense. I'm transfixed by this new world, and barely notice the hippies snickering at my boy scout uniform. Finally, I buy an album with the coolest name -- The Grateful Dead. And that's when I begin my escape"

("This music is great!!! I bet it'd sound even better in stereo")

Ends with : "This strip is dedicated to Jerry Garcia, R.I.P"

Thanks, Matt

A GREAT tribite note...

From: Storm A King <[stor m k] at []>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 15:44:00 GMT

I did not write this...I found it on an email list.

I have removed the name of the author because I did not get permission, yet, to repost it.. take care.. storm

------- FORWARD, Original message follows -------


A fare thee well to Jerry

I heard the news today (oh boy) as millions across the country must have -- by a message on my answering machine. Others might have gotten the call at work or heard it on the news, but I'm sure that an extraordinary number of phone calls today began with "Did you hear the news?"

And that news was sad and irrevocable, as the death of a loved one always is. Jerry Garcia, brilliant musician, cultural icon, artist, tie entrepreneur, the face that launched a thousand tye-dyed t-shirts, even an ice cream flavor -- but first and foremost the shining guitar star of one of rock's most enduring and beloved groups -- was gone. Tragically. Prematurely. The heart and soul of the Grateful Dead had played his final chords.

There will be those who will focus on the nature of his untimely passing, but for me and millions that's just a sour final note in the symphony of his life. Yes, drug abuse shortens and ruins lives. Yes, he might have been less self-destructive with his enormous gift and thus have kept on bringing us the joy of his sublime sound for a while longer -- but I'm skeptical about whether this kind of finger-pointing does any good in reaching the ones who most need to be reached. Or as one Dead song puts it, "You know better, but I know him."

Joni Mitchell sang "You never know what you got till it's gone," and now that the hour of reckoning has arrived, it is painfully clear: we have lost a lot. Like the day John Lennon was shot (or for some, Kurt Cobain), Jerry Garcia's passing is a genuine personal loss. Music touches us all on some level that we might not otherwise even know exists -- and the Grateful Dead shined that special light into our hearts and souls for more than a generation.

Or at least into mine. Jerry Garcia never knew me, but my relationship with the boys in this particular band was a long and gratifying one. I grew up with the Dead, from my first Grateful Dead concert in 1972 to my two nights at Giants Stadium in June. Other Deadheads traveled more widely to catch the magic, but one or two shows a year had always been just fine for me -- and there always seemed to be one just around the corner, with its colorful rag-tag scene, gentle chaos, transcendental jams and familiar songs that thrilled, transported, and comforted all at the same time. Tapes of past concerts (and my 100+ collection pales in comparison to serious tapeheads!) adding aural ambience to my car journeys, records in my college dorm, t-shirts, tapes in my home office, near the living room stereo, by my night table -- the Dead have always been in the Top Ten on the soundtrack of my life.

At their best, their music could make you feel like you were just a cloud-hop or two shy of heaven. These were the moments that you lived for -- they made all the heat, crowd, logistical hassles and interminable drum solos seem like a more-than-fair price of admission. During these peak moments -- and you certainly didn't need any artificial help to get there -- strangers or concert companions would turn to each other and just smile at eachother in shared and knowing appreciation. Words weren't necessary at those moments -- the music was saying it all. Especially Jerry's trademark cascading silvery stream of lead guitar notes -- pure, sparkling, and sublime. No wonder Bill Graham once said, "The Grateful Dead aren't just the best at waht they do -- they're the only ones who do what they do."

There was history at a Grateful Dead concert, too. You were part of some unbroken chain going back to a kinder, gentler time. It's fashionable to dismiss such naivete these days, and the Dead have always been an easy media target, but those who ridicule peace, love and searching for spiritual wisdom may have lost far more than the carefree innocence of their youth. Grateful Dead concerts were for children of all ages.

It is impossible to categorize a group as legion and diverse as Deadheads and foolish to try. For some, Dead concerts created at least a temporary oasis from the wears and cares of everyday. For others, it was a traveling tribal gathering of like-minded souls. But mostly it was about the music and Rorschach-blot-like soul-searching ambiguity of the lyrics. Once again, the Dead might have put it best: "Some come to laugh the past away. Some come to make it through one more day. Whichever way your pleasure tends, if you plant ice you're gonna harvest wind."

But from that cup no more. The long, strange trip of the Grateful Dead has reached its final destination, a somber note to a shining summer's day. Thank you Jerry, for the music, the memories, and the beautiful songs from your soul. You made the world a better place, and you did so much more than entertain. You inspired me. You uplifted me. You helped me grow. And many, many more. I just hope, somehow, you know.

Re: Favorite Jerry memory

From: ikaros <[i--ar--s] at []>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 95 05:02:43 GMT

Blossom Music Center, 1984. This isn't about Jerry in specific, but it's the precise moment in time I knew I'd fallen in with all the right people.

It was my first concert. I was tremendously faced, and don't remember much after the first song or two, but I remember that they played "Bertha". While I was trying to get my bearings (something I wouldn't accomplish for a couple of days), I noticed this older woman, anywhere from 60-70 years old, tan blouse, little-old-lady-blue hair, knee-length skirt, and sensible shoes. She looked like someone's grandmother, and looked like someone who would be more comfortable at a canasta club rather than a Dead show.

What was she doing? Looking on disapprovingly? Standing there completely befuddled? No, my friends, this woman was *dancing*, dancing like there was no tomorrow, lost in the music to a degree that it would take me years to learn to do.

That's when I knew I'd found the right bunch of people to hang with.

Miss ya, Jerry.

ikaros >i<