• August 9, 2012
    http://www.dead.net/features/blair-jackson/blairs-golden-road-blog-where-were-you-when-you-heard-news
    Blair's Golden Road Blog - Where Were You When You Heard the News?

    Summer flies and August dies / The world grows dark and mean…
    —Robert Hunter, “Days Between”

    On the morning of August 9, 1995, I was driving to my job as an editor at Mix magazine, listening to our local classic rock station and caught the end of “Uncle John’s Band.” A nice way to greet the day, I thought. But when the DJ came on right after and very solemnly intoned, “In case you haven’t heard…” Well, I hadn’t heard. Then came his unbelievable announcement that Jerry had died earlier that morning. I practically ran my car off the road. My wife, Regan, was on her way to work in San Francisco, so I couldn’t reach her (this is pre-cell phone for me), so I kept driving to work, flipping the radio dial to see if I could learn more. Through the years I’ve talked to many people who said they were not surprised by the news at all, that they’d actually expected it for some time. But I was completely shocked.

    There had been warning signs, of course. Jerry seemed listless and out of it during a lot of 1994, and he looked terrible. That autumn, I was sufficiently depressed by a frighteningly bad Garcia band show in Oakland and a pair of concerts at Madison Square Garden that I abruptly backed out of an agreement with a major publisher to write a book of essays about the Dead, celebrating their 30 years together. In the first 1995 issue of Dupree’s Diamond News, I wrote that something was clearly wrong with Garcia—Was it physical? Drug-related? We didn’t know. Even so, I remained hopeful that he could bounce back from whatever maladies were afflicting him, as he had after the coma in ’86 and the second scare in the summer of ’92.

    The shows I saw in ’95 were a mixed bag. The three February Oakland Coliseum shows were so-so; the third special because it featured another festive Mardi Gras parade and an appearance by saxophonist David Murray (who, alas, was not miked well). The June Shoreline Amphitheatre run was better, with the first two good enough that I felt more hopeful about the future of the band than I had for some time. From afar, we followed the infamous summer ’95 tour, with its seemingly unending disasters—the gate-crashing in Vermont, fans hit by lightning in D.C., the death threat to Jerry at Deer Creek, a porch full of Dead Heads collapsing near the group’s Missouri venue. It all had a nearly Biblical, wrath-of-God feeling to it.

    Shortly after the tour, word spread that Jerry had gone into rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic in Southern California, which I took to be excellent news. No more of those “Honest, Doc, I can kick it on my own, just leave me alone” cures. Maybe this would be the program that could really whip him into shape and convince him to change his ways. As we all know, however, he didn’t stay there as long as was recommended, he came home, fell back into his bad habits, then checked himself into another facility—Serenity Knolls in West Marin—and died of a heart attack his first night there. It still hurts to recall it.

    Back to that day. I arrived at work, and one by one my colleagues stopped by my office to talk about the terrible news and to console me, as if I’d lost a family member (that’s not far off). I talked to Regan by phone at the San Francisco Chronicle, were she worked, and she was understandably shaken up. She wanted to come home, but as the resident Dead Head on the copy desk, instead had to answer questions from Chronicle reporters covering Jerry’s passing and then copy-edit their stories. No escape.

    I’d only been at work about an hour before I got a call from someone at the San Francisco public radio station KQED, asking if I would appear on the NPR program All Things Considered to talk about Jerry. Joining me were my friends and fellow Dead scribes David Gans and Steve Silberman. As I recall, they were brilliant and articulate, as always, and I chimed in just a few times, offering nothing particularly profound, as my brain was mush at that point. I derived quiet satisfaction from the fact that the local TV news seemed to be all-Garcia that night. It wasn’t just important to us. Family members back East and in the Midwest called that night to offer their condolences. They, more than most, knew what the Dead and Jerry had meant to me.

    Over the next couple of days, I was corralled into doing a whole bunch of short radio interviews with various news and music stations to talk about Jerry and his legacy. In retrospect, I have no idea how any of these interviews came to me—maybe Dead publicist Dennis McNally, who was inundated by press in the days and weeks after Jerry died, suggested my name. Whatever the case, it was all very surreal, and I never felt like I was saying what I wanted to say or what I thought needed to be said. If only my words did glow…

    I also felt as though I couldn’t really let Jerry’s death sink in, because I was constantly having to be even-keeled and analytical about it, rather than emotional. People were falling apart all around me, but I didn’t allow myself to. At that point I was more numb than anything else.

    Jerry Garcia memorial in Golden Gate Park,
    August 13, 1995. Photo: Todd Brunozzi ©2012

    All that changed five days after Jerry died. With our 4-year old son, Kyle, and his 1-year old sister, Hayley, in tow, we joined a few thousand other Dead Heads at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park for a big public memorial celebration. An enormous, colorful portrait of a smiling Jerry playing his guitar hung above a stage that had been erected beneath the tall cypress and eucalyptus trees that ring the field. An impromptu shrine collected hundreds of flowers, photos and objects of every variety (jewelry, stuffed animals, odd knick-knacks that had special meaning to the givers). A giant sound system pumped out one Dead tune after another (chosen by Dick Latvala and David Gans) and people smiled, danced and sang along as if the band were playing. We saw many folks we knew, shared hugs and stories, and vowed we would stay connected.

    There were uplifting and heartbreaking speeches from Jerry’s family and each band member, and momentarily the overwhelming feeling of community on that field pushed back the grief. You had to believe we would get by, we would survive, if only because we had one another.

    There was plenty more Grateful Dead music as the late afternoon sun started to cast long shadows across the field. Our young children were getting a little antsy, so we reluctantly decided to depart. But I vividly remember the four of us stopping for a couple minutes on a grassy berm above the Polo Fields and looking down longingly at the sea of tie-dye and swaying dancers, Jerry’s portrait and assorted banners waving gently in the wind. The music was still clear as a bell, wafting on the breeze, carrying so much joy, mystery and, yes, sadness on its flight to the heavens. In my very hazy recollection, some intense Anthem of the Sun-era tune gave way to the aptly dubbed “Beautiful Jam” from the 2/18/71 “Dark Star,” and I remember in that instant feeling the remarkable continuity of the Dead’s history, from the Human Be-In, in that very spot in January 1967, to this sad, sad day in 1995. This was my tribe, in happiness and sorrow.

    That’s when it hit me. The finality. Nothing like this will ever come our way again. It’s over. Nothin’s gonna bring him back.

    And for the first time in five days I cried.

    356921
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

9 years 7 months

Summer flies and August dies / The world grows dark and mean…
—Robert Hunter, “Days Between”

On the morning of August 9, 1995, I was driving to my job as an editor at Mix magazine, listening to our local classic rock station and caught the end of “Uncle John’s Band.” A nice way to greet the day, I thought. But when the DJ came on right after and very solemnly intoned, “In case you haven’t heard…” Well, I hadn’t heard. Then came his unbelievable announcement that Jerry had died earlier that morning. I practically ran my car off the road. My wife, Regan, was on her way to work in San Francisco, so I couldn’t reach her (this is pre-cell phone for me), so I kept driving to work, flipping the radio dial to see if I could learn more. Through the years I’ve talked to many people who said they were not surprised by the news at all, that they’d actually expected it for some time. But I was completely shocked.

There had been warning signs, of course. Jerry seemed listless and out of it during a lot of 1994, and he looked terrible. That autumn, I was sufficiently depressed by a frighteningly bad Garcia band show in Oakland and a pair of concerts at Madison Square Garden that I abruptly backed out of an agreement with a major publisher to write a book of essays about the Dead, celebrating their 30 years together. In the first 1995 issue of Dupree’s Diamond News, I wrote that something was clearly wrong with Garcia—Was it physical? Drug-related? We didn’t know. Even so, I remained hopeful that he could bounce back from whatever maladies were afflicting him, as he had after the coma in ’86 and the second scare in the summer of ’92.

The shows I saw in ’95 were a mixed bag. The three February Oakland Coliseum shows were so-so; the third special because it featured another festive Mardi Gras parade and an appearance by saxophonist David Murray (who, alas, was not miked well). The June Shoreline Amphitheatre run was better, with the first two good enough that I felt more hopeful about the future of the band than I had for some time. From afar, we followed the infamous summer ’95 tour, with its seemingly unending disasters—the gate-crashing in Vermont, fans hit by lightning in D.C., the death threat to Jerry at Deer Creek, a porch full of Dead Heads collapsing near the group’s Missouri venue. It all had a nearly Biblical, wrath-of-God feeling to it.

Shortly after the tour, word spread that Jerry had gone into rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic in Southern California, which I took to be excellent news. No more of those “Honest, Doc, I can kick it on my own, just leave me alone” cures. Maybe this would be the program that could really whip him into shape and convince him to change his ways. As we all know, however, he didn’t stay there as long as was recommended, he came home, fell back into his bad habits, then checked himself into another facility—Serenity Knolls in West Marin—and died of a heart attack his first night there. It still hurts to recall it.

Back to that day. I arrived at work, and one by one my colleagues stopped by my office to talk about the terrible news and to console me, as if I’d lost a family member (that’s not far off). I talked to Regan by phone at the San Francisco Chronicle, were she worked, and she was understandably shaken up. She wanted to come home, but as the resident Dead Head on the copy desk, instead had to answer questions from Chronicle reporters covering Jerry’s passing and then copy-edit their stories. No escape.

I’d only been at work about an hour before I got a call from someone at the San Francisco public radio station KQED, asking if I would appear on the NPR program All Things Considered to talk about Jerry. Joining me were my friends and fellow Dead scribes David Gans and Steve Silberman. As I recall, they were brilliant and articulate, as always, and I chimed in just a few times, offering nothing particularly profound, as my brain was mush at that point. I derived quiet satisfaction from the fact that the local TV news seemed to be all-Garcia that night. It wasn’t just important to us. Family members back East and in the Midwest called that night to offer their condolences. They, more than most, knew what the Dead and Jerry had meant to me.

Over the next couple of days, I was corralled into doing a whole bunch of short radio interviews with various news and music stations to talk about Jerry and his legacy. In retrospect, I have no idea how any of these interviews came to me—maybe Dead publicist Dennis McNally, who was inundated by press in the days and weeks after Jerry died, suggested my name. Whatever the case, it was all very surreal, and I never felt like I was saying what I wanted to say or what I thought needed to be said. If only my words did glow…

I also felt as though I couldn’t really let Jerry’s death sink in, because I was constantly having to be even-keeled and analytical about it, rather than emotional. People were falling apart all around me, but I didn’t allow myself to. At that point I was more numb than anything else.

Jerry Garcia memorial in Golden Gate Park,
August 13, 1995. Photo: Todd Brunozzi ©2012

All that changed five days after Jerry died. With our 4-year old son, Kyle, and his 1-year old sister, Hayley, in tow, we joined a few thousand other Dead Heads at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park for a big public memorial celebration. An enormous, colorful portrait of a smiling Jerry playing his guitar hung above a stage that had been erected beneath the tall cypress and eucalyptus trees that ring the field. An impromptu shrine collected hundreds of flowers, photos and objects of every variety (jewelry, stuffed animals, odd knick-knacks that had special meaning to the givers). A giant sound system pumped out one Dead tune after another (chosen by Dick Latvala and David Gans) and people smiled, danced and sang along as if the band were playing. We saw many folks we knew, shared hugs and stories, and vowed we would stay connected.

There were uplifting and heartbreaking speeches from Jerry’s family and each band member, and momentarily the overwhelming feeling of community on that field pushed back the grief. You had to believe we would get by, we would survive, if only because we had one another.

There was plenty more Grateful Dead music as the late afternoon sun started to cast long shadows across the field. Our young children were getting a little antsy, so we reluctantly decided to depart. But I vividly remember the four of us stopping for a couple minutes on a grassy berm above the Polo Fields and looking down longingly at the sea of tie-dye and swaying dancers, Jerry’s portrait and assorted banners waving gently in the wind. The music was still clear as a bell, wafting on the breeze, carrying so much joy, mystery and, yes, sadness on its flight to the heavens. In my very hazy recollection, some intense Anthem of the Sun-era tune gave way to the aptly dubbed “Beautiful Jam” from the 2/18/71 “Dark Star,” and I remember in that instant feeling the remarkable continuity of the Dead’s history, from the Human Be-In, in that very spot in January 1967, to this sad, sad day in 1995. This was my tribe, in happiness and sorrow.

That’s when it hit me. The finality. Nothing like this will ever come our way again. It’s over. Nothin’s gonna bring him back.

And for the first time in five days I cried.

Display on homepage featured list
Off
Custom Teaser

On the morning of August 9, 1995, I was driving to my job as an editor at Mix magazine, listening to our local classic rock station and caught the end of “Uncle John’s Band.” A nice way to greet the day, I thought. But when the DJ came on right after and very solemnly intoned, “In case you haven’t heard…” Well, I hadn’t heard. Then came his unbelievable announcement that Jerry had died earlier that morning. I practically ran my car off the road. My wife, Regan, was on her way to work in San Francisco, so I couldn’t reach her (this is pre-cell phone for me), so I kept driving to work, flipping the radio dial to see if I could learn more. Through the years I’ve talked to many people who said they were not surprised by the news at all, that they’d actually expected it for some time. But I was completely shocked.

dead comment

user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I was off from work that day, I put the Radio on and Candy Man was playing. One of my all time favorites. When the song was over the DJ said Jerry had passed. Just like when i heard John Lennon was dead, I became numb, Time stopped. With tears in my eyes for the next few days i would play Candy Man over and over. Til this day everytime i hear Candy Man i tear up Chuck
user picture

Member for

6 years 3 months
Permalink

I was driving down the road toward God-knows-where and turned on the radio and heard a Dead song, I don't remember which one. As soon as it ended, another began. Odd, 2 Dead songs in a row. Then I lost reception of the radio station and changed to another. Another Dead song. That's when I knew...
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

My recollection of the day Jerry died was somewhat surreal. My phone started ringing offthe hook, and thats how I was informed. Throughout the day, some friends of mine who own a local Head-Related shop had contacted me about putting together a music program at the last minute for an impromptu wake they set up. I couldn't bring myself to perform, so I hooked my friend up with a Native American drum ensemble, and what they performed was far more powerful than anything I would have been able to muster. Meanwhile, that afternoon, I had a lot of running around to do to help out, and of course, a local public radio station was paying a musical tribute to Jerry and the first song I heard after hearing the news was the JGB version of The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down. I think that was probably the moment it hit me the most. In retrospect, I was more disheveled upon hearing about Brents death as I was still traveling home from Tinley Park in the afterglow of seeing the Dead play at the top of their game. I just so happened to have a tape of the first set of 4/2/90 ready to play when the radio station I was listening to broke the news. After the report, I pulled over at the next rest stop, parked, turned off the motor and stared at the windshield in silence for what felt like an hour, just feeling numb. When I finally got back on the road home, I pushed the tape in to play, and the song from 4/2/90 that was cued up just so happened to be Easy To Love You. My numbness instantly turned into depression. In hindsight, the losses of some of my musical idols pales in comparison to my emotional state when my own father passed away 22 months ago. The grief I continue to feel for that is crippling at times.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I'm with you man. My dad passed away in February after a brave struggle with ALS! The day before he passed away I told him how I was driving his car blasting out the stereo to some rock and roll. He looked at me and smiled and said "That's my little boy".
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I was in my apartment in Spokane, Washington and saw it announced on the evening news. I remember being just kind of numb. My mom was on the phone and I just couldn't speak. The other two times I had felt like this for musicians were when John Lennon and Stevie Ray Vaughan died. I was headed out on a big backpacking trip in a couple of days so tried to focus on getting ready for that. The day before the trip I spent an evening at a friends house listening to GD concert tapes. Then 3 friends and I went on a 9 day backpack trip in the Granby Wilderness in BC. We were the first people to ever hike the length of the drainage and it was a rugged. tough and amazing trip. Through all the days of hiking through old growth, picking berries and an encounter with a Grizzly Bear the spirit and thought of Jerry hung over us. It was a very healing way to deal with the loss of someone whose songs were in my heart for almost a quarter century.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

6 years 3 months
Permalink

I had gone to work on a normal August day, and the local Detroit Classic Rock station was playing Dead tunes. Very unusual, I thought, but I turned up the volume . My phone rang. It was Amie, a very close friend with whom I had done many shows and various other Bohemian activities, always with the band as part of the frivolity. She was crying, and asked if I had heard the news. Then she told me. I was numb. I left work to go home because my day was done. I told them I had to leave because a very close friend had died. How true that was. Sirius XM has done a wonderful job these last 9 days, and I am grateful for it. Many worlds I've come since I first left home. Thank you Jerry for the gifts you gave all of us. My 2 daughters have been to several Furthur shows, and their boyfriends have now come aboard! I think back to that day in 68, I think, when my brother dragged me to the Majestic Theater, and said "there's this crazy band from San Fran playing tonight, you've got to come". I did. It began the longest, most wonderful trip of my life. God bless you Jerry, my friend.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

On the way home from work on the Beltway and some folks had hung a huge banner from one of the bridges. I instantly knew what it meant having seen the Dead at RFK on that last Fall tour. I got up about as close to the stage as you can when he came out to play All Along the Watchtower with Dylan, and knew right away that he was dying. It made me really sad to see him that way, but I knew he wasn't long for this world. I told the people sitting next to me that the reason he was playing so much chromatic stuff is that he wanted to get as many notes out as possible before leaving. The last song was Wharf Rat and he just never really did get back on his feet again...at least in this world. But then you just never know what might happen in the next... Peace
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

10 years 7 months
Permalink

I never knew of the Grateful dead or Jerry Garcia before August 9, 1995. I do remember that day. I was watching MTV (Yes I am from a different generation) when they interrupted what ever I was watching to break the news of Jerry's passing. I got to thinking about this and wondered why they would interrupt the show to break this news. I was fascinated by all the people they interviewed. I was even impressed that Bill Clinton knew who they were. I was going into my Senior year and back then I would order a new cd once a month from Columbia house (remember them?) from a band I knew nothing about. That September I ordered the best of the Grateful Dead (the one with the heavy metal looking skeleton on the front). I remember putting disc one and while I was working on my homework. When it came to Me and My Uncle, I was completely blown away by Jerry's playing on that version of the song. I listened to it a gazillion times before moving on to the rest of the songs. In fact it's the song I always come back to. I didn't really become a fan of the music until I bought the Europe 72 cd. Imagine my joy when that mega mammoth boxed set came out!! Because of Jerry's passing, I was awakened to the music of the Grateful Dead, JGB, and Old and in the Way. I was also inspired to pick up the guitar, banjo, and pedal steel. I love running into old timers who tell their stories of seeing the Grateful dead. I met a lady a few years ago who claimed to manage them back before they were famous. So tonight I will ply tribute tonight!! Cheers
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I walked out of Portland Meadows one day in May of 1995 and a guy was selling styrofoam on toothpicks with a sign "Nothing on a stick. $1." Something like that. That says it all about the misery leading up to Aug. 1995. Another great article. As someone who didn't attend many actual shows (or have access to many tapes) I remember following Blair's writings and the GD Hour closely in 1994 and 1995 hoping there would be reports/indications of an upswing. Later on I found that I didn't agree with a lot of what Blair wrote about a "universally strong fall '94 tour" or the "winds of optimism" (paraphrasing here) blowing through the Spring '95 tour. It was unbearable for the most part. Lots of "Samba In the Rain," no Garcia ...nothing on a stick. They were toast until a major break or overhaul was in order. None came. The big day comes. I was working a marketing job at a real estate company. The receptionist was a young woman around my age with no interest in the Dead. But knew it was big for me. I walked in that afternoon and she says, "He croaked. Your old man Jerry croaked." Not a kind way to deliver some very upsetting news, needless to say. It was not a shock and there was almost a weird sense of relief - I hate to use that word. But in some ways, I think the end of the Dead helped me to get my own life in order a short time later. Party time had gone as far as it could go for me. No more Grateful Dead - good time to turn over a new leaf. In terms of shock and horror, the John Lennon assassination was way more profound. I was just a little guy but I was a Beatles fanatic. Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football. . . will never forget my older brother and I just being shellshocked. "I don't care what's on the line Howard, you have to say what we know in the booth," said Frank Gifford. Jerry did it all to himself and did it his way. I never have gotten over what happened to John Lennon. One more thing - someone mentioned being more shocked with Brent. Same here. I had a job that summer involving hauling produce. I get out of the truck and have lunch at a McDonald's and I read it in the Seattle Times newspaper. That just crushed me. My initial thought was "Wow. That might be the end of it." I never thought for a second they would be right back on the road. All about the money at that point. But another topic for another time.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

...I would have hailed a "universally strong Fall '94 tour" when that's precisely the one I was talking about above that so depressed me. (That said, there were strong shows on that tour, some of which I listened to recently... but NOT the two MSG ones I saw!)... And there WAS some optimism in some quarters in the winter and spring of 95, with the reintroduction of "Visions of Johanna" and a few good shows sprinkled in the mix... But I got slammed by many folks for my pessimistic Dupree's article. "How dare you talk about Jerry that way!" People did not want to hear it. And trust me, I didn't want to say it. It's true, though, that I'm a glass half-full kinda guy and an optimist at heart.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

1995 was my daughter's third birthday in May, and then my old tour buddy calls and informs me that "We're goin' to Shoreline !" I saw my last show on May 6, 1991 at Cal Expo on a parking lot score of a mail order ticket for cost. We saw all three nights in June at Shoreline, the second night we sat in the second row on the Jerry Side at the edge, could see the songlist Bob kept on his amp with the binocs, that run was the most new songs, 13, I had ever seen since my first set of shows at the Greek in May '83. Sunday was my 2,000th song, Stella Blue. That was the last time I saw Jerry Garcia. Aug 9 is my Parent's wedding anniversary. My Birthday is 11/29 the day George Harrison passed. Just weird with a beard. Aug 9 1995 I was with my family in Chico and we just were stunned, there was a community gathering in the center of the Downtown at the park, where the Dead music was softly playing from the radios and the people just looked a little less bright. All the stars, are gone but one. Morning dreams, we found the Sun. Show me something built to last Two blue stones, shine o'er the hill. Call it back; you never will All these trials, now are dead. Show me something built to last -Built To Last R Hunter/J Garcia thanks
user picture

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

I was on the road as a stage manager for a group of performers. I was saddened by the news but my head was filled with details of the performance that night and of those to come. I had left the scene for good in the Spring of 93. The energy was nowhere and there was no point in going anymore. I was away from all my deadhead friends and the people I was with had no connection whatsoever with the scene or that music. The show had to go on, but not for the Grateful Dead. It hit me more when I made it home for break later that summer. All my deadhead friends were really bummed out...
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

7 years 9 months
Permalink

I was kind of oblivious as to the nature of the events that were unfolding that day. Even then I generally did not have the TV on and seldom listened to radio with the exception of the then Temple University run Jazz station,WRTI. We had just moved into our first house the previous month and shortly afterwards I treated myself to my first high-end gear. Being that I was also getting into jazz big-time at that point, I had planned a visit to my local mom and pop CD store, where the customers were more a family with intersecting interests. I had a place where I could get my diverse music fix and and enjoy conversation with friends and acquaintances over a a cup of freshly brewed coffee. When I arrived, I recall that the owner of the shop had NPR on and a few people were gathered around the counter. I approached, sensing that the group was particularly quiet and in a solemn mood. At one point I made eye contact with someone that I hadn't really thought of as one who would have been a fan of the Dead. He quietly asked me if I had heard that "Jerry" died. I immediately knew which "Jerry" he was talking about as I exchanged a few glances with group. I remember feeling a little sick but not feeling completely shocked on hearing the news. (Although I was not off the bus, I felt that something was wrong in 94 and even though I hadn't been to any recent shows, it seemed that Jerry looked "tired.") I remember thinking that I kind of wished that maybe, just maybe, if the Grateful Dead machine had decided to skip a tour and allowed him a chance to rest and get healthy, that he would have still been around. (That is what I thought back then and in a sense still do.) Despite the news clips, their was still a lot of speculation of the events that proceeded that day. The internet was still pretty young, Information did not flow as freely and quickly as it now does and I did not realize how unhealthy Jerry looked during the last tour, until I saw some of the last photos of him. That was what did shock me. Up until that point I guess I had enough denial to have believed that his last attempt at recovery would have been the one that would have stuck. And maybe that was the bitter irony; that he had tried to get better when it happened and was under someones care...that it shouldn't have gone down that way.Upon arriving home, the news had already spread. I got a few phone calls from friends that day who were also in dis-belief; even one from my mom. We spent the evening listening to American Beauty and Workingman's Dead. It still all seems very surreal sometimes.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

...that the Betty Ford Clinic didn't give him a complete physical, which would have detected his weak and blocked heart a couple of weeks before the heart attack. Clearly he was a bypass candidate-in-waiting. But maybe I don't understand the limitations of rehab facilities such as that one. Anyone know why he wouldn't have been subjected to a physical?
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

here is an old and classic post in the Deadheads of Europe thread that I've always loved, from Frankly, who we haven't seen so much lately: Frankly Joined: Jan 11 2008 post communist europe Hi everybody!i am living in the czech republic and i want to say that even if there never was an opportunity to see the Boys playing live over here there are amazingly many deadheads over here. and the more we missed the concerts the more we cherished tapes,vynils etc. With the uprising of the cd we could start to listen to high quality live recordings that, beside the regular albums,were never or very rarely available. but i want to tell you about a very sad day in 95 we all remember. sitting in a bar in the center of prague thunder and lightning hit me as i opened the paper and read the news..but to my surprise many people who knew about my interest into the DEAD came up to me to show their support and understanding over that trgic loss! Even more,as the evening went by, a taxi-driver (which are the greediest human beings in town) offered to play a tape i had with me on his giant car-stereo in front of the bar!!! the tape i had was the Boys at red rocks and it was played again and again until 3 o clock in the morning with dozens of people hanging out, dancing and having a great time. It was pure magic in the center of town...even a russian mafioso, who has been to the states for a while hugged me with tear in his eyes and we had a J together looking at the moon and listening to Jerry playing FRANKLINS TOWER!! Yeah even prague said good bye to Jerry in a way that suited this man. P.S.As this was happening in the center of town,neighbors must have called the cops more than once (the stereo in the car was just BIG) but the guy had a remote control and everytime the cops drove by, he simply paused the music just to start it again when they were gone...and the name of the bar was The Singers Place!!!
user picture

Member for

7 years 9 months
Permalink

I learned that Jerry died via a phone call from a friend who worked at Bill Graham Presents. She called at 4AM as soon as she heard the news to let me know. Needless to say, I didn't fall back asleep that morning.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

6 years 3 months
Permalink

this is my first post. It is a bit long, so bear with me that August, I was preparing for a huge and important meeting (I worked at the time for a large financial services firm) involving my boss, his boss and many others. My boss had hired me into the firm, and I was very loyal to him and we worked well together, and I had worked for him for about 18 months. The segment of the business we worked in was not going well. I got a call from my spouse (at that time) telling me to meet her at the hospital. She was 10 weeks pregnant, and we had been trying to have children for quite some time, going through the ordeal of various fertility treatments, etc. That day, shortly before she had planned to depart on a business trip, she learned that the pregnancy was ectopic, and thus there was no choice but to terminate the pregnancy. I checked her into the hospital, and, as it was late in the day, headed home. Early the next morning, I was awakened by a call. Thinking it was my wife, I answered the phone eagerly. it was my father, calling to tell me that my mom had died. Somehow, I managed to remain calm - she had been bedridden for many months with a degenerative lung disease. I proceeded to call my boss at home to tell him that I would have to be gone for a few days, and explained why. I could tell immediately that something was wrong. He told me that his boss had decided to fire him the previous evening. Somehow, I processed this while I called my wife, to tell he about my mom and my boss. I picked her up at the hospital, and we proceeded to drive the three hours north to my hometown (Philly). While I had CDs and love music, I did not feel like listening to music or the radio. We talked about many things while we drove, and when we reached philly, we decided to stop for lunch before proceeding to see my dad. It was a bright and sunny day, and it seemed that Dead was pouring out of every window! We walked into a sandwich shop and commented to the folks behind the counter about all the wonderful music playing on such a nice day. The cashier said "Haven't you heard...." I broke down and cried for over 20 minutes. It was all too much. As g-d is my witness, i hate this day.....
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

"If it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have no luck at all!" Phew. Quite a story, plushflush...Thanks for sharing...
user picture

Member for

11 years
Permalink

Without digging out my old copys of Dupree's Diamond News, I recall some fairly critical, almost scathing (that being a relative term in the hippy dippy deadhead world) reviews of Dead shows in '94 and '95. If Blair wrote anything about a sea of optimism or a universily great tour, it was definitely overwhelmed by what I considered very honest and objective critical reviews. Of course, it was still a lot of fun to attend shows in those last years but clearly Jerry was slipping--I think Blair pointed this out in at least one review and very accurately mentioned that it was frustrating because the rest of the band seemed to be playing extremely well. I remember my wife reading DDN and saying, "Jeez, why does this guy even go to shows if he's going to be so negative?" But I thought it was spot on. Count me as one of those who was terribly dissapointed at being able to see David Murray with the Dead but barely able to hear him--I was so up for him sitting in!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 5 months
Permalink

Thanks Blair for sharing your thoughts and providing us a chance. I was at work. I had just got, the past night, 3 taper seats for the Boston Garden shows, and was excited to be seeing the band again. I had seen Highgate '94 and pretty much gave up after that. It was such a bad scene, everything about it. Because of my little children, my going to shows in the '90s was very sparse. My wife, though, said I'm good to go see all 6 Boston shows, and seeing as those were the last shows in the Garden, I was psyched! I decided to tape the shows, even, after a number of years of not taping. The phone at work rings and it's a really good friend. He tells me the news, and I was just devestated. Not surprised, though. But terribly devestated. At the time, rec.music.gdead was going strong, and that's what I did, I went there and discussed online. We shared our thoughts and rememberances and despair all day. My wife called me up and asked me if I was okay. I went out to my car at lunchtime and the first tune I heard on the radio was Unbroken Chain. Still remember sitting in my car in tears. No one at work really got it... Drove home and my daughter comes running up to me to tell me the news. She was so sad about it. I kept wanting to take her to a show, but never felt she was old enough. Alas, she'll never get to see it. Now the years have gone by. Jerry's music lives in all the tapes we have, it's really incredible the vast array of music that is out there. But I miss the shows, which is where I knew Jerry. I miss the incredible feelings his guitar would bring forth. I miss standing there caught in the web he was weaving, that was ever changing and ever moving, hanging on for dear life. He was challenging you to hang on as he took you higher and higher and higher. I haven't found another musician that can do that. I'm so happy I got to experience that, but I miss that experience terribly.
user picture

Member for

11 years
Permalink

At the time, I was a head grocery clerk; it was a promotion I took so that I'd be able to attend more Dead shows. One of the few perks of the job was that I wrote the schedule.I was in aisle 8 ordering diapers when my newlywed wife came up to me, a pleasent suprise, I thought. "Did you hear? Jerry Garcia died." And she burst into tears. My initial reaction was, "It's gotta be some mistake," but that lasted only a matter of seconds. Deep down I knew Jerry had been slipping. It was devestating but oddly not suprising. I finished the rest of the day at work. Several of my coworkers told me to just go ahead and go home. My response was that I'd spent the last several years jockeying for time off to go to Dead shows, so what would be the point of getting off work now? Our phone was ringing off the hook all day. After a few hours, my wife stopped answering and the machine was full of condolences from friends and family when I got home. In those days, our house was the meeting point for our group of friends as we had a kick ass stereo and an even better collection of tapes. Every night after the bars closed we'd have several friends over and listen to tapes. So our house was full that night, including a tour friend who drove two hours to come over, calling in sick for the next day because "someone very close to him died." The next day, I remember getting in the car and thinking, "I guess they'll never play Lakeshore Drive at Soldier Field." And the next song to come on the radio was...Lakeshore Drive. That kind of thing happens all the time with the Dead, doesn't it?
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 7 months
Permalink

I woke up to a friend throwing rocks at my window. At first I ignored them, but the noise became more frequent. After he told me, I went down into the basement and put on Shining Star from 2/7/92. A friend asked me later that day- Which song did you play first? After I told him, he replied- I picked the same one.
user picture

Member for

10 years 7 months
Permalink

We were getting ready to go out and see Bobby's new project: Ratdog. Man, it was quite a scene in and around the venue that night. The show had to go on, I suppose. I kept thinking, "Jerry would approve" Earlier in the day when we got the news we knew that it would be a mob scene at the beach and it was of course. But a calm, communing vibe. Just stunned mellow people in disbelief, assembled for sharing the sorrow together. A vigil feel to the atmosphere E: Every Little Light, Knockin' on Heavens Door Onward, shwack in nh
user picture

Member for

6 years 11 months
Permalink

I was taking out a cassette of Pink Floyd Animals to put in American Beauty (if I remember correctly) before I went in to SunTV for work. The radio was on between the changing of cassettes and the DJ made the announcement just as the tape loaded and started to play. I ejected the tape as quick as I could to catch the rest of what was said but you know those old cassette decks. I fumbled around with the power knob, volume and tuner dial but I was too late. I remember feeling like my heart sunk down into my gut and I just hoped I heard the DJ wrong. I grabbed the morning paper on the way in to the store and read a little bit about it. When I went out to lunch my girlfriend (wife now) put a note on my car letting me know she was thinking about me. She knew me well enough even then to know I would be feeling empty. From the moment it sunk in for me the Grateful Dead meant something different to me. I can't explain it in words but when I always thought of the band before that day, the idea of the Grateful Dead had a specific feeling to me. After that the feeling changed to something different. It's not as simple as life and death either. As I said I can't put it into words. Something the writer of the newspaper article said has always stuck with me. He said something about how Jerry could take a very serious or sad song but sing it with a smile and in turn bring a smile to the listener, but could also make a humorous song sound eerily deep and tender. The writer offered his favorite song, Sugaree, as a good example of this.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I can't claim to know much about Betty Ford in particular, but in patient treatment centers aren't in business to do physicals. They might have medical staff for people going through severe detox...but most treatment centers are not hospitals etc. in the conventional sense. You check in, you get to work, if you are in bad physical shape and have health problems, that is to be expected but not something they are equipped to deal with outside of detoxification. At least that's what happened at the one I am acquainted with. :) Also, the Dark Star oral history book has Garcia's personal physician saying that they did do some cardiac tests near the end of his life, but these did not suggest any major blockages. But, to know for sure they would have had to do a dye test (contrast) but Garcia didn't want to do it. In 92 he had congestive heart failure ... Can't recall which side but it was the side that makes your extremities fill up with fluid, not the lungs. The doctor was more concerned about diabetes than anything. The drug use was more a concern from the sense that while on drugs the eating habits and smoking were more out of control leading to overall worsening of his diabetes and emphysema. I think the massive blockage totally caught this dr by surprise. I recall a comment that if they had done the contrast test and found it, Garcia was done in terms of touring for quite awhile (that would have been the advice anyway). That is ironic. Would have been a good excuse to get out of playing stadiums and cooling out the stress that he was not excited about, not to mention a way to really aggressively address the stale state of the Dead musically. Even for someone like Jerry, I have to imagine though at 53 that you're not really thinking seriously that you are about to die of a widow maker. He was thinking "I have to really get serious, but I have some time still...it's not too late." Too late. No more time. Think about that. Just 53 ....WAY too soon.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

DDN Issue #30. 1994 Year in Review. You state that "there were lots of really good shows (more than in '93, I felt)." Summer tour is discussed as being up and down. Then: "But the serious mojo seemed to be back during fall tour, with many folks RAVING about shows at all four major stops. I only saw two of the MSG shows (but heard most of the rest of the tour on tape) and I'm here to testify that this was the real stuff: explosive and exploratory, rather than tepid and unsure." LOL. Ok, I'll give you that Scaret -> Fire from MSG. That WAS explosive. Of your top 20 shows in 1994, 7 were from the fall tour. And more. DDN Issue 33. 1995 Year in Review. Starts with saying the first shows of the year were up and down. "But then something remarkable happened.: the band put together a tour which was almost universally strong. Now, they'd pulled off this feat before in the fall of '94, when they almost made us think that everything was hunky-dory and Garcia was fine (even though we still heard bad stories and there still a lot of, er, lapses). But there was a remarkably fresh wind blowing through the Dead's spring tour that gave rise to some genuine optimism even among the most skeptical." You go on to say that spring '95 "held many other delights, too, with a great deal of energy," etc. Maybe it was the top notch playing from everyone ELSE in the band at that time that had you feeling the magic...or just wishing it was true. To be fair - there was PLENTY of discussion in these and other DDN issues at the time from you about the problems. You also were pretty frank about some of the new songs at that time as being . . . uh...questionable. And a lot of other interesting insights, such as the in the ear monitors, the switch in soundmen from Healy to Cutler, etc. etc. Fascinating stuff.

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I was at work, it was still morning, and I'd called a vendor and their on-hold music (a local radio station) was Estimated Prophet. "Wow, that's unusual," I thought. Minutes later, a hand was on my shoulder and my one Deadhead co-worker ~ a woman a generation older than me ~ gently said, "Jerry Garcia died." For a split second, I parried it with "you're kidding, right?" But who would kid about that? She squeezed my hand, I squeezed it back, and sat dumbfounded. Awhile later, I went out to the car and popped in "Loser" from Hampton '87 (always a special memory). And got really filled up. It was around lunchtime and I had the sudden thought that, wow, Jerry doesn't have to eat anymore. Not long after, my boss ~ who'd joked to me just weeks before (when the Dead played Portland Meadows), "why do you want to go see a bunch of old guys?" ~ told me to take the rest of the day off. Joking aside, she intuited what it meant to me, and I'll always be grateful for her thoughtfulness. Some have mentioned John Lennon's death being a similar impact, and, yes, it was. Not too many strangers ~ even iconic ones ~ can infiltrate our very families in that way. Not the same AS immediate family, of course, but deeply ingrained in its cultural meridian, and shared experience. As for Jerry ~ well, of course, I never got to see John play 47 odd times (or even once), or watch his fingers plucking and soaring on his guitar, or glancing over his glasses to his bandmates with a cool assurance that said, "yeah, I'm hot tonight." Such details helped create the sense that I knew him, even knew him well. Of course I didn't, and yet my energy & imagination, encountering his energy & spontaneous art, were witness to a soul doing its signature thing, manifesting its voice of choice.....and the love I responded with was real. And at the end of the day, I believe Jerry's was real, too.... in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.....
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years
Permalink

as i've said many times on these blog responses of mine, i am a post-jerry deadhead. my parents were not deadheads, nor my older brother or sister - turns out one of my uncles was, but i didn't find that out until i had already gotten into them. also, no one i was friends with were from deadhead families. and though it seems impossible now, it seemed as though there were no deadheads in the suburban long island town i grew up in. i think my brother got "skeletons from the closet" through columbia house back in the day, which was promptly dismissed. though i loved other bands from the sixties and seventies- the doors, the beatles, led zeppelin, without anyone to put it into perspective for me, or to tell me "no, listen to this music," i guess i don't recall my impression of the band from before i know them; they just weren't on my radar at all. those circumstances coupled with classic rock radio stations abhorrence of playing anything by the dead had left me in total ignorance of the band and their widespread following, appeal, and cultural significance. however, i have clear memories of the day jerry died. i feel like it had to have been a saturday or a sunday, though i could be wrong because i was a teenager on his summer break, so every day felt like a saturday or sunday. i was fifteen years old, and i still had my paper route - a glorious job for a kid, a shame in ny it's a job for people with cars now. when i got home from delivering the papers i plopped down in front of the tube to probably watch cartoons (yeah, i was fifteen and still watching morning cartoons, you got a problem with that?), but all the channels (we did not have cable, so in ny all my channels were 2, 4, 5,7, 9 & 11) and all of them, except 9 & 11, which only broadcast info-mercials anyway, so who gave a flippity-flop about them, had cut into their morning broadcasts with special news bulletins about the passing of one jerry garcia. i spent the entire morning wondering "who the fuck cares?" "what's the big deal?" "who do these news people think they are interrupting my routine?" i made ignorant jokes of the situation - "hey, did you hear the good news...?" i'd love to say i am embarrassed by this memory, but i'm not. i think, if anything, it's just an example of the stupid thoughts of an ignorant teenager... for me, the bus came by in 1997-1998, my freshmen year of college, and i haven't looked back since. through a community of good friends at the time, the tapes, and countless nights lost thick in the pudding, jerry garcia and the dead revealed to me all they were and all they could be. then, the shows, bobby and ratdog, the other ones, phil and friends, the dead, more ratdog, more phil and friends, and furthur, furthur, onward and upward, and furthur... the music of jerry garcia and the grateful dead has changed my life in ways that i can't begin to describe with words in a sentence. thank you jerry. thank you so much to the rest of the grateful dead, not only for the music you made with jerry, but for all the joyous occasions you allowed me to be a part of since then. thank you to those in the community that were there and strove to keep the message alive and relevant. thank you to the tapers, thank you to the tapers, thank you to the tapers... i'm not the only post jerry head that exists folks, weir everywhere...for as someone at the ripe old age of 33, i see plenty of people younger then me at furthur shows, leading me to believe that the phenomenon has passed on to generations further removed for the experience then i was. the music, and the sense of community it fosters will live on for a good goddamn long time... i'lll end this response by quoting michael nash from the liner notes of dick's picks's vol. 10 - "there is more to say, but enough is said. words are exhausted; the proof is in the thing itself. so go and listen. no the map is not the territory, but until time travel is nailed down, it's as good as it gets. and it's pretty damn good...like intrepid architects, tooled with spontaneity and invention, the grateful dead built grand structures without floors, walls, or ceilings. and yet the best of them still stand, as great buildings do, to be revisited or set foot in for the first time, thanks to a little bit of magnetic tape and a good deal of foresight." "without love in the dream, it'll never come true."
user picture

Member for

10 years 9 months
Permalink

one of my friends called to give me the news-I was working in my office-I had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to buy tickets for the Fall, 95 shows coming up at the Boston Garden. It was a hit to the solar plexus. Yeah, for all of us there had always been the nagging thing behind the curtain but somehow Jerry seemed invincible, right? He always had pulled everything together before and he did seem to be better at times, right? I last saw him during Fall 94 Boston Garden-10/1/94. A brilliant show-the last one as it turned out for me. I had heard the horror stories about the summer tour but couldn't get to any of those myself. A friend who went to High Gate told me that Jerry was"out of it", so I was kind of worried all of the time for him and for all of us who needed this music and this experience. But, even so-the finality was so FINAL.
user picture

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

Listening to the radio, driving to work. I got the news just as I was pulling into the parking lot. Sat in my car trying to digest it, debating whether or not to pull out and drive back home. I didn't. The first person I saw inside was our HR manager. Her office was down the hall from mine, and she popped her head in my door to say good morning, took one look at my face and asked if anything was wrong. When I told her that Jerry Garcia had died, she said, "Who?" I repeated, thinking that she hadn't heard me, and she just shook her head with a blank look on her face. So I gave the quick 25-words-or-less summary that I tended to use with the uninitiated. Like many, I was also flashing back to John Lennon's death. What was really strange was the depth of emotion that I felt at that moment. I'd been off the bus since mid-1987 -- I had become kind of the opposite of a "Touch" head. I don't know what synapses got rewired by the shock of the news, but something happened. At that point I started keeping an eye peeled for the bus, got back on the next time it rolled around. RIP, Jerry.
user picture

Member for

6 years 11 months
Permalink

Jamming with my band in the guitarist basement.My soon to be wife (August 19th) called me there which freaked me out because she would never call me there and I thought immediately that someone in our family had died or gotten hurt. After the call we just sat there as I talked about tours past and they just listened even though they had never seen Jerry or The Grateful Dead
user picture

Member for

7 years 9 months
Permalink

Like Blair I had a bit of a delayed emotional reaction. My Dad popped into my office at work and gave me the news, that in a sense was a little weird, but he heard it on the news while he was driving and wanted to tell me in person. I can't say I was totally shocked, I had seen 3 shows in Philly earlier in the summer and Jerry just didn't look or play well at all. I was like holy s--- it finally happened. I had a tie dye shirt in my car that I actually hung at half mast on the flagpole in front of the store the rest of the day and a couple of people actually thought the owner of the business had passed away!! Anyway I was upset but I'm not a real emotional person and just went about my business. A few days later I was at an Elton John (believe it or not) show on the lawn in Camden and a few minutes in it hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn't stop crying. I realized then that a big part of my life was gone and never to return.Since my first show in Philly in the spring of 77, what a great time time get on the bus!!, I had seen the Dead many many times and wouldn't ever again and would never see Jerry up there again and it really hurt. I always wonder what would be if Jerry were still with us and a day doesn't go by that I'm not reminded of him either listening to something or just seeing one of the many pictures of him I have in my home or office. Thanks for the memories and all the great music still being put out there today. I miss you man!!!
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I was on vacation near the isthmus on Catalina Island when my father-in-law woke me up and said he heard the news on his little AM radio. I walked the hour + walk down to the store and bought an LA Times which had the story on the front page. On my walk back I went past an area called Lions Head which juts out into the ocean and has a bench out near the point - I walked out to that point, said my peace and cried for quite a while.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 10 months
Permalink

"Jerry's dead." i took it remarkably in stride. He had looked about 80 years old at the Seattle shows; they were good shows, esp 5/26, but poor Jerry was looking old. after the show on the 25th, i listened to Bear's Choice. Jerry sang, "I'm goin', but i ain't comin' back", as well as "that's the last you'll see of me." looking back, prophetic. I enjoyed the jerry memorial at seattle center. Truth be told, i never shed a tear over it all, but I do wish quite often that Jerry were still with us. THANK YOU JERRY!!!
user picture

Member for

8 years
Permalink

I was sitting in a dumpy breakfast cafe in Usulutan, eastern El Salvador, reading the national rag, sipping a thin cup of coffee, it was the last thing i expected to see buried in this newspaper, far far from the front page. "Jerry Garcia, lider de los Grateful Dead, muerto" I was totally taken aback, and though I was physically so far away from all of it, immediately transported to memories of the Warfield, Shoreline, Eel River, all the amazing moments he was at the center of. He was the first 'star' I deeply connected with to pass away. Like your favorite uncle you see a couple times a year, something like that. When, and it hurts to even think about it, Mr. Dylan meets his maker, it will again cut to the bone. One of my Peace Corps buddies, not a deadhead by any measure at all, had a co-worker in the restaurant he'd worked at in Chicago before moving to the Peace Corps who knew Manasha. Because of this distant connection, my friend passed an evening backstage at the Chicago show sometime in 92 or 93, then rode round Chicago in a limo with Garcia, Manasha and his friend. They retired to the hotel suite, partied and laughed with the fat man. Jerry's advice for my friend - "Follow your heart". My buddy called him months later. Jerry was at home in Marin, and said he was writing a melody based on how the birds were sitting on a telephone wire outside his window... I miss Jerry a lot. Still hope he fooled us all, got his health and mojo back, and will pop in to Terrapin Crossroads for an impromtu jam one of these days.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

10 years 2 months
Permalink

I was working at a warehouse at the time, and I went out to eat lunch in my car. I was going to put in a tape I made from One From The Vault CD, but didn't because the radio, WXPN in Philly, was playing Terrapin Station which seemed a bit unusual and very cool at the time. If I recall correctly the DJ, broke the news after Terrapin ended.. As I returned to work, people came up to me and told me the same news, they asked how I felt and do I want to take the rest of the shift off. I said no, and continued to work. We were listening to a normally Top-40 radio station from Reading, PA., and they were playing about an hour of the Dead and I was telling some people some of my show tales about traveling to show the parking lot scene, people I went to shows with, what really happens at a Dead show, breaking some stereotypes along the way and I gave some Dead tapes to people who never got beyond Touch Of Grey, Truckin', Uncle John's Band.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

I was home and getting ready to head out of the door for work when my phone rang. It was my friend Randy from back east (I was living in L.A. at the time). I knew something must have been up for him to be calling me in the morning hours. Not usual. Of course, I didn't know exactly what. "Is it true that Jerry's Dead?" he asked. I hadn't heard a thing, but in that moment, my heart sank and a dread washed over me. Without confirmation, I knew the odds were that wherever Randy had heard this, it was probably true. Yet I hoped in my silence that it wasn't, that it was all a piece of gross misinformation that Randy had come in contact with. But my heart was already pumping with nervous energy and fear. I turned on the TV immediately and my dread was fully realized. There was a photo of Jerry and, before even hearing the news report itself, I knew that day I had long-dreaded had arrived. I was already late for work and knew I had to get my shit together and bolt out the door. The drive was interminable, the radio reports confirming and reconfirming this new reality. Unfortunately for me, no one where I worked was into the Dead. Jerry's passing, for them, was just another rock and roller biting the dust. My job at the time required that I be "on" and present. No chance to disappear into a side office and make a call to a dear friend who would understand. That came later that day (about 8 hours later), but throughout those long hours I genuinely struggled to maintain myself. Several times tears ran down my cheeks and I managed to hide them from clients. I was also amazed at the depths of my sorrow. There are family members I've lost whose deaths I was not nearly as effected by. Yet I had only met Garcia once and, though he was as generous and delightful as one would hope he'd be, we weren't friends, nor even acquaintances. But through his music, through seeing him live, I felt I knew something integral about the man. And if nothing else, he had touched me, moved me, more times than I could recount. The mere thought that I would never again see him play, that there would be no more Grateful Dead shows, that this experience and this seemingly crucial and beloved part of my life --two-thirds of my life!-- had come to a close, left me feeling devastated and empty, confused and lost in a way that only death can elicit. About two days later, an envelope arrived in the mail. My tickets to see Jerry and the Grateful Dead at the Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion. 3rd row center. So here I am, like everyone else, 17 years later. And Garcia is still a reigning part of my life. His presence is still felt, I've just managed to alter my expectations of how he and his music present themselves in my life. And there's comfort in knowing that there are thousands of others out there who know and share this experience, this experience of mourning the loss and celebrating the life of someone we did not personally know, but whose soul managed to touch us so deeply nonetheless. Oh, and by the way, I still have those tickets.
user picture

Member for

11 years 4 months
Permalink

It's weird but when the phone rang too early that morning I knew it was because Jerry had died. One of those strange synchronicities. Now that I care for people with health problems similar to his I wish I could have helped him before his body failed him, but I know he never would have let me. He lived the uncompromising life of a true artist. I'm just happy there are so many who keep the chain unbroken.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years
Permalink

I remember the day like it was yesterday. Funny how 17 years goes by so quickly. Soon it will be 27 years later, and 37 years later and 47 years later.... etc Time is a strange thing!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

6 years 3 months
Permalink

I was in grad school at the time driving into the lab and I turned on the local NPR station and they were playing--of all songs--Jerry's version of "Cigarettes & Coffee" from the movie soundtrack to Smoke. In a split second I knew then and there--it must have been the dirge in that song. Was a strange feeling but I just knew he was gone. The shock didn't hit me until I received a call from a friend who asked if I had heard. Up to that point, I hadn't received an official word via radio or other media. But just the same, I had already known in my mind but hadn't yet let it sink in as reality. The phone call changed all that...Very sad, but the music continues to live on through memory, recordings, and new interpretations by other great musicians.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

The wife and kids and I were driving home from Sesame Place in PA., on the Jersey Turnpike. WNEW was playing one Dead tune after another, after maybe the tenth song, I thought "uh oh"...sure enough the DJ (I believe it was Dennis Elses) said those awful words" in case you haven't heard" as we were passing Giants Stadium, where I had seen my last show the previous June.(and Jerry had thrown up his arms, and left the stage during "The Other One") Earlier that morning, I woke up from a dream that I was at a Grateful Dead concert, (I had a lot of those over the years) we were at a Holiday Inn, as I groggily woke up, I looked at the clock, it was 7:30AM. From what I read later, Jerry passed on at 4:30AM Pacific time...I swear it's true! That made me feel...well I don't know, weird? Comforted? Spooked? We got home, and I just listened to the radio for hours, had a few beers, and cried. My late wonderful, big brother Frank turned me on to the Dead way back in '72, and I've listened every day since....hope Frank and Jerry are doing some acoustic jammin' up there. God bless 'em! Peace to all, Meeko
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I heard it from a Swedish Deadhead friend. He called me about 8 pm local Swedish time (11 am Pacific California Time). I had recieved a CD from UK that day (John Coltrane live in Comblain-La-Tour, Belgium on August 1st, 1965) and had just about finished listening to it when the phone rang. My friend was really devastated with grief. I have a Christian belief and to explain his feelings my friend said that "his Jesus Christ" had left the living that day. He'd become a Deadhead in 1970 when he was 16 years old and now at 41 he'd lost his main musical icon and "saviour". I too felt really low on hearing the bad news but I didn't cry like I did when I heard about the death of Brent. It was shocking news of course, hearing Jerry was gone but the last couple of years I thought he had grown really old. It felt like he wasn't going to live to see the change of the millennium but I didn't thought he was going to go in 1995. It felt more like 1998 or something like that. But I always mentioned Garcia in my prayers and hoped he was going to pull through and start a healthier life. When his death had sunk in, I wrote a letter to the Grateful Dead office begging the band to continue existing. I had thought about it and wanted "the best guitarist in the world not yet known" (Steve Kimock) due to Garcia in 1988, to take over as guitarist with Robert Hunter as the new band singer. But I was selfish of course and didn't wanted the story of The Grateful Dead to end with the death of Jerry Garcia. Also I wanted to get more chances to see the Dead in concert as well as Jerry solo. I still miss him. Micke Östlund, Växjö, Sweden
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

10 years 8 months
Permalink

I was in the 4th grade when JFK was killed, the 8th grade when RFK was killed, when NASA landed on the moon, I was about 15 and it was summertime; I don't remember that at all. I remember the assasinations vaguely. I remember Loma Prieta, I was driving home from work living about 13 miles from the epicenter. On 08/09/95 I was at work in Santa Clara County. I had just finished my set up and was begining the job and turned my radio on to KFOG. They were playing Grateful Dead, not unusual for them; however, when they kept playing Dead, at 1st I thought 'This is cool', I don't remember if I had to wait for the announcement or not. Probably had to wait, I don't think I put 2+2 together that day. I remember it well. The passing of my favorite musical hero. For many of us it left an unfilled void. I thank the powers that be for all the recorded music that is part of Garcia's musical legacy.
user picture

Member for

11 years
Permalink

What a lot of great posts here in this thread. It really takes me back to '95/'96 when there was such a shared sadness among Deadheads, friends and strangers alike, and also a shared appreciation for the good times we were fortunate enough to have had.It was a sad time, but as the months went by, I couldn't help but find some humor in the fact that while the Grateful Dead disbanded after Jerry's death, the Jerry Garcia Band continued touring. Saw them in Peoria, IL, I guess it was '96 and they were really good.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years 1 month
Permalink

I was home, grading student papers, the phone rang, and old and dear touring buddy give me the news, he was heading to Central Park in NYC for a gathering of Heads, I was far, far away. It had seemed for some time to me that Jerry was passing over to the other side, and so I was not shocked per se. What it effected in me was, however, rather profound. It sort of placed a ribbon around memories--of shows, trips, fun had, adventures undertaken--and tied a neat bow. These were now all in the past, only to live as memories, they would not happen again. A formative part of my life was now just that--something that was, but would never again be. It also made me take more control over my own musical life--a guide was gone, time to musically grow up! I had already left the scene, and now there was no turning back. I miss Jerry profoundly, and wonder often what he would be doing musically now were he still here. Yet for all the joy he gave some many of us, for so long, it is also hard not to conclude that he himself was rarely happy or at ease, a tormented soul, whose passing, if not intended, was surely not wholly feared.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

8 years 11 months
Permalink

I was at home listening to the show Lost and Found on WMBR in Cambridge. The DJ who liked the Dead but didn't play them alot was playing an unusual amount I thought. And then he came on and relayed the news. I thinkl we all remember it as if it were yesterday. The reality hits me deep every now and again and bring me to tears. Writing this is not easy. I remember this clearly and where I was when I heard of Frank Zappa's passing. Two giants that are gone. I'm often remind that Jerry is no longer with us when I go see Furthur. There are things you can replace and others you cannot.
user picture

Member for

9 years 10 months
Permalink

I was working road construction that summer before grad school. It was a hot summer and my crew was mostly working at the Madison (WI) airport, which allowed us to start early and get off work early on the hot days. I was on my way home listening to 105.5 when I heard-- I still remember the spot and think of it when I drive past there. Like most who saw the GD that summer, it was not shocking but sad. Friends and I went to the 7-8-95 Soldier Field show and were stunned at how bad Jerry looked and the US Blues from that show was undeniably bad. We spoke on the way home about Jerry's condition and hoped he would take care of himself. Side note: I wore the same tie-dye to that concert that I bought at Brent's last show and wore to the Clapton/SRV show at Alpine Valley in 1990. It was known as the "Death Shirt" to me and my friends-- I think I have worn it one or two times since, but never to a concert again.
user picture

Member for

11 years 5 months
Permalink

I was volunteering at an archaeological summer camp in Wales with my 13 year old son. We drove a few miles along leafy rural lanes to a telephone box to call his mum. The three of us had seen the Grateful Dead on their last tour of Europe in 1990. She told me on the phone that Jerry was dead. I sat on the grass verge of that little Welsh lane feeling quite bereft as my son talked with his mum. We drove back to our campsite reminiscing about that great night in Wembley.Jerry Garcia had been a distant, yet also close companion on so many adventures over the years.
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

7 years 7 months
Permalink

I was in a in-patient treatment center for my own Heroin addiction.....I was a resident for over a year and detoxed . I was clean for a year on that date as 8/9/95. Its not to hard for me to forget this day.....I spent 27 months in "treatment" and have been clean for 18 years.....and thats where I was when I heard the news!!!
user picture
Default Avatar

Member for

11 years
Permalink

Fairbanks, Alaska -- working for an environmental non-profit -- full staff meeting, heated arguments on stategies to protect ANWR -- middle of the meeting, "humble Bob" comes rushing in w/ a fax saying Jerry had passed. At first, I thought "please let this be a false rumour . . . maybe he just got busted again or was just admitted to the hospital or rehab or something less devestating." Then it we got confirmation. The meeting simply disintegrated, went quiet -- all the heated stategizing came into perspective -- that we were making a mountain out of a molehill. That afternoon, no one worked (btw -- only about half of us were heads to one degree or another, the other half knew who Jerry was and just liked him, though not into the GD). My gal cried -- I didn't know how to react -- I lost the best friend I've never met but who played an enormous role in my life. I just kept remembering the one time Jerry smiled at me in between tunes in the first set at Providence -- I don't know how or why he picked me out -- I didn't believe it at the time until I smiled back at him, he grinned wider, nodded and went back to his amp. That little gesture 25 years ago this September still means the world to me. Jerry had the light and he shared it selflessly and generously. I try to do the same . . . I love ya, brothah and will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and I look forward to meeting you when the good Lord says it's time -- the circle will be unbroken bye and bye. PS Dorobace -- Congratulations, m' friend -- You know Jerry (as all of us in this thread and elsewhere) are proud of you. Keep the faith, brothah!

The Band

68 comments
sort by
Recent
Reset
  • robertp
    9 months 1 week ago
    the loss of jerry Garcia transcends all others
    I saw Jerry around 64 times; I attended several of the 1991 MSG shows, and for one of them I sat in the 7th row alone... there was a beautiful young girl sitting next to me and I chatted her up... I married that dead head girl and we are till together 25 years later... We were together on vacation in the Hamptons on Long Island in August of 1995, digging a hot late summer day, lazily strolling the town. Some kids were walking ahead of us talking loud and saying they were heartbroken and I heard 'Garcia'. "What happened"? we interrupted them; 'Jerry Garcia died today' was their horrible and unthinkable reply. I didn't really believe it yet-- I phoned my dead head authority Terence in NYC from a payphone trembling, and when he could barely croak out a tearful 'hello', I knew the worst was true. He couldn't say much except he confirmed the worst. We walked around in a daze and terribly sad-- Jerry is gone? How could our leader leave us? We had made previous plans to visit my aunt and uncle and stay with them later that night. We put aside our mourning-- how could they understand that Jerry wasn't a distant singer like Tony Bennet, he was in fact our spiritual leader and more much than that-- in fact if we two didn't love jerry, we wouldn't have met and married! We left them after our visit and mourned for a long, long time. My wife retired from seeing Dead related shows after that, with only a few exceptions, and I slowly and tenderly returned to the aftermath of the Dead post Jerry. Today I love them daily and enjoy the various post Dead bands. But the loss of jerry Garcia transcends the loss of all other musicians in our music centered lives.
  • eelbones
    6 years 1 month ago
    David Nelson Band was in town
    My friend Ian came up to Alaska for a visit from CA. Our annual fair was about to start with the David Nelson Band performing that afternoon. I had just biked to work and got a call from my friend Jenn, who I toured with in Europe 90, and she broke the news to me. We turned on KHNS our local NPR station and JP was the DJ that morning playing Sugaree and more. We all went to UMASS Amherst together and took in many east coast shows. We headed out to the fairgrounds in the afternoon for the DNB. They came out on stage and with tears streaming down from every band member, opened with Ripple. That Sun night we started at midnight on the radio and played Jerry tunes till 6 in the morning. David Nelson came in and talked about his time with Jerry.
  • Default Avatar
    Parkas4Kids
    6 years 2 months ago
    It Was the Summer of '95....
    It was the summer of '95 when I heard the news of Jerry's passing, and I was preparing to enter high school. I honestly don't remember it very well, though I think it was all too surreal at the time. I'd only been listening to the Dead for a few short years--I bought my first Dead tape, "American Beauty," when I was in 5th grade--so the true impact of Jerry's death didn't have as much meaning then as it does now. There was a full two-page spread dedicated to him in that my high school year book, though, which just goes to show how much he meant to his fans, even all the way out in Columbia, MD.
  • Default Avatar
    Dov
    6 years 2 months ago
    at work
    .... was at work when my wife called crying, to tell me the news. It's hard to process news like that, the words 'Jerry died' are so mundane, the implications so profound. it takes time .... A couple of friends of mine at work came around. They knew I was into the whole scene. They kind of stared at me for a while too, I guess wondering if I was going to have a psychadelic meltdown or something. That night my wife and I took the kids (13 and 11) down to Philadelphia where there was a gathering of a few thousand people at Independance Park, where the Liberty Bell is. Chatted up with a bunch of stranger/brothers/sisters .... talking about Jerry and this and that .... met an orthodox Jewish kid decked out with his tallis and yarmulke, reciting the Viduy (prayer for the dead). Like everyone else, there was this sense of loss and then grief. I hadn't really felt anything like that since John Lennon died. I first saw the Dead in 1970, I was 19, at the legendary Capitol Theater in Portchester, and saw Jerry and the boys play there twice in 70 and once in 71. How absolutely fabulous! My older brother saw the first show they ever played in NYC, at Tompkins Square park in 67 .... and I took my kids to see the boys three times while Jerry was still with us .... kind of a Deadhead family. my daughter, now 30, will tell her Phishead friends how she actually saw Jerry Garcia play .... Instant Status! sad that it had to end .... and yet how blessed we all were to have this extraordinary being in our lives. Nothing lasts forever, so we should be grateful for the time we did have with him, cause as his buddy said, there's nothing you can hold for very long. We got to hold Jerry and the cosmic existence he created for a little while. We can still enjoy the music and reminisce, and even more than that, keep the mother rolling ..... I don't believe in God, or an afterlife, or any sentimental stuff like that. I believe we come into the world from nothingness, and pass back out of the world into nothingness and that's it .... but if I was wrong, it's nice to belive that Jerry is watching us from somewhere and enjoying all his music being played by new generations of musicians, and being enjoyed by young people. My Dad, who passed away recently, used to tell me that you can tell who is a great musicians because their music stands the test of time. I am quite sure that Jerry's music will be around for many centuries, and more. yours in happiness and sadness, Dov Dov
  • Default Avatar
    jonbaker
    6 years 2 months ago
    The Day the world stopped
    I got up early ,around noon,and was rideing my bike to Chico Natural Foods for breakfest . I was cutting across the liquor store parking lot when i turned around to look at the newspaperracks.There were 3 on the bottom 4 on the top, 6 of them had the same picture ,almost ,of Jerry ,hand up like ending a song with differant captions,all the same ,and i got off my bike and cried like a motherfucker,right there in the parking lot,and i never realized how much i loved the whole world that i got to be a part of. I went home and cried n got fucked up and went downtown n crie dwith a lot of other people n then we started laughin n saying Phuckin Jerry but Nooooooooo,n i realized there was nothing anyone ,or i could do to change it . I was fortunate to go to the city in the park,for what i thiought was a real family GD meeting of people and i was so thankful that someones thought to put this on, for everyone It was a great healer for all..When Bill Graham died it was the beggining of the end .and Jerrys death ended what proved to be the beginning of something new ,and the remaining members have carried on ,and gone on to make great music still ,and that is a great accomplishment ,and kept people dancing, n thinking in a higher conciosness. Its fumnny that its 2012 n im able to write here n now thank you all for keeping it going and allowing fans to post stuff , im driveing a 18 wheeler around the country,and the music never sounded so good or moveing, probably cuz im scared shitless driveing with so much responsibility much love and again thank you so much