which is a lot more obscure than its personnel (Jon Carroll does the interview, and he is no slouch), largely because it was in this one-off Playboy Entertainment Guide or some such in 1982. Relatively short, but right up there with Signpost among the all-time greats in my book.
One of my favorite bits:
JG: Hopefully there aren't as many suckers for rhetoric now. It was so obvious what was happening back in those days. Like the Black Panthers. I mean, what happens when a bunch of black guys put on berets and start packing submachine guns? They're going to get killed, man, they're going to get fucking killed. You can't do that in America. You can't wave guns in the faces of the biggest guns in the world. It's suicide. That's obvious, but how could you say it? LIke, all that campus confusion seemed laughable too. Why enter this closed society and make an effort to liberalize it when that's never been its function? Why not just leave it and go somewhere else? Why not act out your fantasies, using the positive side of your nature rather than just struggling? Just turn your back on it and split - it's easy enough to find a place where people will leave you alone. You don't have to create confrontation. It's a game, and it's a no-win game. I remember once being at a be-in or one of those things, and the Berkeley contingent - Jerry Rubin and those guys - got up on stage and started haranguing the crowd. All of a sudden it was like everybody who had ever harangued a crowd. It was every asshole who told people what to do. The words didn't matter. It was that angry tone. It scared me; it made me sick to my stomach.
JC: Well, it must be hard to be stuck with your own charisma, discovering that you have it and not knowing what to do with it.
JG: Yeah. It's the only thing you have. And charisma is no shield. It's not something you can hide behind. All you can do with it is stuff like making speeches. And where do you go with that? It's a drag to be a celebrity. It can even be a drag to be a talented celebrity, with something to do. But if you're not a performer, being a celebrity could be all negative.
JC: But don't you have people coming around and saying, "Be my leader; tell me what I'm supposed to do"?
JG: We tell them we don't know. I've made every effort to tell them that we're not in a position to lead, that everybody's going to have to lead themselves. What it boils down to is: Who do you trust? Who would be such a perfect kind of person that you would trust him enough to follow him? Nobody I know. And even fewer people want to lead. And the kind of people who *do* want to lead are mostly assholes. I mean, being a politician is a lot like being a stand-up comic. The only thing you have is your personality, and the only thing you can do is stand up and say, "It's me, it's me, it's me." What kind of personality do you have to have to do such a thing? Do you want someone with that kind of personality controlling *your* life? No sir.
bruno's story reminds me of one of my favorite memories, though I'd have to go digging to establish what year it was. First half of the '80s, sometime, at Henry J., which was probably still going by the Oakland Auditorium.
I happened to be right on the rail at the time, or maybe even in the photo pit with my camera, because McNally was nice to me. It was the first local run after Jer's notorious bust in Golden Gate Park, sitting in his BMW with several bindles of coke.
They're doing Bertha. Jer and the boys are rocking right along. Suddenly it dawns on Jer what the next verse is, and he gets this horror-stricken look.
But he sings it anyway, "test me test me/why don't you arrest me..."
and the crowd goes wild!
Happy Birthday Jerry!
Miss seeing you more as time flys by.
Say hello to my Brother for me.
Catch ya both on the flip side!
Two big memories:
1. First show, June 1973, Universal Amphitheatre, LA(ish): Seats in front but way off to the side where we couldn't see past Keith's back. Opened with Bertha and when he sang "test me, test me" I heard "testing, testing." I thought there must be trouble with the sound. We wound up sitting on stage for much of the second set (a wee bit toasted I think) leaning back on the piano and looking right up at Jerry and Bobby.
2. Red Rocks, 1978, maybe August 30 (If I Had The World To Give > Iko Iko). Jerry shuffled/danced the whole show and Leroy from Texas standing next to me kept yelling "who's that dancing man?" I don't know if Jerry could ever hear him but he smiled down at Lee a few times right after he yelled .
THANKS JERRY AND ALL THE BOYS AND GIRLS WHO MADE AND MAKE IT POSSIBLE.
Caught up with him a few times, including once post-show at Boreal in 1985 as he was walking off the stage, and all I got to say was, "Great show," then patted him on the back … and he kept right on trudging. I never washed my hand so quickly as I did after touching his sweat-soaked T-shirt.
Man, he was a dude of v-e-r-y few words backstage; and you never saw him move so fast as he did there.
Pre-show, it was like he had blinders on and tunnel vision for the stage. For example, my girlfriend and I were backstage in '93 at the L.A. Sports Arena talking with another writer. It was just the three of us hanging out. There was pah-lenty of room -- vast amounts around our little triangle, believe me -- but we happened to be directly in the straight-line path between Garcia's dressing room and the stairs of the stage. We had our backs to the dressing rooms and he bowled right through us, knocked my girlfriend over and kept right on walking. It was really ridiculous. But what could you do? I guess he was just marking his territory.
I do have to say that just before the last time I saw him play -- June 1995 at Shoreline -- we were walking with 100s of other people being shuttled toward the backstage access area. I caught just a peak through the rear partitions and curtains -- something like out of "The Wizard of Oz" -- and there he was, the only person I could see, in one of his dark, XL, loose-fitting jackets strumming an acoustic guitar of all things. He looked right through me, but I thought for that one moment we had a connection.
Those are the memories of Jerry I'd take with me.
Always loved the extended leads he would unveil. Especially starting with the first note of the song. They would weave a way into your soul!!!!
1. Buffalo NY Rich Staduium (1986) --- I was the one caught on the fence jumping out,not in
2. Hampton VA Coliseum --- met up with the boys from Mass Pharmacy, with the tanks
3. RFK (1992) --- I will never forget the train horns and the segway into Casey Jones
4. Providence Civic Center (Shows from 1982-1987) --- Great times, home court
***** Bought my first and only guitar (Takimine G330) --- due to Jerry's liking that brand*****
Happy 67 jerry.Miss old captain trips.Like all those times in the front row dancin like a nut case whearing the cone head.Like new years eve 87 screaming happy fuckin new year to jerry and him turning to me saying same to ya.Really you can hear it as clear as day on ticket to new years.There where days. Jerry lives forever.
I saw the JGB at a tiny little roller rink in East Setauket LI and was hooked. It had to be 110 degrees inside Good Skates and the music was just as hot. Jerry RIP and thanks for the memories.
The Fatman still rocks!!!!
We miss you and love you so much Jerry.
Love you and miss you Jerry!!!!!
Thank you for a real good time!!!