Interview with David Gans on Jerry Garcia
Jerry Garcia – leader of the Grateful Dead – passed away on August 9, 1995. The legacy of the Grateful Dead lives on to this day in a very strong way. David Gans – host of the syndicated show The Grateful Dead Hour – called in to speak with Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix about the life and legacy of the late Jerry Garcia.
Pretty much everyone knows that Jerry Garcia was in the Grateful Dead. However, Garcia made a name for himself before his days with the Dead. “He was involved in what was affectionately referred to as the Folk Scare of the 1960s and became a very well known folk musician and then a bluegrass musician in a circle of players that included David Nelson, Jorma Kaukonen, and Janis Joplin. Jerry [was also] very very well regarded in the San Francisco Bay Area before starting the Jug Band, which was a craze around 1964 all across the country. And the Jug Band is what morphed into the Grateful Dead. He was an incredible musician on both guitar and banjo and he was charismatic person who attracted a lot of people around him and sort of became the focus of that scene,” states Gans.
Jerry Garcia’s impact, both musically and within the counter culture movement, is one that cannot be ignored. However, not a lot of people are aware of the influence Garcia’s long time collaborator Robert Hunter had on Jerry. “Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia were the primary songwriting team of the Grateful Dead. The collaboration of Hunter and Garcia has yielded several dozen incredibly powerful and enduring songs. Right now, in 2013, lots of young musicians are adopting those [Grateful Dead] songs. If you’re an open minded musician and you listen to this stuff you hear songs that have incredible depth and power to them,” explains Gans.
Aside from his work with the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia had a slew of side projects including some solo work. Jerry’s solo work was so impactful that it became part of the Grateful Dead’s live show repertoire.
The influence of Jerry Garcia can still be recognized nearly 20 years after this death. The music of the Dead expands beyond so many boundaries and a lot of that is because of Garcia. Garcia had such a wide range of musical appreciation and lot of that reflected in his work (both solo and with the Grateful Dead). Although Jerry is no longer with us, his work continues to influence generation after generation. We miss you Jerry.