Grateful Dead Fall 1995
Today marks the 15th year since Jerry Garcia passed away. There hasn't been one August 9th that's gone by where I didn't stop to reflect on the music he made.
I'll never forget that morning waking up and getting the news. Despite all the sadness, I believe that day brought to light what we already knew: this music was only going to get stronger and get passed on with the same significance as we felt for it.
I was a few weeks shy of nineteen when Garcia died. I only had four Grateful Dead shows under my belt with tickets to see them that fall at MSG (see photo above). That was an amazing time of wonderment and discovery in my life. I was young and the Dead were a significant part of the music that filled the air while I went through immense spiritual and educational growth. For the first time I was completely comfortable with myself, and in large part it was brought on by discovering the power of music -- I had an incredible thirst for it. As young as I was, I knew I was tapping into something that would be part of my core forever.
I'm pretty sure most people who are really into Garcia's music feel this way. It's a powerful statement on the depth and longevity of his music to see how it has evolved over the past fifteen years. Five years ago, State of Mind did a series of interviews with musicians and music industry people about their experiences with Garcia and the legacy of his music. It was amazing then to hear all the passionate stories. And it's amazing that five years later, and fifteen years after his death, the music is resonating louder than ever. It's getting passed down and discovered by a new generation. It's still evolving through what the members of the band are doing (Furthur, Phil & Friends, Ratdog, Rhythm Devils, etc.) and through all the different avenues that so many musicians are taking in interpreting and putting their own spin on the music. For me, the most significant part of Garcia's music is rediscovery. It's exhilarating as all hell to still be learning and finding new meaning in this music. Each passing year, it feels like I understand a new layer of its depth.
Cheers -- here's to all the great music that Jerry Garcia left us.