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The life and death of jerry garcia

SIRIUS XM to commemorate life and music of Jerry Garcia

Garcia didn't look the part, didn't act the part and didn't even sound the part. He was gray-haired, heavily bearded, wore thick glasses and sometimes weighed as much as 300 pounds. Garcia usually dressed in a T-shirt and ill-fitting jeans, and his "stagecraft," the magazine noted, "was to stand stock-still and utter not a word. He drowned in an accident when Garcia was 5 years old, as People noted. Garcia formed a band called the Warlocks that evolved into the Grateful Dead in 1965.

Read TIME's 1995 Obituary for Jerry Garcia

The band first gained a following in the San Francisco area when they became a sort of house band for "the collective drug experiments" that writer Ken Kesey and his friends called the Acid Tests, Rolling Stone magazine noted in Garcia's obituary. The band would play for hours as people took LSD "in a setting where there were no regulations or predetermined situations," while Kesey and his cohorts filmed "everything from freakouts to religious revelations …," according to the obituary.

In 1968, Richard Nixon's presidential campaign released a commercial called "American Youth," which featured a photo montage of young people, including Garcia. The musician, wearing a red-and-white-striped top hat, is beardless and not sporting glasses. The ad begins with Nixon intoning, "American youth today has its fringes, but that's part of the greatness of our country.

  • I was just a little kid, and I didn't really understand what was going on, but then, of course, my life changed;
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  • It was at these energetic happenings that the Warlocks developed the sound that became known as psychedelic rock.

I have great faith in American youth. While the Grateful Dead released more than two dozen live, studio and compilation albums in 30 years together, the band only had one top 10 hit, 1987's "Touch of Grey.

  1. What is remarkable about the Grateful Dead is that the band has been performing since the 1960s and its following endured for several decades.
  2. There must be a dearth of fun out there in America. I just wish we could share them with each other when we're alive.
  3. I wanted to do something that fit in with the art institute, that kind of self-conscious art—'art' as opposed to 'popular culture.

Some so-called "Deadheads" were known to follow the band for months at a time. In return for this loyalty, "The Dead made an effort to treat their fans well. Garcia was public about his use of drugs, notably LSD and heroin. According to People, he once said psychedelic drugs had their benefits: Kurt Cobain finished a notch ahead of Garcia.

In 2011, guitarist Carlos Santana wrote about Garcia in the magazine and described Garcia's playing this way: They stay a certain way. Jerry Garcia was painting outside the frame.

  • He was gray-haired, heavily bearded, wore thick glasses and sometimes weighed as much as 300 pounds;
  • And I would pick up the pieces of wood, take my hand away, pick up another piece, and boom!
  • And the audience wants to be transformed from whatever ordinary reality they may be in to something a little wider, something that enlarges them;
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He played blues but mixed it with bluegrass and Ravi Shankar. He had country and Spanish in there. There was a lot of Chet Atkins in him — going up and down the frets.

Grateful Dead

But you could always hear a theme in his playing. The music could shift in any direction as it sought what the band and its fans called the 'X factor': Garcia's fans were drawn to what they saw as his "realness.

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  • The band has become a benchmark in music history;
  • LSD was certainly an important part of that for me;
  • Biography Jerry Garcia Facts The rock and roll industry has seen its share of bands and singers;
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Garcia made millions of dollars during his lifetime, but fans always saw him and his bandmates as a populist voice — "an alternative to the tarnished world of commercial rock," Los Angeles Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn wrote after Garcia's death. Garcia is still very much a part of pop culture. It's still a top-selling variety for the company.

Jerry Garcia: 10 Facts

In recent years the San Francisco Giants baseball team has celebrated Garcia's birthday with Garcia bobblehead dolls. In 2013, surviving Dead members sang the national anthem before a game; fans went home that day with skeletal Uncle Sam bobbleheads.

Jerry Garcia Facts

To keep track of the many celebrations in Garcia's name, including numerous "symphonic celebrations" nationwide and the annual Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash in West Virginia that's been going on for almost 30 years, visit jerrygarcia. Natalie Pompilio is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. Her lifelong love of obituaries raised eyebrows when she was younger, but she's now able to explain that this interest goes beyond morbid curiosity.

Says Pompilio, "Obituaries are mini life stories, allowing a glimpse into someone's world that we're often denied.

  1. His father, Joe Garcia, was a ballroom jazz musician and bartender who came to California from Spain in the 1920s. LSD was certainly an important part of that for me.
  2. A Deadhead gets to join in on an experiment that may or may not be going anywhere in particular, and such an opportunity is rare in American life. Your continued use of the Services following the posting of any amendment, modification or change shall constitute your acceptance thereof.
  3. His father, Joe Garcia, was a ballroom jazz musician and bartender who came to California from Spain in the 1920s.
  4. Garcia made millions of dollars during his lifetime, but fans always saw him and his bandmates as a populist voice — "an alternative to the tarnished world of commercial rock," Los Angeles Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn wrote after Garcia's death.

I just wish we could share them with each other when we're alive.