Garcia: Happy Birthday Jerry!
This year, we celebrate 40 years of The Grateful Dead. Next week, we mark the 10 year anniversary of Jerry Garcia's passing. On this day however, we celebrate Jerry's birthday, who would of been 63 today!
To those who don't know much about Jerry, he appeared to be a mysterious, drug addicted freak. But for those of us who knew and admired him, even from afar, he was a brilliant artist, both musically and visually. There is probably no other musician in the 20th century who had the same combination of creativity, versatility, range and improvisational ability as Jerry did.
He was not a leader, yet he could never sit still. If he wasn't playing with The Dead, he was involved with any of a number of his side projects, and when he wasn't playing music, he was painting. He couldn't help himself but to be creative, even in his darkest days. He struggled with his relationships his entire life, yet he was adored by millions worldwide. He struggled with drug addiction for decades, but somehow still found a way to make it to the stage and perform close to 3000 concerts over 30 years.
My musical tastes have changed from band-to-band over the years, but Jerry and his music are truly unique. 2 summers ago, before I came back to The Dead, I was at a neighborhood park where a folk band was playing. They started playing a beautiful song that I couldn't quite place at first, but soon realized it was Black Peter. I instantly stared to hear Jerry in my head playing along with this band, adding in his signature fills as good as he always did.
Over the next 8 days, I will celebrate his life by to posting my thoughts on the man, the myth, the legend, Jerry Garcia. It will almost be like a Jerry Hanukkah ;-). So thank you Jerry, and once again, Happy Birthday! I can think of no other song that expresses the way I feel today than:
Attics of My Life
Lyrics: R. Hunter, Music: J. Garcia
In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me
I have spent my life
Seeking all that's still unsung
Bent my ear to hear the tune
And closed my eyes to see
When there were no strings to play
You played to me
In the book of love's own dreams
Where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days
And all my lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly
You flew to me
You flew to me
In the secret space of dreams
Where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets all are told
And the petals all unfold
When there was no dream of mine
You dreamed of me