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Author: Subject: Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia on inspiring creativity and playing guitar

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  posted on 10/16/2010 at 01:29 PM
Back in 1985, a few days before he got busted, I did this 10,000-word interview with Jerry Garcia, which has never before been published in its entirely. Jerry goes deep into his approach to guitar playing, his creative process, his musical heroes, songwriting, and the inner-workings of the Grateful Dead and his duo. Hope you enjoy it!

http://jasobrecht.com/jerry-garcia-the-complete-1985-interview/

BTW, During the Duane era, the Allman Brothers Band played the Fillmore East with the Grateful Dead and ended up jamming together. Wondering if any of you were at any of the shows?


 
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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 10/16/2010 at 04:50 PM
great interview--love his take on eddie van halen...
 

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  posted on 10/16/2010 at 05:53 PM
Great interview. Just great.
Made me think of the time I saw the Grateful Dead at Nassau Coliseum around 1989. I had a choice seat up off the floor just above Jerry on his side.
I watched them play "Bird Song", and I could see how Jerry was thinking as he played. He really absorbed what was being played by the other musicians before adding his unique color to the mix.


 

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  posted on 10/16/2010 at 06:33 PM
Thanks for the great read

 

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  posted on 10/17/2010 at 05:05 AM
thanks so much, really enjoyed this
 
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  posted on 10/17/2010 at 07:26 AM
Another great interview, jaso! Thanks so much for sharing!

 

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  posted on 10/17/2010 at 11:20 AM
greeat article

 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 06:21 AM
bump back to the top

I too found Jerry's comments on Eddie interesting.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]

 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 07:10 AM
This is just fantastic, thanks.

 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 08:06 AM
quote:
bump back to the top

I too found Jerry's comments on Eddie interesting.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]



i agreed with what he said about eddie's playing--do you?

 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 02:33 PM
New Jerry release announced today

http://store.dead.net/music/jerry-garcia-acoustic-band-ragged-right

 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 03:12 PM
quote:
quote:
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bump back to the top

I too found Jerry's comments on Eddie interesting.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]
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i agreed with what he said about eddie's playing--do you?



Hardly, I've recently gone back to the first 3 Van Halen albums and realized ... again ... how great they are/were and how Eddie's playing just spun the guitar world around. Much ado has been made over Eddie's lead playing and innovative tapping technique; however, he was/is a brilliant rhythm guitarist and composer. He also has a great tone, the brown sound as it has become known as. Garcia's tone, that piercing high treble, IMO could be labeled that fingernails on a chalkboard tone. What I found ineresting about Garcia's comments on Eddie were this: "Thereís a lot of notes and stuff, but the notes arenít saying much, you know." It's funny because you could easily say the same about Garica's playing. And let's don't say we've never heard the Dead aimlessly noodle for what seems like forever.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]

 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 03:18 PM
Great read, Thanxs!!
 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 05:23 PM
quote:
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
bump back to the top

I too found Jerry's comments on Eddie interesting.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----




i agreed with what he said about eddie's playing--do you?



Hardly, I've recently gone back to the first 3 Van Halen albums and realized ... again ... how great they are/were and how Eddie's playing just spun the guitar world around. Much ado has been made over Eddie's lead playing and innovative tapping technique; however, he was/is a brilliant rhythm guitarist and composer. He also has a great tone, the brown sound as it has become known as. Garcia's tone, that piercing high treble, IMO could be labeled that fingernails on a chalkboard tone. What I found ineresting about Garcia's comments on Eddie were this: "Thereís a lot of notes and stuff, but the notes arenít saying much, you know." It's funny because you could easily say the same about Garica's playing. And let's don't say we've never heard the Dead aimlessly noodle for what seems like forever.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]
Jerry Garcia's tone and approach to playing,changed depending on what and whom he was playing with. ive seen him hold his own onstage with James Burton, Carlos Santana,Bruce Hornsby and Merle Saunders. He was a multi- instrumentalist, and crossed genere's. Eddie Van Halen came up with a new approach, and thats cool, but he's a "one trick pony".

 

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  posted on 10/18/2010 at 06:07 PM
thanks for posting

what's more interesting than his comments on EVH were the ones he made right before about John Lee Hooker (see the interview elsewhere on this board).

Jerry's playing, for me, is extremely soulful and emotional, especially in the 60s and 70s.

quote:
I donít really expect to be remembered Ė thatís way ahead of me.

I remember. Thanks, Jerry.




 

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  posted on 10/19/2010 at 05:22 AM
quote:
Jerry Garcia's tone and approach to playing,changed depending on what and whom he was playing with. ive seen him hold his own onstage with James Burton, Carlos Santana,Bruce Hornsby and Merle Saunders. He was a multi- instrumentalist, and crossed genere's. Eddie Van Halen came up with a new approach, and thats cool, but he's a "one trick pony".


^^^^


YES!!!!

 

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  posted on 10/19/2010 at 08:27 AM
Great, great interview

quote:
quote:
Jerry Garcia's tone and approach to playing,changed depending on what and whom he was playing with. ive seen him hold his own onstage with James Burton, Carlos Santana,Bruce Hornsby and Merle Saunders. He was a multi- instrumentalist, and crossed genere's. Eddie Van Halen came up with a new approach, and thats cool, but he's a "one trick pony".


^^^^


YES!!!!


Have you ever listened to The Starfleet Project ? If there were more cases of EVH playing with others in the capacity that Garcia did, perhaps the "one trick pony" label wouldn't apply. Nobody here really knows what all a famous guitar player can play, we'd have to move next door or something ? In some cases, "fame" constricts what not only is expected of a musician but what people actually wanna hear by them.

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 02:27 PM
quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
bump back to the top

I too found Jerry's comments on Eddie interesting.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----




i agreed with what he said about eddie's playing--do you?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----



Hardly, I've recently gone back to the first 3 Van Halen albums and realized ... again ... how great they are/were and how Eddie's playing just spun the guitar world around. Much ado has been made over Eddie's lead playing and innovative tapping technique; however, he was/is a brilliant rhythm guitarist and composer. He also has a great tone, the brown sound as it has become known as. Garcia's tone, that piercing high treble, IMO could be labeled that fingernails on a chalkboard tone. What I found ineresting about Garcia's comments on Eddie were this: "Thereís a lot of notes and stuff, but the notes arenít saying much, you know." It's funny because you could easily say the same about Garica's playing. And let's don't say we've never heard the Dead aimlessly noodle for what seems like forever.

[Edited on 10/18/2010 by Charlesinator]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------- -----

Jerry Garcia's tone and approach to playing,changed depending on what and whom he was playing with. ive seen him hold his own onstage with James Burton, Carlos Santana,Bruce Hornsby and Merle Saunders. He was a multi- instrumentalist, and crossed genere's. Eddie Van Halen came up with a new approach, and thats cool, but he's a "one trick pony".





First off let me say that I have absolutely nothing but respect for Jerry Garcia, THE driving force behind the Grateful Dead. The Dead are/were a seminal, iconic and innovative band that pioneered the entire Jam Band scene. I, too, have heard Jerry play some of the most beautiful things on the guitar (electric and acoustic), banjo, steel etc. in the Grateful Dead, the Jerry Garcia Band and Old And In The Way to name a few. The thing I always liked about Jerry and the Dead was their song selection whether it was covers or originals and whether or not it was with played in an ... er ... um hum ... pleasing way. The songwriting team of Hunter and Garcia IMO was one of the best in Rock. However, ...

The suggestion of Eddie Van Halen as a "one trick pony" as some form of validation that Eddie Van Halen is not as good as Jerry Garcia is ... ludicrous! I mean that form of criticism is more fit for a player of my ability i.e. "That Charlesinator is a half-assed blues/rock/country player. I'd love to see him play fandango!" Arguably Eddie Van Halen created his own very popular style of playing and to change that so ... someone ... could consider him to be a peer of Jerry's is ... well I believe ... or I at least hope that you can see how ridiculous that is. Eddie Van Halen pretty much changed how guitar is played. Jerry did not. Would you ask ... say ... Malcom Young to play an entire set of country to be compared to Jerry? An interesting Guitar World article (sorry Jas) had Yngwie Malmsteen fielding questions and some yahoo wanted to know when he was going to do something different??? WTF??? I realize that Eddie, Malcom and Yngwie repesent a compeletely different type of music that someone who likes Jerry probably listens to. Yet one would think that someone who digs Jerry would probably respect someone who stays "true to themselves" as these examples most decidely are.

One last thing Jas if you are still reading your posts, thanks for the articles I know I enjoy them very much. About the Jerry interview ... to be honest it seems like that it may not have been an easy interview. Jerry often seems short with his answers. Did he just not like being interviewed? Could you give some of the behind the scenes of the interview? What was your impression of him in the short amount of thime you sent? I know I'd find your insights enlightening.



[Edited on 10/23/2010 by Charlesinator]

[Edited on 10/23/2010 by Charlesinator]

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 04:34 PM
Hi Charlesinator --

Since you've asked, I can give you a few impressions of that interview with Jerry Garcia. First, he was an intense interview -- far more than Yngwie Malmsteen, who I interviewed for a Guitar Player cover story earlier that same day. I don't think of Jerry as being short with his answers, but rather as being really, really quick with his responses. He locked eyes with me for a long time, and I can vividly remember being grateful at the time that I'd done a lot of interviews, because I had the feeling that if I broke eye contact to look at my list of questions, he might lose interest. Then as he began snorting coke, he became a bit more scattershot. (When I did the original transcript a few weeks ago, I thought about adding "[snorts line]" every time he did it, but there were too many of them.) But never once did he lose his enthusiasm -- I had the impression, as did Jon Sievert, who was there to shoot photos, that he was very enthusiastic about what he was talking about. In my later experiences with Jerry, I found him to be healthier and more sober, but his passion for the music and playing remained the same. My overall impression was that he was good guy, and, like Keith Richards, far more intelligent than people seemed to give him credit for.

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 05:21 PM
quote:
Hi Charlesinator --

Since you've asked, I can give you a few impressions of that interview with Jerry Garcia. First, he was an intense interview -- far more than Yngwie Malmsteen, who I interviewed for a Guitar Player cover story earlier that same day. I don't think of Jerry as being short with his answers, but rather as being really, really quick with his responses. He locked eyes with me for a long time, and I can vividly remember being grateful at the time that I'd done a lot of interviews, because I had the feeling that if I broke eye contact to look at my list of questions, he might lose interest. Then as he began snorting coke, he became a bit more scattershot. (When I did the original transcript a few weeks ago, I thought about adding "[snorts line]" every time he did it, but there were too many of them.) But never once did he lose his enthusiasm -- I had the impression, as did Jon Sievert, who was there to shoot photos, that he was very enthusiastic about what he was talking about. In my later experiences with Jerry, I found him to be healthier and more sober, but his passion for the music and playing remained the same. My overall impression was that he was good guy, and, like Keith Richards, far more intelligent than people seemed to give him credit for.


I thank you as well

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 05:29 PM
Thanks Jas that little tidbit explains alot and unfortunately shows that Jerry and Eddie may have had more in common than the folks here would otherwise think.

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 07:06 PM
quote:


The suggestion of Eddie Van Halen as a "one trick pony" as some form of validation that Eddie Van Halen is not as good as Jerry Garcia is ... ludicrous! I mean that form of criticism is more fit for a player of my ability i.e. "That Charlesinator is a half-assed blues/rock/country player. I'd love to see him play fandango!" Arguably Eddie Van Halen created his own very popular style of playing and to change that so ... someone ... could consider him to be a peer of Jerry's is ... well I believe ... or I at least hope that you can see how ridiculous that is.
Eddie Van Halen is great at being Eddie Van Halen. when he plays Banjo, pedal steel, Acoustic guitar, fits in with jazz, bluegrass, country, pickers as well as rock n roll, then he'll cease to be a "one trick pony". hope this helps.

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 07:25 PM
quote:
Eddie Van Halen is great at being Eddie Van Halen. when he plays Banjo, pedal steel, Acoustic guitar, fits in with jazz, bluegrass, country, pickers as well as rock n roll, then he'll cease to be a "one trick pony". hope this helps.


So in your words, most guitar players are "one trick ponies", unless they meet those parameters. That's quite the qualifications...glad I am just a drummer

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 08:19 PM
I've never really been a fan of EVH I'm much more a fan of Jerry and his style of playing, but you gotta admit EVH has mind boggling skills on the guitar.....

Just because I don't like the songs has nothing to do with his ability to play the instrument

The guy can flat out wail, It's just a different approach and a different direction and audience

 

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  posted on 10/23/2010 at 08:35 PM
I like both EVH and Jerry... neither more than the other

 

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