Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 9th, 1995...

Okay, so I am a week and a half or so late on this one, but it was something I did not want to write on the fly. I beg your indulgence.
What can I say ? As much as I had dreaded that day, and yet knew that it was probably going to come sooner than expected, it still knocked me for a loop. It still does. It's weird, but I still miss him. Yet, I had never actually MET him. But he was (and remains) a major part of my life. The music, the sense of humor. The guitar. Christ, that guitar playing. Way underrated, if you ask me. I think he is so much considered this iconic, shamanistic figure, that the pure musicianship is lost in the shuffle. On a good night, I don't think there were many better than Jerry. Of course, as a rider of the so-called "bus", I may be a bit biased. Sue me.
I still hate how I found out that he died. I was working an awful job at an awful place, and I did not listen to the radio much in those days(still don't really, I guess).I was at work, and my boss came in to work, and I heard him saying over and over again..."Is he wearing it ? Is he wearing it ?"
He came over to my desk and said, "Are you wearing your Jerry Garcia tie ?"
"No", I answered. "Why?"
"Because he's dead." he replied.
And that was how I found out. I wasn't on the web at all in those days, so I found a radio, and that confirmed it. it was almost like he was gleeful about it. I mean, what the fuck ? So, on top of it being shitty news, I found out in a shitty, shitty way. I would not have thought there would be a way to make that news hurt more, but he found it.
I was really numb the rest of the day. I drove home. My Mom called, and my brother called, to see how I was, which I thought was very sweet of them. People were acting like a friend had died, which, of course, was true(in my head anyway) but I never really expected anyone else to react to me that way. it helped.
I played a lot of Dead tunes, smoked a lot of cigarettes, drank a couple of beers, and just sat in the courtyard of our apartment building in Los Angeles. I did not go to any of the vigils or anything, it just felt too personal to me.
I have gone through a lot of emotions since that day: anger at his being gone, regret that I had not seen more shows, would not see any more. But most of all, I am grateful(pardon the pun)... I am Grateful that the bus came by...that I got on...That I can enjoy this music from this band in my own way, that I found somewhere to belong. Thanks, Jerry. I still miss you, brother.
"Fare you well
Fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul..."- "Brokedown Palace"- Garcia/Hunter


Jennifer said...

I was in my friends basement and saw it on the news. That was better than how you found out. At least the news reporter seemed sad and didn't just blurt it out like a $#@&ing moron. I didn't go to any of the big vigils either. I considered it but it seemed too large. I guess, yeah, too large is how I'd explain it. I think what you said about getting on the bus; that's the most important thing. I'm always surprised when people don't like the Dead because it just seems like they're missing out on so much peace and fun and on and on, well you know.

Good post :)

Brokedown rules!

a.k.a. Zooomabooma said...

Hey bro, good post indeed. I didn't dwell on 8/9 this year. It's a tough day. I could, theoretically, type 2,000 or more words on that day... maybe someday I will. I had seen Ratdog the night before in NYC... life was sweet. I was on the last plane out of NYC for Florida where my dad lived at the time, was gonna hang out and visit him for awhile before heading back out west for Devore and I think Shoreline. Anyway, I was in Florida and my brother called early that morning. Said to my dad that Jerry died. My yelled it to me from the other room. Yeah, whatever, I laughed it off as all a joke. But i was nervous. Few minutes later I hopped in the car to go to the store for cereal. The classic rock station was playing Ripple. And then Loose Lucy or something. And I knew it was true. Classic rock radio stations play Truckin, Casey Jones, and Touch of Grey. Ripple and Loose Lucy at like 8 in the morning? I knew someone at the store, a fellow Deadhead, and I headed over to see if he was workin the deli and just one glance at him and it sunk in 'cause he was as shot to hell as I was. I went to the cereal aisle and it took me something like 20 minutes to pick out one goddamn box of cereal. I couldn't focus. I was gone.

Anyway... sucks just thinking this much about it. And last night I listened to and reviewed a Hornsby show, 4/12/96 at the Fillmore, first time Bruce and Bobby and Phil played together since summer tour the year before. Brought back some of the same damn feelings of missing Jerry. Great show, though!

Garciya later, mon...

Helen said...

Rock on Brother~

Sarah Creek said...

Great post. I was literally introduced to this band by a friend who said "Hey, this band's guitarist died the exact day you were born!"

It seems that I have friends *full* of tact.

The music's still strong, even under the circumstances, and more power towards those mourning.