Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia, 1942 - 1995

portrait of Jerry Garcia
Performing at New Haven, CT. Photo by Carl Lender (29 May 1995)

Born: 1 August 1942, San Francisco, California
Died: 9 August 1995, Forest Knolls, California

Four-year-old "Jerry" lost most of his right middle finger to an axe wielded by his brother splitting kindling on a camping trip. After his father drowned in a 1947 fishing accident, the Garcia children were raised by their maternal grandparents. At fifteen, "Jerry" was given an accordion, he pleaded for, and got, an electric guitar instead. After stealing his mother's car in 1960 he agreed to join the Army but was discharged in less than a year after eight AWOLs and two courts martial. After a severe auto accident, he camped with friends at Palo Alto and started meeting and playing with the musicians who would become Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, morphing into The Warlocks, who changed their name in 1965 to The Grateful Dead after learning of another band using the name. Garcia learned to play the banjo and pedal steel guitar; he played, sang, and sometimes produced music with many other bands and musicians as well as the Jerry Garcia Band. He was involved in over fifty albums of bluegrass, blues, country, jazz, gospel, and reggae with artists including Jefferson Airplane, Warren Zevon, Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan, and many others. Garcia and the Dead lived and performed in the Haight Ashbury and participated the drug scene of the time. Drugs were a significant intermittent factor in Garcia's life and probably contributed to his diabetes and other medical problems. He actually was in bed at a drug treatment center when his fatal heart attack occurred.

Biography from Wikipedia and Mad Guitar Licks

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