Fader Magazine’s Icon Issue Celebrates Jerry Garcia

jerry-garcia.jpgThe upcoming issue of the hipster music rag Fader explores something I have discussed several times on these pages in the past: the vast, popular, misconception of Jerry Garcia and the legacy of the Grateful Dead. I have long believed them to be one of the more misunderstood groups of the past 40 years, whose music and image is sadly enshrouded in tye-dye, dancing bears, and a few tunes on ‘classic rock’ radio. Peel back the bullshit and you’ll find an unexpected trove of brilliance.

“Their music touches on ground that most other groups don’t even know exists.” — Lenny Kaye

The band, and it’s reluctant leader, have been profiled, both on and offline, numbering in the thousands, so why is the Fader coverage worth noting? Because of it’s reach. Having Garcia grace the cover of the magazines third annual “Icons” issue can, and will, introduce the band to an audience either to young, or too close-minded, to care in the past. The Dead’s influence, whether direct or indirect, can be heard on half of the “indie”, “experimental” albums that are being regarded as so fresh and groundbreaking today. Whether it’s Animal Collective or Comets On Fire, the Dead tread in those steps long before. Be it folk, country, bluegrass, electronic (yes), rock & roll, jazz or noise rock the Grateful Dead and Garcia’s solo work explored it all and then some.

Via Media Bistro: “There are so many misconceptions and prejudices regarding Jerry and his legacy,” says editor Alex Wagner. “We wanted to dig deep and show our readers that he’s an incredibly relevant and inspiring figure – an honest to goodness rock star who very much deserves his place in the canon of modern music.”

The issue will reportedly feature in depth interviews with bandmates, insiders, contemporaries, as well as those whose music has been influenced by the band.

MP3: Jerry Garcia :: That’s What Love Will Make You Do (San Francisco, 1976)
Jerry Garcia Band :: Don’t Let Go (San Francisco, 1976)
MP3: Jerry Garcia Band :: Mission In The Rain (San Francisco, 1976)

Video: Grateful Dead :: Mountains Of The Moon (Live 1969 – Playboy After Dark)
Video: Grateful Dead :: St. Stephen (Live 1969 – Playboy After Dark)
Video: Jerry Garcia & Bob Weir :: Interview (1987 on David Letterman)
Fader 46 DJ Mix: MP3
Available on Newsstands and iTunes: Podcast Here
Amazon: Jerry Garcia Band – Don’t Let Go (Orpheum Theatre, SF 1976)

www.dead.net ++ www.jerrygarcia.com ++ grateful dead on archive.org ++ emusic

+ Download tunes through eMusic’s 25 Free MP3 offer.
+ Visit The Hype Machine for additional Grateful Dead MP3s.

16 thoughts on “Fader Magazine’s Icon Issue Celebrates Jerry Garcia

  1. I have a version of the kid’s song “Teddy Bear Picnic”, I think I got it from IAFYAF or some other blog, and it is so ‘out of character’ for JG that most folks would laugh it off. But the horns and banjo are superb. That guy was a gem.

  2. I wrote off the Dead years ago thanks to, ironically enough, not the hippies at my high school (there were none) but the preppy, Dave Matthews Band crowd. I won’t embarass myself by listing the bands I eschewed (or in some cases, still avoid) because of other people, but finally my last gf turned me around by getting me to listen to American Beauty and, on my own, picking up a copy of Workingman’s Dead. Gorgeous records, even if I still would rather punch myself in the face than listen to “Truckin'” ever again.

  3. Jerry=Love.
    One of the misconceptions about the Dead is they were trippy-dippy hippies, but they are in reality closer to Beatniks in age and philosophy. Smart, well read, artistic and wildly individualistic-Jerry, his bandmates and songwriters are still influential in many and varied fields. Phil Lesh with his interest in electronics, developed a bass guitar with a better tonal scale. Mickey Hart was a key contributer to The Smithsonian Institute’s field recordings of primitive music and drumming. Bob’s writing partner, John Perry Barlow, founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization which promotes freedom of expression in digital media. It’s said that Jerry provided seed money for over 200 Bay Area businesses…the list goes on and on. Part of the reason they toured constantly was because the organization supported so many families it was a financial imperative. Can’t wait to read the Fader article…thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  4. As usual, great write-up – I couldn’t agree more. I have always loved the Dead and no one should deny the incredible chemistry they had or the amazing songs they produced … although people always do.

    Jerry really wanted to play bluegrass more than rock – he would retreat to David Grisman’s house to get away from the Dead scene. It’s too bad he didn’t retreat there more often. Grisman said that Garcia wanted out from the scene, but felt like too many people depended on him to keep it going. “Teddy Bear Picnic” came from one of those sessions with Grisman, it’s on their “Not For Kids Only” disc.

  5. Well said – I’ve been arguing this point for awhile. As a recovering Jam band fan its disappointing to see that the Dead doesn’t get due credit for being influential in the birth of alt-country the way the Byrds and Dylan’s post-accident 60’s albums do. I think its common to judge a band by their fans (and later day extravagances). No one discredits pet sounds because the beach boys guested (several times) on Full House.

  6. Great post. It’s funny I was watching the St. Stephen performance on you Tube last week and thinking about how interesting how much they restrained it for the tv audience. I’m gonna have to pick up this issue of the Fader. The Dead are perpetually underrated in critical circles and its a shame. However, I do think that younger generations who will be unburdened from having to see the Dead’s aged hippie fanbase following Jerry around through the late 80s and 90s will keep their reputation afloat. I consider them my favorite american band.

  7. It’s nice to see Jerry and/or the Dead get some recognition from people or publications outside of the Jam universe. I’m sick and tired of hearing people automatically dismiss the Dead, not of anything musical, but because of the community surrounding them. As another recovering Jam Band fan, I have to say that while their fan base can be polarizing, it should be the quality of their music that stand above all else. There’s no denying in my mind that they wera and still are one of the most influential and important bands in the history of rock & roll. American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead are two of my favorite albums. Those as well as the numerous concert bootlegs show how varied and distinctive a band they actually were.

  8. Decided to dust off American Beauty for the first time in awhile… is there a more heartbreaking one two punch than Ripple and Brokedown Palace. I remember reading that the band (especially Phil Lesh) were going through a pretty emotional time at that period with several of them losing family members… mama mama many worlds I’ve known since I first left home

  9. “recovering jam band fans”

    what…liking jambands? is it a disease or something?

    how about saying:

    “Now that i have expanded my musical interests beyond the jam band scene, I…”

    you guys sure have done a good job co-opting the pretentious tone of indie rock loving wannabes

    my favorite quotes from you “recovering” jambanders:

    “but finally my last gf turned me around by getting me to listen to American Beauty and, on my own, picking up a copy of Workingman’s Dead. Gorgeous records,”


    “Decided to dust off American Beauty for the first time in awhile”

    do you guys need me to send you some soundboards because it is quite funny hearing you talk “knowingly” of the dead and reference two studio albums

    good luck to you all on your recovery, i am going to dance with some cute hippy girls!

  10. Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir were, and still are, my guitar heroes. Something was lost during the mid-seventies that made the Dead special to begin with, but occasionally that brilliance would come forth. Another great album worth mentioning was their live Dead Reckoning that was the acoustic counterpart to the electric Dead Set album. It mixed their own material with a long list of traditional folk songs. The band was tight and focused and clearly having fun. Only the Garcia/Grisman stuff ever matched up to that great collection of tunes. There’s an acoustic version of “Bird Song” that is nothing short of sublime!

  11. Stuart,

    I, for one, admittedly don’t know much about the Dead. But I also find a lot of the live stuff I’ve listened to just a bit beyond my liking and somewhat tedious. It’s something my tastes just don’t gravitate towards. Thus, my mentioning of American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead.

  12. Thanks for posting this, I agree completely about the misunderstood legacy of Jerry and the mighty Grateful Dead. Also misunderstood, as evidenced by some posts here, is the breadth and depth of the people in the band’s fanbase. I count many hard core deadheads in my group of close friends, none of whom wear tie-dye or have dreadlocks. Deadheads are some of the most dedicated, genuine, music-loving people on the planet, any band would kill to have an audience like them.

  13. To quote Greatest Story Ever Told: “Ain’t One in 10,000 that comes for the show”. Like all great craftsmen the material just gets better with age. Saw an interesting not on a job board this week from a guy name Mark Candella that referenced Dark Star Orchestras cover of the Barton Hall show 5/8/77. There are so many great shows but the second set on this one will make the hair stand on the back of your neck. Another favorite is Veneta Oregon from 70-71.

    The band was not great at the end but Jerry interestingly was writing better material as he got older. So Many Roads among several of them from near the end is great.

    Jerry in somewhere up above sololing with John Kahn and running riffs up against Miles and John Coltrane. Janis is laying down a soulful lyric and that band just keeps getting better all the time.

    When George Harrison died my brothers and I saw Hot Tuna play the next day and they covered the song “A Life Well Lived”. Amen Brothers! These were all lives well lived.

    “Does God Look Down on The Boys from the Barroom” – Hunter

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