Aug 21, 2020

September 1967: Jerry Garcia Interview

(unpublished interview by Frank Kofsky, from Dead Studies vol. 1)  


  1. The Grateful Dead Studies Association has posted some articles from its journals on its website, and among them is this fascinating piece with Garcia, one of his lengthiest interviews from 1967. (Since the article can be downloaded, I've just included the link here - this post is only a pointer.)

    Nicholas Meriwether writes that Frank Kofsky was "a professor of history at California State University-Sacramento [and] an active music journalist, contributing frequently to Jazz & Pop magazine." The interview, done sometime in early September '67, was meant for that magazine but not published. (Jazz & Pop would run some other articles on the Dead over the next few years, though.)
    Kofsky has a good rapport with Garcia and is a very agreeable interviewer; it's more of a dialogue.
    Bob Weir appears as well, but doesn't add much. ("Were you going to add anything, Bob?" "Oh no, not at all.")

    Garcia talks about a wide range of topics, including:
    - the band living together in a communal environment, and learning how to play together,
    - the Dead family and the San Francisco musical scene,
    - his folk-music background and how bad rock music was before the Beatles,
    - the problem with modern jazz becoming an art music, and the importance of dancing,
    - the relation of jazz to the Dead,
    - the value of playing free outdoor shows without rules, and their origins in Olompali,
    - the importance of not being successful, and the supportive local audience,
    - his admiration of Cream (and relative lack of enthusiasm for Hendrix or Zappa),
    - his dislike of topical music,
    - the recent great shows in Detroit & Ann Arbor versus how awful Los Angeles is to play in,
    - and plans for the next album.

  2. I checked this interview against the entire Grateful Dead Guide show list and could up with nothing new except verification that JG went to listen to Zappa during the long June Cafe-a-Go-Go run in NYC

  3. I found the "next album" part interesting, alluding to the ground-breaking Anthem of the Sun:

    "We’re thinking of doing parts of the next album live. We’re also
    gonna try doing stuff with combining live and studio. And this time we’re
    gonna go in and fuck around, you know? Last time we went in four days
    straight and just played our shit. And that was it. And it didn’t—I didn’t
    like it. None of us liked it. This time we’ll spend some time at it. We’ve
    got some nice heavy material and good ideas."