Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

"Truth is something you stumble into when you think you're going some place else." - Jerry Garcia

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As the leader of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia was the driving creative force behind one of the most famous and most popular rock acts of the century. Forever a master of versatility, he was almost always busy with an array of eclectic side projects in bluegrass and folk.

Garcia was born in San Francisco in 1942. He dropped out of high school to join the army, but he quickly realized he did not enjoy the intense discipline of a military lifestyle. After returning to his hometown, Garcia bought a banjo and began to play bluegrass with local bands.

It was one of these groups Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions that would eventually evolve into the Grateful Dead.

It wasn't long before the Dead had established a reputation as a fantastic live act.

During the late 60's, the band toured almost constantly, and quickly attracted a rabid fan base. In the 70's, the band returned to its folk origins with the albums Workingman's Dead, and American Beauty. During the same period, Garcia appeared with dozens of other artists, and began recording and performing as a solo musician.

He was also a founding member of the bluegrass group Old and in the Way, which also included David Grisman, Vassar Clements, and John Kahn.

In the 80's and early 90's the Grateful Dead continued to tour and record, cementing their status as one of the century's most successful live acts. After Garcia's death in 1995, the Dead officially announced their disbandment.

Throughout his many years as bandleader, musician, and rock legend, Jerry Garcia led the Grateful Dead through many changes on the road to success, but never let go of his original intentions. His innumerable undertakings demonstrate how versatile he was as a musician, but even more importantly, they show how he did not let his enormous success dampen his creativity or narrow the scope of his musical inclinations.

* Some of the Grateful Dead's fan base, known as deadheads, were so devoted that they committed their entire lives to following the Dead from concert to concert. They often made money by selling small handcrafted items in the parking lots outside performance venues prior to each concert.

* Jerry Garcia severed his right middle finger chopping wood as a youth, but still managed to play piano, guitar, and a variety of stringed instruments with impressive dexterity.

* In 1987, ice cream manufacturers Ben and Jerry honored Garcia, when they named one of their flavors 'Cherry Garcia', after the musician.

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