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Interesting Garcia quote


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I found this in the Dec. 1995 issue of Guitar Player magazine. It was originally from an interview conducted in Oct. 1978. I wish Trey had read it and took it to heart for the Coventry performances...

GP: "Could you say a few words about the merits or disadvantages of playing stoned?"

Jerry: "There's a thing about playing stoned without having pressure on you to play competently. If you have the space in your life where you can be high and play and not be in a critical situation, you can learn a lot of interesting things about yourself and your relation to the instrument and music. We were lucky enough to have an uncritical situation, so it wasn't like a test of how stoned we could be and still be competent - we weren't concerned with being competent. We were more concerned with being high at the time. The biggest single problem from a practical point of view is that obviously your perception of time gets all weird. Now that can be interesting, but from a practical standpoint I try to avoid extremes of any sort, because you have the fundamental problems of playing in tune and playing with everyone else. People have to pay a lot of money to see us, so it becomes a matter of professionalism. You don't want to deliver somebody a clunker just because you're too high. I don't, anyway."

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We were (somewhat) discussing something similiar to this at 40 Main on Friday night... In my opinion, 1995-07-09 is pretty much a "clunker"... Jerry sounds like death walking on the tapes. I know he died shortly after this performance, but it really stands out as a horrible Grateful Dead show...

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Well, by coincidence, although I was living in Ottawa at the time I actually skipped that last Highgate show as it happened to fall on an extremely important occasion that didn't allow me to go. So, although I do seem to recall a bit of suckiness in that show (which I must admit I probably haven't listened to in 8 years) I think I can still safely say that he never sucked when I saw him. To this day, though, I still wish I made it to that show. If I'd only known...

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seems to me you're lucky to have missed it. Definately it was clear to me he was going down hard somehow soon at that show. When I left I left saying it was my last Dead show....surely I would have changed my mind though if he hadn't passed.

ahhh Jerry is still the man :: I wish I had seen JGB......ugh that's on the regret list for certain.

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I only ever saw JGB one time, and it was awesome. I do remember "joking" however after Jerry died, "Sure, everyone's wondering whether the Dead will continue. I want to know if the Jerry Garcia Band will continue." Can you imagine how surprised I was to find out that they actually did?!? Of course, they were called the John Kahn Band ... until like two weeks later when John Kahn bit the big one too! Then, I said, well that must be it. Nope! That was the birth of "JGB", who I think are still playing to this day; are they not? (Talk about a band that refuses to die!)

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Jerry pretty successfully rode that knife's edge for a while. I want to believe that smack made Miles or opened the doors, or acid with Jerry but it's just the entree. I really can't point to anyone who has successfully had an artistic output lasting years while doing hardcore drugs- I mean there are a few examples really but try and name them. You know Lennny Breau is the perfect example- a rarer talent you would not find Canadian or otherwise- but the guy would trip over his own shadow crossing the street. I recall him saying in an interview that the drugs were a seductress for him and they lure you down slowly. First they giveth then they taketh away.

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i think of bands like that as more beer swillin' booze rock.. i mean, im sure they've done their share of drugs, we've all seen Keith Richards' face, but im not sure the intent with their drug use is to achieve the cosmic heightening, like say jerry's intent was. but, who knows, maybe it was, i just dont get that when i hear the stones or AC/DC.

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I get what you're saying Guigsy but let's bear in mind I'm pretty sure Jerry liked the persian because it created a bubble world that was comfortable to occupy. Let's not forget this was a dirty man who didn't bathe all that much and the black shirt had a purpose. The stories in Rock Scully's book of him chasing the dragon with foil in the airplane bathroom and coming out with black soot all over his face are less than flattering. I'm not sure that was for cosmic heightening.

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true.. but at that point he's in an airplane bathroom... not on stage.

i mean, i guess i can use myself as an example.. there are different times and different headspaces for my own personal drug use.. sometimes i just wanna get down and dirty and have a good time, other times i wanna do some writing and use that as a creative tool... when im doing photography i dont like to go too over the top with it, but a little bit of something or other will often open my eyes to different perspective, or at least allow myself the confidence to try something i wouldnt have otherwise tried.

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What about your boys, kung? The guys in Ween have apparently recorded albums high on glue, etc. No enlightenment there, just straight getting fu©ked up... Are you now going to argue that what they do/did is somehow different or better than what, say, Jerry did in his pursuit of happiness? Or say that they're on a downward slope? Everyone I talk to says Quebec was one of their best albums ever... Clearly this is a person to person issue, and not smething that can blanket the entire scope of musicians in general... Some people can handle their partying better than others...

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The stories in Rock Scully's book of him chasing the dragon with foil in the airplane bathroom and coming out with black soot all over his face are less than flattering. I'm not sure that was for cosmic heightening.

The guys in Ween have apparently recorded albums high on glue, etc. No enlightenment there, just straight getting fu©ked up... Are you now going to argue that what they do/did is somehow different or better than what, say, Jerry did in his pursuit of happiness?

del, i know you're addressing zero here, but i think you guys are saying the same thing. thats its not necessarily always about taking the music to the next level, whether it was in an airplane bathroom, or the studio.

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no, i got ya Del, and maybe im just reading to far into all of it, but i thought it was already answered... that while yes, sometimes the drugs are used to enhance the music, its not necessarily always the case... which i think is what zero was saying in his remark about the airplane bathroom... now, if you're trying to get at that you think ween used glue as a creative tool, then i can see why i am misinterpreting you, but i thought you were getting at the fact that although they used glue, it wasnt to enhance the music, it was just to get fu©ked up.... which is kinda the same sentiment... thats all... but then, maybe i should let zero answer for himself.. haha... im just sayin how i read it is all..

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At least as far as Ween is concerned, I think that they play amazing music despite being as wasted as they often are. I think that Ween almost sees it as a challenge or a game to see how many different things and just how much of any one thing they can ingest on stage and still rock. They have been pretty much doing the same thing since they were teenagers, so they never really grew out of it.

The Dead and others, I think, were out to "expand their consciousness". I'm not quite sure that anyone can say what that means, but I think it's different than partying your face off, like I think Ween has been doing for their whole lives.

Either way; I always loved Jerry's music, and I continue to love Ween, in whatever condition they played.

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