So I'll just say I love you, which I never said before...
I never set out to love the Grateful Dead, no, in fact I probably don't truly love the Dead in any specific sense, so to speak. I fell in love with Jerry Garcia. When Jerry sings there might not be a better sound in the universe. When you hear those first pickings of Jerry's unique brand of guitar work...well, same. I never got that vibe from Weir. I never got as hung up on a Dead song that didn't have Jerry front and center. Not that I don't love everything that the band ever did, but nothing struck me down to my core as much as the sound of Jerry's voice. So in that regard, I'm not exactly a Deadhead. I am, however, as fully committed to worshipping at the church of Jerry as anyone. No one sinks deeper into my psyche than Jerry Garcia.
Sixteen years ago today Jerry died. It was only six weeks after the band played the Palace of Auburn Hills here in Michigan, and I skipped it for some vague, unremembered reason. I've regretted it every day since August 9th, 1995. Truth be told, I regretted it the very minute after I made my decision.
If you've never fallen into the bottomless hole that is a deep, deep affection for the Grateful Dead, or Jerry Garcia, then maybe you need to start right now. I've been listening to Standing on the Moon, and Black Muddy River all day, and of course, you shouldn't skip Ripple, but in the end it's up to you to find your favorite.
It sounds hokey, sure, and I understand the stereotypes and even the hesitation to join the less than glamorous legions of the Dead, but it's what resonates inside your head and heart that matters most, and for me that was Jerry. Even now I use his voice to ease my mind, to soothe the savage beast that is anxiety or uneasiness. It's not just the music. Sometimes it's an interview, sometimes it's just reading something about him. I don't much believe in prophets, nor do I deify the Dead in any way, but there's just something about Jerry that always helped make everything okay for me.
Today's just another day, but kinda not really. For me it's a chance to remind myself that even the best of things come to an end, but the music can never stop.