The transforming experience of Jerry Garcia

“That’s what music should do at it’s best—it should be a transforming experience. The finest, the highest, the best music has that quality of transporting you to other levels of consciousness.” – Jerry Garcia

I’ve always been a fan of the Grateful Dead, but it was only after my internship at Relix magazine (which began as a newsletter for Grateful Dead fans) that I fully understood the impact of Garcia—not just on the counterculture but on the music world. I loved transcribing interviews and hearing artists such as Del McCoury recount experiences with Garcia and listening to musicians from bands like Real Estate and Woods express affinity for the Grateful Dead.

Today would have been Garcia’s 70th birthday. And next week, August 9 will mark the anniversary of his death in 1995. To celebrate and remember Garcia, published an interview with him that originally ran in the August 1995 edition of the publication. It hit stands days before his death. The eight-page piece demonstrates Garcia’s insights into music and art and his good-natured humor. Below are my two favorite quotes from the piece:

I think the audience enjoys it more when it’s a little more of a struggle…The tension between trying to create something and creating something, between succeeding and failing. Tension is a part of what makes music work—tension and release, or if you prefer, dissonance and resonance, or suspension and completion.”

“Humor characterizes consciousness. For me, life would be so empty without humor—it would be unbearable, it would be like life without music.”


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