Jerry Garcia

Remembering Jerry Garcia

Happy birthday
August 1, 1942

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

Jerome John Garcia was born in San Francisco, CA. His father was Jose “Joe” Garcia, his mother, “Bobbie” Garcia. Brother "Tiff."

Joe Garcia loved music, especially jazz, and played woodwinds and clarinet.

In the spring of 1947 when Jerry was four, his brother Tiff accidentally chopped off a large part of Jerry's middle right finger. Later that year, Joe Garcia drowned  while on a fishing trip.

Jerry and brother Tiff moved in with Bobbie's parents, Tillie and William Clifford. While living with them the boys enjoyed great autonomy. It was also during this time that Jerry's third grade teacher encouraged the artistic side of Jerry. Jerry started to play the banjo.

Bobbie remarries…

In the early 50s, like so many other young Americans, Jerry discovers early rock 'n' roll: Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, BB King,  and others.

In 1957 for his fifteenth birthday, his mother and step-father gave Jerry an accordion. Not what he wanted, he complained until they exchanged the accordion for an electric guitar.

Brief military career and 1961

He joined the Army  in April, 1960, but the Army and he realized they were incompatible. He left that December.

In 1961, Jerry met a couple of people who would have a big impact on his future: Robert Hunter and David Nelson.

More people & Mother McCree’s

In early 1962 Jerry met Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh, and, in December, Bob Weir.

Jerry continued to play and by 1964 Jerry, Pigpen, and Weir form Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions (with Dave Parker, Tom Stone, and Dave Garbett).

Warlocks > Dead

In 1965, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann joined Jerry, Pigpen, and Bob to form The Warlocks. Their first show is at Magoo’s Pizza in Menlo Park, CA.

In December, The Warlocks changed their name to Grateful Dead and performed their first of many shows as the house band at a Ken Kesey Acid Test in San Jose, CA. . Garcia was 23; Lesh, 25; Pigpen, 20; Weir, 18; and Kreutzmann, 19.

Long strange trip

The Grateful Dead would play over 2300 shows until their last on July 9, 1995, at Chicago’s Soldier Field. A month later, on August 9, 1995 Jerry Garcia died.

Over his life, Jerry Garcia was addicted to several things. Luckily for us, one of those addictions was music. In addition to the 2300 Dead shows, Jerry seemingly played continuously with his own band (Legion of Mary, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Jerry Garcia and Friends, Jerry Garcia Band, and many more) or sat in with other bands (Mickey and the Heartbeats, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and many more).

Happy birthday Jerry. We thank you for your eternal music.

Atlantic City Pop Festival

Atlantic City Pop Festival

August 1, 2, & 3, 1969
Atlantic City Racetrack, Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City Pop Festival

Atlantic City Pop Festival

The Atlantic City Pop Festival of 1969. The penultimate festival. This is 1969's 24th festival, the first occurring back in May with the Aquarian Family Festival. On my list of festivals for that summer, Atlantic City's is the last before THE Woodstock Music and Art Fair in mid-August.

Nice mixed line-up          

There are not many criticisms about the Woodstock line-up. The typical statement those who both were and were not there is that it was the greatest line-up ever. Of course, that's not true. And greatness is, of course again, in the ear of the listener.

For all the great acts that appeared at Woodstock, it did not have the mix that the Atlantic City Pop Festival had.

Friday 1 August

  • Biff Rose*
  • Aum
  • Lothar and the Hand People
  • Booker T. & The M.G.s
  • Chicago Transit Authority
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Iron Butterfly
  • Johnny Winter
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Procol Harum
  • Santana Blues Band
  • The Chambers Brothers*
  • Tracy Nelson & Mother Earth

Saturday 2 August

  • American Dream
  • BB King
  • Butterfield Blues Band
  • The Byrds
  • The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Hugh Masekela
  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Lighthouse
  • Cass Elliot
  • Tim Buckley.

Sunday 3 August

  • Buddy Rich
  • Canned Heat
  • Buddy Miles
  • Dr. John
  • Janis Joplin
  • Joe Cocker
  • Little Richard
  • Sir Douglas Quintet
  • The Mothers Of Invention
  • Three Dog Night
The reason a few band's names are crossed out is that although scheduled, they did not appear. Crosby, Stills, and Nash because of Nash's illness; Johnny Winter because his equipment didn't arrive on time; and though Joni Mitchell did sing a few songs, the audience was not as receptive as she wanted and she walked off. Biff Rose, the festival's MC, filled in and so became part of the list. 

Joni was certainly not going to compose an ode to Atlantic City after that experience!

Notice the names like Buddy Rich, the Mothers of Invention, BB King, Hugh Masekela, and Procol Harum. Great choices and there were no equivalents at Woodstock.

The differences

The differences between the two events are even fewer than the differences between it and other similar festivals that summer. Most had great line ups. Most were multiple days. And AC was in the NY media's circle of coverage: a great advantage that Woodstock also had.

The Atlantic City Pop Festival was in a race-track. No camping as at Woodstock, thus much less an opportunity for attendee to bond and become part of a whole weekend. 

Estimates are about 100,000 people attended each day. A great number, but far less than the "astronomic" half-million in Bethel.

Finally, like nearly ever other festival that summer, there is no audio or visual record of the event. Over the years, various people have written their impressions, but the organizers did not do more that create a great weekend. 

Woodstock

Woodstock Ventures did not set out to create a legacy by filming and recording their event, but in my opinion, their festival would simply be another one on that summer's long list of festivals had they not done those things.