Talk:Jerry Garcia

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Jerry Garcia:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Copyedit : Improving of any unclear and misleading language, as well as typos.
  • Expand : Biographical info related to children and timeline of marriages and relationships is confused and needs clarification.
Priority 5

Most intently studied?[edit]

From the article:

He has become one of the most intently studied musicians in history.

Really? By whom? Do we have a reference on this? Has he been studied more in the last 40 years than, for instance, Mozart has been studied in the last 200? --Doradus 02:17, Dec 10, 2004 (UTC)

How many musicians do you know from the last 200 years? Mozart tribute orchestras? Compared to those who study Zappa? It's a lot easier to study Garcia than Mozart. Good point, I can't dispute it, but I think the statement is totally inaccurate but you could do a lot better than Mozart. Green Day is more studied than Mozart.

Ok, now it says "one of the most studied 20th Century rock musicians". I still don't buy it. Can't anyone find a reference for this? If not, we need to delete it. --Doradus 02:43, Mar 18, 2005 (UTC)

I've played with many,many guitarists for over 20 years and I don't recall one of them citing Garcia as an influence-- the "most studied" comment has to be over the top. --TW

There have been numerous examples of Grateful Dead related graduate thesis, Dead lyrics and subculture studies at the University of California Berkeley and Santa Cruz campuses (see one of the links in this article). Also note the discussion pages on www.archive.org's Grateful Dead link. Name one other contemporary musician who has virtually every live performance (approximately 2500) as free downloadable material on the internet, with ongoing discussion posts over a particular performance of a particular song on a given night 28 years ago. Musical tastes of TW's guitar buds notwithstanding, I think this certainly qualifies Garcia as "one of the most studied" rock musicians, especially when using the 21st century frame of reference as an internet encyclopedia well should. --MTC

Fine. Find one of those theses that's been peer-reviewed and cite it if you want to make the assertion that Garcia is widely studied. Whether or not lots of your friends, or mine, or even I myself has been influenced by Garcia to whatever extent is irrelevant to an encyclopedia article. Whether or not we can name another guitarist with 2500 free downloadable shows available for study (and we can name at least one--Bob Weir), availability of study material does not necessariliy mean that people are studying it. To infer from his longstanding popularity and sufficiency of recorded material that Garcia is widely studied and hugely influential may actually be a valid inference, but until that inference is made by a published, peer-reviewed source, it is mere conjecture and has no place here.
JSC ltd 21:58, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The last point is well taken. Wiki is an online encyclopedia, not a blog, and any "one of the most" is inherently opinion (unless it's a quote or cited paraphrase.) "One of the most" sets up the writer as the arbiter of who are what belongs in which group(s.) HOWEVER... that said... most of the assertions that have been made above, on an intuitive level, are off target. Santa Cruz has an enormous Grateful Dead archive... one of the largest ever compiled on any musical entity (e.g., performer, composer, band, etc.), and, quite clearly (though I cite no "authority" is averring this), Jerry Garcia IS one of the most studied musicians of the 20th century. [We just don't happen to have an authority to cite on that, and thus the reason that it shouldn't be part of this Wiki entry.] When I say that, I have no idea how many people have run their fingers over fretboards trying to copy his solos (like Steve Vai has done with Zappa's solos... and transcribed them.) The study of Jerry Garcia's life and music... through reading, listening and performace... is actually a real study at the universities listed above [NB: I fact checked that.]

Since this is a talk page and not an entry, let me make a point about the idea of "studied." When I studied music at Tufts and New England Conservatory... we certainly studied classical composers... but there weren't whole classes devoted to studying a particular jazz, blues or rock artist. I'm quite sure that's the case for most music schools and music departments. Regardless of whether or not this "one of the most" statement was valid, I'd like to point out to those who spoke out above that "study" isn't necessarily a music performance class, studying with a teacher, copying solos, reading a book, listening to music, etc. It's ALL of those things. I'm not a student of the Grateful Dead... but I can see where the conservatory guys would say that that he's not "studied"... I can see where sir lix-a-lot guitarists would say that he's not "studied"... and I could see where pop music listeners would say that he's not "studied." Clearly, you wrap up the whole package and the guy is mondo studied. Sorry for the lecture; just wanted to share my thoughts. --SJC 11.30.08, 9.15 AM PST

At one point Garcia was in the Guinness Book of World Records as having physically played the guitar in front of more people than any other guitarist in history..as a result of perfoming with the Dead and his own bands..this is a pretty good argument that he has influenced more guitar players than anyone else as such..I`m not stating it as fact just pointing out something obvious..I am serching for the reference. Lonepilgrim007 (talk) 06:13, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

The Warlocks[edit]

The band called The Warlocks that inspired the band that became the Grateful Dead to change their name has been the source of much speculation on both this article and the Grateful Dead article. Some guess that the band in question consisted of members of what would become The Velvet Underground; others suppose that it included a little ol' bass player and a little ol' drummer from Texas. The problem with both of these assertions is that neither has been verified. If there is a source for either speculation, please cite it. If you can't cite a source, don't include the material. JSC ltd 15:34, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I recognize this text from liner notes of an album I own or used to own. My CD's are all boxed up on the attic these days so I'm not going to try to dig it out, and I don't recall the exact title. Vadagh (talk) 13:14, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Ancestry[edit]

Is there anything at stake in labelling his paternal ancestry Spanish or Galician? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.208.157.86 (talk) 16:20, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

The distinction is significant to some people, and, since Garcia's paternal grandparents were Galician, that part of the article should probably stay the way it is. Mudwater (Talk) 23:21, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
It's like the difference between Sardinian and Italian, or between being Cajun and American. Peeople from these places are proud of their regional/subcultural/linguistic identities. Badagnani (talk) 23:59, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Right. Also, that sentence in the article has been edited a number of times, including once since my previous comment. The latest iteration is the best yet, I think -- accurate, and with good links, but without belaboring the point: "Jerry Garcia's ancestry was [[Galician people|Galician]], [[Irish people|Irish]], and [[Swedish people|Swedish]]," with a footnote. (See also Talk:Jerry Garcia/Archive 1#Blanking of heritage.) Mudwater (Talk) 11:19, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Not trying to start anything, but does it matter that Garcia himself spoke of his ancestry as Spanish? "My family was a singing family, on the Spanish side, every time there was a party everybody sang." [1] 217.208.157.86 (talk) 17:11, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I believe it was previously in the article that both his grandfather and father were recent immigrants from Galicia, where they were seafarers. That's all gone now, and I don't think that's a "best yet" encyclopedic treatment of his paternal heritage. His maternal heritage is also interesting, yet also basically missing. Badagnani (talk) 14:44, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
If more detail were provided about Garcia's paternal ancestry, it would be fine to call him "Spanish," then describe in more detail the region from whence his grandfather (and, I believe, also his father) came. However, although I have requested this level of detail about his father and mother, this information has not been added. Thus, with the very brief sentence about his ancestry, Galicia (which is treated in some details in sources about Garcia, which discuss his heritage) is important to note, as it's a very distinct cultural and linguistic region of Spain. Badagnani (talk) 17:21, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

It is fine to emphasize the Galician ancestry as opposed to Spanish (even though in order to be Galician you have to be Spanish) but not the specific Irish or Swedish regionalisms from his mother's side. The article doesn't specify from where in Ireland or Sweden his mother's family is from but it goes out of its way to make it seem like Jerry didn't have Spanish ancestry. The reason is clear and simple, being of Irish or Swedish is acceptable in America, being Spanish is not. White Americans have a deep fear/hatred of anything that smacks of Spain or the Spanish language. By the way, "Garcia" is a very Castillian-Spanish surname, it is not a Gailican surname, so go figure —Preceding unsigned comment added by 125.14.118.222 (talk) 16:21, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

You said: "White Americans have a deep fear/hatred of anything that smacks of Spain"... Huh? I'm gonna throw a double you tee eff question mark exclamation point question mark at that. I might know people who have issues with Mexico, and their immigration... but I have NEVER (and I literally mean NEVER) heard anyone complain about Spaniards. I actually agree with you that such a strong delineation shouldn't be made between a nation, and its constituent parts, but to say this article is structured the way it is because American's have a problem with the Spanish is just absurd. So absurd that it almost requires the usage of words inappropriate for wikipedia. The reason for the specificity is simply because people who think they're smarter than they actually are think it makes them sound smart to differentiate between things like nations, and cultural regions. It doesn't... but that's why they aren't as smart as they think they are. Wikipedia is full of examples where articles suffer from edits made by smart people who think they're REALLY smart (or at least smart people who think they know how to write well). Don't assume that every thing you disagree with was intended antagonistically. A man wont get far with that attitude. 207.154.101.137 (talk) 10:45, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm changing the sentence, from "Jerry Garcia's ancestry was Galician, Irish, and Swedish," to "Jerry Garcia's ancestry was Galician (Spanish), Irish, and Swedish." The article used to say "Spanish" and then that was changed to "Galician". I'm confident that the previous editor was not anti-Spanish but rather showing pride in Galicia. But I think the new version makes it easier for the average reader to understand. As it says in the Spanish people article, which I'm also adding a link to, "Spain itself consists of various regional nationalities including the Castilians, the Catalans, Valencians and Balearics (speakers of Catalan, a distinct Romance language in eastern Spain), the Navarro-Basques and the Basques (a distinct people inhabiting the Basque country and Navarre), and the Galicians, who speak a language which is very close to Portuguese. Regional diversity is important to many Spaniards, and some regions (other than the ones associated with the different nationalities) also have strong local identities and dialects such as Asturias, Aragon, the Canary Islands, and Andalusia." Mudwater (Talk) 21:50, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
It needs a reference that is verifiable; the link was dead. --John (talk) 03:20, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I've added a reference, from Blair Jackson's book Garcia: An American Life. Here's the beginning of chapter 1: "La Coruña is a small, picturesque seaport on Spain's rugged northwest Atlantic coast. This isn't the sun-drenched Costa del Sol glamorized in postcards and guidebooks — that's hundreds of miles to the south on the Mediterranean. Geographically and climatically, the north coast has more in common with the rocky and rainy parts of western Ireland or Cornwall or Brittany than it does with most of the generally dry Iberian peninsula. In ancient times the region was populated by small Celtic tribes who had migrated there from central and northern Europe. The Romans conquered the territory, which they called Galicia, in the second century B.C...." Great stuff. Jackson can really write. Garcia's father was born in Galicia, and immigrated to the U.S. with his parents and siblings. On page 5 of the book Jackson talks about Garcia's mother's ancestors, who were from Ireland and Sweden. Mudwater (Talk) 03:49, 12 September 2009 (UTC)


Jerry's Electronic Signal Processing Equipment (a.k.a. "Jerry's Rig")[edit]

Jerry (often or always?? and during what time period?) used an interesting and relatively uncomplicated series of musical signal processing equipment in his performance setup or "rig" (see http://www.dozin.com/jers/rig.html) which is described on the dozin.com website. I am the designer of the Mu-Tron III by Musitronics Corp. (Rosemont, NJ, 1972-78) there is also a Mu-Tron Octave Divider (designed by George Merriman with a little extra help from me) and some other signal processors from other companies. I receive regular inquiries from people at my "Mu-Tron" e-mail address <info@mu-tron.org> Note that there is another Mu-Tron website www.mu-tron.com which sells a purported "reissue" of the Mu-Tron III called the "Mu-Tron III+" by HAZ labs. There are claims associated on various websites that sell this unauthorized reissue (which appears to be the same product but does not embody the original circuitry inside that gave the Mu-Tron III its characteristic sound) that Jerry used this product to create aspects of his signature sound. These are false claims, since the unauthorized reissue did not appear until 1994, many years after Jerry had used the true original product of my design and patents. I have two issues here, one positive and one negative. On the positive side, I believe the public (at least the musicians who want to emulate Jerry's sound and style) would be interested in the structure of the signal processing setup all the way from the active electronics INSIDE Jerry's guitars through the various independent products linked together, and the settings used on each of the products, up to the very unusual use of a McIntosh audio amplifier and ??custom speaker system instead of a conventional guitar amplifier. I can supply details on the Musitronics products and would hope that the designers or manufacturers of the other products could also supply details that are pertinent. Though the products themselves are easy to distinguish, the CONTROL SETTINGS used are not obvious, and I do not even know how the controls are set on the Musitronics products. That information might be supplied by whoever built or operated the electronics package. The information on the Mu-Tron III which is true and verifiable can be found on the www.mu-tron.org website, and the www.musitronics.net website. On the negative side, years of false published information by HAZ labs, equating the unauthorized and itself deceptive "Mu-Tron III+" product with "THE ORIGINAL" Mu-Tron III by Musitronics Corp. has created the false and fraudulent impression on people who have not "grown up" knowing about the true original product, that the "reissue" is to be equated with the original, and that many famous musicians such as Jerry, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa and others used the "reissue" product to obtain their signature sounds and sound effects. This has made it very difficult for me to put out products which are truly similar in circuit design but different in external packaging, for people who want the SOUND and not necessarily the LOOK of the Mu-Tron III. I do want to make it clear to the public, through various venues including Wikipedia, that the confusion created by the false reissue product has caused people to buy it in preference to products embodying the original circuit designs. Further, the trademark and logo of Mu-Tron were questionably-legally but definitely unethically obtained by HAZ, making it impossible for me as the originator of the product and a founder of the original company to use the name and design that was created before HAZ was ever involved in it. I assume that the material I am now writing is NOT a part of the published main page about Jerry Garcia, and certainly I don't want to divert attention away from Jerry Garcia to a conflict about one of many products he used in creating his music. In summary, I suggest that there would be inserted into the main Jerry Garcia page a description or at least a reference to "Jerry's Rig", and with as few words as possible, the statement that the original Mu-Tron III was the product used in Jerry s equipment, and NOT the false reissue. My apology that this is not more concise. Mike Beigel Mike Beigel (talk) 01:49, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Terrible article[edit]

"Due to his frail condition, he began to use narcotics again just to dull the pain." This article is rife with ridiculous, speculative commentary such as the quoted text. Very poorly written. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 199.231.250.206 (talk) 04:22, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

It could certainly be tightened up a bit. This one's very funny though, on the young JG getting tossed into the army for stealing his momma's car: "Garcia spent most of his time in the army at his leisure, missing roll call and accruing many counts of AWOL"
Doesn't sound like discipline was a major thing at the Presidio barracks. ;) 83.254.151.33 (talk) 10:57, 4 August 2013 (UTC)


Yikes, agreed. The writing is particularly awful even for Wikipedia. It's been almost two years since the last comment here and no one has taken the challenge to improve the article. I am not a fan of The Dead or I would have tried it myself. I just don't know or care enough to make sense of the barely literate version that's here. There must be Dead Heads still out there whose brains aren't yet fried who can do better than this article. Someone at least clarify the chronology of the wives and/or lovers. How many women was Jerry married to all seemingly at once before he finally divorced some of them? What a mess. Jelsova (talk) 17:35, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Ancestry II[edit]

Firstly, I have taken the liberty of moving two (2) comments, from the earlier dicussion, as it took place in 2008 and 2009, and the recent comments were added last month (July) and might otherwise go unnoticed. I trust that Mudwater and General Ization are ok with this. Thanks.

In light of some recent edits, I'll add that page 5 of the book -- Garcia: An American Life, by Blair Jackson -- explains that Jerry Garcia's mother, Ruth (née Clifford) Garcia, was born in San Francisco. Both of her parents were born in California too. Mudwater (Talk) 02:09, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Added Ruth's birthplace to the article, since page 5 of G:AAL is already a reference. General Ization Talk 02:22, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
I noticed that JG's paternal ancestry is being described as " Galician (Spanish)", which points to "Galician people and (Spanish people)". This is slightly problematic and not entirely correct. I am proposing a change to — not only for accuracy, but also to avoid any nationalistic issues — "Jerry Garcia's ancestors on his father's side were from Galicia in north-western Spain ". That would resolve the issue. What do others think? Thanks, Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 11:03, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

@Rui Gabriel Correia: Thanks for posting about this. As you can see from the previous discussion, we've made a serious effort in the past to accommodate Galician sensibilities, while keeping that part of the article easy to understand for the casual reader. Interestingly, the article "Spanish people" was renamed to "Spaniards" fairly recently. As it says in that article, "Respect to the existing cultural pluralism is important to many Spaniards. In many regions there exist strong regional identities such as Asturias, Aragon, the Canary Islands, León, and Andalusia, while in others (like Catalonia, Basque Country or Galicia) there are stronger national sentiments. Some of them refuse to identify themselves with the Spanish ethnic group..." So, I think your suggestion is a good one. How about this wording for the beginning of that section, and please note the links: "Jerry Garcia's ancestors on his father's side were from Galicia in northwestern Spain. His mother's ancestors were Irish and Swedish." Mudwater (Talk) 12:52, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

@Mudwater:, I see what you have done with the links and I can see the care you took to err on the side of caution with Spain. But this way we are still saying in essence, albeit indirectly, that he is "Galician/ not Spanish". I would stick to geo-political names, leave out mention of nationality and readers can make their own inferences. After all, Nobody can argue over Galicia being in Spain, whereas they can still pick an issue over "Galician people". If it is important to call attention to the Spanish/non-Spanish issue, how about a reference to the autonomous communities of Spain? Working that into your latest proposed text would give us:
"Jerry Garcia's ancestors on his father's side were from the autonomous community of Galicia in northwest Spain. His mother's ancestors were Irish and Swedish."
Would that work?
PS: Quite odd the move to "Spaniards". I wonder how long it will go unchallenged. Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 15:55, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
@Rui Gabriel Correia: Looking at that article, it seems that the autonomous communities of Spain started to become autonomous (in modern times that is) in 1978, long after Garcia's ancestors left. So I think it might be better to leave out that link. That would bring us full circle to your original suggestion, with the addition about his mother: "Jerry Garcia's ancestors on his father's side were from Galicia in northwest Spain. His mother's ancestors were Irish and Swedish." How about that? Of course other editors might have their own opinions. Mudwater (Talk) 16:36, 2 August 2015 (UTC)
That works for me, let's hear from others. Rui ''Gabriel'' Correia (talk) 16:55, 2 August 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It's been nine days and no one else has said anything about this, so I'm going ahead with the change. Mudwater (Talk) 02:07, 12 August 2015 (UTC)