Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister listed his top 13 favorite guitarists he saw in 1969 in a letter to Gold Mine. French mentioned Jerry Garcia since his name was the final one on the list. Despite the fact that the original title refers to “guitar god performances,” he declared not to be a fan of his playing. French said:
“Garcia is listed last because I was never a fan of his playing. I get the fact that he was perfect for the band, but his style and his guitar tone were never particularly interesting to me. All these other players on my list were very heavy with blues chops. Garcia was not — at all.”
French adored the Grateful Dead even though he didn’t like how Garcia played the guitar. He went on:
“I never liked his guitar tone or his meandering scales. But I really loved the band, and especially the rhythm section of bassist Phil Lesh and drummers Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. The band also went through keyboard players like Spinal Tap has gone through drummers!”
He provided some details regarding the band’s performance style:
“The Dead were more like an improv jazz band, too. Every night was different, and they went where the music (and drugs) took them. For four years I was hooked on the music as an ensemble performance machine. As weird as it sounds, I got them but just never got Garcia’s feel. Many, of course, have — and I respect that he may be a god to some of you. I saw them five times in 1969.”
Many years prior, there were links between the two. He recalled seeing The Grateful Dead more than 20 times and exchanging acid with Garcia in a previous interview with Metal Injection. Check out the interview below.