The Grateful Dead presented a talent that captured the attention of the whole world. The American Band with band members like Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Robert Hunter, Bill Kreutzmann, and many more, Grateful Dead was a traditional band with so much caliber. Their songs, albums, and live shows, everything was a perfect blend that fitted into the Rock and Roll stigma of that era.
Grateful Dead was a constant piece that evolved in every way possible. Maybe that’s the reason they had a fandom like no other. While it was an evolution at every step, the founding member of the group, Jerry was always a constant contributor. He looked for a way to exceed the way people perceived them and he was on a constant trail for new inspirations. He never let anything get in his way and went on to make music with his band and alongside that, he continued his solo trail too.
Garcia was a person who was never really satisfied with what came out as the final product. That’s the reason he often spent his time isolating himself after a record was out. In 1974 he said, “I hate all my records,” to Steve Witzman in an interview for Relix which clearly showed how he wasn’t really satisfied with the music he had taken out.
He explained oftentimes that the music they’d produced was not really their best. He was frustrated as the vision of his music was not really matched. He said, “Often I want to do something that you can only do by developing or interfacing a certain number of existing possibilities. With Blues For Allah, there was a thing I wanted to do that had to do with an envelope shaper and stuff like that didn’t come together the way I wanted it to.”
“And so, when I listen to it, I think, ‘Well shit, it isn’t quite where I wanted it to be.’ But in the long run, after, like, however many records – nineteen records or something like that – you feel that at least your percentages are getting closer and you’re able to score on other levels. Like on our earlier records, if I listen to them now, they are embarrassing for reasons like they’re out of tune.”
Garcia also went on to talk about the popularity of their songs. And during the interview, Weitzman asked, “can you tell which ones maybe become classics with your audience, like ‘Sugar Magnolia’ or ‘Truckin’?” He replied, “Uh…not really. I can’t. ‘Cause often, the ones that get me don’t get anybody but me (laughs).”
Then he talked about the song that he really liked. He said,
“I really loved ‘Row Jimmy Row’. That was one of my favorite songs of ones that I’ve written. I loved it. Nobody else really liked it very much—we always did it—but nobody liked it very much, at least in the same way I did”
When the interviewer talked about ‘Scarlet Begonias’, Jerry also followed with, “Yeah, that’s another song too. That’s a song I like. ‘Ship Of Fools’ is a song I like an awful lot. But my relationship with them changes. Sometimes I really like a song after I’ve written it and I don’t like it at all a year later. And some of them, I’m sort of indifferent to, but we perform it and find they have a really long life. For me to sing a song, I really have to feel some relationship to it. I can’t just bullshit about it. Otherwise, it’s just empty and it’s no fun.”
Garcia had changes in his craft so many times. And if he was here today, it’s to be expected, he would have loved a different song. Despite that, his love for that song was there that day.
Be sure to listen to Row Jimmy by Grateful Dead on any major music platform.