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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Garcia interview ca. August 1974 WPLJ

Just some sketchy notes.

Garcia, Jerry, 1942-1995, “Jerry Garcia interview. Broadcast on WPLJ in New York City in September 1974 [radio broadcast],” Grateful Dead Archive Online, accessed November 10, 2013,


JGMF they say at the end that between the interview and airing the GD announced the hiatus. They are talking about Nixon still president. He resigned August 9. Garcia mentions having recently played with Locomotiv GT, which was July 12-13, 1974. The GD played Hartford on 7/31, Philly on 8/4 and 8/5, and Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City on August 6 (rescheduled from 8/2 for reasons that aren't clear to me). It could be anywhere in this timeframe. I'll label it 8/xx/74.

dead air, weirdness 0:24

0025 early days -- we've never conceived it anyway a plan or a plot or anything remotely resembling that degree of organization. Just sort of happened.

0300 now we represent psychedelic nostalgia

0337 rejection of a central philosophical view point. We're all totally separate views of reality and how to fit into it. We're all completely mad in terms of our private hallucinations regarding reality.
Our main thing is just don't lay your trip too heavy on somebody if they don't want to hear it 0400

0415 cuts in on a question, do you remember where you were

0428 have as much fun? World is a scarier place than it used to be. Moratorium on fun because everything is so strikingly weird

0445 GD as benefit band, people's band. doing benefits not a good way for us to benefit somebody. Information.

0535 political confrontations

0551 "We have the basic distrust of all political happenings"

0609 JG on Revolution – unclear

0640 that's what happening, Revolution is, but I don't think it's been too well defined. A revolution that everybody could totally dig.

0717 mention of Locomotiv GT (JG: "Yeah, we've played, 'played a gig with 'em not too long ago")

0747 the global person

0805 it's just goin' too slow

ca. 0810 The point when everybody's into something, that'd be perfect.

0924 radio I don't listen to enough to have an opinion. Hear it in my car. Same old rap far out people working at the station then the guy who owns the station. 1000 all these trips … those are the limits

1015 it always is a compromise, and all you have to say is, 'that's what you've gotta do to do it'. It's unalterable – don't do it or else try to score your own radio station.

1030 twitchy about this place this role too aware of the limits

1050 when you're playing and the band is improvising well, can you put it into words. JG If you've ever done anything with a group of people any team sport or people you can rap with you get into a hot session and everybody is very fast and everything is smooth. it's like freedom you step out of a cab and the elevator is right there. That thing of being synchronous. It's a get-off.

1155 lame voice over about improvisation … magic

1238 how often "It" happens. Always left this door open where we could fail.

1309 our level of professionalism together enough where we can play pretty well no matter what's happening. 1329 Anything that works, you have to discard it. You can't let it become a formula.

1336 thumbing through an infinite deck of cards.

1408 talking about other people .. why not working for the Airplane … 1418 because everybody's different. We were never into scoring big. We were into getting along. I don't know why. Making the basic assumption that everybody was departing from the same point. 1505 we all knew each other from working coffeehouses … in that space we were all pretty equal. Whoever was succeeding went along with whatever their program was … 1536 reflection on the way the music business is set up

1545 what possibilities do you have? Once succeeded, no place to go from there. That's the real reason for 'why bother' because performing gets to be really a hassle … the things that are meaningful get smaller and smaller and farther and farther away … luxury furniture … success … as much stuff as you want. That's who you are. You've won the game.

1645 scene backstage managers and all that … better onstage

1705 people don't survive it. It kills people. I didn't have to see too many people go through that to realize it was really not happening. It ain't healthy. You have to be ready to try to provide your own excuse for continuing what you're doing.

1751 It's like a one-way street. After that you have to invent your own model.

1815 Q what was Pigpen like?

1837 he was very quiet, he was real shy, which is the reason he drank. He was charming and funny in a real .. he had a real pixie sense of humor. He was a good guy.

1857 Q say something unedited to Nixon

JG oh man thanks for taking on all that worry. Glad I don't have to do it. That poor guy has got the world's worst possible situation. Every morning he wakes up with what must be a sense of total responsibility about everything in America … plus he's blowing it, horribly. I feel for the poor guy, y'know. The scale of failure that it represents. The capper is that he's probably taking the whole system down with him. 2030 funny

2032 music of the 60s vehicle for a new thought … 2109 music is ok it's a get-off when it's good. It doesn't contain any consequences. You can trust it. It's not gonna hurt anybody.  The big void juice out of political scenes there's an attempt for that energy to refind itself, center itself. Countless amounts of weird information.

2200 GD [they sound high now]

2231 we're not trying to be right, and we're not trying to tell anybody anything. But we are into stirring up any activity that we can. Shotgun approach. Contains randomness. So hard to do something on the level of language etc. that doesn't have a trap … put out things that are trapless. We don't have any confidence in statements. How can you believe words, no matter how neat they sound?

2335 what is happening with GD on a chemical level at this point? What is your intake? JG I smoke pot, take a little acid. I don't … I am not … I don't think that you can maintain some kind of discipline and get too far into drugs. I mean really, really far into 'em. Smoking pot is just cool. I think that's good. I think that would be good no matter what you were doing 2355 I think it's basically harmless, and good for you, probably, if anything. I don't really know, though. The drug thing is just beside the point, you know? Everybody knows that America is totally into drugs. Every straight person that you see wandering around is taking three Valiums a day or something. Everybody's into some drug, chemicals … it's a human thing, that's all. Economics alone will always provide a flattening out place. … As soon as everybody in the world wants to *clears throat* get into smack, y'know, there's no smack, so it's not smack anymore, it's methadone, and then it's not methadone anymore, it's … y'know, all these different trips. I feel on a level of telling people what to do, I want to be a citizen, y'know, I don't want to be a politician. I don't wanna be tellin' nobody nothin'. 'cause I don't want anybody tellin' me nothin'; 2454 that's what it comes from … basic anti-authoritarianism.

2508 could be edited down to say "Kids, don't take smack." laughing

2517 do whatever you want with it [the tape? drugs?]. I don't have any active opposition to it, but I just don't feel that that's the right thing for me to do. 2522

2538 Q people start treating rock stars like people frailties too certain people expect perfection

2619 JG That's how hungry the world is for good times. Let's face it, it's grim. … 2632 like a bad joke … any get-off I can understand all that. It would be nice if there was some way for music to be incorporated into people's lives that wasn't so strictly commercial.

2700 who wants the mystique Q

2715 whoever wants it will have it no matter what anybody does or says. I would rather be judged on music. Fame is pointless to anybody who's an artist. It's just something weird you have to deal with. It'd be nice if we could find a cool way to deal with it.

2745 music wants to maintain another role in society. The GD is in that situation, we don't know what we want do to 2758 until we've scored everything. Eventually we'll stop what we're doing and try to figure out what we want to do. That'd be far out.

Between interview and air the GD have announced their decision to take some time off … do what Garcia just said, look around, re-evaluate. -2846


  1. Thanks for these notes. Some nice little nuggets in here.

  2. Sure! There are four or five more at GDAO that I have flagged for myself.

  3. Thanks, really cool. Pretty weird about the smack comments, considering that (according to Rock) it would only be another month or so until the China White entered the scene. A lot of similar feelings reading "Signpost to New Space" - lost pinnacles of perfection.


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