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Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942-present) was an American musician, known for being ringleader of the famed and beloved music group the Grateful Dead, from 1965 to 1995, at the end of the latter year Garcia had faked his own death and moved onto better things with his life.
edit Birth and early life
Jerry was born on August 1, 1942, in the then-straight city of San Francisco, California. Contrary from the beliefs of some, Jerry was in fact, not Mexican. His father was of Spanish descent, and his mother was of Irish and Swedish descent.
Much of Jerry's early life was shaped around tragedy. Contrary to popular belief, Jerry did not get the middle finger on his right hand chopped off when he flipped off a Hell's Angel. In fact, it happened when Jerry was four, when he accidentally got his finger chopped off by his big brother Clifford, who unknowingly placed his axe where Jerry's finger was while the two were cutting wood. It is assumed that Jerry cried like a baby when he got his finger chopped off. It is also assumed that Jerry stayed away from anything involving axes or wood from there-on-out.
In less than a year after losing his right middle finger, Jerry's father died. It was a freak accident, which happened while they were out in Arcata in the highlands of Northern California. While fly-fishing in the Trinity River, Jerry's father slipped tragically, and the rapid waters took him away. Although much was done to help him, nature - as in quite a few cases - dominated over man's will. As a consequence, Jerry stayed away from fly-fishing for the rest of his life.
Jerry's mother, the recently widowed Ruth, sent her two boys - Jerry and his big brother - away to live with their maternal grandparents, which according to Garcia was "fucking rad."
Jerry's grandparents sent him and his big brother Clifford away to the nearby grade school of Monroe, where Jerry was appreciated for his artistic and creative abilities. Said his third grade teacher, "Jerome was probably one of the most amazing students I ever had. He has more talent in just nine fingers than most ten-finger kids have in their entire body. He really doesn't allow his disability take advantage, and in fact, it opens up even more possibilities. If only all of my other kids were missing a finger, then they'd might be like Jerry."
Jerry was at that time introduced to country and bluegrass by his grandmother. It was something that would, whether directly or indirectly, follow him through the rest of his life. Clifford was harsh about this, however saying, "Granny didn't actually listen to bluegrass. She just had the radio on."
Very quickly, Jerry would learn to play banjo, much against his father's dying wish, however Jerry didn't know.
In 1953, Jerry's mother Ruth remarried. The second husband was named Wally Matusiewicz. There is no confirmation as to whether or not Wally was a Polish-American, nor that Wally Matusiewicz was his real name.
With Wally as Jerry and Clifford's new father, Ruth decided to move from the hillbilly-ish neighborhood of the Excelsior District to Menlo Park.Jerry said that this was a "dick move," as there was high amounts of racism and anti-Semitism in Menlo Park. Due to his experiences in Menlo Park, Jerry came to resent Anglo-Saxons and former Nazis, which was made obvious in some of his material that he and the Dead made during the early '80s, with songs like "The Horror of Menlo" and "Menlo Park Sucks."
In the middle of 1957, Jerry started smoking cigarettes and was introduced to pot by a friend of his. Said Jerry, "Me and a friend of mine went up into the hills with two joints, the San Francisco foothills, and smoked these joints and just got so high and laughed and roared and went skipping down the streets doing funny things and just having a hell of a time. We both said, 'This stuff is the shit.'"
And that was the beginning of a love affair that lasted many decades for Jerry.
It was around that same time Jerry started taking part-time art lessons at the San Francisco Art Institute, which bloomed his love of art even further. Jerry's sketch of a blue bear with a top hat was given an A+++++++++++ from his teacher, Wally Hedrick, who would later earn notoriety for joining the in-crowd in the '60s, activating.... You know what.
Jerry would, in June of that same year, graduate from middle school. On being asked about his middle school diploma, Jerry said, "For 1957, this is something. Sure, I couldn't make it out without start smoking pot, but then I realize that fourteen probably won't be a convincing enough age for smoking pot sometime in the future, where I assume that someday people will start having their first experience with weed when they're eight. On that same subject, I believe that in 50 years, middle school will mean nothing to American youth, and its grades shall mean nothing, bashing at the wall of mediocrity; furthermore the entire middle school experience will be nothing but a place that furthers awkwardness for people going through puberty." He was right.
Jerry's high school experience was the typical for a left-handed youth at the time. He attended Balboa High School, but his rebellious nature would often land him in trouble, because according to his hard-ass principal, "Jerry isn't shit; I don't care if he's going to blow the minds of millions of meaningless beatniks in the future, but here in Balboa, he means about as much to this place as a heater would to Hell, so fuck you, Jerry Garcia. I'm going to suspend your ass." His principal's prediction about Jerry's future was right, except for the fact that the beatnikus genus would evolve into the smellhippus genus by the time Jerry hit the markets big time.
In 1959, Jerry's mother had decided to move the family so Jerry wouldn't get "fucked in the ass by his dumbass principal." They moved to Cazadero, California, a small town in Sonoma County, located just 90 miles north of San Fran. Jerry hated Cazadero. The nearest high school Jerry had to travel to by bus for thirty miles to Sebastopol, which according to Jerry, was an "even bigger rip-off." Jerry did get something out of this experience - he would join a band at the school called the Chordsand Jerry's band won a contest at the school, with their reward being recording a song of their choice, as well as 50 d0llars, 35 of which Jerry would spend of weed.
edit Young adulthood
Jerry would steal his mother's car in 1960, and as a consequence, Jerry received the ultimate punishment - being forced to join the army. He got his training at Fort Ord, and after he was sent to Fort Winfield Scott in the Presidio of San Francisco. Jerry hated the army, and in fact, skipped most of the time, saying that the general is "a sub-Mongoloid egg-sucking motherfucker who yells at people to cover up the fact that he's a fag deep down inside."
Jerry was dropped from the U.S. Army on December 14, 1960. Said his general, "Private Garcia was an irreverent asshole, who thought he was so cool because he didn't come to roll call most of the time, and he can talk shit about me behind my back. However, Garcia made a bunch of sissy bullshit calls, such as playing the 'I can't grab the bars on the obstacle course because I'm missing the middle finger on my right hand' card. Goddamn it! He does not mean anything to this nation, he does not mean anything to me, nor will he mean anything to anybody of any significance."
Upon hearing this, Jerry said, "That general was a shit-head, and is a disgrace to the U.S. Military. I will show him what being an American is all about. I just won't follow his orders, because he's a cocksucker."
Coincidentally, the general would later hear of Jerry's success, and say, "Hey, that maggot may make shit music, but I remember being his drill instructor, so he owes something to me. I guess I was wrong; he is of significance. Whoa, what made me say that?"
In January 1961, Jerry drove down to an old friend, Laird Grant, asking him if he wanted a sack. Jerry and Grant would be good friends and get high together, and in a non-sequitur, Grant inadvertently introduced Jerry to Dave McQueen in February, who in turn introduced Jerry to some of the local musicians and to a rooming house located near Stanford University.
- ↑ Menlo Park, California, not the Menlo Park Thomas Edison grew up in!
- ↑ As rock and roll was not invented until a year later, in July 1954.
- ↑ Rock and roll, not cannabis, Jerry was referring to here.
- ↑ Cannabis, not rock and roll, Jerry was referring to here.
- ↑ Cannabis, not women, we are referring to here.
- ↑ Which most teenagers of the '50s had anyway.
- ↑ Not to be confused with The Chords, who wrote "Sh-Boom."