Garcia: An American Life
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Garcia: An American Life

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Garcia: An American Life

Garcia: An American Life

Garcia: An American Life
by Blair Jackson

Book Information 

Blair Jackson's homepage has a section called the Cutting Room Floor. It has the "outtakes" to this book, which are the pages removed from the submitted manuscript, to meet the publisher demands.  

Blair Jackson has written liner notes for many Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band CD's releases, was on the box-set So Many Roads team.  

Book Description

He was there when Dylan went electric, when a generation danced naked at Woodstock, and when Ken Kesey decided to start playing with acid. He was one of the most gifted musicians of all time. Folk, blues, ragtime, rock 'n' roll, jazz, calypso, R&B, modern classical--there was no musical genre that Jerry Garcia couldn't master. He was unique; he was a member of one of the most worshiped rock 'n' roll bands in history. But much of Garcia's talent and intelligence has been obscured by the larger than life image of the Grateful Dead. Now, renowned journalist Blair Jackson strips away the myth in a portrait of the real Jerry Garcia--the musical genius, the brilliant songwriter, and ultimately, the tortured soul plagued by his own addiction.

Garcia: An American Life is the ultimate look at "a wounded warrior." Jackson, who covered the Grateful Dead for twenty-five years, has gained unique access to Garcia's family and intimate friends--from his first wife Sara to band members and band associates. In a book to be published on the fourth anniversary of Garcia's death, Jackson explores his life with sensitivity and insight. This is the ultimate tribute to the man who, Bob Dylan said, "had no equal."

About the Author
Blair Jackson has written about Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead for nearly thirty years. His other books include the 2006 release Grateful Dead GearGrateful Dead: The Music Never Stopped and Goin' Down the Road: A Grateful Dead Traveling Companion.
Anyone who ever attended a Grateful Dead show knows all too well how many "fans" virtually ignored the music in their pursuit of fun. What's worse, scores of closed-minded music critics dismissed the music out of hand simply because of the antics of these so-called fans. Author Blair Jackson sets out on a commendable mission to bring Jerry Garcia the musician into clear focus. Tapping his experience as both a devout Deadhead and a veteran journalist, Jackson's mission is a roaring success. He painstakingly details every musical turn that the Dead took and discusses every side project Garcia embarked on--from the endless stream of bluegrass, old-time, and jug bands of the early 1960s through collaborations both famous and obscure. (Even dedicated fans may not know of Garcia's futile attempt at joining Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.) Garcia emerges as a talented, versatile, and obsessive musician with a voracious appetite for all forms of music--as long as it came from the heart.
In the process of documenting his musical career, Jackson also presents a picture of Garcia's fascinating offstage life, including the events and inspiration that translated into songs and solos. The author conducted scores of interviews with Garcia himself and with anyone else who could provide insight into Garcia's personality. While never glossing over the unseemly aspects of Garcia's life, Jackson doesn't dwell on them either. In fact, he openly offers connections between Garcia's drug use and his music when they prove appropriate. Neophytes may be turned off by the constant detailed references to specific songs and shows--even particular sound effects--but for the avid follower, Jackson's comprehensive book is a wonderful celebration of an underrated and misunderstood musician. --Marc Greilsamer--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
As the front man for the Grateful Dead, the band that epitomized the '60s hippie counterculture, Jerry Garcia's place in music history is assured. Yet, Jackson asserts in this detailed biography, Garcia's genius as a guitarist and songwriter has often been overlooked. Garcia began as a folk and bluegrass banjo player in such bands as the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers and the Thunder Mountain Tub Thumpers before embracing electric blues and rock and roll with the Warlocks, an early incarnation of the Dead. In the mid-'60s, the Dead became the house band for Ken Kesey's now legendary drug and music free-for-alls. During concerts the band could, in Garcia's words, "visit highly experimental places under the influence of highly experimental chemicals before a highly experimental audience." In the Dead's 30-year run barnstorming the nation as one of the country's most popular touring acts, Garcia always sought to expand his musical horizons, engaging in side projects from playing pedal steel guitar in New Riders of the Purple Sage to launching a low-profile solo career with the Jerry Garcia Band. Dogged by cocaine and then heroin addiction (brought on at least in part, according to Jackson, by the pressures of celebrity and of dealing with the unwieldy bureaucracy of the Grateful Dead's profitable business ventures), Garcia died of a heart attack in 1995 at the age of 53. Jackson, former editor of the Dead zine The Golden Road, narrates this exhaustive biography with the unabashed ardor of a hard-core Deadhead, but even those readers who have kept a distance from the band's recordings and epic concerts will appreciate the generation-defining artistic and personal history of this musical giant. (Aug.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Garcia: An American Life
Garcia: An American Life


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