Grateful Dead Magazine Articles

Playboy Interview w/J. Garcia Pt. 1

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Jerry c1969 (Beth Dyer)
Organization: University of California; Santa Cruz
ODC: I don't usually read this magazine, but we happened to have a copy of the March 1972 Playboy hanging around, and I thought you might in interested in one of the articles. Here's part I....


(reprinted without permission)

A bright Sunday afternoon in August 1971, just one week after Bill Graham classed the doors of the Fillmore West forever and ever, and I'm sitting in the living room of Jerry Garcia's new house on the headlands above a coastal village an hour north of San Francisco (a very nice house, by the way, not luxurious or anything but altogether nice enough to reflect the Grateful Dead's rising fortunes during the past couple of years); and if I were to glance over my shoulder, I could see beyond the picture window all the way down the tilting rim of the continent to the shimmering Pacific. Only right this minute, I'm not into scenery at all; right this minute, I'm deeply engaged in being paranoid about my tape recorder, just sort of stroking the treacherous little b*stard, before I entrust to its tape-eating maw the wit and wisdom of Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist and chief philosophical theoretician of what some claim is the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world -- Captain Trips, they call him.

Jerry meanwhile, is doing exactly what he always does, playing it as it lays, which right now means sitting there beside me in his rocking chair, gazing benignly out the window, beaming within the dark nimbus of his hair and beard like a stoned-out John the Baptist, waiting.

"What I'd like to do," I'm prattling, rather desperately trying to fill with the sound of my own voice the void my incompetence has created. "I'd like to feel free to take as many liberties with this interview as I've been taking with the rest of the material to, uh, interpolate and rearrange things here and there when it seems... But maybe you....?"

"Sure," Jerry says cheerily, waving aside my question. "You're gonna lie a little, you mean. Sure, you can say I said anything you feel like, I don't give a sh*t."

"Good deal! Because what I'm planning to do, see, is to take this interview and sort of write myself out of it, my own voice, I mean, so that what's left will be just your voice, disembodied, just rapping out loud. Like, for instance, did you happen to read John Sack's interviews with Lieutenant Calley? Do you remember how Sack himself isn't really a presence there, how it comes down as if it were just Calley alone, telling his own story? That sort of thing. And then I'll just take your voice and weave it through the piece, probably in italics or something, just lacing it in and out wherever it seems..."

Jerry grins and says: "Sure, feel free, whatever. Only the erroneous assumption in that, see, is that a guy like Calley might ever volunteer any information at all. Or me, for that matter. I mean, nobody ever hears about some of the sh*t that comes out in interviews unless somebody asks me, you know what I mean? In fact, it's like the basis of the reality from which you write, because you wouldn't write this thing if you'd never talked to any of us, would you? I mean, you know what I mean? If you weren't interacting in there, the story would never have occurred. So it's, like, you can include yourself or not, but either way, it's all you..."

Turn to Part 2. . .

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