On This Day – Ashes to Ashes Jerry Garcia

On this day in 1996 some of Jerry Garcia’s ashes were scattered into the bay by the Golden Gate Bridges, San Francisco. The rest had been scattered into the Ganges river at Rishikesh on 4th April (Rishikesh being a holy place for hindus at the foot of the Himalayas and where the Ganges leaves the mountains and begins it long journey to the sea bringing life to large areas of North Eastern India).

Garcia had died of a heart attack at a drug rehab clinic where he was trying, again, to beat his drug habit. Garcia had well known issues with various drugs over a long period. He also had other health conditions, he had fallen into a diabetic coma in 1986. He also suffered from sleep apnea. Not a well bunny in fact.

Best known for his work with The Grateful Dead Garcia undertook several side projects the low point of which is surely playing pedal steel guitar on “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. (In my book having anything to do with anything by CSN&Y is a career low for anybody). He worked with a whole range of people including Dylan, Warren Zevon, Country Joe McDonald, Ornette Coleman and many, many others.

With The Grateful Dead he played and toured for 30 years (the so called “Endless Tour”). The touring was only punctuated by rests due to ill health and exhaustion. There is a gig count doing the rounds that puts the total Dead gigs at 2,314. No wonder they were occasionally exhausted and resorted to stimulants……….

A phenomenal guitarist and performer.


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