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The Life Of Jerry Garcia Essay

1364 words - 5 pages

The Life of Jerry GarciaJerry Garcia was a musical genius and now is considered a Rock and Roll legend. Jerry was the lead guitarist, vocalist, and "spokesman" for the influential rock & roll band the Grateful Dead. Garcia learned to play guitar when he was 15 years old, originally playing folk and rock & roll. Not only did Jerry produce thirteen studio albums, but also recorded over 100 live albums, and sold millions of records throughout his fifty three year old life (Grateful Dead).Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia was born in San Francisco, California, on August 1, 1942. His father Jose Ramon "Joe" Garcia and his mother Ruth Marie "Bobbie" Garcia named him after the famous composer Jerome Kern. Jerry was their second and final child, preceded by Clifford Ramon "Tiff" Garcia. Jerry was influenced by music at an early age, taking piano lessons for much of his childhood. His father was a retired professional musician and his mother enjoyed playing the piano.(Grateful Dead).Many tragic events occurred during Jerry's lifetime before his musical career even began. At age four, while vacationing in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Garcia amputated two-thirds of his right middle finger (Biography). He and his brother were given the chore of chopping wood for the fire and Jerry accidently put his finger in the way of the falling axe. Less than a year after losing part of his finger, his father died while on vacation with his family. His father went fly-fishing in the Trinity River and not long after entering, slipped on a rock and was thrown into the deep rapids of the river.During the five-year period in which he lived with his grandparents, he was introduced to country music and bluegrass by his grandmother. Garcia started playing the banjo, which was his first stringed instrument.Garcia stole his mother's car in 1960, and as his punishment, he was forced to enroll to the United States Army. He received his basic training at Fort Ord, then was transferred to Fort Winfield Scott in San Francisco. While in the army Jerry somehow managed to accrue two court marshals and eight AWOLs. As a result, Garcia was given a general discharge only after two months in the army.Garcia met Robert Hunter soon after his discharge from the army. Living out of his car next to Robert Hunter in East Palo Alto, Garcia and Hunter were opened up to the local art and musical scene. Garcia performed his first concert with Hunter, each earning only five dollars. Garcia and Hunter also played in a band called the Wild Boys with David Nelson, who actually contributed to some of The Grateful Dead's future albums. In 1962, Garcia met Phil Lesh, the eventual bassist of the Grateful Dead, during a party in bohemian Perry Lane.Garcia soon began playing and teaching acoustic guitar and banjo. One of Garcia's students was Bob Matthews, who went to high school with Bob Weir, and introduced Weir and Garcia to each other. Between 1962 and 1964, Garcia sang and performed mainly bluegrass,...

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