Birth Name: Jerome John Garcia
Born: San Francisco, California
DOB: August 1, 1942
Died: Forrest Knowles, California 1995
Born into a Spanish/Irish & Swedish Clan, his father’s family’s roots are Galician.
He learned some rudimentary piano and had a keen interest in musical pursuits. In 53 Tiff turned him onto RockNRoll. Soon after he discovered Jazz, Bluegrass and the Blues. Around this time he picked at the five string Banjo. In 1953 Jerry’s mom married a Merchant Marine named Wally Matusiewicz. The brothers moved back to the district. But their mother did not feel it was safe for her boys. Not long after the family moved to Menlo Park. Cliff Garcia often sang along with early Rhythm and Blues which Jerry attributed to his ear for music and especially harmony.
As a child Jerry spent a good deal of time ill. He read scifi and adventure novels. He asked his mom for an electric guitar, after a minor setback at the age of fifteen he received his destiny. The year 1957. It was during this year Jerry realized that for him, school was a waste of his time. At eighteen he joined the U.S. Army. At the end of 1960 they parted ways.
In early '61 an automobile accident changed the course of Garcia’s life. A good friend died and this event convinced him to concentrate on the guitar above all else. He found himself living in a field inside his car beside a friend’s car. The friend Robert Hunter, who had recently left the Army and also played guitar and sang folk songs and ballads. They performed together along the South San Francisco Bay area for a while and formed a lasting bond.
In '62 Jerry met Ron McKernan on the coffee house circuit. He met Phil Lesh at a party in Menlo Park. Phil suggests that Jerry submit a tape to a radio station it airs as The Long Black Veil and other ballads. And evening with Jerry Garcia.
Next Jerry joined the Zodiacs formed by Bill Kreutzmann, with Pigpen on harp. He also played with The Black Mountain Boys featuring David Nelson and Eric Thompson. By the spring of 65 they were called The Warlocks. By December they changed their name to The Grateful Dead. In the fall of the next year they moved to 710 Asbury Street.
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