Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jerry Garcia Update - Bonhams Catalog Now On Their Website

I lived through the red t-shirt era.  It wasn't fun.  At Long Beach in '85 some girl about seventeen thought I was looking at her the wrong way and stuck a pen knife at my side, said she had just shot heroin and was going to open up my intestine.  Packed in and some people mooing like cattle moving at a slow pace to the arena's doors, that was the first moment I had noticed this girl, dirty blonde, horrible acne but her teeth were ok; a tweaker I would have been worried about.  I just took her pen knife and moved out of the crowd.  Point is this shit wasn't supposed to happen at a Grateful Dead concert.  The Scorpions concert I had been to a few weeks earlier had had a friendlier vibe.  I threw the knife away.  Then noticed that by whipping the knife out of her hand by the blade, I had nicked a small rip in one of my favorite Dead shirts.

Which brings me to Bonhams auction that I reported on several days ago.  The catalog of the upcoming Visions Of Garcia auction is now up on Bonham's website.  More or less, it's like Jerry was having a garage sale.  Yes the Harley is cool, but that's almost it.  Most of the rest are prototype products, artwork that was used on the dreaded ties, a few minor pieces of equipment - I mean its exactly what one would expect to have found in Jerry Garcia's garage.

One interesting piece is the red t-shirt.  The red t-shirt era ran from sometime in 1984 until Garcia's coma in the summer of 1986 - upon his return in December of 1986 Jerry wore a black t-shirt.  These weren't good years for the Dead.  Jerry left the stage part way through sets.  When he was on stage he never moved.  I heard a story that during the "Satisfaction" encore at the last show before his coma he did an imitation of a Bob Weir leap at the microphone, the first time anyone has seen him move on stage since '82.  In the New Year's broadcast video from 1985 (which at the time had been shown live on cable), Jerry can be seen drooling, yes drooling, into the microphone.




The hole is the most interesting part of the red t-shirt on auction at Bonhams.  That hole tells a story.  I do not need to invent or embellish.  If you were there during this time, it's not an effort to read the story that hole tells.

Jerry Garcia did get some more good years.  And as he did everything possible to do things as differently as possible from the rock world idioms of his time, he was one rock star who did manage to go out with a whimper, and not a bang.




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