It's life everlasting for Garcia, Grateful Dead |
By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
Death didn't end the long, strange recording career of Jerry Garcia.
The Grateful Dead guitarist died nine years ago but remains a vital figure in the hearts and CD players of fans whose appetite for his music and that of his band seems as inexhaustible as the supply. Three projects are due this fall:
•Beyond Description (1973-1989), a sequel to Rhino's 10-disc The Golden Road (1965-1973) box set, arrives Oct. 26 with 15 hours of music on 12 discs. The $150 set holds 10 studio albums plus 65 previously unreleased tracks.
•After Midnight, a three-CD set due Sept. 28, captures Garcia's performance Feb. 28, 1980, at Kean College in Union, N.J. He covers songs by Jimmy Cliff, J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan and others.
•The Grateful Dead Movie, shot 30 years ago, makes its debut on DVD Nov. 9 with 90 minutes of newly unearthed footage. Garcia had a central role in shaping the documentary.
These follow releases earlier this year of the six-CD All Good Things: Jerry Garcia Studio Sessions, the Dead's live triple-disc Rockin' the Rhein and two volumes (6 CDs) of the Dick's Picks live series.
There's also the new Theatre 1839, a live three-CD set that launches the "Pure Jerry" series of concert recordings, which will be available quarterly only at jerrygarcia.com.
"Yes, we're busy," says Dennis McNally, Dead historian and Garcia estate publicist. "In the '70s alone, Jerry played with 34 different ensembles."
The Jerry Garcia Estate has 500-plus Garcia shows on tap. The Dead recorded about 1,500 of its 2,500 concerts. The assembly line isn't slowing down.
"It's a matter of demand, and the Deadhead response has been overwhelmingly positive," McNally says. "Each Dick's Picks sells up to 50,000 copies on the Web site. Considering there's no advertising or overhead, it's a very satisfying business."
What drives this active afterlife?
"A Grateful Dead concert was a musical adventure," McNally says. "They started slowly, built up to something and jumped off a cliff. Sometimes they flew, and sometimes they picked the rocks out of their teeth. It was different every night."