Ten years on, still missin’ Jerry.

It’s really hard to believe that it’s ten years today that Jerry Garcia died. I’m sure I’m not the only one here that still misses his music.

I was still working at Bank One as a department secretary when the news broke–I hadn’t heard yet, and co-workers came up and started offering me condolences, like I’d lost a member of my blood family.

Curiously enough, what had tipped people off that something big had happened was that the Bloomberg news terminal crashed, which it had never done before. We learned later that as the news filtered out, every Deadhead there ever was who was in an office with a Bloomberg jumped on to check out the news–and overloaded the system nationwide. Abbie Hoffman would’ve been impressed. Hell, he probably met Jerry at the Pearly Gates to shake his hand. :)

I went out that night to the reflecting pool at OSU, where local Deadheads were gathering in an informal wake, drum circle, and jam session. Not having brought my bass (wouldn’t have had anywhere to plug it in anyway), I just threw my voice in, reaching notes cleanly that are normally out of my reach … I was deep enough in mourning that I didn’t think about what people might think, and just put everything I had into being with everyone else there.

It was the first time I got cheers–I was the only one to reach for (and get) the particular wail Nothin’ left to do but smile, smile, smile from “He’s Gone” should be sung with. I didn’t even know I was doing it until it was done.

I always thought of it as a small, fleeting taste of what really performing must really be like, and a gift I wouldn’t have had without Jerry.

Anyway. This is a very rough mix, and there’s more than a little clipping, distortion on the harmonies (especially on the first and second chorus, not as bad on the third) that I don’t know where it came from, and other odd artifacts because I haven’t completely figured out Audacity yet, but I wanted to share this work in progress, in memory of Jerry. “Bertha” was the first Dead song I learned how to play, and this is my version of it (MP3, about 5.5 Mb). All guitars, bass, and vocals are me.


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