Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | grateful dead | reunion | jerry garcia | dead

Ex-Grateful Dead Manager: Band Died With Jerry Garcia

By    |   Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 08:15 PM

There can be no Grateful Dead "reunion" because the celebrated band cannot exist without its beloved frontman, Jerry Garcia, says a former Grateful Dead manager and author of a new music memoir.

"The Dead died 20 years ago this August when Jerry died," Richard Loren, author of "High Notes: A Rock Memoir," told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Thursday.

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Surviving bandmates and stand-ins are teaming up this summer to perform three 50th anniversary concerts at Chicago's Soldier Field, but Loren declined to call it a reunion, saying only, "Many musicians are getting together to play Grateful Dead songs."

He acknowledged that the reunion — or revival — points to a band that people still care about.

Asked why that is, the manager who once booked the band for a concert at the pyramids of Egypt, said, "There's thousands of different answers to that question."

Loren focused on what he called "the magnetism of Jerry Garcia," the rumpled-looking singer and guitarist, and one of the primary songwriters in the collective that emerged from the hippie precincts of San Francisco.

"He was an amazingly charismatic figure in the Dead scene, and led them," said Loren.

The Grateful Dead's music alternated between open-ended instrumental jams and more contained songs influenced by country, blues and rock 'n' roll, and Loren said that Garcia's talents figured prominently in the band's lasting musical appeal.

"Musicians are magicians in a way — intuitive musicians," he said. "I don't think anybody was more an intuitive musician than Jerry was, and there's something about the purity, about their music, in the sense that it's not contrived."

He said the band's 1987 hit single, "Touch of Grey" — 22 years in the making — was a breakthrough, but not necessarily for the better.

"Jerry never really wanted to have a hit record," said Loren. "In a way, 'Touch of Grey' kind of began the downfall of the Grateful Dead. It expanded their audience base, but it took away the charm of the 'Deadhead' scene."

"It just got so big," he said of the band's following among self-styled "Deadheads," who would trail the band from show to show. " I don't know that this was the best thing for them."

Loren said that Garcia feared the surge in popularity meant the band would be obliged to "play the hits," and that "every show will be the same," with little or none of the improvising and spontaneity Garcia prized.

Loren said he gave a talk recently about the Grateful Dead to an audience with an age span of 50 years.

"There were like 22-year-olds and 72-year-olds, and they were equally divided, oddly enough," said Loren. "That spoke to the power of the music."

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There can be no Grateful Dead "reunion" because the celebrated band cannot exist without its beloved frontman, Jerry Garcia, says a former Grateful Dead manager and author of a new music memoir.
grateful dead, reunion, jerry garcia, dead
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2015-15-29
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 08:15 PM
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