For more than thirty years, Jerry Garcia was the musical and spiritual center of the Grateful Dead, one of the most popular rock bands of all time. In Dark Star, the first biography of Garcia published after his death, Garcia is remembered by those who knew him best. Together the voices in this oral biography explore his remarkable life: his childhood in San Francisco; the formation of his musical identity; the Dead's road to rock stardom; and his final, crushing addiction to heroin. Interviews with Jerry's former wives, lovers, family members, close friends, musical partners, and cultural cohorts create a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a rock-and-roll icon—and at the price of fame.
Published to coincide with the first anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death, this insightful life of the Grateful Dead guitarist and cultural icon features reminiscences from over 60 people who knew him, from his boyhood in Menlo Park, Calif., to his death. There are family stories from his brother Tiff, Acid Test memories from Ken Kesey, rueful war stories of married life from ex-wife Mountain Girl and harrowing medical reports from his last doctor. As an oral biography, the book necessarily lacks a fixed point of view. Indeed, there are many Jerry Garcias on display here, and they often contradict one another: gifted improvisational performer yet tyrannical perfectionist; loving father yet shameless philanderer; hero to millions yet self-pitying addict. As the years march on, Garcia's early passion for music and youthful joy in performance come through less clearly, overwhelmed by business squabbles and rampant substance abuse. Likely a must-buy for mourning Deadheads, the book should also interest casual fans (if there are any), as well as those curious about the San Francisco 1960s scene or about the punishing coincidence of a brilliant but vulnerable artist and an extraordinary time.