Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me Jerry Garcia Was Dead?Commentary • Entertainment • Opinion • ISSUE 31•15 • Apr 23, 1997 By Sparrow Kryzniak Sparrow Kryzniak Whoa, dude, shit. This is heavy. This is so... God, I don't know. Let me tell you, man. I was sitting down with all these people on the sidewalk in front of Beads 'N' More Beads one day last year, just playing the guitar and making bracelets, and everybody was talking about Jerry Garcia. They're all saying he's dead, and I was like, "Dude, of course—he is the Dead." I mean, Phil and Bob and all those other guys, shit, they're just following Jerry's vision. Jerry's the one that hears, like, the voice or whatever it is. You hear "Box of Rain," and you think Jerry, not those other guys, you dig? Anyway, everyone was rollin' up big doobies and passin' them around and saying, "This one's for Jerry," and I thought that was pretty cool. I was leaning back against the building and looking up into the sky, thinking, man, that guy is the fuckin' king, or something. Yeah, he's like a king. Only it isn't like a country that he's the king of. It's like he's king of the music. Then all the chicks there, Fauna and Savannah and the rest of them, all of a sudden they started crying. I didn't really know what was up, but I gave the one in the long peasant dress a big hug and said, "It's gonna be all right." She said, "Yeah," and smiled and hugged me back. It was pretty cool. So anyway, that was, like, a whole bunch of months ago, but then yesterday, oh, man, it was so intense. I was playing hacky sack on the grass with Derek and Randy and Pete. We were all barefoot and had a bunch of juggling sticks, and I had a whole quarter with me. We were passing the pipe around, and it was so warm and sunny and there was so much nature everywhere. I was thinking, shit, this is nice. So I say to this guy in a dashiki, I gotta get a new brother to hook me up. The summer's coming soon, and I'm gonna need some serious green stuff. You see, the plan for the summer was to quit my Greenpeace canvassing job, get the van running and drive around to a bunch of Dead shows. But then this guy in one of those Dr. Seuss hats says to me, "Man, that band ain't nothing without Jerry Garcia. We're driving out to see Phish in Colorado this June, man. Those dudes have inherited the vibes, you know?" I was shocked. I said, "What do you mean—Jerry quit the band?" So the guy with the Seuss hat says, "No, man. Jerry's dead." Then I say, "Well if he's Dead, then he's still with the band." So then he says, "No, man, he's dead. He died." I'd just had some kind bud at my wake and bake, so I was a little bit buzzed, but a couple minutes after he said that, I let out the biggest "Whoa" of my 20 years. Jerry's dead? Shit, man. This is the end of a—what's it called? Oh, an era. This is the end of an era.