Garcia, Jerry

Garcia, (Jerome John) Jerry

(1942–  ) band leader, guitarist, songwriter; born in San Francisco. Son of a Spanish immigrant who became a band leader popular in the San Francisco area, he studied piano as a boy but turned to the guitar in his teens. He dropped out of school at age 17 and served nine months in the U.S. Army before being discharged for poor conduct. He began to play folk and blues guitar, alone or with pickup groups, in clubs in the San Francisco area while working as a salesman and music teacher in a music store (1959–65). In 1965 he formed a band, the Warlocks, but on discovering another group with that name, it was changed to the Grateful Dead in 1966. Closely involved with the San Francisco hippie movement and the use of drugs such as LSD, the band first played "psychedelic" rock but moved on to a more diverse repertory of rock styles in the 1970s. About 1974 the band's members began to go their own ways, and Garcia made solo appearances and albums. In the 1980s he became heavily addicted to drugs and after being arrested in 1985 he was sent to a treatment center; after emerging from a diabetic coma, he decided to turn his life around. He and his band made a comeback in 1987 with a hit single, "Touch of Gray" and an album, In the Dark. Although the group made over two dozen albums, they experienced their greatest success in live concerts; their loyal fans, known as "Deadheads"—the aging original ones now joined by a new generation—continued to flock to the band's concerts, gathering like hornets at the performance sites. Garcia himself also enjoyed taking a break from his group's "classic hits" by performing occasionally with bands that played other music.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Subs: Lopez, Osman Chavez, Montes, Juan Garcia, Jerry Palacios Mario Martinez, Delgado, Rony Martinez, Najar, Escober Marvin Chavez.
Subs (not used): Lopez, Montes, Juan Garcia, Jerry Palacios Mario Martinez, Delgado, Rony Martinez, Marvin Chavez, Escober.