The Days Between' and the Gospel of Jerry Garcia
Twenty years ago, during their annual Mardi Gras swing through the Oakland Coliseum, the Grateful Dead debuted their last great song "The Days Between." The song's haunting lyrics -- "the singing man is at his song, the holy on their knees" - poignantly symbolizes the special relationship that Grateful Dead devotees, known as Deadheads, have with the band, and especially with the late bandleader Jerry Garcia. So it is altogether appropriate that the most important week of the Grateful Dead's liturgical year is now called the Days Between, observed from August 1st to August 9th each year, spanning the dates of Garcia's birth and death respectively.
Although a Grateful Dead have come to symbolize a message and song of a 1960s, they toured together for 30 years and their song constantly grown with a times. Fueled by their heterogeneous and improvisational alloy of American low-pitched genres, they grown an intensely loyal and righteous fan bottom that literally spent their lives following them from unison to unison -- city to city, state to state, and nation to country. Deadheads collectively shaped an intentionally derelict community numbering in a tens of thousands, with their possess rituals, customs, language, music, mythology, and economy. They flocked to Grateful Dead concerts to have mystical practice and a ethereal sounds of Jerry Garcia's guitar mostly catapulted them into overjoyed trances. With Garcia as a demure leader of a hippie movement, a largest countercultural transformation in American history, a Grateful Dead quickly grown from a stone and hurl band into a new eremite movement.
Every sacrament struggles to redefine itself after a death of a charismatic founder. Often times, this routine takes a form of substantiating and edifying a authoritative scriptures and commentaries of a tradition. For Jerry Garcia, evangelizing did not occur through sermons or speeches, though rather by his unison performances. Accordingly, Garcia's numerous unison recordings continue as a foundational texts of a Grateful Dead canon.
The Grateful Dead were pioneers in unison sound and live recording, and speedy their fans to proactively fasten and discharge bootleg recordings of their concerts. This giveaway exchange of bootlegged unison tapes is a radical thought at a time when renouned musicians desperately adhere to and monetize any vestige of their sound and image. For Deadheads, unison bootleg tapes are not only musical though also autobiographical, as each fasten is accompanied by a story or memory about a show or a recording. Indeed, for a vast network of Grateful Dead fasten collectors and traders, unison tapes are both a scriptural texts and a sacred corpse of their religion.
The energy to effectively disseminate a eremite message or devout teaching has always been a duty of technology. Whereas ancient religions transmitted their divinity through a spoken word and medieval eremite traditions utilized a printed word, new eremite movements widespread their summary through transnational media. With a evolution of digital music record and online platforms, a music of Jerry Garcia and a Grateful Dead can be instantly streamed or downloaded anywhere around a world.
Additionally, by the prudent process of digitizing, indexing, restoring, and archiving Grateful Dead unison recordings, a musical gospel of Jerry Garcia continues to spread. Indeed, a Grateful Dead Archive Online at a University of California, Santa Cruz, ensures that generations to come will experience a Grateful Dead by the interdisciplinary lens of investigate scholarship. And a surviving members of a Grateful Dead have recently expelled several overwhelming box sets featuring soundboard unison recordings from arguably a three best Grateful Dead tours ever -- Europe 1972, May 1977, and Spring 1990.
The 20th century gave birth to a series of renouned recording artists who desirous cult followings by not usually defining their low-pitched genres though also formulating them. More than musicians, they were also devout icons and they noticed their song as sonic theology, thereby blurring a lines between their biographies and hagiographies. Jerry Garcia is resolutely entrenched in this pantheon of virtuosos, joining a likes of John Coltrane, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Fela Kuti, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Tupac Shakur. This week, during a Days Between, as Deadheads around a world memorialize a life and bequest of Jerry Garcia, they applaud him as a guru as good as guitarist, saint as good as singer, a reticent redeemer and unusual prophet who challenged any of them "to turn an bargain molecule in evolution, a unwavering tool of a universe."