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Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 21,014
Loc: the timbers of Fennario
Jerry Garcia interview
    #1651576 - 06/21/03 06:44 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

[Transcribed from the Grateful Dead Hour broadcast:]
Interview with Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir at Weir's house,
May 20, 1993
by Jon Sievert of Guitar Player magazine
(recorded by David Gans)

Jon Sievert: I talked to Bob and we mentioned that you guys have already
introduced more songs this year than you did last year and
he said that there's more on the way.

Jerry Garcia: Well I would venture to say that we've introduced more songs
this year than we have in the last four years... or maybe three.

Bob Weir: And there are more to come. There are more good ones.

JG: We're in a streak, sort of... we're streakin'

JS: I like what you did with Liberty.

JG: I always liked the lyric. I always thought it had...like...something
it could do. I threw out Hunter's melody lock, stock, and barrel...
and started from the ground up.

JS: You've done that before though, right?

JG: Yeah, I do it pretty regularly, actually. He doesn't mind...he's used
to it now. I also had him rewrite it so it's a little stronger at the
end. So, it has a better punchline... it has a better windup, than his
original version.

JS: Lazy River Road...I get the feeling you get kinda that, some of that
30's chording stuff is goin' on in there.

JG: Yeah, kinda.

BW: With an overlay of our...of our...of our patented brand of
Steven Foster-esque Americana.

JG: Right, right...it's one of our, another visit down the Steven Foster alley.
With a few...with a brief stop by Irving Berlin.

David Gans: What other songs do you think fall in that category?

JG: Uh, Ramble On Rose...sort of.

BW: Fennario...the way we do Fennario has got...has got the heavy dose of
Steven Foster-esque stuff.

JG: Right, Fennario is Steven Foster-esque. I've always been attracted to the
simple melodic material.

JS: I guess...we've talked before about the process of you guys writing a song
and then actually the process of it getting from what you guys wrote and how
it actually ends up when it gets out there.

JG: Yeah.

JS: Do you guys all pretty much come to grips with that's how it works. Have you
ever gotten so bent out of shape, so out of tune, you just decide that isn't
going to work for here?

JG: Not anymore...uh...the thing is, that it always comes out better than my version
would have been. I mean, my head arrangements tend to be, uh, pretty conservative,
you know, I mean predictable. What everybody does with it in the band is much
more imaginative. It's one of those things where you have to learn to trust the
process again. I mean, if you can't dig it...you don't belong in a band. If you're
gonna work in a band you hafta expect that your ideas are gonna be transmutated
and transmogrified and made weird and things like that and you hafta accept that
that's part of what makes it cool.

JS: But I presume that you still...these guys still...you can't kinda predict like,
"oh I know that Weir's gonna do this"

JG: Nooo wayyy...[chuckling] I never know what these f***ers are gonna do. But that's
part of what makes it fun. You know what I mean? If I could predict what they were
gonna do, it would already be boring. I mean part of the fun of it is that it...
that it's always surprising.

JS: Maybe I... I got the feeling after listening to some of the tapes, that you guys
have kinda moved back into a song oriented phase, with the jamming has kinda...
become compressed again.

JG: Right, well probably some of the material we're working on now *will* open up.
I mean, some of the them are sorta designed to open up, but we don't work on that.
That's not something we work on, you know what I mean? It's one of those things
where we'll start to throw 'em open a little at a time, later on. But we don't,
we don't, we don't uh...rehearse jams, you know what I mean? But the potential
is in there so the thing is that we uh... it always becomes a matter of discussion.
When we're talkin' about an arrangement or learnin' a new tune it's like, "well this
tune could either go wide here, we could open out here and go somewhere or we can use
this as a transition into something else or this body of possible things can happen
here." You know what I mean? We discuss it loosely, but we don't work on it. So, our
first interest is getting the tune to where it works as a tune. Then, once it's doin'
that...then you can start opening it up and making changes inside of it or, you know,
throwing the door open at either end of it or whatever, you know.

BW: Liberty could open up, uh, between the, uh...

JG: Yeah, we haven't even... that could have long instrumentals in between, in the sense
that it's like Samson & Delilah or any things that just have a figure. You know, I'm
just doin' the figure, just because I'm anxious to let the song work first. You know
and it might even want some deeper arrangements, but it's too early in their development
to start hangin' that stuff on 'em. And also, that's part of... that's Grateful Dead-ness
happening to it, you know that'll happen as we go along...where we're rehearsing and
somebody'll say "hey you know what would be neat here would be..."

BW: The Dead process...

JG: Yeah, you know...let's go to Am7 for 420 bars here [laughing]

JS: So you throw it out and see who salutes...

JG: Yeah right, that kind of stuff.

JS: But you don't feel like, for instance you go through periods where the openings
for the unexpected things...are more compressed at a particular time or is it always...
do you feel it's always there, that the openings are always there?

JG: Nothing is always...everything is mutable, you know. It's really hard to typify stuff
because so much of it has to do with the individual piece of material, ya know? The
material is always different, so the approach changes with the material. And also...
we change, we keep changing so ... every year everything is different again. You know,
that's also part of the ongoing discovery of what the f*** is gonna happen.

JS: So when you get into the process in the second set, where it's movin' from tune to tune
to tune, there are some tunes that are reasonably predictable what tune it's gonna
go into next, but do you feel like you guys still get surprised out there when you do,
where it's gonna go?

JG: Yeah, I get surprised when something goes particularly well. It's nice when a tune goes
particularly well, I mean it like really snaps or it really has...it has a new thing in
its personality or you know what I mean? This kinda stuff keeps goin', even the straightest
or most predicatable things, it does happen. I mean, those things all have their purpose...
they're like...the songs are kinda like, uh, emotional packages in a way, you know. Even
if it's totally...every note of it is worked out, it has a certain emotional thing that it
does, a song does, that you use it and you fit it in and it does the thing, you know what I
mean? But... and even that changes, that's one of those things that can change too like what
the nature of that emotional resonance is, it uh...it also is flexible and mutable, stuff
like that. It...it's like it would be to be a classical musician where you're playing a piece
where every note...you already know what every note is gonna be, but...some nights you play
it with exceptional brilliance or, uh, exceptional heart, you know or you know what I mean?
Even though every note is predictable...

JS: Well, that's the key in classical music... trying to make the notes mean more than the note

JG: It's just a matter of... well that...that's the key in every kind of music. I mean, really
you know and it doesn't matter whether it's a difficult or easy song or whether it's
complex or simple or any of those things, you know. It still is a matter of investing the
thing with... you know, something...you know.

BW: When I'm bringin' a tune to uh... to the group, generally before people start really
improvising on it I like for them to learn it... what my notion of it is supposed to
be. I may have to dis-abuse myself of this uh, of this uh, methodology because it never

JG: He makes like a demo... he'll make like a demo tape that has the parts on it that he wants
to hear in it and then if something is particularly important he says, "why don't you
play this thing or this lick here."

BW: And just as soon as they've played it once, then they're scott-free. Um...

JG: It's just a matter of hearing it that way.

BW: Just as soon as they... just as soon as I know that they know what I had in mind
to begin with...is where I'm comin' from.

JG: Yeah, I do the same thing, but I just don't... I don't tend to take it too much
past, uh, a particular rhythmic feel and, uh, the phrasing and then the rest of
it is kinda like hunting around for it 'cause sometimes the... sometimes you don't
know... sometimes you start a song off... like Lazy River Road is an interesting one
because when we started working on that I wasn't sure whether it was gonna be a
shuffle or a straight feel or what, you know? It's the kind of song that can go
any number of ways 'cause stylistically it's wide open and you can phrase it any
way, you know? I mean it'll fit in all different ways and I was tryin' all kinds
of things when I was writing it on the keyboard and uh, it wasn't until we actually
started to try to work on it that it started to get a feel, a rhythmic feel and the
one we've got for it seems real natural for it now. It feels to me like it's startin'
to, uh, wanting to pick up the tempo a little bit, so it might have a slightly different
feel, but it's somewhere around where it oughta be.

JS: You mean you're in the ballpark?

JG: Yeah, I mean the song does what it seems to wanna do.

BW: I can see it stayin' in that tempo, but everybody playing a little more demonstratively.

JG: Yeah, yeah, right.

BW: The problem with that tune right now, if anything, is everybody has a polite notion
of how the tune is.

JG: Yeah, everybody's playing it too polite and that is the problem with it...you know,
it should have a little bit more kick-in-the-ass.

BW: And it could be a little... a little spikier.

JG: A little ruder.

BW: Yeah, I mean I couldn't be getting a ruder sound out of my guitar.

JG: Yeah, you're playin' a nice rude version of it...it's just... I gotta get the other
melons to play rude versions of

The bus came by and I got on that's when it all began!

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InvisibleWorld Spirit
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Registered: 07/27/01
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Re: Jerry Garcia interview [Re: Ripple]
    #1651618 - 06/21/03 07:01 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)

Deleted by admin

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you say tomatoe

Registered: 06/13/03
Posts: 180
Loc: and i say . . .
Re: Jerry Garcia interview [Re: Ripple]
    #1651654 - 06/21/03 07:24 PM (13 years, 6 months ago)


JG:... If you're gonna work in a band you hafta expect that your ideas are gonna be
transmutated and transmogrified and made weird and things like that and you hafta accept that
that's part of what makes it cool.

JS: But I presume that you still...these guys still...you can't kinda predict like,
"oh I know that Weir's gonna do this"

JG: Nooo wayyy...[chuckling] I never know what these f***ers are gonna do. But that's part of
gonna do, it would already be boring. I mean part of the fun of it is that it... that it's always

sounds like the shroomery.  :smile:


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