Happy Birthday Jerry Garcia! We still LOVE YOU!

Jerry Garcia Photographer unknown

edit! I’ve gone in and changed details as today is Jerry’s 80th birthday and I’ve seen a LOT more shows! 

Today is the Birthday of Jerry Garcia.  Thus begins the “Days Between” He would have been 80 years old.  

I used to call him Jerry Gracias, even before I knew spanish as I was so grateful for him and his music in my life.  

I went to my first Grateful Dead concert at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater April 13, 1985 and then went on to see The Dead and or other projects of Jerry Garcia about 200 times over the next 3 years.  It was honestly the funnest time of my entire life…..I was 24 years old.  I had finally found something that moved me.  And I’d been LOOKING! (Jerry Garcia Band was the BEST!  Saw them many times at a small club in San Francisco called the Stone). 

I know that sounds obsessive to those who don’t understand, but it wasn’t actually that hard to see them that many times.  I totally know people who have seen them way more than that!  I lived in the Bay area, and they usually played Friday Saturday and Sunday most runs, so that is about once or twice a month that I went to shows, and saw 3 in a row.    All of which were fairly close to where I lived.  It was like going to Church.  

People would ask me, WHY, do you go to so many shows?  And I would say, “well, every show is amazing, but once in a while, they do a show that takes you to another reality, so far from what is part of our normal existence, and to get to be there with so many other people who get the same experience is something you just don’t want to miss!  And if you don’t go to all the shows, you might miss THAT one.”  

Life goes one, and in about 1989, I moved on from being an active Dead Head, for many reasons which I will not go into here…I of course always said, once a Dead Head, always a Dead Head, but I stopped going to shows, I stopped listening so intently to only Dead Music, and I had a nice life.  As we say, I got “off the bus”….but not really.  Grateful to be back on it.  

In 2018, I got got back on the bus in a very real way when I got to work at the newly formed Dead and Company concert here in Mexico with John Mayer as the Lead Guitar Player.  3 original members and 3 AMAZING new guys and they put on a GREAT Show, and I met some really awesome people that have become family.  

I have seen Dead and Company now 15 times this year.  9 times in Mexico, 2 times at the Gorge, and 2 times at Boulder and my birthday shows in NYC this year! !  There were something like 80,000 people at the second Boulder Show!  Around 40 thousand each night in NY at Citifield.   I’ve seen them 18 times in total if you count Los Muertos Con Queso, which some do and some don’t.  (It only had 2 original members not 3)(I actually started thinking about the bus A LOT in 2016 after working a Phish run and thinking about how similar the scene is and how much I missed it and concerts in general)

John Mayer is doing an amazing job, and mostly the Dead Heads are happy with the new band, and HAPPY that they have the opportunity to continue with something that for many has been a lifetime of love or like me just getting back on the bus.  He’s actually a Dead Head, and it was at a chance meeting while he was going on and on telling Bob Weir how much Dead music means to him, Bob said, “so what are you doing Thursday?” And thus began the amazing collaboration of Dead and Company.  A lot of people are very surprised when I tell them about John Mayer being in the band, as he is a HUGE star in his own right.  

I’ve also seen a few Dead “Tribute Bands” this summer.  There are MANY of them, in fact, there’s a website that will show you all the Dead Tribute bands by city and state and as it turns out there are hundreds, maybe thousands of them!  And not just here, but all over the world!     http://www.gratefuldeadtributebands.com

Two in particular have actually reached BIG TIME status and sell out places like Red Rocks and other big venues around the country and world wide!  Dark Star Orchestra and Joe Rusos Almost Dead are the two biggest of the Tribute bands.  I haven’t seen DSO yet, but JRAD was so amazing when I saw them, I said, I would follow them ANYWHERE!   There is even a band called The Garcia Birthday Band!  I’ve seen videos of them, and wow, would I LOVE to see them!  Especially today!  

This all brings me great joy as because of all this, this is a scene that will never die.  Some of these bands have young people who have a great interpretation of an amazing and HUGE catalog of music that deserves the tribute.  AND GREAT MUSICIANS!  Most cities have several of them, and so Dead Heads happily go and see their fave local bands and get together frequently.  This is important for us, it’s not only about the music but being with other people who get it.  I am seeing people of all ages at shows.  Another indication that it will go on forever! I can’t think of another scene that has this kind of fans.  Maybe Star Trek?  Hahaha!  

Shows are a totally different thing now, the technology and such is mind blowing to me after so many years being out of the habit of going to concerts.  And tour is a WAY different thing, as they mostly play only 1 or 2 nights and so people are flying in and out of cities, renting cars, staying at Hiltons and such.  Tickets are also expensive!  A far cry from the old days where we camped in the parking lots in our VW vans paying $15 a show!  BUT THE SHOWS, are still full of that amazing energy that I love so much.  There is just no way to describe how it feels to hear this music live again.  It is like it is in my DNA and only the other Dead Heads really get it.  So Grateful.  

And with the technology of today, we can see pretty much all of the shows LIVE while they are happening on the internet!  I am a member of several FB groups where we get together regularly and watch the shows together and chat from where ever we are!  We call this Couch Tour!  AND IT IS HUGE!  Thousands of people watching from home or where ever they are!  

Back to Jerry…..I was so sad and cried so hard the day he died…..It was like losing a family member.  You see, it is a family, and while he and I only met a few times, he had such an influence on my life it felt like I had lost a piece of my being.  Like I KNEW him and HE KNEW ME in a way that no one else in my life did.  Even though I was not active in the Dead Head world and had left for very strong reasons, I was still devastated as I was driving down the highway.  I was in a car, near Rolla Missouri going from St. Louis to West Plains where I lived when it came on NPR radio that he had died.  I will never forget that moment.  There were tributes and candle light vigils all over the world that day.  Including my house.  

He died on August 9th, 1995.  9 days after his birthday.  Those of us in Dead Head Culture call these days “The Days Between” and celebrate yearly every day until the 9th when there will be many tributes all over the world. So don’t be surprised if you see a lot of events and tv, radio and internet tributes over these days.  

Days Between is a reference to a song that he wrote and performed for the first time in 1993, so after I had stopped seeing them.  I don’t have it indelibly marked in my brain like I do the rest of their vast catalog.  

I first became aware of the song almost 2 years ago when I first heard about Timothy Tyler on line.  I won’t go into his whole story here, but he was in Prison for 25 years without music for most of those years (he was given Clemency by Obama and got out of a double life sentence so is now free) .  When he was about to go crazy, he would call his sister and ask her to play it for him over the phone.  It’s that kind of song.  After I heard this story, I went and watched every video of Jerry singing it I could find.  And wow, what a song.  So much depth and soul in it.  But it was obvious that Jerry was not at his best in these videos.  Bless his heart.  I’m really Grateful that Tim is now Free and he got to hear it LIVE in Chicago this year.  I was watching the simulcast of it on the internet and was jumping up and down in celebration knowing that Tim was at that show.   I heard it live for the first time in Boulder.  I cried and cried and cried.  

Bob sings it now, and when I first heard that, I thought, he could never do it the justice that Jerry did, that’s JERRY’s song!  But I was wrong.  When Bob sings it, he really really brings me to my knees.  It is a song of reverence and grace, hardship and loss and is a tribute to all who knew and loved the scene and Jerry and so much more.  Bobby totally gives it that.  Of course this is his friend, his coworker and someone who had been in his life for 25 years and who’s legacy totally is still part of Bob’s everyday life.  I am pleasantly surprised at how GREAT Bobby is singing many of “Jerry’s Songs”.  Johnny too!  We are so blessed.   

In those last Days of Jerry’s life, he was not healthy, he was back on drugs and well, not at his best.  I would like to see the Healthy Healed Jerry that I had gotten to see so many times when he was clean do that song.  But that will never happen.  And thank GOODNESS for Bob Weir for keeping the Dead alive.  

Jerry would be 77 today.  I would like to think that he would have gotten healthy again and would have been playing all these years.  He was in Rehab when he died…..His band mates are all still ROCKING it in their 70’s!  Something that brings me great joy.  

So tonight is Dead Heads “Meet Up At The Movies” and theaters all over the US are showing Dead Movies that have never been seen before in tribute to Jerry’s Birthday today.  It is one of the time when I really really wish there was a “Theater Near You” for me!  

It was fun for me to write this, I hope it brings some clarity to those of you who are not part of the Dead Head Culture but probably have some Dead Heads in your life that you just don’t understand……Fare The Well everyone!  May the Four Winds Blow you Safely HOME!  LONG LIVE the DEAD!  

Enjoy some photos from my Dead Head Life! Some old, some very new! and thank you to Jay Blakesberg for keeping the photos coming all these years.

Here’s the words to Days Between followed by a video of Jerry Singing it.

Days Between by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter

There were days

and there were days

and there were days between

Summer flies and August dies

the world grows dark and mean

Comes the shimmer of the moon

on black infested trees

the singing man is at his song

the holy on their knees

the reckless are out wrecking

the timid plead their pleas

No one knows much more of this

than anyone can see anyone can see

There were days

and there were days

and there were days besides

when phantom ships with phantom sails 

set to sea on phantom tides

Comes the lightning of the sun

on bright unfocused eyes

the blue of yet another day

a springtime wet with sighs

a hopeful candle lingers

in the land of lullabies

where headless horsemenvanish

with wild and lonely cries lonely cries

There were days

and there were days

and there were days I know

when all we ever wanted

was to learn and love and grow

Once we grew into our shoes

we told them where to go

walked halfway around the world

on promise of the glow

stood upon a mountain top

walked barefoot in the snow

gave the best we had to give

how much we’ll never know we’ll never know

There were days

and there were days

and there were days between

polished like a golden bowl

the finest ever seen

Hearts of Summer held in trust

still tender, young and green

left on shelves collecting dust

not knowing what they mean

valentines of flesh and blood

as soft as velveteen

hoping love would not forsake

the days that lie between lie between



Enjoy some photos old and new!

Jerry Garcia 1987
my bedroom in my early Dead Days 1985 with my first husband Mike Chudoba
In line to get into New Years Show probably 1987 would love to find some of those old friends!

The guy pointing is Mike Ormerod. He took me to my first show. I would love to find him and thank him!

Mike Ormerod Ventura California Grateful Dead Concert 1987

Margo Guenther 1985 Grateful Dead Ventura Fairgrounds

Los Muertos Con Queso CID Presents Mexico 2017

LMCQ CID Presents Mexico 2017

2018 CID Mexico Dead and Company

John Mayer and Bob Weir CID Presents Dead and Company Playing in the Sand Mexico 2018
photo by Margo Guenther

Dead and Company Playing in the Sand
Photo by CID Presents Mexico 2018

Dead and Company Playing in the Sand 2018
Photo by CID Presents Mexico

Dead and Company Playing in the Sand 2019
Photo by Jay Blakesberg

Tim and I in Mexico! Playing in the Sand Dead and Company 2019

Can you say Full Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse? Playing in the Sand Dead and Company 2019
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead 2019 Redmond Washington

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead 2019 Redmond Washington Photo by Margo Guenther

Andy Coe Band Seattle Washington 2019
photo by Margo Guenther

2019 Dead and Company Gorge Amphitheater
photo by Margo Guenther

John Mayer and Bob Weir Dead and Company Gorge Amphitheater 2019
photo by Margo Guenther
Dead Head Girls Liza Fallon and Lisa Bottari Gorge Amphitheater

Margo and some Cool Dead Head Dudes, Justin Fallon and Voodoo Nola Gorge Amphitheater 2019

Colorful night! Photo by Margo Guenther
Dead and Company Gorge Amphitheater 2019

2019 Dead and Company Folsom Field Boulder Colorado Photo by Margo Guenther

Bob Weir Dead and Company Bolder Colorado 2019 Photo by Margo Guenther
John Mayer Dead and Company Boulder Colorado 2019 Photo by Margo Guenther
Friends for LIFE! Dead and Company Boulder Colorado 2019 Photo by Margo Guenther
My Family for a night! Dead and Company Boulder Colorado 2019
Photo by Margo Guenther
Oteil Burbridge Dead and Company Boulder Colorado 2019 Photo by Margo Guenther
PS, his bass guitar is PURPLE!
That’s it! Me, Margo Guenther almost 35 years after my first show. Boulder Colorado 2019
Thanks everyone!