Interview of Jerry Garcia by Father Miles Riley
San Francisco, CA
Interview Date not certain.
Air date: January 31, 1976 (Saturday), 1pm
This is a tagged version of shnid: 122025
–(16 tracks, 13:34)–
t01. Jerry’s mother [1:04]
t02. Jerry’s image, fame [1:52]
t03. aura, music vs. words, responsibility, leadership, JG experiential thing [3:00]
t04. interaction, film [0:16]
t05. TV [0:37]
t06. feedback, interaction with fans [0:37]
t07. mailing list, record samplers and fan mail [0:18]
t08. musical eclecticism, evolution, energy [0:46]
t09. where JG functions best [0:25]
t10. “it’s working” [0:28]
t11. the best things happen when everyone agrees [0:40]
t12. improvised architecture [0:32]
t13. feeling good about it [1:06]
t14. something to work on, with observable progress [1:00]
t15. sign off [0:03]
t16. Hank Harrison voice note [0:40]
Original note: “More from Hank Harrison’s cassette interviews.” Came with two further tracks. Track two was said to be interview to Robert Petersen, track three with Pigpen and Petersen. I note that Pigpen is on both, probably Petersen, too.
Lineage given as “MC > CD > EAC > FLAC”. I note that there’s gotta be more than that. Harrison’s voice notes are superimposed over tape, for one thing. And there was some kind of high-pitched tone at the start of some pieces … would that be a reel? Or would a little dication machine have done something like that, too?
Lineage: JGMF: I took the flac, decoded, tracked it with CDWave, wrote up these notes, and flac’d with TLH.
Recording: this runs to about 14 minutes. I assume the show was 30 minutes, but can’t know that. It’s possible Jerry was just one segment, let’s say, of 15 minutes, and that we aren’t missing much. Or it’s possible they spoke for 30 or 60 minutes. There is definitely some conversation missing here. We cut in at t01, and at a point are two there are references to things Jerry just said that don’t appear on the tape. Just a wild guess that it was 30 minutes and we have about half of it.
Material: Very, very interesting. I wonder how Father Miles Riley got Garcia to come into a TV studio to appear on his hipster priest show. Note that there is one interview, I can’t remember the context, in which Garcia talks about being fascinated with these TV preacher types. But in that seetting he was talking about the hellfire and brimstone types, sweating hard and asking for money. Like that white-haired coke fiend who used to be on Bay Area TV in the 70s. Anyway, Father Miles Riley sounds much more in the gentle, closeted, trying-to-be-hip, leftwing catholic priest tradition.
According to Harrison’s notes and based on the vibe of the conversation, it does feel face to face, in studio. HH’s notes only say the air date, not the recording date.
The good Father has a reasonably light touch in trying to steer JG toward things spiritual and whatnot, but JG really isn’t biting. He knows where Riley wants to take it, but he’s pretty good-humoredly steering clear of it. It’s a very interesting discussion. Indeed, t13 is sort of premised where the Priest tries to raise “faith”, and Garcia basically says that his own guiding light is whatever feels good. If it feels good, he does it. If it doesn’t, he doesn’t. Hardly a faith-based, less still even remotely ascetic, philosophy.
t01. This has to be the only tape I have ever heard of Jerry talking at all about his mother. There have been a few other interviews in which he discusses her, but hearing January 1976 JG talk about this is enlightening indeed. “I never was able to say to her, ‘I thought you did OK’.” I never was able to finish that idea. I don’t feel as though our relationship is gone forever. She always respected what I did, and liked the fact that I was a musician and liked what I was doing and so forth. And she never judged me. Even through things with involvement with drugs and things like that. It’s a shock as things like that always are. (re death of his mother). Once your parents are gone … y’know … y’know [heavily connotative pause, more in the sense of “it’s weird” in a way.] . They’re gone. On some levels it’s liberating and on other levels it’s very sad.”
t02. “The kind of fame that I’m involved in, such as it is, is low enough of a profile so that I’m not constantly being reminded of it” [people aren’t running up for autographs] “It’s much cooler than that.” So glad he could still say this as of early 1976, at least!
t07 note that the mention of the mailing list, record samplers etc. provides data consistent with the identified time frame of the interview.
t14. We might say something about Garcia’s workaholism based on t14. He basically says fulfillment in life results from having something to work on, on which one can make observable progress, at the very center of life. Homo Faber, of a sort.
t09. “I am not an artist in the solo … or in the independent artist in the Garrett mold. … I’m part of dynamic situations and that’s where I like it, and that’s where I feel I function best. And The GD as a collection of people are all people who’ve come to that idea.”
t11. GD: “If somebody doesn’t like it, we don’t do it. We’ve learned to trust each other.” “No idea really makes it if you can’t include everybody.”
t16. Hank Harrison: “That was Father Miles Riley, Catholic Priest televisio host of a show called ‘I Believe’, recorded at KPIX Studios in San Francisco, aired at 1 o’clock in the afternoon in the entire Bay Area, 1/31/76, interview with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead.”