Al Howard by Elyssa Page
1. How would you say the music of Jerry Garcia and/or the man himself has influenced your music, your craft, and/or your life path?

Jerry's music opens up a road that traverses through experience, time, landscape and perception. It is free, complex and knows no boundary of genre. It has touched the lives of so many musicians, artists and people in general in an immensely profound way. Jerry has taught me to free myself from categorical confinement and that one can create unfiltered soulful expression and still reach masses of people.

2. What is your fondest memory of Jerry Garcia?

I never got to see the Dead and in fact didn't really catch on until kind of late in the game. When I was 19 I went and saw Page and Plant. It was a time in my life when I partied pretty hard and on that particular evening I was completely tilted. I came home from the show and put on the first Mr. Bungle album, I wanted to challenge my brain with the most uncomfortable music it could handle. After a 70-minute barrage of circus jazz metal I decided to massage my thoughts (as well as frantic heartbeat) with something a little less abrasive. I had a copy of American Beauty on vinyl. I placed it on this old wood covered turntable, it was the size of a washing machine and had built in speakers. I sat down on the massive beanbag in corner of my room and got comfortable, blue lights and candles. From the moment the needle hit the vinyl notes of perfection filled all the space in my room. Every harmony, every melody, each word resonated with something deeper, every subtlety surfaced. I remember tearing up after "Brokedown Palace." There is something about his voice on that song, completely pure, stripped, raw and refined, filled with hopeful remorse. I remember it all making sense to me at that moment. Sounds, circumstance and timing all coming together.

3. What would you say is the most significant thing Jerry has given the world?

Jerry and his friends sculpted a subculture that at its finest moments embodies some of the most beautiful aspects of humanity; creativity, freedom, music, individuality, unity, art, nature and a feeling that we are all sharing in something greater.

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