NAT KEEFE :: HOT BUTTERED RUM STRING BAND
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?
He was serious about his work. The Grateful Dead worked so hard on their craft. I thought about this even when I was a twelve-year-old jamming in the garage with my first band and certainly with Hot Buttered Rum. The lessons from his shortcomings have influenced me too: Keep substance use under control. Don't let the inertia of the organization you create work you ragged. Talk about "family" problems.
2. What is your fondest memory of Jerry Garcia?
My dad and uncle took me to see my first Dead show at Frost Amphitheater in Palo Alto, CA when I was ten years old. I remember walking in there and thinking it was so cool to have two drum sets. Then the band comes on and everybody stands up and starts dancing. I had never really danced like that before but some nice ladies got me dancing with them and boy did I have a good time! I've been hooked on rockin' and rollin' ever since!
I was thrilled when they started playing "Chinacat Sunflower," one of the few songs I knew. That's a song that can really appeal to a kid. Then when they went into "I Know You Rider" it felt like we were making history. I was impressed with Garcia's nonchalant demeanor onstage. Most of the rock 'n' roll I'd seen was flashy 80s hair bands. The Dead were definitely not flashy, but had a relaxed living room appeal to them, like one of them could be my dad.
3. What would you say is the most significant thing Jerry has given the world?
He brought together different strains of American music into a popular, danceable form. In the Dead I hear the improvisatory exploration of Miles Davis and John Coltrane, the ancient tones of bluegrass and old time music, and the dance pop sensibility of 50s and 60s rock 'n' roll. This created a music which is now itself a genre. It's both modern and ancient. It's serious and fun.
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