Jim James with MMJ
Bonnaroo 2005 by Dave Vann
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?

There are certain songs of his that take me to this place... and it is a place to which only his music, his voice, can take me. There is this realm he knew that I think no one else has really quite mastered. It is a place that is not sad, not happy, not fast or slow, but all these things at once. And when I'm feeling tired and beat down, or discouraged about life, it is a place I like to go to hear the simple, sweet, sound of his voice, and I always end up feeling better when I come back. I try to remember that, to just be simple and sweet sometimes, especially when I am feeling like being an asshole.

2. What is your fondest memory of Jerry Garcia?

Oddly enough, my fondest memories of Jerry really don't have much to do with the Dead or his music per se, as I did not really discover that music till much later in life. The first time I recall hearing him was his amazing steel part on Teach Your Children by CSNY. I think that guitar part is one of the sweetest sounds ever made; it makes me want to cry and have kids every time I hear it. I feel like all mysteries of life could be revealed if that guitar part was isolated and analyzed in a lab. We would know then what we've been trying to figure out for so long. It's not even what he is playing, but the way he played it. It's cool how all those guys worked together too, 'cuz another fave of mine is his steel part from Laughing off Crosby's first solo record If I Could Only Remember My Name. I like how he just pops up when you least expect it. Pure genius.

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

There is a certain sweetness to everything he touched and sang and played on. Something so human, yet so divine it is hard to describe. We know he came from another place, but he had such a great way of getting us humans to try and love life and to see all the beauty and possibility that exists in music.

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