THOUGHTS ON GARCIA: DON'T LET GO

AL SCHNIER :: moe.


Al Schnier by Jake Krolick
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 emotive vocals and fluid guitar lines are indelibly stamped in my memory. He was my hero for a long, long time. I've never really sat down and tried to figure it out from a musical standpoint (like I did with Rush albums in junior high). I'm not sure I really want to know. I'm too big of a fan, and I'd hate to spoil it. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Regardless, all of those years spent hanging on every last note of his certainly formed a lot of what I know today about improvisation. Regarding the life path - it's sad, but Jerry's disregard for his own well-being is a reminder to stay healthy. It's too easy to fall into those trappings when you're the house band everybody wants to party with EVERY NIGHT. Garcia's frailty was only a small part of the human quality that resonated thru his playing (not to mention humor, heartache, the prankster, etc.). It's hard to imagine what it would have been like listening to a Jerry that was also a marathoner.

2. What is your fondest memory of Jerry Garcia?

My fondest memory has to be the night I saw him do back to back acoustic shows (with John Kahn) at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ about 1984. The place was like a zoo - hippies hanging from the rafters, a rundown theatre, Garcia holding court with an acoustic guitar and upright bass - and the place was raging, dumbfounded, lit for sure. I was sure a Trojan horse was going to burst through a wall at any moment. What a night.

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

It's a tough call. It's obvious that his musical contributions will reverberate through generations of musicians for a long time to come. In some way, it's hard not to think that he sacrificed himself in the process. He is surely missed, but he's celebrated every day.

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