KPIX in San Francisco interviewed Jerry Garcia in 1988, right after the Grateful Dead hit the charts with "Touch of Grey." But the interview never aired and now has finally been made available. It took place at the band's studio on Front St. in San Rafael. Kate Kelly conducted the interview.
Here are some highlights:
• 'I hate to play anything twice ever. In fact, I'm almost constitutionally unable to do it. It isn't fun for me, and luckily everybody else in the band, the Grateful Dead, is like me in that regard. Our problem is to keep ourselves interested, and that means to keep changing. So that means every night we play the material differently. We don't do a "show" as such. We have a large repertoire of pushing 200 songs when we really are working a lot, and we just go on stage and play. It's the only way we can do it and keep it interesting… No two shows are alike. If you really want to see the Grateful Dead you have to go to all of these shows… To go on the road and play mechanically would cheapen this whole experience. We're interested in providing something that isn't just a live version of a record. We want it to be more dynamic, we want it to be more exciting, we want it to be unexpected, we want there to be surprises there, we want the people to feel they're participating in it… The audience becomes a part of the music and it becomes a very rich experience. If you decide what you're going to be is a jukebox, then pretty soon you get bored. Being on the road gets to be a real drag… Doing something that stays interesting, that really is the key.'
• 'We've always really avoided expressing any particular message with our music. We've made an effort to make it as ambiguous as possible so people could create their own sense. If we're standing for something, we hope that the whole gesture says it rather than the individual songs. So our songs have purposefully not been focused in a topical sense.'
• 'PCP is not good. Crack is not good. A lot of drugs will definitely kill you… You just have to be careful nowadays.'
• About his diabetic coma: 'I lost about four or five days there, they're gone... It was like a complete meltdown, I really had to start everything over again.'
• 'I'd like to be known as a guy who had a pretty good time while he was here.'