Jerry Garcia Archive celebrates the life and legacy of the Grateful Dead icon

Just in time for what would have been his 80e birthday, Jerry Garcia is set to be celebrated with the launch of a new online archive honoring the iconic Grateful Dead singer and guitarist.

The Jerry Garcia Archive, a collaborative venture between the Jerry Garcia Foundation and online storage platform Starchive, will serve as an online resource, digital library of Garcia information and fan submissions.

“This archive is really going to put in our hands, the fans, the ability to go to the front door of the archive and say, ‘You know what? I’ve taken some really interesting photos on tour. I’ve done original artwork,” said Peter Agelasto, the company’s senior archivist. “I used to design strip covers and spend a lot of time keeping my own little archive. think, that kind of fan work, all of us, is huge, massive work, and most of us were still sort of guarding our stuff.

“This creative integration will provide the community with a uniquely interactive and joyful experience of archival resources,” Keelin Garcia, Jerry’s daughter, said in a statement. Keelin is the co-founder of the Jerry Garcia Foundation alongside her mother, Englishtown native Jerry and Manasha Garcia’s ex-wife.

The launch of the archive will be celebrated with a series of concerts across the country celebrating and supporting the archive and the foundation, timed to coincide with Garcia’s birthday on August 1.

Neptune native keyboardist Waynard Scheller and his Dead Rainbow tribute band Full of Sound play Donovan’s Reef, 1171 Ocean Ave. at Sea Bright, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2 ($10 cover).

Elsewhere, Twiddle’s Mihali Savoulidis plays Garcia at the Capitol Theater, 149 Westchester Ave. in Port Chester, New York, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 4 ($45).

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The festivities kick off at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 1 at the Blue Note in Napa, Calif., with a performance by the David Nelson Band, led by the guitarist and vocalist who worked with Garcia in New Riders of the Purple Sage and the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band.

The David Nelson Band is among bands playing a series of shows across the country celebrating the Jerry Garcia Foundation and the launch of the Jerry Garcia Archive.

“It’s a big thing,” Nelson said of the anniversary celebration and the launch of the archive. “We always love doing a gig like this, and this one seems like really, really fun.”

Nelson’s work with Garcia even entered the canon of Grateful Dead proper – he was heard on a trio of early Dead albums and played guitar on the 1970 classic “American Beauty” “Box of Rain”. . His musical journey with Garcia began over 60 years ago when they were two West Coast kids devoted to Appalachian folk music released by the good folks at Folkways Records. (Nelson was also in the Wildwood Boys with Garcia in the early 1960s.)

“That (music) was the thing that really killed me. I was so captivated and excited about it,” he said. “Every time I went to the record store and looked for a Folkways record or something new to tell, and we were all doing it, and so were most of us who were into music. That’s when we thought of the idea of ​​having a band, of creating a band. It wasn’t calculated or anything, (it’s) sort of organically, it happened.

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This means that long before he was a world-famous artist in his own right, Garcia was first and foremost a fan himself. So it’s only fitting that the archives bearing his name invite Garcia fans around the world to participate.

“It’s the first time I’ve heard of such a thing, but it sounds good,” Nelson said. “What a great idea to collect all the stuff – the memories and stuff like that, to have it all in one place.”

Rhino Entertainment did a stellar job handling the Grateful Dead back catalog, while Round Records released Jerry’s undead work under the “GarciaLive” banner. Agelasto explained where the Jerry Garcia Archive fits into all of this.

“The path we’re blazing is one that hasn’t really been captured yet: it’s all your stories,” he said.

Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead performs at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford in 1995.

Using a cloud-based storage system similar to Google Drive or Dropbox, Starchive allows contributors to share digital files and save audio or video directly to the archive.

Garcia’s work has been a constant source of inspiration for generations – just stroll through the Shakedown Street vendor villages that pop up in the parking lots of Dead Family shows, with independent artisans selling their wares inspired by the dead. During the opening of “Workingman’s Dead” “Uncle John’s Band”, Garcia and lyricist Robert Hunter famously issued an invitation – “Will you come with me?” — and the archives are just the latest way fans can join Jerry on the long, strange journey.

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“That’s one of the reasons why this culture, this music, this band, these songs have such longevity,” Agelasto said. “Why did Bach survive? There were a lot of composers when Bach and Mozart were there. Why did ‘L’Iliade’ and ‘L’Oydsée’ survive? Why did the Old Testament survive? Because people could see their place in these things. It was a big tent – it was an open tent.

Alex Biese has been writing about local and national art, entertainment, culture and current affairs for over 15 years.

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