AUDIO: BAM EXCLUSIVE – RARE JERRY GARCIA AUDIO INTERVIEW FROM 1974Kenny Wardell
**What you are about to hear in this BAM EXCLUSIVE is a very rare interview with the Grateful Dead’s guitar master Jerry Garcia that hasn’t been heard for over 30 years!**
I first took notice of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead in 1967 when they would play at free concerts in Golden Gate Park like the “Human Be-In” and the “Summer of Love.” The counter culture’s “Hippie Movement” was just getting started back then and the music coming out of San Francisco was starting to light the world on fire!
The first time I saw Jerry Garcia in person was when I lived in Palo Alto and he was coming out of the Dana Morgan Music store clutching a banjo case. Jerry taught guitar and banjo lessons at the store. I was too nervous to talk to him back then and he seemed like he was in a hurry but it was fun to see him up close like that.
Fast forward to 1974. I’m working at KSAN Jive 95, the progressive rock, free-form San Francisco FM radio station that literally changed the world. I did weekend air shifts and filled in during the week on occasion. The station’s General Manager Tom Donahue called me into his office and asks me if I want to do an interview with Jerry Garcia? “Hell yeah!” I tell him, as I know the Grateful Dead are headlining at one of Bill Graham’s “Day On The Green” concerts the following weekend at the Oakland Coliseum. The Beach Boys, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Commander Cody also performed on a beautiful Bay Area summer day.
Before the band’s last song, the Dead’s PR guy Dennis McNally met me at the backstage entrance and took me into one of the bands dressing room trailers to get my recorder set up. Shortly after the encore, in walks Jerry by himself and we didn’t waste anytime getting started. Coming directly off stage he was totally upbeat and had a lot to say about everyone from the Allman Brothers, Chuck Berry, Jerry’s approach to guitars and the Dead’s sound system, among many other interesting subjects.
I got to air the interview on my KSAN weekend show once and I think the station aired it a couple of other times before putting the edited tape into the KSAN vault which disappeared a long time ago. Luckily, I still had the master tape.