A Jerry Band show in Hampton in 1993 changed my life. A Dead show earlier that spring had permanently altered my trajectory, but there was something different about the Jerry show for me. It was spiritual. A few cross-country Dead tours would follow and then, well, we all know how the story ended in August 1995.
Around that time I discovered live recordings, first cassettes and later DAT's. Live Jerry shows from the 70's were a particular favorite, first Jerry with Merl and later Legion of Mary. In time I would learn to love it all, from Old & In the Way to Jerry Garcia Band to Garcia and Grisman. Even Reconstruction. Around this same time I was working at an Internet startup and learning to create web sites, so putting these together I launched the jerry site in 1996.
I had a whole lot of help in the early days getting started, from setlist info posted to UC Berkeley's FTP server to a bunch of kind folks from the Deadlists project, who by that time I'd worked with helping them on getting their site published. I even spent a few weeks in the Bay Area making more connections and unearthing some uncirculated recordings thanks to Linda Kahn.
As my tape collection and career grew, so did the jerry site. For nearly 20 years it has been my muse - I've poured time and energy into its evolution. The site has connected me with thousands of Jerry fans from around the world, great people I both know through email but also in person. For this I'll be forever grateful.
But time changes and life moves on. Today I have two young kids, a full-time job and a growing career that all compete for my time. What once was a creative outlet is now a responsibility to keep running and visitors of late know this has been a challenge.
After deliberation and reflection I've come to the conclusion it's time to shut down the site. It is time to say goodbye and walk on to the next thing, whatever that may be but definitely something related to my two passions of music and software.
So what's a Jerry fan to do now? Here's where I'd start:
Last year I donated all of my show info to Jerry Garcia's official site to help create a complete resource for Jerry's entire musical career. It's am amazing resource. I was fortunate to work with the team during design and I'm happy the whole project came together. For all the folks who donated new info to me over 18 years - thank you - your donation lives on forever as part of Jerry's legacy.
For the last few years Joe Jupille has kept the info on the site current and he's got his own blog Jerry Garcia's Middle Finger that is a fabulous resource. I owe Joe a lot - he's picked up the flame and carried it farther than I ever could. Thanks Joe for all your help over the years!
If you are looking for a catalogue of Jerry's official releases, visit Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography. What started as one page on the jerry site nearly 15 years ago has evolved into a wonderful resource.
Harry Angus has been a big contributor to the site over the years and has his own blog Jerry's Brokendown Palaces. Corry Arnold's blog Lost Live Dead is another treasure trove full of tales and insights.
Finally, if you're looking for live Jerry recordings in circulation, Lossless Legs is the place to look. If you want to take in some live music go see Dark Star Orchestra, who's member Rob Eaton has been a significant contributor since 1997. Thanks Rob!
In addition to these contributors, over 400 others have added new info, sent photos or unearthed rare recordings and donated them - thank you.
It is bitter-sweet to be writing the closing chapter for the jerry site. But the time has come to exit stage right and move on. Thank you, Jerry's fans, for all the emails of support and contribution over the years. If you care to leave comments, please feel free to below.
- ryan shriver