A 1987 interview with Jerry Garcia will serve as the basis for an officially-licensed documentary entitled Jerry Garcia, Artist. Filmed at the Grateful Dead‘s Front Street Studio in San Rafael, CA by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter, the film promises to deliver never-before-seen footage of the iconic guitarist reflecting on his lifetime of work and musical legacy.
Though thousands of hours of concert footage of Garcia exists in a multitude of formats—and he himself even directed the documentary-meets-concert film The Grateful Dead Movie in 1977—there has still been no authorized documentary released on Garcia. Fellow guitarist Bob Weir got his moment in the spotlight in 2014 with the release of The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir. Jerry Garcia Music Arts LLC aims to check off the Jerry doc box with the release of Jerry Garcia, Artist, which the company announced in a statement would be an “immersive experience.”
“We envision an uplifting, immersive experience focused on my father’s art and music,” said Keelin Garcia, Jerry Garcia’s daughter, co-producer of the project, and president of Jerry Garcia Music Arts. “The story is authentic. My father narrates the film in his own words, directly to the audience.”
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Not to be confused with Garcia Family Provisions, which acts as the official store for the late guitarist’s estate, Jerry Garcia Music Arts LLC was launched in 2018 by Garcia’s ex-wife Manasha Garcia (whom he married in 1990 in a spiritual ceremony devoid of legal convention) and the couple’s daughter Keelin, who was born in 1987. The label recently released rare outtakes of Garcia with Sanjay Mishra at Front Street in 1995. This came as the first notable release from the label since 2019 with a free acoustic recording of Jerry playing “Ripple” during his famous one-man show at The Capitol Theatre in Passiac, NJ on April 10th, 1982.
Captured in 1987 following Garcia’s slip into a diabetic coma in 1986 before triumphantly returning to the stage on 12/15/86, the interview finds the frontman in a better place health-wise as the Grateful Dead approach a late-career commercial boom. With over 20 years of Grateful Dead history behind him, Garcia eloquently reflects on his life in this “nothing-off-limits” interview. The interview footage serves as a springboard for a journey into Garcia’s broader artistic world including drawings, paintings, family photos, home movies, and more.
“This project is a labor of love for all involved,” said director and producer Malcolm Leo. “And it is the fulfillment of a promise I made to Jerry long ago to do something special with the footage. The film will honor one of the country’s most beloved musical heroes and cultural icons.”
No release date was given for Jerry Garcia, Artist along with the announcement. For more information, visit the Jerry Garcia Music Arts website.