Jerry Garcia Was A Geek

Garcia a tech-head? Who knew? Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

So we knew he was a brilliant guitarist, and that he could

sing and write a mean song when he collaborated with Robert Hunter. And we also

knew that he dabbled in art, some of which he created with, as we were once

told, "a computer." But it was only yesterday, thanks to an article in the

L. A. Times by Stephen M. H. Braitman, that we learned that Jerry Garcia

was a geek. Actually, it was even more of a surprise to Mr. Braitman, who ended

up talking to the late leader of the Grateful Dead's wife Deborah at the Garcia

home in the course of researching a newspaper article on the book,

Harrington Street which was written and illustrated by Garcia.

Harrington Street is about Garcia's childhood. The most interesting info

comes near the end of the article. "...and it was a revelation to me that this

Deadhead icon, this Merry Prankster, this Mr. Natural visionary, was such a

tech-head. That is, he reveled in computers and the brave new world of

technology.... 'He always liked the latest and best toys,' said Deborah Garcia.

'...He had one of the very first computers that Apple did, and he kept updating

it. A more powerful computer would come along and he would get

that.'"

Braitman is then shown the room where Garcia worked. "And there I

was looking at Jerry's nerve center. A Power PC 8100/80. Next to it was a Wacom

tablet and scanner, which allowed him to draw images freeform and scan them

directly into the computer. A Painter program gave him the palette to bathe the

book in color.

"I laughed a small laugh to myself. There it was: Jerry

Garcia, nerd

savant."