Not so much tabloid (as in lies) as the unvarnished truth of the matter ... anyone who saw Dead shows up close a year or two before the 1986 coma definitely saw it coming. Like anybody else, Garcia was flawed. However, he was flawed to the extreme on both sides -- emitting light and incredible music (described by several in the book as being a Buddhalike presence), but also darkness and total social dysfunction (Hal Kant had a great line in there, "Jerry just wanted people around who would do what he wanted. But he frequently had trouble deciding what that was."). "Dark Star" is the perfect title for the book.
People who are prodigiously talented often have demons or illnesses that come with it ... it can be both a blessing and curse.
To me, this book traced the arc of Garcia's life, and thus the life of the band, from an inside perspective. Not just the lovable "papa Jerry" benevolent social icon that he was (and is) in the minds of many, and that the GD organization strove to project and protect even when it became far from the truth due to the heroin, but the real person, the good and the bad. The incredibly intelligent and inquisitive mind balanced by the self-destructive side that was fed by the immense pressure of just being Jerry Garcia and having the livelihoods of all those employees dependent on you touring even when the scene had spiraled out of control.
As I think David Nelson put it, he was "like an angel, with a bad streak."
But, as I warned ...
playingdead wrote:It is a pretty riveting read, and it gets, as Garcia's life did, very dark toward the end. You come to the conclusion that he was a mystery to everyone, including himself. Every Deadhead should read this book. It really shows how the band evolved from a bunch of misfits into a huge organization that promoted light from the audience even as it grew more dark and twisted and dangerous within.