On the 28th of April in 1995 The Grateful Dead’s enigmatic leader Jerry Garcia sat down in front of the camera for his final interview. The rock and roll legend would pass away only a few months later but this footage sees Garcia full of joyous verve.
The interview, perhaps offering a slight degree of shuddering foresight, saw Garcia reflect on his entire journey. From playing the blues for food and LSD to living in this broken down Cadillac and on to becoming one of the most beloved musicians of his generation, Garcia perhaps knew the end was near.
The singer had struggled with his health for many years. In 1986 the singer fell into a diabetic coma and, in 1992, he forced the band to quit their tour due to his “exhaustion”. The singer had booted out a heavy heroin habit some time ago but the effects of a life lived on the edge was there for all to see.
“I had a feeling he was going to swing back out of it, and he was actually trying to do that when his heart quit,” fellow Dead member Bob Weir said in 2014. “He was pressing a bit harder, I think, than his body could keep up with.” Sadly, it would not be the case, Garcia died in his sleep on August 9th in 1995, a week after turning 53.
It, therefore, remains that Garcia’s final gig was in Chicago of 1995 and his final interview was the meandering and meaningful one you can find below. Speaking with Silicon Valley Historical Association, the guitarist and singer share some of the most ludicrous and salacious stories of the Grateful Dead’s illustrious career.
As well as sharing some shining rock and roll tropes, Garcia also reflected on Mr. Johnson, the motorbike-riding teacher who finally broke through to the creative mind of Garcia. The following conversation stretches out for 48 minutes and sees Garcia dip his toe into every aspect of his career—it makes for an engaging listen.
Famed for his free-spirit and bohemian lifestyle, Garcia reflects on how it not only helped shaped him as the free-jamming musical genius he is known as but also the spirit with which he took into everything he did, right up until his death.
Watch Jerry Garcia’s final interview below: