By Brian Ives
Grateful Dead leader Jerry Garcia sat with CBS TV station KPIX in San Francisco back in 1988, and most of the footage has never been seen, and has sat in a vault for decades. But now, the channel has made the video available via their website, CBS San Francisco.
In it, Garcia warned the Dead’s still-young fan base against doing hard drugs.
“The experimentation has definitely been done kids,” he said, pointing out that people no longer needed to experiment with drugs to find out what the effects are. “I mean, I think a lot of the news is in. You know, certain things are definitely going to burn your brains out. PCP is not good, crack is not good. A lot of drugs will definitely kill you,” Garcia said.
He also discussed his then-recent near-death experience from 1986, when he fell into a diabetic coma: “I just laid down one day and didn’t get up. I felt really tired, amazingly tired. I lost about four or five days there. They’re gone. I don’t know what happened.”
He didn’t romanticize the experience: “I don’t recommend it, you know. Let me just start by saying I don’t recommend near death experiences as a way to motivate yourself.”
Garcia struggled with addiction for the rest of the life. In 1995, while at a treatment center, he died of a heart attack at 53. Watch the interview here.
This summer, 20 years after Garcia’s death and 50 years after forming, the Grateful Dead are closing the book on their career via their “Fare Thee Well” shows in Chicago and San Francisco.