Jerry Garcia

A Homage to Jerry Garcia of the GREATFUL DEAD

Text by Bruce Gallanter (Downtown Music Gallery)

Cream Puff War (Written by Jerry Garcia for the Grateful Dead. And appearing on their first self-titled album in 1967)

No, no! She can’t take your mind and leave
I know it’s just another trick she’s got up her sleeve
I can’t believe that she really wants you to die
After all it’s more than enough to pay for your lie

Wait a minute, watch what you’re doin’ with your time
All the endless ruins of the past must stay behind, yeah

Well, can’t you see that you’re killing each other’s soul
Well, you’re both out in the streets and you got no place to go
Your constant battles are getting to be a bore
So go somewhere else and continue your cream puff war

Wait a minute, watch what you’re doin’ with your time
All the endless ruins of the past must stay behind, yeah

Jerry GarciaAugust 1st was the birthday of the late Jerry Garcia, spiritual leader, lead guitar, lead vocalist, songwriter and founder of the Grateful Dead. Mr. Garcia would’ve turned 79 had he not passed away in 1995 at the age of 53.

“Cream Puff War” is found at the end of Side One on the first legit Grateful Dead album and it is the only Dead song (among more than 100 originals) in which lyrics and music written by Jerry Garcia with no help from the Dead’s main lyricist, Robert Hunter. The song is way intense, a short psychedelic rocker which was once covered by a hardcore/punk band called Phantom Tollbooth. Absolutely brutal yet most intriguing. I love those lyrics, especially the opening line: “No, no! She can’t take your mind and leave”. The chorus is also worth considering. I think the “cream puff war” is the war we are all fighting within ourselves, an ongoing battle with love & hate, good karma & greed, that we all struggle with at times.

As some of you may know, I have been on a personal ongoing journey, listening to each & every Grateful Dead live show online in chronological order. I started doing this a year ago starting with their first gigs in 1966 and am currently at May 16, 1970. I still find it fascinating to watch/hear the Dead evolve over time. They never play any song the same, the same way twice. Plus the interplay between all the members is often astonishing and much better than many would think.

The Dead are/were thee quintessential American band whose music drew from rock, folk, country, bluegrass, blues, R&B, funk, jazz, psych, music concrete and free music of different types. Whenever I listen to them, it makes me get up & dance, especially to those funky Pigpen songs, cry the blues, smile to the happy songs and go to outer space in their jams. \

Also, I continue to study the lyrics of Robert Hunter who has invented the Dead’s unique mythology. When I mentioned this to a fellow Deadhead recently at the store, his friend, a devoted Flamin’ Groovies fan, he said “Get a life!”.

I do have a good life and enjoy most of what I do and experience. Jerry Garcia died of a heart attack in August of 1995. Many think that he died due to his heroin & cocaine use, but that is not the entire truth or the big picture. I believe that Jerry died due to his many fans hanging a tag on him, claiming that he is a god or beyond human, someone so special. Mr. Garcia was addicted to one thing: playing music as often as was possible, whether in front of a large or small audience or just jamming with friends in their homes or studios.

As soon as the Dead finished a long tour, Jerry would start touring with his own band. He was driven to play. Henry Kaiser, a true Dead fan like me, claims that Mr. Garcia was the most recorded guitarist ever. This is probably true and I/we are certainly Grateful. Check out: and look up a particular date.

The Grateful Dead often have those magic moments when they transcend all expectations. They also have their occasional bad moments. No matter, when they hit their stride you will be happy that you came along for the ride.