Ken Hays’ Beautiful Words about Jerry Garcia
As Deadheads everywhere paid homage to Jerry Garcia yesterday on the anniversary of his death, Ken Hays the man behind Gathering of the Vibes had some beautiful and inspiring words about the man who touched so many.
A message from Ken Hays:
19 years ago today, I was sitting at my desk in my home office of Terrapin Tapes with Prem Hira by my side when I received a phone call from a customer who worked at the NYC stock exchange. He was clearly distraught & in tears. He said “Ken, I’m not sure if you heard, but news just came across the wire that Jerry Garcia passed away a few hours ago.
Over the years, we had all heard rumors that Jerry, Phil or Bob had passed away. And up and until this point, they were just that, ugly rumors. And as Phil had said a couple years prior, “the report of my death has been greatly exaggerated”, but this time was different. All of a sudden the phones in our office starting ringing off the hook. “Ken is is true?”
Back in 1995, we didn’t have the luxury of going on the internet and getting instantaneous, accurate news, but around 10 minutes later, a great, longtime friend & touring buddy called me from San Fran and said it’s true, Jerry passed away this morning.
Prem & I broke down in tears and hugged as if we had just lost our mom, dad or someone we loved so dearly. I’ll never forget that day, the darkest and most profound sense of loss I’d ever experienced. I was blessed until that that point in my life, never having lost someone I truly loved. For all of you who were old enough to remember this day, I know you felt the same.
So on this beautiful Saturday afternoon, let us all take a moment and remember our favorite Jerry “kodak” moment. For me, it was in 1991, Jerry Band played at the Warfield Theater in San Fran. It had poured rain all day & all night, the streets were flooded when Jerry, Melvin, John, David & “the girls” took the stage. I remember being “on the rail” at this beautiful, intimate theater when the band broke into a “Mission in the Rain” and when Jerry sang the verse, “There’s some satisfaction in the San Francisco rain”, Jerry smiled like I’d never seen him smile before in my 350+ times seeing him perform. I’d never seen him so happy as when he played with his band at the Warfield.
At the end of the evening, as he jumped into his car, I said “thank you Jerry” & he popped his head out of the car, still pouring rain outside & said, “no, thank you man”.
As most of you know, if it weren’t for our collective love of this humble, talented & soulful man, Gathering of the Vibes would never have been born. Jerry, for the love & inspiration you’ve offered myself and millions of others, I look to the stars & thank you for changing my life forever.
With love, respect and humility VibeTribe, I couldn’t be more grateful to you for believing in us. Enjoy life everyday & always remember that when darkness comes, tomorrow will be a brighter day.