Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia (August 1, 1942 August 9, 1995) was famous as lead guitarist and vocalist of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead, though his extensive career involved many other projects. Named after composer Jerome Kern, Garcia started on the piano, moved on to the guitar, and eventually became a master on many stringed instruments, despite the loss - by his brother Clifford ("Tiff") - of his right middle finger just below the first knuckle while chopping wood at the age of four..
"Brent had a deeply self-destructive streak. He didn't have much supporting him in terms of an intellectual life. I mean, I owe a lot of who I am and what I've been and what I've done to the beatniks from the Fifties and to the poetry and art and music I've come in contact with. I feel like I'm part of a continuous line in American culture, of a root. But Brent was from the East Bay, which is one of those places that is like nonculture. There's nothing there. There's no substance, no background. And Brent wasn't a reader, and he hadn't really been introduced to the world of ideas on any level. So a certain part of him was like a guy in a rat cage, running as fast as he could and not getting anywhere. He didn't have any deeper resources. My life would be miserable if I didn't have those little chunks of Dylan Thomas and T.S. Eliot. I can't even imagine life without that stuff. "
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