Jerry Garcia Week 2012 Day 9: Death Don’t Have No Mercy

As another week of celebrating Jerry’s birth and mourning Jerry’s death comes to a close, it seems appropriate to spend a little time in both the dark and light. DEATH DON’T HAVE NO MERCY was a song the Grateful Dead played early in their career. It vanished for a while, but was then resurrected in 1989. When I was playing in the short-lived band DOG GONE, we’d play this song from time to time. My lead guitarist, however, always cringed at the thought simply because he felt it was too dark, too morose, too negative. But for me, the song –particularly as sung and played by Garcia– was so full of genuine emotion as to be nothing less than a testament to the deepest of human experiences.

Music, to me, like any art, exists as expression, as an opportunity to connect people on a primal level, on what may be the most honest level. I want the art I make and the art I receive to run me through the gamut of human experiences and emotions. I’m not the guy who only likes to watch films that make me laugh or listen to music that is upbeat. Happy or sad, light or dark, art elates me. It all has its place and, for me, if you offer one without the other, you indirectly create a distinct lack of balance and end up offering a happy illusion that, at the end of the day, ultimately feels thin and lacking.

As the saying goes “There is no light without the dark.” 

And so we’ll close out this week with a little of the dark which, ironically, leaves me feeling whole and energized, invigorated and alive. Go figure :)

Jerry Garcia Week 2012 Day 9: Death Don’t Have No Mercy

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