SOME DAYS HE would look good," Jimmy Voss said of Jerry Garcia,
"and some days you could tell he was dying."
"He's been in and out of treatment for years," Voss said
Wednesday after learning that Garcia, the Grateful Dead's lead
guitarist and vocalist, had died at a drug rehabilitation center in
"He certainly lived life to its fullest," said Voss, who has
traveled with the Dead for many years.
Voss, the head chef at Duff's restaurant in the Central West
End, spent two months this summer traveling with and cooking for
the Grateful Dead.
He was one of many friends and fans of the Dead who noted the
negative aspects of this year's tour. The band played at Riverport
Amphitheatre on July 5 and 6 after canceling a concert a few days
before in Indianapolis because of gate crashers.
While the band was here, two Deadheads died at a campground in
Wentzville, and 108 more were injured when a deck collapsed there.
Also, the Post-Dispatch has learned, Garcia received a death threat
in Indianapolis. The band played the first of its two concerts here
with the crowd lights on because police were keeping a lookout for
a possible killer.
"I had a strange feeling that I wasn't going to see him again,"
said Jorge Martinez, who attended this year's concerts and was the
promoter of the Grateful Dead's first appearance here - in 1968 at
the National Guard Armory. The group has since appeared here about
20 times, including four concerts in the last two years.
On Wednesday, after news of Garcia's death spread, two vigils
in his honor were held, one at Art Hill in Forest Park, the other
at Pleasant Valley Nature Park in Jefferson County. The Art Hill
gathering began at 2 p.m., with about 20 Deadheads, many of whom
wore tie-dyed clothes, and grew to a couple of hundred as the
afternoon wore on. The mellow vigil featured Grateful Dead music,
remembrances of past concerts and placards bearing familiar Dead
slogans such as "Keep on truckin' " and "What a long strange trip
it was." While most expressed sadness, the spirit was upbeat and
Madeline Dames, who belongs to a younger generation of
Deadheads - "I'm 30 years old, just like the band" - said that
"most people at this year's shows thought this would be the last
time they saw them."
But, she said, the pessimism was because of the problems
created by unruly fans who have joined the band's following in the
last few years, not because they expected anything to happen to