75 Best Jerry Garcia Quotes on Love and Life

Jerry Garcia was the iconic American singer-songwriter and guitarist and was famous as the lead vocalist, primary songwriter, and lead guitarist of the legendary rock band, the Grateful Dead.

Born on August 1st, 1942, Garcia weathered a troubled childhood and developed his passion for music and art.

He played with several folk and bluegrass acts before forming the electric blues-rock band, the “Warlocks”, later renamed as the “Grateful Dead”.

Their unique blend of improvised jazz-inspired folk-rock music captured global attention.

Jerry Garcia Quotes

Alongside his extraordinary career with the Dead, Garcia also pursued his own solo career and engaged in collaborations with other artists, displaying his talents across a range of music genres.

However his personal life was marked by struggles and issues with drug addiction and health issues, leading to his untimely death at the age of 52.

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Despite his life challenges, Garcia left an enduring legacy as a multi-talented artist and exceptional guitarist with a remarkable range and versatility.

Here are some of the best quotes from Jerry Garcia for you.

Best Jerry Garcia Quotes & Sayings


1. “I think The Grateful Dead kind of represents the spirit of being able to go out and have an adventure in America at large.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


2. “There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and if you go, no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


3. “We’re like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but the people who like licorice really like licorice.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


4. “You have to get past the idea that music has to be one thing. To be alive in America is to hear all kinds of music constantly: radio, records, churches, cats on the street, everywhere music. And with records, the whole history of music is open to everyone who wants to hear it.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


5. “What’s been great about the human race gives you a sense of how great you might get, how far you can reach.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


6. “And as far as I’m concerned, it’s like I say, drugs are not the problem. Other stuff is the problem.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


7. “The real problems are cultural. The problems of the people who take drugs as a cultural trap – I think there’s a real problem there, the crack stuff, the hopelessness of the junkie. The urban angst.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


8. “Live life expecting the worst, hoping for the best, and living for the future!” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


9. “To get really high is to forget yourself. And to forget yourself is to see everything else. And to see everything else is to become an understanding molecule in evolution, a conscious tool of the universe.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

10. “Nothing left to do but smile.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

10. “Nothing left to do but smile.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

11. “Run faster, jump higher, reach farther, and you’ll always win!” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


12. “You ain’t gonna learn what you don’t wanna know.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

13. “The sun will shine in my back door one day…” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

14. “We didn’t invent the Grateful Dead, the crowd invented the Grateful Dead. We were just in line to see what was going to happen.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


15. “Every silver lining has a touch of grey.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

16. “We would all like to be able to live an uncluttered life, a simple life, a good life.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

17. “I equate Deadheads to people that like black licorice. There aren’t many people that like black licorice, but the ones that do, REALLY REALLY like it! Or buttermilk, or whatever.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

18. “Truth is something you stumble into when you think you’re going someplace else.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

19. “You need music, I don’t know why. It’s probably one of those Joe Campbell questions, why we need ritual. We need magic, and bliss, and power, myth, and celebration and religion in our lives, and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


20. “Too much of a good thing is just about right.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

21. “Listen to the river sing sweet songs to rock my soul.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

22. “We’ve been trying to sell out for years, nobody’s buying!” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

Famous Jerry Garcia Quotes

23. “Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


24. “Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

25. “What is life but being conscious? And good and evil are manifestations of consciousness. If you reject one, you’re not getting the whole thing that’s there to be had.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

26. “All I know is, if you listen to society, you’ll never get anywhere!” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

27. “If we had any nerve at all, if we had any real balls as a society, or whatever you need, whatever quality you need, real character, we would make an effort to really address the wrongs in this society, righteously.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

28. “I Don’t Think There’s A Good Excuse For Being Unhappy. I’m Not Particularly Unhappy, But I Know What Pain Is. I think That Life Is Characterized By Pain, Partly. Part Of The Way You Can Tell You’re Alive Is By How Much Pain You’re Experiencing, Or How Little…” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


29. “We were very fortunate to have a little time in history when LSD was still legal and were able to experiment with drugs just like we were doing with music.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

30. “I mean, just because you’re a musician doesn’t mean all your ideas are about music. So every once in a while I get an idea about plumbing, I get an idea about city government, and they come the way they come.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

Top Jerry Garcia Quotes & Sayings

31. “I think it’s too bad that everybody’s decided to turn on drugs, I don’t think drugs are the problem. Crime is the problem. Cops are the problem. Money’s the problem. But drugs are just drugs.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

32. “America is still mostly xenophobic and racist. That’s the nature of America, I think.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

33. “Stuff that’s hidden and murky and ambiguous is scary because you don’t know what it does.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


34. “If the thunder don’t get ya then the lightning will.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

35. “I sat down to my supper, twas a bottle of red whiskey.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

36. “I mean, whatever kills you kills you, and your death is authentic no matter how you die.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

37. “Either you were a hoodlum, or you were a puddle on the sidewalk.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

38. “Nobody stopped thinking about those psychedelic experiences. Once you’ve been to some of those places, you think, ‘How can I get back there again but make it a little easier on myself?’” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

39. “It’s pretty clear now that what looked like it might have been some kind of counterculture is, in reality, just the plain old chaos of undifferentiated weirdness.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

40. “It’s a joke. Greed and the desire to take drugs are two separate things. If you want to separate the two, the thing you do is make drugs legal. Accept the reality that people do want to change their consciousness, and make an effort to make safer, healthier drugs.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


41. “Whistle through your teeth and spit cuz, it’s Alright.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

42. “If you’re able to enjoy something, to devote your life to it or a reasonable amount of time and energy, it will work out for you.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

43. “I have all the patience in the world about Sirens. For me it’s not a Grateful Dead project, it’s a Me project.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

Powerful Jerry Garcia Quotes & Sayings

44. “In folk music, I’ve always been fond of the fragment. The song that has one verse. And you don’t know anything about the characters, you don’t know what they’re doing, but they’re doing something important. I love that. I’m really a sucker for that kind of song.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

45. “But audio is a component of video, so there’s always been that anyway, and although we’ve never expressed a visual side apart from the Grateful Dead movie, I don’t find it that remote, you know what I mean? It’s a departure of sorts, but it’s like a first cousin.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

46. “If you assume you haven’t learned anything yet, there’s no reason your playing can’t stay dynamic all your life.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


47. “For me, the lame part of the Sixties was the political part, the social part. The real part was the spiritual part.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

48. “Done time in the lock-up, done time on the streets. Done time on the upswing, and time in defeat. I know what I’m askin’. I know it’s a lot. Just to say that I love you. Believe it or not.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

49. “Run faster, jump higher, reach farther, and you’ll always win! live life expecting the worst, hoping for the best, and living for the future! Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

50. “Cats on the bandstand, give them each a big hand, anyone who sweats like that must be all right.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

51. “What we do is as American as lynch mobs. America has always been a complex place.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

52. “I’m shopping around for something to do that no one will like.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

53. “I don’t know why, it’s the same reason why you like some music and you don’t like others. There’s something about it that you like. Ultimately I don’t find it’s in my best interests to try and analyze it, since it’s fundamentally emotional.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


54. “Don’t tell me this town ’aint got no heart.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

55. “And for me there’s still more material than 20 lifetimes that I can use up.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

56. “And when you don’t have to talk to the person next to you, that’s real clean. Takes a certain thing not to try to keep anything up, not to have to entertain one another.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

57. “I don’t think that Slaughterhouse-Five was successful movie material. In fact, Vonnegut’s books mostly I don’t feel are movie material.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

Inspirational Jerry Garcia Quotes & Sayings

58. “Our strong suit is what we do, and our audience.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

59. “Hunter can write a melody and stuff like that, but his forte is lyrics. He can write a serviceable melody to hang his lyrics on, and sometimes he comes up with something really nice.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

60. “I read somewhere that 77 percent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I’m more intrigued by the 23 percent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


61. “Death comes at you no matter what you do in this life, and to equate drugs with death is a facile comparison.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

62. “It’s all part of it, man.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

63. “See, there’s only two theaters, man that are set up pretty groovy all around for music and for smooth stage changes, good lighting and all that – the Fillmore and The Capitol Theatre. And those are the only two in the whole country.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

64. “So we are pretty convinced we don’t want to play huge stadiums unless we can play them well.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

65. “What a long strange trip it’s been.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


66. “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

67. “Yeah, I think we have to. If we want our shows to be – if we want the quality of the shows to be good, and we want the energy to be high, and if we want to be in good enough physical shape to do them, and not exhaust ourselves on the road, and not get stale, we have to pace.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

68. “So it’s one of those things where we have to – our problem is pacing ourselves and still reaching a large enough number of our audience. Because we don’t want to burn the audience. And we don’t want to be excluding anybody.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


69. “Hang me, oh, hang me, so I’ll be dead and gone. I wouldn’t mind hanging, boys, but you wait in jail so long.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

Inspiring Jerry Garcia Quotes

70. “Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

71. “But hey, when you live in Watts, you need a little smack to get by, you know what I mean? You need something soft and comfortable in your life, ’cause you’re not going to get it from what’s around you. And society isn’t going to give it to you.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

72. “And Warner Bros. seems to be pretty much into re-releasing all of their catalog. So there’s the Warner Bros. stuff and the stuff that we have control over, we’re gradually re-releasing it. Some stuff we don’t have control over.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).


73. “You don’t want to be the best at what you do, you want to be the only one.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

74. “And there’s a lot of that stuff with people bringing their kids, kids bringing their parents, people bringing their grandparents – I mean, it’s gotten to be really stretched out now. It was never my intention to say, this is the demographics of our audience.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

75. “The bigger issue, was the whole takeover of the food industry by big corporations.” ~ (Jerry Garcia).

Short Biography of Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia was a key figure in American music as the lead guitarist and founder of the Grateful Dead.


His musical journey spanned from folk to rock touching hearts with over 120 albums and countless live shows.

Category Details
Full Name Jerome John Garcia
Date of Birth August 1, 1942, San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died August 9, 1995 (aged 53), Forest Knolls, California, U.S.
Occupations Guitarist, Singer, Songwriter
Active Years 1960–1995
Spouses Sara Ruppenthal, Carolyn Adams, Deborah Koons
Children 4
Musical Career Genres Rock, Psychedelia, Jam, Bluegrass, Blues, Jazz, Americana, Rock and Roll
Instruments Guitar, Banjo, Vocals, Pedal Steel Guitar
Labels Grateful Dead, Rhino, Arista, Warner Bros., Acoustic Disc
Formerly of Grateful Dead, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Old & In the Way, Legion of Mary, Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band, Jerry Garcia Band, Reconstruction
Website www.jerrygarcia.com

Growing up in San Francisco Garcia turned to music after his father’s death eventually leading the Grateful Dead to become symbols of the ’60s counterculture.

Remembered for his collaborations and vibrant live performances Garcia’s legacy remains alive echoing the spirit of San Francisco long after his passing in 1995.

21 Quick Facts about Jerry Garcia

  1. Jerry Garcia a legendary figure in rock ‘n’ roll is known worldwide for his music and image.
  2. He studied art at the California School of Fine Arts during his high school years.
  3. Jerome John Garcia was named after composer Jerome Kern.
  4. Jerry lost part of his right middle finger in a childhood accident.
  5. He was encouraged in artistic pursuits from a young age including drawing and ceramics.
  6. Jerry was an avid reader and comic book collector.
  7. “Cherry Garcia” by Ben and Jerry’s was the first ice cream named after a musician.
  8. He enlisted in the Army at 17 but was dishonorably discharged after nine months.
  9. Jerry’s first paying gig was with Robert Hunter earning $5 each.
  10. He chose music over art for its collaborative nature.
  11. Garcia formed several bands in the early ’60s including a bluegrass group.
  12. He and Bob Weir started a jug band before transitioning to electric instruments and forming the Warlocks which became the Grateful Dead.
  13. Garcia played by ear without reading music.
  14. The Grateful Dead became known for their improvisational style.
  15. Garcia produced Jefferson Airplane’s “Surrealistic Pillow” and earned the nickname “Captain Trips” for his LSD explorations.
  16. He was unhappy with the Grateful Dead’s performance at Woodstock.
  17. Garcia played a variety of music genres and played nearly all instruments on his first solo album.
  18. The Jerry Garcia Band was his second-longest project after the Grateful Dead.
  19. He was deeply involved in the visual aspect of art contributing to The Grateful Dead movie.
  20. Garcia was recognized as Bay Area Musician of the Year in 1980.
  21. He died of a heart attack in 1995 just days after his 53rd birthday.

Top Songs with Albums by Jerry Garcia

Song Album
Touch of GreyIn the Dark · 1987
SaraKnee Deep in the Hoopla · 1985
Friend of the DevilAmerican Beauty · 1970
JaneFreedom at Point Zero · 1979
Truckin’American Beauty · 1970
Jack StrawEurope ’72 · 1972
Franklin’s TowerBlues for Allah · 1975
RippleAmerican Beauty · 1970
BerthaGrateful Dead · 1971
Morning DewThe Grateful Dead · 1967
MiraclesRed Octopus · 1975
AltheaGo to Heaven · 1980
Eyes of the WorldWake of the Flood · 1973
It’s Not EnoughLove Among the Cannibals · 1989
Scarlet BegoniasFrom the Mars Hotel · 1974
Find Your Way BackModern Times · 1981
It’s Not OverNo Protection · 1987
SugareeSteal Your Face · 1976
Fire on the MountainShakedown Street · 1978
Box of RainAmerican Beauty · 1970
Brown-Eyed WomenGrateful Dead · 1971
Ramble On RoseEurope ’72 · 1972
He’s GoneEurope ’72 · 1972
Wharf RatGrateful Dead · 1971
Shakedown StreetShakedown Street · 1978
New Speedway BoogieWorkingman’s Dead · 1970
Casey JonesWorkingman’s Dead · 1970
Me And My UncleAmerican Beauty · 1970
Estimated ProphetTerrapin Station · 1977
Sugar MagnoliaAmerican Beauty · 1970
RunawayEarth · 1978

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar