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Jerry Garcia on Django

lostjohnlostjohn Charleston, WV✭✭ Altamira M01
in History Posts: 78
I just ran across the transcript of an interview with Jerry Garcia from 1985. The interview was a long one dealing with a lot of aspects of playing and, of course, Jerry.
The part that I thought you guys might enjoy is as follows (I feel sure that some of have read this before, but for those that haven't): at one point the interviewer asks Garcia "If you could go back in time and question any old musician, does anyone come to mind?" and he said "Yeah. I'd still follow around what's his name-the Gypsy guitarist?" to which the interviewer replies Django Reinhardt. Garcia says "Yeah, Django. I can't remember anything and my mind is gone. I have all of Django's records-every single one of them. Most of what he plays is even hard to understand, no matter how much I've listened to it. In terms of the actual technical how it's happening. Because I listen to it and I hear when a note is being struck and when a note is being articulated with the left hand somehow. And he does things I don't know how he's doing them. I can't imagine. You know, he's got fingers that are about half-a-mile long. I mean, I just don't know how he's doing it. And this is with a fucked-up left hand. He's able to cross his fingers to do runs where the middle finger crosses over the index finger. That much I've figured out because there are things he plays that work that way, and he couldn't do them any other way. There's no other way he could do them. And they're lightning fast. His technique is awesome! Even today, nobody has really come to the state that he was playing at. As good as players are, they haven't gotten to where he is. There's a lot of guys that play fast and a lot of guys that play clean, and the guitar has come a long way as far as speed and clarity go, but nobody plays with the whole fullness of expression that Django has. I mean, the combination of incredible speed-all the speed you could possibly want-but also the thing of every note having a specific personality. You don't hear it. I really haven't heard it anywhere but with Django."
Of course, he's preaching to the choir with us.

adriansteteakjonpowlpickitjohnMichael BauerMandobart


  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 496
    That's a fantastic quote! Does a great job of articulating what's so great about Django. Thanks for sharing.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,097
  • Bang on...funny the part about his mind being gone.....then he gets into it and comes gold.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Dario NapoliDario Napoli Milano✭✭✭✭ Hahl Gitano Deluxe
    Posts: 291
    Awesome reading this, thanks John!
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Excellent quote, John. Let me throw my thanks in as well. When I read the headline, my first reaction was to ask myself if there was a form of acid called "Django"…
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • lostjohnlostjohn Charleston, WV✭✭ Altamira M01
    Posts: 78
    You're welcome guys. My pleasure. Yes, Jazzaferri, it is funny, because the interviewer said that Jerry was doing lines throughout the entire interview, yet he goes on to speak so eloquently about Django.
  • Posts: 3,261
    I was wondering; Django must be among the musicians most cited as an influence ever. You can hear other names mentioned but usually connected to one area of music. With Django his name is pretty much omni present and influencing every genre of music.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • pancake47pancake47 New
    Posts: 1
    It's a mistake to try and tie Django in with Rock music.
    It seems that half of the Django world is comprised of left over, rehashed residue left there by has been rock musicians who don't know what to do with themselves.
    I for one welcome the new changes that come to Django music.
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    Pancake47 I don't quite get your point. Your comment comes across as offensive and unnecessary, but I'm hoping I've misunderstood it somehow.

    Does it bother you that many rock musicians are switching over to gypsy jazz ?

    If so, why ?

    As a rock musician who plays mostly gypsy jazz nowadays, I find your comment, if I understand it correctly, personally insulting.

    Do you believe that former rock musicians don't have anything good to bring to the genre ?

    What kind of people do you think should be playing gypsy jazz ?

    Or perhaps I've simply misunderstood you.
  • kevingcoxkevingcox Nova Scotia✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 298
    I am of the belief that Rythm Futur is the first truly heavy metal headbanger song ever recorded. Throw some distortion on that guitar, back it with a heavy drum kit and double bass pedal and I defy you to find a long haired dude in tight jeans and a black sleeveless shirt who wouldn't be throwing up the devil horn signs and rocking out à la Wayne's World.
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