The Grateful Dead - Viola Lee Blue - Tie-Dye T-Shirt
About the product:
Sleeve length, in
Get your groovy mojo back with this custom tie-dye tee shirt. For stylish, laid-back appearances, this t-shirt is made with 100% pre-shrunk cotton for total softness, and features a cyclone pattern straight from the 60s. The shoulder-to-shoulder taping adds extra durability at the t-shirt’s stress points while the double-needle stitched neckline and bottom hem add extra overall resilience.
.: 100% Preshrunk cotton .: Medium fabric (5.3 oz/yd² (180 g/m²)) .: Classic Fit .: Runs true to size .: Slight color variations may occur due to the dyeing process
About Jerry and depression:
The skull imagery on the album covers was not accidental. The Dead derived a lot of their power from their surprising nihilism. Jerry mentioned at one point that the name Grateful Dead was specifically chosen to “repel curious onlookers.” Forget the dancing teddy bears; think of the fact that Jerry wore all black, all the time. Other jam bands have Jerry’s amiable eclecticism, but they lack his sinister edge. Bands like Phish prefer to evade the despair at the core of hippiedom, but ignoring the darkness of the sixties misses the point of that troubled and turbulent period of our nation’s history.
I was saddened but not surprised to learn that Jerry had a troubled inner life. He was five years old when his father drowned, and he had a difficult relationship with his mother and stepfather. He was married many times, never happily, and he was visibly indifferent to his own health and well-being. He self-medicated his depression with a variety of increasingly ineffective hard drugs, and spent his final years using heroin almost continuously. Maybe Jerry thought he was using heroin and cocaine for pleasure, but it looks more to me like a gradual suicide.
The band suffered many casualties besides Jerry. Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, the Dead’s original frontman, drank himself to death at age twenty-seven. Keyboardist Keith Godchaux died in a motorcycle accident shortly after quitting the band. His replacement, Brent Mydland, capped off a longstanding cocaine addiction with a fatal overdose. His replacement, Vince Welnick, committed suicide a few years after the rest of the Dead re-formed post-Jerry and edged him unceremoniously out.
In interviews, the Dead come across as spectacularly misanthropic, Bob Weir and Phil Lesh in particular. At no point did the Dead ever convey themselves as a bunch of people you’d want to hang out with. They made a good-faith effort to help the paying customers have a good time, but their music was frequently impersonal, emotionally closed-off and inaccessible.
But Jerry’s playing had a way of transcending his environment. The best musicians take tragedy and transform it into pleasure. Jerry matters to me because he was an extremely unhappy person who nonetheless created music that has made uncountably many people happier. Really, what greater contribution to humanity could you ask for?