August 9, 1995
I was working the late night shift at a local cafe, and had gotten off work at 5:00 a.m. I was dead asleep when my room mate knocked on my door, stuck his head in, and said, “Dan, Jerry’s dead. Jerry fucking died, man.” He closed the door and I lay there looking at the ceiling, wondering why it was even blurrier than normal.
Later that afternoon, before going to work again, we sat in the living room and played one of the taped shows our neighbor had brought over, and we mourned in community. We probably made a burnt offering or two, also. That’s how we coped at the time.
When we walked into the cafe, our co-workers wished us their condolences. They all knew how much Jerry meant to us. And it seems funny to talk about someone I never personally met in such an intimate way, but Jerry’s music, his voice, it’s THE voice, the SONG, most often playing in my life.
It’s been more over 20 years since that day when I thought for sure I would never dance and shake my bones again, but I have. You weren’t there on stage playing, Jerry; but your soul was there and you were having “a real good time” right there with us.
We’re in the Days Between again, the days between when the cosmos dropped you into this bright blue ball and when you went back to the cosmos, and I still miss you, man. I still cry sometimes when you sing that one note just right, and we catch a glimpse of your soul. But I smile, too. I laugh at your genius, when you go from some wild and insane improvisation right into the part of a song that the improv had to resolve into. Those moments when I have no idea where the ride is taking me, but when we arrive all I can think is, “Of course!” and laugh.
Mostly, Jerry, I just want to say thanks for the music, for getting me through some shitty moments, and for playing the tunes I needed in really great moments. You taught me how to dance without a concern for who might be watching, and you gave me a family, a tribe, that adds so much color to the world.