Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir Talks About Jerry Garcia’s Addiction

By Shawn Dwyer 04/24/14

The singer-guitarist spoke with HuffPost Live’s Ricky Camilleri about the music icon’s struggle with his addiction and his health.

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Weir and Garcia in 1994. Shutterstock

One of the founding members of the Grateful Dead, Bob Weir, recently sat down with HuffPost Live’s Ricky Camilleri to discuss the new documentary, The Other One, which explores the relationship both onstage and off between him and Garcia. Directed by Mike Fleiss, the film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday night.

While the conversation focused a great deal on the film, Weir did spend several minutes talking about Garcia’s problems with addiction and what he felt contributed to his death. “You could make the case that it wasn’t the drugs that took Jerry out,” he said. “It was the cheeseburgers and the pizzas."

Garcia died on Aug. 9, 1995 from a heart attack while staying at the Serenity Knolls treatment facility in Forest Knolls, Calif. His body was found around 4:30 a.m. and attempts made by paramedics to revive him failed. He was 53 years old and had been battling heroin addiction for two decades.

At the time of his death, Garcia was making another attempt to get clean, something he had managed to do with limited success in the past. “I had a feeling he was going to swing back out of it and he was actually trying to do that when his heart quit,” Weir said. “He was pressing a bit harder, I think, than his body could keep up with.”

“One time it took a coma to get him to come back around,” Weir said in reference to Garcia lapsing into a diabetic coma in 1986. “But he came back around and he was such a delight to be with.”

The Other One also touched upon the subject of Garcia’s addiction with Weir revealing that at one point in the Dead’s career he “carried his dope around for him, ‘cuz number one, he knew I wasn’t going to get into it,” Weir said. “And secondly, he knew I wasn’t going to give him more than he told me to. And he trusted me to do that.”

Watch Bob Weir's segment on HuffPost Live here:

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.