Kreutzmann: Deep Sorrow, Compassion Over Garcia’s Heroin Addiction

Bill Kreutzmann, drummer of the Grateful Dead.
By ALAN PAUL — April 28, 2015 11:47 a.m. ET

kreutzmann_bill

PHOTO: WINNI WINTERMEYER for the Wall Street Journal

Q. You write that when Jerry’s opiate problem became obvious, you all wanted to play with him so much that you turned a blind eye. Could you have done more?

Kreutzmann: We attempted interventions, but he saw a setup for what it was. And he would go to [rehab] places, but he was smarter than the therapists and could outtalk them all. I think 12-step is a great program, but he would have nothing to do with it, firmly believing that a person had the right to do whatever he liked as long as it didn’t hurt other people. But hurt where? Hurt how? Emotional pain can be much more painful than physical pain.

Q. And your pain is still evident.

Kreutzmann: We just had no luck with getting him to leave heroin. The drug owned him and that’s really sad. I was never mad that he was a heroin addict. I felt compassion and deep sorrow. He would play the most forlorn, lonesome-sounding solos. It was the one time where I could really hear inside him and it was a great, deep sadness.

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SKF NOTE: I’m adding this next news item on 5/12/2015.

Grateful Dead’s Bill Kreutzmann drums up his autobiography
CHUCK DARROW, Daily News Staff Writer darrowc@phillynews.com
Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015, 12:18 AM

According to [Bill] Kreutzmann.., …the book was a by-popular-demand project. “I would be telling these stories at parties or after shows . . . and different people would say, ‘You have to write these down,’ ” [he] said.

“The thing that I mostly discovered in doing this book was the amount of love I have inside of me that I can put into music,” he said. “I love to play music. I had no idea how much I loved it. And then you start writing the book and you realize how people enjoy what you do, and it reaffirmed my feeling about playing music.”

When the Grateful Dead formed in 1965, he said, “The only expectation was the desire to play music as best as we could. We didn’t expect to be rock stars, we never expected to get as famous as we did. We never set goals or anything like that.

“The only goal we had . . . was to play music at the highest level possible. I think we did a pretty good job.”

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