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Publishers Living for Dead Books : Due soon are a memoir by the band's longtime manager, a collection of Jerry Garcia's reminiscences and artwork, and a Rolling Stone remembrance.

October 15, 1995|Steve Hochman

Attention, bookstore owners: Brace yourselves for an onslaught of tie-dye-clad kids dancing in the aisles.

The Grateful Dead's touring days may have ended with the death in August of Jerry Garcia, but the book tours are about to begin.

A flurry of new books about the group and its late guitarist is slated for the next few months. Most notable are "Living With the Dead," by the band's longtime manager Rock Scully, and "Harrington Street," a collection of Garcia's artwork and short reminiscences of childhood he was assembling at the time of his death. Also coming is "Garcia," a collection of articles and photos from Rolling Stone magazine, similar to a Kurt Cobain tribute published last year.

The November publication of Garcia's book will be accompanied by an extra draw: the first full interviews with his widow, Deborah Koons Garcia. She's lined up for ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" on Nov. 20, as well as other TV, radio and print outlets.

But Scully's memoirs, to be published in January, offer the first real insider look behind the scenes with the Dead. It colorfully chronicles a tempestuous, drug-fueled run from the first Acid Test shows in 1965 to Scully's uneasy exit from the band's employ in 1985.

"I left the Dead because I was killing myself on drugs," says the gravel-voiced Scully, 54, by phone from his San Francisco home.

The picture his book paints of Garcia makes it seem a wonder that he lived another 10 years. "Jerry's life is reduced to chord books, junk, junk food, Haagen Dazs and cigarettes," reads one passage.

Sober for a decade, Scully finished the book shortly before Garcia's death. Though he was tempted to make some revisions, the only change was the addition of a brief afterword.

"I wouldn't take anything back," says Scully, who sent chapters-in-progress to Garcia. "My feeling was if Jerry could talk [in interviews] about drugs, I could talk about it, 'cause I was there. . . . As I said in that afterword, Jerry told me flat-out that if I told the truth it'd be fine with him, and that's what I did."

Garcia isn't the only one depicted unflatteringly. Guitarist Bob Weir is seen as often "bumbling," Scully says, and the Dead's organization is portrayed as a bloated juggernaut.

"I didn't tell any lies," Scully says. "I may have made some mistakes, but I'm lucky to have brain cells left at all. It was rough, those '60s and '70s, man."

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