“A germinal moment for me was back when I was in high school going to the San Francisco Art Institute on weekends, just when the words “beat generation” began hitting the papers. We asked my teacher, Wally Hedrick, about the phrase, and he said, ‘Well, there’s this book, On the Road, and it’s all in there.’ I was an impressionable San Franciscan, really taken with the North Beach scene, and this stuff began to surface.
Then in the next couple of years I read Kerouac, and I recall in ‘59 hanging out with a friend who had a Kerouac record, and I remember being impressed—I’d read this stuff, but I hadn’t heard it, the cadences, the flow, the kind of endlessness of the prose, the way it just poured off. It was really stunning to me. His way of perceiving music—the way he wrote about music and America—and the road, the romance of the American highway, it struck me. It struck a primal chord. It felt familiar, something I wanted to join in. It wasn’t like a club, it was a way of seeing. It became so much a part of me that it’s hard to measure; I can’t separate who I am now from what I got from Kerouac. I don’t know if I would ever have had the courage or the vision to do something outside with my life—or even suspected the possibilities existed—if it weren’t for Kerouac opening those doors.”
-Jerry Garcia, 1989