Jerry Garcia’s marijuana pipe takes an extended, unusual journey and leads to a Marin County vintage store

Earlier than his loss of life, the Grateful Lifeless’s Jerry Garcia tried to get clear after years of freebasing cocaine and different medicine, so he gifted a marijuana pipe to a fellow musician who socked it away in his San Francisco residence.

About 31 years later, the handmade pipe has resurfaced in a Marin County vintage store, whose proprietor considers it a singular rock ‘n’ roll artifact.

“My shop is fun and a lot of fun stuff walks in the door,” Steve Cabella, proprietor of the Trendy i Store in San Anselmo, informed The Instances. “But when this walked in the door, it was simply one of the more interesting things that have walked through that door.”

Cabella declined to say if the pipe might be on show at his store, solely that he hopes to donate it to a museum.

Few folks can be shocked to listen to that the guitarist for the eclectic California rock band received excessive or that he owned a pipe. Along with his hen’s nest beard and spectacles, Garcia captivated legions of followers together with his mix of blues, folks and psychedelic rock whereas taking part in with the Grateful Lifeless. However by 1985, Garcia was arrested in San Francisco for freebasing cocaine in his automotive.

In an effort to get clear, Garcia determined to offer away his pot pipe. In keeping with Cabella, the pipe was created and given to him by Owsley “Bear” Stanley, the band’s audio engineer and seemingly one of many first folks to mass produce massive portions of LSD within the Nineteen Sixties.

A pipe owned by Jerry Garcia was not too long ago procured by an vintage retailer proprietor in Marin County.

(Steve Cabella from the Trendy i Store)

In some ways, the pipe could possibly be considered as a relic from the psychedelic rock period, however Cabella mentioned he doesn’t plan to promote the pipe and even smoke out of it. He views it as an artifact, one which extends past the drug paraphernalia historical past.

The Grateful Lifeless had legions of devoted followers, often known as Deadheads, who adopted the band because it toured the world. Sotheby’s public sale home appealed to such devotees final 12 months when it auctioned off musical devices, gear, clothes, live performance posters, guitars and different memorabilia from the band.

The pipe — product of bone and leather-based — was final seen after longtime collaborator and keyboardist Merl Saunders and Garcia labored on the album “Blues From the Rainforest” in 1991, in response to Cabella. Garcia saved the smoking pipe at Saunders’ San Francisco residence whereas the 2 recorded the album, the household informed Cabella. Then it was utterly forgotten.

The store proprietor wouldn’t reveal how a lot he paid for the pipe, solely saying that it was a number of months of his price range to buy items and within the “low thousands.”

The pipe is adorned with a carving from Garcia’s 1978 solo album “Cats Under the Stars” and a second carving of a tiger. Cabella believes the pipe predates one in all Garcia’s custom-made guitars he named “tiger” and provides one other notch to the pipe’s place in music historical past.

“Owsley [Stanley] had a lot of sources for imagery that he used on the [pipe],” Cabella mentioned. “So he bestows the name on Jerry and Jerry is so into that he names his guitar tiger.”

Stanley picked up his expertise at making jewellery and different crafts in a jail pastime store throughout a three-year jail sentence following a police raid on his LSD lab in Orinda, Calif., in response to Tim Scully, who traveled with the Grateful Lifeless because the band’s digital designer.

“Bear wanted to be known more for being an artist than for being an LSD manufacturer,” Scully wrote in an electronic mail to The Instances.

Stanley not solely influenced Garcia later within the band’s profession, however he additionally financed the band and designed its “Wall of Sound,” a literal wall of audio system that accompanied the band’s dwell units in 1973. He would go on to construct a large archive of dwell periods from quite a few bands he combined sound for through the years.

Born Augustus Owsley Stanley III in Kentucky on Jan. 19, 1935, he was the grandson of a Kentucky governor and son of a naval commander.

Dubbed the “Acid King” by the media, Stanley was immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s e-book “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” The nonfiction work detailed a sequence of events thrown by creator Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters, who got here to epitomize a louder, extra vibrant sect of the beat technology that used LSD equipped by Stanley.

Greater than 30 years after the pipe was final seen, it reappeared when Saunders’ household was clearing out his San Francisco residence. The pipe was in an envelope dated 1985 in a hideaway mattress constructed right into a wall, Cabella mentioned.

Though Garcia gifted the pipe to Saunders, the keyboardist didn’t use medicine and hid the pipe. When reached by cellphone, Saunders’ son declined to remark.

When Garcia died in 1995 at age 53, he was staying at a rehabilitation facility attempting to get clear from his years of drug habit. His loss of life reverberated throughout generations of music followers. On the time, President Invoice Clinton informed MTV he and then-15-year-old daughter Chelsea have been followers of the Grateful Lifeless.

Stanley died in 2011 after he crashed his automotive whereas driving in a storm close to the city of Mareeba, Australia.