Jer Bear's s first Dead show and psychedelic experience
was at the Lewiston Maine Fairgrounds on 9/6/80. He was only 15 years
old and he has not been the same since. Jer Bear has been to many, many
shows since 1980, but as the song goes only one in 10,000 come for
Jer Bear has always collected live recordings of Dead shows on tape and
been a connoisseur of shows. While in graduate school at Dartmouth, he
was given the opportunity to fill-in for 6 months for a DJ of a Dead radio
show called The Night of the Living Dead. Jer Bear had always had a belief
that a good Dead show should play a whole show, uninterrupted in its entirety.
In March of 1997, Jer Bear started hosting this radio show and it took
off; 6m months turned into 10 years.
The Night of the Living Dead was known as the longest Dead show in the
galaxy. Jer Bear was known for starting at 8pm on Sunday and going to
4:30am. There are quite few Dead radio shows that last 1 to 2 hours, but
none ever came close to epic proportions of marathon shows Jer Bear hosted.
His big break came when Dennis McNally, the publicist for the
Dead, contacted Jer Bear at WFRD and offered him a connection to the Band.
This connection entitled Jer Bear to CD releases, back stage passes, tickets
to shows and interviews with Vince Welnick (the most recent former
keyboard player), Bob Weir (vocalist and rhythm guitar player ),
Billy Kreutzman & Mickey Hart (the drummers), and friends
of the band David Grisman, Steve Silberman, Blair Jackson,
David Lemieux, Melvin Seals, and Dennis McNally.
Jer Bear also interviewed Dick Latvala twice (the famed Dead archivists
and inspiration for the Dicks Picks live CD releases) and even interviewed
and spent time with him 2 weeks before his tragic death.
Jer Bear likes to start every show with classic chestnuts from the Dead
archives using the best recordings he can find. Then after an hour of
this, he will play what he calls The Bear Essentials - for example, How
Sweet It Is and hell play Smokey Robinsons original version
or Joan Osbornes version. After the speakers are warmed up and Jer
Bear finds his groove, he will start his feature show and play it from
start to finish. Maybe, this week he will feature Niagara Fall, NY from
1983 who knows.
Heres what people have to say about Jer Bear
"One of the reasons that Grateful Dead music remains - 12 years
after Jerry Garcia's death - of vital interest to many people is the dedicated
network of radio shows that keep the musical community alive. [Jer Bear's]
show in Vermont - and soon on Martha's Vineyard - is one of the very best
of those shows. It's a pleasure to work with him."
Dennis McNally, publicist for Grateful Dead and Bob Weir and RatDog
"..."Jer Bear"... is the greatest radio (middle man)
the Grateful Dead have ever known- he brings the band and the fans together
as 1 family with his vast musical knowledge of the band and his love for
the music and the scene as a fan first and foremost...."