After collaborating with Jerry Garcia for years, Melvin Seals continues the legacy of the Grateful Dead’s music and will bring the Jerry Garcia Band to The State Theatre on March 19.
“It has become my life,” Seals said. “I was with Jerry just under 18 years ... that’s my life. I was in my early 20s when I started. ... I don’t want to talk about my age now.”
The Jerry Garcia Band was originally formed in 1975. The band continued until Jerry’s death in 1995, and Seals formed the JGB.
Seals and the JGB aim to bring an authentic representation of Garcia’s music to The State Theatre.
“I always try to make sure that people walk away with this: we know this man whom we all love is not on stage, but I’m trying to bring the vibe, the memory, the feeling, everything that you liked about Jerry Garcia,” Seals said. “You can close your eyes and go back in time. If you got goosebumps then, you’ll get them now. We make sure we’re doing this right.”
Seals believes Garcia’s legacy will live on forever.
“I think (Jerry’s music) is more popular today,” he said. “When he passed, I thought ‘oh, well that’s all over now,’ but boy was I wrong. It just kept growing and growing and growing. I know now that it will never die.”
Fans of all ages have swarmed Seals’ shows, and The State Theatre is likely to be no exception.
“There is a younger crowd that follows us now,” Seals said. “They’re kids who have grown up listening to their parents’ music all their life. We see 20 year olds singing every word to every song.”
Older fans come out to the shows, too, Seals said.
“I do think that some of the older fans that come out want to go back in time,” he said. “They want to go back and relive a wonderful time. I see them close their eyes and throw their hands in the air because they remember that song and how they acted. It’s an experience. We’re trying to present this music as true as I learned it.”
IF YOU GO
- What: Melvin Seals & JGB
- When: 8 p.m. March 19
- Where: The State Theatre, 130 W. College Ave., State College
- Info: www.thestatetheatre .org