Jeri Rowe, Jerry Garcia and the great ‘‘extra sticky’’ sticker production caper

Jeri Rowe, Jerry Garcia and the great ‘extra sticky’ sticker production caper

My friend Jeri Rowe was the first person to receive one of my Jerry Garcia stickers. We met back in 1988 when he was newly-hired reporter covering cops and crime in Randolph County for the Greensboro News & Record, and I was selling ads for the Randleman (NC) Reporter. It was March 1989 and I was being dragged to another Grateful Dead show by my brother, Patrick. Pat was convinced that if I could see them enough times, I’d be captured by their magic. Since I had acess to newspaper credentials, and a newly-budding desire for capitalism, I hatched a scheme. I contacted the Dead’s longtime publicist Dennis McNally in California and lined up a review ticket and a photo pass, and packed my bags for another bonding excursion with my brother. We had traveled to Hampton Roads, Va,, Maryland, DC and other venues, but the shows in Greensboro are when my entreprenurial skills were born. I had access to a printing press, sticker paper and computers, and an idea to make some cash.

I found a cool black silhouette of Jerry Garcia and had the printers crank me out about 500 3-by-5 stickers. Half were on white paper and half were on yellow, and they would stick like hell. I mean, once you put these bad boys on, if you tried to peel ‘em off… it would rip and tear and take forever to remove. My cost on the stickers? A nickel. My cost to the buyers? One dollar. I took them to the show in Greensboro and I sold a few. But mostlywe gave ’em away to “close friends” and “new friends.” I didn’t tally my bounty, but used the experience to further my business ideas. I’d like to think I broke even. A few days before those Greensboro shows, I ran into Rowe at our regular meeting spot — the Asheboro Police Department. We chatted about going to the show and I laid one of my Garcia stickers on him, hot off the press. He complimented the design and thanked me as I told him he was the first to get one. I see Jeri from time to time and years later he brought up the Garcia sticker, saying, “You know that Jerry Garcia sticker stayed on my refrigerator until I moved. I had a bitch of a time getting it off.” We both laughed and marveled at its endurance. And ours.

Jerry Garcia, the sticker image, picks away in Greensboro.

Fellow campers enjoy the festivities before or after one of the shows in Greensboro at the Womack campsite. (photos by Charles Womack)