The special release album, Pure Jerry, is coming soon! | Photos/ images submitted by Gabe Schneider


Good news for all you Jerry fans out there (and we know there are a few of you in Humboldt)! The late musician, best known as the front man for this little band called the Grateful Dead, has a new album coming out, and the cover art was done by our very own local artist, Gabe Schneider. 

The album, Pure Jerry: Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael, CA February 28, 1986, is being released on vinyl for the very first time next month on Record Store Day, the Jerry Garcia Family and Round Records announced yesterday. The double album, featuring music performed live by Garcia and John Kahn, will be a special release, pressed on gold vinyl, and features a full gatefold cover designed by Schneider. 

Schneider | Photo by Anne Schneider

“I feel like Jerry Garcia is such a staple of our area and I just feel especially proud to get to work on this project,” Schneider told the Outpost in a phone interview on Monday afternoon, following the announcement of the album’s release. 

Born and raised in Arcata, 27-year-old Schneider has been doing some form of art ever since he can remember. His artistic passion was largely influenced by his father, Keith Schneider, a well-known local ceramic artist and art professor. Schneider’s interest in art really grew during his high school years, when he attended the Arcata Arts Institute. After high school, Schneider began fine-tuning his skills and doing freelance work as a graphic designer, honing his distinguishable style, which he said is largely influenced by folk art, collage and visual symbolism. 

Eventually, Schneider landed a gig as the in-house graphic designer for Dick Taylor Chocolates and has also continued to do freelance commercial work, creating artwork for concert posters, T-shirts and album covers for some notable bands, including Pearl Jam, Young the Giant and Vetiver. He has also designed multiple posters for event production company Folk Yeah! About a year ago, Schneider’s Instagram, Sight Study, began to grow in prominence, and in September of this year he was contacted by Red Light Management, which manages Garcia’s music, to design the limited-release album cover. 

Though Schneider has designed album cover art before and even done so for a couple of famous artists, this was a special honor for the Arcata-based artist. Schneider is a big fan of Garcia and the Grateful Dead, which he said was like “the background music of Arcata” when he was growing up. With Humboldt’s strong ties to the hippie movement, Garcia is a pretty beloved figure in our area. A portrait of Garcia hangs behind the bar at the Logger Bar in Blue Lake, and Schneider recalls a Humboldt Crabs game he attended on Garcia’s birthday one year, where the announcer came on the loudspeaker at one point to say, “Happy birthday to Jerry, from Humboldt County.” 

To design the cover, Schneider said he listened to the album multiple times, drawing inspiration from the music and lyrics. The artwork features symbols representing different themes and lines from the songs featured on the album, including a ripple in the bottom center for the song “Ripple,” some hounds, twenty dollars and a devil, all drawn from the song “Friend of the Devil,” and a rose to represent “Run for the Roses.” There are a couple of other ones in there, but we’ll leave it up to the superfans to figure them out. 

A closer look at the cover. 

Schneider said that he definitely designed the cover with the fans in mind, using images that anyone who is super-familiar with Garcia’s music would recognize, but that non-fans probably would not. Schneider figures, probably correctly, that mostly big fans will rush out to buy a special-edition double album of a live Jerry concert from 1986. 

For those of you who are salivating over this special album, Pure Jerry will be released on Record Store Day, which is also Black Friday, Nov. 24. Schneider is not exactly sure where the record will be available, but both The Works and People’s Records are listed as Record Store Day participants. And it seems, given the local audience, they will likely have copies. 

Schneider added that this opportunity has been very “career-affirming” and he hopes that it will lead to more chances for him to do work for artists that he loves. He also hopes to focus more on his own projects and has plans to open a studio and print shop in the area. 

“I love doing commercial work. It’s great,” Schneider said. “But I have a personal art practice as well. So I’m prioritizing getting a print shop up and running again.”