Home Jerry Garcia Jerry Garcia vs. Merle Saunders: Afterlife lawsuit

Jerry Garcia vs. Merle Saunders: Afterlife lawsuit


When you’re a rock star, the controversies don’t stop coming just because you’re dead. Especially if you’re the Grateful Dead. In life, the Dead’s visionary leader Jerry Garcia was a longtime friend of/collaborator with Merle Saunders, a Bay Area keyboardist who played with the Dead, was a member of the Jerry Garcia Band, contributed to Garcia solo recordings, and worked with the guitarist in a duo. Saunders passed away in October, having outlived his old friend by 13 years.


Now the ghosts of Saunders and Garcia are locked in litigation, as the estate of the former is suing the estate of the latter over a Saunders/Garcia live recording that was released in 2004, apparently without the knowledge of the keyboardist. The album in question is presumably Pure Jerry: Keystone Berkley, September 1, 1974, which thus far has sold just over 10,000 copies. Saunders’ estate is seeking a settlement in excess of $100,000. On the bright side, now we know what it takes to get Jerry Garcia on TMZ.