His father was a retired professional musician and his mother enjoyed playing the piano. On July 21 2005 the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission passed a resolution to name the amphitheater in McLaren Park "The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. It was named Tiger from the inlay on the preamp cover.
One of its founders Garcia performed with the Grateful Dead for their entire thirty-year career (1965–1995). Though he disavowed the role Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or "spokesman" of the group. Garcia also founded and participated in a variety of side projects including the Saunders-Garcia Band (with longtime friend Merl Saunders) Jerry Garcia Band Old and in the Way the Garcia/Grisman acoustic duo Legion of Mary and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (which Garcia co-founded with John Dawson and David Nelson).