Volume #26, Issue #5
In Memory of Dick Latvala (1943-1999)
In 1996, just a few months before Jerry Garcia died, I met Dick Latvala for the first time. We knew each other through correspondence, but had never come face-to-face socially. It was a memorable meeting at the Fillmore, during the Gibson Guitar Centennial Celebration.
It seems that Dick had gotten into taping as a result of Relix and the folks involved with the magazine in its earliest years. I respectfully watched as the Dick's Picks series of releases evolved. Each one arrived at my desk with a little note from Dick explaining where he was coming from with that particular release.
Dick was more than the Grateful Dead's archivist. He was a liason between the band and the Deadhead community. He took all of the correspondence he received quite seriously and, being a member of the community himself, he understood what we, as fans, wanted most from the vaults. His work was cut out for him, but he was passionate about every bit of music the Grateful Dead ever played. He was a perfect man for a perfect job.
Just as the tip of the iceberg was being deciphered, Dick Latvala was taken from our midst. Another voice silenced and we are left to continue the dream without yet another guide. I still hear Dick's laughter and his humor and his passion. We just have to pick up any one of the sterling Dick's Picks releases to share in his tireless efforts.
Yes, Dick was my friend. But even more importantly, Dick was there for all of us and his legacy is intact. Every time I hear a moment of live Dead that I know Dick would have particularly enjoyed, he'll be there in the forefront of my thoughts. Rock on, Dick!
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