Vince Welnick R.I. P.

Tubes and Grateful Dead keyboard player died . He was 55. An unnamed source said it looked like a suicide. He had said the dead gig was the best musical experience of his career. Hired in 1990 he was said to be depressed by Garcia's death in '95. He never participated in any of the Dead reunion projects.He joins Keith Godchaux , Brent Mydland and Pigpen on the list of deceased Grateful Dead keyboardists. May the four winds blow him safely home.
Stunning. I know Brent commited suicide, but I can't remember if Keith did or not, does anyone remember? Now I know Pigpen died of the ravages of drug and alcohol abuse, but I think the rest moght have all commited suicide. Kind of reminiscent of Spinal Tap, no?
Keith died as a result of injuries suffered in a car accident. Brent from a speedball overdose (never really determined as to whether or not it was intentional) Speculation is that it was. It took me a while to warm up to Vinnie on keys, but as time went on, I learned to appreciate his chops within the context of the music. He was a gentle soul.
"Gonna leave this brokedown palace...."
God speed Vince. You can rest now.
I also never really ''warmed'' up to Vince in the band. He just didn't seem to fit. The Grateful Dead after Brent Mydland passed really weren't the same band was like the fun had gone out of their shows. I really enjoyed them when Keith and Donna where there and Brent took the Band to a whole new level. Also, from my interest and reading about the Band....Ron McKernan aka ''Pig Pen'' never really got into the drugs as the other members did....he just really loved cheap wine !!! And a lot of it !!!!! It is too bad though.....about all of them in the position in that Band. There's only one original key boardist left from the Grateful Dead that is still with us.....Are you out there Tom C . ?????
I just read another report that Vince was only 51. If so it's even more tragic. I am a deadhead but can't get into anything after '76. To me that's when Jerry started to lose his voice. There are some exceptional 77 shows but I never liked Donna or any keyboardists after Keith. They lost the soul of the band when Pigpen died IMHO. Death Don't Have No Mercy on GD keyboardists.
Keith was a good fit as he could weave his piano in and out and all around Jerry's playing. However - to get Keith, you got Donna too. Every time she stepped up to the mic, I would get a cold shiver down my spine. To hear her at her worst, give a listen to "Steal Your Face". She does redeem herself some on "Blues For Allah". There were some magic moments for the band - especially the shows from May 1977. I would also say that the March 1990 run was very, very good, and Brent was probably at his best.
Slipknot: The first show I went to was Capitol Theater 1978. Even then I knew I got on board too late. Everything is subjective, but for me 4-26-71 and most of the Europe '72 tour were the boys finest moments. Nobody ever replaced what Pigpen brought to the equation and I don't mean musically. caught a few of the Radio City shows in '80 and I dug the acoustic sets but I can't listen to Donna or anything after the Cornell 77 show. Donna, Hornsby,Brent were for a later generation than me. Just my opinion. Talk about shivers down your spine though how bout Donna's solo "From the heart of Me'? What crap!
Jsonic, Ooooh, forgot about that one. Good catch. My first show was from that 1971 run - April, with the New Riders opening at Alfred Univ. gym. I was a 9th grader. I really caught the bus July 27, 1973 at Watkins Glen. Both of those shows were close to home, as I grew up in that area. Re: the Europe '72 shows: I think that Phil was at the top of his game then. Go back and listen to the bass lines he puts down in the China>Rider pairing. Just an absolutely perfect counterpoint to Jerry.
As an aside, I only hope that the rest of the boys will now let it rest. That unfortunate outing as "The Dead" scared the bejesus out of me. I envisioned them becoming some Jefferson Starshipish Atlantic City casino act...
I can't fault a musician for trying to earn his daily bread. The Who continuing their tour after Entwistle's death appalled me as do new versions of The Doors , Queen and now The Cars. A friend dragged me to a Phil and Friends show at the Beacon a few years ago and I thought it was awful. How could Phil think he could sing a whole concert?Just do Box of Rain every 50 shows and shut up. I saw The Who in 71 and The Band in 72 at Saratoga, but was too young to appreciate the significance of what I was seeing.

At age 16 I too was at that Who Saratoga concert in 71. Having only seen Steppenwolf & Arlo Guthrie before, my eyes and ears were thrown wide open at that one.
Keith and Donna and their contributions were the last real incarnation of the Grateful Dead. Any real Deadhead knows this. Who even listens to the Mydland era stuff? At least Vince played on the Tube's classic "White Punks on Dope" With Weir turning into a greedy pig it looks like we might never see another tour. Too bad.
I think they lost an irreplacable part when Pigpen died. I never liked Donna . She was a shrieking over-singer who IMHO was more of a detraction than contribution. Unfortunately Jerry's voice started deteriorating 76-77 so there was a need for vocal filler, but they could've done better than Donna. I've been to shows where she got booed on her solo song "From the heart of me." No problem with Keith though. I agree that their coming on board and the 2 or 3 years that followed was The Dead's last meaningful period.
Just to chime in I think anyone would agree that the band was at it's apex from 1970-73. There were good shows in '74 and '76-77 certainly have their redeeming moments in a totally different but enjoyable style of music. Sadly for me due to my youth I missed out on all of that. My first show was 7/6/86 when I was 16. Though 86-88 were pretty terrible things began to pick up a bit in '89. I was at those Warlock's shows in Hampton and they were pretty incredible. I'll never forget when the lights came on after the second night, the DarkStar show, and everyone saw each other for the first time and let out an uproarious cheer and everyone started hugging everyone else like mad. That was great and the band seemed really energized through the spring of 1990. I was at Brent's last show at The Tinley World theatre or something like that, an awful venue in Chicago, and after his death the band really went into their final tailspin. What's happening now is sad and the things that I hear through the grapevine about Phil really turn my stomach. Nonetheless we all have a lifetime of live music to enjoy, God bless 'em for that!
Although my favorite era was actually pre-1972, I saw some great shows in all periods, including a few I really loved in 86 and 87. Just like audio, it's all so personal.
I can’t speak to the consistency of earlier GD eras as I wasn’t there, but from what I have heard, the music from the late 60’s to early 70’s seems to be my favorite. It seems groovy, inspired and still fun.

Brent was my era, and while I truly enjoyed his playing, I always felt that they were rarely able to cumulatively bring their A game to the live shows. In the 60-80 shows I saw from 85-90 there were brief moments of music nirvana, but I think it was harder for the collective group to maintain that peak experience for an entire show. I can think of maybe 5-6 shows that stand out as really good.

I only saw one Vince show and I wasn't into it at all. The GD in the 90's just didn't work for me.

I keep hoping that GD Productions will release more multi-channel music (DVDA/SACD). I think if every there was a band made for this format, the Grateful Dead were it.
I saw the Tubes at The Greek during the Prime Time Tour. They were great but it was at a time when Fee Waybill was trying to retire his Qay Lude character and fimding out it was one of the reasons people were coming out to see the band. Very tight band and I hade great seats. I remember I took the little brother of a freind at that time,it was his first concert and he had a blast. He went on to start going to shows then,opened a whole new world for him.
Nice post Jsonic.

The job of Dead keyboard is a dangerous one indeed. Almost like selling your life for a few good years.

My "era" for seeing shows began in the late 70's but most were 1981-1987. I've seen/herd the "post Jerry" gigs and the thing I miss most is Jerry's voice! I understand the "lost his voice" comments but I don't think his voice lost its soul. I really missed his overall musicianship post stroke. He kind of played like he was imitating himself if you know what I mean.

My best shows were in the early 80's when the Dead was out of fashion and you could get a great seat in a small hall. I saw so many shows in intimate settings I just couldn't bring myself to go to many after the large venue thing became the norm. My absolute best show was Vaneta, OR the summer of 82 with the Pranksters and Robert Cray opening and the '81 (or was it 80) show in Portland when Mt. St. Helens blew during Fire on the Mt. The middle night of a three night run of Jerry and John Kahn at the South Eugene Auditorium in 82 was pretty amazing too. Jerry stopped playing at one time and there was absoute silence for what seemed like several the entire audience was in a trance. He quipped "pretty quiet out there" and the usual song requests and background noise started up.

I am grateful for the Dick's picks, and my rig for helping me remember the amazing times... I threw away all of my poor sounding concert tapes and only listen to the good stuff now.
Dicks Pick's, Steppin' Out '72, 100 Year Hall, The 4 cd fillmore 71 shows and some other live commercial releases are great, but there was always more pleasure for me in trading for some obscure gem that some taper unearthed than just buying them from GDM. The Dead pulling their soundboard shows off made me stop doing business with GDM. That was a greedy move and contrary to the vibe they laid down over the years. I'm sure the live CD's they sell for 25 bucks at the end of the pathetic "The Dead" shows ain't payin' the bills the way touring with Jerry did.
I agree. History rarely ceases to teach us that the holding back the strong forces of capitalism and self-interest are temporary. From Jerry's guitars to soundboards, hippies are as greedy as the rest of us.
What ever happened to Dick's Pick's....
Any 74 partisans out there? 45 minutes of Playin', Seattle 74? Louisville 74?

I think all of the band's phases have their charms. Toronto 77, Donna and all. And it's a hard--hearted person who can despise Donna on "You Ain't Woman Enough" from Madison 73.

Near the top must be the legendary 2/13/70 Darkstar, but I'd not like to forget the Stanley in 79, among a lot of others.

My first show was Cornell 80, missed the great 77 show. But Cornell 81 was very fine, as was Buffalo 81, with a great Playin'/Bertha to open set 2.

I guess I'd be inclined to agree that the band tailed off some as the 80s progressed, though I can remember a very fine Playin/China Doll/High Time (!) from Providence in 84 or so.

Wow, all a ways back! But I'm grateful to all the GD personnel, who brought me, and so many others, a lot of joy.

'74 was good although it has a unique sound. I think I wore that Louisville tape out in the 80's...nice to have the cd now.

I read Phil's book recently and it gave me a lot of perspective on the music. I recommend it, even to non-believers.
Okay....I'll ask again....what happened to Dick's Picks ????

That's a good question. Seems they stopped at #36. Go to and shoot them an e-mail with an inquiry. Then post it. I'm curious myself.I just picked up Phil's book and although I don't anticipate the same kinda dirt Rock Scully's book exposed it's still seems like it'll be a great read although so far it's a little heavy on the technical and classical aspects of music. '71-'72 were my favorite years especiallly the European shows.
Basically the vault was transferred over to Rhino Records not long ago. I'm aquainted with David Lemieux who took over for dick Lavatka (sp?) when he passed away, and David recently quit rather than go work with Rhino. It's unknown whether Dix Pix will continue, though given the greed of the remaining band members, especially Phil, it's hard to see them not releasing shows in some format. So for now it's just wait and see. A sorry state of affairs however.
I stopped buying any merch from GDM when the band reversed policy and made remove soundboard shows for download from their website so that they could sell them instead. This move was unmitigated greed. Even John barlow said as much. "The Dead" to me are just that. thanks JOND . I didn't know that.
It's sad when you think about: The Grateful Dead revolutionized the concept of sharing the music with the public via it's cooperation with the taping community, culminating with the creation of a formal "taper's section" at shows in Oct. 1984. They were smart enough, and technology oriented enough to archive almost every show from 1966(7)- 1995.

Dick Latvala was a fan first, employee second, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the band and it's music. It only made sense for him to work with the band to open the vaults and keep the music flowing. Jerry Garcia's comments regarding tapers and show trading said it best: "When we're done with it, it's theirs"

Greed within the family started taking its toll almost from day one of Garcia's death. Infighting between his various significant others and his then current wife. Everything from his estate, his guitars, even who could and could not attend his funeral, memorial service, and disposition of his ashes.

It was only a matter of time before that kind of toxic atmosphere found it's way through-out the organization. GDM, GD tix, road crews, and various others were dependent upon the continued survival of the Grateful Dead as a viable product. The remaining members attempted to carry on, under the guise of "The Other Ones" and later as "The Dead".
It was not the same; for the music or the fans. You could see the other side of the hill even as early as that last summer tour in 1995. The scene had changed, Garcia's health and virtuosity were in decline.

I would say this to Phil, Bobby, Mickey, Billy: It was a great ride guys. Thanks for many great years of incredible shows and friends. Let it go now. None of you need the money. Don't cheapen the legacy by trying to squeeze every last nickel from your fan base, both old and new. And for God's sake, move onto new projects The Grateful Dead years are over. Please don't become some shadow band reduced to playing in the casinos of Atlantic City.
Slipnot.....thanks for answering my question. You and I have ''talked'' before about the Grateful Dead and Jerry. I would agree with you that 1995 was a terrible year for the Grateful Dead and not because of Jerry's passing but the scene had changed and I was more interested in seeing the JGB instead of the Grateful Dead because of the people that were now going to the shows. I first started going to their shows in the late 70's and really went by mere habit in the 90's. It is / was too bad about Vince Welnick's passing but I just thought he didn't fit and the music was terrible. Anyway.....what I think people are saying here along with you is that because of greed that Dick's Pick's in in limbo.....will Rhino Records release them in the future ?? And I don't want any digital downloads...I want the disc.....!!!! So, please post if you know of anyhting else or any time frames for ''new'' music.
Slipknot: Kudoes on your post. You waxed very eloquently on the subject. Without Jerry the band is no different than The Doors with the Cult guy.