Then & Now: Grateful Dead


The Grateful Dead were formed originally under the name The Warlocks in 1964. After learning of another group already name The Warlocks they changed their name to the Grateful Dead and played their first show as such in 1965 at one of Ken Kesey’s Acid Tests. Their original lineup consisted of Jerry Garcia (banjo, guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (guitar, vocals), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (organ, keyboards), Phil Lesh (bass) and Bill Kreutzmann (drums). Drummer Mickey Hart was also an integral part of the group for the majority of their career with the exception of the years 1971-1974.

The band would become renowned for their improvisational and experimental live shows. Over the years they developed a strong following of dedicated fans. known as Deadheads, which religiously follow and tour with the group.

Here you can see them performing “St. Stephen” off their 1969 album Aoxomoxoa. The recording was taken from Playboy After Dark with Hugh Heffner in 1969.


Following the unfortunate death of Jerry Garcia in 1995, the remaining members formally disbanded the group. Since this time there have been numerous reunions and reincarnations of the band involving a number of other musicians as well as the original members.

In 1998 they formed The Other Ones for a tour and live album. In 2003 they would reform The Other Ones and rename themselves The Dead. After tours in 2o03 and 2004 The Dead went on a hiatus; only to return in 2008 to play 2 shows, “Deadheads for Obama” and “Change Rocks”.

In 2009 The Dead performed a full spring reunion tour including original members Weir, Lesh, Hart, Kreutzmann, with Warren Haynes filling in for Jerry Garcia. The tour ended with an amazing performance at the Rothbury Music Festival in July 2009.

Currently you can find Bob Weir and Phil Lesh touring with their latest project, Further.

Each member had a side project of his own as well; Bob Weir & Ratdog, Phil Lesh & Friends, and the Mickey Hart Band. All bands play Grateful Dead material while on tour.

Here they are in 2009 showing they still know exactly how to jam with “Uncle John’s Band”.