Grateful Dead Line-up:
Wall of Sound:
Grateful Dead Biographies:
Jerry Garcia was born in San Francisco in 1942, and grew up in the Excelsior neighborhood. He picked up the piano and banjo relatively early on, followed by piano and other instruments. In 1960, Garcia dropped out of high school to join the Army. He was discharged by the end of the year, however, after being court martialed twice and going AWOL eight times.
Newly discharged, Garcia began teaching guitar lessons. One of his students introduced him to guitarist Bob Weir, with whom Garcia quickly became friends. Throughout the early 1960s, Garcia joined several bluegrass and old time bands, mostly playing banjo and guitar. One of the bands he joined was called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, and included Ron McKernan. The band would later evolve into the Warlocks and eventually the Grateful Dead, after adding members Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann.
Phil Lesh was born in Berkeley, California, in 1940. His earliest musical forays had him playing trumpet and being chiefly interested in contemporary classical music and jazz. When Jerry Garcia asked him to join the Warlocks as their bass player, Lesh had never played bass in his life. Nonetheless, he joined the band for one of their earliest gigs and learned the instrument as he went along.
Bill Kreutzmann was born in 1946 in Palo Alto, California, and started playing drums when he was just 13 years old. He co-founded the Warlocks with Garcia and others in 1964, just before turning 19.
Bob Weir was born in San Francisco in 1947, but was adopted and grew up in the nearby suburb of Atherton. He started experimenting with music early on, exploring both piano and trumpet before picking up the guitar at the age of 13. He met Jerry Garcia when he was just 16 years old, and began playing with Garcia’s bluegrass band the Warlocks soon thereafter.
Mickey Hart was born in 1943, and began playing the drums early on. He joined the Dead in 1967, but left in 1971 after his father, who had briefly managed the band, made some poor business decisions. He rejoined the band four years later, however, and remained for the rest of the Dead’s run. A champion of traditional music, Hart is on the Board of Trustees for the American Folklife Center, and has worked with ethnomusicologists at the Library of Congress and other organizations. He has written several books about the history of drumming and other matters.