By: Louie Wieseman
On August 9th, 1995, Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist and lead singer of the Grateful Dead passed away. From that day, the Grateful Dead would disband. Deadheads would eventually go back to their real homes instead of following the tour buses around. The rest of the band would eventually go on to form other bands and do small reunions here and there. Only one major reunion that includes all of the original living members has happened since 1995.
RatDog was originally a side project of rhythm guitarist Bob Weird, forming as early as the 1980s. Their first show was together on August 8th of 1995, one day before Garcia would pass away.
One of the other newer bands to form with multiple Grateful Dead members was The Other Ones, who featured Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and Mickey Hart. A part time member, Bruce Hornsby, was also featured in the band. Lesh dropped out at one point, but joined again in 2002. Hornsby would leave that year. However, in 2003 they changed their name to The Dead since it would have the most members of the original Grateful Dead until 2015.
Phil Lesh and Friends first formed in 1998, but isn’t really a traditional band. Phil & Friends picks up members here and there who want to tour with Phil Lesh whenever he wants to go on tour. The first tour of 1999 would include
Warren Haynes, members of Derek Trucks, Little Feat, moe., and many other bands.
Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann formed a small band named after their nickname, The Rhythm Devils. In 2006 they toured with Mike Gordon of Phish, guitarist Steve Kimock, and percussionist Sikiru Adepoju. Adepoju, members of Back Door Slam, Gov’t Mule, and others would join for a small tour in 2010 to 2011.
One of the later bands to form, Further, first started in 2009 and it featured Weir, Lesh, Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik, Joe Russo, and Jay Lane. Over 25 members have also toured with Further in just the 5 years that Further was active.
In 2015, the original core members of the Grateful Dead came together for one of their first major reunions would happen. Honoring the 50th anniversary of Grateful Dead, Weir, Lesh, Kreutzmann, Hart, and keyboardist Bruce Hornsby came together with Jeff Chimenti and Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio. The shows took place over the final weekend of June in Santa Clara, CA and over the 4th of July weekend in Chicago, IL.
The current feature of Grateful Dead members together is Dead & Company. The lineup features Weir, Hart, Chimenti, and Kreutzmann as well as well-known bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarist John Mayer. They performed a few shows during Halloween and New Year’s Eve and are going to be embarking on a summer tour in 2016.