Happy Birthday Vince Welnick

Friday, February 21, 2014
Happy Birthday Vince Welnick

Today’s the birthday of the late Vince Welnick, a fellow who spent a whole lot of years being as the keyboard player for the Tubes before stepping in and filling Brent Mydland’s formidable shoes in the Grateful Dead.

Welnick’s longstanding membership in the Tubes – he was a founding member of the band and stuck with them until they broke up in the wake of 1985’s Love Bomb album – provided him with the opportunity to work with Todd Rundgren, playing on 1989’s Nearly Human and 1991’s 2nd Wind. It was in between those two releases, however, that Welnick auditioned for the Dead, reportedly earning his position because of his vocal range when it came to singing background harmonies. Apparently, things panned out: Welnick remained a member of the band until Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995.

Welnick subsequently joined Bob Weir’s Ratdog for a US tour, but he did so with the knowledge that he’d been diagnosed with cancer just prior to the Dead’s final tour. Although he battled back from his illness to the point where he was able to record and release a few solo efforts, most notably 1998’s Missing Man Formation album, Welnick, who had been battling depression for the better part of a decade, committed suicide in 2006.

But, hey, let’s remember the happier times, shall we? Sorry to disappoint you Tubes fans, but we’re paying tribute to Welnick with a mammoth playlist featuring some of his performances with the Grateful Dead. Depending on when you start listening, it may not even be his birthday anymore by the time you finish. That’s okay, though: the music – and Welnick’s legacy – will go on forever.