The Bad Luck That Comes Into Being A Keyboardist For The Grateful Dead

The Bad Luck That Comes Into Being A Keyboardist For The Grateful Dead | Society Of Rock Videos

Rock ‘n’ roll has always carried an air of rebellion, freedom, and, unfortunately, tragedy. Musicians, with their tumultuous lifestyles, often face shorter life expectancies than the general population. However, the Grateful Dead, a counterculture jam band formed in 1965, seems to have an unusual curse haunting their keyboardists.

In this article, we delve into the tragic tales of four keyboardists associated with the iconic band and explore whether there might be more than just coincidence behind the string of untimely deaths.

1. Ron “Pigpen” McKernan – The Original Frontman:
The Grateful Dead’s original keyboardist, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, was a founding member and embraced the blues. However, as the band transitioned to psychedelic rock, McKernan’s role diminished, and he battled alcoholism. Forced to retire in 1971 due to cirrhosis of the liver, he rejoined briefly but tragically died in 1973 at the age of 27 from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage, a result of excessive drinking.

2. Tom Constanten – Scientology and a Narrow Escape:
Replacing McKernan was Tom Constanten, a member of the Church of Scientology who abstained from psychedelic drugs. Constanten felt a misfit within the band and left, narrowly avoiding the ominous fate of the Grateful Dead keyboardists.

3. Keith Godchaux – A Talented Addition:
Keith Godchaux joined in 1971, becoming a full-time member a few months later. Regarded by some as the band’s best keyboardist, he played a vital role for nearly two decades. Sadly, in 1990, after a productive summer tour, Godchaux died from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 37.

4. Brent Mydland – A Productive Legacy Cut Short:
Following Godchaux’s death, Brent Mydland took on the role and became one of the Dead’s longest-serving keyboardists. In 1990, tragedy struck again as Mydland succumbed to an accidental drug overdose in Lafayette, California, leaving a void in the band’s lineup.

5. Vince Welnick – A Spirited Replacement:
Vince Welnick, a dedicated Deadhead, replaced Mydland and faced numerous personal struggles, including depression and surviving cancer. Despite his battles, Welnick continued his involvement in music, even playing with tribute acts. (Xanax) However, in 2006, at the age of 51, he tragically took his own life.

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