As a Deadhead, I have always thought it would be cool to create a group of Grateful Dead painted chairs paying tribute to the entire band. I have the one Jerry Garcia painted chair that I’ve created, but this fall I was so excited when I was commissioned to create ten members who played in the band over the years.
The Grateful Dead came onto the music scene in 1965 in San Francisco. Their music appeals to me because I love how it the band can create amazing jams that can go on forever. I also like how it combines rock, folk, country, bluegrass, blues, and other styles of music all into one. When I am painting, I am typically jamming out to them or Phish for my artistic inspiration.
The founding members were Jerry Garcia (on lead guitar, vocals), Bob Weir (doing rhythm guitar, and vocals), Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (on keyboards, harmonica, and vocals), Phil Lesh (on bass and vocals), and Bill Kreutzmann (on drums).
Members of the Grateful Dead had played together in various San Francisco bands, including Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions and the Warlocks. Lesh was the last member to join the Warlocks before they became the Grateful Dead. Drummer Mickey Hart and non-performing lyricist Robert Hunter joined in 1967. With the exception of McKernan, who died in 1973, and Hart, who took time off from 1971 to 1974, the core of the band stayed together for its entire 30-year history.
The other official members of the band are Tom Constanten (on keyboards from 1968–1970), John Perry Barlow (a nonperforming lyricist from 1971–1995), Keith Godchaux (on keyboards from 1971–1979), Donna Godchaux (who provided vocals from 1972–1979), Brent Mydland (on keyboards and vocals from 1979–1990), and Vince Welnick (on keyboards and vocals from 1990–1995). Bruce Hornsby (on accordion, piano, and vocals) was a touring member from 1990 to 1992, as well as a guest with the band on occasion before and after the tours.
Each upcycled painted chair has a similar theme with the tie background and black overlay. The legs of the chairs pay tribute to the Dead’s famous concert posters (Winterland and the Fillmore) which have become collectors’ items.