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Grateful Dead Biographies:
Phil Lesh by Glenn A. Segal

Birth Named: Philip Chapman Lesh

DOB: March 15, 1940

Born Berkeley, California

Phil Lesh started out on violin (but soon hit the harder stuff) in high school he switched to trumpet. Always showed a keen interest for Avant Garde, classical and Free Form Jazz arrangements. He studied under Luciano Berio at Mills College.

While attending school, Phil met Jerry Garcia. When The Warlocks formed, Garcia talked Lesh into playing bass for the band. Since he never acquired any background performing in a rhythmic capacity, he adapted the instrument to a classical and jazz structure.

His classical and jazz, influenced Jerry, as well as Weir’s riffs. Lesh is able and willing to pick up the melody, a trait most bass players can only aspire to achieve.

It astounds me how Phil completely transformed rock music into an art form which I believe, changed everything. This preceded the advent of the Jam Bands.

After Garcia’s death, Phil continued to oversee the band’s recorded archives. He took responsibility for the many high quality live shows released. Lesh reunited with band mates Bob Weir and Mickey Hart as the Other Ones in 1998. By the end of that year Phil learned that his ongoing battle with hepatitis ‘C’ had rendered his liver inoperable. He needed a transplant. His surgery was successful, he attributed the prayers of his fans to his speedy recovery.

For his next project he assembled a rock- jazz band called Phil & Friends they started touring in 1999. Since then he has rejoined with Weir, they tour as ‘The Dead’ at least once a year. He and his wife Jill, support many worthy causes. They are advocates of a better world, through grass roots organizations working together with corporations to make this a better planet. Keep On Truckin!


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