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TOM CONSTANTEN
BIOGRAPHY

GRATEFUL DEAD BIOGRAPHIES: TOM CONSTANTEN

DOB April 19, 1944

Born in Long Branch New Jersey

Known as TC, He met Phil Lesh at University of Cal, Berkeley in 1961. They both held a fascination of orchestral composition. With TC’s help, Lesh attended courses at Mill Valley College taught by Luciano Berio, which would send Phil in a completely new direction.

TC studied piano

In line for the draft Constaten chose to join the Air Force as a computer programmer in 1965. He was not given high clearance because he sympathized with the Communists. Soon after the appeal of live performance and LSD adventures took him in a new direction. He joined the band full time near the end of 68, and influenced the Dead’s second and third album.

TC shared the piano and organ duties with Pigpen over the course of his affiliation with the band. They became good friends and roommates. And both musician’s learned radically different styles from each other. McKernan learned structure and TC, Boogie Woogie and Blues.

Constaten’s influence is natable on the Grateful Dead’s fourth album ‘Live Dead’. His participation on the original ‘Dark Star’ is highly regarded.

In 1970 their paths separated Tom went on to write for Broadway. After Vince Welnick’s demise, he is the only surviving full time keyboardist to ever play with the band

 

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