Obituaries

Message from Merl Saunders' family

Merl Saunders - (2.14.34 - 10.24.08)- for the Grateful Web

Merl Saunders stood for music and love – his smile alone told you that.  We loved him very much – and we know that you, his fans, did too.  Sad as we are to lose him, we're very aware of being comforted by the affection coming from all those touched by that smile and that wonderful music.  He was a special man, a beautiful companion, father, grandfather, and family patriarch, and the proof of that spirit is in the way you've reached out to us at his passing.  From our hearts, thank you.  And we know Merl thanks you too.   

Keep on keepin' on, The Saunders Family

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, October 29th, at 11 am at First AME Zion Church, 2159 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco.  

In lieu of flowers, we request that donations be made to either the Rainforest Action Network or the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic.

Grateful Memorial for David Kramar

Please visit this memorial site for a fellow deadhead, David Kramar, who recently passed away.  Grateful Web sends out our condolences to David's friends and family.

David Frederick Kramar my brother-in-law's life from Huntington, New York to St Augustine, Florida to Southern California. He dearly loved the Dead.

The Band's Rick Danko Remembered In Luke Doucet Song

photo by Carrie Musgrave- for the Grateful Web

Guitarist/songwriter Luke Doucet found himself in Woodstock, NY on the day fellow Canadian and The Band's singer/bassist Rick Danko died. In the southern rock inspired ballad "The Day Rick Danko Died" Doucet commiserates on the passing of Bob Dylan's former bandmate with an interesting character he met at a local bar upstate on December 10, 1999:

I was in Woodstock the day Rick Danko died.
I climbed up on a barstool beside a perfect stranger and both of us cried.

He said he was a guitar man- used to play with Bob Dylan.
I don't know if I believed him but to call his bluff tonight would surely kill him.

Do not cry old man, it's not what today is for.
Two dead rocks stars in one night is more than anybody's gonna cry for.

Bottoms up stranger, let's tip one for the bass man.
Let's bury him tonight, at the bottom of this mason

Luke Doucet's 'Blood's Too Rich' (Six Shooter, 6.24) marries Crazy Horse rhythm with The Band's swaggering melodies to tell candid tales of drifters and ne'er do-wells. The in-demand guitarist follows up his Juno nominated 'Broken (and other rogue states)' with this folk rock opus.

'Godfather of Soul' James Brown dies

RIP James Brown- for the Grateful Web

'Godfather of Soul' James Brown dies at 73.  Grateful Web sends our thoughts to his friends, family and fans.

Vince Welnick Died Friday, June 2nd, 2006

Vince Welnick- for the Grateful Web

Vince died Friday, June 2nd.  He played keyboards with the Grateful Dead from September 1990 - August 1995.  Though he received a lot of criticism during his tenure, Vince was a loving, happy guy who played his heart out with the band.  Grateful Web sends our thoughts to his family and friends.  Thanks for your loving nature, Vince. We'll miss you...

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"No fear, no hate, could be greater then the size of;
The love that I am seeing deep in the eyes of;
All of my friends, True Blue"
Vince Welnick "Missing Man Formation"
 
 
This song by Vince Welnick was a key inspiration for Quixote's True Blue and the guiding spirit of each of the places that we created successively.  Vince Welnick, the last keyboardist for the Grateful Dead, passed away today, June 2nd.  This bright and charming keyboardist eagerly took the place of Brent Mydland in the Grateful Dead hotseat creating some very memorable moments in the golden days of the Grateful Dead.  He led me to a greater understanding of Jerry Garcia when he said that "he could be ornery at times, but I have never met a kinder gentler man in  my life.  When I first saw Jerry Garcia I believed in Santa Claus.  Everybody is asking the big question and love is the answer.  And I'll always believe in Santa Claus."  Shortly after Jerry Garcia died, Vince Welnick, created a band called Missing Man Formation which was probably the strongest post-Dead band that I ever saw.  In fact when I first saw this band in 1996 and they did the long forgotten song, Saint Stephen,I thought I was going to explode.  Yes, spontaneously combustion was on my mind and I was giddy like a child.  Vince also played at my wedding August 9th at Red Rocks with Gregg's Eggs.   He was all about love and his presence on that day made it all the more special.  His heart was full of compassion in a seemingly heartless world.  He left his mark on my family and will always be considered a member of it.  In short, he will be missed as a friend and a brother.
 
February 21st, 1951 - June 2nd 2006
 
Stay True Blue,

Coretta Scott King Died This Week At The Age Of 78

Coretta Scott King -- (1927-2006)- for the Grateful Web

Coretta Scott King was the wife of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. She gained an international reputation as an advocate of civil rights, nonviolence, international peace, full employment, and equal rights for women. She died at the age of 78.  She embodies everything good about human beings and were not for her, MLK's voice would not have shined so bright.

King remained largely in the wings of her husband's fight for civil rights, while participating in the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and efforts to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

After her husband was shot and killed on April 4, 1968, King stepped up efforts to promote nonviolence, fight poverty and began work establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. She also led the Coalition of Conscience, which sponsored the 20th Anniversary March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1983.

Lennon Remembered 25 Years Later...

John Lennon was killed 25 years ago today- for the Grateful Web

Your music inspires us every day of our life, John.

The Grateful Web

Johnny Carson (1925 - 2005)

Carson died today at the age of 79 from emphysema- for the Grateful Web

Born in Corning, Iowa - Raised in Nebraska  and attented The University of Nebraska -  Johnny died today at 79 -   His show was the stepping stone for countless acts today, including David Letterman, Rodney Dangerfield, and so many more.

May 21st, 1992 was his last Tonight Show -   Johnny died of emphysema.

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George Harrison - by Mike Macchi

- for the Grateful Web

I was born in 1965, the same year The Grateful Dead was born and the year that the songs that would land on the Beatles' landmark album "Rubber Soul" were probably starting to gel in the minds of the newly turned-on Fab Four.  I grew up about as big of a Beatle fan as anyone ever could meet, especially when one considers that I was not even five years old when the band reached the end of their long and winding road.

When George Harrison passed away a couple of weeks ago I felt almost the since of loss I felt when Jerry and John Lennon died in that I felt that I lost a personal friend that played a huge role in my life, literally helping to shape my way of looking at the world.  I have a couple of thoughts on George that my fellow Dead Heads might like to chew on......

First of all, keep in mind that on their last two tours, the Grateful Dead pulled out two relatively obscure Beatle tunes to cover:   'I Want To Tell You' off of 1966's REVOLVER and 'It's All too Much' originally recorded in 1967 for the soundtrack of YELLOW SUBMARINE.....for those of you who were not aware, despite the intimidating catalogue by John and Paul,  our heroes chose two songs by the so-called 'quiet' Beatle to play:  both of the songs mentioned are Harrison compositions.

Any Dead Head who has never had the pleasure of listening to Harrison's solo masterpiece "All Things Must Pass" should do themselves a favor and invest in it (hard to find, perhaps available on Amazon). "Isn't It A Pity", "My Sweet Lord" (which I had played at my wedding ceremony last year) and "Beware of Darkeness" are just three nuggets on that album. I always wonder how the Dead were perceived by many in the music world.   It saddens me to think of how- just maybe- his shared love of Elvis, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly might have led to John Lennon attending a MSG Dead show after 1980 as he started to come out of his self-imposed retirement....maybe even joining them on stage?   Sigh.....in another universe, perhaps.

I like to think of the links that Harrison had to the Dead world:  his friendship with both Bob Dylan and Tom Petty must have exposed Harrison to some stories of our band's exploits/musicality since both toured with the boys.   Also,  it was Owsley's recipes that first turned on the Beatles in England in 1965.......talk about a connection.  Kesey and his band of Pranksters were at the Beatle's Cow Palace show when Bobby first "got on the bus".   Lots of syncronicity and examples  of the boundaries of the Dead's world going across the universe of the Beatles.  I just wonder if Gearge ever listened to "American Beauty" or "Workingman's Dead" since he was such a huge fan of The Band's first two albums that came out of the Woodstock scene and captured American roots music so well like Beauty and Workingman's did.  I hope that someone was able to play for George some of the Dead's live music, but with his ambivalence to music in general after the early seventies maybe not.

If I am not misteaken (does anyone remember?) the Dead may have even played The Traveling Wilburies album on set breaks or at show's end in the early 1990's...faint recollections of this, but my memory is a little foggy when trying to recall (I wonder why?).

Anyway,  Harrison's impact was great.  I love all of his Beatle songs, but especially ones like "Love you Too", Within you Without You", "Long Long Long", "The Inner Light" and others that showed his love for Indian music.  He profoundly changed Western culture in ripples that can never be measured.  He was a reluctant celebrity and gave so much to us all.  Rest in Peace, George, and thank you. Mike Macchi,  Guilderland, NY  - recyclemichael65@yahoo.com

Ray Charles died today at 73.

- for the Grateful Web

Ray Charles, the Grammy-winning crooner who blended gospel and blues in such crowd-pleasers as "What'd I Say" and heartfelt ballads like "Georgia on My Mind," died Thursday, a spokesman said. He was 73. Charles died at his Beverly Hills home surrounded by family and friends, said spokesman Jerry Digney.