Grateful Dead will Reunite for Summer Tour

Members of San Francisco's legendary Grateful Dead have announced plans to reunite for a six-week, 25-city tour beginning in June. The group---whose core consists of original Dead members Phil Lesh (bass), Bob Weir (guitar), and Mickey Hart (drums)---will call itself The Other Ones, after an old Dead tune. The group will headline the third annual "Furthur" tour.

Group members have pursued various solo projects since the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995. Recently, several of them have performed together informally at Bay Area venues: the Fillmore Auditorium and the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View.

They have recruited guitarist Stan Franks for the new project. Franks, a virtuoso performer who teaches classes in heavy-metal guitar, is comfortable with a wide range of musical genres. He has played with acts as diverse as jazz trumpeter Don Cherry and rapper Tupac Shakur. Deadheads may be both disappointed and relieved that he isn't expected to play the role Jerry Garcia once owned.

Dead charter member Bob Weir said Franks' only musical similarity to Garcia is that "he is extremely open. He's willing to and capable of exploring any direction." Weir mentioned that Franks' dissimilarity to Garcia made him "exactly the right place to look."

The upcoming tour won't attempt to re-create the Dead concerts of old, according to Mickey Hart, who mentioned that the group will rework some old material into instumentals. "We can never be the Grateful Dead again. But I know we can get the feeling." The Dead's concert signature was the extended group improvisation, something that will be amply supplied to fans this summer.

Additions to the group will include Bruce Hornsby, who has been a frequent collaborator, and John Molo, Horsby's drummer. Saxophonist Dave Ellis has also signed on. Drummer Bill Kreutzmann is the only surviving original member who has declined to participate. The Other Ones will begin rehearsals in May for this summer's tour.