When rock 'n' roll legend Jerry Garcia died in 1995, he left behind a biblical constellation of musical offspring. Of course, he's best known as frontman of the Grateful Dead, a position he held for the band's entire 30-year existence, starting in 1965.
And rightfully, the band ended with his death. Meanwhile, Garcia's former bandmates went on to found a number of side projects that often perform Dead songs, including Bob Weir and Ratdog, Phil Lesh and Friends, and most recently, Furthur.
But since 1975 or so, Garcia had his own side project called, simply, the Jerry Garcia Band. It was an on-and-off kind of thing, most active usually during the Dead's breaks. Just one studio album, Cats Under the Stars, was released in Garcia's lifetime. But confusingly, the Jerry Garcia Band did not end with Jerry Garcia's death. In a Tupac-like move, the outfit has released more Garcia-fronted albums posthumously (five since 1997) than they did while he was alive.
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Now it's even touring, sans Garcia, and calling itself the "Jerry Garcia Band featuring Melvin Seals." The group's past members number about two dozen. But Seals is the one who boasts the longest tenure, having joined as organist in 1980 and sticking around till the end. Other, younger guns fill in to keep the band's flame alive, including a South Florida native, Pete Lavezzoli. Twentysomethings who were mischievous local teens in the '90s probably remember dancing to his Grateful Dead tribute act, Crazy Fingers, along Fort Lauderdale beach.