Friday, September 14, 2012

Pigpen kickin' a CH.....

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, original keyboardist for The Grateful Dead. Yes, Pig rode, long before it was the "fashion" for rock stars to do so. He rode because....well, he always had. But poor Pig, not only did he become one of the original members of the "27 Club" - musicians who died when they were 27 (the charter members died between '68-'70, and they were Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Alan 'Blind Owl" Wilson, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison), he also became the first of what people like to call the "Curse of the Grateful Dead Keyboardists", and you've got to admit, The Dead haven't been lucky in that department:

First was Pigpen, 27 - gastrointestinal hemorrhage in '73
Next was Keith Godchaux, 32 - auto accident in '80
Then, Brent Mydland, 37 - "accidental" drug OD in '90
And last, Vince Welnick, 55 - "apparent" suicide in '06

The only two keyboardist to "escape" the "curse" were Tom Constanten, who played with The Dead from '68-'70 (along with Pigpen), and Bruce Hornsby, who traded concert dates off and on with Vince Welnick on the Dead tours from '90-'92, while Welnick finished up previous musical commitments. Sometimes it was just Hornsby, sometimes it was just Welnick, and sometimes (like I saw The Dead here in Denver twice), it was both of them together playing with the band.
Pigpen's funeral memorial card


Knucklenutz said...

Turn Your Love Light Pig !

Irish Rich said...

Let it shine on me.....

"You guys out there got yo' hands in yo' pockets? I don't wanna see NOBODY with yo' hands in yo' pockets....."