VINCE WELNICK, R.I.P.

Tue, 18 Jul 2006 03:30:50

I just learned from my new friend Lisa Palumbo that an old acquaintance of mine Vince Welnick committed suicide on June 2 2006. Vince was one of the original Tubes later played with Todd Rundgren and had a 5 year stint as the Grateful Dead’s 6th and final keyboard player. The keyboard slot was to the Dead what drummers were to fictional rockers Spinal Tap: JINXED. Vince also fronted his own band Missing Persons.

When I knew Vince back in the heyday of the Tubes he was usually the coolest guy in the room and always the best pianist. Vince was known for his bushy hair wraparound shades and slightly goofy smile. Vince suffered from severe depression in his final years and was embittered over being excluded from various re-groupings by the Dead. It’s a very sad story indeed.

Despite his time with the Dead I’ll always think of him as the token sane member of that gloriously insane band the Tubes. The Tubes were known for their elaborate stage show and Vince was the straight man just like John Entwistle was in the Who. And like the late great Who bassist Vince was a brilliant musician. When Vince tickled the ivories they tickled him back y’all.

I recall Vince as a sweet and kindly man and a generous musician. He was a joy to play with and it’s a shame that he came to such a tragic end.  Au revoir mon ami.

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