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Grateful Dead spinoffs: Lesh, Weir and others keeping the band alive

Phil Lesh and Friends performs on March 9,

Phil Lesh and Friends performs on March 9, 2013. Photo Credit: Jay Blakesberg

Nearly 20 years after the Grateful Dead broke up following the death of Jerry Garcia, it seems like there are more ways to hear the band's music than ever. Today, every member has his own band offering a take on the Dead's repertoire. Here's a look at who's who.


Phil Lesh & Friends


Bassist Lesh's band offers the most surprises, mainly because its lineup changes regularly. For his two shows in Central Park this week, Lesh will be joined by Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule, jazzmen John Scofield and John Medeski, and jam band stalwart Joe Russo.




The longest running Dead offshoot, guitarist Bob Weir started RatDog as a side project for him and bassist Rob Wasserman while the Dead were still together. The band got back on the road this year after being on hiatus since 2009, playing a mix of Dead songs and rock, blues and country covers.




Furthur, which is led by Weir and Lesh together, is seen by many fans as closest in spirit to the Grateful Dead. It is known for pulling rarely heard gems out of the Dead's catalog, including some the group never performed live in its original incarnation.


7 Walkers


Led by drummer Bill Kreutzmann, 7 Walkers brings a swampy, bayou vibe to the Dead's catalog, thanks to the inclusion of New Orleans musicians Papa Mali and George Porter Jr., who sings and plays bass with The Meters.


Mickey Hart Band


Drummer Hart's group is the most rhythm-focused and the most avant-garde of the offshoots. Its latest album, "Superorganism," includes sounds created from Hart's brainwaves.


The Dead


This version of the band, which consists of Lesh, Weir, Kreutzmann and Hart, along with supporting musicians, only toured three times -- in 2003, 2004 and 2009. With Lesh & Weir regularly performing together in Furthur, it's unclear if we'll ever see this lineup again.


If you go: Phil Lesh & Friends is at Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4:30 p.m., enter at 69th Street and Fifth Avenue, Wednesday, sold out, Saturday, $49.50-$99.50.


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