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Vince Welnick

Vince Welnick

By Mariah Fleming

Arizona has lost a key member of its historic rock music scene. News of Tubes keyboardist Vince Welnick's death on June 2nd, 2006 at the age of 55 stunned Valley fans. Arizona was looking forward to a historic reunion appearance of the Tubes at their upcoming induction into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Beginning when Welnick was a member of the beloved Phoenix band the Beans, Arizona watched as his career ignited in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. The Beans relocated to San Francisco, decided to rename the group the Tubes, and creating music history. As a member of the Tubes, Welnick attained success during a period when record companies were deluged with rock and roll hopefuls.

Political and social turmoil among America’s youth inspired an enormous wealth of music during that time. Welnick left his indelible mark on that era, appearing on Tubes cuts like "White Punks on Dope", "She's a Beauty" and "Talk To Ya Later". He was known not only for his deft handling of keyboards but for his unusually skillful vocal range as well. His discography includes work with a diverse number of artists, including Todd Rundgren.

In 1990 Welnick was asked to join the Grateful Dead. He took the gig as the Grateful Dead’s keyboard player amid a rash of recycled rumors. Several of the Grateful Dead’s previous keyboard players had died, leading some fans to regard the position as "cursed". Far from being cursed, it was a perfect collaboration. Welnick rose to fame during an unprecedented rock and roll era with the Tubes, and his 1990 to 1995 stint with the Grateful Dead melded Welnick's musical legacy with the Dead's.

After Jerry Garcia's death in 1995, Welnick formed his own group, the Missing Man Formation. He was also a coveted guest artist on the "jam band" circuit. Recently Welnick had teamed up with Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart as a featured member of the Mickey Hart Band.

The Tubes were inducted into the AZ Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2007.