One of the strongest intellects and most extraordinary musical talents
in rock history, Phil Lesh re-defined what the bass could sound like,
and in so doing heavily influenced what the Dead sounded like. Instead
of being part of the rhythm section, Phil's bass was a low-end guitar,
and his improvised interplay with Garcia and Weir made the Dead the
not-quite-rock-band rock band that it was. Raised in an eastern suburb
of San Francisco, he began his music studies with classical violin
before switching to "cool jazz" big-band trumpet a la Stan Kenton.
Later he studied with Luciano Berio and composed avant-garde music in
the realm of Stockhausen. In 1965 he attended a Warlocks show at a
pizza parlor in Menlo Park, and afterwards his friend Garcia informed
him that he was the new bass player in the band. Fortunately for future
Dead Heads, he said, "Why not"? He and Jill, his wife of more than
twenty years, have two sons. Phil presently presides over a
repertory-theatre-as-rock/jazz-band called "Phil and Friends."