June 04, 2006
The Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame is saddened to learn that Arizona has lost a key member of its historic rock music scene. News of keyboardist Vince Welnick's death on June 2nd, at the age of 55, stunned Valley fans, who were looking forward to the upcoming induction of The Tubes into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Beginning when Welnick was a member of the beloved band the Beans, Phoenix 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 created 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.
Welnick left his indelible mark on The Tubes, appearing on 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 also for his unusually skillful vocal range. His discography includes work with a diverse number of artists, including Todd Rundgren, Dick Dale, Merl Saunders, and Steve Kimock.
Welnick was a member of the Grateful Dead from 1990 to 1995. 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 a curse. Welnick, far from being cursed, rose, to fame during an unprecedented rock and roll era.
After Jerry Garcia's death in 1995, he 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. Welnick was scheduled to perform this month.
The Tubes are among those voted into the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame for 2006. The group will be inducted into the hall of fame during a ceremony to be held at a historic Phoenix venue, the Celebrity Theatre. The event will be open to the public. Further information is available at the Arizona Music Hall of Fame.org website.
Vince Welnick leaves behind many long time friends and fans in Arizona. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his loved ones.
By Mariah Fleming