The Dead to tour in 2009

Phil Lesh is Dead...again
Phil Lesh is Dead...again

Get out your tie-dyed shirts, freak flags and granny dresses - The Dead are alive again.

Buoyed by the positive response they received by two reunions at benefits for President-elect Barack Obama, the surviving members of The Grateful Dead, who now call themselves simply The Dead, will hit the road in 2009.

The tour will mark the first time the band has played extensively in five years and will include core Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, as well guitarist Warren Haynes and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti. Chimenti has been performing with the 'core four' since 2002, while Haynes took up with The Dead in 2004.

Bringing back The Dead

"It's the question mark that's really pulling me in...what's gonna happen?" bassist Phil Lesh

The group drifted apart in 2004 - the usual musical and personal differences cited as reasons for the split - but now that hatchets have been buried, bassist Phil Lesh says he's excited at the prospect of playing again.

"For me, it's the question mark that's really pulling me in...what's gonna happen?" says Lesh. "When you walk out on the stage the possibilities are infinite every time."

The Dead will play 16 "evening with" shows in 19 US cities, beginning 12 April in Greensboro, North Carolina and wrapping up 10 May in San Francisco. Tickets begin going on sale 13 January.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.