Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was born Sept. 8, 1945 and died from alcohol abuse on March 8, 1973. His father had been a San Francisco radio DJ who played deep blues, soul and R&B, which greatly influenced his son. Ron had always had a wild streak, but was also known to be a really nice guy. He could definitely play harmonica and and sing the Blues better than most white kids. In fact, even growing up in the San Francisco Bay area he proved to be a true rebel, with an attitude and approach to the world that inspired many people (especially wanna-be hoods like me.) He thrived off of African-American culture – just like his contemporaries Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin did. In many ways, Pigpen is the forgotten Grateful Dead co-founder – just like Brian Jones became the forgotten founder of the Rolling Stones. Both were treated quite badly at the end by their respective band mates who were in their defense young and ambitious at the time.
Jerry Garcia was quoted saying that without Pigpen the band never would have made it. He was the the Dead’s front man because of his passionate voice and willingness to face the audience – while Garcia and Weir were still shy bout singing in public. He knew how to really work a crowd into frenzy. Like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin he avoided psychedelics but drank more than he should have. He did quit drinking and ate well for an extended time before dying of cirrhosis. In the case of the early live Dead shows (pre-1972) Pigpen acted as an anchor to his flying off into space band mates (particularly during the early “acid tests” where the band played a lot of covers that Pigpen liked to sing. He also was, according to Jerry, “The heart and soul of the Grateful Dead.” This article collects and edits damn-near everything that is currently on the Internet – including media stories, song lyrics, quotes from Jerry and friends, as well as my enhancements of the best pix of Pigpen on the web. Enjoy and tell your friends because Pigpen deserves the same recognition that have been paid to Jim and Janis, not to mention while considering the history of the Grateful Dead. Click Below to learn about his contributions, roots, lifestyle, and unfortunate early death.
During his short life, Jim Morrison of the Doors was a role model to men and sex symbol for women. In this article you will learn about the man, music and messages associated with one of the best Rock bands and political provocateurs we have witnessed. His life was filled with creativity and chaos; along with conflicts and contradictions. Here you will find a carefully selected set of articles, pix, quotes, lyrics and more. I hope you will find lessons here and buy some of the MP3 files that are available from the live performances!! I have had a long random play list going!! It includes the awesome 2000 Tribute CD entitled “Stoned Immaculate.”
Like many others, he had a major influence on my young life – sparking seeds of rebellion and spirituality that have burned throughout my life. He tied our generation to that of the beat poets. He also tied us back to our natural roots and native American heritage. I also went down the alcohol road between 17 and 24 (1968-1973). Although I used to pride myself on looking, thinking, and acting like Jim; I was blessed to not meet his same fate with booze. This marks the third and final volume in my trilogy of tributes (see also my writings on Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.) I was further blessed to have seen them each perform live in the late sixties around Chicago (their spirits are with me still.) I hope that you will find encouragement, enchantment and enlightenment from their lives and legacies as I have over the past 40 years!!
Jimi Hendrix was an amazing guitar player, but he also had much to teach us about how to change our own lives and society. His legacy includes an open embrace of the great potential within our minds to achieve higher levels of consciousness. He was a fearless spiritual adventurer – boldly going where no man had yet gone. His lyrics and life provide valuable insights into the nature of the sixties counterculture. For many of us, Jimi Hendrix was truly the “High Priest of Rock and Roll.” He also was the first multi-ethnic person to become famous. This article includes excerpts from the best articles about Jimi; as well as lots of quotes, pix, and lyrics. So for now, as Jimi would say: “Excuse me while I kiss the sky!!”