“Pigpen was the musician in the Grateful Dead. When I first met the Grateful Dead, it was Pigpen and the boys. It was a blues band… Pigpen was a kind man. He looked so hard, but he was a kind, soft man. That’s why he had to look so tough, because he was so kind, he would get stepped on…" ~Mickey Hart
In 1961, somewhere on the San Mateo peninsula coffeehouse circuit, a young Jerry Garcia invited a guy from the audience to come and jam with him. This "guy" happened to be Ron "Pigpen" McKernan.
From that moment on Jerry knew he wanted Ron to be the blues singer in all his local jam sessions and we have the first meeting of the first members of the Grateful Dead.
Pigpen was there for it all. The Zodiacs, Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions, The Warlocks. He was also instrumental in getting the band to go electric around the time Phil would come into the picture.
Jerry often said that The Grateful Dead as we know it would not have existed if it was not for Pigpen.
Rest In Peace Brother
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan
Let's take a look back together and shine our lovelight on our friend who left us way to soon.