Vince Welnick, who joined the Grateful Dead in 1990, on living with the knowledge that the three keyboard players who preceded him had died:
"A lot of people ask about that and my stock answer is that I am aware of the fact that you could die doing this job, but I was somewhat dying of boredom before the job came up so I thought I'd take my chances."
The San Francisco Chronicle's obit quotes band publicist Dennic McNally, who calls Welnick "a good soul, a very sweet guy," a classically trained pianist who practiced at his Boesendorfer for hours a day.
A San Jose Mercury account quotes a person in Welnick's home as saying the Friday death appeared to have been a suicide. In an interview with the Vermont Review, the ex-Tubes keyboard player described his battle with depression after the 1995 death of Jerry Garcia.
A commenter at Suburban Guerrilla has found a YouTube moment -- Welnick, Garcia and Bob Weir singing "The Star Spangled Banner" at a San Francisco Giants game in 1993. Talk about letting your freak flag fly. They nailed it.