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Encyclopedia > Ron "Pigpen" McKernan
Ron McKernan
Birth name Ronald C. McKernan
Also known as Pigpen
Born September 8, 1945(1945-09-08)
San Bruno, California, U.S.
Origin San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died March 8, 1973 (aged 27)
Corte Madera, California, U.S.
Genre(s) Blues, psychedelic rock, rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s) Keyboard instruments, harmonica, percussion, guitar
Years active 1959–1973
Associated
acts
Grateful Dead
Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions
The Warlocks

Ronald C. "Pigpen" McKernan (September 8, 1945March 8, 1973) was a founding member of the rock band Grateful Dead. His musical contributions to the Grateful Dead included vocals, Hammond organ, harmonica, percussion, and occasionally guitar. He died at the age of 27. is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... The San Bruno police station next to the BART station at the Shops at Tanforan. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... San Francisco redirects here. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... Area Land Water 4. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... For other uses of terms redirecting here, see US (disambiguation), USA (disambiguation), and United States (disambiguation) Motto In God We Trust(since 1956) (From Many, One; Latin, traditional) Anthem The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City National language English (de facto)1 Demonym American... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Blues music redirects here. ... Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that attempts to replicate the mind-altering experiences of hallucinogenic drugs. ... For other uses, see Rock music (disambiguation). ... “Instrumentalist” redirects here. ... A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified with the purpose of making music. ... Piano, a well-known instance of keyboard instruments A keyboard instrument is any musical instrument played using a musical keyboard. ... A harmonica is a free reed wind instrument. ... Percussion instruments are played by being struck, shaken, rubbed or scraped. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... This article is about the band. ... McKernan could refer to one of several people: Ron Pigpen McKernan - musician with group Grateful Dead Timothy Mckernan - Ice dancer John Rettie Jock McKernan, Jr. ... is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1945 (MCMXLV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar). ... is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... Rock and roll (also spelled Rock n Roll, especially in its first decade), also called rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles. ... This article is about the band. ... “Instrumentalist” redirects here. ... In music a singer or vocalist is a type of musician who sings, i. ... The Hammond organ is an electric organ which was invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 and manufactured by the Hammond Organ Company until the 1970s. ... A harmonica is a free reed wind instrument. ... Percussion redirects here. ... For other uses, see Guitar (disambiguation). ... The 27 Club, also occasionally known as the Forever 27 Club, is a popular culture name for a group of influential rock and blues musicians who all died at the age of 27, sometimes under mysterious circumstances. ...

Contents

Biography

McKernan was born in San Bruno, California, the son of a San Francisco Bay Area R&B and blues disc jockey. He grew up with many black friends, and felt very strongly connected to black music and culture. As a youth, McKernan taught himself blues piano, and also developed a biker image that eventually led to the cessation of his school career. In his early teens, McKernan left Palo Alto High School by mutual agreement with the school's principal. He also developed a strong affinity for alcohol in his adolescence. The San Bruno police station next to the BART station at the Shops at Tanforan. ... Bay Area redirects here. ... For other uses, see Rhythm and blues (disambiguation). ... Blues music redirects here. ... For other meanings of DJ, see DJ (disambiguation). ... Languages Predominantly American English Religions Protestantism (chiefly Baptist and Methodist); Roman Catholicism; Islam Related ethnic groups Sub-Saharan Africans and other African groups, some with Native American groups. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... In the United States, African American culture or Black culture includes the various cultural traditions of African American communities. ... A short grand piano, with the lid up. ... For other uses, see Motorcycle (disambiguation). ... Persona literally means mask , although it does not usually refer to a literal mask but to the social masks all humans supposedly wear. ... For other uses, see High school (disambiguation). ... Palo Alto Senior High School is the older of the two high schools in Palo Alto, California, United States. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


McKernan began spending time around coffeehouses and music stores, where he eventually met Jerry Garcia. One night Garcia had McKernan go on-stage and play his harmonica and sing the blues. Garcia was impressed; he knew he wanted this man to be the blues singer in all the local jam sessions. It is often thought that Jerry Garcia had given Ron McKernan his nickname of "Pigpen," but it was actually a high school buddy named Roger who gave him the nickname based on his "funky" approach to life.[citation needed] Discussing the War in a Paris Café, Illustrated London News 17 September 1870 Coffee shop redirects here. ... Jerome John Jerry Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was an American musician, songwriter, and artist best known for being the lead guitarist and vocalist of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead. ... For other uses, see Singer (disambiguation). ... A jam session is a musical act where musicians gather and play (or jam) without extensive preparation or predefined arrangements. ...


McKernan was a participant in each of the predecessor groups leading up to the formation of the Grateful Dead, beginning with the Zodiacs and then Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. Bob Weir and Bob Matthews were added to the mix and evolved into The Warlocks. Around 1965, it was McKernan who urged the rest of the Warlocks to switch to electric instruments (around the time Phil Lesh would join and they became the Grateful Dead). Robert Hall Weir (October 16, 1947–) is an American guitar player, most recognized as a founding member of the Grateful Dead. ... Phillip Chapman Lesh (born March 15, 1940 in Berkeley, California) is a musician and founding member of the rock band, Grateful Dead; he played bass guitar in that group throughout their entire 30-year career. ... This article is about the band. ...


McKernan was the high-energy bluesman of the band. He played blues organ as well as harmonica and vocals, and could rant improvised lyrics incessantly. While his friends were experimenting with LSD and other psychedelics, Pigpen stuck to Thunderbird wine and Southern Comfort. Pigpen steadily added more signature tunes to the Dead's repertoire, including some that lasted for the remainder of their live performance career such as "Turn on Your Lovelight" and "In the Midnight Hour". Classic Hammond B-3 organ. ... Improvisation is the practice of acting and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of ones immediate environment. ... Look up lyrics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly called LSD, LSD-25, or acid. ... Thunderbird bottle in use. ... For other uses, see Southern Comfort (disambiguation). ...


In 1967 and 1968 respectively, Mickey Hart and Tom Constanten joined the Grateful Dead lineup, causing the band to take a stylistic turn from the blues towards full-blown experimental psychedelia influenced by avant-garde jazz, serialism, and world music traditions. McKernan was not nearly as accomplished technically as Constanten, who often replaced him on keyboards. In October of 1968, McKernan and Weir were nearly fired from the band because of their reluctance to rehearse. The duty of the firing was given to Rock Scully by Garcia, and Scully commented that McKernan "took it hard." The remaining members did a number of shows under the monikers Mickey and the Heartbeats and Jerry Garrceeah and His Friends, mainly playing Grateful Dead songs without lyrics. Weir asked repeatedly to be let back into the band, promising to step up his playing, and eventually the rest of the band relented. McKernan was a bit more stubborn, missing three Dead shows; he finally vowed not to "be lazy" anymore and rejoined the band.[1] In November 1968, Constanten was hired full time for the band, having only worked in the studio up to that point. Joe McIntire, an assistant road manager under Jonthan Reister, commented that "Pigpen was relegated to the congas at that point and it was really humiliating and he was really hurt, but he couldn't show it, couldn't talk about it."[2] Ironically, the singer would achieve a new prominence throughout 1969, with versions of "Turn On Your Lovelight" (now fully ingrained as the band's show-stopping finale) regularly scaling thirty to forty minutes. He also developed an unlikely close friendship with Constanten based around their mutual aversion to psychedelics, and eventually served as his best man when Constanten wed. After Constanten's departure in January 1970 over musical and lifestyle differences, McKernan resumed keyboard duties. Mickey Hart (born September 11, 1943) is a percussionist and musicologist. ... Tom Constanten Musician, primarily keyboardist, born March 19, 1944, best known for his stint with the Grateful Dead from 1968-1970. ... Psychedelia in music (or also psychedelic music, less formally) is a term that refers to a broad set of popular music styles, genres and scenes, that may include psychedelic rock, psychedelic folk, psychedelic pop, psychedelic soul, psychedelic ambient, psychedelic trance, psychedelic techno, and others. ... Piano, a well-known instance of keyboard instruments A keyboard instrument is any musical instrument played using a musical keyboard. ... Rock Scully, co-author with David Dalton of the book Living With The Dead, was the manager of the band The Grateful Dead from 1965 to 1985. ...


In 1970, McKernan began experiencing congenital liver problems, likely exacerbated by his years of excessive drinking. After an August 1971 hospitalization, doctors requested that he stop touring indefinitely; pianist Keith Godchaux was subsequently hired and remained a permanent member of the band until 1979. Restless, the ailing singer rejoined the band in December to supplement Godchaux on harmonica, percussion, and organ. Unfortunately, after their Europe '72 tour, McKernan's health had degenerated to the point where he could no longer tour. His final concert appearance was June 17, 1972 at the Hollywood Bowl, in Los Angeles, California. For the bird, see Liver bird. ... Keith Godchaux (July 19, 1948 - 23 July 1980) (piano) and Donna Jean Thatcher Godchaux Mackay (born August 22, 1947) (singer) are best known for having been members of the Grateful Dead. ... Europe 72 is a 1972 live triple album by The Grateful Dead, from performances on their Spring 1972 tour of Western Europe. ... is the 168th day of the year (169th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Hollywood Bowl in 2005. ... Los Angeles and L.A. redirect here. ...


On March 8, 1973, he was found dead of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage at his home in Corte Madera, California. Pigpen is buried at the Alta Mesa Memorial Park (Plot: Hillview Sec.Bb16 Lot 374) in Palo Alto, California. His grave marker is inscribed: is the 67th day of the year (68th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... For the Physics term GUT, please refer to Grand unification theory The gastrointestinal or digestive tract, also referred to as the GI tract or the alimentary canal or the gut, is the system of organs within multicellular animals which takes in food, digests it to extract energy and nutrients, and... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Area Land Water 4. ... Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California Coordinates: , Country State County Santa Clara Government  - Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto[1] Area  - City 25. ...

RONALD C. McKERNAN
1945–1973
PIGPEN WAS
AND IS NOW FOREVER
ONE OF THE
GRATEFUL DEAD

Notes

  1. ^ Jackson, p. 156
  2. ^ Jackson, p. 157

References

  • Jackson, Blair (1999). Garcia: An American Life. Penguin Books.

External links

  • Grateful Dead official website
Grateful Dead
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