(February 21, 1951–June 2, 2006) was an American keyboardist
, best known for playing with the band The Tubes
during the 1970s and 1980s and with the Grateful Dead
in the 1990s.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona
, Welnick started playing keyboards as a teenager. He joined a band, The Beans, which eventually morphed into The Tubes
, a San Francisco-based theater rock band popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s and noted for early live performances that combined lewd quasi-pornography with wild satires of media, consumerism and politics.
The Tubes in the 1980s were a major commercial rock act with substantial MTV
success. Videos for rock classics "Talk To Ya Later" and "She's A Beauty" played in heavy rotation on the MTV network for years in the mid-1980s. While playing in the Tubes, he also played and recorded with Todd Rundgren
When the Grateful Dead
's keyboardist, Brent Mydland
, died of a drug overdose on 26 July 1990, the band began auditioning players to replace him, including Ian McLagan
, Pete Sears
and T Lavitz
. Welnick was selected, not least for his high vocal range for backup harmonies. His AP obituary mentioned he was so nervous at his first gig with the band in 1990 in Cleveland that he could barely play, until the fans put him at ease. They held up banners reading, "Yo Vinnie," which Welnick later decided to use as the name of his BMI-affiiated publishing company, Yo Vinnie Music, once obtaining his writer and... Read More