Iconic keyboardist Melvin Seals, most notably known for his work and long-lasting friendship with Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, turns 68 today! Celebrate with some fantastic videos from through the years below, and tune in on the Live For Live Music Facebook page today, Sunday, September 27th, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. ET for Cats on the Bandstand: A Very Melvin Birthday Show, a live-streamed performance by Melvin Seals & JGB.

Born in 1953, Seals explored and starting learning the piano at a young age, playing gospel music for his local church in San Francisco. Developing his own style and sound, a young Melvin Seals started to favor the B-3 Hammond organ, as it eventually became his go-to throughout his wildly illustrious career. Joining the Jerry Garcia Band in the late 1970s, Melvin’s musical relationship with Garcia flourished, as the two played music together for 18 years until Captain Trips untimely death in August of 1995. Melvin Seals had the third-longest tenure in Jerry Garcia’s side project, behind Garcia and bassist John Kahn, who founded the band in 1975.

Following Kahn’s death in 1996 and Garcia’s just the year prior, Seals made it his lifelong mission to keep the music of Jerry Garcia alive in a touring, live setting. Melvin Seals founded his own incarnation of Jerry Garcia Band, which he simply calls JGB and features a plethora of fine musical contributors, including Steve Kimock, John Kadlecik, Donna Jean Godchaux, Stu Allen, Mark Karan, and Mookie Siegel to name a few.

To celebrate Melvin’s 68th lap around the sun, enjoy some special videos from his time in the Jerry Garcia Band!

Jerry Garcia Band – “Tangled Up In Blue”

[Video: 1981whitefox]

Jerry Garcia Band w/ Clarence Clemons – Great Woods Center For The Performing Arts – 9/10/1989

[Video: Whoaduderighteous]

Jerry Garcia Band – The Wiltern – 11/15/1990

[Video: nognuisagoodgnu]

Happy birthday Melvin, and cheers to many more!

[Originally published September 27th, 2018]


On Saturday, October 3rd, Melvin Seals & JGB will join 50+ other artists for Democracy Comes Alive, a one-day virtual music festival aimed at promoting voter participation in this year’s elections and beyond presented by Live For Live Music in partnership with HeadCount.

Other performers include Phil Lesh (Grateful Dead), Warren HaynesBruce HornsbyDAWESTrampled By TurtlesRobert Walter, and more. Democracy Comes Alive will also feature discussions about the history of voting rights featuring members of the Grateful DeadPhishDave Matthews Band, and more.

To secure your ticket to Democracy Comes Alive on October 3rd, check your voter registration status or donate to HeadCount at DemocracyComesAlive.com.

democracy comes alive lineup, democracy comes alive schedule