Over two days of conversation, Lesh uses the words \"cordial\" and \"distant\" to characterize his current relationships with Weir and the Dead\'s surviving drummers, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart. But he also speaks of their original fraternity and the reverberations in his music now with thankful fondness. At one point, Lesh, who was an only child, declares, \"I found my true brothers through the art of music and a series of improbable coincidences. Life found me my family.\"
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How is your relationship with Weir? You have toured with him as Furthur since 2009. But there was a long estrangement after Garcia\'s death.
We\'re like brothers that get along most of the time. When we disagree, we disagree so radically. I have to say, there is nobody that plays like him. He has these enormous hands, which enable him to play all kinds of altered chords on the guitar. And his sense of rhythm - it implies so much. That\'s why it was perfect for the Grateful Dead.
Were you concerned for his health when he fell onstage during a Furthur show last year at the Capitol Theatre?
Yes, it makes me very concerned. But what to do? Furthur is on a break. We\'re letting it take a nap. Bob is booked for the whole year with Ratdog, like I am in Port Chester. I would bet money that sometime this year Bob and I will do something. But it won\'t be Furthur.
Your last reunion tour with Weir, Hart and Kreutzmann, as the Dead, was in 2009. Can you imagine playing together again? You are in a cycle - with the club and Port Chester - that seems to be moving away from that.
Those guys are all in a cycle too. We spent 30 years developing this group mind. It was telepathic. My metaphor for us was that each of us had to be like a spoke on a wheel. And what we\'re after is what\'s in the center.
But when Jerry passed, it left such a hole. We all had relationships with each other. But the primary relationship was the one each of us had with Jerry. Jerry was the hub. We were the spokes. And the music was the tread on the wheel . . .
The club, Furthur, Port Chester - do they help you fill that hole now?
It\'s impossible to fill it . I\'m putting boundaries around it. There is still everything else surrounding it. There\'s this whole galaxy out here. So we\'re going to explore that galaxy and let the hole be there. We love and respect it. We miss it like crazy. But we have to move on. We have to keep living. We have to keep playing.