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Dark Star Orchestra Keyboardist Dies

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Grateful Dead cover band Dark Star Orchestra keyboardist and founding member, Scott Larned, passed away of heart failure this past Sunday, April 24. He was 26. The band has cancelled its upcoming tour dates to grieve and regroup. There is no word yet on the fate of the band.

Dark Star Orchestra is a Grateful Dead tribute band in the fullest sense of the word. They pick a single show out of the Dead’s 30 year touring history and recreate it song for song. It is a complete recreation of a particular show, down to microphone setup, equipment and sound. The actual date of the show is not announced until the encore, allowing audience member to shout out guesses throughout. Larned founded the band with guitarist John Kadlecik in 1997.

For fans, it is an ironic tragedy. The Grateful Dead’s own keyboardist seat was a bit of a hot one. Since 1965 they employed five different keyboardist, three of which died tragically.

The band’s Web site has this to say about this tragic event:

“Scott was a leader, co-founder and, for years, the band’s manager helping guide this thing through some tricky waters in the early goings. His swirling Hammond organ and glassy piano trills captured the eighties-era sound backed up by a most effective growling Mydland-esque voice. He will be missed both on and off the stage.”

A Memorial Gathering is scheduled for April 30th at 8 pm at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago. The family asks that donations be made in his name to either the American Heart Foundation or the REX Foundation.

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About Mat Brewster

  • Chris Beaumont

    That’s a shame. They passed through my town often, but I never made it out to see them.

    My prayers to his loved ones.

  • Shawn M. Erie

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Scott’s family and friends. Had tickets to Penns Peak and could not wait to see them Thursday night. The irony of the whole situation is very intense!

  • MG

    Correction: He passed away on April 24 at the age of 35, and the memorial will be held Friday, April 29.

  • Natalie Davis

    DSO was a godsend for many Deadheads after Jerry Garcia died. Fare ye well, Scott Larned.

  • Temple Stark


    I’m sticking my two Drachma here to let you know I posted your review of this to the Web sites.

    The review can be found at a few different places on the Advance network around the country, but here’s one of them.

    Thank you
    Temple Stark

    They didn’t do covers of movie theme tunes as well, did they?

  • Ryan Conley

    Wow where to begin on how great of a guy Scott was! I met DSO while i was working for the Murat theater! I had toured with the DEAD for 6 years and when i seen DSO i was blown away! I went to Scott and said wow i want to mix monitors for your band ! He said cool and I went to work for them ! I filled in for their full-time guy for the rest of the spring tour of 2003. We stayed in contact every month or so!
    I felt very sad to hear the news of Scott’s passing! I will never forget that great moment in my life when i felt i was touched by greatness ans that was Scott {Greatness} I am sure he and Jerry are having a blast jammin!