Various Dead alumni usually tour during the warm months and occasionally hook up on the road, but Lesh hasn’t joined his former bandmates since he played with The Other Ones on the 1998 Furthur Festival.

Assorted business decisions regarding the band’s enormous audio archive put the bass player at odds with members of the group. Things were said, other things were published, feelings were hurt and the other band members made plans that did not include Lesh.

But the Dead was always more than a band and even without Jerry Garcia, it remains a family. So it seems natural and right for Weir and Lesh to agree to perform on the same stage, on the same night. Maybe, if fans are very lucky, they’ll play at the same time.

Dennis McNally, longtime spokesperson for the Grateful Dead organization, told POLLSTAR that it “made good sense” for Ratdog and Phil Lesh & Friends to do some shows together. However, he warned against reading too much into the pairing. “Rumors are flying like crazy,” he said, “but there are no bigger plans in the works. They’re doing these shows; it’s a nice thing for Phil and Bob and the fans.”

One of loudest rumors is that the Furthur Festival will be revived this summer. “Well, sort of,” McNally said. “But it’s not going to be called the Furthur Festival.”

Percussion guru Mickey Hart is busy on a project with the Japanese drumming ensemble Kodo and won’t be available to tour. “It’s not Furthur without Mickey,” McNally said. “It will fill the function of Furthur but it won’t bear the name.”

The Furthur-flavored touring festival will feature Ratdog, Rusted Root, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Additional artists, dates, venues, etc., are pending.

Phil Lesh & Friends will be on the road with the Odyssey Summer Tour 2001, which will see a number of interesting guests. The fun starts June 27th at the Greek Theatre in L.A. and runs through August 5th. Over the course of the 29-show tour, special guests will include the Allman Brothers Band, Willie Nelson, Susan Tedeschi, Junior Brown, Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade, moe., String Cheese Incident, Disco Biscuits, the Big Wu, Hot Tuna, and the Derek Trucks Band.