David Nelson and Friends began making music together in 1994 as the David Nelson Band. In recent years, due to the band members individual commitments with other successful touring acts, they have only been touring select areas a few times a year. A loyal and enthusiastic group of fans wait eagerly for these special times of year so they can reunite at a Nelson family gathering. DNF shows are a joyous family reunion for fans and band - a communal gathering where old fans and newcomers all feel part of the extended family. The band has a large repertoire of original and cover material to draw from and each show is unique and exploratory in nature, prompting many of the fans to follow the band to every show they play, be it the annual Hawaii Tour which takes place in January or February each year (and draws about a hundred or so fans from the mainland for the week to ten day long island party), or the annual Harvest Tour of the northern California coast that has been a tradition each November since 2001. Neither band nor fans know what kind of musical journey each song may take at any given performance, making for a magical shared adventure. The material ranges from the “Almost Acoustic” style that Nelson played with Jerry Garcia, through roots rock n’ roll, and psychedelic country, featuring many original David Nelson songs (some co-written with Robert Hunter) and a few classic Grateful Dead tunes from the albums Nelson recorded on with them. These elements are all combined with spontaneous free form improvisation, creating a style that is uniquely David Nelson & Friends.
David Nelson - guitar and vocals - is a founding member of the New Riders of the Purple Sage and long time musical partner of Jerry Garcia’s dating back to 1962 in the pre-Grateful Dead bluegrass band, The Wildwood Boys, which also featured Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. Nelson was also a member of the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band and performed on three Grateful Dead albums - Aoxomoxoa, Workingman’s Dead & American Beauty - playing the character laden electric guitar solo on Box of Rain. Nelson has also performed as a member of Phil Lesh and Friends.
Barry Sless - lead guitar and pedal steel –has been a frequent member of Phil Lesh and Friends lineups since 2004. He has also toured as a member of Kingfish, Cowboy Jazz, the Rowan Brothers and currently performs with Moonalice.
Mookie Siegel - keyboards, accordion and vocals - has toured with Bob Weir’s Ratdog, Phil Lesh and Friends and currently performs with Donna Jean and the Tricksters.
Pete Sears - bass and vocals - was the bassist and keyboard player for the original Jefferson Starship from 1974-1987, keyboardist for Hot Tuna from 1992 to 2001 and currently performs with Moonalice. Pete has played with Phil Lesh and Friends and appears on their 1999 release, Love Will See You Thru. He’s performed with many artists since beginning his career in England in 1964, including Jerry Garcia, John Cipollina, Leftover Salmon and played on Rod Stewart’s classic early British albums.
Joe Chirco - drums - rejoins the band for the first time since 1999-2000. Joe toured for many years as the dynamic backbone of east coast jamsters, The Zen Tricksters.