Bob Weir and Phil Lesh have officially disbanded Furthur, according to a note on the band’s website. While the news will come as a disappointment to jam band fans, the note hints at a bright future ahead of the Grateful Dead‘s 50th anniversary: “We’ll all be keeping very busy over the foreseeable future, and it’s time to let Furthur take a bow. We enjoyed the ride more than we can possibly express.”
Lesh and Weir founded Furthur in 2009 after reuniting the Dead for a string of gigs in support of Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign. Furthur quickly became a live fixture at festivals while also embarking on multi-night stands at venues like the Beacon Theater and Capitol Theatre in New York, where they mixed their sets with new material and classic Grateful Dead tracks.
While Tuesday’s announcement marks the official end of Furthur, the group went on an indefinite hiatus after four shows at the Paradise Waits festival back in January. At the time, Weir was already looking ahead to the Dead’s 50th anniversary and fueling speculation that the beloved band might reunite.
“We have to do something commemorative,” Weir told Rolling Stone. “I think we owe it to the fans, we owe it to the songs, we owe it to ourselves. If there are issues we have to get past, I think that we owe it to ourselves to man up and get past them. If there are hatchets to be buried, then let’s get to work. Let’s start digging. I’ll just say, to my delicate sensibilities, that it would be wrong to let that go by un-commemorated.”
Reunion rumors aside, the Grateful Dead already have one 50th anniversary celebration in the works: A new career-spanning documentary produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story, My Kid Could Paint That). The film will include never-before-seen archival footage from the Dead’s vaults, plus live performances and new interviews with band members. Longtime Dead archivist David Lemieux, who handpicks shows for the band’s Dave’s Picks bootleg series, will serve as the film’s music supervisor.