Phil Lesh (Baron Wolman, 1969)
Rolling Stone ran its first Grateful Dead cover story in 1969. "[Jann Wenner] asked me how I wanted to shoot the photos," recalls Baron Wolman, who, at the time, was the magazine's chief photographer. "Since two of my photographic heroes were Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, and their most powerful portraits were done against a seamless background with minimal lighting, I decided that I, too, would do individual portraits of each band member against a gray seamless backdrop, and then do a group photo."
Unfortunately for Wolman, bassist Phil Lesh was not feeling well the day of the shoot and was a no-show, which stymied the group photo. However, that shoot did yield one of Wolman's most well-known photos of Jerry Garcia – in which, for the first time ever, the public could clearly see the missing portion of his middle finger. (That image is also in Eyes of the World.) To complete the assignment, Wolman drove up to Fairfax in Marin County to Lesh's house a few days later.
"There was no way to recreate the studio environment but I did capture some fun portraits using a wide-angle lens," says Wolman. "Since these photos were so different than the rest of the portraits, it never seemed like a complete session to me, which is why this photo has never been published before this book."
When Lesh saw the photo for the first time recently, he chuckled, "Ah, Reddy Kilowatt," in reference to his band nickname of the time.