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Jimmy Herring

Herring performing with The Dead at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater, June 17, 2003
Background information
Born January 22, 1962 (1962-01-22) (age 48)
Fayetteville, North Carolina
United States
Genres Rock, Jazz fusion, Jazz
Instruments Guitar, Saxophone
Years active 1989 - present
Labels Interscope, Widespread Records, Columbia, House of Blues, Abstract Logix
Associated acts Aquarium Rescue Unit
Jazz Is Dead
The Allman Brothers Band
Phil Lesh and Friends
The Other Ones
The Dead
Justice League
Widespread Panic
Trigger Hippy
Project Z
Notable instruments
Fender Telecaster Guitar
Fender Stratocaster Guitar

Jimmy Herring is the lead guitarist in the band Widespread Panic. He has also played with the Allman Brothers Band, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Jazz Is Dead, Phil Lesh and Friends, The Dead, Justice League, and Project Z, among others.


Musical career

Jimmy Herring was born on January 22, 1962, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the son of a high school English teacher, and a North Carolina Superior Court judge. The youngest of three brothers, Herring attended Terry Sanford Senior High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Although he played saxophone in the high school band, he quickly became known for his prodigious talent on guitar, which he had begun playing when he was 13.[1] Herring had a Telecaster guitar with a Stratocaster neck, in the same style as one of his biggest influences at the time, Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs. He played with various groups through high school and junior high. One of his first performances was in Horace Sisk Junior High School. He played in the talent show in the 8th grade. The band played "Walking The Dog", and "Helter Skelter" by The Beatles. The first concert he went to was Alice Cooper. In high school he played with various fellow musicians, including bass players Corky Jones and Mike Logiovino, drummers Tom Pollock, John Sutton, and Bill Wiggs, guitarist Adam Ancherico, and keyboard players Steve Page and John Stonebraker. After high school he also formed the band Paradox with drummer John Sutton and bassist Mike Logiovino, which played local bars including the Cellar and Baby Blues. Paradox was a cover band that played mostly jazz fusion instrumentals, including songs by the Dixie Dregs, Al Di Meola and Chuck Mangione, and included a 3-piece horn section for which Herring did the arrangements.

After graduating high school, in 1980, Herring attended a summer session at the Berklee College of Music.[1] In addition, Herring is a graduate of The Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood, California. He is well-known not only for his improvisational skills, but also for his combination of excellent speed playing and slower, more soulful leads. He has been a major influence to a myriad of guitarists on the American jam band scene, known for his fluent improvisational talent and ability to play complex and long solos without repeating phrases.

Herring was the original lead guitarist of the seminal jam band group Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Formed in Atlanta in 1989, its alumni include Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge and former Leftover Salmon drummer Jeff Sipe.

Subsequently invited to participate on the H.O.R.D.E. tour with Aquarium Rescue Unit in 1992 and 1993, Herring was offered the lead guitar spot in The Allman Brothers Band after Dickey Betts was arrested after a show in Saratoga Springs, New York on July 30, 1993. Herring filled the open slot for one night but declined to take the position as a full-time gig.

Aquarium Rescue Unit would lose Bruce Hampton in 1994, who cited time pressures as his reason for leaving the band. Herring and other members would continue to tour as late as early 1997 until drummer Jeff Sipe departed for Leftover Salmon.

1998 and 1999 found Herring, with bassist Alphonso Johnson, Dixie Dregs (and former Widespread Panic) keyboardist T Lavitz and jazz drummer Billy Cobham touring as Jazz Is Dead. Jazz Is Dead released three albums; the material was fusion jazz-rock, largely instrumental-only cover interpretations of classic Grateful Dead songs. In addition, Herring guested on an album by The Derek Trucks Band, Out of the Madness.

The Allman Brothers Band (by then including ex-ARU member Oteil Burbridge on bass) again came calling in 2000 and Herring played from May to October, 2000 on their summer tour before being offered the guitar spot in a new project put together by Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead; Phil Lesh and Friends. Until Herring joined the band, the lineup had fluctuated in a veritable rotating cast of performers, however, after joining, the bandmates solidified into a lineup which remained largely constant for the next 5 years.

In 2002, Herring joined The Other Ones, a band that included four former members of the Grateful Dead — Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann. Herring continued to play with the group, now renamed The Dead, in 2003 and 2004.

In 2005, he also toured with the jazz, funk, and occasionally bluegrass-oriented band The Codetalkers, which featured Herring on guitar with his previous bandmate Col. Bruce Hampton on vocals, harmonica, and guitar. This band also allowed Herring to expand a musical friendship with Codetalkers' front man Bobby Lee Rodgers, with whom Herring formed a new band in the spring of 2006 (tentatively dubbed Herring, Rodgers, and Sipe). 2005 also marked the release of the Lincoln Memorial disc from Project Z, of which Jimmy is a founding member. In January 2005, Herring appeared on the Jam Cruise 3 stage with several acts, including Colonel Les Claypool's Fearless Flying Frog Brigade.

Herring left Phil Lesh and Friends in November, 2005. On August 3, 2006, Widespread Panic announced Herring would be taking over the lead guitar spot in the band after the departure of George McConnell. Also in 2006, Herring and an almost complete original lineup of Aquarium Rescue Unit reunited as Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit featuring Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, Col. Bruce Hampton and Jeff Sipe with Bobby Lee Rodgers sitting in.

In 2008, Herring released Lifeboat, his first official solo album, on Abstract Logix. The material consists primarily of instrumental jazz-rock fusion, and features a rotating lineup of long-time Herring collaborators, including Oteil and brother Kofi Burbridge, Jeff Sipe, alto and soprano saxophonist Greg Osby, and others, including two songs featuring Derek Trucks. The album was met with generally positive reviews.

On February 7, 2009, Herring, along with Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes), guitarist Audley Freed (Jakob Dylan, ex-Crowes, Blue Floyd) and bassist-singer Nick Govrik, made their live debut of Trigger Hippy at the Cox Capitol Theater in Macon, Georgia.


Jimmy's "go to" guitar is a custom shop Fender Stratocaster built by Gene Baker in 1993. Unlike most Fender guitars, it is equipped with two humbuckers rather than 3 single coil pickups, and it has Dunlop 6000 fret wire, which are the tallest and widest guitar frets made.

Herring also sports a 1969 Stratocaster as well as several other PRS guitars (including a hollowbody) and has played a 1970 Gibson SG given as a gift from Derek Trucks. Although he has long used effects sparingly, his 2005 Codetalkers rig saw him sport an Ernie Ball volume pedal and an H&K Tube Factor. He has expanded his effects pedals when playing Dead related music, and sported a TC Electronics M-One, and a Mutron with both The Dead and Phil Lesh and Friends.

with Widespread Panic At the beginning of Jimmy's tenure with Widespread Panic he was using his go to guitar, a custom shop Stratocaster equipped with two Seymour Duncan 59' reissue humbuckers, with a 1973 Marshall superlead 100 watt amp accompanied by a 4x12 Marshall stereo and a 67' blackface Fender Super Reverb as amplifiers. During the remainder of the fall 2006 tour Jimmy continued to use his custom shop Strat. At the beginning of fall 07' Jimmy began using a Fuchs Audio Technology OverDrive Supreme Combo 112 amplifier. Into 2009 Herring continues to use Fuchs amps, but now uses a Tripledrive Supreme 100 watt head, and occsionally an Overdrive Supreme 100 watt head. He uses a Tone Tubby 4x12 cab and two 2x12 Hard Truckers speaker cabs with alnico tone tubby speakers .




  • Lifeboat (2008)

Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit

  • Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit (1989)
  • Mirrors of Embarrassment (1992)

Aquarium Rescue Unit

Derek Trucks Band

Jazz Is Dead

  • Blue Light Rain (1998)
  • Laughing Water (1999)
  • Great Sky River (2001)


  • Croakin' at Toad's (2000)

Project Z

  • Project Z (2001)
  • Lincoln Memorial (2005)

Herring, T Lavitz, Richie Hayward, Kenny Gradney

  • Endangered Species (2001)

Phil Lesh and Friends

Widespread Panic

Various artists

  • Fusion for Miles (2005)
  • Visions of an Inner Mounting Apocalypse (2005)
  • The Benefit Concert, Volume 1 (2007)


  1. ^ a b Herring, Jimmy (2008). "Biography 1980". Official Jimmy Herring Website. Blueback Music. Retrieved 2009-07-26. 


External links


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