Herring performing with The Dead at the Virginia Beach Amphitheater, June 17, 2003
January 22, 1962 |
Fayetteville, North Carolina United States
|Genres||Rock, Jazz fusion, Instrumental rock|
|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
|Fender Telecaster Guitar
Fender Stratocaster Guitar
PRS McCarty Hollowbody
Jimmy Herring is an American guitarist who is the lead guitarist in the band Widespread Panic. Herring is a founding member of Aquarium Rescue Unit and Jazz Is Dead. He has also played with The Allman Brothers Band, Project Z, Derek Trucks Band, and has enjoyed a long and successful tenure with Phil Lesh and Friends as well as The Dead.
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 at age 13. 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, composed of Wayne Rigsby and Charles Humphries on trumpets, plus Jimmy on sax (for tunes such as "Birdland"), and for which Herring did the arrangements. Towards the end of Paradox's final live performances, David Carriger, a fellow-student of John Sutton's - who were both attending Pembroke State University at the time - was later asked to join the group and added some enhancements to the horn arrangements. Shortly afterwards, the core members of Paradox - Herring, Sutton, Logiovino and Jones - later worked with some of the members of a local Fayetteville band called Rollercoaster (Rich Moncure, Carlton Warwick and David Carriger) and recorded 2 singles written by Moncure & Warwick ("Only In America" & "It's A Hoedown"). Talks about forming a band based on those who had participated in those recordings had transpired (jokingly referred to as ParaCoaster or Rollerdox); however, the efforts failed and each member, in turn, went on to pursue other career opportunities.
After graduating high school, in 1980, Herring attended a summer session at the Berklee College of Music. In addition, Herring is a graduate of The Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood, California. He has influenced many guitarists on the American jam band scene, known for his fluent improvisational talent and ability to play long and complex solos.
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 future 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 showed interest in 2000 and Herring played from May - 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 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 which 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.
Herring's primary guitar is a modified American Standard Fender Stratocaster. It is equipped with two Lollar Imperial humbuckers. The fingerboard radius has been flattened out to 20" and has Dunlop 6000 fret wire, which are the tallest and widest guitar frets manufactured today.
Herring also uses 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 Herring's tenure with Widespread Panic he was using his favorite guitar, a custom shop Stratocaster built by Gene Baker, 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 Herring continued to use his custom shop Strat. At the beginning of fall 2007, Herring began using Fuchs Audio Technology Overdrive Supreme amplifiers. Into 2009 Herring continued to use Fuchs amps, but now used a Tripledrive Supreme 100 watt head, and occasionally 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. He also uses a Fractal Audio Axe-Fx for effects, mainly reverb and delay sounds. In 2011 he continues to use Fuchs Audio Technology as his main amplifier. His main guitar is no longer the custom shop strat built by Genes Baker. Herring's go-to guitar is a White Custom Shop Fender Stratocaster with Lollar humbuckers and a neck with a radius of 20". He also uses a '62 telecaster with Lollar pickups on a few songs.
- Subject To Change without Notice (August 21, 2012)
- Lifeboat (2008)
- Arkansas (1987)
- Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit (1992)
- Mirrors of Embarrassment (1993)
- Eepeee (1994)
- In a Perfect World (1994)
- The Calling (1997)
- Out of the Madness (1998)
- 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)
- There and Back Again (2002)
Various artists 
- Fusion for Miles (2005)
- Visions of an Inner Mounting Apocalypse (2005)
- The Benefit Concert, Volume 1 (2007)
- Herring, Jimmy (2008). "Biography 1980". Official Jimmy Herring Website. Blueback Music. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- Ben Ratliff (March 5, 2003). "In Garcia's Shadow, The Dead's New Guitarist Has His Own Sound". New York Times (New York, New York). Retrieved September 2, 2010.[dead link]
- Jimmy Herring on Allmusic
- Palmer, Robert. Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit album review, Rolling Stone, March 19, 1992
- Skanse, Richard. "Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band Split", Rolling Stone, May 19, 2000
- Robicheau, Paul. "Allmans, Black Crowes and More Pay Respects to Fallen Brother", Rolling Stone, September 22, 2000
- Budnick, Dean. "Born Z: Jimmy Herring and Ricky Keller Expound", JamBands.com, September 19, 2001
- Selvin, Joel. "Other Ones Reunite", San Francisco Chronicle, December 1, 2002
- Selvin, Joel. "Maybe It's True the Dead Will Always Be With Us", San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 2004
- Budnick, Dean. "Jimmy Herring: Let it Z", JamBands.com, May 18, 2006
- Metzger, John. Warren Haynes Presents The Benefit Concert, Volume One album review, The Music Box, June 2007
- Adams, Fred. "10 Questions with... Jimmy Herring", Honest Tune, June 30, 2007
- Holland, Brian D. "Jimmy Herring Interview", Guitar International, September 14, 2009
- Jimmy Herring - Official Website
- Widespread Panic - Official Website
- Col. Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit - Official Website