Vince Welnick attended pre-school in Imperial Beach, though his attendance was affected by battling rheumatic fever at the age of four. After he moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to attend West High School, his teen band Next of Kin came to San Diego to play the Hi-Ho Club. He was later a member of the Tubes.
In 1990, Welnick joined the Grateful Dead as their newest keyboardist, replacing Brent Mydland (who died in 1990), who had replaced Keith Godchaux (died 1980), who had replaced Pigpen McKernan (died 1973).
When the Dead dumped him in 1995, his sister was working in an Imperial Beach bar. After she heard a patron using the phrase “missing man formation,” she suggested it to him as his new solo band name.
Welnick died on June 2, 2006, of an apparent suicide.