great topic here. I think PigPen was the band leader while healthy. His R&B influence was the cornerstone of the great things that follwed. Keith was a terrific keyboardist, and i have to say i've seen nobody roll a better or quicker fattie than keith was able to do one handed, while still playing. But Brent was the one that resserected the Dead in 1979. At that time the Dead were great but lacking that something special that Brent immeditely brought to the table. in 1979, they were at the time playing theatres that held 2500-4000 people. Brent sparked new life into Jerry like nothing i have ever seen before, actually challenging Jerry and the rest of the band at times. By 1985 with Brent, they were basically only able to play large Arena's and colisium type gigs. I think Brent deserves alot of that credit.I think Brent was the most talented of them all as well, (i never really seen Pig play)and seemed to be the perfect fit for the Dead and their music. I remember the first time i saw the band with Brent (Ann Arbor '79), I knew then that this was going too be something incredible. I think Vince was an average fill in, although following brent was a tough job to fill.