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.
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.
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.
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.
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