Jimmy Herring is originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was born on January 22, 1962, the son of Betty, a high school English teacher, and D.B., a North Carolina Superior Court judge. He has two older brothers, Bobby and Joe. It was Joe who first introduced Jimmy to the guitar when he was 8 years old. Jimmy 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. Jimmy 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 throughought junior high Info about Jimmy Herring! His first concert was in junior high school. He played in the talent show in the 8th grade. The Band played (Walk the Dog by Aerosmith) and (Helther Skelter by The Beatles.) Gary McCall played bass and Steve Melvin played drums he has since passed. The first concert he went to was Alice Copper. Just a little trivia about Jimmy’s Early Days! 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 Jimmy did the arrangements.
Jimmy Herring is a graduate of The Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood, California, as well as having prior attended one of the Berklee College of Music’s Summer Sessions following his senior year of high school. 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 jamband 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 jamband group Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Formed in Atlanta in 1989, its alumni include Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge and former Leftover Salmon drummer Jeff Sipe.
Subsequently invited to participate on the H.O.R.D.E. tour with ARU in 1992 and 1993, Herring would be offered the lead guitar spot in the Allman Brothers Band after Dickey Betts was arrested after a show in Saratoga Springs, NY 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 would find 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 interpretations of classic Grateful Dead songs.
The Allman Brothers (by then including ex-ARU member Oteil Burbridge on bass) would come calling again in 2000 and Herring played their summer 2000 tour before being offered the guitar spot in a new project put together by Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead — Phil Lesh and Friends. Up to the point of Herring joining the Lesh group had a rotating cast of band members; Herring would solidify the group 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 Jimmy 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.