(c. 1931 – October 19, 2008) was an
attorney who specialized in representing musical groups. He was
best known for his 35 years as principal lawyer
and general counsel for the Grateful Dead
, a position in the group that
was so strong that his business cards with the band identified his
role as "Czar".
was born in the
Bronx. He earned his law degree at the Harvard Law
School. After graduation he was hired as a clerk in
States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco,
After starting to practice law on his own, he came to the
realization that "the only attorneys in the music business were the
attorneys for the record companies, and their job was to get as
much money as they could for their company and leave as little as
possible for the artists". Kant decided that "the other guys should
have an attorney, too" and proceeded to help represent a series of
artists including The Association
, Hot Tuna
, Janis Joplin
New Riders of the Purple
, Sonny & Cher
Stevie Ray Vaughan
. He turned
down an opportunity to represent The Doors
after the group demanded that he only represent them.
Kant became best known for his representation of the Grateful Dead
, bringing the band millions of
dollars in revenue, through his management of the band's
intellectual property and merchandising rights. At Kant's
recommendation, the group was one of the few rock 'n roll
pioneers to retain ownership of
their music masters and publishing
. Kant's role with the band was so significant that his
with the band
identified himself as "Czar".
Kant planned to donate his legal business records to a proposed
Grateful Dead museum, so that his experience in the historical
development of contracts and business practices could be used as a
resource by visitors.
Kant won the $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha
tournament at the 1987 World
Series of Poker
, earning a gold WSOP
and $174,000. He was the runner-up in the $2,500 Limit
Hold'em tournament at the 1990 World Series of Poker
would often have members of the Grateful Dead cheering for him at
During his poker career, Kant had total live tournament winnings
exceeding $1,100,000. His 12 cashes as the WSOP account for
$524,514 of those winnings.
He died at
age 77 in Reno,
Nevada on October 19, 2008 of pancreatic cancer.
was survived by his wife, Jesse, and his three sons, two
stepchildren and five grandchildren.