The jamband scene and beyond...
I dig what you had to say. It is all about taking the music to new places.
Feel free to check out some samples. Peace.
Thank you, TigerLilly and Marve.
I'm not trying to be insulting to ANYONE who tries to play music. God knows it isn't easy to come up with something that doesn't sound like it's been done before, and done better.
And as I mentioned, I played in a Grateful Dead cover band (actually I played in two; one in PA called Born Cross-Eyed, and then one here in Tampa called The Family).
When I first started playing drums, I used to play along with my collection of GD cassettes. So I learned to play by imitating my musical heroes. But the point is that I eventually moved out from under that umbrella of hero-worship and started to think of myself as more of a musician than a fan who happened to play. With this realization, I began to find my own voice, my own ideas, and my own goals.
A lot of bands that are influenced by the Grateful Dead tend to wear those influences on their sleeves. They adopt the sound or the style of their heroes. And again, I did the same thing. I look at it now as if I was a child learning to speak by repeating words that I heard. I didn't know at first what those words meant, I was just parroting them. Eventually, though I did grow to understand the words, and eventually I could string them into sentences and express my own ideas.
What I learned from the GD wasn't to cobble together a bit of rock and roll, a bit of jazz,a bit of folk, and a bit of country music. That's what THEY did. What I learned from them was to combine my OWN influences, and to at least try to come up with something new, something challenging. I haven't always been successful, but I'm still just as passionate about the pursuit as ever, and THAT is the gift they gave me.
what's the problem again? I thought it was great also.
I think that was a terriffic post! very well written and TOTALLY true! Huzzah! Being influenced does NOT mean being a copycat, and yeah well -keep on finding your own musical way!
By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another man's I mean.
this comment isn't going to be popular, but it's something that I feel strongly about.
I've been a GD fan since I was in high school in Philly. Saw my first show in 86, and saw the band about 130 times; my last show was at Tampa Stadium in 95 (I live in Tampa now; after following the 89 Fall tour to Miami, I never left Florida).
The GD inspired me to learn to play the drums. I spent the 1990's working as a professional drummer in various bands. The first was a GD cover band called "The Family;" that band played together for a little over a year before the keyboard player and I left to start an original band. Our "legacy" remains, though, as there is a well-known Tampa venue (Skipper's) that still hosts the Grateful Dead Night that we started 20 years ago.
Rob, the Family's keyboard player/vocalist and I were getting bored playing GD songs. We were starting to get into what was then the very "underground" techno/house/rave scene. We melded our GD influences with this "new" music we'd stumbled on, and founded one of the firts "live techno bands" in this area. We incorporated my drums and percussion with his keyboards and vocals, along with sampling, looping, etc, and came up with a "techno jam band" sound. Lots of bands are doing stuff like that now, but at the time (1991) we didn;t know of anyone doing this kind of thing. There were no road maps for the idea; we had to figure out how to adapt the technology, and how to make the blend of electronics and "live" playing work together.
We were fortunate to build a strong following, and for the next three years we played all over the southeast, from Miami up to D.C. Eventually we got older, started families, etc, but I'll always be Grateful for the time we spent following our muse.
The point is that our band, while very influenced by what we learned from the GD, sounded nothing like the GD. What we learned from them was the idea that we should follow our own path, and find our own way. Far too many bands that are "influenced" by the GD follow the typical "jamband" models. They wear these influences on their sleeves. Just as a George Jones ("The Race Is On") fan might not recognize the influence of country music on the GD when the band was cranking out an exploratory Dark Star, the same goes that a Grateful Dead fan might not have recognized the influence the GD had on us when we were slamming out a ten-minute power-trance groove. The influence was there for someone who really listened (a fan of "Drums/Space" certainly might pick up on it), but we didn't display it so blatantly that someone would hear us and think "oh, these guys must be Dead heads."
In my opinion, writing a loping, Americana-based groove with "hippy-dippy" lyrics, or playing ten-minute guitar solos or whatever aren't the only ways to carry forth the Grateful Dead banner. The BEST way is to find a NEW sound, to forge a new model that surprises and challenges listeners.
I know that's easier said than done, but that IS exactly what the REAL Grateful Dead did. It's easy enough to imitate what's come before. To really do a service to the best traditions of the Grateful Dead, though, try to remember what made them so important and significant, and use THAT as your "influence."
Is the band I play guitar for....we do a lot of GD - plus a BUNCH of original tunes and other covers, as well. Jerry, Bobby, Phil, Billy, Mickey, Brent, Keith and Pigpen were ALL HUGE influences on our music. We're a quartet of late 30s - early 50s musicians and we take it pretty seriously. Give us a listen!!!
Happy Birthday, Bobby!
Lead Guitar, Vocals - theCAUSE
"Once in a while you can get shown the light in the strangest of places, if you look at it right."
Is a blues band in Chicago that does some Dead-influenced jams. Covers Lovelight in a really awesome way. They started to do this, way back when, when they were just starting up at my university. In the bar where they had their early gigs, alot of the public were Deadheads. So one night, just for kicks, Howard threw in the Lovelight, with a bit of a Jerry flavor guitar, and was such a success that they have performed it ever since.
My music has been infuenced by the Dead, as well as many other Northern CA Musicians.
Hear my quick load MIDI tunes at
You'll hear all sorts of influences like early Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Butterfield Blues Band, Steve Miller, etc
Music for the New Millennium by ARCHURE reg tmrk www.archure.net