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peacenik
Fresh Boarder
Posts:9

Discuss your Dead-influenced band!

#172375 2 years, 3 months ago
So, forum member Bilbo and I are in a cover band together, we're heavily influenced by our beloved Grateful Dead, and I thought it would be fun to talk shop with any other forum members who are in bands influenced by the Dead.

Our band plays a bunch of Dead/JGB songs, but we also play some Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Bob Dylan, The Band, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Hank Williams, Sr., Van Morrison, etc.

Here are some suggested topics, though all comments are welcome:

  • What are your favorite Dead songs to play?
  • What songs by other bands do you play?
  • Do you try to play the songs just like the Dead or the other bands played them, do you change them up on purpose, or do you just play them however they come out?
  • Do you ever question how many Dead songs you do, worried that you're playing to too narrow an audience?
  • What's your policy on playing hits that you know people love, but you either don't like or just don't want to play because they've been played to death?
  • If you do play songs you don't particularly like, just out of curiosity, what songs and why don't you like them?
  • What gear do you use to get that classic late 1960s and 1970s sound?
  • Given that getting folks dancing is likely a primary objective of bands like ours, how many slow songs do you dare to include in your sets?


Again, these are just suggested, and I'm not asking folks to answer all the questions, though knock yourselves out if you do want to.

Also, please feel free to ask any questions of your own.

Mostly intended as an open discussion.

Peace!
Last Edit: 2 years, 3 months ago by peacenik.
wlewis
Platinum Boarder
Posts:6476

Re: Discuss your Dead-influenced band!

#172743 2 years, 3 months ago
i'm 25 i've been playing grateful dead music on bass for about 8-10 years. i've also played just about every other genre you can think of besides metal throughout the past 10-12 years. learning the grateful dead was not simply just looking up the tab and playing along. it took a lot of hard listening and eventually seeing the post dead bands enough times to understand the music. the one thing i've learned is if you are not a deadhead you will not get the music or play it to it's full potential regardless of your technical capabilities. it requires emotion.

phil lesh has immensely influenced me, all the way to the point of recently ordering a custom modulus bass with much of the same specs as his, including identical pickups and placement of said pickups. aside from him, the entire band has it's influences on me. i was recently in a buffalo based grateful dead cover band, workingman's dead. we played strictly GD, covers the GD played, and JGB.

if i had to pick some of my fav songs to play i'd include bertha (think 1989), scarlet begonias, foolish heart, dark star, help on the way>slipknot!, lazy lightning>supplication, mississippi half step...but there's so many others i enjoy playing.

i always try to play the songs the way the GD played them. not note for note type stuff show specific, but as far as tempo, structure, key, style, dynamics, etc i strive for their sound. when playing with the full band, unless you are all as committed to that goal of refined sound, you will inevitably have to work with whatever comes out of the speakers. doesn't always go the way you hope. practice can help solve that issue

i never questioned how many dead tunes we did because that was our trip. we were a GD cover band. we knew our audience was narrow but really in WNY that's still a good large chunk of folks. my concern was trying to get to more people in more areas, rather than playing the same few venues in the same places so often.

if people have a request and everybody knows it proper, i'll go with it. sometimes you have to play some things because you know it's going to keep people happy or moving or involved or whatever.

i HATE playing new minglewood blues. it's boring. i can get as silly as i want it just never does it for me when playing.

i use the same gear when i'm playing whichever tunes. for era differences, some changes in tone on the instrument itself and amplifier can do a pretty good job unless you are really getting serious and want to have era specific gear for covering era specific shows or something like dark star. there is a book with all their gear from various eras if you're interested. i can't think of the name but it's easy to look up on google.

folks love to dance but some also need time to regain composure between. i am all for playing slow songs. i think they are the hardest to play but yield some of the greatest energy and feelings. it gives the serious folks something to get into and the party folks to piss grab another beer smoke a cigarette and pop back in

i tried to answer most of the stuff.

by the way, i've jammed with BILBO up in broomfield in february. he's a great guitarist and we played quite a few dead tunes. i'll have the bass out at red rocks FOR SURE. can't wait to play some more music together.
who else is gonna bring you, a broken arrow?
peacenik
Fresh Boarder
Posts:9

Re: Discuss your Dead-influenced band!

#172860 2 years, 3 months ago
Cool! Thanks for your post! (I wonder if I should have just posted it in General Discussion in order to get more viability?)

That's great that you've met and jammed with Bilbo. Small world!

As you say, yeah, when you have decided to be a full-on Dead cover band, you obviously know what your audience will be, and it's nice to hear that you had enough Deadheads in your area to draw a good crowd there in Buffalo.

We have our share of Deadheads here, but we only have a population of about 75,000, so I doubt we could draw enough folks playing just Dead music, and if you don't draw enough you don't get hired.

Interesting what you said about some folks "not getting" Dead music. I feel this is the case as well, and one of things I've noticed about this is that it has to do with the relaxed, loose, informal vibe of the Grateful Dead. It was born from the Acid Tests, where they were first and foremost participants sharing the experience with their community, but they just happened to bring their instruments and gear and would play when they felt like it.

And when they did play, they weren't always polished and perfect, they always improvised, which sometimes works and sometimes stumbles, but when it works there's nothing like it, and they very consciously wanted to add to the experience not take the focus away from it, they wanted to be the soundtrack for everyone getting off and having a great time.

Unfortunately, a lot of people who go to see live music have been feeding their whole lives on a steady diet of overproduced, radio-friendly crap and, like you said, don't get Dead music.

Anyway, thanks again for your post!
Franklinberger
Junior Boarder
Posts:20
Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,

Re: Discuss your Dead-influenced band!

#173486 2 years, 3 months ago
My favorite Dead influenced band is Mr. Blotto, arguably the most underrated band east of, and then west of, the Mississippi. They may not consider themselves Dead-influenced, but the objective observer sure would think so. Great originals. Great covers. Great guitarist. Great vocals. And by "great", I mean "fucking grate".
peacenik
Fresh Boarder
Posts:9

Re: Discuss your Dead-influenced band!

#174016 2 years, 3 months ago
Franklinberger wrote:
My favorite Dead influenced band is Mr. Blotto, arguably the most underrated band east of, and then west of, the Mississippi. They may not consider themselves Dead-influenced, but the objective observer sure would think so. Great originals. Great covers. Great guitarist. Great vocals. And by "great", I mean "fucking grate".


Hey Franklinberger, thanks for the recommendation. I was not familiar with Mr. Blotto and I've now enjoyed of bunch of videos of them on YouTube!

As for whether or not they are influenced by the Grateful Dead, I think this leaves little doubt:

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