You bring up some very stimulating thought for certain. I will try and highlight where I was coming from with this post. That is not to say it's limited in any way either. Rather, I am thinking out loud about the potential directions they may be trying to head.
I so Gratefully went to Bethel last summer and met a dear friend and family member who was pushing DSO as the future. Then I went and saw only my second Furthur show ever having attended CMAC a couple weeks earlier. Both shows were good but Bethel was completely off the hook musically. And then I started with the couch tour and reading and all of that beautiful stuff. It brought me around to this wonder if Furthur could be the bus that was going to travel into the generations much like my cousin was saying DSO was going to function.
I think we were talking about DSO being the thing that was to survive on the catalog and bring about that fiercely beautiful family energy we enjoy at the live shows. But what is the potential of Furthur right now not to carry on and survive but to transcend the Grateful Dead as an entity beyond what the founding members ever envisioned?
At this point I would suggest that the model of the dead was revolutionary in the industry of electronic music and technology. I have already discussed those points in my original post and will briefly highlight. The GD opened the doors of the studio to create the real experience of the band within the live performance. To support this philosophy they freely shared all of their live music through cultist systems of taping and exchanging. A practice which, with the advent of the internet and the death of the band, has become the holdings at archive.org.
So does Furthur exist as a nice venue for Bob and Phil to play their music in their later years? Why not Ratdog and Phil and Friends? Why not The Dead? The thing that is happening now is the band is evolving musically -- an event that hasn't happened with these guys together since the death of Jerry. Right now the "new guys" are taking over. JC is a magician on the keyboards. Russo is a monster on the drums. And JK is the seed that planted DSO in the first place as something that could carry on the concert tradition and catalog of the GD.
So what would happen if they are able to start faithfully writing new songs? And one of these new members emerges in some way as a new song writer that can write music faithful to the canon of the GD? No, that is not something that is going to happen over night...but lets not forget Phil and Bob are there as the mortar holding up these amazing bricks right now. Finally, this whole idea of Furthur can become an evolving entity in the same way Law and Order was to television. We can roll a new cast of characters but as long as they apply the model the audience is comfortable with and they can hit a creative stride of their own who is to say how long they can survive? Additionally, they can certainly go on hiatus and as long as there is lineage that has been passed from and through the founding members what's to say in a different era and/or technological form they will not be resurrected?
O.K. This is crazy forward thinking ... I know I am a head at heart. Not the most loyal one and not the most educated. Most likely it's just a dream concocted in my little boy head. It's just thinking outside the box as to what the efforts of all the people that were the Grateful Dead might become in the future for our children's children. I see the kids here in the forum we all do. I have a friend who was a huge music fan and never got the GD. A couple years ago I touch base with him and he's stuck on archive.org every day listening to dead shows because he gets it now.
It's more than the Jam movement and improvisation. It's more than people who played with the band or anything isolated within the experience. It's really about the whole package. The relationship between the audience and the members of the band and the soap opera played out through the catalog. I think there is at least a possibility we are seeing a new creative era that will transform the Grateful experience into a dynamic entity like no other for generations to enjoy years to come beyond what is housed at archive.org. From within the band itself they are creating a self sustaining business venture that employs and feeds a great many people that is not dependent on the life of a single artist for it's existence. What could be more important to release the pressure on the boys to play the music than that? It seems to position them to be right where they want to be and in turn puts them a bit above all the rest that came before.
I little confused by this thread. Are these prayers said aloud? Not rhetorical or snarky. Some sentences beg for a response, but when I go to write something and consider the context, I get lost. Are you talking about the grooming of improvisational music? Or are you talking about the GD catalog living beyond the original members? Maybe both?
I see a lot more forward-thinking and pushing/building new territories with free jazz than I do with jam rock. Phil has been grooming, if that is an accurate term, players since 1999, and Bob has been doing it since the 70s. I don't think Furthur is doing anything new here, and I'm not sure they're doing it any better, either. I find it interesting (and that isn't code for wrong) that such great (both large and wonderful in definition) enthusiasm is confusing milestones or history a bit. It's very cool, but it is obviously also flawed, or maybe rather careless(?).
If this is the future of the GD catalog, my first thoughts are: what's Hornsby doing? what is Herring doing? I don't think Jazz is Dead is still together, are they? What is Molo doing? What is Osbourne doing? etc etc. I'm not so sure I'd want the catalog to live new life on the steady. I don't think I'd want that for any of the musicians. And unfortunately, I think Bob, Bill, Mickey, and Phil are still the ones providing the lexicon, the dictionary if you will, to everyone involved. It's being interpreted through them. Because improvisation is about listening and not playing, my hope is that all these incredibly lucky musicians will take the craft of listening, and beauty of accident, forward in their own music. But I don't think that has anything to do with the GD catalog or giving this particular music new life. Maybe that is what you are all saying, and I wasn't comprehending that part of your sentiments.