View Full Version : Jerry's dead & Phish sucks, but...

03-02-2003, 10:17
....the Bonnaroo Festival is coming to Manchester Tennessee (just outside of Knoxville) in June (13-15). A buddy bought me a ducat the other day. Woo hoo! I'm gettin a little old (41) for a 3 day festival, but I might give it a try! Here's the list of bands scheduled to perform;

The Dead
Widespread Panic
James Brown
Allman Brothers Band
Ben Harper & the Inncocent Criminals
Jack Johnson
The Roots
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Medeski Martin & Wood
Sonic Youth
Yonder Mountain String Band
Robert Randolph & the Family Band
Nickel Creek
G. Love and Special Sauce
Sound Tribe Sector 9
North Mississippi Allstars
Warren Haynes
Keller Williams
Garage A Trois
Mix Master Mike
Kid Koala
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Smokey & Miho
The New Deal
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players

Not too shabby, eh? Maybe some of you Nobo hikers wanna consider jumpin' off the trail to catch this one! Especially if you're too young to have caught the Dead before jerry bought the store. Saw over 50 shows myself, but ah, I date myself.


03-03-2003, 06:57
You can NEVER be too old for a three day music festival!!!!! Wish I could be there with you, but should be somewhere in VA or PA then! Have a blast for me!


03-03-2003, 08:49
Your never too old for a 3 day I guess I'm gonna have to pack up the van and take a little trip to TN I haven't had a miracle in a long time!

03-03-2003, 09:50
Yonder Mountain String Band would be worth the trip.

yogi clyde
03-03-2003, 13:30
Hey TN Jed, I figured you had to be a Dead Head.
I'm also a 41 yr old Dead Head (100+ shows and 40 or so Jerry Band).

I agree Jerry is dead. Everyone was getting excited seeing Phil and Friends, they were good, but I thought it was a hi priced Dead cover band.

The new Dead are good when Warren Haynes plays with them.

I thought about coming down to TN for the fest, but I'm passing. I will catch the Dead if they do some local shows. The Falcon Ridge Folk Fest is more my speed these days.

Have a great time, and give a review.

03-03-2003, 13:50
Mix Master Mike?

Isn't he a member of the Beastie Boys?

03-03-2003, 15:54
Beastie Boys = MCA, Mike D, and Ad Rock
" I had a little horsey named Paul Revere, I had a little horsey and a quart of beer, ridin' cross the land, kickin' up sand, sherriffs possy on my trail 'cuz I'm in demand" or something like that.

Walkie Talkie
03-03-2003, 21:39
I went to Bonnaroo last year and it was a really great festival. And I would love to see James Brown. Now let's talk about your needless put down of Phish. Perhaps Phish is not your favorite band do you really need to say they suck. Didn't your mother ever teach you if you don't have anything good to say...... Most importantly you seem to be a brother, and as a brother you should know the appreciation of different music by different people should not be an invotation for narrow minded critism. I remember people just like you saying "they are grateful Jerry is dead". Why because they didn't appreciate or even begin to know his music. So now you get to follow the ranks of the beligerant and give unwarrented attack on artists. Please don't pretend to be a deadhead anymore if your just going to be putting down talented musial artists. "It hurts my ears to listen, it blind my eyes to see".

Lone Wolf
03-03-2003, 21:47
WT you're taking it too serious. That saying, " Jerry's dead & Phish sucks. Get a life." is a sticker. I have one on my Nalgene. Bought it in Gatlinburg at a little record shop.

Walkie Talkie
03-03-2003, 22:21
I do agree I was taking it too seriously, hope I didn't offend.


03-04-2003, 11:17
Originally posted by Walkie Talkie
Now let's talk about your needless put down of Phish.

What Lone Wolf said. WT, I really don't know anything about Phish. I know that I like Phish Food ice cream by Ben & Jerrys (available at Bears Den Hostel just south of Harpers Ferry!). Maybe Phish is wonderful as a band?? Don't really know. These days I listen mostly to Bluegras & Alt.Country. Have ya heard of Ryan Adams? He rocks!

03-04-2003, 15:21
Phish and the Gratefull Dead ARE bluegrass and Alternative country. So is the String Cheese experience. The crowd is generally a bunch of rednecks in volkswagens or hippies in 4x4's.

"Just lit up from Reno I was trailed by twenty hounds..."

03-05-2003, 15:08
Another one of my favorite lot bumber stickers... Screw Reality, I'm going on Tour!. In this case its, "I'm going to hike the AT" Bonarroo was awesome last year. Seriously debating coming off the trail for a few days in June. Make sure to catch at least one of Panic's sets.

Walkie Talkie
03-05-2003, 20:30
Winwood and Panic OMG

03-05-2003, 20:36
I'm going... Woo Hoo...

And I thought I was going to be too old at 27. :)

03-05-2003, 21:28
Originally posted by yogi clyde

The new Dead are good when Warren Haynes plays with them.

Have a great time, and give a review.

Yeah Yogi, Warren sure has a sweet voice. I've only seen Phil Lesh & Friends one time, when the opened for Dylan in NJ in the Fall of '99. They were good, but Dylan was THE BEST. Ol' Bob has got himself a mighty fine band. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a tighter band in my life than Dylan's band that night in '99. I'll be sure to give a review of the show. Also, Riverbend is occurring in the week prior to Bonnaroo. This is a music festival in Chattanooga about 15 minutes from my house in Signal Mtn. I know that Joe Cocker & Blind Boys From Alabama are confirmed, as are Dark Star Orchestra. Looks like I got a line on a job in Chattanooga, so I may be leaving NY soon for TN permanently.

Hey now! I know this is waaaaaaay off topic for the AT, but here's an excerpt from a NY Times article from today about Garcia's replacement in The Dead - Jimmy Herring. The Dude is a Striped Bass Fisherman! I like him already!

In Garcia's Shadow, the Dead's New Guitarist Has His Own Sound

BUFORD, Ga. Let's say you are the replacement for Jerry Garcia in the Grateful Dead. Your new job is to go in front of 20,000 fans and play music that they probably know better than you do. Should you play like Him? Ought you dare try?

These were among the questions facing Jimmy Herring, an affable and studious 41-year-old guitarist steeped in Southern rock and schooled in jazz-fusion but basically a newcomer to the Dead until a brief, unsatisfying tenure five years ago with a band that played Dead songs. Last year the surviving members of the Dead asked him to fill Garcia's role as if such a thing, to legions of Deadheads, were possible.

Not long ago Mr. Herring was just another struggling guitar player in Atlanta, living from week to week on gig money and getting by with help from his wife, Carolyn, a schoolteacher.

But when he joined the Other Ones the name under which the four remaining original members of the Dead toured last year, with supporting help he began an intensive study of Garcia, who died in 1995. Mr. Herring learned most of the Dead's 38-year repertory, including the 128 songs on last fall's tour list. Other songs were thrown at him 20 minutes before showtime and even, to his horror, in midperformance, via a sudden cue from a band member.

"I just have to listen to the best of my ability," he said a few weeks ago, over catfish, fried okra and sweet iced tea at a restaurant near his Buford house. "Sometimes, instead of trying to play the chords with them, I just play fills around what they're doing.

"But that's the beauty of what the band is going for. They love playing without a net, not knowing if you're going to make it or not."

It may be harder to satisfy the fans. "I'm not trying to copy," Mr. Herring said. "I just want my playing to sound fairly authentic, as far as the Grateful Dead goes. I don't have to harmonically play what he played. I don't have to copy his riffs and lines. But I'd like for the overall picture to be somewhere within the kingdom."

Phil Lesh, the Dead's bassist, said that Mr. Herring had gracefully passed the test. "I was looking for somebody who would bring his own interpretive approach to the music," he said. "Jimmy's absorbed the essence of Garcia that he wants to carry with him. He knows the hooks, the critical phrases or fills that can identify or define a song, or be used as material in improvisation. And improvising is one of the things that Jimmy does really well."

Members of the Dead just the Dead, which is the new band's official name as of last month are not averse to change. Mr. Lesh, influential in the group, wants to reinterpret the old songs. The Dead is playing at more energized tempos, with some new songs by Mr. Lesh and the singer and rhythm-guitarist Bob Weir; and it now has Mr. Herring, whose style differs noticeably from Garcia's gentle phrasing. Looking utterly serious as he fires out perfectly formed single notes, Mr. Herring has a musical vocabulary that sounds like an even mix picked up from Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, Jimi Hendrix and Garcia, bunched together by his own alert, relentless attack.

He is tall and pale, his whitening red hair in a ponytail that runs down to the middle of his lumberjack shirts. He can look like a stolid hippie mountain man, with a slight resemblance to Allman. But at essence Mr. Herring, the son of a schoolteacher and a superior court judge from North Carolina, is a jazz fan and striped-bass fisherman with a nearly guileless demeanor. He is a calming presence, a blessing for any touring band.

"I learned when I was real young that I didn't have the moves or the looks to be a pop star," Mr. Herring said. "So I got drawn into instrumental music and jazz. I was into pyrotechnical music: Charlie Parker, John McLaughlin and guys who played with that kind of wizardry. I always knew the Dead had something that was great, but I never really knew what they were about."

Garcia was more like him than he knew: a jazz enthusiast who was not born to be a pop star either. Mr. Herring was never a Deadhead, and his musical training was rooted in 1980's guitar-school pedagogy. (He studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles.) His introduction to Garcia's style has been almost academic, a careful processing of information.

"Jimmy has incredible attention to detail," said his friend Derek Trucks, the bandleader and a former guitarist with the Allman Brothers Band. "He can talk about tying fishing knots for hours," he said. "In the same way, he can sit in his basement in his house with his guitar and just go forever."

Since Mr. Herring joined the Dead his family's standard of living has vastly improved: he, his wife and their two children now live in an airy, high-ceilinged house in Gwinnett County, an Atlanta suburb. When he wants his family to see him on tour, the Dead usually pays for plane tickets and lodging. In May, when it is time to rehearse for the next tour, the Dead will fly him to its headquarters in San Rafael, Calif.

At lunch Mr. Herring spoke about what he has discovered about Garcia's music: "Garcia's wasn't a very in-your-face sound. It was gorgeous. And as a writer he was a master of simple chord progressions." He thought some more. "Against the triad harmony he used, you have fewer notes you can play that sound right. There are only three notes in those chords, so what you mostly end up doing is playing arpeggios through the chord changes."

"It narrows down your choices harmonically," he continued, "and it's difficult to come up with something creative. Not for him, though. He could sound like he was crying. He played ballads beautifully. I've also come to love Garcia's sound, and his touch. His main sound was ice-bell clear, with reverb. With a sound as clean as that, your touch is everything."

Mr. Herring's career has been a series of apprenticeships. The first was with the singer and bandleader Bruce Hampton, a bearish avant-gardist who has managed to attract many curious Atlanta musicians since the late 1960's. In 1989 Mr. Herring joined Mr. Hampton's group, Aquarium Rescue Unit, which mixed rock, free-jazz, bluegrass and much else. He stayed with Mr. Hampton until 1996, touring in a van and playing nearly 300 nights a year.

His first brush with Garcia's music came in 1998 with a gig in a group called Jazz Is Dead. Assembled by a West Coast promoter, that band was formed to put jazz-influenced musicians together with Dead tunes. His reputation having spread through Aquarium Rescue Unit, Mr. Herring got the call, even though he had neither paid any attention to the Grateful Dead nor considered himself a jazz musician. He accepted so that he could get a chance to play with T Lavitz, from the Southern rock band Dixie Dregs, and the drummer Billy Cobham. His first assignment was to buy a copy of the Dead's 1975 album "Blues for Allah" and learn the pieces on it. He had never bought a Dead album.

"I found the music interesting, but I had to learn it so fast that I wasn't doing justice to it," he said. "My view of the music at that time was too shallow."

After he had spent two years with Jazz Is Dead, the Allman Brothers came calling, but that was a mixed blessing. Mr. Herring was asked on short notice to replace Mr. Betts, who had been suspended from the band under acrimonious circumstances. Over four months, he saw lots of "Where's Dickey?" T-shirts. That cast a pall over the job. "I felt like I was with someone else's wife," Mr. Herring remembered.

Mr. Lesh called in January 2000, on a recommendation from Mr. Trucks. Mr. Lesh was auditioning for his new side-project band. But that band would be playing Grateful Dead songs, and Mr. Herring worried about jumping into that world, with all its history and associations. "I started having an identity crisis," he said. "I was thinking, `Am I trying to live off of something that's already happened?' "
His fears were quelled at the audition, which convinced him that the band was about the music, not nostalgia. "With the Dead's stuff, the same thing can be played so many different ways," he said. "It was built into its design that you could do the same song in three-four, or in seven, or fast or slow, or as a waltz."

The job with Mr. Lesh's band eventually led to being picked for the Dead. One of the many Grateful Dead discussion groups on the Internet offers a variety of considered criticisms, all relating to Garcia. One says that despite his technical prowess, Mr. Herring can't get at Garcia's spooky, "outskirts of town" feeling. Others complain that he plays too fast, or that there is not enough variation in his tone. An opposing faction defends his speed and accuracy as a welcome change.

Mr. Herring said that almost all the feedback he received in person was positive, but that he suffered from some self-imposed anxiety. "Garcia would approach the same song in a different way quite often," he explained. "It's hard for me sometimes, because after I learn some beautiful lines of his, I'll say, `That's so good, I've got to learn that.' For example, there's a version of one song, `Cassidy,' in which Jerry's playing mind-blowingly elegant, poignant stuff. Angel-butterfly-wings-cascades stuff." (Deadheads: the reference is to the recording, on "Dick's Picks, Vol. 20," of a concert in Landover, Md., on Sept. 25, 1976.)

"But then I'll hear another version, and he's not doing those things. I feel that I needed to let go and quit trying to learn these specific lines because people might say, `sounds like he's only heard the 1976 version.' "

Mr. Lesh said: "My advice to him would be not to listen to the old tapes at all anymore. It's a different band now."

Tell that to thousands of Deadheads, many of whom have commiserated with Mr. Herring about the difficultly of, in effect, replacing Babe Ruth in the outfield.

"The band has made it so easy for me," Mr. Herring said. "Deadheads are always coming up to me with this sorrowful look in their eyes, thinking it's a lot worse for me than it really is. I have to say to them, `You know, it's really not that bad.' "

03-08-2003, 13:18
Woodstock '69 here.

Didn't have the money then and don't have it now, but I may just show up anyway!


yogi clyde
03-08-2003, 14:01

Thanks, my deadhead boss had already emailed me the article.
Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) are alot of fun.
I saw Bob and Phil on that tour (either at MSG or NJ) and I concur.
Actually I saw Bob at MSG recently and it was a let down after that 99 show.

I didn't know you were in NYC, when r u leaving?
Good luck, now you will be able to get some good bbq.
Of course they probably don't deliver.

03-08-2003, 14:08
Originally posted by yogi clyde

I didn't know you were in NYC, when r u leaving?

Yogi, I'm livin' in Orange County (Goshen) and workin' in Pearl River (Rockland County). Was in Warwick prior to that, about 10 minutes from Wawayanda Sate Park and 15 minutes from where the AT crosses Rte 17A, and 5 minutes from the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. The AT was all round me!

Unfortunately I don't get to NYC very often these days. When am I leavin'? As soon as I land a job in the Chattanooga area. Hopefully that'll be within 6 weeks. We'll see...

yogi clyde
03-08-2003, 14:29

If you are still in town post 4/15 (yes I'm a tax accountant :( )
let me know if you want to get a local hike in. I either hit Harriman, sometimes with the AMC or Sierra Club, or New Paltz.

While you are here, you should take advantage of NYC.
Plenty of :banana always going on.