Who doesn’t love a good musical? Mixed with the melodies and lyrics of the supernatural songwriting squad of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, RED ROSES, GREEN GOLD has all the ingredients for a musical full of magic and merriment. With longtime family keyboardist, Jeff Chimenti, tasked with musical supervision and arrangement, plus additional music contributions by Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann, this storied canon and legacy could not possibly be in better hands.
A comedy set in 1920’s Cumberland, RED ROSES, GREEN GOLD tells the outlandish tale of a family of swindlers led by a patriarch named Jackson Jones. The majority of songs are drawn from the duo of seminal albums, American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead. And with a special attention to Deadhead attendees, “STAND UP & BOOGIE DOWN Seating” is available.
Performances began on October 11th, and the official opening is fast approaching on October 29th at the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwich Village, New York City. Head to RedRosesGreenGold.com for tickets and further information, but first…
The folks running the show were kind enough to offer Stand For Jam a pair of vouchers for a ticket giveaway contest! If you win, you will be able to request a free pair of tickets for the date you want to attend RED ROSES, GREEN GOLD.
With the New Year upon us, it’s a fitting time to reflect upon the sorcerous year of song currently reaching its conclusion. Musicians across the JamBandaverse have been no doubt firing on all cylinders in 2015, with this energy largely manifesting from the top down, originating from Phish and the surviving members of the Grateful Dead. While I believe trickle-down economics is a big bowl of bullshit, the theory holds water when applied to the jam band scene. And our collective consciousness was given a shot of adrenaline from up top when in January, Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead was announced featuring Trey Anastasio at the helm. It all started there, and through months of preparation, and five transcendent Dead shows, Trey and the boys set the stage for a year in jam unrivaled in recent history.
Grateful Dead University was the most remarkable thing that happened to Trey since drug court. It admittedly tweaked him just right for the second half of 2015. In GDU, Bobby gave Trey a lesson in patience, and Trey allowed himself alone time with his extensive rig. These two facets in the reeducation of Trey, amongst a smattering of other things, set the scene for our favorite redhead to shine all over again. It’s not a stretch to name Big Red as the MVP of Fare Thee Well, let alone 2015 as “The Year of Trey.”
Through GD50, the best summer Phish tour in a generation, a smokin’ hot TAB fall tour, and what already looks like a New Years Run for the record books, Trey’s infectious energy has remained front and center. And as I’ve said in a previous Trey Band review, he’s contagious, as his magic manifests in the players around him wherever he goes. So as this Phish run rounds out, before we find ourselves on the other side of Riviera Maya itching for summer tour 2016, I’m gonna take a moment to thank the immediate Phish family, as they did to us in the final shot of the summer. United We Stand, and not a thing suggests that this string of unimaginable feats won’t continue into the New Year.
Onward to Dead & Company, part II of GD50, brought to us by three of the core four. Their fall tour was alchemical. With the incorporation of John Mayer into the mix, he has largely endeared himself to thousands of deadheads that not too long ago loathed his very existence. While Dead & Company in an all inclusive sense, has not nor ever will reach the heights of the magic embodied in Fare Thee Well (unless John Mayer can piss rainbows, that’d be an impossible feat), this past fall tour has been nothing less than an expectation exceeding modern reinvention of our favorite touring band. With Mayer and Oteil Burbridge seeded in the mix, Dead & Co. reached contemporarily unrivaled peaks, putting forth some of the finest versions of Grateful Dead songs since the days of Jerry.
And while the collective energy level of Santa Clara and Chicago will likely never be reached again, through camaraderie that can only be built in a touring band, the latest GD50 ensemble found themselves getting better all the time. Due to downtime, some ashes, glass, and rust needed to be wiped away during the first few New Years run shows, yet confidence that the band will bring it with them on this eve remains high. Bigger and brighter things lay in wait for Dead & Company if they choose to head out on their rumored 2016 summer tour, but in the present they’ve managed to carry that 50th anniversary magic with further vigor than has been displayed in years. Thanks boys for making 2015 extra special. You’ve inspired many a deadhead and jam band to reach for the skies in their respective endeavors.
So with the preeminent jam bands’ bringing it all back home in the last twelve months, many other acts have followed suit. While there’s no direct connection here, I firmly believe our collective scene energy has played a major part. Case in point, The String Cheese Incident also found themselves at the top of their game this year. The Disco Biscuits have all of a sudden been throwing down like it’s 2009 all over again. Umphrey’s, well they always kill it. Lots of younger acts have tapped in too. From Dopapod and Twiddle reaching new heights, both opening for String Cheese at Red Rocks this past summer, to unparalleled collaborations between Twiddle and the Werks on Twerk Tour, to magic manifested by Turkuaz, Tauk, etcetera, etcetera, all year long. These are only a few bands that quickly come to mind, as many unmentioned have also thrown their hats into this 2015 free-for-all.
In a nutshell, this year was immensely prosperous for fans, musicians, festival goers, and everyone that has a stake in this subculture. If 2016 serves to be half as fruitful, we’re in for a wild ride in the coming year, yet here’s hoping it’s better. To all in the jam band world, all that have supported my writing ventures over the past six months, and all those souls beyond, have a happy, healthy, and hopeful New Year! Next year in Jerusalem!!!
Like oil and water, politics and jam bands rarely mix. Yet many jam bands support political causes, and occasionally even support or oppose political candidates. When the latter is attempted, it’s often to mixed reaction from fans. I can recall being at a Crosby, Stills & Nash concert at the Beacon Theater in 2005 at the height of George W. Bush’s unpopularity. When David Crosby went off on a rant about the politics of ‘W,’ a fan in the crowd bellowed at him to shut up and play. Crosby told the fan that if he doesn’t like it, then he could get the eff out of the theater. The crowd ruptured in applause to Crosby’s response in dealing with the heckler. While many fans would agree with that disgruntled concert attendee’s sentiment, but would not yell as much in the middle of a performance, many other fans believe that these musicians have given us so much, and paid their dues time and time again, that whatever political crusades performers’ may go on, it is their right to do so.
When The Dead reunited for a concert at Bryce Jordan Center, on the Penn State University campus in October of 2008, many Deadheads expressed disappointment that the godfathers’ of jam would abandon their, for the most part, apolitical stance to support then candidate and Senator Barack Obama. Fans expressed their disapproval (and approval) on forums such as Facebook, MySpace (yes MySpace), and Twitter. Regardless of mixed feelings, the show went off without a hitch, and at the end of the concert, Mickey Hart came to the microphone, and echoed the sentiment expressed in the now famous Hunter S. Thompson quote, that “if every Deadhead in Florida had voted [in 2000] the world would be a different place.” As Mickey’s reading of that quote suggests, the band’s inaction during the 2000 Bush v. Gore presidential campaign spurred The Dead to life in respect to intervening in national politics.
The same Hunter S. Thompson quote is said to have inspired Head Count to set up shop, in 2004, at concerts and music festivals across the country to encourage jam band fans (and now music fans in general) to register to vote. While mixed feelings have certainly been expressed by jam band fans about inserting politics into our community, most have no issue with Head Count’s effort to register voters, as they do not encourage fans how to vote, as long as they ultimately head to the polls and do their civic duty. Perhaps Head Count doesn’t push people to vote for particular candidates or political parties, because it is widely believed that the jam band community consists of mostly liberal-minded people. I can not be certain if that is their intent, because I am in no way affiliated with Head Count, but feel free to check out their website here to read about all they do (and if you have not done so already, register to vote while you’re at it!).
While our community may lean liberal on the surface, I am certain that we do not all identify that way. Ann Coulter, well-known conservative talking head, is a devout Deadhead and jam band fan. She can be seen in the below photo posing in front of a Grateful Dead, Europe 1990 Tour poster. Coulter also once dated a taper, and due to that relationship, has an “excellent collection of tapes, including Mickey Hart rapping Fire on the Mountain.” In a 2006 interview with Jambands.com, Coulter suggested that “true Deadheads are what liberals claim to be but aren’t,” yet she also implied that we are a ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ type of community, and would fit more succinctly in the conservative camp. While Coulter may be drinking a kool-aid all her own, maybe she has a point. In researching, I have not been able to come up with any polling information regarding jam band fans political affiliations, so no one really knows where we all stand (comment below if you know of any studies).
So what we are going to do here today is ask you nine survey questions to gauge where you fall in the political spectrum, and how you feel about politics being inserted into our community. The poll itself is not scientific, but my hope is that if enough of you participate, we will discover some overriding patterns that define our community in the political sense. The poll will be anonymous, easy, and quick to take. The polling period will end at noon on Monday, August 3rd, which gives us roughly two weeks to get as many jam band fans as possible to participate, so please share far and wide!
You must be of voting age to participate, so those of you that are under eighteen years of age, I am going to ask you to please sit this one out. Don’t worry, there will be more polls, experiments, and quizzes for you to participate in down the road.
Whether you are political or apolitical, please lend a hand with this survey! We value your opinions, and without them, this whole experiment will not work. In the upcoming weeks, stay tuned for the follow-up article on this poll you took part in! So you surely see it when it comes out, please like the Grateful Globotz Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter @GratefulGlobotz. And if you are unsure of where you fall on the political spectrum, definitely take the Political Compass test (a fun and enlightening thing to do if you know where you fall on the spectrum as well!–If you find the results at all confusing, read deeper on their page, it’s absolutely worthwhile and fascinating).
Now sit back, and have fun taking the Jam Bands & American Politicssurvey!