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Author: Subject: Anyone else not quite get The Grateful Dead?

Sublime Peach





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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 02:07 PM
I know there are a lot of Grateful Dead fans here, and a lot of crossover from the Dead to ABB (well, not necessarily a LOT, but some). I just never really quite got the Dead myself. Sometimes I think it's cause I never made a conscious effort. Well, I have Sirius Radio as part of my Dish Network package. I put on the Sirius Jam Band channel this morning and they were doing the Dead, and a lot of it. I listened quite intently for 1/2 hour, and I've gotta say I STILL don't get it. I kind of broke it down into three different categories of dislike: 1. Guitar solos of which I: a. Do not care for the actual tone of the guitar sound, and b. Guitar solos which seem to meander and go nowhere, never actually coming to a climax it seems, or inspiring me in any way. 2. The vocals, which I never, ever cared for. Their vocals have always sounded very whiny and half-assed to me. To put it another way, I just don't think any of those guys ever had much of a singing voice, but they try anyway. 3. The fact that after about 15 minutes of the Dead, it all starts to sound pretty much the same to me.

Before you Deadheads start an onslaught, hey, I think I'm fairly open minded. I explore new music fairly often. I tried. No offense to any of you!! I'm sure there are many who would find some of the stuff I love in my own collection unlistenable.

I'm interested in comments from those who share my opinion of the Dead; comments from Deadheads welcome as well.

[Edited on 8/2/2007 by robslob]

[Edited on 8/2/2007 by robslob]

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 02:20 PM
The Dead are a pretty interesting group in that their repertoire covers a vast range of music. I would argue that the library of songs the Dead played in concert is longer than that of the Allman Brothers. Certainly the Brothers are much more grounded in the blues than the Dead ever were. I also think that the Allman Brothers have always had more of a jazz influence as well. The Dead seem more rooted in bluegrass and folk music. So if those styles aren't your cup of tea then you probably won't like the band. That being said, I love both bands tremendously. But I understand where you are coming from. For what it is worth, I have never like Aerosmith or Jeff Beck even though many people I respect like them. Different strokes for different folks.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 02:31 PM
I love the Dead, and I'm listening to the GD Channel on Sirius Ch.17 as I type this.

The GD weren't for everybody - like they were fond of saying, "you're either on the bus, or you're off the bus."

They were very eclectic and experimental in their style, and like any jazz or improvisational outfit, they had nights when they weren't clicking. So be it.

I like most everything about them musically, no two shows or songs were ever alike. I also liked their whole vibe and the fact that they were different than anything else out there, and that they survived for years and years and continued to tour consistently with minimal radio exposure or new product (hey, sounds something like the ABB too, eh?).

Jerry and Phil had a unique synergy between them, and they produced many exhilarating musical moments, to my ears anyway.

I can't wait for the RatDog/ABB show in Bushkill on the 18th, it's going to be great.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 02:51 PM
1. The guitar solos were not meant to inspire YOU. They were used to create music for those who like it.

2. Jerry was a very good singer!!! He was the BEST ballad singer and he sang Dylan songs better than anyone. Try listening to the "Stella Blue" from 6/22/92 or the "Visions of Johanna" from the Philadelphia Spectrum near the end of his career. Both of these are incredible and maybe they will change your mind.

3. Jerry was a good enough player for Duane to befriend him and also for them to play together more than once. That is good enough for me

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Sublime Peach



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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 02:52 PM
I'm a SLOB, that's for damn sure

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 02:59 PM
I'm with you Rob.....Slob or not...I just don't get it....course I can't listen to a lot of stuff..including Zappa who I know was a hell of a composer and a great guitar player but just not my style....To each his own..I reckon.

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:01 PM
I admit I was not a fan until Warren played with Phil Lesh and Friends. That really warmed me up to some of the GD stuff. Also the Grateful Dead movie that was playing on Public Broadcasting was great too. I loved that guy on the side of the stage blowing that fire in the air. It was a very interesting movie or documentary.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:08 PM
I'm a big Grateful Dead, but I have to admit, more than any other band that I'm into (and I'm into a lot), The Dead have got to be the one band that I can totally understand someone not getting. It actually took me a good 10 years of persistant friend's and family telling me how I should like the Dead, before I was able to (which was around 1992-1993). And believe me, them playing me (then current) live tapes with out of tune vocals, drums falling out of time and some endless noodling was NOT what persuaded me. What did get me in the end, was the songs. It was finding some good versions of some of their best songs. In fact a couple things happened all at once. First in about 1992, I wrote a song based around what is the guitar solo progression of "Eyes of the World" and everyone kept saying "that's a dead song!". I really liked that progression and it made me seek out the song I had never heard, but was ripping off. Then I discovered EUROPE '72 and that's when I heard the SONGS... I'm a songwriter too and it hit me how great the songs were. I have to admit (probably even to this day) there are songs they wrote that I never felt they performed all that well. Most songs however, I do feel you can find some stellar versions of. The problem is, what is stellar to most Deadhead's ear, usually just doesn't translate to the Dead layman.

I was fortunate enough to have a nice conversation with Warren Haynes about that very thing. He was talking about how he was never into the Dead, but when he started covering them, especially with Phil & Friends, he discovered how amazing the songs were, because he was never into necessarily their sound, he never got a chance to hear how great the songwriting was. When I was able to speak to him a year or 2 later on the same subject, it was amazing how much Dead he knew and how much of their history.

I was even more fortunate enough to speak with Bill Payne & Paul Barrare, who said almost the identical thing. Bill Payne mentioned how he was never aware of how amazing the songs of the Grateful Dead were until he played with Phil Lesh. We talked about a lot of music, I remember him specifically mentioning the song "Days Between".

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:08 PM
I don't think I "don't get" the Dead, I just don't like them that much. They wrote some very good songs, but I don't like any of their voices and their playing style doesn't connect with me.

quote:
The guitar solos were not meant to inspire YOU. They were used to create music for those who like it.

So people who don't like the Dead don't like music? I don't think that's what you're saying, but I don't know what this means.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:08 PM
quote:
1. The guitar solos were not meant to inspire YOU. They were used to create music for those who like it.

2. Jerry was a very good singer!!! He was the BEST ballad singer and he sang Dylan songs better than anyone. Try listening to the "Stella Blue" from 6/22/92 or the "Visions of Johanna" from the Philadelphia Spectrum near the end of his career. Both of these are incredible and maybe they will change your mind.

3. Jerry was a good enough player for Duane to befriend him and also for them to play together more than once. That is good enough for me

You are a slob and I know that you don't know any better....it's OK


I would have to disagree. Jerry is not the best ballad singer. He is not even a good ballad singer. His voice was pretty thin. Weir was actually a better singer but is still not in the class of a Gregg Allman or a Warren Haynes for that matter. I know Deadheads have come to appreciate the vocals of their heroes but I don't. Jerry was a brilliant world class guitarist. He was also a great songwriter, writing together with Robert Hunter. I think the thing that starts to sound the same are the long meandering jams. They are very subtle and sometimes I think they are hard to appreciate if you are sober. Bands like WSP or the ABB or Mule for that matter have jams which are much more high intensity and driven by the song itself. The meandering of the Dead is not for everybody. For that matter neither is the jamming of the Allmans but I think they are pretty different. But clearly that is what is meant by the songs sounding the same. I also think if the Dead had a second soloist to counter Jerry as the ABB did and as Phil Lesh does now, the jams would be more interesting. Just my opinion.

Doug

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:10 PM
Never sold me a record....although I do like some of the songs. The Skydogs do the
"Dickey" version of Blue Sky using the GD song intro.
spdb

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:13 PM
there are a few songs I like , never was a big fan. but I find some good in just about all music, remember its someone trying to tell us something..

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:14 PM
It is OK to be wrong, Doug....you probably haven't even heard the versions of the songs that I mentioned but that is OK too
 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 03:38 PM
http://www.dead.net/

You can sign up here

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 04:25 PM
Actually with regards to the original lineup Pigpen was very well grounded in Blues and R&B. I still say they were one of the very best if not the best live bands in the world from about 73-77. I was definitely on the bus then.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 04:39 PM
Did you ever see them live,especially around 70-74?

The GD were pretty damn good at what they did,play the music of Garcia/Hunter for the most part.Jams in and out of great songs. Not too many bands last almost 30 years and then continue after Jerry passed,must not be built on Fluff.

I for one think the songs have/will stand the test of time,and will always be Grateful for them.

Jerry will be remembered as a great american musician.

[Edited on 8/2/2007 by CowboyNeil]

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 04:40 PM
Sometimes I am in the mood for it and sometimes I am not. I can't explain what exactly triggers it either way. Absolutely, positively you either get it or you don't. You're hot or you're cold. There is no in between.
 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 04:49 PM
I agree that Phil took the music in a tighter direction with P+F, a more controlled drift than the GD. But when the Dead were on there was nothing like it before and since.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 04:50 PM
Nope, i don't "get it" either. I've got 2 live cd sets and owned "one from the vault" which is one of only a few cd's i ever sold / got rid off. I think they are very fascinating, like the cover art of their cd's, t-shirts and stuff. I like a few songs and plenty of lyrics are beautiful as well but still..... i don't "get it". I think a lot of songs are just meandering and after listening like about 20 minutes my mind starts meandering as well and i start reading a magazine or someting and hardly focus on the music i'm listening to. The vocals and the guitar solo's never "did it for me".

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 04:52 PM
Maybe more acid is required...............

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 05:10 PM
I saw the Dead many times over the years in different eras etc. and for me it was the experience, the event and then the music. Its like a Jimmy Buffet show, the music is in the background while everyone parties. As a musician I found and still do find the music relatively bland. I do commend all for the song writing and do like many of their tunes but (and I know this will cause an outcry from dead fans) but comparably to any ABB line-up, they are not even in the same league as musicians. Last night at Rama, the Bros. played Franklins Tower and I prefer that version to any Dead version of the song. At the end of the day, what YOU like is what matters not what anyone else says. My 2cents.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 05:21 PM
quote:
..."you're either on the bus, or you're off the bus."

Correct...and I am MOST DEFINITELY on the bus. Always was, always will be.

quote:
I was fortunate enough to have a nice conversation with Warren Haynes about that very thing. He was talking about how he was never into the Dead, but when he started covering them, especially with Phil & Friends, he discovered how amazing the songs were, because he was never into necessarily their sound, he never got a chance to hear how great the songwriting was.


Warren as a musician is very deep...and so is The Dead. The Grateful Dead is not what you call a "shallow" listen. You need to really dive in deep sometimes to hear the beauty in their songs. It's all there, beautiful melody, harmony, subtle dynamics, great lyrics and a cast of players that knew how to deliver on stage. Warren now knows just how incredible the Dead's vast catalog of songs are...He had that chance to dive in with Phil's band and the light went on. they are in fact musical geniuses on a certain level, but for those with relatively short attention spans that might not be evident to them...

quote:
... when the Dead were on there was nothing like it before and since.



No doubt about it...they pretty much wrothe the book - along with The ABB - on Jamming within the context of great songs...

In short, I love The Dead. They and The Brothers have been my 2 favorite bands for as long as I can remember. CHances are if you don't get them by now, you won't ever. No harm in that. I never understood Metal so I avoid it at all costs...I need substance in the music I listen to.

Peace

[Edited on 8/2/2007 by EddieP]

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 05:21 PM
If you're comparing them to the ABB then I agree, they don't measure up...no one does. But in the cosmic scope of things they're pretty darn good.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 05:27 PM
Hippy Dippy whirly twirly endless senseless meandering noodling :P
That sounds like lyrics from a Phish song when I read it back to my self. Thats another band I don't get either. I like Trey on his own though.

The closest thing I ever saw to the GD was Phil and Phriends a few years ago when Warren did his triple billing . Unfortunatley Phil closed that night and I left about 20mins into it. Too much noodling for me. Just my opinion though.

I think if I drank some more bong water I would probably get into the GD a little more.

 

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  posted on 8/2/2007 at 05:28 PM
The bus went by and I got on......Some folks like Elvis and Sinatra, just not my style.


Some folks just ain't happy unless they are throwin' stones.

 

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