Can Someone Explain The Appeal of "Jam Bands" Like The Grateful Dead to me?

Skintaster

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I just don't get the appeal. I've listened to "The Dead". Most of their classic period seems to consist almost entirely of mid tempo sedate country influenced blues rock. I admit that a handful of their older songs are ok if mellow country rock is your thing... "Ripple", "Uncle John's Band", "Truckin"... Stuff like that isn't my cup of tea, but I can understand why some people would dig it.

I DON'T understand how they had such an enormous and "Deadicated" (Ha! See? I pun!) following for so many years. It never made sense to me. Drugs? I never got that either... The Grateful Dead's music did not strike me as particularly interesting or psychedelic... It's just bluesy country rock. If I wanted to trip balls to something, I'd at least pick something more interesting.

I saw the Grateful Dead once. My father took me in the 80's when I was in Jr. High. It was the most boring concert I've ever been to. Sure, there were thousands of very high deadheads that seemed enthralled by the experience, and they were somewhat annoying, but the music? Not that great, and really drawn out and boring.

I don't understand the appeal of jamming, unless I'm doing the jamming, I suppose.

Then there are all of the "Post Dead" bands that seem to have started where they left off... Guys like Phish. What's the appeal?

Anyway, I probably sound pretty negative... So sorry if I'm bumming your trip, man. :laugh2:

But can anyone explain the appeal?
 

moodyedge

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The Bakerton Group. I love them.


Jamming is everything I like about music and being in a band. Incidentally Ive just been editing down an epic jam we had last thursday into structured song ideas. It's a non stop riff fest......they were just flying out from nowhere.......One part flows into the next part as if it was 100% planned...spooky shit.

It's riding that knife edge, that narrow path called the 'now' and seeing where it takes you..your in it...or rather you re it an its riding you..........Im surfing the music.....I cant get enough of it. Hasnt been going that great recently until that jam last week which was epic....Ive got 3x 20min+ jams and its all good stuff.

I think the record was a 45min+ jam the three of us played at a practice.....some of it is hillarious....do anything..no rules.....Im amazed at how good that can sound when you just wander within the music...It is the ultimate form of expression, exploration and creativity.....The intuitive insight shining through the player, who then becomes the instrument of inspiration.

It almost feels alive......like theres some kind of vibration/energy appearing that wasnt there before... somehow it manifests through the music and takes you somewhere you never expected it to go....your just along for the ride on the road to discovery.........There are no signposts or directions required on this trip, it's not that kind of journey and when you get back and are asked 'well where did you go'.................you cant answer that question with the rational mind......

no point to prove....no obligation....no expectation.

My dads heard some recordings of my jams before and said 'it sounds like some soryt of drug induced, psychedelic affair'...which is funny.....Ive never been on drugs, Im just tripped out on the jam. It's stoner alt-blues-rock without the dope :cool:
 

Lungo

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Maybe it's hearing a song played without any boundaries? I think it can be interesting to hear a band do something live that's completely different than a recording if it adds to the experience.
 

3rdstone

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pbttributexlabberlin.jpg
...:D
 

12watt

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I think if it needs explaining, you'll never get it. I don't really, I think the live appeal was that they did pull off some pretty transcendent moments sometimes (you just didn't know when it might happen). THC probably helps too...
 

Job-Job type Job

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I'm not sure what the appeal is but I know that since we got satellite radio I find myself listening to the jam-band station a lot. I get a little tired of singles and hits all the time. Then theres the fact that it's usually all live. I like live - warts and all. As I get older I find myself starting to appreciate more and more different styles just for what they are. Variety is indeed the spice.
 

Ledheadforlife

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I'm with ya, I've got no use for the dead. Other than having the coolest band name of all time, they've only got 3 or 4 songs I dig, which aint great since they were together for 113 years lol.
 

3rdstone

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But seriously Skinner, I like jam bands, a lot.

What's the Appeal? To see what a bunch of good musicians can do 'on the spot'... and to appreciate the 'call and response' of something more complex than say, the blues. ;)
 

Skintaster

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Maybe it's hearing a song played without any boundaries? I think it can be interesting to hear a band do something live that's completely different than a recording if it adds to the experience.

Fine... I can understand the appeal of that in theory. But the way most of these jam bands including the Dead do/did it, was pretty boring to me. I don't understand what's interesting about extending a three minute country rock song into 20 or 30 minutes... Mostly with blues noodling. I'm not trying to sound overly harsh... That's just what this stuff usually sounds like to me.

If the Dead had written some really "out there" psychedelia, I might've dug that... And I can see how that might have lent itself to "jamming", but breaking boundaries by just extending a blues rock song? That doesn't sound particularly interesting to me.

Obviously a lot of people dug it, but I don't understand why. I also don't understand how the whole uber hippie psychedelic culture got attached to jam bands. I mean, most I've heard are playing blues, country, or folk based musical styles. I rarely even heard any of them break out a delay or flanger. :)
 

Skintaster

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Again, I'm not trying to be negative here. I really don't understand the appeal... So thanks for the info and opinions. :D
 

Rawhdney

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I remember being 12 or 13 and getting those BMG and Columbia house mailings for 10 cd's for a penny (with nothing more to buy, ever!). I kept on seeing The Grateful Dead's name come up, think there was an album with 'skeleton' in the title. Woah, that sounds cool. Must have blabbered something to mom about them cause pretty soon she was digging through her old albums 'your dad and i used to listen to them, aha here it is'.

wait in anticipation.....
god this is going to be heavy and good i just know it!!!

err....what the.....it's just so........not anything like i was expecting.


i like the cocaine song though.
 

Blackie

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..... Cause how else ya gonna listen to that jug band ramblin crap .....

.... That stuff is a festival that is more about the people that are there really ...

.... unfortunately when me and my two buddies seen the Dead at like 14 or so ... we only got passed a large bowl of seed popping dirt weed ... that actually was good for us ... but not good enough to go out and follow the Dead around or ever go to another show or buy any music from them ... ever again.
 

VictorB

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"Jam Bands" are the reason I play guitar. It all started with the Blues, and improvising solos over a 12 bar. But as much as I love it, it does tend to get a little old sometimes. So improvising, or jamming, over other progressions opened things up for me like crazy. Whether it's a Grateful Dead type of major key jam, or an Allman Brothers Dorian Mode thing, I love it all. Experimenting with dynamics makes things fun as well.

Not everyone can improvise like this, it truly is an art form. The idea is not to over think what you are playing, but to let go, and let it flow like a language.

The Dead, The Allmans, Gov't Mule, Phish, are all great bands worth listening to from this aspect. Not to mention Miles Davis and a slew of other great Jazz guys.
 

moodyedge

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"Jam Bands" are the reason I play guitar. It all started with the Blues, and improvising solos over a 12 bar. But as much as I love it, it does tend to get a little old sometimes. So improvising, or jamming, over other progressions opened things up for me like crazy. Whether it's a Grateful Dead type of major key jam, or an Allman Brothers Dorian Mode thing, I love it all. Experimenting with dynamics makes things fun as well.

Not everyone can improvise like this, it truly is an art form. The idea is not to over think what you are playing, but to let go, and let it flow like a language.

The Dead, The Allmans, Gov't Mule, Phish, are all great bands worth listening to from this aspect. Not to mention Miles Davis and a slew of other great Jazz guys.

The complete lack of rational thought is the freedom I live for and why jamming makes so much sense to me. The light and dark and change in balance/mood/texture/dynamics that happen are just electric during jams Ive been involved in....its freaky...
 

Skintaster

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"Jam Bands" are the reason I play guitar. It all started with the Blues, and improvising solos over a 12 bar. But as much as I love it, it does tend to get a little old sometimes. So improvising, or jamming, over other progressions opened things up for me like crazy. Whether it's a Grateful Dead type of major key jam, or an Allman Brothers Dorian Mode thing, I love it all. Experimenting with dynamics makes things fun as well.

Not everyone can improvise like this, it truly is an art form. The idea is not to over think what you are playing, but to let go, and let it flow like a language.

The Dead, The Allmans, Gov't Mule, Phish, are all great bands worth listening to from this aspect. Not to mention Miles Davis and a slew of other great Jazz guys.

I appreciate the opinion. I still personally feel that a lot of the "jamming" I've heard from some of these bands is pretty tedious to me. Jamming in itself can be fun as a player, playing with other individuals, but listening to other guys do it is kind of boring to me.

If any of them really expanded on the form, and wrote songs that were more experimental and "out there", I might feel differently. As it is, most of the time it just sounds like standard noodling to my ears. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't really stand out to me.
 

delawaregold

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[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUiutKkMeiA]‪Grateful Dead - Hell In A Bucket - 06-26-94‬‏ - YouTube[/ame]


:thumb:

Unable to dance I'll crawl.

 

Skintaster

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Another general question. Have any of the major jam bands worked in genres outside of country/blues based rock? Have there been any that were REALLY psychedelic? Or that tried out hard rock or other genres?
 

Dr.Distortion

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Oh' and a bra-less young lady waring a tie dye tank top dancing in your face, accentuating the polyrhythmic nature of the music doesn't hurt either...
 

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