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

Rawhdney

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Been racking my brain for not country/blues rock based jam bands.

I remembered this...

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQFYJXMVxTc]‪Funkadelic - Uncle Jam‬‏ - YouTube[/ame]

Not so much a 'jam' as a big ass party going down onstage.
 

geochem1st

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I would agree, but that categorization is still valid in my opinion. It seems to imply a similarity of overall styles that make up the "Jam Band" genre.

The other bands you mentioned definitely improvised, but they had completely different vibes than bands like the Grateful Dead or Phish. In my personal opinion, Neil Young and LZ each have a really unique and eclectic set of material. Yes, live some of it is improvised, but the scope of their material is broader than most of the Jam bands seem to be.

Hell, Neil Young even put out an experimental electronic album. Remember this: :D

‪Neil Young - Sample and Hold (Live Trans)‬‏ - YouTube

Saw that tour... Trans. To me it sucked. Glad he quit that shit.

"Yes, live some of it is improvised,".... All most all of it was improvised. Bands like Zep and Crazy Horse, they never played a song the same way twice... it was all improvised with common themes coming back every now and then. Same with Hendrix......and Cream... Now there was a Jam band if there ever was one.
 

geochem1st

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True, but unlike superb jazz musicians, most jam bands have never been truly qualified to solo for long periods of time. As much as I've always liked the Dead, as well as others, I'm more into individual songs and studio material than their live stuff. The instrumentals were way too long, and loaded up with mediocre ability. Most of it would satisfy drugged out hippies and dancing space shots, but would bore the hell out of the tasteful music listener. And it's the same with many of them today as well. The exceptions to the rule are bands like .moe, The Allman Bros, and Widespread Panic, and maybe a few others, the reason being that the musicianship is excellent.
To each his own, but me thinks you have been snorting cork. Page not qualified to solo for long periods? or Clapton, or Hendrix or Gilmore? :hmm:
 

Skintaster

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Saw that tour... Trans. To me it sucked. Glad he quit that shit.

"Yes, live some of it is improvised,".... All most all of it was improvised. Bands like Zep and Crazy Horse, they never played a song the same way twice... it was all improvised with common themes coming back every now and then. Same with Hendrix......and Cream... Now there was a Jam band if there ever was one.
I appreciate what you're saying, but again, I don't consider those bands as "jam Bands" in the same vein as guys like Phish or the Grateful Dead. They may have "jammed" a lot, but the term "Jam Band" is specific to bands that are part of an overall "culture" and theme.

Not trying to quibble, just saying that the people that tend to REALLY love the Dead... "Deadheads" so to speak, make up a very specific musical/cultural movement, and bands like LZ aren't a part of it. Not saying that there aren't any Deadheads that like LZ, just saying that the term "Jam Band" is more specific than what you're stating.

And again, the other bands you mentioned had (In my opinion) a much broader range of musical styles to choose from. The Grateful Dead for the most part, always stuck to basic blues/country based "mellow" rock. They had one much despised "disco" album, but that's about the only branching out I ever heard.
 

Skintaster

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Saw that tour... Trans. To me it sucked. Glad he quit that shit.

"Yes, live some of it is improvised,".... All most all of it was improvised. Bands like Zep and Crazy Horse, they never played a song the same way twice... it was all improvised with common themes coming back every now and then. Same with Hendrix......and Cream... Now there was a Jam band if there ever was one.
I actually like some of the stuff from Trans. I don't listen to it every day, but at least he tried to do something completely different than what most people expected. It's not great electronic music, but it's not the worst either.
 

geochem1st

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I appreciate what you're saying, but again, I don't consider those bands as "jam Bands" in the same vein as guys like Phish or the Grateful Dead. They may have "jammed" a lot, but the term "Jam Band" is specific to bands that are part of an overall "culture" and theme.

Not trying to quibble, just saying that the people that tend to REALLY love the Dead... "Deadheads" so to speak, make up a very specific musical/cultural movement, and bands like LZ aren't a part of it. Not saying that there aren't any Deadheads that like LZ, just saying that the term "Jam Band" is more specific than what you're stating.

And again, the other bands you mentioned had (In my opinion) a much broader range of musical styles to choose from. The Grateful Dead for the most part, always stuck to basic blues/country based "mellow" rock. They had one much despised "disco" album, but that's about the only branching out I ever heard.
Maybe you could make a list of the qualities that make for a Jam Band?
 

your idol

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The Bakerton Group. I love them.
yeah..i love em too but you just CANT classify them as the TYPICAL jam band. i think in questions is more of that Phish/Dead/Moe Collegey bullsh!t.

Bankerton is on another level
 

Skintaster

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Maybe you could make a list of the qualities that make for a Jam Band?
Good lord, I thought that had been established by earlier posts. :D

Here:

Jam band - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I notice that Neil Young IS listed, so there's that. Led Zeppelin? No.

It's a music/culture combo thing. There are bands that are commonly grouped together as a "Jam Band"... Belonging to a specific genre. The Grateful Dead and Phish are considered "Jam Bands" by most people interested in such things. Led Zeppelin and Cream are not.

My personal definition is perhaps more specific to the Grateful Dead and Phish's musical styles and the culture that surrounded it. The types of fans, that kind of thing. But that's just what "I" think.
 

your idol

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Good lord, I thought that had been established by earlier posts. :D

Here:

Jam band - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I notice that Neil Young IS listed, so there's that. Led Zeppelin? No.

It's a music/culture combo thing. There are bands that are commonly grouped together as a "Jam Band"... Belonging to a specific genre. The Grateful Dead and Phish are considered "Jam Bands" by most people interested in such things. Led Zeppelin and Cream are not.

My personal definition is perhaps more specific to the Grateful Dead and Phish's musical styles and the culture that surrounded it. The types of fans, that kind of thing. But that's just what "I" think.
i think the word youre looking for is dirtyfilthysandalwearingnonbathinghackeysackingbumperstickeredeconopieceofshitdrivingmushroommuchingcoopworkinhemphathavinmeatismurderihaveanewcauseeverydaychangemymajoreveryyearsoicankeephanginwithmybrosondaddysdimeneobullshithippie
 

Skintaster

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i think the word youre looking for is dirtyfilthysandalwearingnonbathinghackeysackingbumperstickeredeconopieceofshitdrivingmushroommuchingcoopworkinhemphathavinmeatismurderihaveanewcauseeverydaychangemymajoreveryyearsoicankeephanginwithmybrosondaddysdimeneobullshithippie
Well, like most genres of music that have been around a long time and have developed a certain subculture around it, yes, dirty stinky hippie Deadheads are easy to pick on. :thumb:

But my issue is with the music of some of the higher profile "Jam Bands" (Note, I didn't say "Bands that jam") The music of Blues Traveler, Phish, and the Grateful Dead all share certain traits with each other, and I find the style uninspiring in general.

I'm trying to open my mind somewhat (I hear LSD helps in this case, but won't be doing THAT), and see what the "big deal" is. :)
 

geochem1st

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i think the word youre looking for is dirtyfilthysandalwearingnonbathinghackeysackingbumperstickeredeconopieceofshitdrivingmushroommuchingcoopworkinhemphathavinmeatismurderihaveanewcauseeverydaychangemymajoreveryyearsoicankeephanginwithmybrosondaddysdimeneobullshithippie
I guess that would fill in the part I'm missing. I keep hearing the word culture put in with no idea on how its used. KISS had a culture... the freakin KISS Army, Zep had a fanatical following that in the early days followed them on tour from city to city.... etc., you specifically mean someone who appearance wise might be labeled 'hippie' for lack of a better term.
 

Skintaster

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I guess that would fill in the part I'm missing. I keep hearing the word culture put in with no idea on how its used. KISS had a culture... the freakin KISS Army, Zep had a fanatical following that in the early days followed them on tour from city to city.... etc., you specifically mean someone who appearance wise might be labeled 'hippie' for lack of a better term.
Yes, but that's not quite right either... I have nothing against "hippies", or the modern version of them. I lived in Austin Tx. for years. Hippies are everywhere. I dated tons of cute hippie chicks, even a few that loved bands like Phish and the Dead.

I would say that if a band has Deadhead followers, it's probably a Jam band. See, to me, it's a huge musical/social culture. The "culture" part is somewhat confusing to me... I don't see the appeal of mellow country/blues rock to so MANY young followers... That's part of what I'm trying to understand.

But there are lots of bands that improvise live who aren't considered "Jam Bands". I mean, we're talking lots of shades of gray... But the term is a little more specific than that.

I think the roots of the movement can be traced directly to the Grateful Dead, and their various offshoots. There were other bands from the 60's/70's that were doing similar things, and are sort of lumped in with them, but it was definitely the Grateful Dead that spawned the phenomena, and a bunch of bands.
 

geochem1st

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Yes, but that's not quite right either... I have nothing against "hippies", or the modern version of them. I lived in Austin Tx. for years. Hippies are everywhere. I dated tons of cute hippie chicks, even a few that loved bands like Phish and the Dead.

I would say that if a band has Deadhead followers, it's probably a Jam band. See, to me, it's a huge musical/social culture. The "culture" part is somewhat confusing to me... I don't see the appeal of mellow country/blues rock to so MANY young followers... That's part of what I'm trying to understand.

But there are lots of bands that improvise live who aren't considered "Jam Bands". I mean, we're talking lots of shades of gray... But the term is a little more specific than that.

I think the roots of the movement can be traced directly to the Grateful Dead, and their various offshoots. There were other bands from the 60's/70's that were doing similar things, and are sort of lumped in with them, but it was definitely the Grateful Dead that spawned the phenomena, and a bunch of bands.
Yeah I read the wiki link and got even more confused. Traffic and Ten Years After are on the list... and having grown up in that time I see no connection with these bands and the Dead. I'm still scratching my head over the name, and Jam Band appears to be a title, according to wiki, that is fairly recent in usage, although I remember the term being used 40 years ago.
 

FrankieOliver

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Shrooms along the way and then a little Ripple. :)

I've never been to a Grateful Dead concert nor have I owned an album, but I do love that song.
 

Roberteaux

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My GUESS would be this: when the Dead started out, everyone was tripping at their concerts. Owsley & Friends used to literally give the stuff away during the early, pre-1969 psychedelic period. And people who are tripping aren't the most exactly discerning of audiences, except that whatever is being played, they don't like the music to stop. That's why other bands such as Pink Floyd likewise engaged in marathon jam sessions, and in some cases even recorded them and released them on an LP.

A lot of bands did this sort of thing in the days of Old Acid. Cream used to jam for fifteen minutes at a time, Quicksilver Messenger Service turned Bo Diddley's 2-minute Who Do You Love? into a 25 minute yawn-a-thon and recorded it for their album, Happy Trails, which some say referred to the visual "trails" that windowpane acid was famous for inducing in the skulls lucky victims.

Cream did it with their first live album, which contained 10 and 15 minute versions of NSU and Sweet Wine (respectively) and anybody who got to see either Jefferson Airplane of Hot Tuna in their heydays will surely marathon jams featuring mindless boogie that pretty much never ended. Even the Allman Brothers carried on for over twenty minutes on their Live At Fillmore East album. But if you look at the year of its release (1971), the pattern begins to emerge.

The really "good" quality of acid of the Sixties carried on into the late 1970's, when the restrictions on the importation and/or transfer of ergotamine tartrate and ergonovine maleate finally took effect. Actually, most of the high quality acid that was being consumed in the early 1970's was being produce from supplies that had been procured some years earlier. After all, LSD is the sort of drug that is effective at the microgram level, and some of the chemists were buying the ergot alkaloids required for its production by the kilo. Sometimes, when a lab was raided enough precursors were seized to produce millions and millions of dosages.

And though there are exceptions to the rule, one might notice that the business of monster, endless jamming (especially on albums) sort of faded for the most part right when the true, early acid really ran out. Probably since about 1990 it was common for the police to seize "LSD" and find that it was actually a weaker, more easily synthesized analog known as LSA. It has been quite a while since the streets have seen the old, legendary acid that used to be around years ago. This new stuff-- LSA-- is something that the old-timers like to call "Kiddie Acid".

As for the Dead: even though they did do this in a few cases, they were mercifully not prone to record too many super-long tracks, and all of their best songs fall under six minutes in length, max. But how do I explain to you why some of us are mad for them?

Shucks, Skinny... it's one of those things... like, if you dig it no explanation is needed-- but if you don't, no explanation is possible.

--R
 

Emmitt Fitzhume

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I never got it either, even in my pothead days and psychedelic using phase I still preferred to listen to hard rock and metal, sometimes techno too. I hung out and partied a few times with deadheads and the music just seemed boring no matter what altered state I was in and it seemed to go on forever.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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I love improv but the Dead were never heavy enough for my tastes. It didn't help that I hated Garcia's tone -- thin and weak, to my ears. Also, they built a lot of their "jams" around simple I-IV-V progressions in various permutations ... not really exploring harmony, to my ears. I always preferred Jimi or Cream building an improv around a song structure; they had a more aggressive, rock outlook, and were tighter by paying more attention to structure.

Even jazz improv is built around standard progressions, and the Dead broke no ground in their own iteration of improv as on-stage art, but I never cared for their stuff, even as I love jazz improv. The Dead were, for all the bally-hoo, still playing it safe, and if I never hear another Jerry Garcia major scale over a IV chord, I can still say I've heard too many.

eta: I should say, there's two songs I really love from the Dead: "California", and "Alabama Getaway" ... both in their studio versions.
 

Blackie

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R-Tea UX ..... You splained it good .... you splained it real good ....

.... But I hit the bullseye with 17 characters at post 12 .....

... now lets talk about the Ergot Alkaloids ......
 

Fred61

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Some of the big jams from concerts from Neil Young were my favorite things ever.

My mom said that Wilco is like Grateful Dead live, and that she doesn't like em. I can totally get into Wilco, but I never got Grateful Dead. I guess you had to be there
 

Sloppy Joe

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I hear ya. I could never understend the appeal of The Dead. To me they sound like when playing, they would make it up as they went along.

Maybe they sound great if listened to while trippen on acid.
 


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