Dead Covers Project Profiles: The Lundholm Brothers
Two-time Dead Covers Project artist Packy Lundholm enlisted brothers Pete and Chris to join him this year for a spectacular rendition of "The Other One." Their connection to the Grateful Dead runs deep from the music that made up the soundtrack of their young lives to their matching "Wheel" tattoos which they've likened to the Lundholm family crest. Find out how the Dead's music inspires them each and every day below.
Stream Packy's new EP “Now Is The Time” for free at www.packylundholm.bandcamp.com.
- See more from Packy and The Lundholm Brothers:
- Pete and Packy's Dead-based trio DEPARTURE:
- Pete's band Arc Impulse:
You are actually three brothers! Tell us a little bit about your musical backgrounds.
Packy (Drums, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals): We grew up in a very music-heavy household. Both of our parents were huge Dead Heads and had a great record collection that they gave us full reign over, so we grew up listening to a bunch of really great music. I first got really into percussion and drums. By the age of two I was putting together my own drum kits from pots and pans, exploring how the different lids resonated in my ears. Then I got an actual toy drum kit around three so I took off from there. Around that same time, Chris started playing the bass and not long after that he got into guitar. I was about eight and he was 13 when we started playing music together. I played in bands that he was putting together, hanging out with way older kids and feeling really cool [laughs].
Chris (Lead Guitar): So basically, I was a freshman in high school and my brother was this tiny kid playing with me at high school parties. It freaked people out. He was the boy wonder. And then the youngest one is Pete. He was around us all the time so he got to a bunch of musical experiences even as a young kid.
Pete (Bass, Drums): My first real aspiration as a musician was to be in a two drummer duo because Packy and I were watching and listening - almost every day - to a VHS tape of the Summer Solstice '89 Dead show that was on pay-per-view. My very first memory of that was finding the special effects very scary. It freaked me out, particularly during the Rhythm Devils section with Mickey and Bill. The sounds they were making scared me, but I was also really drawn to them. Anyway, Packy and I used to put the Solstice tape on and try to bang out the drum parts on the steps to our den. Later on in junior high I started playing guitar and then I started playing bass. I'm still in the learning stages of everything.
Were you always on a musical trajectory? Destined to play together?
Chris: I always played sports since I was a kid. I was taught by my father who was quite the Dead Head but also a great baseball player. That's what we did aside from music. Pete was a great skateboarder and a good artist. And Packy made us all look bad because he had great grades...we each have a some what of an eclectic background but music has always been the baseline of reality in our household.
Packy:The thing to point out about the Lundholm Brothers is that we aren't actually an active “band.” The three of us really just got together to make this video. That said, we've all been on different musical paths and supported each other through the years, and sometimes those paths converge. On rare occasions a gig might come up where the three of us can actually play a full set together, but this video was a one of a kind thing where we decided together just to do this. I made a video for the Dead Covers Project last year with Pete doing "Help On The Way>Slipknot" and that kind of opened the door for this year. We thought, why don't all three of us do it next time it comes around?
We definitely took notice of you last year during the Dead Cover Project. How did you pick "Help On The Way>Slipknot" for your first entry?
Pete: The Dead has always been the main event in our house, but Chris also got us into bands on the heavier side like Jane's Addiction and Guns 'N' Roses. But the fact is, Jerry also wrote a lot of stuff that's harder-hitting than non-Heads might expect, like "Help On The Way." It's my personal favorite Grateful Dead song, and it blows me away every time I hear it. It's also the song I play to my metal head friends to show them what the Dead are capable of. Last year a friend of mine, who plays in a heavy metal band, walked in on me watching our Help>Slip video. I told him it was a Grateful Dead song and he said, "This is a Grateful Dead song? The Grateful Dead wrote these riffs?" Ever since then, he's become the guy who is always peeping '77 shows because he loves that style of playing.
And this year's decision to do "The Other One"?
Packy: Our decision to do "The Other One" was very much for similar reasons, as we're all fascinated with the Dead's understated darkness. I think it's sometimes an overlooked aspect of the band. Once I heard a version - I think it was from '78 - that was so aggressive and hard it could've stood up to the heaviest metal out there. But it was also so beautiful, just a really ripping exchange of energy and dynamics. That duality, and the possibility that it could go anywhere, is why we love this song so much. It also seemed like the best fit for our strengths, especially because Chris is such a powerful and intense lead guitarist.
Pete: Whenever we've gotten together to do these videos - besides the fact that it's just an awesome way to play together and explore the Dead catalog - you want to find a way to do it where you honor the various stylings of each individual player. In the video, I was trying very much to be Billy-like, do the Kreutzmann parts properly. I think Packy was going for more of those Mickey moves, leading with the rack toms and that more percussive side. We wanted to do them in a way where anybody - Dead Head or not - could listen to them.
So how will you top that for the Dead Covers Project 2014?
Chris: : Good question! We haven't even started delving in to that yet. [Laughs] We'll see. Maybe "Estimated?" Something funky, something that's got a little groove and a toughness to it.
Sounds like you each have your own musical projects. What are you each up to at the moment?
Packy: I like being a johnny-on-the-spot kind of musician, so I tend to pick up random recording sessions and production work, fleshing out other people's tracks and things like that. I also do a lot of my own songwriting and recording. I just released my first solo EP, Now Is The Time. It was mastered by David Glasser, who's been doing tons of Dead stuff lately like the Europe '72 box and the Sunshine Daydream movie. It's really cool to be working with someone in the Dead family, and it was very exciting to talk to him and pick his brain. I just did a crowd-funding campaign to raise the money to get the EP mastered and pressed on 180-gram vinyl and CD, which was a big success. They are actually cutting the lacquers right now!
Will you be touring to support it?
Packy: No plans just yet. I already tour with a chiptune-rock band called I Fight Dragons, so that takes up a lot of my road time. It's also kind of tough because I played all the instruments on the record so I would have to put together a band basically from scratch...though I do know two brothers I could hit up to fill those roles!
What about you, Chris and Pete?
Chris: I have a sort of strange musical pedigree because I got into professional music by playing gospel music on the south and west sides of Chicago. It's kind of a roundabout way that it all happened but that got me in to R&B and soul music. I do session work and play with various groups. Whenever artists come to town, I'll play guitar for them. I've played with some relatively big artists but Paul McCartney told me never to drop names...so I won't reveal any of them. [Laughs] But anyway, I've done a lot of neo-soul and I'm really into Prince and all those types of guys so that's what I do now.
Pete: My main project right now is called DEPARTURE, a Dead-based power trio with Packy on drums and Josh Oh on guitar. He's a past contributor to the Covers Project as well. We've been playing the Chicago circuit for a while, and in September we're playing at the Hyperion Music Festival in Spencer, Indiana, which will be some good exposure. This group is also in the spirit of the videos we've done, playing the Grateful Dead's music in a very youthful and explosive way. I mean, no one can do it like the Dead. No one can do it like those guys did. All three of us in DEPARTURE have had a few laughs trying to pick apart what the hell Bob Weir is doing on the guitar.
On the side, I do the same thing as Chris and Packy. I do session work and act as a fill-in guy for a lot of different artists and different types of music, and I play drums in a band called Arc Impulse that does orchestral synth rock video game covers...it's a blast.
Packy: This really represents the big lesson we've learned from the Dead - you don't have to be about one instrument or one character or one sound or one lifestyle. Getting off on music for the joy of it and contributing that joy to the universe is where it's at, whatever that particular music may be at the moment. That's a lesson we take with us to every gig.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Chris: Thank YOU for doing this. This is really quite the honor for our whole family. Our parents were the truest Dead Heads, and we really did this video as a tribute to our dad, so it means a lot to us and our family to get this feature.
Packy: Speaking of family, I have to mention our sister Liza and brother-in-law Doug, who are raising the next generation of Dead Heads as we speak. They're constantly playing shows on the stereo or the TV, and our little nieces are digging it a lot. We have hope for the future...
One more thing - keep the Dead Covers Project going! We love this project and the different kinds of artists it's turned us on to, and all the sweet performances we've seen. It's definitely bringing Dead Head musicians together in a worldwide way. Like, we would never have known about a band like the Warlocks of Tokyo if it weren’t for this project. To me, that's what it's really all about, bringing this whole Dead diaspora together!