Grateful Dead & Burton: Getting To Know Dead Head Boarder Danny Davis
Snowboarder Danny Davis has been bringing "fire" to the mountain since long before he went pro. As a collaborator on Burton's Easy Livin' series, he's now literally bringing the Grateful Dead with him too. Find out why Danny is fit to spread the grateful gospel to a whole new generation of Dead Heads in our exclusive interview.
How and when did you first discover the Dead?
Well I'm sure I heard it here and there growing up, but when I first really discovered and started to really enjoy the music was in Vermont. I had just bought a car and moved out of my parent’s house in Michigan. I was staying with one of my best buddies, Kevin Pearce. And there was a radio station that played strictly Grateful Dead at a certain time of the evening - we loved it and jammed out to it.
Is there a particular GD era that speaks to you musically?
Well, I definitely like it all. Except 80's, I'm not much into 80's Dead. But musically I think the early stuff is best. When Pigpen was rippin. I like all the gambling songs and all the early bluesy/bluegrass days. I love New Riders of the Purple Sage, when Jerry was pickin banjo. All that good old stuff.
How does the community factor in to your love of the band?
For me, being so young and not being able to have experienced it, the people and the following of the band intrigued me so much. The more books I read on the Dead, and on Jerry, the more I started to learn that for a lot of folks it was like religion - but with no guidelines or rules. And what is so cool is that it brings people together who may not have ever met. Like I have come to meet so many cool people because of my love for this kind of music. So many people see the snowboards and stickers and Sead apparel that I have worn in the past and we strike up conversation because they used to be, or are a Dead Head. So it’s a cool family, and it’s all about loving music.
Do you find a crossover between the Grateful Dead lifestyle and the boarding lifestyle?
For sure! Like I said earlier, all kinds of people meet because of their love for a certain thing. I have met a lot of cool people I wouldn't have met just because I love snowboarding, and they do too. There are some weird folks who love snowboarding. Just like there are some strange people who love the Dead. People would travel all over the country and world to see the Dead just as people travel all over the country and world for good snow and to shred deep pow. I suppose you could compare some folk’s love for Jerry, like some folks love for deep powder.
Tell us about the Frends crew!
Well the Frends crew started as just a group of friends who snowboard together, and believe that there is no "I" in Frends. Just like the idea there is no "I" in team. Life and experiences are better when you have buddies to share it with. We all love all kinds of music and wanted to bring all our friends together to celebrate in that passion and that’s how the Frendly Gathering music festival came to be. We created a place where we could all meet each other’s friends, enjoy a big variety of music, camp in the woods and chill for 3 days. It's all about friendship.☺
What Grateful Dead iconography inspires you most? And what do you think of the new GD boards?
I think all the artwork is what makes the Grateful Dead so cool. The Steal Your Face and Skull and Roses and all of the Stanley Mouse and Rick Griffin artwork is just so sick and I always thought it would look so good on a snowboard. I think the boards came out amazing! I don't think I will ever want to ride another graphic.
What will be your go-to board of choice this season for all around mountain riding?
Well I mostly ride the Easy Livin’ board. Mainly because I have been working on this board for a few years with Burton and we have built a board that I feel rides best for my style. Pipe, park, pow, and even rails. I love the shape and bend of the board and it’s just a great all around board for me.
What are you looking forward to right now?
Well, as of about a month ago I broke my femur. So, I'm pretty much just looking forward to walking! (laughing) Joking aside, I'm really excited for winter and even more stoked to see fucking Further this week.