Filling the Big Shoes...
By suggestion: so, the surviving members reunite. Who should be on lead guitar and why?
Who flew out to the coast and auditioned for Brent's job. He wasn't anything special but he was a hero in my town for dreaming and trying to make his dream come true. So many of us don't get past the dreaming part, if we do even that much!
I seriously hate to say this. I really do. But I think that I should be playing with the surviving members of the Dead.
I first heard Jerry in 1972 when I was 14 and living in England. I heard the excerpt from Dark Star and Love scene from Zabriskie Point. My world changed. Out went the guitar players I'd liked, Ritchie Blackmore, Johnny Winter, Paul Kossof, even Hendrix, and Zappa receded. I was just overwhelmed with Jerry's beauty and originality.
I immediately set about learning some of the licks. About 4 licks into Love Scene I stopped short. Wait, I thought. What I like about Garcia is that he's original, creative and different. If I just learn his licks that's not really being like him; it's not really following his example. I realised that I had to aspire to being genuinely creative myself, finding some source of creativity in myself, and allowing my own sound and style to develop. I saw that being a copier wasn't what he was about, and I didn't want it to be what I was about.
A lot of Jerry's feel has got into my playing by osmosis, and sheer exposure, but I've never been interested in playing his lines. In a lot of ways to do so seems to be completely counter to everything that he and The Grateful Dead were about. To me they were about originality, being yourself, doing your own thing, I've never really understood why some folks think that copying Jerry's lines and the tribute band feel is any way to take the music forward, or is in any real way a tribute to the Grateful Dead's originality. I feel we must push forward into creativity.
I've listened to a lot of other players over the years, hardly any I like as much as Jerry, but their influence has added to the mix. And different players do have their merits, fortes, and unique voices. But I always seem to come back to the jamming sound and feel.
I really would like an audition with any of the Grateful Dead members, but it's so difficult to even get to speak to them. If anyone out there likes my playing and would like to help, of course I would be seriously Grateful.
Here are a few musical links:
If anyone likes my playing and would like to help I'd be very grateful. I now live in the Bay area about 30 miles from where Phil and Bob live. Any kind of audition would be great.
As I said at the beginning, I hate to blow my own trumpet in this way, but you know what the song says " sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime if you don't lay 'em down".
Love and Best Wishes, Steve Burch.
.....there was only one Django(who Jerry listened to--which turned me on to him mid 70's), one Hendrix & one Jerome Garcia-- ya can't fill those shoes......ya just have to have a good time--listening --instead of being critics----let the critics do that --& don't listen to the critics--I never did-never will--- I've seen shows at JonesBeach,N.Y.--A.G.(after Garcia) years ago----& they were great shows---alas-the "spark" was missing--or else I wasn't "in Space" as in the early70's! It's like losing family members or very close friends----& in Jerry we all feel we lost both----AND THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF IT!!--to make us feel like family!! As a song I remember sez--"...many friends we have----many friends we have lost along the way.." Just one Grateful man's opinion....Keep Smilin--ALOHA--Da Roach!h
Between being an ape or a clone and playing a song the way it is supposed to be played. The problem here is that this is "jam-band" genre. So that means not only that the lead guitar has to go off on his own tangent, he needs to do that in synch with other band members.
So I guess you have to give JK credit for being able to do those two things well. I suppose it really is too much to ask Phil & Bob to keep the tempos up. Why would I be saddened by that? It's like asking your dog not to grow old. They do and they slow down. When you're not that old yet and still have the energy and memory it's just discordant.
So I am ready to blame me rather than anybody else for not being satisfied with Furthur. (Boy, that was a long process!)
just for being JK. I like him in this role but also when he can step outside it.
There's one guitarist on the scene who annoyed me so much many years ago with his slavish mimickry of Jerry's every vocal idiosyncrasy, including mispronunciation of words, that I've never gone to see any of his bands again, even though I have no idea whether he's thought better of this idea or not. That's even worse than the note-for-note clones in my view; really fingernails-on-the-blackboard stuff. But it has its fans, so there's plenty of room in the big tie-dyed tent, I guess.
Go to the archive and listen to the first 10 shows Furthur played. The original 3 and Wallingford especially.
* I don't think anybody can fill Jerry's "Big Shoes"
* JK is an excellent guitar player, especially of GD songs
After seeing my last Furthur show on 7/5/12 I don't know what to say. I had a great time. It satisfied/pacified me. I know this is really about Phil & Bob at their ages right now -- but it could be so much more...
I just wonder sometimes. If you were really excellent at what you did, but you weren't the original one to do it... If the company who made it came up to you and said: "We want you to do your thing with our product. Not that you'll have total freedom... No, you'll have to do what we say. You're under our thumb. But you get it all -- The money; The babes; The spotlight. Would you do it?
Whatever you wish to keep, you better grab it fast.
I don't know if anyone else is having the experience of hearing a new-ish song and going Dang! Jer could have done such a great version of that...
The other day I had the occasion to listen to Dylan's "Things Have Changed" (2000) after a long hiatus, and thought how Jer could have just nailed it.
Imagining it, while good, is not as good as the real thing though. Maybe the hologram Jerry will do it.
be careful out there and come back safe.
I just want them to try to put on the best show they can for the crowd. After listening to some of the shows on this tour and hearing the ovation after Brokedown last night I;d say they're doing a good job. I t hink Furthur has been improving each tour and I've felt some magic moments listening lately. That's just my opinion. Oh yeah, if you don't see me around here for a bit, don't worry about me.
...is that while I enjoy going to Furthur shows and they are the closest thing to a GOGD show from back in the day, they dont speak to my soul the way the GD did. I've talked to a lot of friends about this and I find that folks seem to be in one of three main "camps":
1. JK is amazing and the 'Jerry sound' is alive and well so they're all good.
2. JK is a Jerry clone and they want nothing to do with this side-band incarnation.
3. JK is a Jerry clone but they're willing to either overlook it, or sort of ignore it to have that show experience and to enjoy other band members.
I think I personally fall into the third camp because I can still enjoy a Furthur show with JK, but I sort of tune him out unless I find him playing more like himself and not like Jerry, and that's when I appreciate him more. I do find it really odd though, that people who vehemently love JK will typically say that he's his own man and isn't a Jerry clone but then they usually go on to say that it's so great that he can sound just like Jerry much of the time. Seems a bit contradictory to me but what do I know?
I feel that JK was a lazy choice for the Boys to make. In fact, I was rather shocked when in one interview I heard Bobby say that he was an easy choice because he already knew all the songs even better than they - Phil and Bobby - did. I'm sure he's a really nice guy, but that's just a weird reason to hire someone to fill such big shoes, unless your main goal is to be sort of a tribute band and you want/need to simulate as closely as possible, the actual original sound. Conversely, I've also heard that Steve Kimmock is a really difficult person to work/play with, but you know what? Jerry loved him apparently, and I've seen Steve in person and he's phenomenal. He's definitely his own artist and isn't trying to recreate another artist's sound, if you will. And that is the exact point where JK loses me. When he plays in a non-Jerry like way I prefer him much more. When he plays "just like Jerry", to me it's recreating something that was meant to be 'in the moment' anyway. If we think about the whole raison d'etre of the GOGD, wasn't much of it about creating music in and of the moment? "When we're finished playing a show, we're done with it so the tapers/fans can have it..." Like those old shows where they played based on their mood or where one of them was going in that moment, sans set lists?
Today's Furthur - with the pre-determined set lists and Bobby's constant hand signals instructing band members on what to do next - feels very rehearsed to me. I don't feel that same "whoa!" when they jam now because even the jams are restrained and rehearsed compared to what was. And yes, I cannot help comparing because I was fortunate to see many Jerry shows, both with and without the GD, so how can one not compare when the same music is being played today? People like to say "Furthur is taking it further, mannn..." but I just don't see that at all. They've found a lead guitarist who simulates Jerry to the extreme, they mix up some of the set lists and song pairings, etc. I just don't see that as really taking it all that much further, but then again, YMMV and all that!
Lastly (and then I'll be quiet), I just don't think a person who has made their entire career based on copying note for note, another musician, can then step into that musician's shoes and suddenly be himself and stop copying. Here's the defining difference to me - Jerry created each note *in that moment*. He was a creative artist, drawing on years of influence, knowledge and participation in a myriad of other musical genres, not to mention a life well-lived. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but even when it didn't, I could feel him out there on a limb, reaching for something new to create. He had an artistic vision and drive and was willing to fail in order to sometimes succeed in incredible moments. With JK, I just feel overall that he's trying to play the way Jerry played. He is very proficient to be sure. But I personally don't feel he is a creative artist in the way Jerry was. And therein lies the difference, and a rather huge one at that. So I guess after nearly two years of Furthur, I'm still not thrilled with this lead guitar replacement but I have accepted that for whatever reasons, it's not likely to change so I enjoy what I can from it, and turn to my GOGD music when I need to feel something more deeply.
*steps off soapbox and back into the shadows*