Remember way back in June and July, when the four remaining core members of the Grateful Dead played five concerts dubbed “Fare Thee Well” that were billed as “the original members’ last-ever performances together,” or something like that? Well, it took all of a month for three of the four to come back together once more for another round, this time under the moniker Dead & Company.
And this time, Bob Weir, Micky Hart and Bill Kreutzmann are bringing along guitarist John Mayer, yea “Your Body is a Wonderland” John Mayer, to round out the crew. Only Phil Leash is sitting out the Company, to continue playing at Terrapin Crossroads as Phil & Friends.
Dead & Company have also already announced their first gig, performing on Halloween at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Not a bad debut, as the venue has been a popular spot for the Dead through the last five decades.Tickets for the concert go on sale to the general public on Friday, August 14.
According to a Billboard article, Weir says, “Those songs weren’t done with us.” Billboard also reports that Mayer has been jamming with “select members” of the Dead and learning Jerry’s parts of the songs since March, meaning this new incarnation has been in the works for awhile now. No telling if the $50 million payday all those “Fare Thee Well” shows generated was involved in the decisions as well, but fans online have already noticed a striking similarity in Dead & Company’s logo to that of another group of innovators.
It began all the way back in February, right after their West Coast tour and a recording session with J Robbins that apparently didn’t go smoothly. Friends of friends delivered the news that Thorns of Life broke up, and while I knew Aaron was out of the band, I thought Blake might at least find another drummer and keep the name.
Now, the long-running rumors about Thorns of Life breaking up can be made official.
Blake Schwarzenbach writes on his Facebook account: “the name of this band is forgetters. (no “the,” no capital “f.”) we played our first show on August 22nd in Crown Heights. members are: blake (guitar/vocal); caroline (bass/seaweed); kevin (drums).
“Kevin” looks to possibly be Kevin Mahon, the original drummer for Against Me, and “Caroline” fulfills Blake’s standing wish for a female bassist. Here’s hoping that some of the cherished Thorns of Life songs (the Gilman download is here) stay afloat under this new banner, and more importantly, that this band lasts. I’m glad Blake didn’t retreat back into musical hibernation for another six years. For now, though, there’s two burning questions.
1) What’s to become of the master tapes from the Thorns of Life studio recording?
2) Is forgetters a better or worse name than Thorns of Life?
More news as it arrives.