By Amanda Wicks
Three of the four remaining “core members” of the Grateful Dead will be playing a set of shows that start at October’s end in New York. Touting themselves as Dead & Company, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann will be joined by John Mayer.
No stranger to playing with the Dead, Trey Anastasio talked about his part in the band’s Fare Thee Well tour earlier this year. In an interview with Relix Magazine (via Billboard), he discussed taking part in the tour, saying, “All I wanted was for them to be happy. It was terrifying for me in that nobody can stand where [Jerry Garcia] stood. But I was there in order for everyone to be together again, one more time, singing these songs.”
Before Anastasio set out with the band, pop-star Adam Lambert offered up advice about how to step into a rock god’s shoes. Answer: be yourself while paying tribute. “I think it would have been kind of tacky if I got up there and imitated Freddie,” Lambert said in an interview with Radio.com.
One of the biggest things Anastasio learned as a result of playing with the Dead was how to cultivate patience. Weir kept telling Anastasio to slow down on songs. Describing Weir, Anastasio said, “He is patient, comfortable–no rush. Sometimes I’d be like, ‘You really want to play this song that slow?'” It was an interesting lesson in letting music breath.
As for the Dead’s infamous jams, that took some getting used to, even for someone with Anastasio’s jam band background. “I love to jam,” he said. “I love to jam long. But even for me, the time would come when I’d think, ‘This is too noodle-y. Let’s play the next song.’ I would do something, a lick, that gently alluded to it. Then Phil would look over at me and put his hand up, like, ‘What’s your rush, dude?’
Anastasio didn’t go into much detail when asked about John Mayer’s role in Dead & Company. “This thing he’s doing with them,” he said, “it will go on for however long it’s gonna go on. What I was saying was: ‘You and I, this is not our band.'”