The Grateful Dead's Vince Welnick will join Chicago-based jamband Jack Straw for five shows starting next Tuesday. So what's Vince been up to?
What would you do if you were an amazing musician that has played in The Grateful Dead and The Tubes, as well as with musicians such as Todd Rundgren and Chuck Berry, and you found yourself in the comforts of your Northern California home, wanting to get out and jam with all sorts of musicians, all across the land? Well, if you're Vince Welnick, you DO IT! And that is what brings Vince to the great Midwest for five shows from November 6 - 10 with Chicago-based jamband Jack Straw! This will be a rare opportunity for fans of Vince and The Dead alike to see this living legend up close and personal.
We had the chance to interview Vince recently, and we spent close to an hour on the phone discussing a variety of topics. When asked about his recent experiences playing with different musicians, Vince replied, "In Arizona, I played with The Wailin Coyotes, a Hopie Navajo Indian reggae band, Extra Ticket, a Dead cover band, and Ashbury Park, a band that plays all originals." I also had the opportunity to sit in a couple of times with Les Claypool and String Cheese, which was a lot of fun."
When asked how he hooked up with Jack Straw, Vince answered, "There were some festivals I had been doing, like Vince Welnick a la carte in Colorado and back east. I got hooked up with Jon Gram, the lead guitarist and singer for Jack Straw, and we decided we wanted to play some gigs together. The gigs at the time didn't pan out so we decided to book a week of gigs around the Midwest in November."
We also spoke to Barry Brown, keyboardist with Jack Straw. He laughed when asked about his role on the keys during the Vince shows. "Yeah, a lot of people have been asking me 'So what are YOU going to do when Vince is up there?' Like the guy is taking over my job or something. Actually, I'm really looking forward to playing along with Vince, adding where I can and laying low when I should."
"I do remember a number of Grateful Dead shows where both Bruce Hornsby and Vince played. I guess I'll just try and do my best Hornsby imitation. It's going to be very cool - I'll be playing a lot of hammond organ also, which Vince doesn't play. But hey, in the great spirit of this music, much of it is going to be figured out as we play along. That's what makes it fun - and a bit scary!"
Of the double keyboard attack and Barry's contribution, Vince added, "Actually, Barry came down and sat in with me the last time I was in Chicago for the Sundog Festival, so Barry and I have worked together. He's not afraid of me. He can play!"
We also asked Barry what fans can expect from these shows, musically speaking. "Well, as far as songs go, of course we plan on doing a bunch of Dead tunes. There are some that Jerry or Bobby used to sing that Vince will be singing lead on. There are also a few tunes that Vince wrote for the Dead, and a couple of very cool covers that he likes to do."
But in order to find out what songs in particular, you'll have to head to one of the shows. "I'll never tell," Barry says. "Come see for yourself! We'll also be doing some of the other covers we like to play, and I'm hoping to throw in a Phish tune or two each show. Vince isn't that familiar with their music, but he is willing to jam along with practically anything we want to play."
Does that mean maybe hearing Vince jam out on "Harry Hood" with you guys? "I don't know about that, but maybe something fun and groovin like 'Ya Mar' or 'My Soul.' We'll just take it show by show and see what happens."
So take it from us, midwestern heads... GO SEE JACK STRAW AND VINCE!!! We promise it will be a night that will be hard to forget. You can catch JACK STRAW with VINCE WELNICK in Chicago on Nov. 6; Kalamazoo, MI, on Nov. 7; Indianapolis, IN, on Nov. 8; Urbana, IL, on Nov. 9; and West Chicago, IL on Nov. 10. Shows on the 6th, 8th and 10th are ages 21 and over. Shows on the 7th and 9th are ages 18 and over. Tickets for all shows are only $8 ($6 in Urbana on Nov. 9th).
For more information, visit www.JackStrawBand.com. And remember to check out our website at www.phishradio.fm.
Peace and Love,
Bob and Ron
Chicago JamBase Freaks!