JamBase Questionnaire: Dark Star Orchestra

Welcome to JamBase's new weekly feature where we put a baker's dozen of probing, wide-ranging questions to the bright lights in the jam scene and beyond in order to expose juicy tidbits about their musical minds. In the weeks ahead we'll hear from Cornmeal, Robert Walter, David Murphy of Sound Tribe Sector 9, saxophone marvel Jeff Coffin and more!

Rob Barraco by James Young
Some musicians exude the aura of lifers, folks who couldn't do something else if they wanted to. The universe put 'em here to wrangle notes from the air and give the rest of us something to hum as we skip past the graveyard. Rob Barraco is this type of player. He gives one the sense that there's nowhere else he feels quite so alive and engaged as he does behind his keyboards in Dark Star Orchestra, where his nimble fingers and inviting, pliable voice plumb the Grateful Dead catalog about as well as anyone has – including the originators of this music themselves. And Barraco's been at it much longer than DSO, a veteran of Phil Lesh & Friends, The Zen Tricksters, Chris Robinson's New Earth Mud, The Other Ones and The Dead, in addition to once being the house keyboardist for The Cosby Show. In 2007, he released under-sung gem When We All Come Home, a jazz-tinged solo album with lyrics by Robert Hunter. Barraco is a fantastic combination of barrelhouse feel, academy chops and homegrown intuitive knack. He sings each number with abundant heart, too. And he has perhaps the largest collection of tie-dye headbands on God's green earth. (Dennis Cook)

Here's what Mr. Barraco had to say to our inquiries.

1. Great music rarely happens without...

2. The first album I bought was...
Beatles '65

3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was...
"Unbroken Chain"

4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be...
John Lennon

5. My favorite sort of gig is...
Soft seater, 2500-capacity theatre

6. One thing I wish people knew about me is...
How much of a jazz freak I am.

7. I love the sound of...
I can't write what I want to write, but it has to do with freaky sex!

8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as...
Wake of the Flood (Grateful Dead)

9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at...
The Morocco Café in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

10. I always find the coolest audiences in...
San Francisco

11. The worst habit I've picked up being on the road all the time is...
Wanting to be alone all the time

12. The Beatles or the Stones? Por qué?
The Beatles. Better songwriters

13. The craziest thing I ever saw was...
The guy with Tourette's with a big club in his hand on the train going into Manhattan to play with Phil at the Beacon. He kept telling me how much of a fan he was while being extremely menacing with the club!

For more on DSO check our recent feature.

Dark Star Orchestra Tour Dates :: Dark Star Orchestra News :: Dark Star Orchestra Concert Reviews

JamBase | Shining
Go See Live Music!


[Published on: 4/8/10]

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!



To read comments and participate in this story, please visit the Articles forum »