TEA LEAF GREEN: LIVING THE DREAM

 
I feel like if the story of the band is to be told, then what's happened so far is the prequel. This is sort of the starting point. We've climbed our way to where many bands start once they get plugged into the band machine, but we've always been there and now these opportunities are the starting point and everything else has been preparation so that we can make the most of these opportunities... If I ever get nervous about it or think it's scary, I know that I've got these three other guys and the music we make together to fall back on. We've been falling back on each other for so long that we know we can barge through whatever obstacle are in front of us.
-Josh Clark
 
Photo by Josh Miller

One undeniable aspect of Tea Leaf Green's recent growth spurt is the role of the Internet. The band maintains an extremely active and well-run website (www.tealeafgreen.com), which is anchored by "The Forum" - a community of several hundred that has grown to be a melting pot where fans can freely express their passions for the band, set-up group bus trips to nearby shows, and even arrange housing for out-of-town friends during extended weekends. The band also boasts an impressive 163 live shows available for download on Archive.org (check out - 1/20/05 and - 3/29/03) and has had several recent shows featured on the popular Nugs.network.


Trevor Garrod & Fans by Susan J. Weiand
Beyond all other factors, it is likely the Tea Leaf Green fans that have played the most nurturing and progressive role in the artistic and word-of-mouth evolution of the band. Often seen passing out flyers for upcoming shows, the hard cores can also be seen egging the band on to explore new ways to spin a show in a different direction or to bust out a long forgotten tune. The band often responds in kind, granting secret requests or melding one song into another and back again.

Josh speaks openly about the relationship with the band's fans:

"That's what's so great about our fans. They're there, and you know that they're there to embrace whatever it is that you can throw at them. You can sense that they're waiting to see how the story unfolds. They don't know because it unfolds differently every time. That may be the difference between a tour you go see where every stop the sets are banged out the same from start to finish. That's a science all in its own, but you go to three Barry Manilow shows in a row, you've got it for the whole tour. That's great, and I'll wait for him to come back to town. I won't go to the next show."


Trevor & Josh :: TLG by Dave Vann
"We're more of a traveling improvisational circus in that you can come to more than one show. You're gonna get a lot of the same songs, but they're never the same because there is this exploring realm to try and make the song explode in certain ways or to bring it down. You can do it anyway you want, and it's great to have an audience of people that is encouraging you to do that. It's a musicians dream to have fans wanting you to change and to evolve constantly. It's a blessing and a curse probably, but more of a blessing."

"For me, I think that a Tea Leaf Green fan up until this point is a really, really enthusiastic hard-core music lover. These are the kind of people that listen to music everyday, are constantly listening, trading, partying. They love the concert experience more than the average person. Your average person might see a show once every few months. These are people whose entire lifestyle is centered around music. It's fun to play to people like that. Otherwise we'd be playing for nobody. We're not easily going to them like other heavily marketed bands are – these are people that are coming to us."


TLG at Bonnaroo '05
by Dave Vann
This past summer, Tea Leaf Green had another major career milestone as they were selected to play the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN. Taking the stage early Saturday afternoon to a crowd which grew to over 10,000, it was to be a major turning point of exposure for a band that had struggled thus far to really break through the barriers. Whatever factors had to align for the band to get to this point in their career, it was clear from the start it was their moment for the taking. No amount of planning, managing, booking, or publicity can ever replace the experience of a band stepping up and nailing it when they're put on the spot. Many of those who were witness to the set walked away with a new favorite band.

Josh relates the experience:

"That was definitely a milestone in our career. However it pans out, I'll never forget it. Pure adrenaline. I was really taken aback by the sea of people. This thing that you've seen pictures of but you've never been in front of – it was fun and awesome and definitely a dreamlike state. It's definitely been the most obvious example of the kind of year we've been fortunate enough to be having. We've had lots of opportunities come our way and doors opening for us this year, and we're very grateful for it."

It is both these new opportunities and Tea Leaf Green's ability to deliver a remarkably exciting performance each night that have continued to propel them to the next level. While they may have gone through a few long rough spots over the years, it is clear that the stars are aligning for them to be turned on to more and more people everyday. Whatever the future holds for Tea Leaf Green, it is clear that 2005 was a huge burst of momentum for their career. They played more shows to more new fans than at any point in their lives and were given the opportunities about which most artists only dream. Charged with busloads of potential for the future, there is truly no telling where Tea Leaf Green may go from here.

As our talk that spanned several days came to a close Josh smiled as he spoke:


Tea Leaf Green by Dave Vann
"I feel like if the story of the band is to be told, then what's happened so far is the prequel. This is sort of the starting point. We've climbed our way to where many bands start once they get plugged into the band machine, but we've always been there and now these opportunities are the starting point and everything else has been preparation so that we can make the most of these opportunities. I don't think we could have been able to get here had we not been fighting so hard and playing together as long as we have. If I ever get nervous about it or think it's scary, I know that I've got these three other guys and the music we make together to fall back on. We've been falling back on each other for so long that we know we can barge through whatever obstacle are in front of us and take advantage of the opportunities that come our way as well."

"Hopefully I can feel comfortable that we're giving people something that's an honest expression of fun and novel songs. What's most important to me are songs that have a little bit more of a personal meaning, that they are relatable from the human experience that we're all collectively experiencing. We're not necessarily here to teach anybody anything; we're here to share."

Check out Tea Leaf Green on JamCam.

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[Published on: 12/20/05]

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Comments

glkaiser starstarstarstar Tue 12/20/2005 03:33PM
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These guys rock.

SaltyDog starstarstar Tue 12/20/2005 03:33PM
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SaltyDog

Independent should be fun...

Looking forward to seeing the Estate open on 12/30.

jasonthehead starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/20/2005 04:05PM
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jasonthehead

Great story, with some fantastic quotes and anecdotes from the band. Oh yeah, they're a great f**king band as well, did I forget to say that? Another explosive year is coming for TLG in 2006.

Jibooer starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/20/2005 04:08PM
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Jibooer

simply stated, 'cheers' to that guy.

and to you andy g. great job.

-Chris OB

"wave of the future"

twist2piper starstarstarstar Tue 12/20/2005 05:37PM
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Ho-Hum. I've been to many Tea Leaf shows and my mind has been blown zero times. Good music for the background while you chat with friends I guess. I also have hung out with the band several times and their ego's are staggering. Just an opinion...

Marcsmall Tue 12/20/2005 06:47PM
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Marcsmall

Very average band......and that's putting it nicely

Bear starstarstarstarstar Tue 12/20/2005 07:14PM
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Bear

Go Tea Leaf Green! Best songs and, especially, lyrics, of any band I've loved since The Grateful Dead. Lyrics that really talk to me about my life--resonate strongly. Lots of bands can shred, but to shred and have such great, deep SONGS--that's something special.

I don't know what Twist2Piper is talking about, unless he caught them at a bad time when overwhelmed. I've only known those guys as funny and humble guys. They are characters to be sure, so maybe just took them the wrong way. In fact, they are probably the funniest band to hang out with ever, with the PlateFaces and Gorillas and Sasquatches running around and all. Every time I stopped by their camp at High Sierra last summer, something funny was always going on.

totalot starstarstarstar Tue 12/20/2005 10:01PM
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I agree with twist2piper. Though this is a solid article and I respect TLG....they just dont do anything for me. There is no need to recreate the Dead and that is exactly who they are and what they are doing....not all too inspiring....

baits420 starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 05:54AM
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I think TLG straight up shreds. These guys are sick, and def. a huge part in the future of the jam scene

BigA starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 06:12AM
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BigA

It's been a pleasure to listen and watch this band evolve over the years. While they proudly wear their musical and lyrical influences on their sleeves, they have created their own unmistakeable sound.
The new album, TTBP, is a fantastic representation of their body of work, and has already spent considerable amount of time in my player.
Sky's the limit for these guys, IMHO. Nice article bro'.

zepptrekker starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 06:19AM
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Fantastic article Andy. I love the extended quotes from Josh, they give great insight into his thinking and the band's mindset. It would have been nice, though, to hear from some of the other members, especially Trevor.

I have been listening to TLG incessantly for the past month or so; I just downloaded the soundboards from their website, and they are totally blowing me away.

This band is poised for greatness.

TLGskn starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 07:57AM
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besides this article being about my favorite band, Andy G did a great job in writing this. I really enjoyed this article because it details how they got where they were today and how much of a monumental year they've had for themselves.

I've got to agree that I don't know what twist2piper was commenting on. As jlg13 said, maybe you just caught them at a bad moment because these guys are some of the greatest musicians i've ever met. I remember 2nd show, Josh came down and sat down with me before the show and talked to me for 20 minutes about life on the road, etc... The band was just tweeking their sound on stage, and Josh pops right off to come down and speak to me... It was pretty cool. I've always had really great experiences with the band myself but I guess sometimes you can catch anyone in a bad mood..

great article, great fucking band, 2006 is only going to be better!

"Let's All Ride Together!"

Teabagger starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 09:27AM
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Teabagger

I love these guys! jlg13 is right on the mark. TLG's lyrics are what separates these guys from the rest of the pack.

Great article. Loved the insider info and history.

Buckner starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 09:33AM
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This is the band that moves me. They bring it each night, every night. I am one of those fist pumpers waiting for them as they arrive back on this planet after some stellar, orbit flying rock jam (think Hanzerbeak, or Panspermic, or Sex). Can't wait to see what they have in store for us in '06. Great article Andy, with great insights into the band of the future...(Twist2Piper - why do you keep goig back for more? If it's not your thing, okay, but chiming in with your personal negativity serves no purpose.) Buckner

Wilson75 starstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 10:35AM
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SO I read the article figured that I would listen to the selected show and see if my previous thoughts were wrong. I just don't get it Mr. Gadiel...to me the lyrics seem boring, the singing subpar, songs generic, and the band failing to keep up with the skill of Josh Clark. Nothing new here and with the lyrics and singing I can't even listen. I guess you can't like it all!

brandonsworth starstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 11:13AM
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Great article about a very good band - good to hear Josh tell their story.

I respectfully disagree with the opinions of the ney-sayers, but can help finding it ironic that the guys with the Phish-related handles are throwing around terms like "singing subpar" and "egos are staggering" ;)

D-Evolution starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 11:58AM
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D-Evolution

Great job Andy, that means a lot coming from the jambase founder - I am glad you care so much about such a pure band. Josh's sense of humor really comes through in his quotes, and also in his music, somehow. I was hooked ever since late night at Wakarusa 2005, rock-the-fuck on!!

madaeb1 starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 01:16PM
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madaeb1

Well written, paints a great picture AG!

TLG and UMPH, that's where its at.

phistory starstar Wed 12/21/2005 01:20PM
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That article about put me to sleep just like TLG does. I have seen these guys about 15 times...even went to the NYE show at GAMH with ALO and had to leave the show out of boredom. I dont know why I grew bored..I think the lack of drugs in my life has something to do with it. Anyway...glad these guys are doing well...they are really nice kids.

Dgold starstarstarstarstar Wed 12/21/2005 04:08PM
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Dgold

When Josh Clark said this about HIGH SIERRA: "It's a beautiful creative community of artists and fans where the creative spirits aren't just relegated to the bands. Everyone can be an artist. It was eye opening."

... I think Josh was also talking about Jambase and the writers and photographers, painters and screenprinters, dancers and thinkers who add to, flourish within, and indeed create the atmosphere around the music. Together we are the music.

You know, Josh Clark is a visual artist as well. He painted the album covers, the original logos, and some posters of Tea Leaf Green.

Paintbrush, guitar, pen-in-hand, let's make some noise! Love,Dgold

Jamayka Wed 12/21/2005 07:38PM
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TLG stole the show from Trey in Dekalb. Watch out for them on the upcoming Best of Jambase Vol 1 cd (coming Spring '06).

phhil Wed 12/21/2005 08:57PM
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phhil

how come the only people who posted that they dont like these guys are saying how many times they have seen them? like: ive seen them 15 times and dont like them, or ive seen them so many times and was impressed zero. thats just so odd to me.

bigchris starstarstarstarstar Thu 12/22/2005 01:43PM
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Great article AG. Best since the Moistboyz interview on JB. I like Josh's comments of "giving to the fans". Of all the bands I've met over the years, TLG might be the most "ego-free" of them all, nice dudes. I hope they keep that raw, rocking sound that made me a big fan, don't get too slick! That 6am show at JazzFest was something to experience, kept me moving after 40+ hrs of rockin' out. It's doesn't surprise me Phish fans don't get the TLG, they're more used to the self-indulgent wank-fest powered by hallucigenics and crappy vegan lot food. I hope the Green never heads in that direction, and keeps it fresh. I'd like to hear Josh sing more in '06, which should be great year for the boys.

joemertz starstarstarstarstar Thu 12/22/2005 07:28PM
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In my opinion this was a magnificent article. To transform a boring and lack luster band suck as TLG sound like the new hope deserves praise. Good journalism, sub-par music.

matt3 Sun 12/25/2005 11:29AM
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i usually dont do this ...and i really enjoy his guitar work ....but why do people continue to cover Rage against the machine....merry your day

peace

phunguy starstarstarstar Thu 12/29/2005 12:27PM
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phunguy

Great article. Thanks. Sorry for those of you that don't 'get it', but if your still want to give them a try, I suggest getting a copy of the HSMF main stage show from this past summer (05) and give a good listen. The lyrics Trevor writes are very moving and his style is impressive. Add that with a ripping Guitar and a solid drum and bass, what else do you need? You want some fun to go with your serious jams? Got that too~! Hits from the bong>Snoop Dog is a nice seg. -sutch

erhoade starstarstarstarstar Fri 12/30/2005 03:22PM
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Great article Andy. I agree with Buckner...this is the band that moves me. I've been watching them since 2002 and EVERY show I see, they just get better, even if it's the second night of a 2-night run. They attack their music with such honesty that I can't help to let myself groove to every tune.

TLG makes the world a better place.

I'll see you SF people on NYE sharing the good times in the front row.

livingcolor starstarstar Mon 1/2/2006 10:27PM
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I didn't read one disrespectful comment about TLG from a phish fan, they maybe said they don't get TLG, or its not for them, but thats it. I think it sucks when people diss on a band that you think is special, so all you trendy phish haters, get a life.

gcloar starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/3/2006 10:07AM
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"Generation TLG" has offically begun...
-G

ToddWalton starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/17/2006 01:57PM
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been listin to tlg since 2004 these guys are the next best thing since jambase cant wait till they head back to VA

rpmills starstarstarstarstar Wed 1/18/2006 04:03PM
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These guys kill it...very fun shows and setlists. Garrod can write like no other and the rest of the band is cool as shit. The quote about inviting everyone back to their place after buying everyone a shot is no bullshit. I've seen these guys play in a San Francisco apartment that was the size of a small walk-in closet. And they still rocked that shit. Fuck the naysayers, go somewhere else to complain and talk about "how much better your favortie band is".
Tea Leaf Green 2006!!!
ps. Check out Coffee Bean Brown, it's TLG's alter-ego band; same band members, just a little different flavor.