THE ROCKIN' CHAIR: FREE (AGENCY) WORLD

By Tom Speed


Vaught-Hemingway Stadium
It's Fall now, and that means football, especially here in the South where college football is more religion than sporting event. Tens of thousands of people — nearly a hundred thousand in most places — flock to "church" in places like Knoxville and Baton Rouge and Athens, and yes, even Oxford, where the population quadruples on football Saturdays to make Vaught-Hemingway Stadium the second-largest city in the state of Mississippi.

Alas, the Rebels are a "young team" in another "rebuilding" year (hey, we are playing 15 true freshmen), and so while my loyalty doesn't fade in years like this, my attention does wander. It's wandering mostly to my New Orleans Saints, who as I write this, are sitting pretty at 6-2 and in possession of first place in the NFC South. As a lifelong Saints fan, I've been there for the ups and downs (mostly downs) for decades, but I have a good feeling about this bunch. Pro football is more and more about free agency these days, and I'm quite pleased with the Saints off-season acquisitions.


Jimmy Herring by Aaron Williams
In other news, free agency seems to be spreading in the music world too. The biggest shuffling was in the lead guitarist spot for Widespread Panic, where George McConnell has stepped aside after starting on lead for the past four years to be replaced by the veteran journeyman, Jimmy Herring. Then there's the ever-revolving-door situation with The Black Crowes, Particle is back to one guitar, The Mars Volta have shed two drummers in almost as many months, and now Junior Ruppel has left the Jackmormons. For whatever reason, it seems all of my favorite teams and bands are in a rebuilding year.

All of this, and perhaps the combination of all-day football and lots of bourbon, has caused me to ponder the possibility of what free agency will look like in the rock & roll world. Most bands are on their Fall Tours now, but the Fall Tour also wraps up the year for most. So we'll have a few weeks to execute some trades and other maneuvers before the 2007 season kicks off with Spring Tours and the Spring Festivals (which to me, officially starts with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April).

Here are a few off-season trades that I propose:


Buckethead by Tony Stack
Cameron Williams (Tishamingo) to Umphrey's McGee for Brendan Bayliss:
Williams will supply some much-needed soul to Umphrey's while Bayliss will help market tickets to Tish's existent-but-waning backward-hat-wearing demographic.

moe. signs Buckethead:
Concert tickets will come with a Surgeon General's warning: consuming this concert may cause brain to implode.

Jason Isbell (Drive-By Truckers) to Gov't Mule for Danny Louis:
The Mule is thin at the songwriting position, while the Truckers are three-deep. Who knows what the acquisition of Louis by the Truckers will mean? But it might be good to have at least one guy sitting down.

Theresa Andersson signs with
Hot Buttered Rum:

...increasing the visual aesthetic quality of this band by exactly 100%.

Trey Anastasio signs with Phil Lesh:
Come on, these two need to be playing together full-time, for at least one year. Phil seems to be really challenged and having a great time when he has Trey as his foil (of course, when doesn't he?), and it'd do Trey some good to play some shows where his name is not at the top of the marquee.


Trey & Phil at Vegoose by Michael Jurick
Keller Williams signs with String Cheese Incident:
Just get it over with already you two. This is worse than Sam and Diane on Cheers. Or as my wife told me, "Tom, say Kate and Jack on Lost, the Cheers reference shows your age!"

North Mississippi Allstars pick up George McConnell off the waiver wire:
This lineup would definitely live up to its billing and would be a real winner for Les Paul fans everywhere.

Warren Haynes signs with Outformation:
Fearing that he is not playing in enough bands, Warren Haynes will sign with Outformation, who will begin playing post-show gigs after the Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule.


Grace Potter by Jake Krolick
Sam Holt to
Drive-By Truckers:

The departure of Isbell leaves a void, and the Truckers benefit from a ...what's this? ...a guitar solo.

A Guitarist-To-Be-Named-Later to Les Claypool's Fancy Band:
The novelty of the sitar was fun and everything, but please.

Grace Potter to Galactic:
For those of us who liked a dollop of vocals with our funk, Potter will be a welcome addition to the lineup.

Ben Kaufman (Yonder Mountain String Band) to Railroad Earth:
Kaufman will provide some needed height to the RRE offense.

I also suspect that Tea Leaf Green and Perpetual Groove are in talks to trade certain parts of their name with each other, and that Robert Randolph may become the franchise player in an expansion team, but you get the idea. This could be fun. Rock & roll would just be so much better if we would just apply the cold calculation of professional sports to it.

Wouldn't it?

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[Published on: 11/2/06]

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Comments

jmintz starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 05:51PM
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jmintz

"North Mississippi Allstars pick up George McConnell off the waiver wire: This lineup would definitely live up to its billing and would be a real winner for Les Paul fans everywhere."

God bless George - he was doomed from the start - but....no. This acquisition wouldn't be good for anyone.

Sorry Tom - other than that, love the piece.

schmirtz star Wed 11/8/2006 05:54PM
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Dumbest article ever. While we're at it, let's trade Vince Neil to the Wailers, Eric Clapton to Hanson, and Steven Perry to Medeski, Martin, and Wood.

shpilkie starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 06:24PM
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shpilkie

please don't be mean on these comments. Obviously there is just fun being had. Thanx jambase.... you make me smile. And a "yes please" for the trey/ lesh and keller incident calls.
peace

StSchneir Wed 11/8/2006 07:00PM
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i believe the licks of brenden is all the soul that umphrey's needs. and his vocals are damn good, that trade is the dumbest thing ever

Matterson52 starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 08:07PM
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Honestly, 2 out of 4 Jambase readers can't take a simple joke? Are you serious? Some funny ideas in there, and I think SCI should do a full Keller Williams Incident tour again given their imminent line-up change. Now back to people who don't get it. Peace.

pistolpete1 starstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 08:07PM
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pistolpete1

Go Saints! Loved the article, pretty funny. Lets hope Jimmy stays with WSP.

id rather be phishing starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 08:41PM
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id rather be phishing

haa funny article... What about Trey and Particle again. Play some fucking porn groove with Big Red. Yeah I agree with that kid up there, Herring better stay with WSP, the sound is amazing, great jams, so tight great musicians. I got an even better lineup...TREY , MIKE , FISH, PAGE? what about them?

STEG187 starstar Wed 11/8/2006 09:08PM
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STEG187

Mildly humourous... some good suggestions...

the joke-like tone didnt really translaste well, but I got the point.

This is no Dennis Cook column, though...

beadiamondsomday starstar Wed 11/8/2006 09:09PM
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beadiamondsomday

BAYLIS has soul goddammit, im sick of people saying he doesn't,

Summer starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 11:10PM
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Summer

I think that was hilarious, and I think the Mississippi boys should stick together, the NMA stage in bham was a little bare...

Squid420 star Wed 11/8/2006 11:52PM
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moe. could never keep up with buckethead

i mean cmon.

samboard starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 05:06AM
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samboard

you sir, are a genius! and i would like to add a john fishman to the mars volta, not permanent, but at least for a few shows. pork tornado is not a good release for john's hardcore energy.

Boswellmachine starstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 05:49AM
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This article was hilarious!! Love watching the scene work the waiver wire..

FormulaOBX Thu 11/9/2006 05:50AM
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Eminem to the Yard Dogs Road Show,Tom "from My Space" to Beck, and then Lesh,Weir,Hart,Kreutzman,Medeski,Anastasio and Durgan.

nfenne starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 07:42AM
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nfenne

Awesome article! I often ponder the same topic... I'd like to hear Particle sign a short term deal with Mike Gordon. STS9 should sign Beck as a front man. Phil Lesh should accuire Jeff Beck as lead guitarist for a tour.

I do disagree w/ Les adding a guitar to the fancy band. I think Skerik fills the void just perfectly.

mbh1013 starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 07:59AM
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Let's just trade Schmirtz and Stschneir for something with humor to be named later! Great article.

Grape Drank starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 10:21AM
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Grape Drank

Great piece! Especially in the heart of FOOTBALL season and with the Baseball Hot Stove league happening. I've got a great N.O.-based starting lineup for the Robert Randolph expansion franchise: RR - sacred steel, Tony Hall - bass, Renard Poche - guitar, Ivan Neville - B3, and MEAN WILLIE GREEN - drums.

GEAUX SAINTS!!! Yeah you rite!

blower starstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 10:39AM
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The beauty of satire is that there is always a little truth behind the comedy. Fortunetaly for me in three weeks, I will see Les with a guitarist in a band called Primus yeeehaaww!!!

DIRTNECK star Thu 11/9/2006 10:47AM
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and you don't like the gov't mule lineup and songwriting, that sir is retarded.

kirby3482 starstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 11:14AM
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kirby3482

Great Piece! I think there are some great correlations. Particle seems to be like that team just trading around trying to find the right fit. and you gotta love Widespread's Farm League Program... HBSB and RRE, great jokes... I also just love watching all the UM fans get pissed and defensive!

Man Mountain Jr Thu 11/9/2006 11:20AM
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dude...someone needs to pick up a free agent by the name of Adrian Duke(http://www.myspace.com/adriandukesspace). amazing keys player and vocalist that has more soul than any white man I've ever heard.

markson star Thu 11/9/2006 12:15PM
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what a stupid, stupid article.

jmintz Thu 11/9/2006 12:16PM
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jmintz

Dirtneck, Scmirtz, etc:

This is satire. Saying he's looking to deal off part of Mule does not mean he does not like Mule.

Just reading the reason for the "Ben Kaufmann to RRE" proposal should make it blatantly obvious that this isn't to be taken seriously.

jasonthehead starstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 12:23PM
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jasonthehead

I too thought this was a pretty funny piece. Even if it was a little off with some of the ideas, the spirit was "dead" on and certainly reflects a lot of what is happening in the scene today. I don't think most of these bands need this kind of change (UM, G-Mule and NMAS) but some ideas (Grace w/ Galactic and Keller w/ SCI) have obvious weight. Herring and Panic are a perfect match and yes, they are better off. G-Mac will find his place, perhaps the Crowes will call him into the flock. I have to say, regarding UM, with all due respect to their talent, their success and their fans, Brendan Bayliss has absolutely no soul, and his vocals are, for me, often painful to hear. Just my opinion...don't flame me into a pile of ashes! UM's musical talent and love for playing together is obvious. I am glad they are successfull and that they have a massive and loyal following. They are paving the way for others as the way was paved for them. I will give credit where credit is due, even to a band I really don't like, I just wish other fans were like that with some of my faves. I gave UM a shot (4-6 shows in the last couple years, a few CD's purchased and now traded in) and they're just not my kind of band. However, if I ever catch myself at a UM show in the future, as many of my friends are big fans and they play a lot of fests that I go to, I will envy my dancing friends while enjoying a tasty beverage at the bar!

gvasos starstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 12:59PM
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Funny read except for Bayliss having no soul? You are so off it's ridiculous! One word "Divisions".

Michael_Kaiz starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 01:33PM
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Michael_Kaiz

Phil should go for the Yankee's approach and sign both Phil and Carlos Santana.

I'd think it would be an inteesting move for SCI to enter negotiations with Charlie Hunter.

And let's not forget Charlie Hitchcock is on the market. There has to be a home for this star.

Borealis Fir Thu 11/9/2006 01:48PM
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buckethead..... & moe. at least for one show it would be great to see, quite fascinating... I think the surgeon generals warning would be much needed...

kb4404 Thu 11/9/2006 01:50PM
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It would be nice to hear some old Galactic songs with vocals! Houseman where are you??

quhp starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/9/2006 07:41PM
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thumbs up- more opinion based articles--

featherlight star Thu 11/9/2006 09:59PM
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how about trey admits his solo projects since the first band and go talk to the boys... :(

featherlight star Thu 11/9/2006 09:59PM
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how about trey admits his solo projects SUCK
since the first band and go talk to the boys... :(

snappy starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/10/2006 05:43AM
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snappy

Proper job, Speed. The single biggest complaint I have about most music writing these days is how humorless it is. People are so bloody sensitive about their "team" they won't accept the slightest jab. Grow the hell up. Maybe because my favorite rock band is the Black Crowes I'm used to the ribbing ("hey, let's make a pot reference or bring up Kate Hudson!"). Hypotheticals like this tickle the imagination and the funny bone. I say bring on more of this stuff!

moephan23 starstarstarstar Fri 11/10/2006 09:58AM
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Bayliss will never be traded.

awilson11 star Fri 11/10/2006 03:13PM
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Tom, you are an idiot. Can we trade you for a writer that is actually funny?

être Fri 11/10/2006 05:42PM
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être

I'm banking on Don Ho for Billy Nershi.

adamcsu star Fri 11/10/2006 05:52PM
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adamcsu

you ever think about having people who are actually involved in the music business and involved in playing music write your articles?

jackiesoup Fri 11/10/2006 06:39PM
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Well...thank the lord for all of the good music(and the stuff that i no like but others like.) As for the below Frasier's comments, I disagree with your UM comment.I am feeling more & more that Brendan Bayliss is a true new songwriting talent. Words, Nemo, Andy's Last Beer, walletsworth and many more have moved me like great songs of old.
Can't wait to hear the Phil/Trey recordings.
Phil's book rocks...read it!

ambrosiajam Sat 11/11/2006 09:03PM
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lets trade dr. dre for phil lesh in phil & friends.

festivalkiddo star Sun 11/12/2006 08:51AM
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you are a moron

breej starstarstarstar Sun 11/12/2006 02:02PM
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Fun article, but the festival season most assuradly starts in March with Langerado. Can't wait - only 4 months to the party begins.

torn&treyed Sun 11/12/2006 08:24PM
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yea.....I always thought before billy announced he was a girl that they should take keller incidents on the road and let keller do his thing before and as a set break it would be crazy... oh well. It will probobly be scott law on to fill in not keller he doesnt have the chops as much as I would like to see it

cocheese Mon 11/13/2006 08:58AM
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cocheese

Seen the Mule last nite at the Ryman, freaking sick. Isbell would be sweet with just about any rock band, that man can lay it down. But after seeing Warren and my main local boy Jack Pearson rip it up during Soulshine and Sco-Mule, man that would be a good pickup for the Mule. They looked like they were having a blast playing together. Hey man F the naysayers on here, I love the article and I'm dreaming up some trades myself....JoJo to the North Mississippi All-Stars?

Magi starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/13/2006 09:41AM
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Hot Buttered Rum improved 100% ?

Man, take another look, we love our Butter Boys and we like them just the way they look now!

The way they love to invite perfermers on stage with them is amazing, but they don't HAVE TO in order to improve their looks!

They are beautiful and we love them!!

Jedi Grandma-who speaks for many across the country! Altho TA looks like she sounds good!

OH, and Gayle, wadda ya think about the RRE addition!

I rate it 5, got me to comment!

Mill Valley Management starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/13/2006 10:01AM
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Mill Valley Management

Cameron Williams to Outformation for a player to be named later. Vocals are a good thing.

Road To Shambala starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/13/2006 01:23PM
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Road To Shambala

Great article sir.

To the haters, go listen to top 40 if you don't get the joke. Does doing X at Bisco shows kill your sense of humor as well.

How about Topaz to Gov't Mule for a conditional pick in 08?

LukeDogg13 starstarstar Mon 11/13/2006 11:00PM
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Funny article , but there are a few things I just don't agree with:
1) I don't think the UM/Tishamingo thing would bennefit anyone. Brendan is a great front man for Umphrey's and while he may not be as good a guitarist as Jake, he's pretty good. Plus Tishamingo is Southern Rock, Cameron Williams wouldn't be better anywhere else.
2) I dig Galactic the most when there are all intrumental. Don't get me wrong Grace Potter is amazing, I just think vocals just slow em down.
3)I Love seeing KWI and would love to see A tour, but Keller and SCI are amazing on their own (yes I realize the future of SCI is in question). I just think what makes these shows so awesome is that you don't get to see it all the time.

As for more Phil and Trey I'm down for it, but can we just please get a good bit less of Phil singing. I love Phil but he needs to realize he can't sing. Not saying Trey needs to sing all the leads, although it would make it better. Maybe bringing Joan Osborne back to the mix would help.

cocheese Tue 11/14/2006 10:08AM
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cocheese

okay how bout we have an expansion draft, for the new band "Society Band" or maybe "Exodus" name isn't final yet. Here's my pics; Greg Allman lead vocals, JoJo keys, Jack Pearson slide guitar/vocals, Jason Isbell rythym guitar/vocals, Carter Beauford Drums, John Molo drums, Oteil Burbridge bass, and Grace Potter on me,just kidding, she could play cow bell, organ, vocals, but most important give something good to look at. Now that would be sweeeeeet!!!!!!

nughufer starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/14/2006 03:59PM
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I'm tired of reading negative comments EVERYWHERE about Phil's singing. Don't you people think after all these years on the road, that he has earned his right to sing if he so chooses. Further more if it's all that bad why are the damn tickets still selling and selling out!?!

nughufer starstarstarstarstar Tue 11/14/2006 04:04PM
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P.S. The free agency thing in the rock world is great. It embodies, I think, everything the jam scene is about. Pure experimentation and beautiful differences every tour. Even when some bands form a sound that some will inevitably dislike, it will only be a matter of time till that sound changes to something new and different. Plus the jam scene has exploded, it's impossible to not find some decent show!

LaxHippy starstarstarstar Thu 11/16/2006 10:09AM
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dude, you're right on

EVILFUNK Thu 11/16/2006 02:18PM
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EVILFUNK

good article...at first i thought it was actually going to be about football.

so i say rehire most of particle....cool concepts but some weak in execution...way to round up a crowd, anyway...chicks dig it!