Bob Weir Discusses Dead & Company And ‘Blue Mountain’ In Guitar World Cover Story

The December issue of Guitar World magazine features Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir on the cover. Weir spoke in depth about his recently released Blue Mountain album and his Dead & Company project with journalist/author Alan Paul for a feature story.

While both Weir and his Dead & Company band mate John Mayer have discussed the possibility of writing new material for the band, Bobby responds to Paul’s question about whether he anticipates penning original tunes for the group with “Oh Yeah! And I very much look forward to it.” Weir goes on to reveal that while a Dead & Company album isn’t “active right now” he does think the six-piece will eventually record an LP together.

Bobby also addressed whether songs from Blue Mountain will find their way into the Dead & Company repertoire. “I’m not sure that they work in that context. The bulk of them don’t lend themselves to what Dead and Company do. I’m hugely looking forward to playing these songs live with this band on tour this fall. They’re all good players and the places we’re playing are fun places that we’ve carefully chosen. We’re gonna have some fun on this tour,” Weir said.

The guitarist is high on Dead & Company coming off a triumphant Summer Tour, “It’s been great all around and we’re starting to navigate uncharted waters, which was the whole idea of the endeavor from the beginning. We’re just now getting there, but the band was spitting fire all summer.” When pushed about “uncharted waters” Weir responded, “We’re trying to be ourselves and be unique. The material itself is ‘classic’ now, but it’s drawn from all our sources – all the stuff that we listened to and grew up on. We extrapolated that all out into the music of the Grateful Dead, but we never stopped listening to stuff and never stopped having new thoughts about where to take the material and how to interpret it. So even within the Grateful Dead, the music was never, ever static.

“Now we have an ensemble with three original -or virtually original – members of the Grateful Dead, one guy who’s played with us for years (Jeff Chimenti) and two guys who are virtually new to the material.They have their own set of roots and influences and ideas and we need to observe that in the band and then work with it. They’re not supposed to just be mimicking parts.”

When asked to contrast the musical and emotional impacts of the Fare Thee Well band from 2015 with Dead & Company Weir said, “Dead and Company is much more of a band. We are a much more cohesive unit that the Fare Thee Well outfit had an opportunity to be. On account of people’s scheduling and things it was very difficult to get much rehearsal in – and we only did five shows!

“Dead and Company put in a lot more rehearsal and then hit the road. And the only way you get a real band is by playing together in front of people. There’s no shortcut. There’s no other way to do it – at least the kind of band we are trying to build. The Fare Thee Well outfit just simply didn’t have that opportunity, which Dead and Company has had. And I think we’ve kicked the ball down the field a fair way.”

Tomorrow night Bobby kicks off a Campfire Tour in support of Blue Mountain. The LP features a batch of “cowboy songs” and Weir talked about what they mean to him. “Cowboy songs have always had an allure to me. I spent time as a kid, a young teen,in a bunkhouse kind of living that life. I’d spend my evenings with these old guys who had grown up in an era before radio had reached the nether regions of Wyoming and their notion of what to do for an evening was to tell stories and sing songs. I was the kid with a guitar so I became the accompanist and I learned a bunch of the tunes and the delivery and the esthetic – the ethos if you will,” Bob said.

The December issue of Guitar World is on newsstands now. Pick up a copy for much more from Bob Weir.

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