Joe Russo Talks Playing Dead With Trey Anastasio

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Before Phish frontman Trey Anastasio filled the lead guitar role at five Fare Thee Well – Celebrating 50 Years Of Grateful Dead performances this past summer, he spent months prepping for the shows. Drummer Joe Russo was involved in part of Trey’s preparation and discussed the part he played in a new interview with Rock On Philly.

Russo had previously teamed with Anastasio as part of the GRAB project in 2006. Trey had already been hard at work studying the music of the Grateful Dead for months when he called in Joe. “He knew I went through a similar thing, obviously not the same thing, but a similar thing, as far as having to learn a ridiculous amount of material very quickly. So, yeah, he reached out and said, ‘let’s do some playing,'” the drummer said.

Trey and Joe spent two days playing the music of the Grateful Dead at a rehearsal space in New York City. Anastasio was up for more of a full band experience, so Russo called in his Almost Dead bandmates Scott Metzger and Dave Dreiwitz. “We did it and… God… I gotta say, it was [expletive] amazing. I so wish it was recorded or something because it was really cool. And, it was really fun for me,” Russo commented about the experience.

The drummer went on to discuss how special it was to help the Phish guitarist prep, “Trey is such a wonderful guy. That was something really special. He was going out on stage with those guys and I’m texting him like ‘Good luck man!’ and checking in between sets. I was all proud. And that was a weird feeling, too. I thought he did such a great job. He was so prepared, and so professional.”

Head to Rock On Philly for much more from Joe Russo on Almost Dead, Shpongle, Bustle In Your Hedgerow and his many other projects. Russo also noted that he and his wife are expecting their first child. We’d like to send our congratulations to the Russos.