Songs Of Their Own | Reed Mathis & Cochrane McMillan – Deal

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead, JamBase teamed with Telefunken to produce the Songs Of Their Own video series. We began with a list of 100 Grateful Dead original songs (exclusively their tunes, not covers they often played) and tapped many of our favorite artists to record a cover version either at the JamBase office in San Francisco or at one of the many venues around town and beyond. No song was allowed to be covered twice, and today’s participants, Tea Leaf Green band mates Reed Mathis and Cochrane McMillan, tried their hands at “Deal.”
The night “Deal” made its Grateful Dead live debut on February 19, 1971 at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York was also the first without drummer Mickey Hart who began a hiatus from the band that would last until 1974. “Deal” went on to be played more than 400 times, often filling the first set closer role, as it did at Giants Stadium on June 18, 1995, the final time The Dead played the Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia song. 

San Francisco locals and Tea Leaf Green band mates Reed Mathis and Cochrane McMillan were in town and came down to JamBase HQ to record their take on “Deal.” For the session we were expecting just Reed, who is known for playing bass but was bringing his guitar, yet when he arrived with Cochrane in tow, we quickly set up his drum kit and prepared to record the pair. Reed was certainly familiar with “Deal” having recently played it with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann as a member of his Billy & The Kids ensemble.

After they wrapped up their session at JamBase, which included covering several additional tunes you might see soon, Reed talked about his approach to deconstructing Grateful Dead songs when performing in various settings. With so many “straight” renditions currently out there, he said his approach is to try to stretch the boundaries of the arrangements, toying with tempo, dynamics and more to expand the song beyond its typical structure. 

Watch all of the Songs Of Their Own entries including Anders Osborne & Luther Dickinson, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams and more via the YouTube Playlist below: