Gathering of the Vibes 2012 Artist Roundtable
- By Nick Rhodes
- Published on July 05, 2012
|Photo Courtesy of Deep Banana Blackout|
With Gathering of the Vibes only a few short weeks away, we interviewed a few of the performers getting ready to share the stage with Primus, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, STS9 and many more and asked them about their history with the event and their connection to the music of The Grateful Dead. After all, the festival is at it’s core a communal gathering of like-minded Deadheads.
Check out what Lettuce Bassist Erick Coomes, Deep Banana Blackout guitarist Fuzz, Zach Deputy, and ALO keyboardist Zach Gill had to say below.
The 17th edition of the festival will take place in Bridgeport, Connecticut from July 19 to 22. Find out more about the festival via our interview with festival founder Ken Hays, our 2012 Festival Guide or the festival’s official website.
Have you played Gathering of the Vibes before? If so, what are your thoughts on the event? If not, what have you heard?
Fuzz (Deep Banana Blackout): I have played every Gathering of the Vibes festival since it started, and in just about every band/project I've been in: Deep Banana Blackout, Caravan of Thieves, Rolla, Tom Tom Club, Fuzz and Stephen Kellogg "All Stripped Down” and a few others I can't remember right now.
|Photo Courtesy of Zach Deputy|
Zach Deputy: Yes. Vibes is one of the bigger festivals in America, but it somehow retains the hometown feel of a smaller festival. Maybe because so many of my friends go there.
Zach Gill (ALO): This will be ALO's first Gathering of the Vibes. We have been told for years that the Gathering of the Vibes is one of the greatest festivals in America, so we are looking forward to finally experiencing it firsthand. I'm most excited about seeing some good music. I love the lineup – a great combo of classic and new.
I also like the concept behind the festivals history, as a place for Deadheads to reunite. I'm excited to finally be going to the reunion.
What makes Gathering of the Vibes a unique event compared to other festivals?
Fuzz (Deep Banana Blackout): For me and the rest of DBB, being long-time veterans at this point, it tends to feel like a family reunion, both with artists, staff and patrons, which makes it fun and personal. It’s unique in that it has cultivated a group of loyal followers who really feel that same "Vibe Tribe" family connection, and that goes beyond the music.
Zach Deputy: Well, it's a Northeast festival and the NE might be my favorite place to play. The vibe fits for me.
Vibes was created almost two decades ago after Jerry Garcia died as a place for fans of The Grateful Dead to get together and celebrate his life. How has The Dead influenced your music/life?
Erick Coomes (Lettuce): Jerry and The Grateful Dead have been an influence in the way that they had an open, loving relationship with their fans and constantly tried to make a better experience for them at the shows. They also brought people together from all over the world, who were able to recognize their like-mindedness in a simple way through music. And that is inspiring.
Fuzz (Deep Banana Blackout): I've become more familiar with The Grateful Dead over time, but we started DBB as a Motown and soul review act, strictly following the footsteps of James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and such. But since we were young white people with long hair playing it with some extra fire and intensity, it was embraced fully by the jam band audience.
|Photo Courtesy of Lettuce|
Zach Gill (ALO): As a musician growing up in the San Francisco bay area in the 80s, you couldn't help but be influenced by The Grateful Dead. When I was 12, I went to my first Dead show with our guitar player Dan's parents.
In retrospect the big things I took away form it then were: one, even doctors can be Deadheads (Dan's dad was a radiologist); two, musicians don't have to be young and dressed up in spandex costumes to be taken seriously; three, people can be into really abstract music
In recent years, I've rediscovered their music. I’m blown away by their fearlessness, their creativity and their deep musicianship. They've left us with an incredible legacy of music. The music of the Grateful Dead has become the hymns, dances and musical states of consciousness that speak to the future of where humans are headed, while simultaneously honoring the roots of where we've come from. For this, I am forever grateful and proud to associated with their musical family in any way.
The lineup is incredibly diverse with performers spanning many different genres. Who are you most excited to check out at the festival this year?
Erick Coomes (Lettuce): I am looking forward to hearing Branford Marsalis, Steel Pulse and The Stepkids.
Fuzz (Deep Banana Blackout): Probably The Avett Brothers. I’ve been meaning to catch their show for a while. Also, The Machine. I've been a huge Pink Floyd fan since high school – I even had a short-lived tribute band called The Machine back then.
Zach Deputy: Greyboy Allstars, Steel Pulse, Ryan Montbleau, Keller, Soulive, Lettuce and much more.
Zach Gill (ALO): My favorite thing to do at festivals is wander around and get surprised by the music I hear. I’m most excited to hear the thing I've never heard of, does that make sense?
What can fans expect from your set at Vibes?
Erick Coomes (Lettuce): Expect miracles. Funky miracles.
Fuzz (Deep Banana Blackout): The usual over-the-top funk, rock, soul throwdown that DBB brings every year.
Zach Deputy: Ninjas with bubbles.
Zach Gill (ALO): Logistically, we are going to create a universe on stage, explode it and then put it back together again. Like Humpty Dumpty or maybe the creation of the cosmos. I promise that it will be fun, energetic and full of whiiiiiimsy.
What other projects do you have going on right now that you’re excited about?
Zach Deputy: I'm starting the process for a new album at the end of the month and it's going to be a show-stopper. Look out for upcoming singles as well.
Zach Gill (ALO): We have a new album out right now called "Sounds Like This," and I’m very proud of it. I believe it’s a perfect album for Gathering of the Vibes. After all, the second song actually references both lyrically and musically the joy and madness of my first Grateful Dead show, we recorded it in San Francisco, using some of the actual gear that I believe "Working Man's Dead" was recorded on and we let the jams flow in a way that we haven't on some of our other records.
We very much made this album with Deadheads in mind. This festival and the album were meant for each other.
Gathering of the Vibes takes place at Seaside Park in Bridgeport, CT this July 19 to 22 and will feature Phil Lesh and Friends, Bob Weir and Bruce Hornsby, The Mickey Hart Band, STS9, Primus, Dark Star Orchestra, Gigantic Underground Conspiracy, Keller Williams, Papadosio and more.
Are you going to Vibes this year? Let us know in the comments below . . .