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Funk Brothers for the Grateful Dead??

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mario Lewis, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD
    Dudes and Dudettes,

    I've got a chance at a free all access backstage pass to see the Funk Brothers this New Years Eve in Oakland. Except I've got to sit through the Grateful Dead to see them.

    I'm no dead head.

    I'm normally quite open to other genres, but I just can't do the Dead. Plus the likely presence of questionable suspect substances and the the chances of getting a contact and failing a Whiz Quiz abounds.

    Do I pass or do I go and wear a face mask??
  2. Go, it will be a good party.

    As far as your concerns...

    There will be much pot smoke in the air. I saw them in '91 at Oakland for New Years and they were letting people bring bongs inside. No lie. You will not pee positive on a drug test as a result. Thresholds are set to take this into consideration. I researched this in depth when I used to get tested.

    The current Dead sucks horribly. This is coming from a longtime Deadhead who is just sick over the act touring today. Even though they suck as a band, they are all stellar musicians and there will be little gems to witness. They used to be 80% magic and 20% faceplant. This was the nature of their musical philosophy...you have to take big chances to let the magic come out. These chances can create magic and create fecal matter. The problem today is the ratio is about 10% magic and 90% of the other. I won't address the why's, etc.

    Phil alone is worth the trip if free passes area available. He truly has a distinct bass playing style and as a bassist you will not be disappointed in his lines.
  3. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree. The Dead plummetted for me in the mid 70's. No more magic after that.

    That being said, I grew up on a diet of Phil Lesh, and he has had a profound influence on my musicianship.

    Plus the Funk Brothers is an act that could come apart soon, these guys aren't getting any younger.

    Go now, don't wait.

    You can always show late, or leave early, depending on who is on first.


  4. ToneMonkey


    Sep 27, 2003
    Newberg, OR
    I would just also add that I got free passes to see the Funk Bros last summer and although I enjoyed the movie immensely, I thought the Funk Bros mostly sucked live. They clearly were WAYYY past their prime.

    I am a guitarist and I dig that understated style of funk guitar, but I'm sorry... those guys could hardly play their way out of a wet paper bag the night I saw them. It was really sad.

    They had numerous guest vocalists, none as engaging as Joan Osborne (in the movie). Phoebe Snow read her songs as she sang them and was about as interesting as watching paint dry. It actually went downhill (fast) after her songs.

    Also, the leader is given to numerous long rants about how the Funk Bros never got the respect or credit they deserved. Now, I'm inclined to agree with him up to a point, but... the leader basically disses all the great singers and songwriters who were also part of the great Motown sound, by saying stuff like "the Funk Bros could have made a record with a chicken singing and it would have been a hit." I'm sorry, but I think maybe Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Supremes, Temptations, etc. may have just brought a tiny little bit to the party.

    Anyway, the guy just can't let it go and it's (IMHO) really unseemly and made for a decidedly bummer of an evening. I left early in the second set. Maybe if the music had been better, I would have stayed.

    On the positive side, Babbit is amazing. Because he sits behind the center vocal mic, he is featured on the video screen a lot. Babbit was worth the price of admission. However, his "solo" was really weak as well (why even give him a solo, that's NOT what he's about). I know this is heresy, but I generally prefer his playing to Jamerson's, even though I like both.

    Also, the Funk Bros will likely come on before The Dead. I would imagine The Dead are headlining this evening as it was traditional for The Grateful Dead to do this (I saw them New Years 81/82 and they were fantastic).

    Anyway, just a few thoughts. Your mileage may vary.
  5. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I don't necessarily agree totally, but that was
    very well stated, Tonemonkey. [ I hope you
    spend more time posting here on TB, it is nice to see someone literate at work!]


    Shows vary in quality. Certainly, so do expectations.

    Go. What's the worst that happens, you don't like it and leave. Keep an open mind.
  6. ToneMonkey


    Sep 27, 2003
    Newberg, OR
    As a guitarist who only doubles on bass, I usually don't feel like I have a whole lot to add. However, I really enjoy TB. The level of discourse (and civility) is a solid notch above most places on the web. I've learned a lot here in a very short time.
  7. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree totally, TB is a great resource.

    I play both, I consider the bass my main squeeze,
    but I spend a lot of time on acoustic 12 string guitar as well.

    There is a lot of meat on the bone here, this site
    took me out of the musical doldrums last year and made it exciting again.

    And motivated my to get the SITSOM movie. Which, as a documentary, I did enjoy. Having seen it, I doubt I would appreciate a harangue on it at a show. I do respect Bob Babbit as an artist, and
    certainly would enjoy seeing him live if I could.

    But sometimes wanting is better than having ...

  8. Muzique Fann

    Muzique Fann Howzit brah

    Dec 8, 2003
    Kauai, HI
    Man, I hope you went & saw the Dead - even though they aren't what they used to be, Phil Lesh is still one of the best bassists alive!
  9. Mario Lewis

    Mario Lewis

    Jul 6, 2001
    Clinton, MD

    I opted not to go. The suspect cloud full of THC and my military gig, whiz quizzes, and my career.... I jst said no thanks. Nothing at all may happen, but I'm a commissioned officer, and it just wouldn't be the best thing.
  10. Max

    Max Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    Bakersfield, CA
    Q: What did one Dead Head say to the other Dead Head after the pot wore off?

    A: Hey, this band sucks.

    I know, it's an old joke. But go see the FB.
  11. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    I saw the Funk Brothers last month and they were fantastic! I would pay to see them again and again until they finally quit. I grew up listening to Motown songs and it was Jammerson's bass lines in the Contours, "Do You Love Me" that inpired me to play the bass. Babbitt was great as were all of the other musicians. They might have been old and tired at other shows but at the Moore Theatre in Seattle, they were wonderful.
  12. Hey, don't let the fact that you're a guitarist stop you from joining in!:bassist:

    I'm a serious bassist *and* a serious guitarist, and I actually think having some guitar knowledge can sometimes give a useful perspective on matters of the bass, or at the very least on general matters of music.

    And I agree completely about the level of discourse here. No one's perfect, but things are better here than in many places that I've seen.

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