It’s the second Wednesday of the month and that means new concerts from Snarky Puppy are now streaming on nugs.net. Alongside this month’s releases, we spoke to Justin Stanton, a man who wears many hats with Snarky Puppy. Read the full interview below and check out Justin Stanton’s Picks, a free playlist in the nugs.net app featuring his favorite tracks from this month’s releases.
nugs.net: Your name is synonymous with the term multi-faceted musician. From keys to horns to composition you clearly have a wide range of talents. Has your approach to each instrument changed at all during your time with the very vast lineup that is Snarky Puppy?
Justin Stanton: Playing in Snarky Puppy has most certainly rearranged my priorities as a musician. Before, I had always considered trumpet my primary instrument and piano a secondary instrument. My first gigs with the band in 2006 were on trumpet when I subbed for Jay. Some months later, Mike asked if I would be interested in playing keys in the band. I tried to politely decline, saying I didn’t think I was anywhere near the level needed to play the gig. In true Mike League fashion, he said, “You’ll be fine!” For a few years, I was the only keyboard player on most of the shows. I definitely wasn’t ready for the responsibility at the time, but I’m glad I was given the opportunity and I’m glad I took it. Of course, the band has evolved so much since those days, and so many great keyboardists have played (and still play) in the band. I’ve learned tons of lessons – musically and personally – from each one of them, and I’ve learned a lot about myself along the way, too. There were a lot of growing pains along the way overcoming insecurities about my musical worth. Rather than comparing myself to my fellow musicians against the yardstick of what made them great, I had to find within myself what was unique about what I had to offer and develop that. I think most musicians would consider themselves multi-faceted. I am enjoying this stage in my development, but I’m excited about how things will evolve as new opportunities present themselves.
nugs.net: When you get back on the road, do you plan to switch up your touring rig? Are there any new pieces of equipment you have been experimenting with during the year off you’ve had?
JS: For years now, there has been a strong preference toward an “analog” sound in the band. We’ve had the good fortune to play a lot of really great instruments not only in the studio but onstage as well. Depending on who else is on keys when we tour, I might be playing Fender Rhodes, Sequential Prophet 6, Minimoog, Mellotron, Clavinet, Nord Stage, or Korg Kronos. Right before the pandemic began, I traveled to Lisbon to visit my girlfriend before a Snarky Puppy tour. Of course, the tour got canceled – along with all of my subsequent obligations in the US. I ended up staying in Lisbon, and I had only packed a suitcase with some clothes. In order to continue working from Lisbon, I had to completely rethink my setup since all of my gear was in New York. So, over the past year, I’ve taken a deep dive into VSTs. It’s been a great learning process, and I’ve found some really powerful instruments. I’m really excited to incorporate them into the fabric of the music going forward because it allows a greater degree of control and accuracy of achieving the sounds from the records. There is an aspect of excitement that stems from the spontaneity of dialing up sounds on the fly on an analog instrument that doesn’t have the capabilities of presets, but I think there’s room in the music for both worlds to exist, so I’m looking forward weaving the new sounds into the mix.
nugs.net: How has the inability to tour affected your ability to compose? Have you felt more or less inspired to write?
JS: Inspiration comes and goes like it always does, but being at home with a constant setup has provided a consistency and grounding that makes the work of composing much easier. It’s not impossible to write on the road, but conditions are inconsistent, and the tools for writing are usually makeshift. Whereas on tour I might find an empty dressing room to tuck away with my laptop and two-octave MIDI controller, all I have to do at home is walk into my room where everything is set up exactly as I left it. I have a nice Yamaha U3 upright piano that’s inspiring to play, a Soyuz microphone to record trumpet and vocals, and an 88-key controller that’s programmed to work seamlessly with my software instruments. It’s not a high-end recording setup by any means, but the consistency and dedicated space make sitting down to work on music a joy.
nugs.net: What four words describe life on the road with Snarky Puppy?
Snarky Puppy is back with another nugs.net streaming release. Four new shows join the 60+ concerts added to the nugs.net streaming library in March. The band’s keyboardist, Bill Laurance, has picked four of his favorite tracks from this month’s releases and compiled them into a playlist that’s free for anyone to listen to in the nugs.net app and desktop player. We talked to Laurance about Snarky Puppy, collaboration, and more:
nugs.net: How has joining Snarky Puppy and the Ground Up Music Family affected your approach to compositional collaboration?
Bill Laurance: Collaboration is an essential part of the creative process and Snarky Puppy and the GroundUP family hold this at the heart of everything they do. I’ve been fortunate to witness over the years how an openness to collaboration can lead to some of the most unique and unexpected results, gifting the music with a wider and often fresher perspective.
nugs.net: You have had musical collaborations within a wide range of the arts from dance to film to sound production and more. Has your work with these various mediums shaped the way you approach improvisation within the live setting?
BL: Most definitely. Collaborating with filmmakers and choreographers provides a fresh perspective on how to tell a story. These days when I’m improvising on stage, I try to think about the story. About the characters and what they might do or what they might say. Writing for dance and film can make you think again about the narrative in the music and I try to represent this when I’m improvising live on stage.
nugs.net: One of the tracks you highlighted in the latest nugs.net x Snarky Puppy playlist is Lingus from 5/5/17 with Jacob Collier as the special guest. Could you tell us about how the sit-in with Jacob came about?
BL: We first met Jacob for the 2nd family dinner album in New Orleans with Snarky Puppy. He’s such a unique and special talent. I like to think that he understands harmony like Neo understands the Matrix. He also lives in London and so we invited him to come and sit in for the show at London’s Brixton Academy. He’s one of those rare musicians who seems to have no limits so watching him play is always going to be something special.
nugs.net: What are four words that describe life on the road with Snarky Puppy?
BL: Family, lobby calls, always stretching, sleep when you’re dead. (sorry more than four…)
Head to the nugs.net app or desktop player and check out the Bill Laurance’s Picks playlist in the free shows section and explore our full library of Snarky Puppy concerts.
Snarky Puppy’s full nugs.net catalog is now streaming for the first time ever. In addition to their existing library, new shows from the genre-bending band will be added to the nugs.net catalog on the second Wednesday of every month. We talked to bassist & founder of Snarky Puppy, Michael League about the band, live music, and more:
nugs.net: You’re a formative member of Snarky Puppy, and continue to compose and produce the vast catalog that Snarky Puppy has created. How does the rotating cast of the Snarky Puppy ensemble change your approach to those original compositions within a live setting?
Michael League: We really don’t even try to make the live versions of the songs resemble the studio recordings unless that’s the most effective way to express the song while on tour. It’s about creating the best possible result in the environment in which we are, rather than trying to recreate something that we made in a vastly different environment. And really, the individual players and personalities on stage constantly push the songs in new directions, which for me is the main allure of touring. I love to see the songs grow.
nugs.net: Snarky Puppy’s music transcends the border of the United States, as the live catalog proves. Has the constant international touring affected the live sounds of your performances? Does the culture of the country you are performing in ever lead to live improv inspired by the location?
ML: Absolutely. We named one of our records “Culcha Vulcha” for this reason. Whenever we travel, we try our best in the little time we have to mix and mingle with the great musicians of whatever city we’re in. We’ve spent many late nights and early mornings in places like Brazil, Perú, Turkey, etc. hanging with, listening to, playing with, and taking lessons from the masters of the music from those musical cultures. It’s inevitable that certain things will slip into the music.
nugs.net: Something that stands out to us from the latest batch of Snarky shows on nugs.net is the incredible cast of special guests. It’s an incredible display of cross-cultural commonality. How does Snarky Puppy go about finding each special guest and how do you know each artist will work well with your compositions in a live space?
ML: Most of the guests that join us for live shows are already friends of ours or at least friends of friends. But sometimes we’ll just contact someone we love and respect out of the blue to see if they’d like to join us for a song. The truth is that the music world is very small, so you’re never really more than one degree of separation from a person you respect.
nugs.net: What four words describe life on the road with Snarky Puppy?
A: Family. Food. Growth. Love.
Head to the nugs.net app or desktop player and check out our full library of exciting shows from Snarky Puppy! You can also check out two free playlists curated by Michael League in the free shows section, no subscription required.
The first show of Jimmy Buffett’s Nothin’ But Time 2021 Virtual Tour airs Saturday, March 6th on nugs.net featuring the penultimate date of the 2012/13 Lounging at the Lagoon tour. The “Lounging” tour took Jimmy all over the country from San Francisco to Camden, New Jersey. As the tour came to a close, Jimmy pulled out all the stops for this Mardi Gras week show with 25 songs full of coastal fun.
Taking place on February 5th, 2013 at the Pensacola Bay Center near the Floribama Shore, the show includes rare appearances of “Frank and Lola,” “Floridays,” and more. A highlight of the show, Nadirah Shakoor shines on a reworked “Queen” version of the “King of Something Hot’ to close out the first half of the show.
Midway through the performance, the band goes acoustic for three songs including Will Kimbrough’s “Piece of Work,” “Pencil Thin Mustache,” and Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Southern Cross.” After Eddie Vedder was suddenly no longer able to attend New Orleans’ Jazz Fest in 2012, Jimmy was called in sub-in alongside Mac McAnally and Sonny Landreth. The all-acoustic Jazz Fest set was so much fun that it became a nightly feature of the 2012/13 tour dubbed “The Beach Band”. With Mardi Gras in the air, John Lovell brings a special jazz trumpet flare to “Pencil Thin.”
The show is punctuated with an anthemic and beachy take on Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long.” The cover was a staple of the Lounging at the Lagoon tour, only played once outside of 2012/2013 with beautiful horns and Nadirah Shakoor supporting on vocals.
Two encores round out the night. The first catches Mac McAnally taking on “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” before Jimmy Returns to vocals for “Fins.” The second encore is truly something special with a rare tour appearance of “When The Coast is Clear.” It’s a wild and fun Mardi Gras week show from down in the Gulf. Pour your margarita and get ready because we’ve got Nothin’ But Time this Saturday night.
If you can’t make the livestream or want to re-live the experience, this show and every concert from the Nothin’ But Time Virtual Tour will be added to the nugs.net streaming video library for subscribers. For more info and to start a free trial, head to nugs.net/buffett.
This Saturday Rick Allen, iconic drummer of Def Leppard, will take the stage with Lauren Monroe, the Big Love Band, and a star-studded lineup of rock and country greats to raise money for out-of-work music industry professionals. Guests will include Wynonna Judd, Billy Idol, Allman Betts Band, and tons more.
The Big Love Benefit Concert is available to order now on nugs.net. All proceeds will go to the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, which provides financial assistance to the millions of music industry professionals who are out of work due to COVID-19. Ahead of the big show, we talked to Rick and Lauren about the show and more.
nugs.net: What was the most challenging part of putting together an event like this during a pandemic?
Rick Allen: There have been many challenges. From the COVID Compliances, travel, being in lockdown and with all of the chaos happening in the world.. just getting the word out so that people will understand the dire need. Thankfully, we have had an outpour of individuals and organizations that have come forward to donate and help with services and talent. Its been a real community experience with very dedicated people who love the crews and industry workers who are really getting hit hard.
nugs.net: What do you think makes drumming a healing art during these challenging times?
RA: Rhythm itself is always healing but in challenging times it can be a sanctuary. It’s a place my mind can rest and simply be with the rhythm. It’s a calming medicine, a heartbeat we all are connected to.
nugs.net: What advice do you have for new musicians who can’t perform their craft right now?
RA: Keep practicing, keep playing, and improving your craft. Learn new things, pay attention to how you take care of yourself, and help others. Being of service always inspires me, I highly recommend it. Also, “Act as If” and Get ready because this pause won’t last forever.
nugs.net: How did you go about forming the massive lineup for the Big Love Benefit Concert?
RA: I texted my inspiring friends who I know have big hearts… and they all said yes. They are not only extremely talented people but they are very generous and kind. Very grateful for them.
nugs.net: What drew you to Sweet Relief as the beneficiary of the event?
RA: Lauren and I have friends that have been beneficiaries of Sweet Reliefs care. I’ve heard such great things about the organization. It was Laurens idea to reach out to them and I’m so glad we did. I’m very hopeful that the benefit, the merch, and the auction will help them continue to do their good work and help many people get through this devastating time
nugs.net: Lauren, when you wrote Big Love, did you know the message would be so universally relevant beyond the circumstances that inspired it? Especially over the past year.
Lauren Monroe: Yes, I did. What’s been happening in our country is not an isolated picture, it’s an issue around the world. I feel that the message of love and empathy, in the face of fear and anger, is a global message.
nugs.net: What are you most excited about from the concert?
Rick Allen: Really, I’m most excited to be giving back to the industry that has supported me since I was a teenager. It makes me happy to help them. I’m excited to have audiences watch the show and get to know how important our backstage crew is and how the music industry couldn’t exist without them.
Watch the Big Love Benefit Concert on Saturday, January 23rd at 9:00 PM ET on nugs.net.
2020 changed everything we know about the live music experience. The industry as we know it fell apart, but the live music community is resilient. From the moment band names were pulled off marquees the only question was “how do we get back out there?” We saw an evolution of the live music experience, and the way we listened to and consumed live music changed dramatically.
Thanks to the internet, concerts became more accessible than ever in 2020. Fans of all genres no longer needed to be in a certain city or at a certain venue. It didn’t matter whether the show was in a living room or on the track of a motor speedway, every show was available to everyone. Below is a list featuring some of our favorite shows that highlight the ways music adapted to 2020, and the ways we enjoyed listening to our favorite artists:
Before the pandemic hit, we actually got a few months to revel in the true live music experience. The first few months of the year are usually the time for Island concerts and Beacon runs, so we were lucky to get some truly special shows.
Once it became apparent that live audiences wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon, bands reunited in the studio to record shows and share virtually. BIG Something dubbed their studio series “Escape From the Living Room,” I think we all felt that.
When the weather turned warm, drive in theaters suddenly came back into style in ways not seen in half a century. The ability to play a show to a crowd that is safely inside their cars was the perfect solution to getting live music to live audiences in the age of social distancing.
Eventually, spaces with large outdoor capacities began opening with extremely limited and distanced in-person shows. South Farms in Morris, Connecticut became a space for Twiddle, Warren Haynes, moe., and other artists to play live outdoor concerts that fans could safely enjoy. We’ve come a long way from the living room.
In 2010, Animal Collective was fresh off the massive success of Merriweather Post Pavillion, a bold and wonderful record that is widely considered one of the most influential albums of the late aughts. Following Merriweather, a question lingered- what’s next? It turns out “next” was a project four years in the making.
Since 2006, Animal Collective had been working with director Danny Perez on the psychedelic visual album that would become ODDSAC. Equal parts audio and visual, ODDSAC is more than the sum of its parts. Meticulously crafted between Animal Collective and Perez, the film is a profoundly weird experience that will draw you in and surround you in its freaky aura. In short, it’s exactly what you’d want to watch on Halloween.
A decade later, we’re happy to report that Animal Collective is still weird and busier than ever. Since ODDSAC, members Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Deakin, and Geologist have worked on all manner of solo and side projects. As Animal Collective, they’ve released studio albums, live records, EPs, and more. One of those studio albums, 2016’s Painting With, was premiered over the speakers of the Baltimore-Washington Airport. They’re always thinking outside the box.
This Halloween, Animal Collective and director Danny Perez are revisiting ODDSAC for a special 10th Anniversary Halloween Party. The event kicks off Halloween night with a welcome set by Geologist and a screening of ODDSAC followed by cast & crew interviews, Q&A with Danny Perez, and DJ sets by Avey Tare, Deakin & Panda Bear. Don’t worry if you’ve already got Halloween plans, after you order the show you’ll be able to start watching whenever you’d like.
Ahead of the big Halloween Party, we talked to Josh Dibb (Deakin) and Brian Weitz (Geologist) about 10 years of ODDSAC, touring, and all things Animal Collective.
On every record, you guys are pushing the envelope, experimenting, and shifting your sound. Naturally, that has to lead to a very different experience on the road each album cycle. Was there an album or era where it was particularly fun to perform live?
Brian Weitz: I’ve enjoyed them all! The shifting you mentioned allows every era to feel fresh so when we start, the nerves are there once again. I don’t think I’d like to be in a band where it felt like the same routine after 20 years. I love the nerves of those early tours when we have a new batch of songs and a new set-up. Then you hit a peak and you know it when you’re at it, and then you know when you’re coming downhill. It feels a little more like endurance. The knees shake for a different reason than when you’re going uphill. That’s when it’s time to regroup. Or degroup. I do want to give a shout out to the Painting With cycle because of how much fun it was to play with Jeremy Hyman. He’s the first drummer I played with other than Noah since 1996 and it was such a fun ride to enter into a new relationship with such an amazing person and musician.
Josh Dibb: They’re all fun. That’s not just a diplomatic answer and of course, there are tours that are hard or challenging, but they all feel exciting for the reason you describe. We change so that we feel like we are exploring new territory for ourselves and we hope that makes the music feel more alive. That is what keeps it fun for us and hopefully for listeners. We never want to get to that place where it’s just a jukebox performance. That being said, one of the tours I had the most fun recently was playing Tangerine Reef live. Tangerine Reef is somewhat of a companion to ODDSAC actually in the sense that we wrote the music to be linked directly to visuals. In this case, it was all video that was created by our friends at Coral Morphologic. We only got to perform it a handful of times but there was something really special about it. The music was on the more ambient side than our normal shows but still had an incredible amount of specificity. Every time we performed it we were playing to the movements and feel of these images that look like the most psychedelic unreal thing you’ve ever seen and yet are actually just coral.
I was listening to a podcast the other day with Dan Deacon and he had some pretty insane stories from touring in the early 2000s. Do you two have any weird or wild experiences from putting tours together during the early days that you could share?
BW: I think we’ve told it before, but probably our most memorable one was in 2002 at an old church in Minneapolis that had become a group house that put on DIY noise shows. They had pizza for sale that was cut into small squares. We passed on it because we had already eaten dinner. At the end of the night, we were told each pizza square had a hit of acid on it but we didn’t know that during the show. People got increasingly weird during our set and a few of them started coming up on stage and tried to have conversations with us about the evil spell we were casting. I think someone tried to take off Josh’s shoes and socks in the middle of a song? One guy wigged out, went outside, and attacked the vans. We got a dent in ours but I think another band got a window punched out. Later on, when almost everyone had left, he was still there crying about how he had lost his leather jacket.
A week later we were on another bill with one of the bands from that night and they had the jacket. They had taken it from the van attacker as a way to get him to pay for the broken window, but he was beyond having a conversation, so they just kept it. Sometimes I think the weirdest part of the story though is that we were offered free pizza and said no thanks.
JD: Brian just told the Minneapolis story. Might have to leave it there. Can’t top that one, but that era of touring holds a special place in my heart. These days there are very few surprises on tour and it’s actually kind of rare to really meet and connect with new people. Back in those days every night was an adventure and for better or worse we were often at the mercy of local promoters and hosts to put us up, feed us, and hang with us. Sometimes that was amazing and sometimes it was uncomfortable but it was never boring. It’s an incredible way to get to know new places.
It’s the 10th anniversary of ODDSAC. A decade later, how do you feel about those four years working on the project and its legacy today?
BW: It’s one of my favorite things we’ve done. Definitely brought together so much of our aesthetic in a way that I don’t think any other single record has done. It was the first chance at really doing sound design and feeling how satisfying it is when you sync an image and a sound. I can’t really speak to its legacy. I know our fans like it, but I have no idea if it is discussed outside of the AC ecosystem. Visual albums are more common these days but at the time it was hard to know how to talk about it (even though I don’t assume anyone who has since done a visual album got the idea from us, and we certainly weren’t the first to make something of that nature.) I remember Gary from Plexifilm telling us he didn’t know how to pitch it to festivals or theaters because it wasn’t a documentary or concert film. It also was not a case of us saying “here is a new AC studio album and Danny made visuals to accompany it.”
We wanted people to know how much of a circular process we went through with Danny in terms of the sound and visuals going back and forth constantly influencing each other. That process felt very unique and we wanted a way of encapsulating it. Dave and I were on our way to the practice space one day talking about how to respond to Gary’s question and we said to each other, “let’s have Gary tell people it’s an album that you have to experience visually.” And then we shortened that to “visual album.” Pretty much every interview we did at Sundance asked us what we meant by that.
Speaking of Sundance, I’ll never forget the day we got accepted because I was actually in Philly and had lunch with Danny. We hadn’t heard anything yet about our submission and that morning Gary told us we probably would have heard by then if we’d been accepted and we should be prepared for a no. We spent lunch talking about all the movies that were Sundance hits that we thought were total garbage and convinced ourselves we had no interest in being part of it. Later that day Danny texted me “We got into Sundance!!!!” and we couldn’t do anything but laugh at how full of shit we’d been all afternoon.
Halloween is probably the perfect night to watch ODDSAC. What do you guys recommend fans do to prepare for the best viewing experience at home possible this Halloween? Mood lighting, lava lamps, etc..
BW: This year, please stay safe first and foremost. If you hang, hang responsibly. Masks up, lights down, and speakers loud. Outdoors would be even better. I know of a few outdoor screening gatherings. I think there is going to be one in an alley here in DC.
JD: Brian already said it, but please be conscious of your safety. We are psyched to be finding ways to continue to connect with people by making music and having an event like this, but we cannot wait until we can be in a club with everyone again. But after that… have fun, dress up, change the lighting, let yourself get weird. Halloween is a time to explore an alternate possibility of our reality. We can do that anytime but celebrate the collective intent on Halloween even if we can’t all be together. Elevate the vibe.
What movies or albums would you recommend people watch or listen to in order to get in the right headspace to watch ODDSAC?
BW: Maybe go in fresh. My set is supposed to serve as an introductory setting the mood kind of thing. Like a processional for an autumn harvest ceremony. There will be plenty of visual and auditory stimulation throughout the event so save your strength.
JD: I’m gonna plug my bandmate. Go listen to Brian’s radio show on NTS.live. I especially recommend the show he did last October. This show has a really good October vibe. It’s moody and spooky and filled with spirits. It starts off with a really incredible piece of sound and music that Brian and Dave made last year under the name The New Psychoactives. The first time they played it for me and Noah I was laying on a floor with my eyes closed and it truly transported me to another plane. What follows is a really great mix of stuff that is worth opening your ears to. Highlights include “Come Maddalena” by Ennio Morricone (who is one of the greatest of all time when it comes to film scores), Ralph Lundsten, Ron Elliot, Valentin Clastrier, a lot of great stuff. Highly recommended for the evening and definitely worth digging through more of Brian’s show anytime you’re looking for something new to stretch your musical mind.
You guys have been hard at work on some new songs, will we hear anything new during the Halloween Party? Is there anything you guys can share about what we can expect from the new music?
BW: No we won’t be premiering anything. The only thing I’d share is we’re really psyched on the new songs. It’s been a challenge to figure out how to make a record during the quarantine without being able to be in the same physical space, but it’s coming together!
JD: nope… no teasers. But we are getting closer and closer to being finished and we’re having fun and psyched on the results. we are still in an era of music writing that began with some shows that we played in New Orleans in 2018. It’s been a long road with a lot of unexpected turns but we are deep in it and psyched for the day we get to share it with everyone.
Brian, you’ve previously said that a lot of your music has been inspired by horror soundtracks, how does that translate into ODDSAC or your Halloween DJ set this year?
BW: I will be doing a live set. I wanted to do the introductory DJ set and was going to make it more of a drone /tape music set. I imagined it serving as the light background music you hear in a theater before the previews as people take their seats. Then I thought about the autumn harvest festival vibes I mentioned above and thought about using music from The Wicker Man, Blood on Satan’s Claw, Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, and some hurdy-gurdy records I’ve been enjoying. But I already do a monthly radio show and get my fill of doing sets like that. I’ve been playing the hurdy-gurdy a bit so I decided it’d be a fun challenge to just do a live improvised set on that instrument with that vibe. Maybe viewers would have enjoyed my first idea more, but had to follow the guts. One of the guys out there who really helped get me started on playing the instrument is a musician named Ben Grossman. He played the hurdy-gurdy for that movie The Witch, so I guess it’s still tangentially related to horror soundtracks in that way.
What are some of your favorites?
BW: The Shining is the best, and one of the more influential pieces of music in my life. Tobe Hooper’s scores for Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Eaten Alive are great and introduced me to the concept of musique concrete. Night of the Living Dead and Carnival of Souls are great for the organs. There is an early 80’s movie called Blood Beat that has a great soundtrack. Just recently discovered that one in the last couple years. Music is admittedly better than the movie.
Josh, What are your personal favorite memories from making ODDSAC?
JD: So many… There was one primary shoot where we got the bulk of the images for the movie. We hunkered down north of New York City in a house with Danny and a crew of incredibly talented camera ops, set builders, and costume makers. It was just kind of a non-stop workshop but also kind of a non-stop party. It was just friends everywhere and something needing to get done. I remember one of the scenes that had Dave covered in red glitter in the house that we built in the middle of a field. I guess it was the food fight scene, I sat off stage and played autoharp for Dave and Annie and Molly to go wild to. That was great, getting to stand behind the cameras with Danny as the fire spinning footage started to come together and just feeling so excited about how everything was looking.
What was it like writing and producing music not just to be heard but also adding in a visual element with Danny during the creation process? Does it change how you approach production?
JD: Yes. this was the crux of the whole project. before Danny had shot anything or we had made any sounds, the 5 of us talked about wanting to make a visual album where the visuals informed the music as much as the music informed the visuals. We wanted the two things to feed each other. There was a lot of effort put into keeping that dialogue going both ways. Our music has always been very informed by the idea that sound can invoke images and spaces and sensations and that is as important as the chord changes and the melody. Finally having a visual collaborator to give us images that acted as a score for us to play to and also to give sounds that informed Danny’s visual decisions. That symbiotic back and forth was key and it was super fun to work that way.
I remember that when we were shooting the fire spinners, we recorded some of the spinning with field recorders so that we could then take those sounds and use them as part of the rhythmic structure of a song. We hadn’t written the song yet, we just knew that would be a great way to relate the image to the sound to the song. Another favorite was working on a scene that comes on about 20 minutes in. Totally abstract visual space. I think that one Danny had made the visual first and I remember spending so much time in the studio shaping the sounds so that there felt like there was this reactive relationship between the image and the sound. We were really using this abstract moving image as sheet music in a way and trying to decipher it to give us a shape for our sounds.
We’re back with another edition of our Staff Picks series, highlighting the favorite songs and shows from our nugs.net team members. This third volume comes from our stream technician, Jacob Lima. Over the past year, Jacob’s been all over the world working to beam shows to your living room. Take a peek at his favorite shows from across the years.
So I’ll start off this list with one of my favorite recent shows. Talk about a Denver barn burner.. this show was it! With most Colorado shows ending well before the 2 AM state-mandated liquor curfew, when Goose came on at about 11:30 PM everyone was ready for a standard Cervante’s Other Side 90 minute set, but what we got was a screaming two-set show going well past 3 AM. Wasting no time and starting off with a killer Madhuvan they carried the energy not just through the entire night but for the rest of their four-night Colorado run as well!
I have always been a huge fan of Artifact and believe the album encapsulates perfect jamtronica harmony, with the post Artifact years being my favorite STS9 era. While I was tempted to pick any show from the amazing 5 night run at Boulder Theater, also in 2007, I’d say this is my personal favorite tribe show ever! Starting off the night with Interplanetary Escape Vehicle in its entirety, unbeknownst to the audience, the last time early Tribe staples HB Walks To School and Quests would be played live, this show is full of Sector 9 classics from start to finish.
An instant favorite since the first moment I heard these guys, almost any of their shows would fit this list. I’ve been lucky enough to catch them more than a few times and have never left a show short of mesmerized. Acoustic guitarist Billy Strings has the classic bluegrass chops to pick with the likes of Del McCoury and John Grisman, and then jam with Widespread Panic the next day.. talk about spectrum. His shows are the way.
Coming in hot into Boulder Theater directly after headlining Red Rocks, the monster Hangover encore from this show is not to be missed. One of my all-time favorite Umphrey’s songs, and still the best version I’ve heard to date, closed out a fantastic 2 night Colorado performance. I love a long noodly jam as much as the next guy.. but this ain’t it. Hangover highlights Umphrey’s ability to change time signatures on a dime with no less than five changes in this six-minute song.
Any time Sam Bush and Cheese get together, especially on a Sunday, you know you’re in for a good time, and this show does not disappoint. The Whiskey Before Breakfast and Lonesome Fiddle Blues > North Plains Jam > Lonesome Fiddle Blues from Set I are some great examples of some nice Cheesy bluegrass with the Rivertrance from Set II also showcasing the spacey jam side of Cheese.
The Jeff Austin years of Yonder will always hold a special place in my heart and while all the shows from this five-night run were amazing I’m gonna have to pick the NYE show as it contains a great Half Moon Rising and a killer rendition of New Speedway Boogie to close out the run. Oh and did I mention Darol Agner sat in on fiddle for the ENTIRE show??
I joined the Dead & Company family this year and hopped on tour with these guys to facilitate all the live video streams and my favorite moment of 2019 is a flub. You heard me right. Although I don’t pick this moment for the musicianship of the band, but for what it says about us, the fans. I think Deadheads and other jamband fans, at least in general, are a pretty open-minded, relaxed, accepting bunch. If you spend any time on the Internet forums you might have a different opinion but in-person jam shows are like Olive Garden, when you’re here you’re family. And how do these fans react when the band they hold to very high esteem makes a huge glaring error and has to completely restart a rare Box of Rain? With one of the loudest cheers, I heard all year. It’s a perfect metaphor for the mentality of (in my humble opinion) one of the coolest music fan groups. Understanding that we’re all human, we all make mistakes, but we’re also all in this together and being loving and accepting of your fellow man, warts and all, is one of life’s true kernels of meaning.
Subscribers can listen to highlight’s from Jacob’s picks in the nugs.net app!
This second volume of our Staff Picks series comes from Stephen Holland on our marketing team. He loves music across a wide spectrum but there is definitely an emphasis on sounds of the southeast and jazzier jams. Click here to listen to Stephen’s Picks in the nugs.net app and read below to learn more about why he loves these tracks. Enjoy!
Railroad Earth: “Panama Red” 11/30/13 – Stroudsburg, PA
I’ve always loved this New Riders of the Purple Sage tune and Railroad Earth has some fun with it here.
The Allman Brothers Band: “Statesboro Blues” 8/12/08 – Bethel, NY
I’m a Georgia boy so a famous blues standard with a Peach State location reference always hits for me. This was a Mountain Jam show with the same band that recently reunited at MSG as The Brothers, absent Gregg and Butch of course.
Goose: “Madhuvan” 3/15/20 – T’s House
A really fresh one here. This was the opening track of a webcast that Goose just did over the weekend with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund in this time of virus-caused live music drought. They lit up someone’s living room on this one.
Jerry Garcia Band: “Mission in the Rain” 6/10/89 – French’s Camp on the Elk River
Recording of an under-appreciated Jerry tune from a small little place up in Northern California.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: “Cover Me Up” 10/22/18 – Ryman Auditorium
Jason Isbell has been the most consistent soundtrack of my life the last few years. His writing is a combination of the nostalgia from the south and the current state of the world. This track has a special place in my life for sure.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit: “Outfit” 9/14/19 – Capitol Theatre
Doubled up on Jason but it’s my playlist. This one hits big on growing up in the south nostalgia.
Pearl Jam: “Alive” 11/30/93 – Las Vegas, NV
From the earliest Pearl Jam archive show that we have, the band toured on its second album Vs. Unfortunately, we don’t have a video of the Elvis impersonator that sat in with them. We’ll have to just imagine that.
Billy Strings: “Turmoil and Tinfoil” 2/15/20 – Asheville, NC
Billy en fuego on this track. I can’t wait for his tour with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit this summer.
The White Stripes: “Boll Weevil” 7/31/07 – Southaven, MS
The last song of the last White Stripes show, enough said. You can see I like old blues standards.
Tyler Childers: “Lady May” 11/30/18 – Exit In, Nashville, TN
Who doesn’t like a beautiful love song? The lyrics and the lonesome fiddle get me every time.
Tyler Childers: “Country Squire” 11/30/18 – Exit In, Nashville, TN
Another double dose. I needed to highlight some slide guitar on here.
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead: “Truckin'” 11/10/18 – The Fox Oakland
A nice stretched out jam of a classic. This was a great show across the Bay at the Fox.
Wilco: “California Stars” 12/3/01 – The Fillmore San Francisco
Iconic song recorded in another round of turbulent times just down the street at The Fillmore. It makes me feel like it’s all going to be ok for about 6 minutes anyway.
Charlie Hunter: “Lively Up Yourself” 9/14/96 – Cincinnati, OH
The horns, guitar, and organ play together like the three best friends that anyone ever had. More of this, please.
Kitchen Dwellers: “New Man” 2/8/20 – Bend, OR
Blisters on some fingers here as they headed into the break. Really been enjoying the Kitchen Dwellers lately.
Guy Clark: “LA Freeway Pack Up All Your Dishes” 11/19/89 – Austin City Limits
A cool one from a trove of Austin City Limits shows that we have. Guy Clark is one of my favorite songwriters.
Lotus: “Disappear in a Blood-Red Sky” 2/15/20 – Frisco, CO
This is a nice recent one from Lotus with some beautiful harmonies in the back. Enjoy!
Ghost Light: “Old Time Religion” 11/22/19 – San Francisco, CA
This was one of my favorite tunes from last year’s show here in the neighborhood at The Independent.
Are you stuck at home for the foreseeable future? As music-lovers, we know how frustrating it is to be separated from the live music experience. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of shows you can enjoy anywhere. Watch these at home and enjoy the full concert experience without risking your health. Throw them on in your living room and grab a front-row seat on your couch, it’s showtime. We also have a full slate of upcoming live webcasts coming from studios and artists’ living rooms; check out the full lineup on nugs.tv!
Next week, thousands will gather in Las Vegas to celebrate three decades of 311. The band will play three shows beginning on March 11th A.K.A 311’s official holiday, 311 DAY. Fans unable to make the trip out to Sin City will be able to participate in the festivities from home. All three shows will be webcast live on nugs.tv in their entirety. The webcasts, offering individual nights or a three-night package, are available for order now. Ahead of next week’s celebrations, we spoke to 311’s Nick Hexum (Vocals, Guitar) about this year’s 311 DAY and more.
nugs: With this being a special 30th-Anniversary celebration, what do fans have in store with these three 311 DAY shows?
Nick Hexum: I think it will be a very emotional experience for us and our fans. Reflecting on what a special community the 311 Nation has become. We will be looking back as well as forward. Being 311 DAY shows, of course, we’ll be digging deep and playing songs from throughout our 30-year career across 2 sets a night, plus we have special production to take the spectacle of this show to another level!
nugs: What is your fondest memory from 30 years of touring?
NH: One special night was when we did a big free show in a park in Omaha back in 2006 and like 40,000 people showed up. It was overwhelming to see the sea of people in our hometown. Meanwhile, every 311 Caribbean Cruise and 311 DAY feel really special. Somehow it just keeps getting better!
nugs: What makes a 311 DAY so special?
NH: It’s like a family reunion. A celebration of the band, the fans and the community we’ve built together. I’ve heard so many cool stories of people who know each other online meeting in person and then becoming great friends. Also, quite a few marriages and babies being conceived! Mostly, it’s time for us to express our gratitude for our incredible fan-base by putting on the very best show we can!
nugs: Do you think this year’s 311 DAY shows will hit the 100 song mark across all three days?
NH: I’m sworn to secrecy.
nugs: What makes doing this in Vegas so special?
I think people leave their troubles behind once they arrive in Vegas. People just automatically unwind there, so it’s perfect for a 311 event. Plus the Park Theater is an amazing high-tech venue to get to play. Let’s rock!
Jeff Milbourn is nugs.net’s Vice President of Technology, resident Widespread Panic apologist, and possibly Goose’s #1 fan. Longtime Widespread Panic fans have probably enjoyed his tapes from ’90s Panic shows. For the first installment of our Staff Picks series, there’s no one better to share their list of favorites from across the years.
This was a top Widespread Panic show when it happened and remains a top show still today. This is WSmfP at their best. Houser screams, Jo Jo is dynamic and omnipresent, Schools thunders and drops bombs, Todd and Sunny crescendo, and JB sings like an angel throughout the entire show.
I Love Mule. I Love dirty NOLA Mule even better. I’ve seen a lot of great NOLA Mule shows over the years but this one is something else. “On Your Way Down” with Jonathon ‘Boogie’ Long and “The Hunter” > “Good Morning Little School Girl” > “The Hunter” with Alvin Youngblood and Smokey Greenwell are required listening.
Before kicking off a ridiculous show which, of all bands, Barenaked Ladies opened, JB growls, “How about a big ole’ hand for Barenaked Ladies . . . Barenaked everything!” Classic JB, classic Panic show at Mud Island.
This is the show that should not have been. As many probably know, The Rolling Stones were supposed to headline Jazzfest. When they canceled, Fleetwood Mac was booked to fill the slot, yet they too canceled (quite fortuitously). Panic stepped in to fill the void. The speculation was that Panic would incorporate at least one song from the Stones. Not so. Instead, they decided to blow out the Fairgrounds on their own terms, with a nod to Dr. John.
This is Panic’s most recent show available on nugs.net. It will be replaced on the list of best shows by the next show the band plays. And that’s the point. You can never beat the anticipation of the “next one.”
Since emerging in 2011, Turkuaz has lit up stages everywhere from Bonnaroo, Hulaween, Okeechobee and Electric Forest,to Telluride Jazz Fest, Lock’n, Red Rocks, and The Fillmore. Their horn-filled funk incorporates elements of R&B, psychedelic pop, gospel, Afro-pop, New Wave, classic rock, and just about any genre that gets people dancing.
We had a chance to chat with the nonet about the evolution of their music and style over the past nine years.
Q: You guys are entering a new era as a group. Beyond the color scheme change, what evolutions can we expect from Turkuaz in 2020?
A: Well, the color scheme change was inspired by this last EP we released, Kuadrochrome. About 5 years ago, we released its’ predecessor, Stereochrome, which had the band dressing in all black and white. This was followed by 5 years of the “colors” era, as we’re calling it. As much as we and our fans both loved the colors on-stage, 5 years is a lot and we knew it was time for a change. We had a few other songs and arrangements lying around that had yet to be released that fit the vintage style of Stereochrome, and creating a sequel with a four-tone scheme instead of two seemed like a fun and unique opportunity to break out of the rainbow.
As far as what’s to come—we want to keep growing and changing, and being open to whatever that means when inspiration strikes. As mentioned, this last EP leaned more vintage funk/soul, but we’re already working on a ton of new recordings with a wide range of sonic influences. This was more of a palate cleanser or a little pit-stop on our journey. We don’t entirely know where it will lead and that’s part of the fun. The only constant for us at this point will be change. And we look forward to seeing where that takes us in 2020 and beyond.
Q: We’re really excited about the upcoming “Remain in Light” shows with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew. What is that experience going to be like?
A: We’re also very excited about it. We’ve been playing Talking Heads’ music since the inception of our band, and it’s deeply woven into the fabric of what we do. We worked with Jerry on a couple songs a few years back, and we were very happy when he approached us with the idea of doing this tour. Adrian is also a musical force that we have been a fan of for a long time, and getting to play this music with them is a great honor.
Rather than play the record straight through, we’ve been discussing modeling the show partially on the 1980 Rome show which was on the “Remain in Light” tour. This show featured highlights from the record, as well as the rest of their existing catalogue at the time. If you haven’t seen that show, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s truly inspiring and we’re looking forward to pulling ideas from it. Jerry has also mentioned wanting to do some Turkuaz songs which, of course, we’d love to do, as long as it doesn’t distract too much from the vibe of the show we put together. All in all, we want a high energy and fun show that does justice to the import legacy of that music.
Q: The four shows at the Blue Note in Tokyo are amazing, what was your favorite experience from those shows?
A: It was amazing. Playing the shows as well as meeting and interacting with our fans there were both so great, it’s hard to say what the favorite experience was. Simply exploring Japan was also something none of us had ever done, so the entire trip really feels like one meaningful and unforgettable experience.
The Japanese audience there was very different from our typical American audience. In addition to the Blue Note being a jazz club which naturally is a more calm and reserved environment, public space in Japan is generally treated differently and people are incredibly collected and respectful. This creates a concert environment where the audience is sitting and carefully listening to every note. I don’t think one approach is necessarily better than the other, but this was the first time we had ever played to an audience like this and I think we struck a good balance of adapting while also giving them the Turkuaz experience.
Q: Do you have any personal favorites from the shows currently released on nugs.net?
A: Cleveland is a good one, and Brooklyn Steel is our most recent hometown show, so I’m glad that’s in there. The Nashville show has some of the newer stuff we’ve been doing on the Kuadrochrome tour. Overall, I think they’re all pretty solid which is why they’re up there. With a band this size, and so much happening in the arrangements, we’re just looking to continually feature the audio that came out the best as opposed to posting every show. We’re not a jam band with a 100% different setlist every single night, but every show is different by at least 40-70% night-to-night, and we never repeat the same set. We plan on presenting a “best of” every so often to keep a good flow of shows coming. The best is yet to come and we look forward to adding to the catalogue.
Q: What are you guys looking forward to most in 2020?
A: I’m looking forward to all the collaborations. The “Remain in Light” shows will be amazing, and the Brooklyn Comes Alive set we’re doing in March will also be a blast (with Cory Henry, Nate Werth and Robert “Sput” Searight). We also have a ton of new music in the works which we look forward to sharing with the world. We’re also very happy to be part of the Nugs family! It’s gonna be a good year.
This weekly podcast caters to music lovers within the jam band community, featuring artists like Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, The String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic and more. During the show, host Kory French works through his weekly playlist of new releases and old favorites, giving listeners some history on the songs and the bands behind them.
If you’re looking for all music and no-frills, then this is the podcast for you. It’s 3+ hours of live/studio jam band music. You can find the playlists for each episode on their website: endlessboundaries.com
A Female run podcast that discusses all things Phish from a woman’s point of view. Listen as they interview Phish’s community members, play games like “Market Price” and discuss the latest goings-on in the Phish scene online and on the lot.
Hosted by music journalist Dean Budnick, LMTR tells the story of a band, their fans, and the journey that made them one of the most successful touring bands of all time. With over 50 interviews, season one of LMTR focuses on Phish, shedding light on how they pioneer an entire industry on many impactful and important levels, doing it their way.
This podcast looks back on Phish’s Big Cypress festival 20 years later—examining the legacy for Phish and the music world. Hosted and narrated by Jesse Jarnow, this five-episode series draws on interviews with members of Phish and its crew, fan memories, and conversations with other people across the music industry.
nugs.net founder Brad Serling’s podcast guides fans through a playlist of recent live music from artists like Phish, Dead & Company, The Allman Brothers, Pearl Jam, Metallica, The Raconteurs, Wilco, Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee, and more.
Harris and Scott are comedians, music lovers, and friends. Where do they differ? Harris loves Phish, and Scott does not. On Analyze Phish, Harris navigates the vast landscape of Phish’s catalog to find entry points for Scott while trying to explain the live Phish experience without the use of illegal substances.
Steven Hyden and Rob Mitchum explore the Grateful Dead’s celebrated Dick’s Picks live series. The show takes a deep dive into the 36 Dick’s Picks entries, the history of the Dead organization, and popular culture around each show.
In this podcast, Jon Barber dives deep into analysis and commentary of The Disco Biscuits and talks about his role in the band, music, technology and other topics. Jon also brings on a variety of exciting and inspiring guests to co-host with him.
The Sound Podcast is a music discovery interview-style podcast, hosted by Ira Haberman. Featuring Jam Bands and more… much more. Rooted in Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, Rock, Soul but mostly Jam Band music. New episodes of The Sound Podcast are available Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The Wednesday episode is exclusively a live music playlist called LIVEFIVE powered by nugs.net.
This is a Podcast about Music – Industry, Festivals/Concerts, and Culture. It’s a mix of the Fan (Rob Turner) and Industry (Seth Weiner w/ Shimon Presents, Inc.) perspectives. Their presentation style can be difficult to jive with, but their guests are top-notch!
Last week, Steven Hyden and Rob Mitchum launched 36 From The Vault, a new podcast exploring the Grateful Dead’s celebrated Dick’s Picks live series. The show takes a deep dive into the 36 Dick’s Picks entries, the history of the Dead organization, and popular culture around each show. We caught up with Steven and Rob to find out more about the new series.
nugs: What makes Dick’s Picks unique amongst other official releases from the Grateful Dead?
Rob Mitchum: One of the joys of doing the podcast so far is doing a deep dive into who Dick was and how he came to be associated with the Dead organization. His background and the whole process in selecting the shows is really sort of fascinating early on. The key thing about Dick, I think, is that he came to the Grateful Dead organization already a huge tape trader and fan. He had that fan’s perspective and brought it to the organization. Everybody who was working for the Dead from the band to the crew to the people running the business had been inside for so long that they kind of lost perspective about what the outside world wanted from them. And that’s especially important for this kind of archival release series.
Dick was giving the fans what they want. He had his own sort of peculiar pov on what needed to be put out there. He talked a lot in early interviews about the fact that the band, by ‘93 certainly, never listened to the tapes. The only one who was interested in even participating in choosing or rejecting shows was Phil and he was doing all rejecting and no choosing basically, so he really slowed down the release in the early days. But Dick was super enthusiastic about all this music and would come across something like the “Here Comes Sunshine” that’s on Volume One and say, “We have to get this out there! Deadheads have got to hear this.” He would just argue and argue that it needed to be put out there and finally ended up winning some of these arguments with Phil. We’re all very lucky to have had his perspective on the inside at that point. Certainly, they wouldn’t have put out as much without Dick advocating for it and what they would have put out maybe wouldn’t have been as satisfying.
Steven Hyden: I think what makes the Dead unique in a lot of ways in terms of how their archive is handled is that they are probably the biggest example of fans stepping into the place of the band as stewards of the band’s history. The fans of the Grateful Dead have had such a big role in ultimately shaping the perception of how this band is perceived and I think mostly for the better. I think Dick is an example of this and there are lots of other people, lots of the Deadheads, who have much better taste in Dead music than the members themselves. If not for them there’d be a lot of great music that wouldn’t have been put out there for whatever reason. I think it’s a really interesting aspect of their history, the role that fans have played in writing and maybe correcting it in a lot of ways.
nugs: You guys mention in the podcast that the Dick’s Picks shows are a sort-of medium between the studio sound of early official releases and the DIY sound of bootleg tapes. What is it that distinguishes the sound of a Dick’s Picks show?
SH: It was kind of like the best of both worlds in a way where you could get something that sounded pretty good but it wasn’t overly professional or it didn’t have a ton of overdubs on it. It is interesting doing this show and realizing how much actually was done to these tapes in terms of just cutting songs out or like resequencing songs. The first Dick’s Picks record I ever got was Volume One and I wasn’t aware of how much had been taken out of there until I did this podcast. I heard you could stream the shows that they took that from and pretty much the whole first set is gone from Dick’s Picks Volume One. So it wasn’t quite as unedited as I assumed it was but still much less polished than a regular studio record would be.
nugs: On the note of live albums missing sections or being re-sequenced, what makes the six-song uninterrupted section in the second set of Dick’s Picks Volume One so special?
RM: One of the cool things that I think Dick’s Picks allowed the Dead to do is put out some of these hour-long song suites that they used to do regularly live. For a lot of reasons, they hadn’t really represented that on their official “live” albums. I think Live Dead probably gets the closest to it but even that one is spliced between I think two or three shows. A lot of their other live albums were sort of grab bags of best versions from a particular tour or run. If they’re edited together it was done in the studio later on by combining versions from different shows and things like that. What was sort of revolutionary at time was finally having a pretty solid unabridged hour of music and segues from the show on an easy compact-disc format. Usually, that was the domain of tapes and not something you could get your hands on in official quality.
SH: It really is amazing how spoiled people are now with this kind of stuff. I was just thinking about myself with Phish for instance. I only started listening to Phish in the 2010s. I’m used to an era where the show ends and within a couple of minutes there’s an instant show to stream online that’s a master and sounds great. At your fingertips, there’s an entire show. We’re so used to that now. Revisiting the series is a reminder that even getting part of a show that sounded this good was kind of a unique thing. it was a much harder thing to attain than it is now.
RM: That’s going back to before a time nugs.net spoiled music fans. But yeah, I think one of the interesting things I’ve learned from the start of the series is how the Dead organization was very nervous about whether this would actually work, which is crazy in retrospect. Now the Dead put out like eight to ten live releases a year or something like that between Dave’s Picks and the other box sets they do.
Dick, Kidd Candelario and a couple of other people that were involved in the start of the series really had to argue with the band, the organization, and the record label to do this. Even the permission they got was only to sell it through mail order and do a very low run for the time of only 25,000 copies each volume. Dick wanted to do complete shows but they wouldn’t commit at the time because they only wanted to do, at most, 2 discs. Of course, you can’t get a complete show on two discs. There were all these handicaps put on the project from the start just because they were worried that it might be a commercial bust.
SH: I guess maybe the Dead’s defense back in the early ‘90s was that putting out something that’s pretty unvarnished risks being picked apart. Especially by a fan base as critical as the Dead’s. So I understand their trepidation from that perspective, they didn’t want to put out something that was maybe less than perfect. And in the show that we just did, there’s this whole thing about editing out this terrible Phil Lesh bass solo. When you listen to the show it’s actually kind of good that it’s not there because that part of the album flows so well, it’s like really the best part of the whole release. But there is a part of you as a purist that’s like “oh I wish that was in there because that’s actually what happened.” The fact that they were willing to release Dick’s Picks as they did is a little bit of a leap of faith, to expose yourself in that way.
nugs: You guys have hinted that the show could explore some other artists along the way, what can we expect down the line from the podcast?
RM: Steven and I are both fans of the live album format in general and the Dick’s Picks series is such a revelation in how live albums can work for a band, doing more archival releases than polished live album releases. So I think we’re interested in those types of archival releases from other bands. Like Steve was talking about earlier, telling the story of the band through this very particular kind of release is a concept that fits the Dead perfectly and they were the ones that set the template for that. But there are other bands that do that as well and that’s the kind of thing we’d like to explore down the line or in special episodes
nugs: In the first episode, you guys go deep into the context around the show. You even dive into how the venue was named after a corrupt Tampa mayor. Is that something we can expect more of in future episodes?
SH: Part of the appeal for us doing this show was that it’s a chance to talk about the Grateful Dead, but it’s also an excuse to explore music history and pop culture history in a fun way. You could time travel back to December of 1973 and look at what’s happening in the world at that time and get a sense of what it would have been like to be at that show. Rob and I were both born several years after this show and I never got to see the Grateful Dead live at all. I’ve only ever experienced them through recordings. The time travel aspect of listening to live tapes is enhanced when you can look at the rest of the world at that time and see how that influenced what was going on.
RM: Yeah, I think a lot of times people tend to consider the history of the Dead in sort of a vacuum. They were always an oddball in the music industry so people tend to consider the Dead and their different eras in a silo without thinking about the cultural context of the time. What was going on in the music industry? What was going on in film? What was going on in the news?
Each show kind of gives us an opportunity to do that which is really fun. Looking at the different venues they played and seeing who else was playing that venue around the same time, It’s fun to be like “You know they played this show in Tampa not long after David Bowie was there on the Diamond Dogs tour.” A bunch of the shows in the ‘70s were within a month or two of like an Elvis appearance at the same venue. The other things that were sort of bobbing around in the culture at the time, of course, were going to have an influence on the Dead. They might have been doing their own thing but there’s certainly some bleed over you can hear from the bands, arts, and society that was around them.
SH: Another thing for Rob and I with this show was to approach it as huge fans of the Grateful Dead without being too clinical or scholarly about it. I think that we both want to have a sense of humor about the band. They’re a brilliant band, but they’re also kind of a goofy band. Craziness and brillance always co-mingled with this band and it’s part of what makes them so much fun to talk about.
I think that spirit of fun and reverence that’s inside the Grateful Dead is something that we wanted to have on this show and I think that’s a pretty big part of what we’re doing. I always feel like the best kind of music criticism should feel like listening to music and I hope that we have a little bit of that element of the Dead in our show.
Now that we’re officially in the 2020s, we are looking back at the best music of the 2000s (so far). nugs.net’s founder, Brad Serling, has cultivated his list featuring some of the most memorable live performances from the last twenty years. You can listen to every song on the latest editions of the nugs.net Live Stash podcast. Brad goes through his full list of favorites in two parts providing commentary on each entry.
Today and tomorrow are the busiest travel days of the year. We’ve created a playlist for nugs.net subscribers to keep everyone truckin’ along on their way to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. It’s packed with live versions of classic hits that the whole car can enjoy.
Clocking in at two hours, The Thanksgiving Road Trip playlist is filled with the music of Springsteen, The Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, and more road trip staples. Of course, no road trip playlist would be complete without a little country. There’s Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, John Denver, and more providing that classic American road trip atmosphere. And finally, the playlist features incredible covers from Greensky Bluegrass, Tauk, and Goose. It’s the perfect accompaniment for the open road.
The year is rapidly coming to a close. Fall tours are ending and many artists will take a few weeks off to rest, reflect, and prepare for a new year of music. Before we charge into a new decade, we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite shows from 2019.
Star Kitchen is one of our favorite new projects. The band is the brainchild of The Disco Biscuits’ Marc Brownstein and Eric Krasno Band’s Danny Mayer. The supergroup also includes Rob Marscher and Marlon Lewis. Their performances explore the music of Stevie, Jimi, James, & more in new and interesting ways. We sat down with the band to talk about their shows on nugs.net and more.
Q: Tell us about the hidden gems in these releases. Do you have a stand out track or show from the batch?
Star Kitchen: I really love the Boat Cruise show in NYC. It was the first time that the band played as a four-piece without any guests at all, and it was a benchmark moment for the band. We hadn’t had the confidence to pull off a whole show without the help of some special treats along the way, but it was great. We pulled it off with a very small crowd, but huge energy. It has become our go-to recording to listen to in the van.
Q: What inspired you to start a funk forward project over all else?
SK: Really, the thing that inspired me to start this project was the Sharon Jones and the Dap King’s holiday album. Every year that is the go-to in my house. The songs are dope, and the band is the best. Ultimately, it brought me back to listening to funk in general, and I went through a deep stage of dissecting Greyboy All-stars jams. Then I went further back and started relearning all of the James Brown grooves and Aretha Franklin classics; and of course, I made a James Jamerson playlist and started playing along with that. I didn’t know how to make a funk band happen, but just as with everything, the universe did deliver this time.
Q: What are your hopes for how a new listener feels when they leave a Star Kitchen show?
SK: I feel like I want them to say, oh ok, I get it, it’s funk, but also it’s not. We are taking these songs that everyone has heard thousands of times, and many that you’ve never heard, and stretching them like rubber bands, as far as we can, in every direction. Recently, someone came up to me and said, “wow that reminded me a lot of what JGB used to be,” and I was like, this guy gets it. We are taking funk and soul tunes, and then taking everything we know from being experts in improvisation and applying it to those songs in our own way. That’s what JGB used to do, and that’s what this ended up being, not by accident. I am always the most influenced by the patriarch of the jamband scene.
Scarlet Begonias is one of the essential pieces of the Grateful Dead discography. The band first played the song in 1974 at the Daly City Cow Palace, just south of San Francisco. The song is one of the many Grateful Dead tunes to feature the brilliant lyricism of the recently passed Robert Hunter.
Since Dead & Company began touring in 2015, Scarlet has been a fixture of the band’s live show. Every member of the band gets a chance to shine throughout the song, possibly why the band often uses it as a set opener. It’s a great introduction to the show, after a 10-minute Scarlet jam, you know exactly what to expect from a Dead & Co. performance. There’s a reason you’ll hear Bob Weir exclaim “Just like a swiss watch” after the band opens their second set in Atlanta with the song.
There are over 150 versions of Scarlet Begoniasstreaming on nugs.net from Dead & Company, Bob Weir and Wolf Bros, JRAD, and tons more. You can also watch three different versions of the song from this year’s Dead & Co. summer tour below.
For more Dead & Company, pre-order webcasts of their six upcoming Fall Fun Run shows right now on nugs.tv.
It’s been half a century since 500,000 people made their way to Bethel, New York for the now-historic Woodstock Music Festival. The iconic festival didn’t come together overnight, in fact, it nearly didn’t happen at all. Finding a venue proved a difficult task for event organizers. Organizers didn’t land the famous dairy farm in Bethel until roughly a month before the first act would take the stage. Woodstock was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.” The Woodstock moniker wouldn’t come until later. Woodstock’s legacy lives on through just about every festival that takes place today.
Woodstock 1969 Lineup:
Richie Havens Bert Sommer Sweetwater Melanie Tim Hardin Ravi Shanker Arlo Guthrie Joan Baez
Quill Country Joe McDonald John Sebastian Keef Hartley Band Santana The Incredible Stringed Band Canned Heat Mountain The Grateful Dead Creedence Clearwater Revival Janis Joplin Sly and the Family Stone The Who Jefferson Airplane
Country Joe and The Fish Ten Years After The Band Johnny Winter Blood Sweat and Tears Crosby Stills Nash and Young Paul Butterfield Blues Band Sha Na Na Jimi Hendrix
Listen to Woodstock
nugs.net subscribers can listen to these Woodstock performances on desktop, Sonos, and in the nugs.net app.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is hands down one of our favorite venues in the US. The natural beauty that accompanies the sweet sounds of live music makes for a breathtaking experience. There’s a reason why it’s a must-visit location for nearly all of our nugs.net artists. Below you’ll find a collection of every Red Rocks performance we have from this year… so far.
Widespread Panic just wrapped their 2019 three-night run at Red Rocks. Selling out the iconic venue has become an annual affair for Panic at this point. Each night was filled with fantastic bust outs, rarities, and fan favorites. If you missed out on the sold-out shows, we’ve got exclusive video from our webcasts:
Tipitina’s has been a staple in the New Orleans’ music scene since 1977. The iconic venue hosts New Orleans’ finest and funkiest musicians. Every Friday this summer Tipitina’s hosts free performances featuring incredible local talent and the party goes all night long. Tune in to nugs.tv every Friday to watch Tipitina’s Free Fridays live and discover your new favorite band! Below you can check out previous Free Friday’s performances, with more added each week.
5/24/19 Brassaholics & Erica Falls
5/31/19 Billy Iuso & Restless Natives + The Quickening
6/7/19 Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes, Aaron Benjamin, & Spencer Whatever