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Jam Bands and the planet at large

ArtDecade

Member
Messages
2,167
The US loves their jam bands, but even the biggest of the big (Dead, Phish, etc) don't really seem to have the same appeal overseas. Yet, jazz has solid success in Europe and Asia so it can't be a lack of interest in musical improvisation. What's the deal?
 

anxiousmofo

Member
Messages
5,433
Dunno, the Dead have always had a pretty sizable European following and did well with tours there, at least the few they did.

Also...bands tend to draw followings where they tour, and that sort of act is all about the live experience. Bands that don't tour in Europe are bound to have less of a following there.

Further, I believe jazz is much more popular/consumed abroad than in the U.S.

I'm a huge Deadhead but find the whole notion of jam bands odious and don't care for a whole number of them, including Phish. To me, this premise seems deeply simplistic.
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
22,571
The US loves their jam bands, but even the biggest of the big (Dead, Phish, etc) don't really seem to have the same appeal overseas. Yet, jazz has solid success in Europe and Asia so it can't be a lack of interest in musical improvisation. What's the deal?
Take a look at the actual audience members for Jazz in Europe and Asia.

Now take a look at the actual audience members at a Phish show.
 

rollyfoster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
15,609
Phish did pretty well in Europe and Japan in the 90s.

Jazz has been woven into the culture over there for decades. They can also travel with just an instrument and backline everything.

Ham bands need their own gear, lights, and whatnot. It’s cost prohibitive.
 
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No_Stairway

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,756
How many local jam bands exist in Europe? How many Jazz cats exist in Europe?

There are some really talented musicians in Jam bands. Are Jimmy Herring. Warren Haynes, Jerry Garcia and Derek Trucks a bunch of useless noodlers? Robert Randalph, Karl Denson arn't bad either
 

jkendrick

Member
Messages
9,895
“Jam bands” isn’t a genre; it’s an ethos. One that the Grateful Dead pretty much fell ass backwards into. But it’s successful. It’s not based on studio recordings; it’s based on touring. In fact most, if not all “jam bands” freely allow audience recordings of performances. So why are they successful here and not “there”? Well, they tour a lot and it’s simply more feasible and profitable to do it domestically. In short, none of it really has much to do with the music.
 

fenderjapan

WCW World Heavyweight Champion
Gold Supporting Member
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4,834
Jam bands don't have the same appeal because the music just... isn't, in and of itself, as good.
People are drawn to Jam bands for the culture. The people. The noodling. The unpredictability of the set list. The characters on stage. It's big, here, in the USA.
Heavy Metal comes with culture, but that culture has colonized just about anywhere heavy metal music has. Heavy metal culture is in Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, etc. etc.
Jam culture hasn't colonized in the same way Heavy Metal has. So outside the top tier acts, there is little interest.
 

jkendrick

Member
Messages
9,895
Jam bands don't have the same appeal because the music just... isn't, in and of itself, as good.
People are drawn to Jam bands for the culture. The people. The noodling. The unpredictability of the set list. The characters on stage. It's big, here, in the USA.
Heavy Metal comes with culture, but that culture has colonized just about anywhere heavy metal music has. Heavy metal culture is in Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, etc. etc.
Jam culture hasn't colonized in the same way Heavy Metal has. So outside the top tier acts, there is little interest.
Again, I’d ask what’s “Jam band music”? I agree that the ethos or culture is more why the label is about. But how do you link bands like Medeski Martin and Wood and Umphrey’s McGee musically? They are as different musically as Doc Watson and Frank Sinatra.
 

Hack Prophet

vile mighty wretched
Messages
7,082
Again, I’d ask what’s “Jam band music”? I agree that the ethos or culture is more why the label is about. But how do you link bands like Medeski Martin and Wood and Umphrey’s McGee musically? They are as different musically as Doc Watson and Frank Sinatra.
I think it is the culture (and ticket-buyers) that decided MMW was a jam band much to the chagrin of the band members themselves. From a few accounts I've heard, John Medeski in particular despises the jam band classification. Jerry called it "the curse", some member of the Dead (usually Jerry) played with literally anybody, like Del Mccoury for example, and all of the sudden bluegrass shows were full of twirling hippies
 

jkendrick

Member
Messages
9,895
I think it is the culture (and ticket-buyers) that decided MMW was a jam band much to the chagrin of the band members themselves. From a few accounts I've heard, John Medeski in particular despises the jam band classification. Jerry called it "the curse", some member of the Dead (usually Jerry) played with literally anybody, like Del Mccoury for example, and all of the sudden bluegrass shows were full of twirling hippies
Well yeah, they pretty much all hate the term. But they love the business model. Ween was the same way. That’s what I’m saying. The term is arbitrary when it comes to the actual music. It’s not a genre.
 

fenderjapan

WCW World Heavyweight Champion
Gold Supporting Member
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4,834
You could make an argument that Pearl Jam are a jam band. Big setlists reaching throughout their catalog, noodling and jamming, improv, unpredictable setlists. But in that band, you have a singer who is a virtuoso in Eddie Vedder, a bassist who is a virtuoso in Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron who is pretty much an expert rock drummer, and the guitar duo of Stone and Mike that just FITS the music so perfectly, along with Boom's Organ sounds.

So virtuoso musicians, amazing songwriting, jam band enthusiasm... add em all up and you have a band that sells out stadiums world wide.
 




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