D-Jam for the Dead Thecause Welcomes Dark Star Orchestra Guitarist Mattson for Grateful Dead Tribute

By Mervis, Scott | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), March 19, 2015 | Go to article overview

D-Jam for the Dead Thecause Welcomes Dark Star Orchestra Guitarist Mattson for Grateful Dead Tribute


Mervis, Scott, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


If you can't get a member of the Grateful Dead for your Grateful Dead tribute show -- and who can? -- someone from the Dark Star Orchestra might be the next best thing.

Pittsburgh band theCAUSE will get a hand from the DSO's Jeff Mattson for the annual D-Jam, a "rock against hunger" show Saturday at the Rex Theater, South Side, benefiting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

The Grateful Dead, as Deadheads well know, will mark its 50th anniversary with a series of "Fare Thee Well" shows over the Fourth of July Weekend at Chicago's Soldier Field with the reunion of surviving members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, plus Phish's Trey Anastasio, Jeff Chimenti and Bruce Hornsby.

This local show will have a similar repertoire and purpose, obviously on a much smaller scale, with singer-guitarist Mattson, who broke into the Dead zone by playing with Phil Lesh and Friends as well as former Dead backup singer Donna Jean Godchaux as Donna Jean and the Tricksters (with his other band, Zen Tricksters). In 2009, Mr. Mattson replaced John Kadlecik in Chicago's Dark Star Orchestra, a tribute band known for performing complete Dead shows.

theCAUSE, which centers its sets around the Grateful Dead, Phish, The Beatles and Bob Dylan, has a history of drawing on the Dead community for D-Jam. Three years ago, they recruited Steve Kimock, who has played in numerous Dead spinoffs, including Phil Lesh and Friends, The Other Ones and RatDog. Two years ago, they got Mr. Mattson, who is managed by Jack Barton, who had prior experience with the Food Bank as an employee at WYEP.

"I had so much fun playing with theCause at the D-Jam two years ago," Mr. Mattson says. "I was thrilled when they asked me to be a part of it again this year. Helping out the Food Bank is a cause that's close to my heart. There is no good reason why at this time everyone in America doesn't have enough to eat. The members of theCause are great musicians and wonderful folks and I can't wait to see what kind of musical mischief we can get into this year."

"Jeff will sing most of the Jerry [Garcia] tunes, and Pappy [Eric Weingrad] most of the Bobby [Weir] tunes, but Jill [Paone Simmons] will also do leads," says David Tauberg, bassist for theCAUSE. …

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