Monthly Archives: August 2015


Jazz Is Dead rolled into South Orange, NJ last night bringing a ton of tasty Dead with them. There wasn’t much Jazz but there definitely was plenty of Dead. The 5 piece band ripped through unique renditions of some of our old favorites with the kind of inspired originality they’ve always been known for possessing. The South Orange Performing Arts Center provided an intimate environment that encouraged and enabled interchange between artists and audience throughout the evening. It was a tremendous night of music provided by top shelf musicians.

I remember seeing Jazz Is Dead several times throughout the years and with a couple of different musicians. Terry “T” Lavitz (Widespread Panic, Jefferson Starship, Dixie Dregs and many more) played Keys and Jimmy Herring played with them in the late 90s to early 2Ks along with Alphonso Johnson on bass. Alphonso plays like he has 8 fingers on each hand and makes it look easy as sleeping. He’s one cool character. They’ve always had drummers that were absolute beasts on the kit starting with Billy Cobham then moving to Jeff Sipe. The next as well as the current Rhythmic Octopus is Rod Morgenstein. That brother blasted through the night with intense authority and no shortage of shit getting endlessly blasted. He will never be accused of not being busy enough. They’ve been dormant since Lavitz’s unfortunate passing 5 years ago but they’re back now and better than ever!

Jeff Pevar came onboard after Jimmy and is an incredible guitarist. His command of the stage and his instrument is awe inspiring and his talents were on full display. From intricate finger picking to just plain slaying it, Jeff is someone you need to get a good dose of if you haven’t already. The originality of his interpretations along with the delivery of them had me smiling from ear to ear the entire night.

Chris Smith, a highly decorated player, took on half of the keyboard roles. He was animated and completely immersed in the music throughout the entire night.

The real treat of the evening is the addition of Tom Constanten on the other half of the keys. TC is the wise elder of the group and it was a joy to see him. Most notably, our favorite band’s keyboardist for less than a year and a half (November of ’68 to January of 70), Tom was engaged in the experience and savored the moments. When a musician solos, it’s an opportunity to look inside the depths of their core. When Tom wound up for his solos, this sincere and humble sound came through him. Not really colored it seems by much regret or bitterness. Just this pure albeit extremely laid back sound for this group of abundant note players. It’s probably the reason he didn’t work out very well with The Dead. While I know that none of us are perfect, Tom just didn’t have enough Sin in his Sound for a band like The Dead. One of my favorite qualities about Garcia was his uncanny ability to deeply feel everything he sung about regardless of who wrote the original. His sound resonated with the things of Christ just as well as they resonated with the qualities of a criminal. He had the perfect combination of just enough pain and more than enough pleasure to color everything he sang with unmatched passion. Either way, It was great to see TC on stage doing HIS thing.

The show featured 2 sets of the most blazing and originally flavored Grateful Dead Music that can be found. Being mostly instrumental, other than Sugaree and New Speedway Boogie sung by Jeff, the room for exploration, improvisation and innovation was vast. One More Saturday Night closed the first set and was packed full of solos from the entire band and was a definite highlight for me. Estimated was probably the closest manifestation to The Dead’s original take on the tune and opened the second set as powerfully as the first set was closed. Songs like Sugar Mags and Attics were so originally crafted that they weren’t even easily identifiable initially. Once they found their strides, morsels of familiar sounds emanated from deep within their complex structures. Help On The Way-> Slipknot filled the room with pure sonic joy before painfully leaving Franklin’s out of the fun. I hate when bands do that… Deja Vu…

At times, I thought the band could more appropriately be called, Metal Is Dead. The hard driving jams often resembled Hard Rock much more than Jazz. An extremely straight laced woman sitting next to me commented to her husband as we walked out, “Oh dear… That wasn’t Jazz at all”. Apparently, they were some local folks drawn out of their house on a Thursday night by the keyword “Jazz” at a local theater. I don’t know what they’d call the hybrid form of jams that we all took in last night but I do know what I’d call them… OUTSTANDING!!! They were OUTSTANDING songs played by OUTSTANDING musicians in an extremely unique and OUTSTANDING way. Do yourself a favor and catch Jazz Is Dead at a theater near you. You’ll leave feeling refreshed, renewed and completely satisfied by the experience.


Dead To The Core,

Dean Sottile (pronounced So Tilly)



Watkins Glen is pulsating with energy as the world’s greatest festival staff are putting the finishing touches on what’s sure to be a monumental weekend in the annals of Phishtory. Young adults, and old fucks too, that follow the band from coast to coast are packing up their camping gear and heading to the epicenter of this weekend’s music world. If the shows that proceeded this weekend are any sign of things to come, Festival goers are in for a real treat. Trey is having the Summer of his life and it’s obvious from just about everything, other than Mike’s facial expressions, that the rest of the band is on the same page. While Mike gets his 4th manicure of the tour, it’s hard not to mention that Phish has 2 BIG events to put in the END of their Summer, one being MagnaBalls and the other being Dicks. I’m starting to feel mildly uncomfortable just writing abou tit. <-I wonder if that was a typo or some kinda Freudian shit? When you get a bunch of Music Addicts together for an entire weekend of fuckery, you know that things are gonna get a little hairy at MagnaBall! Anybody that has been to one of Phish's Fests knows that they have mastered putting on big events like this one. I'm sure Festival #10 will just be another step upwards in excellence. The music promises to be as good as it's ever been since the band has absolutely scorched nearly every stage that they've walked across this Summer. Somehow, while Trey was learning 100 tunes for Fare Thee Well, he found the time to learn another dozen or so new Phish tunes as well. The West coast stretch found new tunes galore and as the circus headed east we got some old gems that don't find the rotation much starting in Austin with the first "Dirt" in almost 2 years and "The Connection" was played for the first time in 5 years in Grand Prairie. Not sure why that would be very significant though since the song was never significant in the first place. Ginseng Sullivan returned after almost 2 years off at Blossom and the Set of the entire fuckin year for me so far being the first set in Alpine Valley on the anniversary of Garcia's death. Colonel Forbin > Famous Mockingbird, Esther, Weigh and Sloth!!! Holy shit that’s some old school whammy jammy right there. That stretch popped the cork right off my skull. Skin It Back in Philly, McGrupp and NO2 at MPP along with Nothing and Shine a Light. That’s a tour and a half right there. These brothers are rolling in the right direction and they’re rolling it right into a big ass sold out Festival! Since I mentioned Giant Nuts being sold out, What the fuck is wrong with The Phish? Who the hell puts a limit on how many tickets they can sell to a Festival? If there’s ever been a dumbass move, other than the fake retirement, this has got to be it. We know Watkins Glen can hold up to 600,000 people, maybe not so comfortably, but it has been done, why cap attendance at 30K? I’m sure there’s probably legalities and logistics involved that I’m not aware of but I was pretty shocked to hear it sold out. I wasn’t even sure that was possible for festivals. It obviously is for this one.

Either way, Music Lovers and Phish Folks alike are going to get their share of everything that Rocks in Life this weekend. It’s been hotter than 2 rats screwing in a wool sock in the northeast this month and this weekend doesn’t seem to be any different. Heat and Humidity will be all over you Magnballers so be prepared. You might wanna pick up some Gold Bond Powder for the undercarriage because nothing can mess up a festy weekend like a bad case of Firey Nuts, Flaming Hoop or Chafed and Rashy Ham Hock. As for the festivities, from Festival Ate, where fans can order some gourmet, multi course, locally farmed, sit down all fancy and shit, meals to the folks at the low end of the ladder, huffing balloons in the far back corners of the camp, equivalent to the Lot Ghetto and acting like a bunch of Juggalos(Google it, I didn’t either until last year), nobody will be left out of the adventures that await. Travel safely and be careful this weekend my friends. There’s been a ton of undercover law enforcement all over Phish Tour this year and they’re arresting a lot of us. I’m glad to be out of that life myself for a lot of years now but as someone that played the game for a long time, I’m aware of the itch and I’m not here to judge your hustle. Here’s a couple tips to keep you safe and out of jail this weekend.

#1 Don’t sell shit to motherfuckers with shiny, white New Balance Sneakers. Those are either the cops or somebody’s grandpa. Either way, don’t ask them if they want Molly…

#2 There’s usually a couple of crews on patrol. Not too many, just a couple usually in groups of 2 or 3. Wait until you see those cocksuckers arrest a few other people so you know who they are. Don’t be the first asshole they arrest. Keep an eye on Facebook, pictures of the Cops are always posted making arrests early in the day. Keep your cock in your pants or your clam in your bikini before you start working the lot like you’re some kinda Hippie Gangsta. Truth is, you’re most likely a fuckin college kid from suburbia and only think you’re a Gangsta until your ass is locked up with Gangsters. That’s when you realize you’re a honkie from the burbs with zero game at all. Don’t let that be you… Maintain your Gangsta self image.

#3 Don’t sell your shit to bitches wearing Fishing Hats. Bitches in Fishing Hats are cops 80% of the time unless you’re out catching fish somewhere. If you’re nowhere near the river, don’t be doing business with a joker in a Fishing Hat. You’ve been warned…

#4 Get all huggy with people before you sell them anything. Cops are really shit when it comes to getting all huggy. Those fuckin stiffs can’t hug strangers properly. You can tell The fuzz by their failure to give a successful and loving hug every time. While you’re getting all huggy, feel for things like cuffs and walkie talkies and guns and shit that those fuckers carry. The Huggy technique, when used properly can save your ass. Remember this, No Huggy, No Druggie!!!

#5 Find a damn business that won’t get you locked up at all. While I realize for most that is too much effort and creativity, you might wanna start thinking of something else to do. In all reality, slinging drugs in a parking lot is a stupid way to attempt to make a living. If you feel like you really have to be a modern day Scarface, take that shit off of the lot. NOTHING good can happen for you selling drugs in the lot. Why don’t you go get a non copyrighted shirt printed up or something? Go back to your youth and make a lemonade stand or some kinda shit like that. Do yourself a favor and escape the thug life while you’re still able… If you can’t, just be careful at the venues, The Law has a close eye on Phish Tour and us Deadheads dealt with this shit in a big way in the late 80s and 90s. I have some old friends that are still behind bars for crimes that don’t even seem criminal to most of us.

For those, like myself, that aren’t fortunate enough to attend, you can find the Webcast right here: Phish Webcast
Either that or you can try to find somebody pirating that shit and watch theirs. However you choose to enjoy this weekend, be safe and have a Ball! This will definitely be a weekend that you’ll remember forever.

The Train stops next at Lockn and that’s shaping up to be one of the strongest weekends on the calendar! I look forward to seeing a bunch of you there and am thrilled to be covering the action from Arrington all weekend! The line up is packed with Living Legends the entire weekend and that’s going to be another Party for the Ages! See y’all soon and stay safe!

Dead To The Core,