Nov 102004
Authors: Chris Kampfe

In the wake of one of the most astounding artistic revolutions

ever, a group of musicians calling themselves The Grateful Dead

emerged out of the San Francisco Bay area; garnering a following of

fans with a devotion the world of music had never seen.

The band created a community cohesive not only in its musical

interests but also its ideologies and philosophies.

The band toured until the death of guitarist and front man Jerry

Garcia in 1995.

While the loss devastated many who had been with the band over

the decades, a group from Vermont known as Phish almost seamlessly

stepped into the turmoil and up to the mic as the new reigning

kings of jam.

For nearly 20 years Phish created and maintained a following

unparalleled in the music industry. Fans committed weeks, months,

seasons and even years to touring with the band.

Fans thrived on the band’s philosophy that every concert was

special, and every one went home entertained and inspired.

But alas, as so many good things come to an early end, much like

“Seinfeld” and Crystal Pepsi, Phish followed in line and called it

quits this past summer.

Just as the Grateful Dead departed, Phish has left its fans

asking themselves, “Where do we go from here?” While the Grateful

Dead left the scene as artists with seemingly no counterparts, a

surge in the popularity of jam music has inspired many artists with

the potential to satisfy even the most ravishing of musical

cravings. Dare we ask, who will take over for Phish? No, we dare

not. But here are a few bands that have a good chance at keeping

the scene alive and strong.

Widespread Panic – Hailing from Athens, Ga., Panic has been

around the scene nearly as long as the Vermont boys. While Phish

captivated crowds with enduring, melodic guitar solos and spacy

jams, Panic lures fans in differently. Known to some as “a jam band

with a darker side” Panic plays off its southern roots and

energetic fan base. Fusing southern rock and lore, Americana and

straightforward jam, Panic has slowly but steadily established

itself as a serious contender on the scene. Despite the death of

original lead guitarist Michael Houser two years ago, fans have

seen a resurgence of life in the band on recent tours.

The String Cheese Incident – Local Colorado boys who began their

journey at the renowned Telluride Bluegrass Festival by combining

bluegrass and rock jams, Cheese is more comparable in musical style

to Phish because of the band’s melodic nature. An unconventional

component to the band is Michael Kang, who plays a self-described

“Kang-go-lin,” a five-string electric mandolin hybrid of sorts.

Some fans stay with the band for its constantly changing musical

landscape, while others who have been with the band for a while may

be starting to feel alienated by the band’s shift from its original

jam-grass roots.

moe. – The band moe. has conviction, no two ways about it. The

group hails from upstate New York and is known on the scene as

possibly the fittest band to take the stage – fittest meaning these

guys just don’t stop playing. Sets can last deep into the night and

often only have five or six songs that the band draws out, much in

the storytelling fashion of a symphony. The group shares a similar

quality with Phish, as the band’s lyrics are often as puzzling and

quirky as they are meaningful.

The Dead – While some would say the Grateful Dead’s time has

come and gone, many would refute the point. From the original

lineup, The Dead are led by guitarist Bob Weir and bassist Phil

“the best-looking man in rock” Lesh. The Dead has been selling out

shows nonstop around the country, including a nearly weeklong stint

at Red Rocks this summer. Unfortunately, the members are getting

old. Not that old is bad, but in the tradition of progression, The

Dead will probably leave the spot open for a younger


Also receiving votes for the position:

-The Disco Biscuits

-Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe

-Sound Tribe Sector Nine

-The Allman Brothers Band

-Yonder Mountain String Band



-Umphrey’s McGee

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