The music plays the band
By Cassie PenceArts and Entertainment EditorBOND – It will be one long strange trip out to State Bridge this weekend when Grateful Dead sound gurus Bob Matthews, Betty Cantor and Don Pierson join Dark Star Orchestra in translating emotion into sound.
The Dead Head crew is bringing film, cameras and lights to document the band’s performances.”They dig what we’re doing, and the Grateful Dead community out there in California is very supportive of us. They wanted to come document it. It’s going to be pretty special,” said Rob Eaton (guitar and vocals) who lives full time in West Vail. Dark Star Orchestra is not a Grateful Dead tribute band or a cover band, Eaton reassures. Band members aren’t trying to copy anything, which would contradict Grateful Dead’s whole philosophy of improvisational music.”I like to think of ourselves as a spirit band. We take the spirit of what the Grateful Dead was or what the whole scene was about and continue it,” Eaton said. “What makes us successful is the fact that we’re not copying anything. All we’re doing is playing the music the only way we know how. The music plays the band.”What made the Grateful Dead – who during their 30 year career has performed for more people than any other band in history – so successful was its ability to translate emotion into a sound that someone else could hear and feel. Frontman Jerry Garcia was a master at it, Eaton said.”The reason people went to see a lot of shows, or a whole tour, wasn’t because they wanted to see all the shows, it wasn’t because they had to be at all of them. It’s because you didn’t want to miss the one where it all happened,” Eaton said.
The May 5, 1977 show sticks firmly in Eaton’s mind. The electricity between the band and the audience was especially intense that night and it truly amazed Eaton.”Music is supposed to draw an emotion from you and make you feel a certain way,” Eaton said. “The music’s really powerful. It’s a piece of the puzzle. When the music and the community get together ,that’s when the real cool thing happens.”Besides Eaton, Kevin Rosen, bass, Dino English, drums, Scott Larned, keys, John Kadlecik, guitar and vocals, Lisa Mackey, vocals, and Rob Koritz, drums, form Dark Star Orchestra.”We’re an outlet for people to come and gather again and whatever little bit of that energy we can tap into is beautiful,” Eaton said.
Dancing bearsDark Star OrchestraToday, 7 p.m., Saturday, 7 p.m., and Sunday, 3 p.m.State Bridge Lodge in BondVail, Colorado