The Grateful Dead's postJerry Garcia reincarnation, the Other Ones and their Furthur Festival tour will return from a two-year absence for a late summer U.S. trek, without bassist Phil Lesh, according to Grateful Dead spokesperson Dennis McNally.
Lesh, who has been touring with various lineups as Phil Lesh & Friends, has been at odds with his former Grateful Dead bandmates over management of the group's vast archive of live tapes.
But Other Ones/Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart insists the Other Ones' tour bus will keep on trucking without whatever baggage may exist among the surviving senior members of the legendary psychedelic jam-rock band.
"There's no weirdness anywhere," Hart said. "Everybody's perfectly happy. Phil's happy doing the Phil thing, and we're happy doing the Other Ones, and there's no real weirdness. As far as I'm concerned, I'm enjoying my life, and I'm enjoying the people I'm playing with ... if [Lesh] ever wants to come out of his cubby, he knows where to find us."
After the Grateful Dead officially disbanded following Garcia's death in 1995, the Furthur Festival, named for the Merry Pranksters' fabled psychedelic bus, debuted in 1996 with separate sets from Mickey Hart's Mystery Box, Los Lobos, Bob Weir's band Ratdog, early 1990s Dead piano sideman Bruce Hornsby, and longtime pals Hot Tuna. Younger friends the Black Crowes and Moe. signed on in 1997.
Surgery Put Tour On Hold
The Other Ones debuted in 1998, riffing on Dead staples and long-unplayed chestnuts such as "St. Stephen" and "The Eleven" (RealAudio excerpt of Other Ones version).
The tour featured the Other Ones with Lesh in 1998, but did not hit the road in 1999. Lesh received a liver transplant in December 1998, and by the time he had fully recovered, organizers said it was too late to plan a summer tour. Lesh also had issues with the new band's philosophies.
This year's Other Ones lineup includes most of the original members Dead veterans Hart and guitarist Bob Weirand Hornsby, as well as guitarists Mark Karan (Ratdog) and Steve Kimock (Zero, KVHW, Phil Lesh & Friends) and drummer John Molo (Hornsby, Phil Lesh & Friends, Asleep at the Wheel).
Bassist Alphonso Johnson, an alumnus of Weir's early 1980s side band Bobby and the Midnites as well as Santana and Weather Report, will round out the bottom end.
Original Other Ones/Ratdog member and solo jazz saxophonist Dave Ellis will not appear, but Hart said founding Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann may pop in for a show or two.
Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, a band composed of the children of late reggae icon Bob Marley, will fill the festival's second slot. A third act and final tour dates are yet to be announced.
Shows To Feature Old, New And Dead Tunes
Hart, who will tour earlier in the spring and summer with his new combo, the Mickey Hart Band, said he and Weir have been working on some new tunes, and that the Other Ones probably will pull a few more Dead classics out of dry dock to add to the revolving setlist, along with original Other Ones tunes such as "Banyan Tree" (RealAudio excerpt).
"They're in the incubator more than the incubator, they're almost done," Hart said of the new tunes. "I've been holding 'em off, and I'm gonna keep 'em in the side pocket for the Other Ones. They're just made for 'em.
"There are pieces of "Terrapin [Station]" we've never done, and a couple of songs that me and Bobby wrote that we never performed," he added, "and there's things back there that might be revisited and enjoyed once again. ... There's a few of those, and some of them that me and Bob started and never finished. I'm just sort of rummaging through the Anaconda [Hart's musical database] and finding these works that ... we never quite got around to, and maybe we'll get around to it this time."
Weir and Hart co-penned "Greatest Story Ever Told," (RealAudio excerpt) which appeared on Weir's 1972 solo debut, Ace.
Hart also said a live double or triple album would likely emerge from the tour, perhaps followed by the group's debut studio album. The Other Ones recorded the live set The Strange Remain during the 1998 tour.
"Think of it like a phoenix," McNally said of the enduring nature of the Grateful Dead spirit. "It's the fire that can't be put out, and we're gonna be back."