2019 was an exceptional year for Raising The Dead. With the dawning of the new decade comes change, and we are excited for what the future holds. The announcements for our group today are threefold:
First, our brother and lead guitarist Jake Vasquez has chosen to move on from our group to pursue new musical adventures. We wish him all the best, and can’t wait to see him on metro Detroit stages for many years to come!
Second, after an entire year of searching and with invaluable help from fantastic drummers Stephen NyQuist, Brent Nagy, Nick Serocki, and TW Coleman, we are thrilled to announce our new drummer, Joseph Waldecker. Most recently, Joseph made a name for himself playing with Michigan bands including Feral Ground, People Movers, and Nina and the Buffalo Riders. He comes to RTD knowing almost every tune we play (and there's a lot!) and taking to new material with confidence and swagger. One rehearsal was all it took to know he was "the guy!"
Third, our new lead guitarist will be none other than the one and only Matthew Cole! Matt has been working his Cosica guitar and enviable top-notch Jerry rig with Deadicated, and after a hiatus is ready to rock again. Matt brings with him a deep knowledge of Master Garcia's every twist and turn of melody. Close your eyes and you might forget it isn't 1977 again!
As always, Bill, Max, and Dave are ready to rock, and can't wait to see the places we'll take our new ensemble. Thanks for joining us on the bus. No matter where we end up, at least we're enjoying the ride!
This new lineup will debut at the Cadieux Cafe on February 28, and continue at the Watermark on February 29. We hope to see you there!
We had one more great Saturday night at the Watermark. Thanks to everyone who came out and raged with us. We return on February 28.
12/7/19 Watermark Bar and Grill, St. Clair Shores, MI
I: Jack Straw, Row Jimmy, Mission in the Rain, Candyman, Cassidy, Brokedown Palace
II: Brown Eyed Women, Estimated Prophet, Liberty, Music Never Stopped>Sugaree>Music Never Stopped, Ripple
III: Unbroken Chain, Victim or the Crime>Dark Star>St. Stephen>The Eleven>Drums>Space>Truckin'>He's Gone>Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad>The Wheel>Uncle John's Band>Terrapin Station
Stephen NyQuist on drums
One more Saturday Night at the Watermark! We're playing 8-midnight, so even if you're seeing the Red Wings earlier, you'll be able to come out for our after party - and it's free! RSVP on Facebook.
Raising The Dead begun its necromance about 3 years ago, when Bill Butler approached Jake Vasquez with an idea to recreate the music of the Grateful Dead. Dave Martin joined a few months later, and not long after, Max Katz formed our "core four." Since then, we've talked of recreating the Dead's first live release of the compact disc era, "Without A Net." When the call came for our first headlining gig at the Parliament Room at Otus Supply, we knew it was time to make it so.
Not that we weren't prepared - of the 17 songs spanning the double-disc collection, we had performed 14, most of them many times. The WAN versions were our go-to reference tracks for songs like Feel Like A Stranger and Help>Slip>Frank since we first learned them. We love the late-80s energy, the contributions of keyboardist/vocalist Brent Mydland, and the joy that Jerry seemed to exude playing with this lineup, so we couldn't wait to work to recreate the music and the vibe.
For the show, we learned Walkin' Blues, Dear Mr. Fantasy, and the Weir rarity Victim or the Crime. The latter song was a test with its challenging chromaticism, but everyone did their homework, and the song fell together effortlessly the first time in rehearsal, and our comfort comes across on stage.
There was one piece of the puzzle we had to add to our ensemble in order to adequately recreate the album - and that was Branford Marsalis' stunning sax work on Eyes of the World. We chose Bill's Full Speed Ahead bandmate Mark Lane, who took to the task with musicianship and professionalism that made him a pleasure to play with. Quickly, we knew one song wouldn't be enough, so he was brought in to play on Walkin' Blues and Dear Mr. Fantasy, and during our encore (we'll get to that soon!)
So, in great contrast to our Halloween show, this setlist was entirely predictable - with a few exceptions - until the encore. We followed the album but added Weather Report to Let It Grow to play the entire suite, and we played the '73 ending to Eyes, which the Dead didn't play in the 80s. One thing the Dead did consistently do in this period was Drums>Space, and while it wasn't on the ablum, we added it between Victim or the Crime and Help on the Way. Our guest drummer Stephen NyQuist (in his 6th appearance with RTD) added unflinching energy and sparkling backround vocals, and a killer solo Drums. The album version of Dear Mr. Fantasy was sung by Brent and included as an elegy to the recently departed Mr. Mydland, but it oddly fades out, rather than finishes. This may be because they usually segued into the "Na na na na" section of The Beatle's classic Hey Jude, and royalties may have made its inclusion on the album prohibitive. At Max's suggestion, we ended Dear Mr. Fantasy (expertly sung by Stephen), then played the entire McCartney classic. The crowd sang just about every word along with us, and it made a great capstone to the second set.
While we're mentioning the crowd, let's talk about the best fans around for a minute. The crowd that night at Otus was big, and they were ready for a rock and roll show! The cheers of appreciation, the non-stop dancing, and the sheer enthusiasm for hearing their favorite music played live was so encouraging for everyone on stage. Jake's lightning licks, Max's Moog mastery, Bill's bass bombs, Stephen's frantic fills, Dave's smooth singing, and Mark's soulful sax all elicited cheers of delight from our fantastic fans. We were pushed to new heights by the enthusiasm of our crowd, and we're always so happy to have them back to see us do what we love.
About that encore: we decided it would be appropriately audacious to give everyone far more than they expected, after a 70-minute first set and a 75-minute second set: a 45-minute encore of Dark Star>St. Stephen>The Eleven>Not Fade Away. Every segue brought disbelief that it was still showtime, until the audience ended the show, clapping along while singing "NO OUR LOVE WILL NOT FADE AWAY!"
It was a night we will not soon forget. Thank you.
11-29-2019 The Parliament Room at Otus Supply, Ferndale, MI
I: Feel Like A Stranger, Mississippi Half-Step Toodeloo, Walkin' Blues*#, Althea, Cassidy, Bird Song, Weather Report Suite>Let It Grow
II: China Cat Sunflower>I Know You Rider, Looks Like Rain, Eyes of the World#, Victim or the Crime*>Drums>Space>Help On The Way>Slipknot>Franklin's Tower, One More Saturday Night, Dear Mr. Fantasy*+, Hey Jude*#
E: Dark Star#>St. Stephen>The Eleven>Not Fade Away
*=first time played
#=Mark Lane on saxophone
+=Stephen Nyquist on lead vocals
"We're going to do something different for this one," Max said.
You see, our keyboard player Max writes our setlists, and for Halloween, he decided we'd turn our audience's expectations on their heads. For the 'heads in the crowd, it was a whole lot of fun. The usual song pairings (like China>Rider or Sailor>Saint) were moved around and mixed up like colors on an unsolved Rubic's Cube. Add in several song debuts and the evening became a trick-turned-treat of Grateful music.
We'll let the setlist speak for itself:
October 31, 2019, The Watermark Bar & Grill, St. Clair Shores, MI
I: Cryptical Envelopment>Wharf Rat>Cryptical Envelopment>Loser, Lost Sailor>I Know You Rider>Saint of Circumstance
II: Picasso Moon*, Werewolves of London*>Samson and Delilah*, Weather Report Prelude, China Cat Sunflower>Eyes of the World>Playin' in the Band (reprise)
III: The Music Never Stopped*, Black Throated Wind>The Other One>Playin' in the Band>Franklin's Tower>Help on the Way>Slipknot!>Sugar Magnolia> Fire on the Mountain>Sunshine Daydream>Scarlet Begonias, Let It Grow, One More Saturday Night
*First time played
We were joined by the always awesome Brent Nagy on drums. We return to the Watermark on December 7.
Raising The Dead announces new fall and winter dates, and we're returning to Ferndale and St. Clair Shores. We're playing at the Watermark on Halloween, with some special setlist shenanigans planned for your listening pleasure. On the day after Thanksgiving - known as Black Friday - We will make our public debut at The Parliament Room at Otus Supply, and we will perform the live album "Without A Net" in its entirety. We'll be back at the Watermark on December 7.
Winter dates are starting to book - and we are doing a 2-night stand on the East side: February 28 at the Watermark, and February 29 at the Cadieux Cafe. We'll play these two gigs like one, and make no repeats between the shows.
Theron Heine was a deadicated fan of the Grateful Dead, Phish, and other jam bands, and a good friend to many. He passed too soon at 52 years old, and his family and friends gathered at Otus Supply in Ferndale to celebrate his life and share their memories. The staff at Otus provided an exceptional evening of fantastic food and drink, and entertainment was provided by Phil Nathan of Dead Again, Phish tribute The Kids Under The Carpet, and Raising The Dead.
We had reached out to Phil and decided to segue our sets, rather than take a break. After he delivered an excellent set of solo-acoustic Dead and Bob Weir songs, he closed with Not Fade Away. As the song rolled on, the members of Raising The Dead joined him on stage to end his set with a crescendo. We continued the show with Mississippi Half-Step, a spacey Cassidy, and So Many Roads, featuring Bill's soulful vocals. Dave took over lead with Jack-A-Roe before we invited Phil back up to sing Me and My Uncle. A lovely Dear Prudence followed, giving way to The Wheel and finally to Terrapin Station. The fine lyrics of Robert Hunter and John Perry Barlow being the real stars of this set, we were humbled to be asked by the bereaved family to detour from our program to present our first performance of Ripple. Phil Lesh's Unbroken Chain followed with a flourish, and we ended the set with a jammed out Help On The Way>Slipknot, followed with what was certainly our shortest Franklin's Tower ever. Our set ended EXACTLY on time, at 10pm, and we quickly made way for the Kids to continue the party.
It was our honor to be a part of the sendoff for a man who meant so much to so many. We were also excited to make our debut performance at Otus Supply, and look forward to returning there on November 29 (aka Black Friday), when we will perform the definitive late-80s Dead live album, Without A Net, in it's entirety.
9-11-2019 Otus Supply, Ferndale, MI
Not Fade Away*, Mississippi Half-Step Toodeloo, Cassidy, So Many Roads, Jack-A-Roe, Me And My Uncle*, Dear Prudence>The Wheel>Terrapin Station, Ripple**, Unbroken Chain, Help On The Way>Slipknot>Franklin's Tower
*=with Phil Nathan
**=debut, by request
Summertime has come and gone, my, oh, my!
Our third time at The Watermark featured perfect weather, a throng of deadicated heads, and a band beyond description, ready to melt their faces. We love playing the Watermark for many reasons (including the delicious food), but one of our favorites is the ability to play 3 sets of Grateful tunes. Usually, Set I and II feature songs with shorter structures, lots of pretty harmonies, and a few jams, and we save our best for the last set. Last night was no exception. Set III was a nonstop 100-minute angle bracket festival of f-yeah moments, although the lack of breaks didn't mean the crowd couldn't find places to cheer us on. But we are getting ahead of ourselves, so back to set I.
We opened with a groovy Althea and a rockin' Brown Eyed Women. We were excited to debut the first of two new tunes this evening, Mission in the Rain. Our drummer for the evening was the exceptional Stephen NyQuist, and he took lead vocal duties for the first time on Mission. The first set concluded with Dire Wolf (a favorite of some of our youngest fans), a super Sugaree, and a lovely Liberty.
After a short break, Bill's fat bass tones announced Touch of Grey. Bird Song achieved liftoff, and one of our favorites, the time-shifting Unbroken Chain made another welcome appearance in an RTD show. Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad felt so good, and even though the skies were clear, Looks Like Rain was pretty and soulful. We ended the set with the second debut of the night, Brokedown Palace, where we showcased our 3-part harmonies and left everyone wanting more. Little did they know...
Bertha into Dark Star into St. Stephen into The Eleven into Drums into The Other One into Truckin into Eyes of the World into Playin' in the Band into Shakedown Street into Playin' Reprise. The feeling from the stage as each song began to segue was that the audience was ready for whatever we had to give them, and when they realized what was next, minds were blown. Ok, here's the song by song shakedown: Bertha rocked. Dark Star was waaay out there for a loooong time. St. Stephen brought the raw energy of late 60s Dead. The Eleven (and the preceding William Tell Bridge) showcased our instrumental and vocal skills. The intensity of The Other One featured a fan repeatedly shouting "TURN IT UP!" Stephen owned every corner of his kit (who needs two drummers? Not him!) in Drums. Truckin featured Jake's bluesy, ballsy, and big guitar. Eyes of the World showcased jazzy keyboard fills from Max's corner on stage left and sensitive vocals from Dave, as well as the '73 ending featuring the 7/8 breaks we love to play. Playin' in the band brought the energy level back up, and just when you thought we were done, it's time for a funky-as-hell Shakedown! FINALLY, we brought it back to the Playin' reprise, and let ourselves breathe for a second, while the crowd roared for more. With apologies to all the teachers in the crowd (you know who you are), we ended with a rowdy, rockin' US Blues.
This summer has been the best season Raising The Dead has yet had the pleasure to play. From the Psychedelic Shack to Trixie's to Gibraltar, the Michigan Glass Project to Hippies at the Village, Comerica Park, the Taylor Botanical Gardens, and finally back to The Watermark, our band has gotten tighter, our repertoire has expanded, and most importantly, we've met so many amazing people along the way. If you've been part of our journey this summer, we want to thank you for being kind. Deadheads are the best! The contributions of our drummers Stephen NyQuist, Brent Nagy, and Nick Serocki have also been amazing and we are lucky to call them our brothers. On behalf of Bill, Max, Dave, and Jake, thank you for being a part of our best summer yet. See you again in the fall!
8-30-2019 The Watermark Bar and Grill, St. Clair Shores, MI
Set I: Althea, Brown Eyed Women, Mission in the Rain, Dire Wolf, Sugaree, Liberty
Set II: Touch of Grey, Bird Song, Unbroken Chain, Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad, Looks Like Rain, Brokedown Palace
Set III: Bertha>Dark Star>St. Stephen>The Eleven>Drums>The Other One>Truckin>Eyes of the World>Playin' In The Band>Shakedown Street>Playin' Reprise
E: US Blues
It was a perfect evening - unseasonably cool, a refreshing breeze, the sun shining between billowy white clouds, and gorgeous reminders of nature's beauty all around. Hundreds gathered on the green for an evening of food, drinks, and the best music, all to benefit the worldwide polio eradication efforts of Rotary International. The Taylor and Allen Park Rotary clubs sponsored the event, and collected donations were tripled by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Deadheads and fans of the Art in the Garden concert series were treated to two fine performances by Mirror Image and Raising The Dead.
Mirror Image opened with a set of classic songs featuring their double-guitar work and adept beat buddy pedal work. Did we mention they're only 11? And twins? They got their name due to the fact that one is left handed, so they look like a, well, you get it! Wonderwall, Under The Bridge, Africa, they played hits from the 60s-now, and sounded great. We know we'll hear more from them in the future.
Raising The Dead took the stage with Stephen NyQuist in the drum throne, ready to throw down some hot beats. We opened with a dynamic Jack Straw, transitioning into a pretty Looks Like Rain. Up next was an energetic The Wheel, featuring some cool slide work by Jake. We took our time to let Uncle John's Band grow from the last C major chord of The Wheel, and treated the crowd to even more sweet 3-part harmony, with a strong dose of intense, rock and roll improv. The Marty Robbins black-hat cowboy ballad El Paso followed, to the delight of the fans. We ended the first set with what the band thinks is our best Lost Sailor>Saint of Circumstance yet. As Mike C said after the show, "It was a heater!"
After a short break, we dug into Feel Like A Stranger, which benefits from our 3-voice harmonies, with Stephen doing his best Brent impression. Brown Eyed Women showcased some fine, bluesy lead work from Max and Jake. Our best Estimated Prophet yet showed that 7/8 white-boy reggae can really swing, and we transitioned it into a big and dynamic Terrapin. After announcing the Art in the Garden concert series dance contest, we played our closer, our first performance of Not Fade Away. We'd put NFA on setlists several times, but it always got cut due to time. We're glad this was the night to bust it out, because the audience loved it, with dozens of dancers vying for king and queen titles, as well as free passes to next year's entire series. The audience clapped along until RTD fans Elena and Bill claimed their crowns after deftly shaking their bones.
Our encore was a crazy energetic Truckin, which got the audience up to the dance floor like nothing else, and we left them wanting more! RTD takes one day off, and then it's back to the Watermark in St. Clair Shores to kick off Labor Day weekend in style. See you there!
8-28-2019 Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Taylor MI
Set I: Jack Straw>Looks Like Rain, The Wheel>Uncle John's Band, El Paso, Lost Sailor>Saint of Circumstance
Set II: Feel Like A Stranger, Brown Eyed Women, Estimated Prophet>Terrapin Station, Not Fade Away*
* = first time played
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Raising The Dead
Is a band committed to recreating the live experience of a Grateful Dead show. We hope you'll kindly join us.