LOCKN’ has always been a hallmark of the jamband community and a mecca for both Grateful Dead, funk, and jam enthusiasts alike. At the Farm, we’ve seen firsthand what happens when musicians team up and draw from one another’s strengths. The results are often enthusiastically embraced and bring an additional dimension to the music.
When the musical prowess of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Slip, John Medeski, and Billy Martin combine late-night in Garcia’s Forest, we’ll be looking up at the sky, knowing with near certainty that a supernova will appear.
Here’s why you need to be there when it goes down!
These Friends Go Way Back and “They Love Each Other”
Since forming Medeski, Martin, and Wood about 30 years ago, John Medeski and Billy Martin have formed a bond that continues to inspire. John Medeski described their relationship perfectly in an interview with Jambase in 2016. “We still like playing together, we still like hanging out. You see a lot of bands that have been together for a long time and it’s pretty hard to understand why they’re still doing it: Money? Nothing else to do? For us, it’s always been about the music and we wouldn’t keep doing it if we didn’t have that connection still.”
These musicians respect each other immensely. In a 2018 interview with Live for Live Music, John Medeski doted upon Joe Russo. “Joe is that kind of musician. He’s embraced the Dead scene, but that’s not where he was coming from when I first met him—maybe he was into the music, but he was a creative and searching musician. I think that’s what’s beautiful about what he brings to JRAD. He’s done the time playing with a lot of the guys in the Dead to really know that music and have a relationship with them that’s in the lineage, but his spirit is crazier and freer. To me, that performance was a testament to that side of him.”
In a 2001 Modern Drummer interview, Billy Martin talked about being in the moment and taking chances while playing with Medeski, Martin, and Wood. “You shouldn’t be afraid to take chances, to do something that you haven’t done before. Go ahead, jump off that cliff and see how deep the water is.”
Back in 2014, Joe Russo told Relix, “I want to be Andrew Barr when I grow up.” Guitarist Brad Barr of The Slip has also been a frequent collaborator with Benevento/Russo Duo. In fact, the relationship between Marco Benevento, Brad Barr, Andrew Barr, and Marc Friedman of The Slip dates way back to their time as students at Berklee School Of Music. These are the kind of friendships we love here at LOCKN’.
We can only imagine what kind of musical treasures these guys are set to find in Garcia’s Forest!
Watch “Sunny’s Song” featuring Marco Benevento, Joe Russo and Brad Barr from January 10, 2008 – Sullivan Hall, New York
Spontaneous Collaborations are the Name of the Game
Renowned for their exploratory nature, John Medeski and Billy Martin often embark on extended improvisational jams during sets. John Medeski and Billy Martin, along with Marco Benevento, Dave Dreiwitz, Tom Hamilton, Scott Metzger, and Joe Russo, are well-versed in collaboration. Brad Barr from The Slip once wrote an entire B-side to an album in one sitting after picking up a used piano from Craigslist and hearing the unique story behind its original owner. At LOCKN’, we live for once-in-a-lifetime live music experiences, and this spontaneous nature is the very essence of these improvisational musicians.
“There’s really something improvised music gives you that no other music does,” said John Medeski. While collaborations at LOCKN’ have been around since our beginning, the spontaneous collaboration has basically defined who we are today. Be there when it goes down as we have a feeling that the best is yet to come.
You Will Broaden Your Horizons Musically
You will inevitably have some time to party late-night at LOCKN’ Farm, which may lead you to wander around the site and discover some new music. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Slip, and John Medeski and Billy Martin will be spreading the love like never before, and you might even come home with a new outlook on the music. The roaring avant-funk of Medeski and Martin, the good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll jams of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, and the compelling soundscapes of The Slip will make for a vibrant improvised-music scene in the Forest.
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LOCKN’ Farm Comes Alive at Night
What’s different about the Farm is that the musicians are there for the whole weekend, hanging out backstage, and telling stories. So when the opportunity to join a late-night jam arises, musicians can’t help but pounce!
In 2018, Lettuce kept the party going late into the morning on Sunday with a massive set of JGB classics. Seeing as the Farm is filled with opportunities for musicians to collaborate, Lettuce’s set was filled with surprise sit-ins by Oteil Burbridge, Bob Weir, John Mayer.
Since we’re all staying on the Farm all weekend long some of the most treasured moments take place.
Late at night, LOCKN’ Farm comes alive after dark with an energy like no other.