December 6, 2023

A variety of “Deadheads,” because the Grateful Useless followers affectionately name themselves, both gravitated towards DMB or Phish when the band’s lead songwriter, Jerry Garcia, died in 1995, mentioned Jeff Travitz, 61, a franchise improvement supervisor in Downingtown, Pa., who has taped over 100 DMB concert events. The bands are every distinctive, he mentioned, however they crammed the identical “main void” to satisfy up with buddies, tape exhibits and commerce recordings.

“I don’t suppose an excessive amount of about what we changed,” Mr. Matthews mentioned. Nonetheless, he understands the Phish comparability. Generally, he thinks ’90s music critics dismissed improvisation, which, so far as he’s involved, is the one high quality these teams share. “All of us received thrown into the identical class, despite the fact that we’re all totally different,” he mentioned. “What do they name it? Jam bands?”

No matter it’s labeled, followers have gone to nice lengths for DMB. In 1998, the band launched the Warehouse, its official fan affiliation, which permits members to pre-order tickets earlier than the general public, enter contests and entry a message board. “I actually stole my mother’s bank card to affix,” Mr. Roberts, the trainer, mentioned. He now spearheads a Fb group of about 850 DMB followers. A number of instances a tour, he’ll purchase additional pit tickets, which price about $50 to $150, along with his personal cash and distribute them among the many group at face worth to fight scalping. (Mr. Matthews, too, laments the present enterprise of ticketing: “I believe half the earnings that the ticket brokers make needs to be given again to the theaters, artists or charity, as a result of they make a lot cash, they usually’re actually simply scalpers.”)

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