Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty are terrific albums. There, I said it. I like indie rock, am not and never was a Deadhead, but if you love music it’s hard to ignore the fact that for a brief period in the early 70s, the Grateful Dead got it together and created some classic rock, and some classic Americana.
Yes, I’d rather spend 2 minutes with The Mountain Goats than 25-minutes with The Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star.” But being a fan of one thing doesn’t automatically make you a hater of the other. Take, for example, Phish, the successor to the Dead’s crown as kings of the jam bands. I may not be a fan, but I can’t hate a band that will cover songs by indie rock royalty like TV On The Radio or Neutral Milk Hotel, or do the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street front to back.
So I’m just a little puzzled by all the recent blogs and articles about how the indie rock world is revealing its long-hidden love for jam bands like the Dead or Phish. Because a musical admission that in years past would have been deemed a guilty pleasure is only now culturally acceptable. I’ve never subscribed to the “Guilty Pleasure” theory – if you like something, say so. If more people did that, they wouldn’t be “guilty” pleasures.
Are indie rock and jam bands incompatible? Do you secretly like one when you profess to like the other? Leave a comment.