In a new interview with Billboard, John Mayer, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart expanded on their forthcoming Dead & Company project, which will make its debut on Halloween at Madison Square Garden.
“It was a matter of who wanted to get back out on the road and keep doing it,” Weir said, also noting that John Mayer’s enthusiasm was the “cherry on the sundae that made this project look like a good idea.” The piece revealed that Mayer has been jamming with select band members since March, even halting production on his next album to devote time to learning the Dead’s catalog. “It’s gratifying to see somebody discover our work and it’s also fun to have someone who’s cranked up about it — a new initiate into our way of doing things,” Weir said of Mayer.
Kreutzmann expanded on the selection of Mayer, saying, “When we first started playing years ago, it was with Pig Pen, and he was nothing but a blues guy. We took that and made it into the Grateful Dead and we’re doing that with John. And John gets to open up to many styles and doesn’t have to be locked into any one genre. And I think that’s why John is excited to play with us because we offer up a whole new cookie. He’s told me that he’s been at home working on our material like crazy. He’ll be one of us.”
Also noted in the report is that Phish bassist Mike Gordon joined the sessions briefly, before ultimately deciding to bow out. Weir noted that Gordon “has way more stuff on his plate than he can manage now” and that Oteil Burbridge was a “natural go-to.”
Mayer also praised Trey Anastasio for his performance at Fare Thee Well, calling his performance “brilliant.” He added, “Trey was such a tasteful player. He did something incredible to the legacy — and didn’t leave it any easier for me to pick up the baton.”