Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
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Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

The majority of the guys at my school are overwhelmingly into the whole "jam band" scene. It's all they listen to: Phish, Widespread Panic, Galactic, String Cheese Incident, Disco Biscuits, etc...

The school I go to, ironically, is composed mostly of extremely wealthy, white collar rich kids who are wannabe hippies. They turn their noses up at anything other form of music, especially stuff like Satriani, Petrucci, etc. But it's not just limited to that type of music. They also turn their noses up at regular rock like Zeppelin, Van Halen, Deep Purple, UFO. Or country. Or blues. Or fusion, for that matter.

Why? I don't get how they can be so discriminatory against so many other types of music, yet allow themselves to listen only to that "jam" band stuff. But this leads to my next question:

What defines a "jam" band? I'm halfway being rhetorical, but why is the title only limited to such bands as Phish, Greatful Dead, or Widespread Panic? Why not include other bands like Cream, Hendrix, or Deep Purple ? If you look at Wikipedia's definition of a jam band, it says that "jam bands (or jambands) are musical groups whose albums and live performances relate to a fan culture that originated with the 1960s group Grateful Dead and continued in the 1990s with Phish and similar bands. The performances of these bands often feature extended musical improvisation ("jams") over rhythmic grooves and chord patterns and long sets of music that cross genre boundaries."

I don't know, but Cream's Goodbye album certainly seems full of jams to me. But no, they aren't considered a true jam band because they don't match the first part of that definition. In other words, they didn't have a huge following of wannabe eclectics trying to get high every waking minute like the Grateful Dead did. This fact proves that the whole definition of "jam band" is flawed.

These guys all act like they are so "into" the jam band music. I can respect someone of differing musical tastes, but I've come to the conclusion that they only love the drug culture that lies behind the facade these bands put on, not the actual music itself.

Here's a funny joke I found:

Q: What did the Phish/Dead Head say when he ran out of shrooms/acid/weed?

A: What the hell is this awful music we are listening to?

Anyways, that's the end of my rant. Anyone have any thoughts?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-31-2008, 06:01 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

I for one hate the jam scene, I just need music to have some kind of structure not just "Lets get high/trip and see what happens"
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 12:49 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

My lead lines may blow up in my face occaisonally, but i've never sank down too musically "doodling" and encouraging my fans or fellew concertgoers to trip out and "get it"

I have seen Gov't Mule at least 5 times now, and it pisses me off the extent they change their songs up.
Local bands around my home turf (laceyit,stereojunkie) will take a song like "white rabbitt" and make it 15 - 20 minutes of the same drum beat, same bassline, same 3 chords and some chanting. Drug usag is mehhhhhh .....

In short i guess unless it's done by The Dead or Mule it's not my thing either.

And people will be jackasses, pretentiously thinking their music and style is better.

Just remember Satch and Vai could decimate Jimmy Herring any day.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 02:26 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

Ahhh. I didn't know what a "jam bands" was. But I recently saw a band that strung out a song waaaay to long. I just thought they sucked. I didn't know there was a name for it.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 02:53 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

Improvising is where it's at IMHO. Not everyone can do it and not everyone gets it, but when it's good it's good. But yeah why discriminate against bands like Cream, Zep, Deep Purple etc...
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 03:17 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

Totally doesn't do it for me, never did.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 09:37 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

I like jamming, to the song here and there live but I have to say that it does get annoying when it goes on and on for hours and is every song or whatever. Some bands are better than others at it and some bands don't even sound like music. But to me, it has to sound like a song in structure and then if there is a little room to do a bit of jamming then fine but don' t over do it.

Led Zeppelin usually had a good way of doing it.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 10:04 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

I feel you brother, I had a similar experience with this about 2 months ago. I've been playing a year and I dont know jack about theory but I jammed with these guys who would do 10 min keyboard solos and then weird rappish lyrics. I didnt know what to make of it. I stood there for and hour watching the lead guitarist improv solos. I tried to get them to play panama, they didnt catch on and gave up quick. I played 3 chords, and 1/4 of panama in an hour and left confused. I didnt know If I still wanted to play guitar...Well Im still learnin, I learn that everything is good in moderation and I cant "jam".
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2009, 11:47 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

you will be able to jam eventually. i like the improvisational aspect of it, but not for ten or fifteen minutes at a time. i like to hear maybe an extended solo with a few extra bars or something, but i just cant listen to something like a ten minute bongo solo. For me, the grateful dead sucked. not only did it suck, but it was long and boring. i just dont get it. probably never will.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-27-2009, 11:47 AM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

Originally Posted by callen3615 View Post
Well Im still learnin, I learn that everything is good in moderation and I cant "jam".
Being able to 'jam' is an essential skill for a guitarist to have, and certainly a basis of jazz and blues playing. It is something that comes with practice, like anything else. However, playing over the same three or five chords for twenty minutes with the only reason being mindless noodling is ridiculous and boring, in my opinion. A jazz band might run through a verse and chorus, then on the second run through start substituting chords, all the while changing modes for the solos with every chord change; that's jazz jamming. Every run through the bridge and chorus is different, because of all the substitution. Playing over Am-G-F (like the end of 'Stairway') for half an hour repeatedly playing C major scale boxes should make you want to slit your wrists trading licks with other instruments can make it a little fresher, but that's an interactive exercise for the musicians involved. Whenever half the band goes into auto-pilot mode, so will all the thinking people in the audience.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 01:28 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

I hate to lay down a sweeping generalization, but most of these bands are too pretentious for words. Most of the die hard fan base of these bands seems too high to know good music if it turned into a giant purple butterfly and bit them on their hemp-clad behind.

Remember, kids...playing in a key other than E minor doesn't make you a musical genius; it just means you're not Metallica.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 02:49 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

There's a difference between jamming and wandering off. The REAL key is knowing the difference

I'd rather hear guys improvise over a structure rather than "go off on one", and I don't "get" the jamband idea. Every decent band should be able to jam, they just shouldn't do it allthe time
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-02-2009, 04:08 PM
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Re: Anyone else dislike the whole "jam" band scene?

An anecdote...

I was working in a bar on the Gulf Coast of Florida in late 1998, and we frequently had live music (and just occasionally, I would be invited up to "jam", or to do a blues/rock cover that was beyond/outside of the regular guitarist's repertoire. There was this one band that did a variety of "classic rock" covers, peppered with not particularly good original songs (mostly, if you can believe this, food-themed blues/zydeco songs!) For whatever reason, this band was fairly popular at this particular bar. So they were playing one night, and they started a cover of the Dead's "Touch of Gray". Now, I'm not a huge fan of that song (or the Dead for that matter), but at Dead songs go, you could do worse...I guess. Anyway, they kick off the song, and they're doing ok with it, getting into the groove reasonably well. Now remember, "Touch of Gray" was the Dead's only top 40 hit, iirc, so it's about as mainstream/accessible as the Dead got. So the band hits about the halfway point in the song, and they launch into...dead serious...a forty minute "jam session" over that beat/chord da de dum, ba da de dum...

At first, everyone was like "ok...they're taking in that direction", and then it just got weird. It wasn't improvisation in the standard sense. It was more of an excuse to prove, beyond all rational doubt, that the band was really, really good at playing that one thing over and over and over again. Each member of the band took their "solo", which consisted, as I recall, of playing the same lick/hook about four hundred times. No call and response to keep it interesting, no key changes to spice things up. Just ba da de dum ba da de dum ad infinitum, ad nausea.


I've found that the whole so-called "jam band" scene is pretty much summed up by that one experience. There. I'm spent.
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