• 149 WESTCHESTER AVENUE, PORT CHESTER, NY 10573-4549 · (914) 937-4126

  • February 28th, 2018

    Here’s How Melvin Seals Will Bring the Spirit of the Jerry Garcia Band to The Cap in the Most Authentic Way Possible

    Released in 1978, Cats Under the Stars amazed listeners across the globe. 40 years later we’re celebrating the legacy of the Jerry Garcia Band album with Melvin Seals & JGB, John Kadlecik opens up the night Solo Acousti-Lectric style. We sat down with Melvin Seals and got the spiritual insight on the album coming to life. Melvin Seals & JGB comes to The Cap on FRI, MAR 2. Get tickets HERE.

    Jerry Garcia was once quoted regarding his love for Cats Under The Stars, saying that “the record I worked hardest at and liked best was Cats Under the Stars. That was kind of like my baby.” The mysticism behind the album is undeniable and its legacy still lives long to this day. How do you feel the album set a precedent for all Jerry recordings and for you as a musician in the Jerry Garcia Band alongside Jerry, how did the album shape the dynamic of the band going into the early 1980’s?

    The uniqueness of the songs, the arrangements of the songs, and even the lyrics of the songs. You can tell he put his heart and soul into it.

    Though you were preceded by Keith Godchaux in JGB and weren’t on Cats, you carried on the torch of the music of Cats and brought flair to every JGB record afterwards. Going back in time, what were your initial thoughts when first sitting down and listening to Cats and how has the record shaped you into the musician you are today?

    I thought it was a unique album. I did not play on the studio version, but I did play on the live version. It was one of the most inspirational double live records I’ve ever played on.

    Over a decade ago, you formed Melvin Seals and JGB, which has become a modern day “keepers of the flame.” This band, of course, includes other proficient musicians that have continued to spread the music of the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band. When starting this band, did you ever think it’d reach the level of respect and love it has in the jam band community today? What do you hope to bring to audiences who first witness the experience of Melvin Seals and JGB?

    I had no idea of the places I would go with carrying on the legacy of Jerry Garcia. We hope to bring the true spirit and vibe that the Jerry Garcia Band had onstage.

    Being the third longest-serving member of JGB, you must have had some interesting and beautiful moments shared with Jerry Garcia and the rest of the band. What are some of your favorite and most distinctive memories while playing with Jerry? Beyond the stage, how did Jerry’s spirit and signature wit make him the perfect band leader?

    How I used to challenge Jerry note for note on stage in the midst of a jam. Jerry would play a note, I would play a note and where it went no one knows. Jerry would look over at me with that smile like non other. Jerry seemed to operate from another source that we were not familiar with.

    You’re known for your favoritism of the Hammond B-3 organ, which has become your battle axe in this ongoing plain of musical warfare. What about the B-3 makes it ideal for your playing style and how has it shaped your sound over four decades of playing music?

    The coloring that I am able to pull out of the organ makes my sound different from others.

    We can’t help but notice that you have John Kadlecik in tow for this show, who has been a tremendous force in helping keep the flame of the music of the Grateful Dead alive. How did you come about crossing paths with John and what about him and his playing, makes him a jam band musician to be reckoned with?

    It was through Pete Shapiro in New York that first put John K and I together. John K also seeks to carry on the legacy of Jerry Garcia’s style and likeness.

    The history of the The Capitol Theatre has long been synonymous with that of the Grateful Dead and the cultural and musician empire that Jerry Garcia has left behind. Having performed numerous times before at the venue, what about this performance of Cats makes this upcoming performance special and what do you hope to bring along with the music?

    We are going to recreate a legendary album, Cats Under the Stars the way that it was written and in the spirit that it was written in. We want to bring Cats Under the Stars album back to life one more time.