Hello everyone! As many of you know, I’ve been involved in the local music scene. Over the last 8-10 years, I’ve helped to book the bands, market, and promote Hot August Music Festival. 3 years ago I started a benefit concert for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, where we’ve raised over $10,000 for a great cause! I’ve also been honored to serve on the board for WTMD 89.7 Towson University Radio.
A year ago or so, I had the idea of forming a Grateful Dead Tribute band, approaching some of the best musicians in the Baltimore Washington area. (My first ever concert attended of any concert, was the Grateful Dead at Merrriweather 6/27/84!) While there are already a whole lot of other really good Grateful Dead Tribute bands in the area, I thought if we brought a team of musicians together, combining it with a certain level of energy, that we might be able to do something special. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to manage and book for a band, as much as how excited it would be to pursue a music endeavor with a certain group of VERY talented musicians, and friends too. There was no question who the front man/ guitarist would be. John Wood’s a Baltimore Icon when it comes to lead singer/guitarists. He’s the frontman for Electric Love Machine, Psycho Killers- Talking Heads Tribute, Phoam- Phish Tribute, and Feinwood. John may be the most versatile lead singer/guitarist of anyone I know. Then surrounding Jon with keyboardist Jon Brady (Electric Love Machine, Psycho Killers- Talking Heads Tribute, Phoam- Phish Tribute) and Alex Lang (Electric Love Machine) were the perfect match, as these 2 are masters of their instruments, and already play with Jon in other bands. They’re also 2 of my favorites! On drums we have Nate Shulkin (Squaring the Circle, Psycho Killers- Talking Heads Tribute), where he’s also been playing Grateful Dead music with the other 3 for the past few years. I’ve known Nate for over 10 years, where it’s been awesome seeing him grow as a musician! Then we had to find the 5th person! Someone who could keep up with the rest of the band, also bringing a positive energy vibe. I’ve known Ari Lesser (Puremotion, Greasy Hands) for quite some time, where I’ve always liked him a lot, and also knew he was a stellar guitarist. The true test would be how things went when he had a chance to jam with Jon Wood. After Jon played with him, he reached out to me and raved about how much he loved playing with Ari, in addition to how much he liked him! So there we have it! As for the name, we wanted something that gave off a fun vibe, that was easy to remember, that had some Grateful Dead name recognition, and would also help to attract a younger crowd, in addition to the Deadhead crowd. We went with Dancing Bears- Grateful Dead Tribute!
Dancing Bears- Grateful Dead Tribute to announce 2021 shows soon! (We will have 3 shows at Poulet Coop, right up the street from our Timonium office! 8:30 start with 2 sets! It’s a brand new beautiful, intimate venue, with great food too! If you’re a fan of live music, and the Grateful Dead, then you don’t want to miss it! Of course I’ll still be loving to see patients at Professional Vision too! Thanks! Dr. Rich Barnstein