Dead & Company is a jam band slash super group. It consists of three members of The Grateful Dead and three other famous musicians.
From the Dead come guitarist Bob Weir and drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann. They are joined by bassist Oteil Burbridge (from the Allman Brothers Band), keyboardist Jeff Chimenti (best known for his work in Ratdog), and guitarist John Mayer.
Yes, it’s that John Mayer.
How Much Does John Mayer “Suck” in Dead & Company?
Not since Ben Affleck was cast as Batman has there been such a controversial choice in personnel. Mayer’s pop sensibilities and his salacious celebrity status was all Dead Heads could focus on.
Fans and pundits were worried that Mayer would turn what’s left of The Dead into some sort of pop outfit. Instead of jamming they’d sing cute little renditions of "Your Body Is a Wonderland” and "Bigger Than My Body."
Dead & Company’s first concert occurred Oct. 31, 2015. Mayer hit it out of the park both on the guitar and on the mic. He took the gig very seriously and won over fans long before the encore.
One critic responded: "I was wrong, I take it back."
Pundits noticed how Mayer took cues from Bob Weir. It was as if Weir was the teacher and Mayer the pupil. That only endeared Mayer more to the Dead Heads.
Dead & Company played Grateful Dead material: “Casey Jones,” “Friend of the Devil,” “Uncle John’s Band” and the like. Mayer apparently spent months learning the material.
Dead & Company toured the United States from Halloween to New Year’s Eve 2015. In total, they played 22 gigs.
What’s The Other Controversy Surrounding Dead & Company?
It’s minor but some fans are a bit upset over the timing of both the Dead & Company’s 2015 and 2016 tours.
In late June and early July of 2015, the aforementioned members of The Grateful Dead, along with another member, Phil Lesh, performed a series of concerts to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Dead. The series of concerts were also believed to be the last time those four musicians will ever play together.
So fans doled out big bucks to see the surviving members of the Grateful Dead—as well as Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti—only to have three of the four members join forces less than half a year later. Those same fans now have to buy Dead & Company tickets.