Winterland's Popularity & Audience Grows

By Ric Holmquest
Photos by Richard D. Anderson

Winterland has fast become Eastern Iowa’s musical hot ticket. The Grateful Dead tribute band hit the ground running in the fall of 2013 and have created quite the musical stir ever since. Just like their namesake, the band has a large devoted following, already a strong social media presence and seemingly redoubles their attending audience with each performance. Winterland’s effect on area music fans and musicians is nothing short of phenomenal.

Winterland refers to the famous San Francisco California ice skating rink turned Bill Graham iconic music venue. It all began in 1966 with a double bill of Jefferson Airplane and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The venue became a common performance site for many of the most famous performing artist’s of the time, including the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead.

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band born in Palo Alto California in 1965. The band’s presence in San Francisco’s Bay area Height Ashbury neighborhood helped fuel the counter-culture hippie movement of the 60’s. Founding members of the Grateful Dead were Jerry Garcia guitar and vocals, Bob Weir guitar and vocals, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan keyboards, harmonica and vocals, Phil Lesh bass and vocals and Bill Kreutzmann on the drums.

The Grateful Dead were as well known for their unique and eclectic musical style fusing elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, reggae, country with jazz psychedelia and space rock, as they were for their devoted following called the Deadheads. This dedicated group of fans was known for following the band from concert to concert for years. The band had a profound and lasting effect on music and culture.

Winterland mirrors the Grateful Dead’s dual drummer configuration. Personnel includes Joshua Weiner’s drums and vocals, Stacy Webster’s guitar and vocals, Marc Janssen’s guitar and vocals, David Lumberg’s bass, with James Robinson on the drums. The band’s mission is to explore, emulate, and enjoy the music of The Dead’s classic period of 1969-1978. Josh informs “the Dead had two drummers for about twenty five of their thirty year existence, so it adds to the authenticity. The Deadheads really respond to it. I think it shows our dedication to presenting the full experience of this music live.”

Josh then adds “Stacy is a great musician, very intuitive and with a huge knowledge of the Dead’s music, its roots, and Jerry Garcia’s guitar tone and styles. When he plays it is sometimes really uncanny, like Jerry is there. Marc is one of the most naturally gifted musicians I’ve ever met. He plays guitar, fiddle, mandolin, cello, and I’ve even seen him play drums.”

Stacy points out “Josh is wicked smart and passionate about music of all kinds. He is a talented drummer, singer, guitarist and arranger. Playing with Joshua is a joy. I’ve been playing with David “Big Chief” Lumberg since 2005. David plays with incredible dexterity, soul and an adventurous sense of musicality. James hears where I’m going when I improvise, always right there with a complimentary rhythmic accent or some fill that just floors me. He plays like a ballerina dances, with grace and artistry of motion. Marc and I had an immediate musical rapport. It seems like we’ve been collaborating much longer than we actually have. He is a blast to share the stage with, has a great sense of humor, and is musically interactive and very supportive. He has a great ear and can emulate Bob Weir’s unique approach to the guitar.”

Of the band’s remarkable success, Stacy acknowledges “I’m so very grateful to the fans that have been flocking to each of our shows and pouring out love, support and expressions of joy. Seeing these things in their smiling faces is one of the reasons we take this music to the stage.”

Winterland performances include:
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Gabe’s 330 E Washington St Iowa City
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Parlor City Pub and Eatery 1125 3rd St S.E.Cedar Rapids
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Parlor City Pub and Eatery 1125 3rd St S.E. Cedar Rapids
Friday, October 31, 2014
Halloween at the Iowa City Yacht Club
13 S Linn St Iowa City

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