Jerry Garcia was dead before most of the members of the Lead Heads were even born. After all, two of them are all of 12 years old. One of them, lead guitarist Corby Pryor, created the band, and the other, Lucy Moulton, plays drums.
You’ll also notice certain other differences if you catch the Lead Heads opening for Jersey club favorites The Shakes at Mexicali Live in Teaneck tomorrow — on a school night (It’s OK; they go on early).
For one thing, there’s no LSD. The band has one drummer (Lucy), not two. And they don’t play in front of a Wall of Sound system specifically designed for them.
But what may be the world’s only teenaged Grateful Dead tribute band benefits from dedication to mastering one of the most elusive musical styles of the past 50 or so years — extended improvisational jams that blend electric folk with jazz, blues and other forms, defying description.
“It covers almost all genres of music, is great for improvisation, and is fun jam music,” Corby told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
For Isaac, all of 15 years old, “the music of The Grateful Dead has helped me understand who I am as a person and taught me to channel my feelings through music.”
Corby created the band in October 2008 and later refined it at Bergen County’s famous School of Rock; the Lead Heads first gig was benefit concert for the Children’s Health Fund at the Bitter End in May 2009. Just last month, the band played the Highline Ballroom with special guest Joe Russo, the drummer for Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s band, Furthur.
Sure, it takes some getting used to — the whole idea of a teenaged tribute to a singularly distinctive, legendary group who, in its original form, passed on with Garcia 15 years ago.
Then again, it’s fascinating to find young musicians with the nerve — not to mention the chops — to tackle such a behemoth.
• For more, go to: www.leadheads.net
Mexicali Live is easy to reach from Route 4. It’s at 1409 Queen Anne Road in Teaneck. For more info, go to: www.mexicalilive.com .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.