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EXCLUSIVE: DSO’s Rob Barraco Talks Phil Lesh, New Projects, & Keeping The Dead Alive

first_img[Video: VideosMarkG]L4LM: For the longtime fans, does it feels like going to see a theatrical performance of the Grateful Dead?Rob Barraco: We joke about it all the time. [In announcer’s tone] “Tonight, the part of Jerry Garcia will be played by Jeff Mattson.”L4LM: What is the biggest difference in working with Phil Lesh as compared to working with Dark Star for so long?RB: The first day I started with Phil, his big thing was “You are the first among equals around here.” He just wants you to play and be yourself. He didn’t want designated solos—he wanted the band to create the sounds. At first, it was disconcerting for some people. Warren [Haynes], for instance, was in the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule at the time: Sing verse + sing chorus = it’s solo time! That has been ingrained in our music society forever. All of the sudden, we were given this modern jazz approach where everyone plays. I would think of them as DNA strands. Double helixes that go everywhere, and everyone supporting each other, but everyone had their say in the conversation, and it just went on and on. It really turned into a beautiful thing. We had to embrace that—to shake the shackles of our past. We created our own language.Relive Phil Lesh’s Goosebump-Inducing Halloween Show At The Cap [Photos/Video/Full Audio]Now playing with Phil, I think he has returned to the designated solo thing. With the Terrapin Family Band, his son, Grahame Lesh, now is kind of running the band in a way. Phil is playing brilliantly as he always has, but he is allowing his son to lead, and he is doing a great job. They have a lot of shows under their belt now. I just played two shows with them at Brooklyn Bowl and the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York—it was really fun. Robert Randolph was on the gig too, and that guy is an animal. Plus, Nikki Bluhm was singing on the shows, and she is a stylist. She can adapt really easily on the fly and is easy to get along with. I had done ten shows in a row. I’ve never done that in my entire life.Warren Haynes & Rob Barraco, “I Shall Be Released”[Video: Ryan Hill]L4LM: Wow! What was the run of shows?Rob Barraco: It started in in California with California Kind. Then, the second day, I drove to the Hangtown Festival in Sacramento. It was a one-off with DSO, and they all flew in. I did two more shows with California Kind, and then took a crack-of-dawn flight to New York and played the Brooklyn Bowl and then The Capitol. The next night, I was back in Oregon to play the rest of the time with California Kind.  I didn’t even realize I did it until I was looking at my calendar. I’ve never done ten shows in a row before. I think I’ve done seven when I was with the Zen Tricksters, and I took a day off and did another six one time.L4LM: Did you recover yet?RB: This is what I asked for in my life.  I want to play. I’ve gotten the opportunity my whole adult life—now more than ever. How can I complain? Someone needs to smack me if I complain.L4LM: Why do people attend a DSO show in Peekskill when the core original members are playing with Dead and Company at Madison Square Garden tonight [11/12/17]? RB: I think Dark Star delivers this music in a way that some Deadheads really want to hear. I’m not taking anything away from anybody because I think it is great that Bob [Weir], Mickey [Hart], and Billy [Kreutzmann] are playing. I think their thing is really cool for what it is. It’s their own voice as the originators of the music, and they’re bringing in a whole new audience. Then, there is Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. Those guys are bringing in a young crowd and they have their way of playing the music—I think it is wonderful and it keeps the scene vibrating. I’ve always thought the longevity of Dead music will outlast any of the other bands.L4LM: Why is that?RB: Well, Robert Hunter’s lyrics alone can speak to anyone at any age. You can’t say that this doesn’t apply now to the year 2017. That is what genius is. It’s like Shakespeare. The language itself might be archaic, but the messages apply to everyday living now. Hunter’s lyrics are going to live forever as far as I’m concerned. Other bands? Maybe not so much.L4LM: You think the kid that just heard the Dead last week on Spotify will understand it like the Deadhead who has gone to three-hundred shows?RB: When I first got into the Dead, I was fourteen. It wasn’t even the Dead—I heard a friend play “Casey Jones” on the acoustic guitar, and I was like, “What is that?” He said it was the Grateful Dead, and just the name got me! When you’re not aware of something, you just are not aware of it. Once you become aware of it, it’s everywhere. All of the sudden, I’m walking in the mall by my house, and there is this record store, and the whole place is festooned with Grateful Dead. They had just released the Skull & Roses album. There it was again—the Grateful Dead!I must have just turned fifteen, and I had this little room in my basement. It was my blacklight room with blacklight posters and blacklight paint. My mother hated me. I had an FM radio down there when FM was a brand new thing. It was album-oriented rock as opposed to Top 40 AM radio. And I think I’m so cool, and then this song comes on, and I’m like, “What is this?  This is so cool.” And the DJ gets on and says, “That was the Grateful Dead.” It was “Uncle John’s Band”, and I was hooked after that.I still didn’t understand what the band was about until I went to my first Dead show, and I got it like the silver bullet in the forehead. It was at the Academy of Music in NYC. March of ’72, and it was the last show they did before they went and did the ’72 Europe tour. The opened with “Truckin’”, and we all knew “Truckin’”.  Then they jammed and that was where I got it. Phil was the one who blew my mind the most because I was really into bass players back then—Jack Bruce from Cream, the bass player from Led Zeppelin. Phil played like no one else. It tore me apart, and it changed me forever. The fact that I got to play with this man for like a thousand shows—I couldn’t have scripted it.[Photo: Rob Barraco Facebook page] No keyboardist in the world has performed more Grateful Dead music than Dark Star Orchestra’s Rob Barraco. Ron “Pigpen” McKernan turned on the love light as the heroic original leader of the band when the Acid Tests were frequent and free. His unfortunate passing at the milestone rock star age of 27 spawned a keyboardist curse that followed the Grateful Dead throughout the rest of their history. After the Grateful Dead officially blew out the candles on their 30th anniversary in 1995, numerous acts took on the role of keepers of the flame, attempting to recreate and reenact those magic years before the death of Jerry Garcia. Robert Hunter kept writing lyrics, while the remaining core members of the group developed The Other Ones and The Dead, which branched off into projects like Phil Lesh and Friends and Ratdog—Rob Barraco was a main player throughout.Dark Star Orchestra Enters Its 21st Year During Celebratory Show At The Paramount TheaterHe may not have been an actual member of the Grateful Dead or an original member of Dark Star Orchestra, but Rob Barraco certainly had enough experience on his resume to get the full-time job offer from the band when they lost their keyboardist in 2005. We sat down with Barraco less than 24 hours after DSO’s sold-out 20th Anniversary show on November 12th, 2017, to discuss his future, his past, and the long strange trip in between.Live For Live Music: Dark Star Orchestra—twenty years! How was last night’s anniversary show? Rob Barraco: Last night was a blast. What a show! I have been running ragged—I haven’t had a night off in ten days, but I shouldn’t complain because I recently spent a full week in France drinking wine. Ever since then, I’ve been out in California touring with a new band, California Kind, which I have with friends from Phil Lesh and Friends and The Q [The Quintet]—John Molo on drums and the rest of the members of the David Nelson Band [Pete Sears, Barry Sless], and then we have this 24-year-old singer-songwriter, Katie Skene, and this insane guitar player from Los Angeles. The project’s way steeped in the blues and R&B… Way more than I’ll ever know.L4LM: Where did you pick Skene up from?Rob Barraco: John Molo met her producing a young band, and she played for him and he lost it. He got a hold of Barry Sless, and Barry called me and said we got this idea for a band. I said, “I don’t know, man. You guys are in California, and I’m in New York. I mean, I have no free time as it is.” I went out and did it, and now I’m hooked.L4LM: Has California Kind given you a chance to do new stuff?Rob Barraco: Oh yeah, we’ve been writing. Katie has a million originals, and Barry and I have stuff.  We are also doing covers of things we’ve always wanted to play but never have. We picked a bunch of Blind Faith and Traffic tunes—obscure stuff that’s really cool to play, and nobody else is doing it. We’re trying to make it our own and make it sound like us.L4LM: With twenty years of an ever-evolving Dark Star Orchestra lineup, what does the future hold for the band? Rob Barraco: We’re going to continue doing what we do. It seems like we keep raising the bar for ourselves. Each show that we put under our belt, we are that much more in tune with each other. Some of the jamming gets to these spaces that I never dreamed we could go. A couple years ago, we started recording some original music, and we are going to get back to that now. Who knows? Maybe we can release an album of original music within the next twenty years…Dark Star Orchestra, “The Thrill Is Gone”last_img read more

Patriots beat Knight Riders by 38 runs to book place in CPL final

first_imgA good bowling display by St Kitts & Nevis Patriots helped them defend 150 against Trinbago Knight Riders in Play Off of the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) at the Brian Lara Stadium last night to book their place in the Final on Saturday.The Patriots took early wickets which derailed the Knight Riders innings and continued to make breakthroughs to prevent them gaining any momentum.(Scores: St Kitts & Nevis Patriots 149-7 (Gayle 54*, King 30, Bravo 4-38) beat Trinbago Knight Riders 111 (Bravo 29, Cottrell 3-17, Hafeez 1-11) by 38 runs).The Knight Riders chase got off to a disastrous start when Sunil Narine was run out without facing a ball in the first over by a brilliant direct hit from Evin Lewis. Things quickly went from bad to worse when Ben Hilfenhaus had William Perkins caught down the leg side in a wicket maiden.When Colin Munro was caught and bowled off a leading edge from a low full toss bowled by Sheldon Cottrell the Knight Riders were reeling at 6 for 3 after three overs.A sparky innings from Denesh Ramdin helped the Knight Riders regain a foothold in the match but he could not capitalise on his start and was caught off a leading edge for 19 in the eighth over. A period of consolidation between Darren Bravo and Dan Christian then saw six runs scored in three overs.Bravo briefly threatened to get going with a six and a four off Tabraiz Shamsi but a mix-up saw Bravo run out for 29. When Christian was trapped lbw by Mohammad Hafeez in the very next over the Knight Riders were 59 for 6 after 12.2 overs.With the required run rate spiralling Shadab Khan fell shortly after looking to attack, leaving Dwayne Bravo as the Knight Riders last remaining hope. Bravo did not give up easily, striking three mighty leg side sixes but in the end it was asking far too much of him to dig his team out of a huge hole. Eventually the Knight Riders subsided for 111 with Cottrell’s figures of 3 for 17 the pick of a solid all-round team performance in the field.After winning the toss the Knight Riders elected to field first, citing the unfamiliarity with a new venue. Against the imposing pairing of Chris Gayle and Lewis the Knight Riders could hardly have hoped for a better start to the Powerplay.Ronsford Beaton bowled a excellent maiden to Gayle first over—and on another day may well have had him lbw—before only one loose ball in the second over from Javon Searles increased the pressure further.When Lewis finally looked to cut loose from the fourth ball of the third over he mis-timed a drive high over cover which Christian chased down before completing a stunning sliding catch just inside the rope.It took some beautifully-timed and well-placed boundaries from Gayle and Mohammad Hafeez to lift the Patriots from 7 for 1 after three overs to 42 for 1 at the end of the Powerplay.Hafeez’s elegant innings was ended in the very next over when he edged a wider slower ball from Kevon Cooper through to Ramdin. Through the early middle overs Gayle and Brandon King worked hard to keep the scoreboard moving against the Knight Riders frugal spinners, Sunil Narine and Shadab Khan, with both men hitting excellent and valuable sixes against the turn over the leg side.It brought the return of pace and Dwayne Bravo for the next wicket – King top-edging a pull shot to fall for a battling 30 off 26 balls leaving the Patriots 90 for 3 after 13.3 overs.Despite possessing power-hitters Carlos Brathwaite and Mohammad Nabi the Patriots found it difficult to accelerate in the latter stage of the innings with Bravo and Beaton varying their pace regularly and picking up wickets to disrupt any momentum.It was indicative of the Patriots struggle that Gayle finished not out but only scored 54 runs from 51 balls. A six off the penultimate ball of the innings took the Patriots to 149, with all seven wickets falling to the pace bowlers.It was a total that seemed far from insurmountable at the innings break but within three overs of the run-chase the complexion of the match had been transformed.Upcoming FixturesWednesday: Eliminator 1, Jamaica Tallawahs v Guyana Amazon Warriors, Tarouba, 20.00hrs.Thursday: Emiminator 2, Trinbago Knight Riders v TBC, Tarouba, 20.00hrslast_img read more

Microtel opens contest for non-profits ahead of grand opening

first_imgOnly one vote is allowed.MasterBuilt will present a cheque to the winning organization June 18th during a grand opening ceremony. “(Then it would support) renovations and upkeep so we can make sure have our doors open for those animals that don’t have a place to go.”Cindy Mohr, executive director with the Association for Community Living, said her organization would use the funds to support a wide range of programs and services, from a cooking program to equipment and tools that will help clients be more independent in the community.“The cooking program allows them to eat healthy, provides social interaction, and gives them some extra meals,” she said.The agency supports about 55 residents in the community, and others who rely on the organization for drop-in services.Residents have until 11 a.m. Pacific Time June 15 to cast their vote at www.microtelcanada.com/commonground.Advertisement “There’s a lot of needs in every community,” she said.Candace Buchamer of the SPCA said a $5,000 influx for her organization would go to meet the needs of the animals relying on the shelter today, and who will need the shelter in the future.Funds would support a range of services from spays to neuters to vaccinations to emergency surgeries, Buchamer said. It would also help support building upkeep, she said.“First and foremost, (the money would go to) anything that will deal directly with the animals,” said Buchamer.Advertisementcenter_img A trio of local non-profit groups are in the running for a $5,000 kitty of cash from a new hotel set to open its doors to travellers later this month.MasterBuilt Hotels, which is wrapping up construction of the Microtel Inn & Suites at the Alaska Highway and 93 Street, has announced it will make the donation as part of its grand opening ceremonies June 18. It is calling on Fort St. John residents to vote on which group will receive the money.In the running are the North Peace branch of the BC SPCA, the Association of Community Living, and Kidsport Fort St. John.- Advertisement -“We looked at a lot of options, it was not an easy choice,” said Donna Fahey, sales and marketing director with MasterBuilt.The company has made similar donations to groups in nine other Canadian cities where it has built a Microtel, including Blackfalds, Red Deer, and Whitecourt in Alberta. The funds have gone to support hospitals and food banks in the past, according to Fahey.It’s the first time, however, the company is turning to the community to decide who gets the money, Fahey said.Advertisementlast_img read more

Sainsburys appeal to dismiss equal pay claims proves unsuccessful

first_imgEqual pay legal action against retailer Sainsbury’s is set to continue, following a ruling from the Birmingham Employment Tribunal that the case should progress to a hearing.The ongoing equal pay case concerns store-based Sainsbury’s staff and those who work at the organisation’s distribution centres. The claimants, represented by the law firm Leigh Day, are current and former employees of Sainsbury’s supermarkets, who are predominantly female; they are arguing that the work performed in the stores is of equal value to tasks carried out at the distribution centres, primarily done by male employees.The case proposes that lower-paid employees working in the stores should be paid the same as higher paid staff based at the distribution centres, as the work performed is of equal value.To date, Leigh Day has amassed around 2,000 claimants in this case.The Birmingham Employment Tribunal this week (Monday 10 June 2019) dismissed an appeal from Sainsbury’s to throw out the case because of the way Leigh Day is submitting its claimants’ equal pay claim forms.The law firm has been issuing groups of claims together on the same claim form submission to the Employment Tribunal; however, Sainsbury’s argued that multiple claims should not have been put on one form and that the tribunal should disregard claims where female store-based employees did different jobs. This relates to Rule 6 of The Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure 2013, which sets out the steps the tribunal could take if different equal pay claims are put on one claim form.The tribunal ruled that it will use its discretion to allow around 141 claims to continue, because the submission of claims forms does not impact how the claims are processed, the witness evidence needed or the length of the hearing.The next stage in the case is to determine which of the higher-paid, warehouse-based job roles will form part of the comparison for equal pay.Leigh Day currently represents around 35,000 shop floor employees across Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and the Co-Op in similar equal pay cases.Linda Wong, solicitor at Leigh Day, said: “We are pleased that the tribunal has used [its] common sense to allow these claims to proceed. Sainsbury’s had tried to get them thrown out on a technicality that made absolutely no difference to the issues in the case, but limited the amount they would have to pay out to hardworking staff. This was yet another attempt by Sainsbury’s to delay the courts from making a decision about whether they have an equal pay problem.“These claims started in 2015, and Sainsbury’s [has] continued to drag [its] feet and raise petty issues in an attempt to stall the claims. Previous judgments in the Court of Appeal have made it clear [that] equal pay claims such as these issued together should proceed. Sainsbury’s would be better placed working to pay employees fairly and resolve these claims rather than to delay the legal process with unnecessary challenges.”Sainsbury’s was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.last_img read more