Joe Russo Talks Becoming a Father, Busy Projects, and The Grateful Dead

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Photography by Mike Mauger

To say that Brooklyn drummer, Joe Russo, keeps himself busy is an understatement. Russo has made a name for himself as half of the Benevento/Russo Duo (next to Marco Benevento) as well as drumming for The Gene Ween Band, Simon Posford’s Younger Brother, and Shpongle projects, not to mention Bob Weir and Phil Lesh’s (Grateful Dead) Furthur. Lucky for us, he brings one of his latest and most highly acclaimed venture, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead to Philadelphia’s new Fillmore for a big New Years Eve bash next week.

JRAD consists of Russo on drums, Marco Benevento on keys, Tom Hamilton (Tom Hamilton’s American Babies, Billy & The Kids) and Scott Metzger (WOLF!) on guitar, and Dave Dreiwitz (Ween) on bass. Although the group has been making music together for years, JRAD only started just a couple years ago when, on a whim, they decided to play a Dead tribute set at an event in New York. Word of the group’s performance spread like wildfire across the internet and through the jam band scene. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead project immediately started receiving requests for bookings. They aren’t your typical Grateful Dead cover band, though. In fact, they’re not really a cover band at all. Rather, they utilize the Grateful Dead songbook to jump into their own performances that consist mostly of group improvisation. The result is nothing sort of an epic adventure of twists and turns up and down a musical roller coaster that fans young and old, deadheads and non-deadheads, can agree is well worth the price of admission.

Joe Russo was gracious enough to chat with us has he prepares for their New Years Eve show next week here in Philly. The enlightening conversation ranged from a baby announcement, to Russo’s getting tapped by Trey Anastasio to help him prepare for his appearance with The Grateful Dead in Chicago this past summer.


Joe Russo – All Good Festival 2015

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