Ventura Rocks got wind that there was a new collaboration going on, a new band, serious local musicians having some fun playing the Grateful Dead – so we had to investigate. Turns out our old and dear friend Chris Jensen is just one of the many talented artists in the band. They had played downtown Ventura on a Saturday afternoon, and I was super bummed to have to miss having an earlier obligation to fulfill. But I’m making it up by doing a little big of a Q&A with a few of the guys including the mastermind behind the project, Evan Grosswirth.
But before we continue, just a quick acknowledgement to Gary Sula-Goff for REPRESENTING. God I love seeing our t-shirts out and about!!
So Chris Jensen, you’re always working on so many different projects between your photography and a couple different bands at any given time. What do you have going currently?
Chris Jensen: This week it’s basically three, 9MS, 50xTNT (50 Sticks of Dynamite) and Fido which is presently booking their bi-annual show TBA…Swing Cheese seems to be on hiatus. I’m super excited about Nine Mile Skid though.
Big Dead fan Chris?
Chris: I purchased my 3 LP set of The Grateful Dead – Europe 72 when it came out in 1972…and devoured it.
So then whose bright idea was it to create this band?
Chris: That would be Evan Grosswirth…he’s our fearless leader.
Evan Grosswirth: I started this band about six months ago because of my passion for Grateful Dead music. I wanted to join up with others that shared that enthusiasm. So we put together 9 Mile Skid.
What would you call the genre? Grateful Dead tribute band? Dead cover tunes?
Evan: The genre would be psychedelic jam Rock…. I guess! We are more of a Dead Cover band than an actual Tribute band…. if there’s really a difference.. With this music there is so much latitude to stretch out. And hey, the Dead never did the same song the same way anyway so……..
Chris: 9MS play homage to the music of the Grateful a Dead…all Dead all the time…including cult favorite songs e.g. “He’s Gone,” “Cumberland Blues,” “China Cat Sunflower,” “Mr. Charlie,” “Althea,” “Sugaree”, Eyes of the World” and others…let us know your favorite dead tune…we take requests!
Nine Mile Skid comes from The Grateful Dead song, “He’s Gone.” What were some other titles you guys have been throwing around for a name for the band?
Evan: I kicked around a few other names but everyone liked this and we decided to use it.
What era of Dead tunes are you covering? Are you staying away from the “radio favorites”?
Evan: We really are not concentrating on any time period, just trying to choose good tunes. But we are staying away from the ones that you can hear on the radio. But…. Truckin’ is always a favorite. You can do a pretty righteous jam on that one too.
Ventura has always been Dead friendly, more than other communities I’ve lived and worked in. Why do you think that’s so?
Evan: I really couldn’t say exactly why. I do know that our town has a very rich and vibrant music scene that can outshine most places in this country. I know that from all of the traveling that I’ve done by way of my job as a pilot. The vibe of Ventura definitely aligns with the Grateful Dead vibe . It’s a good fit.
Do you feel younger people embrace the Grateful Dead? If yes, why?
Evan: I am continually and pleasantly surprised to find the amount of younger people that dig this music. I think it’s all about the soul. The younger people who this music appeals to share the same soul as the folks who discovered it originally. It’s certainly not mainstream and we kind of like that. The people who dig it, really dig it. Not a lot of middle ground.
You guys have some social media in place to help spread the word? Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, stickers?
Evan: We just started playing out and we have a Facebook page that we just put up. As far as other social media,,,, nothing yet but that’s coming soon. I kind of figured that if a person wants to check out a Dead tune on Youtube, well they are more than likely going to want to see the original band , not some , uh, shall I say, Other Ones! But we do have Stickers!
What dates do you have lined up so far (doesn’t have to be just in Ventura)?
Chris: Dec, 10 at Green Art People, Dec 28 at Amigo’s
Thanks boys! Looking forward to seeing the band soon!!
Gary Sula-Goff (guitar) plays in Mojo Filter, The Delfinos, Arvee Park.
Paddy Marsh (guitar) Crooked Eye Tommy, The High Grade Pats, and the Lousy Drunken Uncles.
Brad Strickland (guitar) also plays with Mojo Filter and occasionally with his own jazz/rock band Fever Dream.
Chris Jensen (drums) from 50 Sticks of Dynamite, Fido, Swing Cheese.
Evan Grosworth (bass) has played with The Preachers and many others around town…you’ve undoubtedly heard Evan at the Wed blues jams at Bombay.
Roy Katnic (guitar) plays in Deadiquette and the Laundry Love Band.
Always to be sure to check in with VenturaRocks.com calendar listings for all future shows of Nine Mile Skid!