New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


BIG NEWS! Here's the latest Issue of NJ Stage Magazine -- Click here

Marc Muller Discusses Dead On Live

By Gary Wien

originally published: 04/01/2015

Marc Muller Discusses Dead On LiveIn honor of the Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary, Dead On Live is paying tribute to this milestone by performing the band's music in full production, both as heard on the band's commercial releases and as performed live in some of their most famous shows throughout the years.  On Friday, April 10 at 8PM, Dead On Live marks their first appearance at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC).  Tickets range fro $25-$35.

Dead On Live is led by touring and recording veteran Marc Muller (Shania Twain, Bruce Springsteen, Disney).  New Jersey Stage caught up with Muller to learn more about the show.

 

How did Dead On Live first come about?

I was part of Glen Burtnik's annual Beatle show that covered Beatle records every year they had a 40th anniversary. While working at the Count Basie Theater doing the Rock The Basie program I was offered to do a show of my own. Went home brainstorming about 1970, 40 years before. As a young developing musician, the 70's were all about the Grateful Dead for me.  Bam! Workingman's Dead and American Beauty BOTH 1970! Presented the idea and they loved it. We were asked back to the Basie and have been traveling with each show ever since.  It's been a really great experience going back to my roots. I feel like I'm 17 again, but without the pimples.

What makes Dead On Live different from other Grateful Dead tributes?

While starting to work on the songs for the show I realized how important each part of the puzzle was to the overall picture, sonically, to these 2 classic records. Without Phil's rootless syncopated bass, Jerry's pedal steel and the quirky drum soup, to me, the songs just wouldn't be represented with the class and dignity I thought they deserved. So, for the next 9 months I painstakingly dissected all the parts, all the instruments and all the equally quirky vocal harmonies. Yikes…. I don't think there's been another tribute act, or even the Dead themselves that have reproduced the records, note-wise and production-wise besides us. Both unique and surreal to hear/play these classics as released on the records.

You'll be playing SOPAC for the first time.  What will the set cover?  Are you doing a specific album or all over the place?

While we had annually been presenting basically 2 year eras of the Dead's recording history following the success of the initial show (71-72, 73-74, etc), I decided for the Dead's 50th anniversary it would be cool to pick some favorites from each record, maybe best representing each era, and do a nice timeline of their incredible and musically diverse career. So tough to put a set list together and not have the show be 6 hours long! I do think we came up with a really fun, yet adventurous show.

In the past you've had Jersey musicians like Nicole Atkins perform with you.  Are there any Jersey musicians joining you at SOPAC that might not be part of the regular crew?

Indeed, we're almost less a "band" and more a "cast" depending on records/shows being reproduced.  I have a good core group of guys, most all from NJ, that will be joining me for this show. John Pittas – keys, Paul Avrutin – bass, Lee Finkelstein – drums, Tom Circosta – guitar, Brian Kolins – percussion, with guests Sandy Mack – harmonica, vocals and thrilled to have my daughter joining me on stage Erica Muller – vocals.



In your opinion, what is it about the music of the Dead that endures so well decades later?

Joy, freedom, family.  What other type show can you look out and see so many generations of people dancing, with big smiles on their faces for the entire show.  That's been a really cool thing, seeing older fans that were there back in the day with their kids next to them, singing along. Awesome.

You've had a pretty solid career and have performed or recorded with many big names, have you ever had the chance to jam with members of The Dead?  

I did get to do a few songs with Donna Jean. There I was, singing Eyes of The World and Scarlet Begonias with DJ standing right next to me singing the parts I heard her do so many times at shows back in the 70s.  I was thrilled.  I did get to speak with Phil while my band was doing a tour of CA last June. I told him I transcribed everything and have a band that plays everything live. He took a step back and said he thought I was crazy with a smile. Hoping, thinking he meant crazy in a good way maybe.

One look at your touring schedule and it looks like Dead On Live is hitting lots of venues for the first time in upcoming weeks.  Where do you hope to take this band?

Hoping to keep widening our coverage. We really had a great turnout and response to our CA trip. Seeing the look on people's faces when they hear the records they grew up with live for the 1st time is always great, but seeing the faces of the people that were THERE in San Francisco when they came out was really special.  Hoping for a CA return as well as other parts of the country. For now we're mostly in the NE with some nice big shows coming up this year.

Tell me about Marc Muller's Hippie Jazz — you've got a couple of shows coming up.  What are those shows like?

While being a little hippie teenager/musician, a friend in 1979 suggested I go see this guy Jeff Beck at the Palladium in NYC. No tix, my friend and I drove in cold, sold out. Last second before leaving disappointed we scored 2 6th row center tickets at face value!  Stood there blown away seeing Jan Hammer, Simon Phillips with Jeff Beck making sounds on a guitar I could have never imagined.  Within 2 years I was at Berklee College of Music in Boston discovering Miles, Monk, Jaco, etc. (Thank you Rick Blakemore for good suggestion!)  With my instumental music I think I've fused my early influences with my later influences in perhaps a unique kind of way. It's really fun to play and hopefully to listen to also. I've had some great musicians on my 2 CD's including Victor Wooten, Rod Morgenstein, Anton Fig, David Mann, Adam Holsman, etc.

Finally, you're an Adjunct Professor at Monmouth University.  Did you ever imagine your road leading to teaching at a university?

Coming off the road after 10 years with Shania I was asked by a professor at the university to come into one of his music production classes as a session musician. I really enjoyed the experience.  He asked if I might be interested in coming in for a lecture too. Terrified by the new experience at first, I settled in and found it really fun and the kids seemed to enjoy too.  Soon after I was offered teaching a Rock N Roll history class as well as a Songwriting class. 8 years later and really enjoying it. Thanks in part to my old friend Rick's concert suggestion, I'm now teaching History of Jazz too!


 






For more by this author, click here






South Jersey Pops To Present Holiday Shows On Sunday & Monday
(CHERRY HILL, NJ) -- The South Jersey Pops, the area’s own non-profit orchestra, will take a world view of this magical season as it presents “Celebrate: A Global Holiday” on Sunday, December 16 in Medford. The second of its four performances during its 49th season, the program will feature holiday carols from around the globe including France, Germany, and Spain, local music to warm the hearts of Philadelphians, along with Hanukkah songs and popular and timeless holiday classics.
Experiment 34 To Hold CD Release At Asbury Lanes
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Experiment 34 will celebrate the release of their debut full-length album, "What Dying Feels Like," on Saturday, February 16 at Asbury Lanes. E34 are a hard, heavy, aggressive mix of punk, funk, rap, metal and psychedelic rock with an inventive chemistry and explosive bond to which audiences of all kinds react well. Tickets for the CD release show are $15 at the door and $12 in advanced. Admission will include a free copy of the CD. 
Daniil Trifonov performs Schumann's Piano Concerto in NJSO debut
(NEWARK, NJ) -- Daniil Trifonov, Musical America’s 2019 Artist of the Year, performs Schumann’s Piano Concerto in his NJSO debut, January 25–27, in the final program of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 Winter Festival, “Music Speaks.” Music Director Xian Zhang conducts the program, which also features Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra and the NJSO premiere of Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy. Performances take place on January 25 at 8:00pm at NJPAC in Newark, January 26 at 8:00pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick and January 27 at 3:00pm at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.
Audible and NJPAC Present "Jazz in the Key of Ellison"
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Audible have announced the first three national performance dates of “Jazz in the Key of Ellison,” celebrating the musical world of the esteemed African-American novelist, critic and scholar Ralph Ellison and his remarkable collection of jazz recordings.
Centenary Stage Presents Michael Davis and the New Wonders
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Centenary Stage Company’s annual January Thaw Music Festival returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center featuring three musical guest artists throughout the month of January. The series launches on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at 8:00pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with Michael Davis and the New Wonders.


Melissa Etheridge LIVE! at the State Theatre
The lobby of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ, is buzzing with activity this Friday, November 30, 2018 evening as rock music fans ready themselves for a special Holiday Show by singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge!
Join The Greater South Jersey Chorus For "A Winter's Night" (Or Afternoon)
The holidays bring many special things and, for me, one of the best is the music. It sets a mood, invokes memories, soothes the soul and provides a seasonal soundtrack for my life.
An Interview with Chip Davis Of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas
You can experience the magic of the holidays — Steamroller-style — when Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis makes a tour stop this Thursday, December 6, 2018, at New Brunswick, NJ’s historic State Theatre.
Max Weinberg’s Jukebox LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Something is different about tonight’s November 18, 2018 concert at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts starring Max Weinberg, celebrated drummer from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band!
PHOTOS: Matt O'Ree Band at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The Matt O'Ree Band returned to The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Friday, November 16 and photographer Estelle Massry of Coucou Photography was on hand to take some photos.  David Bryan from Bon Jovi was one of the special guests that night.






Event calendar
Sunday, Dec 16, 2018


MUSIC

CHRIS GULLACE BAND - A BENEFIT FOR ST. JUDE @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 2:00pm

SOLAR CIRCUS / DOOBIE DECIBEL SYSTEM @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

ELEVEN ELEVEN @ Lobby Bar at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 2:00pm

SUNDAY JAZZ @ Hard Rock Cafe at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 10:00am

Joy to the World: A Christmas Suite @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 4:00pm


THEATRE

Elf, The Musical @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 2:00pm

A Christmas Story @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

Seussical @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm

Peter pan @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 1:00pm and 5:00pm

A CHRISTMAS CAROL @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 3:00pm

Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

A Wonderful Life @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

A Charlie Brown Christmas @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 1:30pm and 3:30pm

Hudson Theatre Works presents "And My True Love Gave To Me" @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 5:00pm







DANCE

Cocktail Hour: The Show Featuring the B-Twist Orchestra @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City - 6:00pm

NEW JERSEY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER WITH NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 1:00pm and 6:00pm

The Nutcracker: The Russian National Ballet @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 2:00pm and 7:00pm

Carol of the King: The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 3:00pm

Bolshoi Ballet: Don Quixote @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm


KIDS

Shopkins LIVE! Shop It Up! @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 11:00am

View all events










 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.