The ten biggest jam-band scene stereotypes

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Photos by Eric Gruneisen

The term "jam-band scene" is icky and cringe-worthy. It hurts to even type it. But then again, so is the word "indie" when it's used to describe bands on major labels, but sometimes you have to hang a handle on something simply for the sake of discussion. Stereotypes are made for a reason, but these days, many of the generalizations about people into jam bands are really outdated and just caricatures of a bygone era. Here are the ten biggest jam-band scene stereotypes.

See also: Phish at Dicks, Labor Day Weekend 2013: The third and final show

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We dance like flailing wild animals
While it may look like that, there actually is some very intricate choreography going on. When you have so many melodies and rhythms to follow with each limb, you're going to look a little funny. When you realize that no one cares what you look like, you can lose yourself in the music; it's far more fun and easier on your body than standing there for hours.

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Shows are a sausage-fest
Year after year on the Internet, you read shock and surprise at the beautiful ladies out at shows. People got older, and now they have pretty wives that got into Phish -- never mind the fact that there were women all along. At Dick's this year, you could even go so far as to say that there were packs of females roaming about. At some shows, like String Cheese Incident, the women often outnumber the men, evident by the number of fairy and butterfly wings around. Add in all the men wearing Fishman dresses at Phish shows, and you have quite the feminine crowd.

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Everyone's a burnout with dead brain cells
To be able to follow improvisational music and compositions that are full of different time signatures, you need to be somewhat intelligent and have patience. That said, members of the jam-band milieu are often some of the smartest people you will meet. You'll find statisticians with years of show dates filed in their heads, musical-theory experts who can explain every move the band made and folks with a lot of street smarts and the ability to survive and have a good time under any weather conditions.

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People who listen to jam bands only listen to other jam bands
Most jam bands cover so many different bands they like, they end up introducing their fans to those bands. This year, for instance, Phish covered "Energy," by the Apples In Stereo, causing that band to suddenly get tons of YouTube hits and even tweet a thank-you out to Phish. Ween and Talking Heads covers are also favorites of fans. Pay heed to the fact that so many of these people are coming from different backgrounds, be it rock, jazz, folk or techno. You would be surprised by the music libraries of many jam-band fans.

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31 comments
WSMFP
WSMFP

I feel dirty

jfparr3
jfparr3

But how do you feel about Slayer?

davidtga1
davidtga1

Phuck Phish Phans.

You know who you are. 

dustinspangler
dustinspangler

I feel nothing was accomplished with this article.  Would read again.  

Jason Hornyak
Jason Hornyak

RECREATIONAL OUTRAGE!!! Wait...hold on...I'm not sure if I agree with this piece or if it outrages me... Eh screw it: RECREATIONAL OUTRAGE WINS!!!

jfgr8ful
jfgr8ful

You forgot the best ofof jambands, Widespread Panic, F all you haters of this genre.. Kanye is waiting for you attention.... Panic rules, phish is a great opening band for Panic...

Nicholas Richter
Nicholas Richter

And I'm not big into drugs or hippie lifestyle at all, just love phish. If you think you really know music and can't see a unique style and truly talented musicians and songwriters in phish, well, I just feel bad for you. Try and write a song like Reba, it's ice, foam.... I can go on.

Snafunk
Snafunk

You really missed the boat on hot women at shows. Widespread Panic has the best looking women of any band in the 'jamband' scene.  Its not even a contest.

Nicholas Richter
Nicholas Richter

I'm a huge phish fan, over 100 shows and I'm not a huge dead fan by any means. My other favorite bands include steely Dan, frank Zappa, oingo boingo, Beatles, zeppelin, (basically all classic rock), Dixie dregs, brad paisley (seriously), tupac, mr bungle, primus, jean luc ponty, a lot of jazz, jazz fusion, Sinatra, big band and swing... Need I go on anyone who says people who like jamband a don't like other styles of music? However, I really don't like jambands, just phish mostly.

Allen Moss
Allen Moss

Jam band music people are just as pretentious about their music as anyone else.

Oz Mcguire
Oz Mcguire

people actually like the music. not because some hipster says it's cool

Greg Wheeler
Greg Wheeler

I'm confused, is this article refuting the stereotypes or excusing them? You might hear jam band lovers say that they're open to other kinds of music... they are not! Just ask them to name a non-jam band they like. And again, this article does not refute that stereotype, it excuses it.

Kyle Hartman
Kyle Hartman

I think this list forgot to say that it's mostly white yuppies with the imagination of a rock that listen to jam bands. Such flat boring boring music.

Phil Knight
Phil Knight

Their stench of patchouli oil is horrid ! And jam bands are most lame anywho....

williamgraff73
williamgraff73

"Aimless noodlers, with music that is slow and uninspiring." That pretty much covers the whole genre. You said it, not me.

Don J Akin
Don J Akin

All of those other stereotypes are hysterical!!!

Don J Akin
Don J Akin

I would say that anybody and everybody who is part of the jam band scene likes Grateful Dead music and that is certainly not a stereotype but it is a true stereotype if you were to label it as a stereotype!

Che Harness
Che Harness

Not really, but I do agree with all the responses to the "sterotypes".

Æriĉ Çicconē
Æriĉ Çicconē

I thought I was a jam band fan, but then I realized I only liked the Grateful Dead and Phish. The rest are a stereotype

Colton J Kuddes
Colton J Kuddes

Worshiping the Grateful dead in the jam scene is a must...that's like saying you listen to punk rock but hate Bad Brains. the others are very wrong!

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