The ten biggest jam-band scene stereotypes
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 Stereotypes are made for a reason, but these days, many of the generalizations about people into jam bands are really outdated and just caricatures of a bygone era.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.