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Published: 2016/02/11
by Rob Slater

Dave Dreiwitz: From Ween to JRAD to Ween

Life is good for Dave Dreiwitz. It’s early January and he’s staring at the moving ocean as Jam Cruise 14 heads into port in Miami. The bassist is busy, however, as he’s one of the few artists pulling double duty on the ship, performing with both Joe Russo’s Almost Dead and Marco Benevento as a part of the keyboardist’s solo band. While all of that is exciting, and certainly pleasing to Dreiwitz, our conversation quickly shifts to Ween, who will reunite on February 12 at 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, CO. As you’ll see, Dreiwitz can’t wait to get back on stage with his old mates, and offers up a glimpse into his hopes for the future of Ween.

Did you ever think JRAD would become what it is now?

We’re just all dumbfounded by all of it. I think Joe just wanted to play this music in a different way and approach it in a way that he felt was maybe a little more East Coast Jersey style, and we just did it. We couldn’t have planned any of this insanity.

What do you think the attraction is with the band?

It’s first and foremost the songbook. People love Joe and Marco, the Dead family has really embraced Joe. Then years of us all playing together and Bustle and playing with Marco and obviously The Duo—all of those things combined just kind of made a weird alchemy of the right things coming together.

When you commit to a project like that, do you have to get inside Phil Lesh’s headspace?

I just spend hours and hours—I don’t know if people realize how much, and I know that Scott does too—of just learning this music. I saw the Dead and they weren’t my number one band, but I always liked the Dead and I loved what they did. It’s been a major study. Some of it has been the hardest work that I’ve had to do just in terms of learning the music. I’m still working on it, constantly. It’s never-ending, it seems.

I’m amazed at how much Scott sounds like young Weir when he sings.

I know, it’s amazing. I don’t think he knew. All these kind of things were just weird circumstances that we never thought.

You guys have a real power. There’s a real rock and roll edge to what you guys do and the energy enhances the whole song.

That’s our Jersey East Coast edge. Marco, Joe and I are all from the same county in North Jersey. Maybe it has something to do with us all drinking the same water.

Is it bittersweet to be taking a step back from Almost Dead this year?

Yeah. Of course, everybody has booked everything and there isn’t a whole lot of JRAD stuff going on, and there’s not much Ween stuff going on. Of course, it all got booked together and people couldn’t figure things out. I tried to enlighten both management teams with what was going on so that we could try to maybe juggle it all without having conflicts, but unfortunately there are only so many weekends in the year.

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