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Published: 2011/04/19

The National Working on Grateful Dead Cover Album

Last spring when Mike Greenhaus interviewed The National’s Bryce Dessner, the guitarist spoke about the influence of the Grateful Dead on his own music and that of his peers. Dessner told Greenhaus, “I originally got in to classical guitar because I love guitarists like John Fahey, and as kids my brother and I were definitely into the Grateful Dead…It’s funny, you’d be surprised at how many bands are influenced by the Grateful Dead. We were joking with our friends in Grizzly Bear about starting a Dead cover band with them because they’re kind of obsessed with that music. I mean certainly some of the longer form improvisational stuff we’ve done over the years is influenced by the Grateful Dead, though I am a lightweight compared to many Dead fans. The full-on Deadhead in my community is National drummer Bryan Devendorf. The Dead and New Order are the two things that are essential for him.”

As it turns out Devendorf and Dessners will have an opportunity to visit the Grateful Dead catalog. In a piece posted to, bassist Scott Devendorf explains, “We’re actually working on a new compilation record, like we did the Dark was The Night record, that’s going to be a Grateful Dead covers record.” Devendorf adds that Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver look to be interested in participating, while the National likely will perform a Phil Lesh composition, with “Box of Rain” currently the band’s top choice.

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