Sleepy Alligators Progress Report

SA-logo-blackHand me my old guitar,
Pass the whiskey ’round

–Robert Hunter, from Candyman, 1970

Having now logged a few months of practices, we’re VERY excited by how things are coming along.

Fortunate enough to have an excellent studio to work in, we’ve recorded baseline versions of ten songs, including classics like Bertha, Bird Song, and Big Railroad Blues, and that’s just the B’s!

These recordings are very helpful, serving as reference material for when we’re individually working on the songs at home between practices, providing the basic arrangements, and an opportunity to listen for mistakes and/or other areas that need improvement.

Meanwhile, practices, pretty much right from the start, have revealed perhaps the biggest strength of the band, namely that we really like hanging out together. The fact that we happen to have our instruments with us, share a love of making music, and are known to occasionally pass ’round the whiskey bottle, well, that’s just a wonderful bonus!

We’ve posted our baseline version of Bird Song on our Music page, so check it out! We think it’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Sleepy Alligators Is Born!

skull-rosesThe Grateful Dead‘s 50th anniversary has been momentous!

There were the Fare Thee Well shows this past summer, substantial studio and live recording releases, the Dead & Company tour, and…

Sleepy Alligators, a Bellingham, Washington band, inspired by the Grateful Dead, was born!

It all began when guitarist John Wilson started delving deep into chordal and modal improvisation, which happened to be Jerry Garcia‘s wheelhouse.

And so, with all of this Grateful Dead energy in the air, John formed a new band, handpicking musicians he’s worked with before, musicians who, together, could find that sweet spot between looseness and synchronicity that the Dead were masters of. (See the About page for more about the individual members.)

The plan was to start off playing mostly Grateful Dead tunes, using them as a vehicle for building band chemistry and cohesion, to then venture out into interpreting the music of other artists, and possibly composing some originals. As of this writing, the plan is going very well, and the band is coming together nicely.

As for the name, astute Deadheads will recognize Sleepy Alligators from the first line of the song Alligator, off the 1967 Grateful Dead album Anthem of the Sun.

Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
Lyin’ by the river just like he usually done
Call for his whiskey
He can call for his tea
Call all he want to
But he can’t call me

–Robert Hunter