Sleepy Alligators News: March 2017

IMG_0188Despite our having shared no news for the last few months, Sleepy Alligators have decidedly not been hibernating!

Announcing New Gator: Jose Jimenez
Back in December, we said farewell to our founding drummer, OLar Maksin.

OLar made enormous contributions to the band in our formative first year, helping bring the project to life, going deep with his study of a body of music that he had not previously been very familiar with, and helping to craft the Sleepy Alligators vibe.

We are very grateful for OLar’s hard work and enthusiasm, we wish him well in his future endeavors, and we will always honor him as a founding Gator.

Meanwhile, we’re incredibly excited to welcome Jose Jimenez to the band. Jose has been drumming since he was 10-years old, and counts the Grateful Dead as one of his earliest influences. He’s known Sleepy Alligators keyboardist Orion Lackey since middle school, and brings great energy and passion with him.

Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series: August 10th
As we announced on our Facebook Page, we’re honored to have been selected as one of only nine bands — out of 40 that applied — to perform as part of the Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series. A summer evening, one of Bellingham’s beautiful parks, food trucks, family, friends, community and live music … it doesn’t get much better than that!

Since the Grateful Dead’s free concerts in the park were iconic and a HUGE part of their early legend, we look forward to recreating some of that spirit and vibe this August!

Bellingham Bay Brewery Fryday Fish Fry: August 11th
For the second summer in a row, we’ll be bringing an evening of Grateful Dead music to the always awesome Boundary Bay Brewery beer garden.

We love the all-ages picnic vibe, always appreciate the yummy fish & chips, and of course the legendary Boundary Bay craft brew will be flowing!

August is a ways off, we recognize that, we’re working on booking some other gigs for the spring, so we’ll keep you posted!

Playing, playing in the band.
Daybreak, daybreak on the land.

Sleepy Alligators @ #GivingTuesday

#givingtuesdayWhile we were deeply disappointed, having been duped into canceling our last gig by what was supposed to be an historic and very dangerous typhoon, Sleepy Alligators are getting right back on the horse!

We are honored to have been invited to participate in this year’s #GivingTuesday event:

  • When: Tuesday, November 29th, 8pm-12:00am
  • Where: Wild Buffalo House Of Music: 208 West Holly Street, Bellingham, WA 98225
  • Admission: $5+ suggested donation at door OR bring 2+ cans of food which we will then donate to the Bellingham Food Bank. No one will be turned away (21+), but everybody can give something, even if it’s your positive energy and smile…a million drops make a huge splash.

From the organizers:

#GivingTuesday was started in 2012 as an alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A day to give to local non-profits and support your community’s future.

We will be holding an auction/raffle with all proceeds going to Camp Fire Samish and Camp Kirby (Samish Island, WA) to provide camp scholarships and fund essential programs for local youth.

Come on out, friends, for a good time and great cause!

Sleepy Alligators Waking Up!

imageIt’s been a long, fruitful incubation period, and now Sleepy Alligators are about to wake up!

We’ve been having a great time coalescing as a band, building up a repertoire of about 30 songs, and exploring the high wire of group improvisation.

Our first gig will be:

It’s time for Bellingham’s Deadheads and jam band fans to wake up too, so put on your tie-dye and your dancing shoes, come enjoy a locally-crafted beer, yummy fish fry, and the music of the good ol’ Grateful Dead!

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