The Deadlocks Are More Than Grateful

The popular local cover band discusses their setlist preparation, their favorite era of "The Dead" and what a long, strange trip it's been.
The Deadlocks pictured in Hawaii. From left to right: Chris Moen, Jeremy Cohen, Andy Peterson, Ward Blanch, Jed Frumkin and Scott Moen. (Courtesy of The Deadlocks)

Formed in early 2010, Jackson’s local Grateful Dead cover band, The Deadlocks, has built up a loyal following among longtime local Deadheads and newcomers alike.

The band takes great pride in their authenticity in representing one of the most revered musical acts of all time. Their website reads, “All aspects of the performance — from the instrumentation to the stage layout — are carefully produced to ensure an authentic representation.”

In advance of their show at the Mangy Moose in Teton Village on Friday, March 4, bassist/vocalist Jed Frumkin and singer/guitarist Chris Moen joined us recently in the KHOL studios.

The following interview transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity. This conversation was recorded on Wednesday, March 2.

JACK CATLIN/KHOL: Jackson and the surrounding Teton area seem to have a true love for all things Grateful Dead. Why do you think that is?

JED FRUMKIN: My younger brother came to dinner a couple of weeks ago while he was in town. He had called out that the name of the Grateful Dead, reflects on the fact that when you’re dead, you’re grateful for your life. And I think that a lot of the people who find themselves out here are focusing on that and focusing on what life can bring to them, what they can bring to the table, and it makes for a really good community. And with that, the people that are skiing the tram and biking around here or just going out for walks, hikes. We’re all here to enjoy what we have and we’re all very grateful for it.

KHOL: Each of your shows mimics a certain era of the Grateful Dead, even playing specific Dead shows in their entirety from different time periods to give the audience a total experience. What goes into preparing a performance for you guys, and how do you come up with the setlist? 

CHRIS MOEN: Lately, we’ve been pushing our guitarist Jeremy Cohen to kind of lead the setlist creation. Mainly the vibe in our band and on the stage really revolves around his guitar playing. So, these days, I’m speaking for myself at least, I’m most amped to play whatever Jeremy is really excited about playing for a total show. I mean, we haven’t done too many specific Dead shows. We’ve kind of left that to be something that I’ve always really enjoyed about, you know, some other acts. But for us, it’s mainly just like a moment in time. What we’re feeling and what we feel like would be a good setlist that would move the audience and keep us motivated on stage, so to speak.

FRUMKIN: If Jeremy has the time to put it together, he can put together a pretty incredible experience, so we always want to leave the option for him to draw that out, or at least get his feedback on things that he’s feeling and listening to. He works in the kitchen and basically has it going on either through his stereo or in his head at all times so he can come up with some really inspirational segues. As we’re putting them together and he’s putting them together, we might look at like four or five songs out of a single set that flowed really well, and it makes it really easy for us to kind of get into that vibe as we’re on stage and progress appropriately. We’ll also take some consideration into requests from either band members or people who’ve seen us who are like, ‘Hey, I really want to hear that.’ And we still try to incorporate a new song or two into every show. I think we’re right now at like 170 songs performed. We’ve got two we’re ready for on Friday, or not yet, but we’ll be rehearsing them tomorrow. It’s just a lot of fun. Each time we throw a new song into the mix, it’s just like, ‘I can’t believe we haven’t played that. It’s so good.’ The last [Mangy] Moose show we played “All Along The Watchtower,” which just hit at the right time during the show, and it’s one of those, you know, cover tunes that it’s not always hot, but if it’s in the right place in the set and the vibe is right, it’s great.

MOEN: I think we’ll still be trying to play some new songs that we haven’t played until we die from the Dead.

Listen above for KHOL’s full conversation with The Deadlocks.

This coverage is funded in part with an Arts For All grant provided by the Town of Jackson and Teton County.

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About Jack Catlin

Jack is KHOL's music director. He says all music is in some way connected no matter the style and his mission is to provide listeners with a unique and memorable experience each time they tune in to KHOL or see him DJ live.

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