with Melvin Seals & Dave Hebert
Terrapin Flyer began in 1999 as the house band for the Sunday Grateful Dead Jam at the Boulevard Cafe in Chicago. Through the many associations developed there and many that have continued since, the band has grown into one of the premier Grateful Dead inspired touring acts in the nation. The band draws from the a variety of skilled musicians including Grateful Dead keyboardists Tom Constanten, Bob Bralove and Vince Welnick (RIP). They also tour with Jerry Garcia Band organist Melvin Seals and Ratdog guitarist Mark Karan. Additionally, they have done one off shows with guest musicians such as grammy award winning blues harpist Sugar Blue, guitar prodigy Fareed Haque, Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik and musician, songwriter and music journalist David Gans. The band has headlined major festivals and prominent venues across the nation.
From the band’s humble beginnings sprang forth an ever growing network of musicians. From a loosely associated group of musicians at a jam night, a band began to develop. The original band came into fruition when they were asked to perform with Grateful Dead keyboardist (1990-1995) Vince Welnick on a cable access television show and festival in Madison, WI. After that the band continued to tour with Welnick and performed several times as “Vince Welnick and Friends including headlining the 2004 Dunegrass Festival in Empire, MI to several thousand in attendance. After several tours with Vince Welnick, the band was ready to move on to its next potent association.
Today Terrapin Flyer performs with a lineup that continues to bring in new guest musicians, nationally recognized artists and mix up various members from its history to create new and intriguing musical dynamics to each show performed. Other members of the band include current and former members of Cornmeal Wavy Dave Burligame, Kris Nowak and JP Nowak. Jimmy Tebeau and Dave Hebert from Melvin Seals JGB and many other prominent players in the Grateful Dead extended family.
So what or who is Terrapin Flyer? As you have likely surmised that is not simple to define. What is at the core of fundamentals of the band is the idea that the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia’s music still has plenty of life in it and that the music being so improvisational in nature can and should go to new places in each performance. No two Terrapin Flyer shows will ever be the same and you never know who might show up to jam at a show, but you can always count on a great time with some of the most recognized artists in the music community.