Local musician Mick Marino is the organizer of the “Free Fridays” Grateful Dead tribute. He has also organized the annual GramFest, which celebrates the music of country rock inventor Gram Parsons, since 1999. In past years, Marino has organized some of “Free Fridays” most popular tribute concerts, covering the music of the Allman Brothers, The Rolling Stones, The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Creedence Clearwater Revival. The Grateful Dead tribute concert features Marino’s band The Couch Messiahs, along with The Shambles and Uncle Mosie.
According to Marino, “The Dead was one of the first psychedelic bands from the west coast that created the ‘jam band’ concept, one of the first rock bands to let certain segments in their songs to just go where it goes, more of a free-form improvisational jazz approach to rock ‘n’ roll.” Ranked the 57th greatest musical artists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, the Grateful Dead was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. They have sold more than 35 million albums worldwide. The band is especially noted for its loyal fans, called Deadheads, who followed the band from concert to concert when they were on tour. This devotion led to a travelling community that would attend concerts and/or set up and vend tie-dye t-shirts and other souvenir merchandise in the parking lots at the concerts. Deadheads were considered by many to be some of the most loyal band fans of all time.
The Grateful Dead tribute is one of the select “Free Fridays” classic rock concerts that is sponsored by classic rock radio station WIND-FM (92.5, 95.5, 107.9).