John Mayer and Bob Weir Talks Upcoming Dead & Company Tour

(Radio.com) John Mayer is gearing up to hit the road at the end of October for a series of shows with Dead & Company. He'll be joining three of the four core living Grateful Dead members on stage, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, along with keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and former Allman Brothers bassist Oteil Burbridge. Mayer will be playing lead guitar and splitting the vocals with Weir.

The Grateful Dead spoke with Mayer about playing together as early as January 2015, but first waited until they'd completed their Fare Thee Well tour, which Phish's Trey Anastasio joined them for, before they began booking actual dates.

Once the tour logistics were in the bag, Mayer began immersing himself in what he calls "Dead University." He spoke with Rolling Stone, saying, "I was in isolation, learning these songs, and the first thing you have to do is have heard it long enough to be able to anticipate it in a certain way. You have to understand that particular song's flow. And then I pick up the guitar and find out kind of where it lives on the fretboard, and then I sort of go a little deeper. Each song gets that layered thing, so that by the time I really know it, I know how the song goes, what the sort of guitar approach is, but then also what the sort of ethic of the song is."

Although Mayer is admittedly a more recent fan than many of the band's loyal Deadheads, he has a sincere appreciation for the sound the Grateful Dead have cultivated over the years. "There's no better music to solo over, and I can tell you because I've been doing it a lot," said Mayer. "Grateful Dead songs are so much fun to play. And some of them are as fun as they are hard to play. Part of the challenge is not disappearing into how much fun it is-[where] you forget that this is actually a highly complex composition." Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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