Larry Joseloff of DC Mystery Cats, Next Step Band, and Ten Feet Tall Talks The Dead, Watkins Glen, & more!


We recently spoke with bassist Larry Joseloff of John Kadlecik & The DC Mystery Cats, Next Step Band, and Ten Feet Tall. If you’ve been on the DC/MD/VA music scene you’ve likely seen him play bass in several different acts. His bottom end is fat, funky, and well calculated. We spoke with him about a variety of projects he’s involved with and what he has enjoyed about them. Joseloff also spoke bout his upcoming show with The Next Step Band at Villain & The Saint on Saturday, May 14th (Tickets & Event Info). The band will be performing the Allman Brother’s Watkins Glen set in its entirety.

For all you DMV fans and Deadheads this one is a must read.

You’ve played in several dead projects in the area, even with John Kadlecik well known for his work in Furthur. What is the most rewarding part about playing with someone who knows the catalog so well like that?

First of all thanks for this opportunity to answer your questions.

In all honestly if you look back at the John K. Band we really did not do that much Grateful Dead in our set lists, maybe 2-3 songs a night or something like that. We covered other artists and also played a handful of John Kadlecik originals. Mad props to the current line-up of the John Kadlecik Band for continuing the spirit.   In the DC Mystery Cats we were a Jerry Garcia Band tribute so there was some overlap, but not too much.

The most rewarding part from playing with John was just all of the musical guidance he gave me which I can take to all of my other projects…it felt like I was getting a degree in “band bass player” from playing with him. Also, it was just a significant life experience for me being able to travel to play music and play festivals and that type of thing. I also got to play “The Weight” with Garth Hudson from The Band on keys, so I can die happy.

Finally, I also want to say that I treasure the friendships that I have made both in the band and also with people that used to come watch when I was playing with John. Some of those friendships will last forever I am sure and they may not have happened without this experience.

When did you first arrive in the DC area and start playing shows? Did you mainly prefer playing the music of the Dead or were you more focused on writing your own songs? 

Actually while I was really influenced by The Grateful Dead – I sort of intentionally got into bands that were playing different and original music. For example, I was in this cool quirky outfit called Avant Gaardvark back in the late 90’s which actually featured Will Layman (Better Off Dead and Ten Feet Tall) on keys.   While in college I played a lot of Dead, I wanted to play different styles when I got out of school.   I did used to go see The Next Step at the old Bayou in Georgetown on Monday nights to get my Dead fix in.

You have a busy day job in addition to being an active musician on the scene, what sort of creative outlet to the world does hopping up on stage give you? 

I absolutely love playing music and love the relationships that are formed when you make music with someone. It is hard for me to imagine me NOT playing music in one way or another as long as I am physically able. My wife is a musician and so are my children…so I am surrounded with music most of my waking hours which is great!!   I am a believer in having strong balance in life, and my musical adventures help keep things in check. That being said – family, work, and music keeps me pretty occupied.


How did the Ten Feet Ball band come to fruition?

I took a few months off from playing music when my son was born, but then I was itching to jump back in. I grabbed the old paper version of the City Paper and started answering ads.   I think this was third band I called and the person who answered said “we are actually playing at the Grog and Tankard tonight so come on down” – I did and dug the vibe and met everyone – and while there are almost all new members now – 10 years later we are still going strong! Really proud of our original tunes in Ten Feet Tall!

How is the approach “The Next Step Band” takes to the dead catalog different from other musical adventures you’ve been a part of? What are the strengths of this band?

I realized that this is one of the only bands I have been in where there are two guitar players – just like the Dead had. I love that Tony and Darrell have played together for so long (On The Bus) so I hear them musically breathe together. Along with keys there is a lot of music being played – so I need to pick my spots much more carefully than other projects. We are still feeling it all out. While we are not going to stop playing Dead tunes, for obvious reasons we have been really cramming on these Allman Brothers songs and we have a few original songs in the works. The future is bright!!

Could you tell us about your bass. Did you take some ideas from Phil Lesh in your search for sound?

So my main bass for the past 8 years or so has been my neck-through Spector that I absolutely LOVE.   I must of played a few hundred shows with that bass by this point, and I know how to get the sound I am looking for. My dream bass tone is Mike Gordon from Phish actually in the late 1990’s when he got the Modulous. Listen to Slip Stitch and Pass – that bass tone is my dream tone.

What does the Watkins Glen Jam mean to you in the greater context of music history? 

It seems to be in some circles an overlooked event in music history…but 600,000 people came to see three bands!   I actually just saw my doctor and I was telling him about the upcoming show at Villain and Saint (always promoting!!) and he said he was actually there back in 1973.   I love hearing stories about it when I have met a few people who were actually there!

Eat a Peach is one of the most quintessential albums of all time in my opinion. What about this album first spoke to you when you heard it? How old were you and what was your reaction?

To date myself, I actually cassette taped this off my friend’s vinyl album and had it for a few years. Rolling Stone when I was in high school came up with their list of “top 100 albums of all time” and this one was pretty high up on the list and I made a goal to listen to as many of them as possible. The pure POWER of the guitar was really amazing. I would pop it in on a regular basis and give it a listen…especially while driving.

How much have the Allman Brothers influenced you in your musical upbringing? In particular, were you a fan of Berry Oakley who passed away unexpectedly in a motorcycle accident (3 blocks from the location of Duane’s incident)?

I have a confession to make!! While I did see the Allmans a few times over the years, I have probably listened to more Allmans in the past couple months preparing for this show than any other time in my entire life. I can’t honestly list them as one of my major influences. The other guys in the band are definitely much more connected with them and I heard them talk about how they liked the Allmans even before they liked the Grateful Dead. However, now I am really starting to appreciate it what they did so much more. It is nice at 43 years old I can still be moved, inspired, and excited by rediscovering music.


Promo - Watkins Glen - V&S (Social Media Resize Order Edit)

In 1973 over 600,000 fans flocked to Watkins Glen for the largest rock concert in history. In celebration of this momentous occasion Villain and Saint in Bethesda, MD will be presenting an entire day of music showcasing the exact setlist performed by the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, and The Band at Watkins Glen.

The day will kick off with a pre-show party next door to Villain & Sant with BBQ, Oysters, Pig Pickin,’ and Food Trucks featuring live music from Beggars Tomb, Too Much For Todd, & the Oxymorons.

At 6:00pm the main show will kick off inside Villain & Saint and continue throughout the night with Better off Dead, The Next Step Band, and Forty Dollar Fine.

Tickets are now available for purchase here.


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