Backstage at Mountain Jam: What the Bands Were Watching

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Last weekend, rock fans flocked to upstate New York's Hunter Mountain for the annual Mountain Jam (check out our full report here), and while legends were noodling in nature, Woodstock-based WDST — which staged the fest with Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes — welcomed performers to their broadcast booth in the mountain's ski lodge.

After playing Sunday with his band BK3, Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann hit the booth and praised the working chair lifts ("I thought that was such a cool touch") and chatted about two recent Dead dates in Philadelphia: "The audience sang words to songs louder than my monitor. You can forget words and not worry about it because they're right there for you."

Derek Trucks, who performed Sunday, hung out backstage and checked out an afternoon set by Richie Havens, then watched Michael Franti & Spearhead. (He told WDST that Willie Mays once left him star-struck, and he added that meeting Richie Havens at Mountain Jam was a thrill.) Craig Finn of the Hold Steady was spied watching the Gene Ween Band from a spot in the crowd.

Coheed and Cambria tried out several covers during their late afternoon set Saturday: Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home," the Church's "Under the Milky Way" and Peter Gabriel's "Red Rain." After sitting in with Coheed, Haynes told Rolling Stone that he basically got a cold call from Coheed some time back, and they asked him to join them at New York show. Haynes agreed (the bands had management contacts and Gov't Mule keyboard player Danny Louis had played on Coheed records), and he enjoyed playing at that show so much, he invited Coheed to play his Christmas Jam benefit concert last year, then this year's Mountain Jam.

Coheed frontman Claudio Sanchez told RS after the set that asking Haynes to sit in at that initial show "was just something that seemed the right thing to do. All of us kind of grew up on the Allman Brothers. It just made sense. We were really excited about it. He's just a classy guitar player. The guitar kind of talks. It has a sound."

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