Grateful Dead tribute band Shakedown Street plays at 9 p.m. today and Saturday at Ghost Ranch Saloon. Here, drummer Jake Wolf, second from left, joins original band members Rick Starkey, far left, and Ted Galloway, far right, at KK's BBQ in Rancho del Rio with the restaurant's owners.

Courtesy photo

Grateful Dead tribute band Shakedown Street plays at 9 p.m. today and Saturday at Ghost Ranch Saloon. Here, drummer Jake Wolf, second from left, joins original band members Rick Starkey, far left, and Ted Galloway, far right, at KK's BBQ in Rancho del Rio with the restaurant's owners.

Shakedown Street to play to the crowd on 2-night Steamboat run

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If you go

What: Shakedown Street, Grateful Dead tribute

When: 9 p.m.

Where: Ghost Ranch Saloon, 56 Seventh St.

Cost: $10

Call: 879-9898

— Shakedown Street drummer Jake Wolf jokes that he got into the Grateful Dead after being "sucker-punched in my stomach" by concerned family members.

"I started seeing the Grateful Dead when I was 13, and I was dragged kicking and screaming by my cousin who listened to my mother when she said, 'Look, we think he's listening to crappy music, and you should take him to a Dead show,'" Wolf said, shuffling through his old Grateful Dead concert stubs during a phone interview.

The music didn't catch on with Wolf at that first concert, but he kept going back.

"The third time I went, I was in, I was hooked," he said.

Wolf plays with his band, the Grateful Dead tribute Shakedown Street, today and Saturday at Ghost Ranch Saloon, and he promises zero song repeats between the two nights. The shows start at 9 p.m.; admission is $10 at the door. This weekend's lineup includes Wolf on drums, a new band member called "Stork" on bass, Joe Weisiger on keyboards, original band member Scott Swartz on guitar and a possible guest musician.

Wolf talked with Explore Steamboat about the approach Shakedown Street has taken to playing the Dead for the past 24 years, how he got into the band and what to expect from the Ghost Ranch shows:

EXPLORE STEAMBOAT: How would you describe what Shakedown Street does?

JAKE WOLF: It's definitely a Grateful Dead tribute act, but in the sense that we've been validated over the years by members of the Grateful Dead playing with us.

EXPLORE: What's the band's approach to covering Grateful Dead songs?

JW: We definitely do it our own way. It's funny, when we played with one of the guys from the Dark Star Orchestra : he said the fans we have gathered over the years are almost an anomaly in the Grateful Dead world, because typically Grateful Dead fans are incredibly picky about the way the songs go. But for Shakedown Street, people don't come to our shows and expect note-for-note depictions.

EXPLORE: What's a typical night like?

JW: We never have set lists - we always play to a feel and go off what the crowd is feeling that night and kind of cater to them. We're a band of the people, and I think that makes us stand out because people that go to see these other Dead acts, there's not that camaraderie between the band and the fans that I've seen with Shakedown Street.

EXPLORE: You've been playing drums for Shakedown Street for 12 years. After you got hooked on the Grateful Dead after seeing the band for the third time, how did you go from liking the band to playing its music?

JW: I became - I had to get all the shows, (I was) taping shows, going to see as many shows as I could. : From that point, I had already been playing drums since I was a kid, and I started emulating these people who I'd grown up loving so much. : After college I came out to Colorado, and someone said, 'Hey, you know Shakedown Street is looking for a drummer.' : I was destined to get punched in the stomach, I guess.

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