The Other Ones: “Banyan Tree” (June-July 1998)

“Banyan Tree” is the most beguiling new song created by the initial lineup of The Other Ones - the first post-Garcia reunion band, which only performed in June-July 1998. 

  • Bob Weir - guitar, vocals
  • Phil Lesh - bass, vocals 
  • Mickey Hart - percussion, RAMU, vocals 
  • Bruce Hornsby - piano, keyboards, vocals 
  • Dave Ellis - saxophone, vocals 
  • Mark Karan - guitar, vocals 
  • Steve Kimock - guitar 
  • John Molo - drums

Credited to Hart, Hunter, and Weir, “Banyan Tree” is a sleepy, tropical groove, with a brief Hunter text that Weir narrates-sings. If you enjoy the jazzy Phil Lesh Quintet from the same period (overlapping musicians), you'll enjoy "Banyan." As one would expect, this first post-Garcia outing, just three years after his death, also has strong ties to the Grateful Dead sound - refracted through Diga Rhythm Band and post-"Eternity" Weir vibes. Though this tune is nothing like anything from the 1983 Stone House Sessions, it feels like kin. It could be an "Apocalypse Now" river journey. It's a cool addition to the Dead-legacy canon, and in the next iteration of the band, Kreutzmann was playing it as a new member. 

This mixtape knits together edits of three rehearsal takes from the beginning of June, 1998, ahead of the band’s first concerts. It’s a 40-minute, drifting ride, with monkeys.

On 6/2/98 at Club Front, the band stretches out in the groove for the first time, Hart turning on the beat out of a spacey passage and Weir eventually trying out his idea for the vocals. The next day (6/3), they work on bringing more shape to it and joining it to “Playin’ in the Band.” 

Some of the band’s chatter while playing remains in these edits. Weir: “Take it from the top!” Lesh: “Take what from the top?!” Someone improvises some arch vocal commentary, beginning with, “NPR’s world of music… morning becomes eclectic…” Weir: “More monkeys!”

I have appended a live version from July, by which time the song had become structured and muscular. (This is the only live non-audience version circulating that isn’t the one on the official album, “The Strange Remain.”)

48-minute mp3 mix zipped up here

  • Banyan Tree (6/2/98 - studio, Club Front)
  • Banyan Tree > Playin’ Jam > Banyan Tree > Playin’ Jam (edit, 6/3/98 - studio, Club Front)
  • Banyan Tree > Playin’ Demise (edit, 6/3/98 - studio, Club Front)
  • Banyan Tree (7/25/98 - live, Shoreline)


The 6/2-3/1998 conversations on the Club Front Tapes offer a great, documentary perspective on Lesh, Weir, Hart, and Hornsby getting the band back together and working out songs. Check them out on Relisten or Archive. 

11 responses
Caught this band and it had the magic. Todd Carey Www.Twitter.Com/ToddCarey Www.Instagram.Com/ToddCarey > On Jun 18, 2022, at 6:18 PM, Posthaven Posts wrote: > > beguiling
Thank you!!! Another astonishing choice of projects!!! The Other Ones was my first "Dead" show, in Hartford, 1998. "Corrina" was quick and super funky, and when their self-titled 2-cd set came out, I got a good version of that. And a great "White-wheeled Limousine" by Hornsby. But my favorite track was always "The Banyan Tree". It falls pretty far outside the norm, even in the strange GD universe. It's massively atmospheric and exotic, with storytelling and sounds complementing each other so well, it's practically cinematic. When the narrator gets really high up in the tree, it almost gives me vertigo! I never knew Hunter wrote the lyrics/text, but I can see it now--no wonder the words are so effective. There is sort of a "fable" vibe, like in "Lady with a Fan". Very psyched to climb that gigantic tree again, and see what else The Other Ones created up there. I really think this song is a lost treasure, a masterful achievement. Thanks again to Save Your Face, & Prof. John Hilgart, PhDEAD
correction--I referred to "the Other Ones' self-titled album" but I meant to say "The Strange Remain"
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