Last weekend’s Greatest Story Ever Told: 81 Songs To Celebrate Phil Lesh’s 81st Birthday saw a veritable festival’s-worth of artists come together to honor the Grateful Dead bassist. One such act was Doom Flamingo, who took on the Dead’s lone charting single, “Touch of Grey”, the video and audio of which is available now.
While the song represents the Dead’s shift toward the mainstream to many fans—as widespread recognition brought in a swath of newer, younger fans who previously hadn’t been exposed to the band’s music—”Touch of Grey” itself is a jovial expression of rolling with the punches that life throws at you. Being the Dead’s most commercially successful song, many jam-inclined bands often shy away from covering it in a live setting. That’s what made it the perfect challenge for Doom Flamingo, the Ryan Stasik (Umphrey’s McGee) side project that incorporates elements of funk, punk, synthwave, and more to produce a heady brew.
“Doom Flamingo was honored to be asked to play a Dead tune for Phil’s 81st birthday… but we didn’t want to just cover a tune in true form, we wanted to add our own ‘Touch of Pink,’” Stasik said. “We landed on a downtempo 80’s vibe reminding us that we will get by, we will survive. So, we hope you enjoy our ‘Touch of Pink,’ a Doom Flamingo twist on ‘Touch of Grey.’”
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The result of that downtempo ’80s vibe is a slowed-down take on “Touch of Grey” that finds vocalist Kanika Moore breathing new life into the familiar lyrics at a relaxed pace. Throw in the saxophone work of multi-instrumentalist Mike Quinn, and “Touch of Grey” becomes an entirely different beast as the song’s inherent versatility comes to a head.
Watch Doom Flamingo cover Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey” for the Greatest Story Ever Told stream. The cover is also available on all streaming platforms.
Doom Flamingo – “Touch of Grey” (Grateful Dead)