Bands have a shelf life, but great music thrives—and this is perhaps truest of the Grateful Dead, whose repertoire is now being performed by hundreds of bands. Among the best of them is Waynard Scheller and Rainbow Full of Sound (RFoS). Thanks to talent and many hundred shows’ worth of practice, they’re standouts. RFoS took shape in 2012 when a group of Dead Head musicians decided to replicate the Dead’s legendary 1980 Radio City Music Hall run. They had so much fun they never stopped. A rotating cast of members keeps things lively and the music fresh.
The continuing link is Waynard, whose roots in music include a ragtime- piano-playing grandfather, guitar-toting hippie babysitters, and a mom who taught him classics like “Heart and Soul.” By the age of 10 he was playing guitar and taking lessons in voice and theory. But when he heard the Dead’s Terrapin Station, he moved over to piano and realized it was his musical destiny. His first Dead-oriented band was called Changing Planes. He spent a decade playing R & B and Motown in a band with his vocalist sister Sudie, but came home to the jam band world when he and former members of the Long Island legends the Zen Tricksters became Jam Stampede. He also worked with John Kadlecik, co-founder of Dark Star Orchestra and now guitarist for Melvin Seals and JGB. Actually, Waynard has probably worked with a majority of the players in the jam band world, from Zach Nugent (once of JGB) to Jason Crosby and Grahame Lesh of the Lesh Family Band.