With Dead & Company tour in full swing, band members Bob Weir and John Mayer sat down with the Asbury Park Press ahead of the band’s New Jersey debut. The two guitarists talk extensively about building a large musical catalog with diverse influences, and how each are astute in hearing these influences and learning from one another.“When John plays blues, you can hear what subgenre he’s going for,” said Weir. “He’s real well-versed in particularly that idiom, but what that told me is that he’s basically a student and fan of American musical heritage.”He continued, saying “I could hear (Mayer’s) appreciation of the various fields, and that’s where our music comes from… We grew up — the guys in The Grateful Dead — grew up in an era in the Bay Area out here, where you had everything that America had to offer on the radio. And we were the kinds of kids who were just playing the buttons on the radio.”“If there was something playing that wasn’t catching our interest, we hit another button. We’d go from rock ’n’ roll to jazz to R&B or blues stations, classical music – whatever it took to grab our attention… And we were all different guys, but we all had that same approach, most particularly Jerry and I.” It seems Mayer has a similar mindset, something that Bob Weir finds endearing. Mayer chimed in about his own influences and mindset for building a diverse repertoire. “When you’re into music the way that Bob and I are, and you know, we’re separated by a lot of geography, a lot of time, but there’s a certain way to be in the music where it’s almost like collecting baseball cards… It’s like you collect the Texas blues card. You collect the Chicago electric blues card. You collect the country-western card.”“And it’s sort of like this love of all these different little cards you can collect and keep in a little stack and walk around with them in your back pocket. It really for me was just about like sort of just getting another card or trading a card, you know? And when musicians look at music that way, where it’s just sort of like this Rolodex of influences, it’s actually really great to have that conversation musically, and it’s just a matter of rearranging the cards a little bit.”That’s really part of the Grateful Dead magic, being able to go from folk to blues to funk in the drop of a hat. With these two guitarists up in front and the supreme talents of musicians like Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti, there’s plenty of magic left to come!