Is there any group of artists that has opinions so starkly divided as jam bands? This is what I have noticed when jam bands are brought up around people: Its either love or hate and it’s to the extreme for each opinion. You’re either a Dead Head or you are a person that groans at the thought of watching people noodle around on their instruments with no recognizable pattern or end in sight when a jam band is mentioned. The latter people will insist that jam band music is the worst in existence.
Why does this music create such passion for either opinion? Fans of jam bands can be so loyal they will follow the Grateful Dead to hell and back if that’s where they performed. Non fans will adamently express their disdain for this music and are baffled that anyone could enjoy such pointless music.
It's one thing to not like a type of music but why does it bring out actual hate? For most, if they do not like a genre of music, they leave it at that. “I do not care for jam bands. Not my style.” For jam bands, one will say “They suck. I can’t stand them. They are awful.”
I do not have a definitive answer. The best explanation I can come up with is that it’s all a misunderstanding. People are afraid what they do not understand. It confuses them and makes no sense so they are defensive against it. And so when someone sees musicians playing instrumental music for 10 minutes and people finding joy in it, they are confused and aggravated to the point of hate.
Music is subjective and there is no band or album that is bad. Whether it’s an album by The Beatles or the sound of nails scratching a chalk board, if one person likes it than it is not a bad album. There is an audience for jam bands so they are not awful or unlistenable.
If anyone has any answers for why jam bands can be so hated please share in the comments.