Dean Budnick

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Dean Budnick
Dean Budnick delivers keynote at 2012 International Music Festival Conference

Dean Budnick is an American writer, filmmaker, college professor and radio host who focuses on music, film and popular culture. Budnick, who is editor-in-chief of Relix,[1] grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.[2]

Ticket Masters[edit]

In April 2012, Plume/Penguin published the revised, expanded edition of Budnick's latest book, Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped, in North America and the U.K.[3] ECW Press issued the original hardcover edition of the book, co-authored with Josh Baron, in 2011.[4] Ticket Masters explores the emergence of computerized ticketing and the rise of the modern concert industry. It is the first book to chronicle the origins, development and ongoing strategies of companies such as Ticketron, Ticketmaster, Live Nation and StubHub, the efforts of numerous independent competitors and bands such as the Grateful Dead,[5] The String Cheese Incident[6] and Phish.[7] Wall Street Journal reviewer Ken Kurson wrote, "A clear, comprehensive look at a murky business, the book is also an encyclopedia of information about the rise, decline and rebirth of the live music industry."[8] Similar assessments appeared in Rolling Stone,[9] Maclean's,[10] Pollstar[11] and other outlets.[12][13] A revised expanded paperback edition was published by Plume in 2012.[14] Budnick has gone on to appear as a panelist and deliver keynotes about the subject at numerous industry events, including: CMJ,[15] the Ticket Summit,[16] the International Ticketing Association Conference (INTIX),[17] the IAVM Arena Management Conference,[18] by:Larm [19] and the International Music Festival Conference.[20] He has commented about ticketing issues for a variety of media outlets.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28] and also has lectured on this topic at college campuses.[29] Budnick continues to write about ticketing and the concert industry for Billboard,[30][31][32][33] The Hollywood Reporter,[34][35][36] Variety[37] and Bloomberg View.[38]

Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle[edit]

Budnick has explained that the idea for Ticket Masters first came to him in the mid-1990s, while a graduate student at Harvard University's History of American Civilization program, when he explored reports of ticket scalping on Charles Dickens' final American speaking tour.[39] Budnick happened upon such accounts (as well as those related to the "Swedish Nightingale" Jenny Lind) while writing his doctoral dissertation on Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.[40] In Direct Verdict: The Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle Trial Discourse, Budnick, who also earned a J.D. at Columbia Law School, worked from the original trial transcripts, dozens of newspaper reports and other primary sources to explore the silent film comic's life before and after his manslaughter trials that followed the death of actress Virginia Rappe on September 9, 1921.[41] Directed Verdict examines not only on prevailing attitudes towards Hollywood and a new culture of celebrity but also tabloid journalism, the onset of Prohibition and the emerging, oft-contradictory roles of women in the 1920s. Budnick received his PhD in 2000 and his dissertation committee consisted of Henry Louis Gates, Werner Sollors and Ellen Fitzpatrick.[42]

After serving as a teaching fellow and tutor at Harvard, Budnick has gone on to teach at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Roger Williams University and the University of Rhode Island.[43]

John Popper memoir[edit]

In December 2015, Billboard published an exclusive cover reveal for Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed To Tell, the autobiography of longtime Blues Traveler frontman John Popper, which Budnick co-authored.[44] The New York Post hailed Popper's “off-beat, hilarious new memoir” in a two-page review.[45] Budnick and Popper later discussed the book during an event at New York City's Strand Bookstore.[46] Popper supported Suck and Blow with numerous media appearances,[47][48] including a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on which Popper played alongside vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine.[49] The Post later named Suck and Blow to its list of “The 40 best books of 2016 you must read immediately.”[50]

Grateful Dead: Liner Notes, Journalism and Novel[edit]

Budnick has contributed liner notes to the Grateful Dead's RFK box set[51] and Garcia Live Volume Eight[52] (He previously drafted liners for Matisyahu,[53] Spin Doctors[54] and others). A chapter on the Grateful Dead's pioneering mail-order ticketing service appears in Ticket Masters.[55] Budnick's 2017 Billboard piece on the band explored the group's licensing deals with Warner/Rhino Entertainment and additional plans for its intellectual property.[56] In 2017 he also wrote a Relix cover story on Dead & Company,[57] which followed up his earlier cover stories on the band.[58][59] His other related articles include interviews with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter[60][61] and pieces that have focused on Brent Mydland[62] and the missing soundboard tapes recorded by Betty-Cantor Jackson,[63] His conversation with Deadhead Bill Walton[64] appeared in Relix Conversation video series, while previous installments with Warren Haynes & John Scofield[65] and Luther Dickinson & Anders Osborne[66] all touched on their time performing in Phil Lesh and Friends. In 2015 Budnick served as editor of the official Fare Thee Well daily programs,[67] securing a welcome message from President Obama.[68] He served in a similar capacity for the Dead reunion shows at Alpine Valley in 2002.[69][70]

The 2015 Billboard piece that first shared the cover for John Popper's memoir, also revealed that Budnick's next project was a “Grateful-Dead themed novel.[44] Rare Bird Books published Might As Well in the spring of 2016.[71] One reviewer described it as “a highly entertaining (and wildly funny) fictionalized multi-character account of a Grateful Dead show, which details the experience of both the lot scene and an actual show (for those who could get tickets) at Brendan Byrne Arena in the fall of 1989.”[72] Budnick later revealed in an interview that the general excitement from the Fare Thee Well shows had inspired him to revisit the band's touring days.[73] The era that provides the backdrop to Might As Well is the same time period Budnick subsequently wrote about in the box set Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Washington, D.C., July 12 & 13, 1989.

Wetlands Preserved[edit]

In 2004 his interest in film as well as an ongoing focus on live music led Budnick to begin work on the feature-length documentary Wetlands Preserved: The Story of An Activist Rock Club.[74] Budnick directed the film, which utilized archival footage, soundboard recordings and the efforts of a dozen digital animators to relate the story of Tribeca nightclub Wetlands Preserve.[75][76] The documentary also includes music and interviews with Dave Matthews, Bob Weir, Questlove and Warren Haynes as well as members of Phish, moe., Agnostic Front, 311, the Disco Biscuits and many others.[77][78] Wetlands Preserved, shown at such festivals as SXSW, Woodstock and Asheville (where it won top documentary honors), was released to theatres by First Run Features on March 14, 2008.[79] The New York Times wrote, "Wetlands Preserved is a fond account of the rising, thriving and eventual closing of the TriBeCa club known as the Wetlands Preserve."[80] Other positive reviews appeared in the New York Daily News,[81] Newsday[82] and additional outlets.[83] Wetlands Preserved was later acquired for television by the Sundance Channel[84]

Jambands, the Jammy Awards and Relix[edit]

While still a graduate student, Budnick wrote two books, The Phishing Manual (Hyperion, 1996)[85] and Jam Bands (ECW Press, 1998).[86] In the summer of 1998, shortly before the publication of the second book, Budnick created along with webmaster Andy Gadiel (who would go on to create the JamBase website).[87] Budnick is often said to have coined the term jam band.[88] However, in 2003, with the publication of an expanded edition of Jambands (Backbeat Books, 2003) and later in Peter Conners book, JAMerica (Da Capo, 2013) Budnick indicated it that he only popularized it, although he is responsible for recasting it as a single word.[89][90]

During the summer of 1999 Budnick produced the tour, which traveled from Maine to Maryland over two weeks and featured performances by such groups as: The Disco Biscuits, The Slip, STS9, Deep Banana Blackout and Percy Hill with special appearances by Allman Brothers Band members Butch Trucks and Oteil Burbridge[91] (Budnick later served as board member for Trucks' Flying Frog Records).[92] In 2000 Budnick created the Jammy Awards along with Wetlands owner Peter Shapiro.[93] The inaugural edition of this awards show took place on June 22, 2000, at Irving Plaza, where Budnick co-hosted with the musician Peter Prince while wearing a tuxedo, a tradition Budnick would repeat at every Jammys.[94] Over successive years the Jammys would move to the Roseland Ballroom[95][96] and then to the Theater at Madison Square Garden,[97] where, in its final installment in 2008, Phish received the Lifetime Achievement Award on the eve of the band's announcement that it would return to the stage after a four-year hiatus.[98]

In 2001 Budnick also began his ongoing association with Relix Magazine, which acquired[99][100] His Relix cover stories have included profiles of Phish,[101] Phil Lesh and Bob Weir,[102] Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood[103] Ray LaMontagne and My Morning Jacket,[104] Carlos Santana,[105] The Allman Brothers Band,[106] Bonnie Raitt and Grace Potter,[107] Ryan Adams,[108] Zac Brown Band,[109] Tenacious D,[110] Warren Haynes,[111] Tedeschi Trucks Band,[112][113] Gary Clark Jr.,[114] moe.,[115] Grace Potter & The Nocturnals,[116] a H.O.R.D.E. Retrospective[117] The String Cheese Incident [118] and Dave Matthews Band.[119] In his role at Relix he created the official Bonnaroo Music Festival daily newspaper, the Bonnaroo Beacon[120] and event newspapers for Phish's festivals,[121] the Grateful Dead's 2002 Terrapin Station reunion shows[69] and Dave Matthews Band.[122] Budnick edited the three daily programs for Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead in Chicago on July 3–5, 2015, in which the surviving members of the Grateful DeadBob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart—joined by Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby and Jeff Chimenti. Budnick secured a special message by President Barack Obama which appeared in the program [123] (He later explained, “The whole thing was a surprise. I wanted to keep it from the band members until they saw it in the program....It all happened rather quickly. It made perfect sense to me since Chicago is the President’s town and the ‘Core Four’ had been supportive of his initial campaign. Back in October 2008 Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart reunited to perform at the Change Rocks event for then-candidate Barack Obama. They later took the stage at the Mid-Atlantic Inaugural ball in January 2009. So I contacted the White House, described the event, although they seemed quite aware of it, and received the message a day later. They even sent along the official image to run with the President's words.”)[124] He also programmed the Live Soundtrack Cinema at the inaugural Lockn' Festival, a film tent that designed to "unite the musical side with the visual side by having the audio feed from the stage playing as specifically-selected features, shorts and animated films that complement the music are screened."[125] At the second Lockn' Festival, he edited the official four-day festival newspaper, The Lockn' Times, which debuted that year.[126] In September 2013, he was named editor-in-chief at Relix, sharing the role with Mike Greenhaus.[1]

Jam Nation Radio[edit]

In the fall of 2000 Budnick and Jefferson Waful began co-hosting the Jam Nation radio show. Jam Nation originated from WMRQ in Hartford, Connecticut, where it aired Sunday nights from 8 to 10 PM.[127] Twice a month the show hosted a one-hour electric performance from musical acts, with appearances by such groups as Derek Trucks Band, STS9, Galactic, Keller Williams and Umphrey's McGee (for whom Waful would eventually become lighting director).[127] Jam Nation was soon[when?] syndicated on the fledgling XM Satellite network where it aired until 2009, ending its run following XM's merger with SIRIUS.[128][129] He continues to make guest DJ appearances on SiriusXM.[130][131][132]


  1. ^ a b "Editor's note" Relix October/November 2013
  2. ^ "Philip Eil. "Concert tickets: how the public got scalped", The Providence Phoenix, April 12, 2012". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  3. ^ "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives". Archived from the original on October 11, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  4. ^ Bill Baars, "Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped", Library Journal May 1, 2011
  5. ^ "Blair's Golden Road Blog - Ticket Bastards - Grateful Dead". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  6. ^ Benjy Eisen "String Cheese Incident Stage Ticketing Coup at the Greek", Rolling Stone May 19, 2012
  7. ^ Greg Barbrick "Book Review: Ticket Masters: The Rise Of The Concert Industry And How The Public Got Scalped", Seattle Post Intelligencer, June 9, 2011
  8. ^ Ken Kurson, "Rock 'n' Roll's Real Gatekeepers", Wall Street Journal May 28, 2010
  9. ^ Andy Greene "Where Did All The Concert Tickets Go? New Book Explains" Rolling Stone June 9, 2011
  10. ^ Chris Sorensen, "Review: Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped " Maclean’s June 17, 2011
  11. ^ Gary Bongiovanni "Ticket Truths" Pollstar June 14, 2011
  12. ^ Dave Moyer "Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry and How the Public Got Scalped," New York Journal of Books June 1, 2011
  13. ^ Greg Barbrick "Book Review: Ticket Masters: The Rise Of The Concert Industry And How The Public Got Scalped by Dean Budnick and Josh Baron,"
  14. ^ Inc, Slacker. "AOL Radio Stations". AOL Radio. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  15. ^ "CMJ Music Marathon: (A Conversation With Dean Budnick and Jo..." Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  16. ^ "Allison Reitz "'Ticket Masters': Dean Budnick and Josh Baron explore concert, ticket industries," TicketNews July 21, 2011". Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  17. ^ ""Dean Budnick Delivers Closing Keynote" INTIX news". Archived from the original on March 8, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  18. ^ "AMC 2012: A winning ticket" Your IAVM News
  19. ^ "by:Larm Schedule". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  20. ^ Marjana Jaidi "What Makes a Great Festival? Dean Budnick's IMFCON Keynote", Cultivora December 10, 2012
  21. ^ "Bieber Ticket Docs Revealed" Pollstar September 28, 2012
  22. ^ FOX (May 6, 2013). "Tampa Bay news, weather forecast, radar, and sports from WTVT-TV - FOX 13 News - FOX 13 Tampa Bay". FOX13news. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  23. ^ "Where Do All the Concert Tickets Go?". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  24. ^ Bologna, Alison. "Bills would crackdown [sic] on ticket scalpers, how tickets are resold". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  25. ^ "How to Get Cheap Tickets for Concerts, Sports Events and More" Woman's Day April 2015
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  34. ^ Dean Budnick. "Can the Concert Industry Survive After Mick Jagger and Madonna Retire?", The Hollywood Reporter, February 7, 2013
  35. ^ "How StubHub Helped Ticket Scalping Go Legit". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  36. ^ Dean Budnick. "Torn This Way: Losses From Lady Gaga's Hip Injury-Prompted Canceled Tour Could Top $25 Million", The Hollywood Reporter, February 16, 2013
  37. ^ ]
  38. ^ "Concert Tickets Too Expensive? Blame Box-Office History". August 24, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2017 – via
  39. ^ "Author Dean Budnick Talks 'Ticket Masters: The Rise of the Concert Industry'". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  40. ^ "Lesley Riva "Sold Out! Or why it costs $137 to see Paul McCartney at Fenway Park…" RWU Magazine Spring 2012". Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2013.
  41. ^ Marc Allan "Scholar Gets into Jammin'," Indianapolis Star, November 8, 1998
  42. ^ "Major Publications of Graduates of the History of American Civilization Program". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  43. ^ Rick Massimo, "Box Office Battles", Providence Journal July 12, 2011
  44. ^ a b Steve Bloom, "Check Out the Cover For Blues Traveler's John Popper's Autobiography 'Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I'm Not Supposed to Tell' (Exclusive)", Billboard, December 18, 2015
  45. ^ Larry Gellen, "John Popper spills on pranks, fame and Lenny Kravitz’s pants", New York Post, March 27, 2016
  46. ^ Strand Bookstore (April 4, 2016). "John Popper & Dean Budnick - Suck and Blow and Other Stories I'm Not Allowed to Tell". Retrieved May 14, 2017 – via YouTube.
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  59. ^ Dean Budnick. “We Three Kings” and “Phil Lesh: Family Man”, Relix, September 2013
  60. ^ [19]
  61. ^ [20]
  62. ^ Dean Budnick. "The Other Side: Brent Mydland’s Unreleased Solo Album", Relix, December 2015
  63. ^ Dean Budnick. "What’s Become of the Bettys? The Fate of the Long-Lost Grateful Dead Soundboards", Relix, March 2014
  64. ^ [21]
  65. ^ [22]
  66. ^ [23]
  67. ^ "ftw150703_program.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved May 16, 2017.
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  69. ^ a b Dave Hoekstra, "Grateful Cheddarheads", Chicago Sun-Times, August 5, 2002
  70. ^ "Biographer, Publicist, Biographer: Dennis McNally's Long Strange Trip". August 25, 2002. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
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  72. ^ "Might As Well Suck & Blow: An Interview With Author Dean Budnick". April 18, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  73. ^ Croce, Zachary. "Grateful Dead concert in East Rutherford is inspiration for new novel". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  74. ^ Indiewire. "indieWIRE INTERVIEW - "Wetlands Preserved" Director Dean Budnick - IndieWire". Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  75. ^ Kyle Anderson, "Wetlands Preserved" Celebrates Music, Activism, Stoned Rock Stars" Rolling Stone, April 22, 2008
  76. ^ "Interview with Wetlands Preserved Director Dean Budnick - Identity Theory". April 4, 2008. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  77. ^ John W Barry The Poughkeepsie Journal October 10, 2006
  78. ^ Stewart Oksenhorn "Wetlands Preserved' — as is the music," The Aspen Times April 23, 2008
  79. ^ "Wetlands Preserved". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  80. ^ Jeannette Catsoulis "Remembering a Home for Music and Activism," New York Times March 14, 2008 [26]
  81. ^ Elizabeth Weitzman "Wetlands Preserved," New York Daily News March 14, 2008
  82. ^ Rafer Guzman "Wetlands Preserved," Newsday, March 20, 2008
  83. ^ "Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Rock Club". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  84. ^ "Wetlands Preserved". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  85. ^ Brooke Donovan "Doctor of Phishography," Harvard Magazine January 1997 [27], Marc Allan, "'Phishing Manual' big catch for fans" Indianapolis Star May 20, 1997
  86. ^ Andy Smith "Enthusiasm for jam translates into guide," Providence Journal, January 14, 1999
  87. ^ Sarah Rodman "Making that move to find a groove; Hopkinton author jams bands into improvisational, funky rock guide" Boston Herald October 29, 1998
  88. ^ Peter Conners JAMerica: The history of the jam band and festival scene, Da Capo 2013 p. 68,70
  89. ^ Philip Booth "Jambands: The Complete Guide to the Players, Music & Scene" Journal of Popular Culture Vol. 38 Issue 6. p. 574
  90. ^ Dean Budnick Jambands: The Complete Guide to the Players, Music & Scene, Backbeat Books, 2003, JAMerica, p. 79.
  91. ^ "Tale of The T". August 5, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  92. ^ "About Flying Frog Records". January 17, 2001. Archived from the original on January 17, 2001. Retrieved May 14, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  93. ^ ""Friend of a Friend of the Devil: The Jammy Awards",, June 23, 2000". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  94. ^ "Janene Otten "The Jammys: A Photo Gallery" July 2000". July 2000. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  95. ^ Jon Pareles "What's Strong and Sweet As Fresh Homemade Jam?" New York Times October 5, 2002
  96. ^ "Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Les Claypool To Perform At Jammys". Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  97. ^ Jon Pareles "A Night To Honor Bands That Jam", New York Times, March 18, 2004
  98. ^ "Jammy Awards Reunite Phish, For A Moment" Billboard May 8, 2008
  99. ^ Melinda Newman, "Jam Bands Weather Economic Uncertainty With Ingenuity and Loyal Fans", Washington Post, August 9, 2009
  100. ^ "Relix Remix: Music Mag Relaunches Under New Ownership". Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  101. ^ Dean Budnick "Phish 3.0" Relix June 2009, Dean Budnick "Around The Fire with Phish" Relix July–August 2014
  102. ^ Dean Budnick "Dead Behind, Furthur Ahead" Relix March 2011
  103. ^ Dean Budnick. "Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood: Faith Renewed", Relix, April–May 2008
  104. ^ Dean Budnick. "Circular Progression", Relix, July–August 2016
  105. ^ Dean Budnick. "Fillmore Fellow Travelers", Relix, June 2016
  106. ^ Dean Budnick. "The High Cost of Low Living", Relix, June 2003
  107. ^ Dean Budnick. "Something to Talk About", Relix, September 2016
  108. ^ Dean Budnick. "Recording Ryan Adams", Relix, October–November 2014
  109. ^ Dean Budnick. "Everywhere Is Southern Ground", Relix, July–August 2013
  110. ^ Dean Budnick. "Let It D", Relix, November 2006
  111. ^ Dean Budnick. "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", Relix, December 2011
  112. ^ Dean Budnick. "Souls Searching", Relix, January–February 2014
  113. ^ Dean Budnick. "A Joyful Noise", Relix, January–February 2016
  114. ^ Dean Budnick. "Searching for Sonny Boy Slim", Relix, September 2015]
  115. ^ Dean Budnick. "Still Buzzing The Tower", Relix, August 2010
  116. ^ Dean Budnick. "Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: Savage Dreamers", Relix, December 2012
  117. ^ Dean Budnick. "H.O.R.D.E.: 20 Years Later", Relix, April–May 2012
  118. ^ Dean Budnick. "International Head Rush", Relix, April–May 2014
  119. ^ Dean Budnick. "Listener Supported", Relix, October–November 2002
  120. ^ "Jon Busdeker. "You can't see everything", The Huntsville Times, June 14, 2008". Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  121. ^ Seth Schiesel. "A Musical Theme Park for 60,000", New York Times, August 7, 2003
  122. ^ "Fenton Williams: Moving in Time With the Band (From the Randall's Island Satellite)". August 18, 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  123. ^ "President Obama Bids the Grateful Dead 'Fare Thee Well' in a Personal Message", People
  124. ^ "Relix Editor Lands Message from President Obama in Fare Thee Well Program".
  125. ^ "Lockn' aims for collaborations to create extraordinary event" September 3, 2013
  126. ^ "Relix Presents the Lockn’ Times"
  127. ^ a b Art Howard. "Radio Rebels: 6 shows that bring jambands to the airwaves", Relix, May–June 2002
  128. ^ "Jam Nation". November 28, 2005. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  129. ^ "Live from Jam Nation, Redux". January 10, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  130. ^ ""SiriusXM's Jam On Presents: The New Year's Run"". Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  131. ^ "Wetlands Preserved: The 25th Anniversary Special with Peter Shapiro and Dean Budnick". February 6, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  132. ^ KindWeb. "Dean Budnick David Gans and Gary Lambert to Share Roots of the Jam on SiriusXM: KindWeb News Articles". Retrieved May 14, 2017.