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David Wain and Ken Marino Explain Their Middle Aged Dad Jam Band

Expect riffs (both kinds), yuks, grooves, and japes this Friday as the comics rock out at Fine Line.


The Middle Aged Dad Jam Band with Marino on vocals and Wain on drums.

As comedy greats David Wain and Ken Marino prepare for their first-ever tour leading the Middle Aged Dad Jam Band, the power of live rock ‘n’ roll is coursing through their veins. And maybe some other substances, too.

“There are not words to describe how good I feel,” Wain reports.

“The juice is just flowing through our veins,” Marino adds.

“We’re juicing, we always juice before the tour,” Wain says.

“... we do a lot of steroids,” Marino chuckles.

Fans of the the duo's MTV sketch comedy show The State and their cult classic movie Wet Hot American Summer are already familiar with their effortless comedic rapport. That'll be on display via prolonged banter 'n' bits between songs tonight at the Fine Line. The tight, impassioned classic rock cover songs? Those are relatively new for the 54-year-old entertainers, both of whom have two kids.

The idea for Middle Aged Dad Jam Band was born out of pandemic boredom. Wain, a drummer, began hosting low-key jam sessions inside his L.A. garage with various pals, including his eventual frontman, Marino. They'd take on Queen, Stevie Wonder, Joan Jett, the Box Tops, Warren Zevon, and, hilariously, "We Are the World," among many other dad-appropriate throwback jams.

Instagram clips of the crew went viral, leading to collabs with Weird Al, a handful of one-off coastal gigs, and a big spread in the L.A. Times. Now an honest-to-god ticketed act, Middle Aged Dad Jam Band will kick off their four-date Midwestern tour hours from now in Minneapolis. Promises Wain: "People who come will have the most memorable, fun, and transformative experience of their concertgoing lives."

Ahead of the show, Wain, Marino, and their longtime friend/collaborator/bandmate, Craig Wedren of Shudder to Think, hopped on the phone with Racket to be subjected to our gimmicky little game: We name a random dad-rock band, they riff on it. A spotty three-way phone connection, combined with my relentlessly loud dog, created unfavorable improv conditions. But compelled by the spirits of rock, comedy, and earned media promotion, we managed to have some fun.

Eric Clapton

Wain: Are we not supposed to like him anymore? I like "Forever Man," that's my favorite Clapton song.

Marino: He's the original Slowhand! We sing "Crossroads" in the driveway of our guitar player, Frank, every Halloween. Or we started to last year.

Wain: Every Halloween we do this, starting in 2023.

Wedren: I don't want to start any beef with Slowhand, but dude... I don't get it. And my father-in-law has given me Eric Clapton's autobiography twice for Christmas. I've never understood why anybody finds him interesting or compelling.

John Fogerty

Wain: It's hard... it's close to home, just because he's one of my closest friends.

Marino: He's here in the room right now!

Wain: Hey John, can you go to the bathroom for a second?

Wedren: I think he's one of the greatest rock 'n' roll singers of all time. I feel the opposite about him that I do of Clapton.

Marino: Next!

Blue Öyster Cult

Wain: When I was a kid, I had the Blue Öyster Cult record, Fire of Unknown Origin, and I used to play that a lot. I loved blasting that opening song with those drums. And that's when I fell in love with the Blue Öyster Cult [laughs].

Bob Dylan

Marino: I mean, the best.

Wedren: When we were all roommates in room 1101 at Brittany dorm at NYU, CDs had just come out and I was a real proponent of the format. I was convinced they were indestructible, and I had just gotten Highway 61 Revisited. I think I was trying to prove to Ken that CDs were indestructible...

Marino: Yes! You were like, "I got this CD and you can do anything, you can throw 'em across the room." And then he frisbeed it across the room, and it shattered on the wall. That's a great album, Highway 61 Revisited.

Steely Dan

Marino: Fantastic.

Wedren: Fucking greatest.

Wain: ... yes.

Marino: We just saw whoever's left [of Steely Dan] at the Hollywood Bowl this year.

Wain: Oh, I have not seen Whoever's Left, are they as good as Steely Dan?


Wedren: I like Wilco. They're comforting.

Wain: I mean, I guess, to me, "Love Is Everywhere" is a good song. "Impossible Germany," "Via Chicago"...

Marino: He's reading these off of his computer.

Steve Miller Band

[All three proceed to vocalize the instrumentation to "Fly Like an Eagle"]

Marino: I like Steve Miller, but I don't like the band.

Wain: I always liked the band. Steve Miller I could take or leave, but man, that band.


Wedren: It's so hard to sing AC/DC.

Wain: Not for me! Blah, blah!

Stevie Wonder

Marino: We do a number of Stevie Wonder songs. I mean, for Halloween of course we do "Superstition" on Frank's driveway. We do "Sir Duke." You can't go wrong with Stevie Wonder.

Wedren: A friend of mine told me he was blind, and I was like, "Fuck you man!" I got into a fight with him. Seriously, the last time I saw Prince, Stevie Wonder came out, it was his birthday, and did a six-song set with New Power Generation. It was amazing.

Ken Marino & David Wain’s Middle Aged Dad Jam Band
When: 7 p.m. Friday, September 15
Where: Fine Line, 318 N. 1st Ave., Minneapolis
Tickets: $25-$45, more info here

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