Much like the Grateful Dead, Splintered Sunlight changes up its material every show. It’s a different Dead experience delivered by the Philadelphia-based Dead cover band each time they step onstage. “The thing I loved about the Dead is that you could see them six nights in a row and every song could be different,” Sochorow said. “So we like changing it up to. I really appreciate what they did. We have over 300 Dead songs in our repetoire. We can really go in many different directions.”
Sochorow experienced 235 Dead shows. “I was compelled to see them as much as possible” Sochorow said while calling from his Howell, NJ home. “I remember seeing them on television when I was in the fifth grade. They were on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and I was blown away. When I was 16 I remember driving from my home in Jackson (NJ) to the Nassau Coliseum and I just caught the bug.”
The bug intensified in 1995, the year Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead died. Sochorow joined Splintered Sunlight, which also includes vocalist-guitarist Dan Leyden, keyboardist Michael Borowski, bassist Stephen Spatz and drummers Jerry Horan and Tony Gioia. “The group was already a couple years old and I just jumped right in and fit in. We had a good audience when I joined.”
The group, which will perform Wednesday at the Sellersville Theater, has watched its base increase. Sochorow believes the bands that descended from the Dead, Ratdog and The Other Ones, among others, have only added to the Splintered Sunlight audience.
“Younger people have caught up with the Dead thanks to all of the bands that have been born over the last 16 years,” Sochorow said. “I remember playing to mostly 30 and 40 –year olds during the ‘90s and now there are lots of 20-somethings out there in our audience. The Dead did some magical things and I just want to keep spreading the word of the Dead. There was never a band like the Dead. This is a dream job. I get to play the music that I love. You can’t beat that.”
However, there are limitations for Splintered Sunlight. Sochorow traveled throughout America following the Grateful Dead. However, he and the band rarely travel beyond the tri-state area for gigs.
“It’s different,” Sochorow said. “We get plenty of shows in this area and we’re older. It’s all working out. I went out to California to see the Dead but I don’t have to go to California to play the Dead.”