"I discovered the Grateful Dead back in the early 70"s when I was 15 or so when I was heavy into the Kings- BB, Freddie and Albert . I heard the Dead and was blown away by Jerry Garcia - and then realized he was listening to and stealing the same stuff I was."  - Dave Dardine


Cowboys Dead first formed in 2007 to explore the music of Marty Robbins, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Reed, Don Nix, Merle Haggard, New Riders, Rolling Stones, Peter Rowan and more...like the Grateful Dead was doing back in the late 60's, early 70's. With a passion for the sound of the good ol' Grateful Dead,  Cowboys Dead reaches deep into the the Dead's repertoire, playing great Pigpen era tunes such as Smokestack Lightning, Mr. Charlie, Alligator and It Hurts Me Too as well as many of their lesser known covers.

If you think, after listening to the band, that they don't sound like other Grateful Dead cover bands, then you are right. Bands replicating the late 80's/early 90's Dead sound are everywhere. Cowboys Dead takes the music back to its Americana roots, and uses that platform as a springboard into their own explorations. Their sound is clean, un-processed and unique.

Cowboys Dead founder and lead guitarist, Dave Dardine, came up with the name from a bootleg Grateful Dead LP with the same name. The Cowboy's Dead LP was recorded live at Harpur College, May 2, 1970. The set list from that show became a loose road map for the band.

"Cowboys Dead" is also a tip of the hat to the late, great "Cowboy" Neal Cassady, the larger-than-life man who infamously was at the wheel and whose ineffable spirit lives on in the writings of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg and Ken Kesey, and certainly in the music of the Grateful Dead. 


The band consists of Dave Dardine on lead guitar and vocals, Ken Duran on rhythm guitar and vocals, Tom Surace on bass guitar, Ed Anderson on vocals and harp, and Oscar DeZoto on drums and vocals.

Dave Dardine, an NY native, got on the bus at first his Dead show at Dillon Stadium in 1974 which he credits for turning him on to what happens when the music plays the band. He leads Cowboys Dead with a drive and passion for excellence in live music. Never satisfied with the surface, Dave has spent a lifetime digging deep into the roots of the Grateful Dead sound, especially the music that influenced Jerry Garcia - from bluegrass to blues to jazz to country and reggae. Dave is a well respected musician along the front range, having played in many popular local and regional bands since moving to Colorado in 1988. Dave's other current project is a three piece alt-blues band called The Dave Dardine Project, and he is the former President of the High Plains Blues Society. He enjoys old movies, bicycling, plastic scale modeling, world and music history and guitars. He is a veritable encyclopedia of guitar knowledge and a lifetime student of music.

Ken Duran brings a mid-western twang to Cowboys Dead, having grown up in eastern Nebraska before migrating to Colorado in the late 80's. Over the years, Ken has played in several bands including Shutdown Friday, Crow For Day, Bitter Dregs, Dishwasher Safe, and the Dave Dardine Project before joining up with Cowboys Dead.  He is a classic car enthusiast and enjoys hiking and road trips.

Ed Anderson cut his harp playing teeth at local Blues Jams. His vocals have been compared to the great Willy Nelson, and he plays his harp with his whole heart and soul. Ed is a Colorado native and he brings to Cowboys Dead a real-ness and authenticity that can best be described by the immortal words of Popeye, "I yam what I yam". Ed loves camping and hanging out with his family.

Bassist Tom Surace is originally from Alabama, until he had to getaway, due to undisclosed reasons which have something to do with the great state of Alabama no longer wishing to be associated with him. A New Jersey cowboy once speculated that Tom was from LA which made sense in a twisted kind of way. Anway, since Alabama is right next to Tennessee, Tom has made his home here in Colorado. It's all a state of mind anyway, and Tom is very well traveled. 

Oscar DeZoto completes the line up on drums. Originally from the great state of Montana, Oscar has been a staple on the Front Range music scene for many years, and also currently drums for a number of popular Front Range bands.  When he's not drumming, he's sleeping.