The Alligators

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Pigpen Tribute Act The Alligators Chomp their Way into the Scene – By John Holloway


Published on March 27, 2019

What if Pigpen was never shy? Would the Grateful Dead have taken a completely
different turn if Ron McKernan emerged from behind the keys to front the original
blues-fueled band? The Alligators frontman Pete “Pen” Carona gives his best “over-
the-top” attempt at this possibility.

A couple weeks ago my soon-to-be-wife (I hate saying fiancee) Meghan and I drove
up to Ventura to catch The Alligators at the Golden China Restaurant. I have been
doing advance work for the upcoming third annual Skull & Roses Festival being held
at Ventura County Fairgrounds. Friend and publicist Dennis McNally suggested I
sample some of the music of the festival’s house band (who happen to be The
Alligators this year.)



I get asked a lot about the current crop of young (as in, never saw Jerry Garcia live) Dead Heads and whether they’re “real.”  And no question, they are.  They get the music, the code of ethics behind the music, the reason we do this stuff.  There is, however, one thing that reveals the passage of time.  Many—not all, but quite a few—members of the younger generation suffer from P.D. – Pigpen Deficiency.

This is not true of Chris Mitrovich, the founder of Skull and Roses (at Ventura Fairgrounds April 5-7 this year, and you should buy tickets now – When I first met him, I knew I could trust him when he remarked that “Every Dead Head gathering needs some Pigpen.” Which brings us to the story of the Alligators, and Pete Carona. They are the antidote to P.D., and you’re going to want to see them….so let’s talk to Pete.