China Rider is a band that brings the music of the Grateful Dead to a stage near you. They create an experience that includes the excitement and exploration you would expect at an original Dead concert.
China Rider was first conceived by Logan Thomas in 2015 when he put together local musicians to take on the fun challenging project. There they spent almost a year in the Bunkhouse practicing and perfecting their improvisational skills. Finally all the stars aligned and they were able to bring it to the stage in June of 2016 in downtown St. Cloud, MN.
China Rider gets its name from the classic Grateful Dead live medley of songs China Cat Sunflower and I Know You Rider, which is referred to among the Dead community as China Rider!
China Rider has been playing at venues all over Minnesota, from music festivals to concert venues. Check out our tour dates to find out when you can see a China Rider concert!
Meet the Band
(Lead guitar & vocals)
As a founding member of China Rider, Logan's voice and guitar jams have been a key part in forming that signature sound you love. His instrument playing is based on a long love of the great guitarists such as Jerry Garcia, Eric Clapton, Trey Anastasio.
Logan has been many bands through the years: Bear Mt. Band, the Haggard Boys, Tore Down and now China Rider!
His idea of the perfect gig is taking everyone on a journey to a new level of musical appreciation and a damn good time!
Gear: Custom made Troy Post guitar, Fender Deluxe Reverb, JBL E-120, tube screamer, q-tron+, mxr micro amp, mxr phase 100, mxr distortion+,
(Rhythm guitar & vocals)
Luke has been involved in music and playing guitar since the age of 12. Growing up his listening to his Fathers Vinyl he was influenced by Traffic, Jimmy Hendrix, Bob Dylan, the Allman Brothers band and later in life Phish. His former bands include The Halfway House Septet, Wookie Foot, Steel Blue (now the Honey Badgers) and Tore Down. He currently plays a Fender Deville Amp and a custom Telecaster. He is a founding member of China Rider and helps keeps the band grounded in his blues roots style of playing.
(Bass guitar & vocals)
Influences: artists like stevie ray, freddie king, buddy guy, jeff beck. Bassist like: les claypool, flea, john paul jones, otielle burbridge. Groups like: phish, talking heads, elton john, bob marley and the wailers.
Gear: Hofner Hi-B through a 80's Crate 200xl with a peavey headliner 2x10
I started drumming on pots and pans when I was about 10 years old. It wasn’t until college that I first played in a band called Masons Children. From there on I’ve been in many bands playing a little bit of everything including folk, blues, country, rock, and jam bands. Some of the bands I’ve played in are Masons Children, The Midwest Harvesters, Clean Fill, The Wildebeats, The Auctioneers/Paddy Wagon, Goodnight Roxy, Southbound, and now China Rider. Thanks to everyone along the way. What a long strange trip it’s been.
Gear: Pearl Vision Birch 5 piece with Pearl Sensitone chrome snare, Zildjian Custom A cymbals withZildjian New Beat hats. Miscellaneous hardware.
James "JR" Spangler
JR is the newest member of the band, having joined in the Fall of 2017. His Mom’s joke was that he started playing the family piano at age 2 and she stopped telling him to be quiet at age 3. His love for music began at that early age and has continued throughout his life. His older brother was a bass player so bands were a part of his life from before his teens and it was from him that he was introduced to the Grateful Dead and has seen the band in its various forms since the late 1970’s. JR played throughout his 20’s in his home of Hawai’i with Alex Bell & the Phones and the Buck Stops, at various night clubs and cruises, and twice toured the Far East to entertain at US military bases. JR took a hiatus from playing in bands to raise children, but continued to play on his own and sitting in with several bands in San Diego and Hawai’i. Since moving to St Cloud in 2002, he has sung with the Holy Spirit choir and performed individually at various events including Empty Bowls annual fundraising.
Gear: Roland Juno and Korg keyboards