Musician Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company, Allman Brothers Band) has been an outspoken supporter of Gorilla Doctors for several years. (His wife, Jess Burbridge is our very own Development & Communications Officer!)  In 2015, fan and friend Chris DiNardo decided to launch a “Let Oteil Sing” t shirt campaign to celebrate Oteil joining the newly formed Dead & Company, a band comprised of the original members of the Grateful Dead and John Mayer. Knowing Oteil and Jess’ passion for gorilla conservation, Chris generously decided to donate all of the proceeds from the “Let Oteil Sing” campaign to Gorilla Doctors and donated $700 after the first year. This year, however, when fans got their wish and Oteil began to sing lead with Dead & Company on their 2017 summer tour, shirt sales really took off: now the campaign has raised over $5,000 for Gorilla Doctors!

Musician Oteil Burbridge


This month at Roots Rock Revival (a teaching camp in the Catskills Mountains founded by Oteil and his late Allman Brothers bandmate Butch Trucks) Chris DiNardo decided to surprise Oteil with a giant check for Gorilla Doctors on stage in front of the entire camp. Roots Rock Revival, now in it’s fifth year, is where Chris and Oteil established their friendship, so it was only fitting to unveil the generous gift at camp. Oteil was thrilled, laughing and hugging Chris in front of the other campers. The Dead & Co. musician also took a few minutes to talk to his many fans at camp about the important work the Gorilla Doctors are doing in Africa, helping to spread the word about our gorilla conservation efforts.

Chris DiNardo presents Oteil with $4,000 check for Gorilla Doctors on stage at Roots Rock Revival.

Last year, another group of dedicated fans came together to raise money for Gorilla Doctors to honor Oteil and his efforts in Dead & Company. The fan group, who calls themselves “The Clams” raised $1,650 for Gorilla Doctors following Dead & Company’s 2016 summer tour.  And it looks like Oteil will raise even more money for Gorilla Doctors this fall: he recently launched a Pledge Campaign and put signed posters, hats, shirts, and CD’s from his personal collection of Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Company merchandise up for auction to benefit our organization.

“I always thought mountain gorillas were truly beautiful creatures, but after making the trek with Jess to see them in Rwanda, the feeling of how special these great apes are was intensified beyond what I could have imagined” said Oteil. “I hope everybody can see these amazing creatures in their native habitat at least once in their life… I’m incredibly honored to support Gorilla Doctors in saving the species.”