Middle-Aged Dad Jam Band brings Calagione friends to town

Pam GeorgeCulture, Headlines


Sam Calgione’s buddies Ken Marino, with mic, and David Wain, on drums, bring their Middle Aged Dad Jam Band to Dogfish Head’s Rehoboth Brewpub July 19.

Sam Calagione has friends in all the right places.

His former roommate is Ken Marino, an actor, comedian, director and screenwriter, who, with fellow thespian David Wain, was on MTV’s “The State.”

The duo is also known for “Wet Hot American Summer” and its spinoffs.

Admittedly, Calagione is no slouch.

The James Beard Foundation Award winner and his wife, Mariah, are the founders of Milton, Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

But in the early ’90s, the roommates were just starting. They lived in a third-floor walk-up apartment in New York that was so large Marino and Wain’s comedy sketch group could rehearse in it.

Calagione, meanwhile, brewed his first beer, Cherry Pale Ale, in the space, and it was there that he declared to all involved that he was going to own a brewpub.

On Wednesday, July 19, the old friends will reunite at Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth Beach.

But this is no typical burger and beer-belly reunion of men in midlife.

Marino and Wain will perform with their band Middle Aged Dad Jam Band, a free show beginning at 9 p.m.

And, of course, there will be comedy.

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Calagione and Marino met via their third roommate, Joe Deluca. Calagione wasted no time experimenting with beer.

“Back then, Sam had these two small kegs, and he was constantly trying new recipes,” recalled Marino, who took the time with Wain for a quick interview Wednesdsay. They wrote the movie “Wanderlust” starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston.

“If he succeeded, it was great; we drank it. If it wasn’t good, we got rid of it and started again. That’s how he came up with so many awesome flavors,” said Marino, a Long Island native.

Wain agreed. “I remember sipping all his ales and feeling like this guy has the magic touch.”

Meanwhile, The State perfected their skits in the apartment.

“We would hang out, and while we wouldn’t ask for Sam’s approval, we’d look out of the corner of our eye to see if Sam was laughing,” Wain said.

The friends stayed in touch to the point that Wain and Marino loaded a van with video equipment and shot promotional material for Dogfish Brewings & Eats in Rehoboth when it opened in 1995.

“I wish I still had the footage,” Calagione said.

Marino looked for opportunities to plug Dogfish Head in his films and TV shows whenever possible.

“I would try to sneak it in there anyway I could possibly do it,” said Marino, who wore a Dogfish Head baseball cap for his recent Zoom interview. “And for that, Sam gives me half-priced fries whenever I’m in town.”


College friends: Ken Marino, Sam Calagione, Joe DeLuca (a roommate) and Frank Barrera, remain buddies. Photo by Mariah Calagione.

They’re with the Band

Wain, meanwhile, sought the chance to play drums whenever possible.

“Most of the music I’ve played over the years happened when I hired myself to play the drums in a TV show or move,” said the writer and director, who had played in high school bands.

But during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, he started recording his playing and asked friends to sing or perform other musical parts.

They had so much fun that a group met in Wain’s Los Angeles garage to play when people began socializing again.

“It evolved very organically,” Wain said.

“We looked forward to doing it all week,” Marino added. “Anytime we got an email from Dave about rehearsing, we immediately responded.”

Many rehearsals were truly jam sessions, with artists dropping in to join the core group, who are all in the entertainment business.

However, the band’s name, Middle Aged Dad Jam Band, has more to do with age than their vocation. (Not all are dads.)

“Some may say we’re possibly beyond middle-aged,” Marino said. “But to them, I say: Middle age is just a number.”

Back to the East

The band’s first gig was in January on the West Coast. The July 19 concert is the kickoff for the East Coast tour, including dates in Philadelphia and New York.

Along with Wain and Marino, the musical group features Teddy P, John Spurney, Jordan Katz, Henry Wain and cinematographer Frank Barrera, who was also among the crew that sampled Calagione’s Cherry Pale Ale.

The band plays “all covers, no apologies,” Wain said.

The exception is the original songs written for some of his movies and TV projects, including the pop anthem “Higher and Higher” from “Wet Hot American Summer.”

Marino and Wain plan to “banter between songs,” Marino said. “Some may say it’s comedy. We do that all the way through the show.”

Calagione, meanwhile, will staff the merch table, which will feature unique Dogfish Head and Middle Aged Dad Jam Band T-shirts for $25.

“All the venues will be on the back of the shirt — like in the ’90s,” said Calagione, who is also organizing a “yard sale” with 1990s items, including a Thigh Master.

What’s more, Dogfish Head is releasing the limited beer Mid-90s Microbrewer-Style Red Ale (5.3%).

Although new to the professional stage, Middle Aged Dad Jam Band has already collected a following.

“People are struck by how much joy — we’re there and having a great time,” Wain said. “Nobody is trying to prove anything or make a statement. Everybody is having a blast.”

Calagione is counting on feeling the joy on July 19.

“It’s a huge full-circle moment,” he said.


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