Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

And His Sidekick, Colonel Waitlist

This, Younger Enthusiasts, is what was called General Admission. Clubs and small theaters without seats still use it, and fly-by-night festivals, but promoters who didn’t buy their insurance from Antoine’s of Chicken and Indemnity try to break the crowd into smaller pieces now. Three or four paddocks on either side going back. This keeps your audience safe. (Or controlled, however you want to think of it.) Otherwise, the audience surges towards the stage when the band starts and doesn’t stop until everybody’s favorite fun game, Take A Step Back.

That’s how shitty free-for-all GA was: it went wrong so often that a song (kinda) was named after it. There are famous Take A Step Backs, for fuck’s sake. The band couldn’t have enjoyed doing that, either. How can you choogle when you’re watching a 15-year-old in a tube top get crushed against a police barrier? It also killed people, making GA the equivalent of Communism: an idea so bad it’s lethal. Eleven kids at a Who concert in ’79, three at an AC/DC show in Utah in ’91, two at Donnington during Guns n’ Roses’ set.

Younger Enthusiasts will also notice that there are no Superluxe Esteemed Guest Praetor’s Suite boxes upfront.

Keen-eyed Enthusiasts will note the ultra-rare sight of Phil playing a normal bass guitar.

Keener-eyed Enthusiasts will spot the chick in the black tank top standing next to the tall guy and know that Bobby was making eyes at her the whole set.

All Enthusiasts will notice the loose wires all over the goddamned stage and know who was responsible.

One If By Land, Two If By Seastones

“Jenkins!”

“Yes, sir?”

“Do you remember laughter?”

“Of course, sir.”

“What about Vera Lynn?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Rock and roll radio?”

“Also a yes, sir.”

“Well, then, classic rock has no more unanswered questions. We’re heroes, Jenkins.”

“We could be.”

“Have I been accused of sexual harassment yet?”

CHECKING TWITTER NOISE

“Not yet, sir.”

“Dammit, I’m tired of waiting. Get over here.”

“No, sir.”

“Watch me make love to myself.”

“No, sir.”

UNZIPPING NOISE

“Look at it!”

“I will not, sir.”

“No, there’s this growth I want you to see.”

“Oh, okay.”

“You should see a doctor, sir.”

“I did! He got mad at me for showing it to him!”

“Was it the–”

“It was the dentist, yes.”

“–dentist again? Oh, sir. I keep telling you: they’re just for teeth.”

“Then they shouldn’t be called doctor, dammit! If you want to be called doctor, then you need to be available to look at my penis. Those are the rules, Jenkins.”

“Can we discuss the poster, sir?”

“Poster!”

“Yes, sir. This show is in Boston.”

“Foul burg. A dinky little place, Jenkins. And stinky. Boston dinks and stinks. And they’re pompous. ‘Legal Seafood.’ Seafood’s legal everywhere. They’re not special.”

“The town does have a high estimation of itself.”

“Have you heard what they do to the English language? The only thing Bostonians hate more than the letter R is the thought of negros learning math next to their Kevins and Margarets.”

“They did not take to busing, sir.”

“Do you know a Bostonian engaged in sexy talk would be speaking erotically and a-rhotically?”

“Well done, sir.”

“Shouldn’t mix Irishmen and college students, Jenkins. Or Irishmen and Italians. Or Irishmen and anyone. I guess that’s why God put them on an island.”

“The poster, sir.”

“Poster! Let’s do something different this time, Jenkins.”

“Create something beautiful?”

“No, steal all the petty cash and head to Mexico.”

“The petty cash won’t last that long, sir.”

“It will. I have a plan. We’re going to convert it into Zimdollars first. There’s like 600 bucks in petty cash, so that means we’ll have…”

“14 quintillion Zim.”

“We’ll be kings, Jenkins. No. I’ll be a king, Jenkins. And you’ll be my Jenkins. Imagine that. Being a king’s Jenkins. Sounds good, doesn’t it?”

“Sir, you’re not quite grasping how currency exchange works.”

“And then we’ll trade in that massive amount of money for pesos and Mexico will open herself up to us. Like a slutty clam.”

“I don’t know, sir.”

“I’m going to be a gentleman farmer. Grow refried beans. In the evenings, I will stroll through the plaza with Conchita and our young son Machismo.”

“You already have a family, sir.”

“They suck.”

“Poster.”

“Poster! Let’s talk color. I’m thinking ‘If autumn could take a shit.'”

“Yes, sir. And the image?”

“Who’s that guy who got shot? Crispy Hatrack?”

“Crispus Attucks, sir.”

“He was no saint, Jenkins.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Him and Ted Williams doing it.”

“No, sir.”

“Doing it hard. Teddy Ballgame is calling his shots.”

“Absolutely not, sir.”

“Homophobe.”

“No, sir. It is not homophobic to refrain from portraying Crispus Attucks and Ted Williams having sex on a Dead & Company poster.”

“You’re worse than Hitler, Hitler.”

“Stop that.”

“Fine. No humping. How about Mayor Menino’s speech impediment?”

“How do you draw that?”

“I don’t know. That’s why we hire an artist, Jenkins.”

“No, sir.”

“Jenkins?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Call down to the front desk and ask them to look in the Lost & Found.”

“For what, sir?”

“My will to live. Fuck it. Do Paul Revere, but–”

“He’s a bear.”

“–he’s a bear, and then sprinkle–”

“Dead bullshit all over it.”

“–Dead bullshit all over it.”

“Yes, sir. On it.”

“Anything about the harassment?”

TWITTER CHECKING NOISE

“Still no, sir.”

“The waiting is killing me.”

Otherwise Known As The Chickenshit Show

Jeff Chimenti looks like a beloved high school music teacher who’s also a member in good standing of his local BDSM community.

OR

Billy and Oteil have both noticed the meatball the intern is holding aloft. This will not end well; Billy loves meatballs, and interns. Oteil also enjoys meatballs, but no one’s getting tackled for one. Billy’s gonna tackle the intern.

OR

All new on CBS this season: Friends. Due to legal incompetence on the part of Warner Brothers, the rights to remake Friends became available, so CBS cast these six and they perform the episodes line-for-line. It’s fucking terrible. (Bobby used to be a Joey, but now he’s a Phoebe. Mickey is Ross. Josh banged Rachel.)

OR

Can Mickey still fit the merch he’s yoinked these past few tours into a storage space, or does he need a warehouse?

OR

ATTENTION PLEASE: Billy has new sneakers.

OR

I can’t see his feet. Is Oteil in his goddamned flippity-flops? Bobby had the sense of decorum to put on his formal socks, but I think Oteil is going full flop. You are not running into a Sarasota Publix in for a chicken tender sub and a sweet tea, Oteil. At least Bobby’s sandals are made of leather.

Pss pss pss.

I am being informed that there are such a thing as vegan sandals, and even if Bobby didn’t care, he would most likely wear them just so not to get protested by Lilian Monster.

OR

What is that?

“My toppermost?”

Your kimono.

“No, no. It’s a Japanese-influenced men’s toppermost designed by Givenchy in associated with streetFUVK”

There’s no such thing as a toppermost.

“You only know about poor people clothes. We have access to shit you’ve never heard of.”

Uh-huh.

“This is what I like to call ‘Fun John.’ Real playful, just mixing and matching and, you know, trying to display my own style. I’m always thinking ‘What is my aesthetic?'”

What is your aesthetic?

“Guy who spent an hour deciding what to wear.”

You nailed it. What is that garment made of?

“Ultrasilk.”

Is that like ultrasuede? A synthetic?

“No, it’s real silk, but much fancier. The worms are all wearing little tuxedos–get this–made from the silk that they themselves produced. It’s self-sufficiency in action.”

Is it expensive?

“Oh my God, yes.”

Ballpark it for me.

“Where are we?”

What?

“I wanna know how far my dollar goes. We could buy a town in most countries for what this thing cost.”

We’re in America.

“You could start your own business.”

Pre-built space or custom structure?

“The second thing.”

Goddammit, Josh Meyers.

“Don’t call me that. Don’t worry about how I spend my money.”

I’m not worried. I’m judgmental.

“Kiss my ass. What should I do with my money?”

Take as much of it as you need for yourself and give the rest to the poor.

“I will not.”

Well, there you go.

“And of course you’d say to give my money to the poor. You’re the poor.”

I’m just repeating the words of some Jewish guy I met once.

“You would buy just as much stupid bullshit as me if you had a nickel to your name. Easy to make a decision for someone else when you’ll never face it.”

You’re right. Absolutely right. Tell you what: you give me all your money. Then you’ll see that I would live up to my words and distribute it to the needy.

“This is a trick.”

It is.

“You wouldn’t give the money away.”

I would.

“I don’t believe you.”

If you’re feeling froggy, leap.

“What if I gave you a little bit of money and saw if you gave that away? Like, as a test.”

No. I will keep and squander any amount of money less than all. All or nothing. Maximum Christ, baby.

“I’m gonna pass.”

“I like that toppermost, boy.”

“Them other white boys look like homeless lumberjacks or some shit. Hats on indoors. They lucky I got a cocktail.”

“Oh, wow, Mr. Davis. Hi. My name is John Mayer.”

“I don’t fucking care.”

“I am such an enormous fan of your music. I have every one of your albums, every single one. You’re one of the most important men in musical history. In American history! It’s just such an honor. Wow.”

“In the key of E flat, what does the C minor resolve to?”

“G minor.”

“You see this medal?”

“I do.”

“You holding?”

“We are. Collectively.”

“Gather that shit up. Those motherfuckers look smelly.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Nice. Respectful. Hey, motherfucker.”

“Me?”

“The other motherfucker.”

Me?

“Yeah. Why didn’t you introduce me to this white boy before? I like this young man.”

Awwwwww. I wanted you to hate him.

“I’m fucking unpredictable.”

Aw.

Begun, These Rando Wars Have

Don’t you say–

“Rando War!”

–Rando War. Goddammit, Oteil. You’re above this.

“I’m not.”

Okay.

“You would not believe how many more randos I attract since I started singing lead. They’re like moths, and I’m a bug zapper.”

Are you electrocuting randos to death?

“Not randos. Not plural.”

You’re really becoming a true Grateful Dead, Oteil.

“I’m settling in.”

“Oh, is Rando War back on?”

 


“BOOM, I just won Rando War.”

There are no winners in a Rando War, Jeff Chimenti. Just death. And randos.

“But look how many I have!”

Venture not down this path, Jeff Chimenti.

“Kiss my balls.”

Everyone’s a dick tonight.

“Quit whining, motherfucker. Don’t bring your bitch shit to a Rando War.”

Oh, not you, too.

“Rando War is over. I won. Tell all them white motherfuckers to go home and kiss on each other.”

That’s Wynton Marsalis.

“Motherfucker’s a rando to me.”

Ow.

“I’m a cold motherfucker. You see my shirt?”

I do.

“That shit’s the truth.”

None of this makes any sense any longer.

“Whose fucking fault is that?”

True.

“You can pick off my cheese plate if you want.”

Thank you, Mr. Davis.

“It’s the little moments of humanity that make Rando War such a fucking tragedy.”

If you say so.

My Second-Favorite Martian

You’re just riding out these golden years in a chariot made of crazy, aren’t you?

“I can’t believe you’re not getting the reference, man.”

Huh?

My Favorite Martian. CBS. We’re on CBS and so was My Favorite Martian. Get it?”

There’s nothing to get, Mickey. And no one remembers My Favorite Martian.

“No, they’re rebooting it.”

Of course they are.

“I’m doing the score. I was thinking about using a lot of drums.”

A departure for you. Is anyone else attached to this project?

“Amir Bar Lev is directing.”

Good for him.

“There’s Oscar buzz.”

There is.

“He says the keyword is ‘moody.'”

Moody? It’s about an alien pretending to be a guy’s uncle.

“We’re going dark with it.”

Anyone cast?

“Sean William Scott will be playing every role.”

Pass. That schmata isn’t going to be making any appearances at Dead & Company shows, is it? 

“Depends on how annoyed Bobby gets with it.”

Well, that’s thoughtful of you.

“No, the more annoyed he gets, the more likely Alien Mick is making a comeback.”

Is that what you’re doing this tour?

“Have people noticed?”

Yes.

“Good.”

Eleven Thoughts On Malcolm Young

ONE

Put on your headphones. Malcolm’s on the left. If he’s on the right, then you have your headphones on backwards. Take off your headphones. Put ’em on correctly. Now Malcolm’s on the left. On the recordings, he was on the left, but he stood stage right, hard by the drummer (whichever one it was at the time) and, man, could Malcolm stand there. Bill Wyman stood there pretty good, but Malcolm Young was a god when it came to standing there. Bon prowled around the stage showing the crowd his tattoos and cock, and later Brian would stutter-step up and down the huge catwalks and ramps being genial and wearing his hat; Angus did his Angus moves.

But Malcolm stood there with the other two guys no one looked at making all the noise.

TWO

He was tiny. All the Young brothers were. There were three: Mal, Angus, and George, who scored a hit with Friday on My Mind with the Easybeats in ’66 and managed AC/DC their entire careers; he’s dead, too. His guitar dwarfed him. It was a Gretsch, a model called the Jet Firebird, and he ripped out the front pickups to make the instrument simpler. This is a metaphor. He didn’t know or care what he was doing, so he stuck a tube sock in the empty cavity; the sock remained there until 1980. The song Highway To Hell? That was recorded by a guy with a sock in his guitar. That is not a metaphor at all, unless you want it to be.

THREE

Rhythm guitar’s tougher than playing lead: anyone can paint a house, but building one’s a bitch.

FOUR

He was 64 when he died, which is too young for a man and far too old for a rock star.

FIVE

AC/DC was dumb as shit. Their songs were about pussy and Satan, occasionally Satanic pussy. (AC/DC were not woke.) There were also songs about money, and their genitals. Which is not to say that they couldn’t turn a phrase.

Lookin’ at the sky cuz it’s gettin’ me high
Forget the hearse cuz I’ll never die.

Well, that right there is some high-grade teenage rebellion. I bet when you read it, your hand instinctively reached out to turn up the car radio.

But most of it’s puerile, ameliorated greatly by the fact that both singers were completely incomprehensible. Bon was a slushmouth shrieker and Brian had that Geordie accent which destroyed his vowels to the point that he could not pronounce the name of his own band. Go find an interview with him. Trust me. He makes this…noise…that sounds kinda like ee’YEHsee-d’YEHsee. You can tell what he means in context, but still.

SIX

Dementia. He forgot his own songs. Angus would sit backstage with him and go over the riffs before the shows. That worked until it didn’t. Everything works until it doesn’t. He had his good days and bad days. Does a good day mean that you can remember that bad days exist? I’d rather have a bad day. Rock stars were supposed to die in plane crashes and cheap motels. We were promised poetry. First, the songs go and then the scaffolding upon which you built those songs, and then the real basic shit, and then language, and then piss and shit yourself and forget how to chew and swallow. He was mourned on Twitter. This was not supposed to be a rock star’s fate. None of this was.

SEVEN

Go listen to Thunderstruck. Not the fancy famous 16ths that Angus plays, the mutant Bo Diddley riff Malcolm keeps going for the whole tune. That’s the song right there.

Fuck it, stay right here and listen to it:

EIGHT

South Americans are fucking crazy. Did you see that bullshit? Who brings road flares to a concert and starts waving them around at eye-level? South Americans, that’s who.

NINE

A lot of AC/DC’s songs are about assumed outcomes. The guy wasn’t in hell yet, just driving there. No dirty deeds had been performed, merely advertised at cut-rate prices. Those being saluted had yet to rock. Maybe AC/DC was speaking about the need to have faith.

TEN

The brothers from Oasis are misspelling insults on Twitter as I type this. Last week, Dave Davies mailed Ray a box full of wasps. The Fogertys physically hurl lawyers at one another. Tough being a brother sometimes.

Rhythm guitarists always have chips on their shoulders. Usually, an affect of blue-collarism is employed. One is in service to the song, you see. And then the lead guitarist steps into the spotlight and the girls all scream. Tough being a rhythm guitarist sometimes.

All those Buddhists and acid freaks who preach killing off the ego should study Malcolm Young.

ELEVEN

Hey there, all you middlemen.

Ride On

Broke another promise
And I broke another heart
But I ain’t too young to realize
That I ain’t too old to try
Try to get back to the start
And it’s another redlight nightmare
Another redlight street
And I ain’t too old to hurry
Cause I ain’t too old to die
But I sure am hard to beat

Gonna change my evil ways
One of these days…

Thanks, Malcolm

Angus played the solos under the spotlight; Angus wore the funny costume and shook his ass for the crowds.

Malcolm planted his feet by the drum kit and played the riffs, and riffs are what AC/DC songs are made of.

Son Una Banda Más Allá Descripción

Hey, Garcia. Whatcha doing?

“Wearing a sport coat for some reason. Hey, listen, man. I’m gonna ask you something and it’s gonna be between us.”

Los Lobos.

“Oh, right, man. For a second, I thought Bobby put on some weight.”

And turned Mexican?

“You never know with Weir, man.”

True. So, uh, do you have court later or something?

“Go away.”

Sure.

The Great Wig In The Sky

Stop looking at Mickey, Jeff Chimenti.

“I can’t. His doohickeys are vibrating.”

Did he explain himself before the performance?

“Kinda. He said, ‘New Brent–‘”

He still calling you that?

“–I’m tired of being a Vulcan. I’m an Andorran now.”

Is that a Space Track reference?

“Maybe. I’m not a nerd.”

Good for you. Stop looking at him.

“He’s just so fascinating.”

In his own way.

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