Thoughts On The Dead

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

2000 Light-Years From Sober

billy stones

Hey, Billy.

“Ass! Looky where Billy is!”

Stones show?

“Yeah. Never saw ’em before.”

You shared a bill at Altamont.


We’re playing this game?

“Listen: common wisdom is that Altamont was 100% the Stones’ and the Angels’ fault.”

The Dead could’ve stopped it.

“Who are we: the fun police?”

Altamont was fun?

“Was for me. Helicopter rides.”

Great. You a Stones fan, Bill?

“I’m a heterosexual white American baby boomer?”


“Then you know the answer to that. The Stones were the last band that everybody loved. Zeppelin was for the meat heads, we were for the drugfaces, The Eagles were for people with shitty taste in music, you know what I mean. Things got fractious.”

Yeah.  Bill?


How come they’re still touring and you guys could barely keep it together for a fortnight?

“Well, both of their Garcias are still alive.”

Good point.

“Plus, Phil isn’t in that band.”

He might say the same about you.

“No ‘might’ about it.”


  1. i still dont understand why Phil h8s everybody

    • Bonnie Lass of Fenario

      August 27, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      You looked at the picture, right?

    • Phil was a music student type, he probably can read sheet music, he knows names of composers, he composes..

      Those type of people have no patience for other types.

      • That was a million years ago. This shit is post-Garcia shit.

      • Oh, he can certainly read sheet music. He’s classically trained. In fact, interesting story: the past two summers, I’ve been a volunteer at a camp, and last year the counselor I was assigned to help was this awesome, super liberal Deadhead who is training to become a rabbi, who went to UC Santa Cruz. While attending SC, he took a course on the Dead, and one day Phil came in to talk about a particular show (which I’m blanking on) and how when they performed it live, Phil hated the way it sounded. He could tell they were off-key and he did not enjoy what he was hearing. Until one day in the much later future when he listened to the show on tape and found it a wonderful listen; he decided that even when things sound so terrible when you’re in the midst of it, sometimes they really do turn out alright.

        I myself have very great pitch and quite the ear for sound. I don’t say this boastfully; I’ve always been incredibly interested in notes and the blending of sounds and instruments. I played trombone from fifth grade to eighth grade, so in many ways, I held the same position as Phil! (Except I cannot read sheet music very well. It ALL comes by ear. Reading rhythms is impossible for me; feeling them is how I play.) It’s too bad that Phil might not have patience for the “other types.” I feel that when you are that skilled musically, having great patience is an integral part of performing well AND appreciating music even further. The first music I ever loved was bluegrass and the Dead that my dad put on when I couldn’t even speak; even today, I enjoy the hell out of virtually all types of music, because, well, music is music. Doesn’t matter exactly what it entails because as long as it makes folks happy and irks a part of their brain that responds positively and enhances their intelligence in some way or another, that’s all I can ask for.

  2. Bonnie Lass of Fenario

    August 27, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Crazy Uncle Bill has been into the sauce already, hasn’t he.

    “They were giving it away for free again! Wouldn’t want it to get thrown away – rats are a serious problem for the city and they thrive on trash.”

    “They really should start charging…”

    “And my hair is torn and frayed.
    It’s seen much better days.
    Just as long as the benji plays”

    I’ve never heard you sing before.

    “I never have.”

    The Stones really are awesome.

    “Got any weed, man? I’m outta here.”

  3. Very interesting. This pretty much confirms what I’ve always thought. Phil is into the music and Billy is into the c-a-s-h. Isn’t it odd BK came out of Hawaiian seclusion to write his autobio just before Fare The Well?
    And now that all of the core 4 are sitting on big cash piles of $10M+ each (thank you so much for the “reasonable” ticket prices and the GTSTOO mess) and NOW there’s a brilliant idea to continue touring?? Well, well.
    They only got Oteil because Mike Gordon said no thank you to the attitudes and John Mayer??? Pllllease. Stop.
    It seems to me Phil has undoubtedly passed up financial gain in order to do his own thing which seems very much like honoring his own touring commitments for far less $. And regardless, does anybody really want the core 4 to tour to death? Do we really want to do the final tour to go forever???
    At some point brothers & sister, we gotta just Let It Be.
    My 2 cents

    • You’re a little off, I think.

      Billy loves money, sure, but Phil loves it just as much, and even if he didn’t, Jill sure does.

      Phil will make around the same amount from his Cap runs and whatnot as the other numbskulls will make from the tour.

      This is neither financial, nor musical: it’s personal. Which is fucking sad, but also fucking typical.

  4. Phil is still into music like this Thomas Ades guy..

    This first one is a real reach for me, I can not get there.

    And this well it is sort of accessible and likable even for a rube like myself.

    I thought Phil had written something to do with the seasons or changes or something and it was playing before some of his shows, but I can not find the interview.

    I am of course just generalizing the stereotype of the classical guy vs the rock and roll guy.

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