Thoughts On The Dead

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

At Least You’re In Front Of Him

img_3067Remember the house in your hometown that went apeshit for Christmas? Wired up the house to a nuclear reactor and lit the sucker up so bright pilots were blinded miles away? There were snowmen, and snowwomen, and snowchildren (which obviously implies snowfucking, but that’s a different topic) on the lawn and Rudolph’s nose was a diode the size of a basketball focused through a neon-copper gain medium. (Funny science story: turns out that’s a death ray.)

You loved that house, and so did all the visitors, and so did all the news crews who liked to use the lights for some instant production value.

The neighbors, though? If they had a tenth of a chance, they’d nuke that place from orbit. No one wants to live next to other people’s’ fun.


  1. is that barlow behind mr forehead?

  2. I got to UC Berkeley in ’75, and my new friends were all LA Deadheads. The first thing they told me was that if you went to a Dead show, you had to look for Walton. If you were too close to him, of course, you were stuck behind a 7’1 guy (remember, everything in CA was “festival seating” so everyone stood up). Conversely, however, it was not a bad idea to be near him, because if you were feeling overwhelmed by the crowd, you could just post up Walton and be guaranteed a bunch of air behind him, a welcome respite.

    From that point of view this is just the basketball concept of “spacing” expressed as a Deadhead thang. Although I was told this in the utmost seriousness in our dorm rooms freshman year, it was probably a myth. The liner notes of the Nov 17 ’73 Dave’s Picks (written by Walton about that UCLA show) suggest that the team was at the back of the hall, appropriate for a bunch of really tall, polite dudes.

    Nonetheless, I was told this as a critical point of Deadheadism, and it informed all my trips to Winterland (by the time of Oakland Aud in 79, I knew Walton was backstage anyway). So in that sense it was a true urban myth. In a more important way, it caused me to to think about spacing, and I would always try and get about 20 feet away from a really tall guy, so I had a low post option when I needed some air. It was good advice, even if the Big Guy himself was not actually present.

  3. A vote for Walton is a vote for Fun.

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