Thoughts On The Dead

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

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Like Queequeg says in Moby Dick, “Rock Nerds gonna Rock Nerd.” Though I explicitly mocked the Rock Nerd impulse to correct, to list, to append, to asterisk, it mattered not. Rock Nerds can’t help themselves, and who can blame them: what’s the point of a twenty-minute lecture on Bernard Purdie unless you can share it with someone?

All Enthusiasts are not Rock Nerds; I do not consider myself one, as I loathe vast swathes of the RN canon. (I can’t stand Captain Beefheart. There: I said it.) Conversely, all Rock Nerds are not Enthusiasts, though I suppose the Dead have by now become one of those bands you have to at least pretend to like. There’s a good bit of overlap though, as the Dead has everything a Rock Nerd loves: overwhelming amounts of details, and lineup changes to keep track of, and semi-apocryphal stories by the bookfull.

Rock Nerds love something so much they can’t keep it to themselves, and that is a thing to envy in this tepid world.

Now: that doesn’t mean you can’t fuck with them just a little bit. As I mentioned: Rock Nerds gonna Rock Nerd, and if you ever want to find out if there’s one in the room with you, just say one of the following words, phrases, or sentences out loud; a Rock Nerd will be speaking to you within moments:

  • Gram Parsons’ corpse.
  • What did Bob Dylan do after the 70’s?
  • Lester Bangs.
  • I wish someone had a prepared list of the five best singles from New Zealand bands.
  • Stacia from Hawkwind.
  • There’s no difference between an mp3 and a FLAC.
  • Muscle Shoals.
  • Led Zeppelin III was their worst record.
  • Stiv Bators.
  • Punk music was invented in England.


  1. None of that changes the fact that the Talking Heads were the best live band on Earth for at least two tours and they had two bassists on those tours.

    That’s not Rock Nerd level stuff. Talking Heads ’80-81 is midlevel/intermediate Rock Fan 201 material.

    I don’t give a crap what any nerd thinks about any of that other bullshit; Belew era Heads are core canon.

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