Thoughts On The Dead

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

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 724)

Nonsense Written Down While Listening To the 5/19/77 Sugaree

  • Like all great American songs, Sugaree is half-original and half-stolen from an anonymous black guy from the 30’s.
  • “Please forget you knew my name” is iambic quadrameter, and also very sad.
  • The first solo.
  • The little shiver in Garcia’s voice when he sings about meeting you at Joo-hooooo-bilee.
  • Sugaree was a tiny little biscuit of a tune when it was born, but it grew into a cake large enough to feed Atlanta. (To use a pastry-themed metaphor.)
  • Playing in the Band got longer by increments, but Sugaree suddenly expanded to nine times its original length in ’76 or so.
  • Although knowing the Dead, they might have just forgotten the ending the first time and decided the song sounded better if you played it for 20 minutes.
  • Or maybe Garcia said,
  • “Hey, guys. Let’s play Sugaree for 20 minutes.”
  • And the guys said,
  • “How?”
  • And Garcia said,
  • “I’ll solo for 18 of them.”
  • And the guys were fine with that.
  • Billy plays these little THRRRP noises on his snare during the pre-chorus.
  • The second solo.
  • Garcia was a sloppy-ass guitar player, and he clammed all the time–half-fingered notes and fumbled frettings–but he rarely played the wrong note.
  • To his credit, he always earned it.
  • Wasn’t like he would start off the solo going DEEDLEDEEDLEDEEDLE.
  • He wasn’t a lunatic.
  • Gotta build up to that.
  • A man’s gotta choogle before he can deedle.
  • The difference between a good Sugaree and an acceptable one is dynamics: there’s only two chords during most of the song, so you’ve gotta get your kicks somewhere other than harmonically.
  • There is no third solo, but there might be one day.

Huggy Bears

Matt Busch watched. He stood and watched. Could not avert his eyes tho he begged to.

Move, feet. This is what Matt Busch told his feet and they did not listen. Turn, head.

There was a conspiracy against him. His body desired what his brain could not process.

A smell arose from the men. Lust and sweat and balls and ball powder. Close, nostrils. They would not. Small yips of pleasure came from the men. These intensified.

Matt Busch watched.


“Uh, Phil?”


“You’re really getting in there.”

“I’m just so happy, Bob.”


“Because social media didn’t exist while we were doing whatever the hell we wanted.”




The Low Spark Of Tie-Dyed Boys

Is it humid?

“Yeah, man. It’s fucking humid. Leave it alone.”

You look like Rob Tyner.

“I told you to leave it.”

Is that Steve Winwood?



Okay, Read Ahead!

For your literary and historical pleasure, Enthusiasts, TotD presents a reading list designed to edify, educate, and entertain. First up because it deserves to be first is an always-welcome new post on Hooterollin’ Around that details the Dead’s whereabouts in the first half of 1968. Adventures! Business ownership! Flatbed trucks! A guy named Toody! This one’s got everything, ladies and gents.

Well, almost everything. At one point, Corry–he writes the damn thing, you know Corry, he’s a good egg–relates the story of Garcia and Bobby (with Bobby on bass!) playing a protest gig outside of San Quentin; he alludes to a picture of the event, but does not post it.

I helped. I am a historian now. I have credibility.

Stop it.

So, yeah: in 1968, rock bands were allowed to set up outside maximum-security prisons and jam. This was a regular occurrence; it was in protest of the death penalty in California. Enthusiasts will note that there is now no death penalty in California. Ipso facto: the Grateful Dead brought down the death penalty via the power of rock and roll. I would like to present this opinion as an academic paper at next year’s Dead Scholars conference.

This picture can also be used to give paper cuts to, or jam up the ass of, any of those little ticks that say, “The Dead weren’t a political band, maaaaaaaan.”

(Can you imagine if a band tried this bullshit today? Like if Run The Jewels set up outside Leavenworth? The cops would shoot them in their faces before the first chorus, and then the gold-plated tin dictator would cheer. “They were disrespecting our jails, which are just like the troops. Cops did their job! Flag!” For all the talk about The Man back in the old days, you were allowed to get away with an astonishing amount of foolishness.)

This next one isn’t so much an article as it is a picture, so I’ll just show it to you and cut out the middle man:

That is a Slingerland Songster, Enthusiasts, and that–not the “log” guitar made by Les Paul–was the first commercially-available solidbody electric guitar. It kind of looks like Peanut, Garcia’s short-lived experimental Alembic from ’71, and there is another point of comparison. Like Garcia’s guitars, this sucker was pricey. Slingerland sold the axe, a hard case, and a little amplifier for $150 in 1939. Which means it cost $2,500. Unsurprisingly, the Songster failed to catch on.

Finally: the story of the monkey and the engineer, Australian South African style. Trust me.

Don’t Read Ahead!

I’m about to blow your minds, Enthusiasts. You need to put on your imagination pants for this one, because it’s a big ask. Ready? Here we go.

Imagine if Trump were handsome.

Told you it was a big ask.

Still, though: do it. Picture Donny with the same facial features, but arranged in a more propitious fashion. Picture him trim and with a human’s tan that came from being outside. Full head of hair.

Got it? Can you see him? Hold that image in your head and scroll down to see that if Trump were handsome, he’d be…



















…the shortest-lived James Bond, George Lazenby.

The Glitz And The Glamour

As I told you yesterday, Enthusiasts, the instantly irreplaceable documentary Long, Strange Trip will be coming back to theaters for limited runs in New York and Los Angeles; I did not mention the reason. The spectacular film and its heroic director, FoTotD Amir Bar-Lev, are up for some prizes. The Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards has an illustrious history stretching all the way back to 2016, when trolley cars ruled the avenues and baseball was still segregated. So the critics have a chance to see the flicks before voting, they’re all screened in a theater before the show.

Literally none of that is true. You made all of that up. 

Who gives a shit?

History. History will care, and history will judge you for your intellectual malfeasance.

Explain to me what intellectual malfeasance is, and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.

Just try to get information correct.

That is most assuredly not my job around here, bucko.

The awards ceremony is being held November 2nd; the Los Angeles run isn’t until the 3rd. 

There might be Time Sheath technology at play here.

There is not. You made up the thing about why LST is going back to theaters. You saw there was an awards show and you conflated the two ideas in your head without thinking about it any further.


Get your shit together.

I’m ignoring you.

The world’s ignoring you.

Anyway, the movie’s up for Best Music Documentary and Amir’s up for Best Director. The betting door at Offtrack Betting on the Dead (OtBotD) is now open.

Though I have seen only one of these films, I can confidently say that the one I saw was the best. Not a strong field of horses here, if we handicap with an objective eye, and no eye is more objective than mine, as not only have I not seen these films, I have not heard of them. Even with this paucity of facts, I’d hesitate to place money on LST in this one. Very tough to beat the Eagles of Death Metal in this one. On the other hand, I would still pony up a bet as the lead singer of EODM is a repugnant man who managed to make himself unsympathetic despite having been the target of a terrorist attack. You have to be an immense asshole to pull that one off, and Guy Who Isn’t Josh Homme is just that kind of asshole. This might split the vote, enabling a third movie to win with a plurality.

Rumble is about the role of Native Americans in rock and roll. I called him Morgan is about a trumpeter who shoots his wife. Contemporary Color is 90 minutes of color guards throwing flags around while Ad-Rock raps. The Grateful Dead is better than all of these things, especially that color guard bullshit. The Indian movie sounds interesting, but no one in the Grateful Dead fell victim to a series of plagues in the 16th and 17th century, so that makes them the winner.

Nobody in the Grateful Dead ever shot anyone, let alone their wives, so it beats the trumpet movie.

Why the pause?

I had to stop and think about whether anyone ever got shot.

Yeah, okay. It’s like: someone should have gotten shot.

By accident, at least. Mickey should have shot a teenager in the foot while yoinking merch. Or Garcia winging Rock in that basement they hid in.

It’s a miracle they made it out alive.

A lot of them didn’t.

True. What about the Clive Davis movie?

I think they’re making movies now for the sole purpose of padding out Netflix.

That means you’ll watch it.

Of course. I’m currently reading a memoir written by the drummer from the Spiders from Mars. I have a problem. Let’s get off of me. The topic is LST‘s odds, and OtBotD sets the line at 3-1. Gonna be tough to climb over all those dead French kids.


What? I’m talking about gambling. I’m being hard-boiled.

You’re being wicked. You’re a devil-person with wrong thoughts and you shouldn’t share them with the nice people.

May I continue?

To hell. You may continue on the path to hell.

Thank you. The other category we (this is now a communal undertaking) have a nod in is Best Director. Let’s see who we got:

First of all, Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, this is too many people. You should have eliminated Morrison, Nichol, and Orlowski right off the bat for having boring names. In a similar but opposed fashion, Agnés Varda & JR are disqualified for having too interesting a name. Evgeny Afineevsky is also out, and that’s a personal thing between me and the Russians right now. Nothing against Evgeny. Irene Taylor Brodsky has three names, so fuck her. Frederick Wiseman sounds like a old-time movie star who appeared in horror movies, so he’s scratched. Matthew Heineman is just as boring a name as Morrison, Nichol, or Orlowski; I don’t know why I didn’t group him in with the others; I apologize to you for the oversight. Ceyda Torun is Star Wars character, and therefore nixed.

Amir wins. Odds of victory: 3-1.

You gave him 3-1 on the last one.

I don’t actually know how betting works.

You are bad.

Yes. We end with demands. Amir will most likely be present for one or more of the screenings in New York and Los Angeles, so I have two:

Enthusiasts in New York

Please bother Amir and take pictures.

Amir in Los Angeles

Please bother famous people and take pictures.

I would also like to be thanked from stage, but have just decided that I will write the acceptance speech. It is forthcoming.

Just Some Good Old Boys

The fatassed whoremonger voted into the White House by racists and the rural mean spoke today. Well, “spoke.” He made sounds that approximated words. Basketball Head also did his hand gesture, inadvertently revealed his lack of knowledge about the basic principles of American governance, and said “fake news” a couple dozen times. Much like a legacy act headlining a county fair, he gives the crowd the greatest hits.

This was, technically, not a rally. Fleshy Fuckwit loves his rallies, but this was not one, not technically. Today was the Values Voters Summit, which is a meeting for assholes who hate gays and women. I have seen summit’s participants described as “religious conservatives,” but I’ll stick with the way I said it. These assholes are also, of course, not fond of ethnic minorities, but the anti-black and anti-Mexican stuff takes a back seat to the homo-hating and bitch-bashing. These assholes are clods, shitkickers, and glorioski are they mean.

(Which points out the true nature of Trump’s base. It is not whites; it is not the rural; it is not men. It is the cruel.)

Anyway, while Shitty was over-enunciating to try and cover up his outer-borough accent, helpful gnomes in the audience were attempting to aid homosexuals by including this nifty little advertisement in the goody bags. (What the fuck is in a goody bag at a Christian Conservative meeting? I’m guessing a coupon for a free oil change at a garage that no longer exists and a flavorless lollipop.)

More like Ass Resistance.


What? If the ass doesn’t resist, then no one’s having fun. Gotta have some pushback from the ass.

No one’s having fun with whatever it is you’re doing. 

I’m laughing to keep from crying.

You, too? Carry on.

Right. So: the reverse of the pamphlet is some scary stuff. I couldn’t find a scan of it, so I’ll just copy-and-paste it from a newspaper that isn’t the Cenotaph. This is what it actually says:

Fuckin’ queers.

That’s the whole thing, I swear.  But if you’re still interested and want to know the health hazards of homosexuality, TotD has you covered. Please direct the money you were about to spend on the book into the Donate Button.

The Health Hazards of Homosexuality

  • Depression, because nasty shitlickers like the cowardly fuck who wrote this book without putting his name on it spread hatred over the national conversation like a snail leaves slime.
  • Anxiety, because the current administration is actively working towards making life more hazardous for homosexuals.
  • Choking on a dong.

Stop that. Can’t you make your point without cheap jokes?

What’s the fun in that?

Miles Breaks The Bullshit Down

Who are you–

“Hey! Motherfucker! I see you over there, motherfucking up a storm. Stop that shit.”

–pointing at?

“One of my guitar players. Don’t know what happened. Went my whole career without any, now I got nine or ten of ’em. Bunch of confused motherfuckers, guitarists. Never know what time they supposed to be anywhere. McLaughlin used to wander around without no shoes on. Figured it was some sort of hippie white person shit. Nah. Motherfucker lost his shoes. How you gonna lose your shoes? Fucking guitarists.”

It can’t be all guitar players, Mr. Davis.

“Can and is. Don’t doubt me. You anger me when you doubt me. I been around this business. Motherfuckers choose instruments for a fucking reason. Like, it’s subconscious. Guitar players are all airheads. Drummers are all out of their goddamned minds. The bass player is duplicitous. Piano players are all secret homosexuals. Trombonists are all scared of spiders.”

Sax players?

“Anti-Semites. Fucked up thing. I hire a sax player and it ain’t ten minutes before the motherfucker starts in with the Protocols of fucking Zion.”

Even Steve Grossman?

“Especially Steve fucking Grossman. Never seen anything like it. Motherfucker would goosestep around playing Hava Negila on his fucking horn.”

I don’t know how to respond to that.

“I laughed my ass off.”

Of course you did. Mr. Davis, what do you think about the news lately?

“I read the International Herald Tribune and Jet.”

The sexual harassment and all that.

“The what?”

Sexual harassment.

“What the fuck is that?”

Bothering women at work.

“I never did that.”

God for you, Mr. Davis.

“I never hired any women.”

I should have waited before complimenting you.

“I had some girls used to make me shirts and shit.”

That’s better, I guess.

“Fucked ’em.”


“I didn’t fucking bother ’em, though. They said nice things about me, and got freaky on themselves while I was trying on shirts. I enjoyed the shirts and the freakiness. Went home stinking like fashion pussy. Cicely got pissed. Wouldn’t shut the fuck up, so I made her quiet down.”

I am not going to ask–

“Left hook.”

–how you…wow.

“I told you. She wouldn’t shut the fuck up. Had nothing else to do.”

You had a million other options.

“Hey, I didn’t sexually harass her. Better than that fat Jewish fuck.”

I don’t think you are. I really don’t think you are.

“You gonna stop listening to my music?”

Probably not.

“Uh-huh. And, hey. Lemme ask you. You gonna stop watching the movies that fat fuck made?’

Probably not.

“So shove your judgement up your white ass, motherfucker. Don’t make me point at you.”

Always enlightening, Mr. Davis.

“I know.”

Back By Popular Demand

Hey, New Yorkers! Put down your bagels; stop spray-painting those subway cars and inventing hip-hop; Fleet Week is cancelled. I have news that will appeal to all from the Bronx to the Battery. (Real estate developers are now calling the Battery “NoBaBooBoo” and I don’t think it’s catching on.) Is it Springsteen on Broadway? No, it’s the Dead in the Village!

Hey, Los Angelenos! Stop sexually harassing each other at cocaine parties for a second. No, I don’t want to hear about your screenplay, or your sobriety. In fact, shut the fuck up and listen for once in your shallow, fruitless lives. The Dead! Yay!

What are you doing?

An ad. I am doing an advertisement. Long Strange Trip is being re-released to theaters in New York in Los Angeles in the next couple weeks.

You got paid to do an ad?

Maybe “ad” was the wrong word. I am doing a favor.

Of course.

The lovely young gentleman from the movie studio or publicity company or wherever asked me to. And, as you know, I am a team player.


He sent me a very pleasant e-mail about the matter, and I sent one back demanding that he watch me shower.

That’s why they call you Johnny Showbiz.

I’m a Hollywood dynamo.

At least tell the nice people who live in those dreadful cities where and when they can see the film.

It’s playing at the Laemmle in Beverly Hills from 10/13 to 10/19.


The Village East Cinema from 11/3 to 11/9. That’s in New York.

The Enthusiasts are capable of deductive reasoning.

Some. Some of them are.

True. This was a nice thing you did. Like a mitzvah.

Yay. I did a mitzvah.

Not what I said. I said it was like a mitzvah. You didn’t feed anyone or anything. 

I’m a hero.

I hate this life we lead.

An Open Letter To The Women Of Twitter

Dear women, lovely women, you prolific prizes, you gifts to treasure. Please, women, won’t you see reason? Won’t you listen to logic? Many scientific studies have shown that women are not as capable as men when it comes to reason and logic, especially when it’s that time of the month, but I beg of you.

Listen to me, a man.

Do not boycott Twitter, women!

Whose opinions will we have to ignore, talk over, dismiss before reading, or steal and pass off as our own?

Whose timelines will we have to comb through, looking for a statement to take out of context so as to hold you up as a hypocrite?

Whom will we have to call cunt?

To call whore?

You don’t expect us to threaten other men with rape for disagreeing with us? That would be absurd. You ladies and your absurdities.

We understand what you’re trying to do here, women. We do, honestly, and we think it’s adorable. But you haven’t thought, have you? No, you’ve not given one second’s thought to how your actions make men feel. If you were to boycott Twitter, it would cause men to feel hurt, unimportant, disregarded. It would feel as though no one were listening to us, no matter how loudly we yelled, and that’s no way to make someone feel, is it?

Before you make your decision, women, I beseech you: think of the men.


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