Thoughts On The Dead

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

Going South On The Mountain

Hey, Sam Cutler. Whatcha doing?

“Addressin’ the multitudes, aren’t I?”

Is this Altamont?

“Is there a foot-high stage with a concussed teen not receiving medical attention in front of it?”


“Well, then, it would be Altamont, sunshine.”

Not a great moment.

“Dramatic, though, wunnit?”

It’s virtually a cottage industry at this point.

“There are many misconceptions about Altamont. No one knows the true story.”

Let’s hear it.

“It wasn’t my fault.”

It was a little bit your fault.

“Minuscule, me son. I was a cog in a mighty machine within a massive factory, I was. There were the Stones and the Dead and that gasbag lawyer. What people don’t remember is that all of San Francisco, all them flower power kiddies, they were screaming at the Stones. ‘Why don’t you play free? How dare you charge for tickets?’ All that Woodstock nonsense when the Stones are broke and paying a 95% tax rate back ‘ome.”

Plus they did a free show in Hyde Park at the beginning of the summer.

“A man ‘oo knows ‘is ‘istory. Too true. All the British boys and girls came to the park and sat and behaved themselves. You lot? More than ten of you in a field and there’s a riot.”

That’s not true. The Hells Angels were beating on everyone in sight. Then, when it got dark, they started beating on people they couldn’t see.

“It wasn’t my fault.”

You’ve asserted that.

“The Dead said that the Angels were cool. And–it must be noted well–half of this equipment and the crew is from the Dead. If Altamont is to be blamed on anyone, it should be on the Grateful Dead. I’ll never forgive them.”

You went to work them almost immediately after Altamont.

“Business is business, lad. Besides, they wrote a song about it. That’s good enough.”

You know the Stones are gonna ditch you, penniless, in San Francisco the day after this photo is taken, right?

“I do, I do. I seem to be experiencing my entire life at once.”

Are you familiar with the concept of semi-fictionality?

“I am, I am.”

You’re the first person who’s ever answered “yes” to that.

“I’m Sam fucking Cutler, me son.”



  1. See the sneakers and the hands on the knees of the person hiding under the stage, who do you think that is ?

  2. As I’m sure you’re aware, the recent Joel Selvin book on the subject is an excellent accounting of all the factors leading up to this ill-fated concert.

  3. Concussed teen? Or sleepy Bruce Wayne?

  4. Not receiving medical attention? The guy in the leather jacket is a doctor with an unfortunate bedside manner.

  5. My first show, 11/11/71, Atlanta Municipal Auditorium, there was quite the brou haha over people standing and coming to the front. Firemarshall threatening to pull the plug, militant hippies refusing to sit down or clear the front or aisles. Don’t laugh, the ATL was all up in the revolution in those days, google The Great Speckled Bird, Atlanta’s answer to The Berkeley Barb or Village Voice.

    About a 20 minute delay, lots of “Fuck the Pigs” and Jerry and Phil yelling at the cops.

    Finally Cutler comes out and informs the crowd that the Dead are not about the Revolution and if everyone could calm down music could resume.

    Some of the above is audible on the Archive recording.

    My Cutler story, such as it is.

    Isn’t it great that we have evolved to get past all that fascism?

  6. I forgot it is customary to include a link.

    Cut 2, banter.

    Also, this was about two weeks after Duane Allman’s death and despite the coppers went a long way towards helping the healing for me.

  7. Luther Von Baconson

    August 1, 2017 at 3:05 pm


  8. Luther Von Baconson

    August 1, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    mel was busy that fall

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