Thoughts On The Dead

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


Before the internet, no one knew what the fuck was happening. You could find out, but only at certain times of day; and not about the stuff you wanted to know, either. Someone would tell you if the President got shot, but other than that you were on your own.

This is to say that there were many smaller groups within the world of the parking lot besides the Wharf Rats and Tapers and Spinners: cliques that–accidentally or by design–garnered less attention than the larger and more organized associations.

I’ve mentioned the Deafheads, but have you heard of Eyes of the World? It was a small band of blind friends who toured briefly in the 90’s until one of them decided to trip with his seeing-eye dog and the cops weren’t called, but just barely. The group disbanded and never spoke again of what happened in the van, parking lot, Motel 8 lobby, parking lot, van, and veterinary hospital that day.

During Brent’s tenure in the band, there was a small set of Furries that met backstage semi-regularly to get their weirdo-fuck on. Everyone pretended to not recognize Brent’s voice, but he was an energetic and vocal yiffer and would accompany his orgasms with his trademark bluesy keen. Fun fact: one of the Furries was respected newsman Charlie Gibson.

There was an attempt to form a group for vegan Deadheads, which you might think would be easy, but it turns out that half the fun of being vegan is bothering people about it, so the vegans didn’t want to hang out with each other. Also: if you put vegans in captivity, they will begin to out-vegan each other. This invariably leads to naked people drinking rain water and trying not to step on bugs. Do not put vegans in captivity.

The Casey Joneses were a harmless and fun bunch of guys, and it was most assuredly all male: these were Enthusiasts who also liked model trains. It’s an obsession as worthy and pointless as any other and they always had excellent beer; people liked them.

One show brought the Casey Jones close to the home of one of their members, and they raided his basement for track and cars and set up a train out in the lot. Deadheads smiled as they passed, and some stayed to watch for a while. A man named Soup stayed to watch, and Soup had taken far too much acid, but men named Soup do things like that, and Soup wandered out onto the tracks; Soup was so high that when the toy train hit him, he thought he had been killed.


“You’re not. Is your ankle okay?”


“You’re really not.”


“You’re shouting.”


“Is that a nickname or–”


Here’s a piece of Dead History that no oral history has the courage to tell you: right beside the Taper’s Section for two years in the 90’s sat the Sketch Artist’s Section. Just as intent as the Tapers on capturing the night, the Sketch Artists would come from their day jobs in courtrooms and police stations all across America to record–usually in chalks–the legacy of the Dead. After a while, though, they realized that all the pictures were pretty much all the same and stopped with the drawing.


  1. I would voluntarily overpay my taxes every year if there were some way to verify that every last penny went to support the dedicated public servant whose job it is to issue trademarks for bluesy keens.

  2. God, I was thinking of getting back in to model trains in the next couple of years if my 2 year old son stays interested in them. This hits a little too close to home.

  3. side stage seated sleepers

  4. Are you gonna cover The Dark Lot in a future installment? The place where the Skullfuckers, Bums in Space, Altheans, and Shakedown Streaks roamed?

  5. I would assume the gay deadheads would be a subset of the faeries.

    I could google them but in the spirit of no-research I will say what I think is true about the faeries.

    * started in San Fran

    * Goes to Rainbow gatherings

    * A subset of the “we’re here we’re queer and we are protesting the rest of you’s lack of caring for us while our community dies of aids”, queer nation, act up, that era.

    * Wants to be gay and live in the woods.

    * Have some survivalist types, “like when the sea level rises and the crops fail the faeries will take to the hills and live off the large ass of the land”

    *I assume they tripped a bit and therefore had some dead heads among them

    I went to a Rainbow gathering in 1985, I believe there was a Faerie Camp although I did not know about the group at the time. It seemed like all men, having a wonderful time, and being cheerfully gay.

    Side note..
    There is no plumbing at a Rainbow gathering. Imagine sex without plumbing, actually better not to think about it. Sorry.

  6. Since today is Sinatras 100th bday, we have Parish to thank for recalling the one and only time Jerome and Frank hooked up:

    “Apparently it was very late one night at a heliport in New York City, late 1988. Sinatra was alone at the terminal and on his way to Atlantic City and Jerry was on a Garcia Band tour. While obviously not a Deadhead, Frank was aware of Jerry and his contributions to popular music and Jerry of course had a deep appreciation and respect for Sinatra’s voice. They exchanged pleasantries and discussed music theory. When walking away, Jerry said, “That voice…. Just AMAZING.”

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