Hey, Mickey. Whatcha doing?
“Drumming. Enjoying nature. Wearing sunglasses.”
Credit where credit’s due: you’re wearing the fuck out of those shades, pal.
“Yeah. So, I got a feeling you want to talk about the 50th anniversary and Trey and all that.”
“Great. But, before that: let me tell you about the history of this drum I’m playing.”
“It’s called the ha!tzh’mOH. There’s a chance I might not be pronouncing that right.”
“I purchased it on the Dead’s aborted African Tour of 1978.”
Okay…wait, the what now? Why have I never heard of this?
“Because the tour was aborted immediately after being brought up for the first time at the meeting.”
“The plan was to follow the Egypt shows with a tour around the Dark Continent–”
Please don’t call it that.
“–from the Sahara, where we’d play for the Bedouins among the shifting sands of the Dunes of Insanity, to the Serengeti, where Phil wanted to shoot a giraffe. (Revenge.) Two shows in Uganda, where Idi Amin had promised to make us the kings of whatever country you wanted (I chose Belize) and let us eat however many people we wanted (I wanted to eat three people.)
“From the dystopic sprawl of Lagos to the double-z’ed name of Brazzaville, the Dead would explore the rhythms of Mother Africa and spread our music to the huts and shanties and coups and child soldiers and outdoor butcher shops that share buildings with hospitals.”
It’s sounding less and less appealing, to be honest.
“Bobby really wanted to meet this General Buck Naked fellow, until Phil explained to him that, no: you shouldn’t meet General Buck Naked. It ends poorly.”
Yeah, he was a pip.
“Plus, we realized that at least one of the members of the group who will remain nameless–”
“–used a certain word too freely to ever visit Africa safely. So we just did the three shows at the Pyramids and called it a day.
“It also turns out that, at the time, the only countries that coud handle the Dead’s power and engineering requirements were hellscapes ruled by syphilitic madmen. That Uganda thing? He was serious about the eating people: he wrote us a letter telling us he could “order some Chinese,” whatever the hell that meant.”
So: no Africa.
Then where’d you get the drum?
“Drum shop called Rudy’s in the East Bay.”
Why’d you make up all that nonsense?
“You never talk to me.”
I see why.
“You RESPECT a core four!”
Settle down, Beavis.
“You give me the 25% of total respect I’m contractually entitled to, mister.”