Thoughts On The Dead

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

Legendary Banter

It is 2016, as we’re so often reminded, and people are now allowed to be named LoloYodel; what’s more, said Yodels are furthermore permitted to make supercuts of all the Grateful Dead’s tuning songs, band introductions, bad jokes, and stage banter (from a ’64 Mother McCree’s Jug Band tape to 1989) and post it to YouTube. What a world.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to listen, then here’s a quick rundown:

  • Ten or twelve renditions of Take A Step Back, half of which had musical accompaniment, which in hindsight seems a bit self-defeating.
  • One rendition of Take A Step Inward that Bobby gave after attending an Esalen seminar.
  • Bobby lying about the drummers’ birthdays.
  • Bill Graham’s semi-veiled hostility.
  • Phil’s blatant hostility.
  • John Scher’s adenoids.
  • That show in ’82 when Bobby started yelling “OMAHA! OMAHA!” before all the songs until Mickey tackled him.
  • 6/1/87: Brent performs the St. Crispin’s Day speech. (“We few, we heady few…”)
  • Bobby’s deer joke.
  • Bobby’s bee joke.
  • Bobby’s dog joke.
  • Bobby’s other dog joke. (I didn’t realize this before, but Bobby loves animal-related humor.)

And, of course, Billy’s jokes; I will not repeat them in whole out of fear of being sent to the Problem Attic without supper, but I can reprint some of the punchlines without context:

  • I put pee-pee in your Coke.
  • Velcro on the ceiling.
  • To keep her ears warm.
  • You’re scared? I gotta walk out of here alone.”


  1. That pic looks what, 72? 73? I did not know Garcia played a Les Paul in those days.

  2. Mean, Green, Devil Eating Machine

    September 6, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Up next… the full and unexpurgated “Yellow Dog” stories.

  3. looking desperately for the bee joke! can’t seem to find it on the banter videos. any help?

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