Thoughts On The Dead

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

Oranges And Lemons, Say The Balls Of Clarence Clemons

band clarneceA-HA, fucker! You tried to trick ol’ TotD, didn’t you? You were tricksy and false, weren’t you, David Browne?

Oh, are we accusing someone new of insane conspiracies?

I J’ACCUSE YOU, DAVID BROWNE, newest shadowy figure in the international cabal of Big Dead. Covering up murders, starting up wars, looking up skirts: these are bad folks.

We’ve always known that Keeper of the Vault David Lemaeiouandsometimesyx has been behind most of the lies and death. He is assisted by The Most Right and Honorable Reverend Dr. Captain Nicodemus von Merriweather the VII, DDS, EMT, AKC (Ch.) who maintains the visual archive at UC Santa Cruz (Go Banana Slugs!)

McNally: he’s in on it. David Gans? That sumbitch knows where bodies are buried. Blair Jackson once invaded Cuba. It was in 2006, and he and his wife went with a local university and had the best time. But still: invaded Cuba.

The band may or may not know or care about any of this. Several internecine secret societies were started during the band’s run, most notably the Billuminati and the Philluminati, but they were much less Masonic societies with secret aims than they were two guys squabbling who read too many Robert Anton Wilson books and whose names rhymed with “ill.”

Bobby, it should be noted, is and has long been a member of an actual honest-to-shit Secret Society.

Anyway, in Browne’s new book, which I am not linking to again, but is called So Many Roads, he tells the little-known story of Clarence Clemons from the E Street Band befriending the band (specifically Garcia and Bobby) and getting asked to officially join, only to have someone who isn’t named in the book (ilPhay eshLay) shoot the idea down.

That’s a good story, but the short aside that follows is better: Garcia, Bobby, and Clarence fucking Clemons were going to get a bachelor pad together in the city. It would be Full House, except without the children, and the teenaged girls would be getting rogered. Also, Uncle Jesse is black and enormous.

If TotD had access to Time Sheath technology, this moment might be my new number one: the conversation where Garcia, Bobby, and Clarence Clemons decide to get a place together. Apparently, Clarence brought it up, but the idea gained enough traction to make it into a book thirty years later.

It’s a late night/early morning at Front Street:

“Man, do I love hanging out with you Grateful Deads! Shee-it, is it a change from Bruce.”

“We run a loose ship here, y’know?”

“Slack sail.”

“Gotta follow the rules in the E Street Band. Number one rule: watch Bruce. You look away for a second, he changes it up, and you miss your cue. One time, Max Weinberg got distracted by a girl in the crowd and missed a tempo change. After the show, Bruce put a hornet in Max’s ear.”

“Kind of a question of the punishment fitting the crime here.”

“Where’d he get the hornet?”

“Now, you see: there’s you two in two lines. Philosophic and practical. Bruce had the hornet in a glass jar backstage, and he also had the tweezers, and no one wanted to ask about it.”


“Mostly, it was fines. Phoning it in onstage? He’d give you this wink and a smile, but it wasn’t really a smile if you knew him: he was pissed and you just lost a hundred bucks.”

“Whaddya think Billy would do if someone fined him a hundred bucks?”

“Like someone in the band fined him for an infraction?”




“Yeah. He would murder.”

“Who, y’think?”

“Let’s not find out.”

“See: there’s Bobby being down-to-earth. You guys are great.”

“You’re great, Clarence.”

“C Dog, I am enjoying the fuck out of our visits.”

“Yeah, me too, guys. We should get a place.”

“Ha! Yeah, we should.”

“Sure, right, yeah.”


“I’m between wives at the moment.”

“–you’re between wives at the moment.”

“So is the Big Man.”

“Can we get one of those globes that opens up to reveal a bar?”

“I have one in storage.”

“Awesome. I’m in.”

According to Mr. Browne and Big Dead’s lies, the plan was abandoned for many reasons, chief–though probably unspoken amongst them being that three aging rock stars moving in together is kinda creepy and sad even for the eighties. Also, you know: someone would die. Shortly after moving in, right?

In reality, Garcia, Bobby, and the Big Man moved into a charming triplex in North Beach where they remain today, even after two of them have died. That’s how strong their bro was.

1 Comment

  1. Not sure how i would feel about a jerry/clarence duet of the big mans 85′ hit “your a friend of mine”, but to be a fly on on that wall……

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