Thoughts On The Dead

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

Showing Brent The Way

band brent first show

This is from Brent’s first show, 4/22/79, at UC San Jose State. (Go Banana Slugs.) It was so nice of the other Grateful Deads to dress up for the occasion.

Assorted thoughts:

  • Two clean-shaven, two full beards, two mustaches: that means something, I’m sure of it.
  • Phil’s monitor was chilly.
  • Speaking of mustaches and Phil: while we do have a firm grasp on Garcia’s mustache timeline, we haven’t quite pinned down the start and end dates for the rarest period in all of Grateful Dead history – the brief moment when Phil was the fattest guy in the band.
  • The only other photo I know of in which Garcia and Phil exchange places on the chubometer is this one:
  • jerry bobby phil fat backstage
  • This must be from ’79, too: Phil got larger than this, peaking in the mid-80’s when he cut back on the Heineken, but from ’80-’82, Garcia put on at least a hundred pounds and was never challenged for his title again.
  • Bobby looks like he is starring in the direct-to-video feature American Gigolo 2: On The Gigolowdown.
  • How involved is Mickey?
  • Actually, there’s two questions nestled within that larger query:
  • How involved does Mickey think he is?
  • How involved is he really?
  • All of us–all us adults–know that the Wall was a ludicrous invention, and it broke the band’s back, but God it looked grand.
  • It was a feast for the senses.
  • The Dead in 1979 was not a feast for the senses.
  • Bunch of mangy dudes and Peter Potato Salad over there.
  • Although in defense of Bobby, he was the only thing to look at, so he felt like he had to put in extra effort.
  • “Drum store? What’s the biggest drum you got?”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • “Bigger than that.”
  • And so on.
  • Look: it’s Brent.


  1. Luther Von Baconson

    April 29, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Spartans, no? UCSC Banana Slugs

    i wanna give Phil a Krafty when i see that pic

  2. Phil looks like a chubby Gretzky in that bottom pic.

  3. I know when I am being trolled, and yet I cannot stop myself–the sign of an expert troll.

    San Jose State University (SJSU), established 1857 in downtown San Jose, has the mascot of The Spartans. Most famous athletic Spartans were from the 1960s, Olympic Sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and tight end Bill Walsh.

    San Jose State has never been part of the University of California system (UC). The UC system includes Berkeley, UCLA and Santa Cruz (who are the Banana Slugs, and have no famous athletes by design). SJSU is part of the separate California State University system, formerly the California State College system.

    In California parlance, adding “State” to the name, even informally, means that it is part of the Cal State system, and UC schools never use “State” in their name. Thus Cal State Northridge or San Francisco State are part of the Cal State system, and UC Irvine or UC San Francisco (a med school) are part of UC.

    OK, ok, there’s “Cal Poly” in San Luis Obispo, but it’s really the California State Polytechnic, but they don’t like framing it that way.

    I went to the Spartan Stadium show, by the way. Brent was not announced or introduced from the stage, or acknowledged in any way. Also, the band’s performance was pretty lame, no matter what anyone tells you.

    The Charlie Daniels Band opened the show, and were OK. Apparently Garcia came on stage briefly to jam, couldn’t find any room to jam and walked off stage. I myself did not see this but a reliable source on my Comment Thread swears it’s true, and I am inclined to believe him.

    • Thoughts On The Dead

      April 29, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Well, now you’re making me feel like Lucy yanking the football away.

      Gonna keep doing it, but now I’m a little guilty about it.

    • occidentalpoppy

      April 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      no “like” button so I have to spell it out…I like your comment

  4. Nowadays, the number of drums onstage fills the role that the Wall used to fill — giving the nice people something cool to look at while a bunch of hippie rock stars tune their guitars and fiddle with knobs.

  5. Everyone knows the Spartan Slug is the mascot of UC San Jose State. Don’t face off against him unless you want to get slimed to death.

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