Thoughts On The Dead

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

[Sic] Show

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Rareness abounds in this shot: Peanut makes an appearance, and the ultra-hyper-mega-super-rare tie-dyed Bobby.

Also: what the fuck? Please explain the greengrocer’s apostrophe. I don’t understand anything about what that is. (After the most minor of research, it seems that the opening act was called Michael and the Messenger’s [sic] and Pig was borrowing the organ. Which just brings up more questions. This was 3/21/71 at the Exposition Center in Milwaukee (only that partial AUD exists) and they had been on a mini-tour of the Midwest; did they not bring Pig’s organ? How did they break that to Pig when they were leaving for the airport? Did Pig threaten to hogtie anyone in retaliation?

And what the fuck to Michael, too. Was that sign printed seconds before the show, with no time to correct the mistake? Michael and the Messenger’s [sic] were a local Milwaukee band (I’m assuming) and back then a local band would play high school dances, and high school dances have chaperones: was not one of these chaperones an English teacher? Or any sort of teacher, really? Or a bright student? Or an average student?

I’d walk out. If I went to see your band and you fucked up the language that badly, I would lose faith in your ability to rock. Bands are allowed to spell their names wrong deliberately, or employ the superfluous umlaut, but they may not make errors in grammar or punctuation within their names. That’s a rule.


  1. Maybe it was done to represent the owner of the organ. Maybe it is just Michael and he plays an organ that belongs to the messenger. Maybe

  2. Poor Pig, that shot is ridiculous

    • This is pretty fascinating, if you’re me. Generally speaking, when the Dead used a different organ in the early 70s, it was because the rented Hammond had been repossessed. Such things were common in the Lenny Hart era, but I wasn’t aware of that happening in the Sam Cutler era.

      It’s also possible that the Milwaukee show was a late addition, and the organ was only supposed to be rented through March 20 (Iowa Fieldhouse). Maybe they just winged it, and talked the opening band into letting them use their keyboard, since they had already sent back the Hammond the night before.

      I am with you on the apostrophe. You are a true Philologist, which is not (as you have stated) what everyone thinks it is.

      • I just read the Archive reviews. Another very likely possibility is that the band knew a big mess was coming, and sent the organ to the airport in advance, or just left it in the truck. If you are precarious enough, you can always tuck a Peanut guitar under your arm and run for it, but Hammonds aren’t like that.

        Note that the story says that Jerry was very affable and gave all the local bands advice. Don’t underestimate him–that may have been a setup for “can we borrow your keyboard?”

  3. When I was reviewing hardcore (music) shows for a newspaper in the 90s, I interviewed one of the members of an NYC band called Merauder. Toward the end of the phoner, I asked whether they had spelled the name wrong to avoid being confused with another band or for other reasons. Awkward silence ensued from the other end of the line.

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