Thoughts On The Dead

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

Stand-Up Guy


Learn something new every day, Enthusiast, and if you don’t believe me, then let’s go to the videotape:

This is from ’99 at Red Rocks, and that’s Jackie Greene sitting down while he plays, which is not okay. The only guitarists allowed to sit when they play are ancient bluesmen and Jeff Healy. If your foot is broken or something, you may sit; there appears to be no injury to the young man. I don’t accept that playing an acoustic guitar gives you license to recline like some sort of pasha. In fact, acoustic guitars are lighter than electric guitars, so it should be easier to remain upright, and don’t give me any bullshit about how you can’t put a strap on the thing: if Willie Nelson can, then so can you.

But, yeah: Phil on upright. I vaguely recall one of the books (or maybe something on the innertubes: all the Dead stories roll into one) that Phil was thinking about playing an upright for the 1980 acoustic sets, but forgot to buy one or something and ended up standing in the back playing slightly fewer notes than normal on his normal bass.

Phil, and his upright skills, are inaudible in this video. From looks alone–and bear in mind that I am no musician–it maybe kinda sorta looks like he has no idea what he’s doing. Maybe it sounded great! Could’ve! Totally could’ve! But if you’re only using your eyes? Not a clue.


  1. Can Spencer put some knobs and some LED’s on that standup?

    Give it the full Analog Alembic, plus some LED’s to bring it into this century.

  2. Mean, Green, Devil Eating Machine

    October 11, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Bobby Fripp sits.

  3. Are you sure this is from 99? That has all the tell tale signs of phone recording.

  4. Trainspotters recall that Phil played acoustic standup bass on some track on Aoxomoxoa, but even this trainspotter doesn’t recall which one

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