Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: 1968 (page 1 of 2)

Box Office Bomb

Everyone’s friend Corry, the arcane archivist beyond the redoubtable Lost Live Dead and Hooterollin’ Around, sends in this perfect piece of Grateful Dead history: this clipping is from the November 18th, 1968 Eugene Register-Guard and is the first concrete evidence of a lost show that took place two nights before. There is no setlist, nor is there any recording, but there were always rumors of a show that night. Plus, there was a poster.

It looked like this:

“We should go see that band from San Francisco on Saturday night, man.”

“Definitely. Where do we get tickets?”

“The jewelry store.”

“Why?”

“It’s 1968. Nothing makes sense.”

“Oh.”

The past is a foreign country, Younger Enthusiasts.

Anyway, the poster was all there was, and Corry found that by accident. The show’s still not listed on any of the master lists, but that article up top isn’t an article: it’s a magic spell. Arrange the words right and reality changes. This is the nature of magic. Words in this order marry two people; words in that order arrest one. The Riot Act is a magic spell, and so is this article. Where before there did not, now exists 11/16/68.

Ta-daa.

OR

The Grateful Dead had achieved full bushiness of their league even as early as 1968; their bush leagueness had already extended outwards to encompass their fans and, as we see here, their terrorists.

OR

It had to be Bobby. If Billy had picked it up, he wouldn’t have “indicated it was a fake.” He would have chased people around the hall with it, shrieking in mock horror “WE’RE GONNA GO BOOM!”

No, it was Bobby.

“It’s, uh, just some broomsticks.”

“DROP THE BOMB, HIPPY!”

“Oh, uh, hey, Mr. Police Man. I like your gun.”

“PUT THE BOMB DOWN!”

“I told you, man. It’s a dud.”

“Hey, Weir! That an alarm clock?”

“Yeah, Pig.”

“Well, toss it on over! The ol’ Pig forgot to pack his!”

“Oh, sure. Here you go.”

“STOP THROWING THE BOMB AROUND, LONGHAIRS!”

And so on.

What Does The Vox Say?*

Garcia initially chose the Vox amp, but on the way back to 710 Ashbury, it blew a motivator. “Hey, what are you trying to push on us?” he said to the Jawas. Bobby pointed out that he had worked with the Fender before, and that it was in prime condition.

OR

Insouciant. It means “indifferent,” but it’s French, so it means “indifferent in a sexy way.” That is the fashion in which the woman on the right is carrying her purse. Insouciant.

OR

Is that Mickey’s stupid hat behind the blonde?

OR

Hot Take: Robert Palmer>Steve Winwood.

OR

Best thing Steve Winwood ever did was this:

 

 

*I’m sorry.

 

When A Blind Faith Takes Your Hand

This is either the 23rd or 24th of March, 1968. Traffic was playing at the Fillmore and Winterland that weekend, and they set up their gear for a free show in front of the local hippie-run FM station; Garcia dropped by to jam. (I DARE you to find a sentence more 1960’s than the one I just wrote. I dare you, motherfucker.) Garcia brought Mickey, and Mickey brought his stupid hat.

Anyway, you can go read the story on Hooterollin’ Around. I know it posted it yesterday, but fuck it: I was just that entertained by this well-researched and deeply strange post. Besides the free gigs in front of radio stations, and the famous flatbed truck show during the Haight Street Fair, and the Disneyland gig (!), there was this:

In a better, purer world, the Dead served as Chuck Berry’s backup band those nights. Well, they did for the first night.

A Partial and Loose Timeline of the Weekend the Grateful Dead was Chuck Berry’s Band:

  • A month before the show, Bill Graham hires the Dead for the gig, giving them a list of Chuck’s songs and a pep talk about rehearsing and show biz and then he and Phil started yelling at one another.
  • The Dead do not learn any of the songs.
  • The night of the show, Chuck Berry arrives alone in a rented Cadillac ten minutes before curtain time.
  • Bill Graham pays him in cash.
  • He exits the Cadillac.
  • With five minutes until lights up, half the Dead is almost ready; the rest are missing, too high to function, or wrist-deep in skank.
  • Bill Graham corrals the Grateful Dead, much like a border collie with sheep, but if the sheep were surly and sarcastic.
  • There is a crisis: Billy cannot get his hand out of the skank.
  • The crisis is averted: a sneeze is induced in the skank and everything opens right up.
  • The Dead take their places.
  • Chuck Berry enters.
  • “Why the fuck are there so many people up here?”
  • “Hi, Mr. Berry. I’m Bob.”
  • “Shut the fuck up.”
  • Chuck Berry says “Maybelline in E flat.”
  • The Dead play Johnny B. Goode in G.
  • Chuck Berry calls out “No Particular Place To Go” in A flat.
  • The Dead play Johnny B. Goode in G.
  • This is the point at which the fistfight broke out.
  • The Flaming Groovies were called into service for the second set, and the following two nights.

The Low Spark Of Tie-Dyed Boys

Is it humid?

“Yeah, man. It’s fucking humid. Leave it alone.”

You look like Rob Tyner.

“I told you to leave it.”

Is that Steve Winwood?

“Yeah.”

Cool.

Okay, Read Ahead!

For your literary and historical pleasure, Enthusiasts, TotD presents a reading list designed to edify, educate, and entertain. First up because it deserves to be first is an always-welcome new post on Hooterollin’ Around that details the Dead’s whereabouts in the first half of 1968. Adventures! Business ownership! Flatbed trucks! A guy named Toody! This one’s got everything, ladies and gents.

Well, almost everything. At one point, Corry–he writes the damn thing, you know Corry, he’s a good egg–relates the story of Garcia and Bobby (with Bobby on bass!) playing a protest gig outside of San Quentin; he alludes to a picture of the event, but does not post it.

I helped. I am a historian now. I have credibility.

Stop it.

So, yeah: in 1968, rock bands were allowed to set up outside maximum-security prisons and jam. This was a regular occurrence; it was in protest of the death penalty in California. Enthusiasts will note that there is now no death penalty in California. Ipso facto: the Grateful Dead brought down the death penalty via the power of rock and roll. I would like to present this opinion as an academic paper at next year’s Dead Scholars conference.

This picture can also be used to give paper cuts to, or jam up the ass of, any of those little ticks that say, “The Dead weren’t a political band, maaaaaaaan.”

(Can you imagine if a band tried this bullshit today? Like if Run The Jewels set up outside Leavenworth? The cops would shoot them in their faces before the first chorus, and then the gold-plated tin dictator would cheer. “They were disrespecting our jails, which are just like the troops. Cops did their job! Flag!” For all the talk about The Man back in the old days, you were allowed to get away with an astonishing amount of foolishness.)

This next one isn’t so much an article as it is a picture, so I’ll just show it to you and cut out the middle man:

That is a Slingerland Songster, Enthusiasts, and that–not the “log” guitar made by Les Paul–was the first commercially-available solidbody electric guitar. It kind of looks like Peanut, Garcia’s short-lived experimental Alembic from ’71, and there is another point of comparison. Like Garcia’s guitars, this sucker was pricey. Slingerland sold the axe, a hard case, and a little amplifier for $150 in 1939. Which means it cost $2,500. Unsurprisingly, the Songster failed to catch on.

Finally: the story of the monkey and the engineer, Australian South African style. Trust me.

Pic Of A Pic Of A Pig

Oh, Garcia, no. You are not a pirate, Garcia. Put them boots inside them trousers. Your buckle does not swash like that, Garcia.

Caption Contest

Whatcha got?

Fair-Leather Friends

“SOMEONE DONE GAVE ME A YOUNG BOY.”

Oh, not two days in a row.

“AH HAVE ALREADY BEGUN TO RAISE HIM IN THE TRADITIONAL PRESLEY FASHION.”

Which is?

“AH PULLED HIM OUTTA SCHOOL AND BOUGHT HIM PROSTITUTES OF VARYING ETHNICITIES.”

That’s not how you raise a kid.

“HOW ELSE WILL HE KNOW HOW TO MAKE LOVE TO A CHICANA?”

That kid shouldn’t be making love to anything or anyone. He should be asking Santa for a Red Ryder BB gun.

“BB GUN? HELL, NAW. GOT HIM AN UZI.”

Please stop buying weapons and whores for children, Elvis.

“AH NEED A MALE HEIR. SOMEONE MUST CONTINUE MAH NAME, AND ALL OF MAH PHILANTHROPIC EFFORTS.”

What philanthropic efforts?

“EMPLOYING CHARLIE HODGE.”

Sure.

“NOT A LOTTA PEOPLE C’N AFFORD A FULL-TIME SCARF-AND-WATER MAN.”

Elvis?

“YEAH?”

King?

“UH-HUH?”

That kid looks fucking terrified.

“WHA?”

“OH, NO! YOU RIGHT, BOY! AH MUST HAVE GIVEN HIM MAH HEEBIE-JEEBIES!”

Not a thing.

“SOMEONE CALL DR. NICK.”

NO! Do NOT call Dr. Nick.

“DR. NICK IS A LICENSED PEDIATRICIAN.”

He is not. Not at all.

“DRIVER’S LICENSE COUNTS.”

Elvis, we need to take a break.

“YOU’LL BE BACK.”

I know.

A Pig Out Of Time

pigpen jerrt fuzzy organ 68

Hey, Pig. Whatcha doing?

“Don’t you ‘Hey, Pig’ me, punk! The Pig’s out here sweatin’ and frettin’, tryin’ to make it right for the boys and girls out there so they can MAKE IT, and you come around here, what, once a month? Say ‘Hey, Pig’ every four weeks?”

Aw, Pig.

“Wait! I know what you are now! You’re a period!”

Hey, man.

“Monthly menace! Get what you need and skedaddle back to that brokedown present o’ yours! That’s your game!”

Pig, that is not my game. I have no game.

“That’s what all the ladies say, too!”

Pig.

“Aw, the Pig’s just pulling your leg a li’l bit. Didn’t mean nothin’ by it.”

You could visit, y’know. You have access to a Time Sheath. Brent’s here all the time. Had to chase Garcia out of Soldier Field at least twice.

“Nah. I’ve taken a look, and you done fucked up damn near everything! Fightin’ in the streets and hatred in the air!”

That was going on in your time, too.

“That’s what I’m sayin’! Supposed to get smarter, aintcha? World’s doin’ the exact same bullshit fifty years along! Enough to put a Pig in his cups!”

Well, it didn’t take too much to do that, did it?

“Heh, no. You know the ol’ Pig’ll take a drink.”

Yeah.

“Besides, ain’t no place for a bluesman no more. When’s the last time you saw one out in the wild?”

Been a while.

“Yeah.”

Pig?

“What now, you scribblin’ simp!?”

Why are you guys so blurry?

“Don’t be puttin’ that on the Pig! Your magic typewriter done goofed us all up!”

Yeah, could be.

לֹא תַקִּפוּ פְּאַת רֹאשְׁכֶם וְלֹא תַשְׁחִית אֵת פְּאַת זְקָנֶךָ

mickey mustache twirl 68

Hey, Snidely. Whatcha doing?

“Tying women to things.”

Railroad tracks.

“No. Other things.”

Whatever. Question.

“Shoot.”

What’s it like being the only Jew in the Grateful Dead?

“Simcha Torah is very lonely.”

Sure.

“I’m the only one who eats the hamentashen, so I get fat every year.”

Okay.

“Sometimes when Billy’s drinking, he’ll point out ovens to me.”

That’s crossing a line.

“Probably, yeah. Ya gotta remember: I’m not the Jewiest Jew that ever Jewed. I like the outdoors and blowing shit up and getting in fights: I’m more like an Israeli than a Jew.”

Non-Jews will not see the distinction.

“Fuck ’em. Although I did teach Phil about Kabbalah.”

What do you know about Kabbalah?

“Nothing. But Phil knows less. I tied some yarn around his wrist, slapped some bacon out of his hand, and charged him a grand.”

Nicely done.

“Oh, I also did a klezmer album, Keepin’ it Kosher with Mickey?”

How did it do?

“The album was never released.”

The people need to hear it.

“They probably don’t.”

No.

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