Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: 1976 (page 1 of 3)

Always A Dead Connection

Like so many other things, this was John Kahn’s fault. You will recall that in October of ’74, the Grateful Dead pulled the ol’ “fake retirement” trick–one of the hoariest gimmicks in show biz–and now Garcia had no touring money coming in. This is suboptimal for a man with three children and a mortgage, and so Garcia ramped up the Jerry Band. Whereas before, he stuck mostly to the Bay Area and played with locals, now he would take to the road and get some of that sweet, sweet East Coast cash. Those coffers ain’t gonna replenish themselves.

First, he put together the Legion of Mary–his best solo band, hands down–which was Kahn on bass (of course), Merl Saunders on organ and terrible vocals, Martin Fierro on out-of-tune saxophone, and the Greatest Drummer of All Timeā„¢ Ronnie Tutt. Sadly, this combo proved short-lived; Garcia fired Saunders and Fierro (not personally, of course; he let Parish make the calls) and added legendary British pianist Nicky Hopkins. Those big, brutish block chords in Sympathy for the Devil? That was Nicky.

But Nicky wasn’t a road dog like Garcia was: he was unhealthy since he was a kid, and he drank too damn much. He was a chatty drunk, too, and would introduce songs for ten minutes. Plus, according to Ronnie Tutt, he had bad time. (What Ronnie Tutt thought of Garcia’s time, he has kept to himself all these years.) A new keyboardist was needed. Someone reliable, professional, a real team player.

So Garcia hired an insane junkie.

James Booker’s tenure with the Jerry Band lasted a weekend, which makes him the Anthony Scaramucci of the JGB. Quite frankly, I can’t believe Garcia kept him on for the second night. Go listen to the show. Booker overpowers Garcia, and Kahn, with the deluge of music coming from his piano and, even more hilariously, refuses to listen to Garcia in the slightest. Booker cuts off his solos, goes into verses when Garcia starts singing the chorus, and at least once takes over the lead vocal halfway through the song. Also: the tunes end when James Booker says they end, and that’s it. (Every song. Every single song ends with Garcia trying to finish up the song but Booker keeps playing, or he’ll just ripcord out of the song while Garcia is soloing away merrily in the background.)

Was he amused? Pissed? I bet Garcia was pissed. I’ll bet his eyes got darker and darker throughout the evening, and that he made fun of Kahn for the suggestion for years afterwards.

Anyway, this is the 1/9/76 show. There was a second show the following night, and then James Booker was bundled back onto a plane bound for New Orleans. Garcia called up Keith and Mrs. Donna Jean and never hired any geniuses ever again.

The Music Almost Stops

Been forever and ever since an old-fashioned show recommendation, Enthusiasts. Hell, it’s been forever since any of this bullshit was about the Grateful Dead, but 6/26/76 from the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago is a fine topic upon which to revert to bad habits. It is a highly entertaining show.

Note I did not say “good.” This fucker’s a mess, and Music Never Stopped is the high/lowlight: no one quite remembers the arrangement, Bobby has forgotten all the lyrics, and the drummers limp along like a giant who got a dryer stuck in his tennis shoe.

You turned it around.

I turned the phrase around, yeah.

You’re a winner.

I’m a hero. Anyway: the show’s a clumbering pile of clunk, but–like I said–it’s entertaining. This is not the mid-80’s lazy sloppiness: the band is trying! And failing! It’s delightful.

Grade: WOBBLY.

In fact, TotD now presents Things Less Wobbly Than 6/26/76:

  • Weebles.
  • Eugene Debs.
  • Ronald Reagan before Margaret Thatcher told him to stop being wobbly.

Can I just say that I no longer understand anything on this site?

You can say whatever you want, man.

Pete Townshend, Jerry Garcia, And Some Coke

“And then the alien jumps down, right, and eats Harry Dean Stanton.”

“Blimey, Jer. ‘Ow’d you get away, then?”

“Pete, for the third time: this didn’t happen to me.”

“Right, right. Go on.”

“So Sigourney Weaver takes off her clothes for some reason, right? And she’s got on a pair of panties that are, like, not functional. They’re just not big enough to perform the task of underwear.”

“Blimey. Fuck her, didja?”

“Again, Pete: movie.”

“Sorry. Right.”

“And then she blasts the sucker out of the airlock.”

“You guys have an airlock? Where? On your bus?”

“Is Entwistle around?”

“Yeah, but he’s not much of a talker.”

“I would prefer that.”

There’s Always One

Mickey’s demands for the day:

  • Visor.
  • Dead shirt.
  • All the cocaine in the world.

I Can’t Complain

This was the Day on the Green in ’76–well, one of the two days–and Garcia looks skinny, and though you can’t see it in this picture Bobby is wearing either jodhpurs or puttees. Some form of non-trouser pant.

But this is what Roger Daltrey looked like:

“What’s the matter, Weir? You’ve been pouting all day?”

“Well, Jer: you know how I’m usually the best-looking guy in the room?”


“You see Daltrey?”

“Healthy specimen.”

“That’s what I’m saying.”

“It’s just two shows, Weir. Next week you’ll be competing with Billy and Phil again.”

“I guess.”

“Aw. C’mon, buddy. He ain’t that great.”


“I’m not generally one to look at another guy’s crotch, but where’s his potato salad?”

“I see none.”

“Like a Ken doll.”

“You always know what to say, Garcia.”

“You’re my guy, Bob.”

“Can I take my shirt off for our set, too?”

“I will whip you to death with my guitar cord if you remove your shirt, Bob.”


“We’re not that kind of group.”

“We could be.”

“No, we couldn’t. Besides, if you take your shirt off, Billy’ll take his off.”

“That’s no good for anyone.”


Old Friends With Fuzzy Memories

jerry bobby brown 75 weird.jpg

“Um, Jer?”

“Yeah, Bob?”

“What’s, uh…what’s going on behind you?”

“Reality has epilepsy, best I can tell.”

“Like Caesar.”

“Sure. And George Peppard.”

“George Peppard? Huh. Had no idea.”

“Yeah. Caesar, George Peppard, and reality: spontaneously spastic, the lot of ’em.”

“Great big world, Jer.”

“That it is, Bob.”

“I like Josh a whole bunch, but you know you’ll always be my Garcia.”

“I know, Bob.”

A Bush League Of Their Own

The thing about the Bush League is that it’s fun and homey: you can chat with the players, and there’s always great seats. Local high school kids sell undercooked hot dogs and generic cola drinks from the stands out in right field, and there is both popcorn and cop porn. A home run counts for 2.7 runs, or perhaps none at all: the scoreboard belongs to the possums now. In the Bush league, you can steal second or you can embezzle third; there is a Designated Catcher.

And in the Bush League, the Grateful Dead sings the National Anthem every night.

dave's picks 19 screw up

FoTotD Jay Gerland over at The Dead Blog alerts us to the new Dave’s Pick 19, which has been produced using Time Sheath technology, apparently.

The Mothership Is Here

Spaceships, and costumes, and elaborate mythology: P-Funk could be written off as Black KISS, but for the fact that they could actually play their instruments and write songs. (Though a great deal of their material is George Clinton chanting gibberish over a bass ostinato, P-Funk has a lot more “songs” than you’d think, and they’re well-crafted and solid.)

This is the ’76 band on the Mothership Tour. The song from Maggot Brain I posted? This band only has George Clinton and Bernie Worrell in common with the lineup that recorded the classic album from just five years prior; you can tell, obviously, but the sound is still recognizably P-Funk. This is because, among his many other talents, George Clinton could find talent: he couldn’t particularly sing–especially when compared to literally any other vocalist sharing the stage with him–and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play anything, but he was the Jascha Heifetz of hiring drummers.

Check out Bernie on the squiqqly-wiggly solo at 31 minutes in. He looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 5.57.26 PM

Bernie is less blurry in the video, and–presumably–in real life.

You learned how to take screen shots, huh?

Only took six years with an Apple.

And you won an internet slapfight.

Been a good day.

Sure, slugger.

Red Bean, No Rice

jerry red light travis

“Anything that’s not going to hell out there?”

No. Not really, no.

“Leave you people alone for two decades and see what happens.”

A Canadian Ecdysiast

Once again, every Deadhead’s favorite archivist takes to YouTube, via Mount Tamalpais, to tell us about the new Dave’s Pick release. This volume, the 18th in the outstanding series, will be from the 17th of July, 1976. (When you write dates like that, it doesn’t sound like a Dead show; it sounds like a Presidential speech honoring dead people.) It’s a great show from a legendary run (the Orpheum in San Francisco) with the predictably unpredictable 1976 setlist, but let Davie Lemaeiouandsometimesyx explain it to you.

Also: there is a bit of stripping. So, maybe this is a little NSFW, or at least the Canadian version of NSFW, which stands for Not Safe For Winnipeggers. (The collective name for people from Winnipeg is Winnipeggers, but an individual from the city can be referred to as a Winnipeggy-o or a Winnipegasus.)

If you want a CD, they’re $30 over at, where the news of another release from the 70’s has gone down precisely how you would expect.

(Hey, let’s have some fun: someone start one of those dopey petitions to make David Lemieurythmix put out some shows from 1983.)

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