Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: 1978 (page 1 of 10)

I’d Walk A Mile On A Camel

Hey, how’s it going?

“Me, man?”

Not you, Garcia.

“Are you talking to me? Because I have a great story about Coach Wooden and the difference between lava and magma.”

Not you, either, Bill Walton.

“MRRRAAAAAAGHCCCCHHH.”

Not you, camel.

“Is me?”

Yeah. How you doing?

“Okay, mister.”

What’s your name?

“Idir.”

Howdy. I’m TotD.

“TotD? Is not name.”

It’s a nom de plume.

“Okay.”

A pen name.

“Okay.”

You’re just saying “okay” and smiling, aren’t you?

“Okay.”

Awesome. So, what’s the deal with this? You lead tourists around for a living?

“Naam. White people come. Put on camel. Walk around. White people down. Eat. Very exciting them.”

You like your job?

“Is a living.”

Sure.

“Most money on side.”

What do you mean?

“Hashish.”

Right.

“Beard man and friends good customers.”

I bet.

“Who they?”

The Grateful Dead. They’re a band from California. You know what California is.

“Jews and whores on beach.”

Yeah, that’s it. They play choogly music.

“Please. What is jooooguhl?”

Choogle.

“I no can say. Move past.”

Sure.

“Why band in Egypt?”

Because the pyramids are sacred and geomantic power and ley lines and secret histories and the Illuminati.

“Is white bullshit?”

Yes.

“Okay. Why is mustache man punch camel in dick?”

Oh, that’s Billy. He does that.

“Camel get mad.”

I would imagine.

Paint It Bob, You Devil

“People don’t know this, but I am a longtime youth basketball ref.”

You’re not.

“Gotta keep ’em off the streets. No such thing as a bad kid, just one that needs some coaching up. And, you know, no one coaches better than a ref.”

None of that made any sense.

“The kids call me Double Dribble.”

No, they don’t. Why?

“It’s the only rule I’m familiar with. Turns out basketball is complicated.”

Sure. The whistle is for Truckin’, Bobby.

“No, it’s too small. And there’s no engine.”

Not trucking. Truckin’. The song. You enjoy starting it with a blast from the whistle.

“Ah.”

Weird that you didn’t remember that.

“Hey, I don’t remember the lyrics half the time, either.”

Okay. Have a good show.

“We do. It’s, uh, Duke ’78. This is a hot one.”

How do you know that?

“Time Sheath.”

Jesus.

I Spy With My Little Eye…

  • Classic iPod. (Behind Mrs. Donna Jean.)
  • Amazon Echo. (In between Mrs. Donna Jean and Garcia.)
  • Two iPads. (To the left of Billy and Mickey.)
  • Phil’s booty. (Behind Phil.)
  • Precarious Lee’s handiwork. (Bottom left.)

Precarious?

“Yo.”

Is that a humidor?

“On top of the monitor?”

Yes.

“Nope. Ashes.”

Human ashes?

“Yup.”

Whose?

“Don’t worry about it.”

Is that secure? That angle is rather…

“Precarious?”

Exactly.

“It’ll be fine.”

Will it?

“Should be.”

Your words don’t fill me with confidence.

“I duct taped it.”

Oh, well, then it’s fine.

“I know.”

I was being sarcastic.

“I know. Don’t care.”

Tomb

He did not get a pyramid. He could have; pyramids are legal and obtainable, but they are a special order. The funeral director doesn’t have any in stock.

He was not buried at sea, nor in sky. He was not shrouded, dumped, eaten, shit out.

There is no tombstone. No inscription telling passersby of his deeds and affiliations. There is no grave, so teens have nowhere to take acid and fuck and pilgrims have nowhere to pilgrimage.

O, wouldn’t that site be a sight?

They cremated him. The oven is attached to multiple furnaces, as the process requires temperatures of 1,800 degrees. Time depends on body mass. What is left is not the fine powder that characters in movies always wind up throwing into each others’ faces, but a chunky, off-white pile that might be mistaken for cat litter.

Half went in the choppy sea off the coast of Marin County. The other half went in the Ganges, which is holy to Hindus. He was not Hindu.

San Francisco Bay empties into the Pacific; the Ganges into the Bay of Bengal and then past Indonesia and Australia until it, too, reaches the Pacific.

There’s Always One More

Here you go, Enthusiasts: this is my contribution. Previously, there were three pictures of Bobby in various stages of bunnification; now there are four. (I always figure if I haven’t seen a photo, then most haven’t. If that comes across as arrogant, well: consider the topic. It’s like bragging about Magic the Gathering. And plus I didn’t even claim to be the best at it, so it’s like bragging about coming in sixth at a Magic the Gathering tournament.)

The Grateful Dead, Younger Enthusiasts, didn’t do a lot of teevee. Possibly because the first time they were booked on a show, Playboy After Dark in 1969, they ended up dosing the entire building. But it also makes sense: there weren’t too many televised venues for any rock music back then. There was Ed Sullivan in the 1960’s, and the Smothers Brothers for a year or two, but after that the opportunities dried up. Pop stars were all over the dial, obviously, but not rock. Johnny Carson didn’t book bands at all until much later in his run. There was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, and that was about it.

And then, in 1975, came Saturday Night Live. They had rock bands on, good ones and wild ones and sometimes things would go terribly wrong, which was horribly entertaining, and they had very hip taste. Tom Waits was on in 1977, and Sun Ra in ’78. The first four musical guests in ’78 were the Stones, Devo, Frank Zappa, and Van Morrison. (Zappa was actually the host, and that went precisely as well as you’d assume. It turns out that “doing sketch comedy with stoners” wasn’t in Frank’s toolbox; he and the cast hated each other by the end of the week.)

Week five was the Dead. The comedy writers Al Franken (who is now a Senator) and Tom Davis (who is now dead) were massive Deadheads and lobbied Lorne Michaels to book the band. He didn’t want to–the Dead were not very cool at the time, and certainly not Lorne Michaels’ New York-centric version of cool–but one has to believe that Al Franken can wear you down. Lorne must have liked them because he had them back the following year, and even let Billy be in a sketch.

Look:

Told you.

Contrary to Frank’s Zappa’s surliness, the Dead are affable fellows (and Mrs. Donna Jean) and made friends with the cast; Belushi and Ackroyd would do their Blues Brothers routine at Winterland with the band the night they closed the place down.

Phil may or may not have gone to town on Lorraine Newman.

Balloony, Tunes

They ran a tight ship.

OR

It’s past that kid’s bedtime.

OR

Rarest Phil of all: baseball cap Phil.

OR

Could the giant speaker be any closer to Keith’s head? When he died, how deaf you think he was on a scale of one to Mickey?

OR

On New Year’s, Precarious always amused himself by getting the newest member of the crew to look for the “heavy helium” to fill the balloons with.

OR

Seriously, why is Phil wearing a hat?

So Many Rhodes

Precarious?

“Yo.”

What’s the little one on the left?

“Donna.”

Not the little person. The small wooden box on top of the monitor.

“Humidor.”

Obviously.

OR

Keith’s posture can be used to calculate Pi.

Those Daring Young Men In Their Flying Machines

Presented without comment.

Gong, Show

bobby-donna-campus-stadium

In the distance, where the hills ran parallel to the stream of frissile blue water his best goat drowned in summer last, there were Comanche; The Guitarist had seen them, once, outside of a town whose name was unknown to him. The fierce horribles, gnashing ghastlies in mufti and chaps; some naked, and painted, not with paint; one had a stovepipe hat and a slavewoman’s ass for a saddle; blood-eyed mustang unsaddled madness in the red-specked snow of a winter that doesn’t belong to the white man around here.

And Mrs. Donna Jean thought, “Oh, not this shit again.”

OR

We’ve got ourselves an old-fashioned chin-off, Enthusiasts.

OR

Aw, they gave Bobby the clavés.

OR

This is another pic from FoTotD Ste4ve (pronounced Stuh-FOUR-vuh) and maybe if you say nice things to him in the Comments Section, then there will be more. or maybe not: people with numbers in their names are often squirrelly, as exemplified by New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee. That woman’s squirreliness is off the charts.

Over/Under

band-12278-double-shot

Game time, Enthusiasts! There are seven small differences between these two photos: can you spot them?

Also: the day Bobby bought those trousers was the happiest day of Creepy Ernie’s professional and sexual life.

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