Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: bill kreutzmann (page 4 of 78)

The Tripps Spelling Bee

“Okay, if the crowd will just settle down then we can go on to our next round. Let’s have the first contestant up. From Atherton, California, Bobert Weir.”

“Bobby’s fine.’

“Hello, Bobby.”

“Hiya.”

“Bobby, your word is whirlicote.”

“I don’t need a coat.”

“Whirlicote.”

“No matter what it does.”

“No, Bobby. The word is whirlicote.”

“Ah. Can you, uh, use it a sentence?”

“Yes. The Duke and Duchess took a whirlicote to the opera.”

“Okay. Can you spell it?”

“I cannot.”

“Then how are you going to know if I get it right?”

“I meant that I can’t spell it for you. I know how it’s spelled.”

“Well, you know: only cuz you have it written down in front of you. Might wanna get off your high whirlicote.”

“Just spell the word, Bobby.”

“B-O-B-B-Y.”

“You missed the comma in between ‘word’ and ‘Bobby.'”

“Huh. Yeah, looks like I did. Do-over?”

“No. You’re out.”

“All right, then.”

“Let’s have the next contestant. This will be Mr. Billiam Kreutzmann from…Mymother? Is that a town? Billiam, where is Mymother?”

“Probably at the bus station with a cock in her mouth.”

“I see what you did.”

“Got you, fucker.”

“Great. Are you prepared to spell your word?’

“Hit me.”

“Skeumorph.”

“Nation of origin?”

“Greek.”

“Is it about butt-fucking?”

“No.”

“Big butt-fuckers, the Greeks.”

“It is an ornament or design representing a utensil or implement.”

“You sure this bullshit’s a word?”

“Yes.”

“S-U-C-K–”

“Wrong! No. You’re done.”

“Blow me.”

“Thank you, wonderful. Next contestant, please.”

“This is one of the most exciting night s of my life, being here with all these wonderful people and enjoying knowledge and learning and celebrating everything good in the world.”

“Please put your arms down, Mr. Walton.”

“Hands up on defense.”

“This is a spelling bee, sir.”

“You play your way, and I’ll play the right way. Now hit me.”

“Choucroute. Would you like me to use it in a sentence?”

“No need. U-C-L-A.”

“Get off the stage.”

“Which way did Billy got?”

“Follow the screams.”

“Usually the best way to find him, yeah.”

“Let’s just get through the rest of this. Next contestant?”

“Set me up one o’ them fancy words, Professor! The ol’ Pig’s ready to do some spellin’!”

“Didn’t you die in 1973?”

“This a spellin’ bee or a damn trivia quiz!? Don’t you worry ’bout who’s dead and who’s not!”

“Fine. Your word is boxbacknitties.”

“That ain’t no word.”

“Yes.”

“Then lay a little bit o’ context on me!”

“Here is the sentence: She’s got boxbacknitties, and great big ennobled thighs.”

“That’s just gibberish. You drinkin’? And if you is, why haven’t you offered the ol’ Pig some?”

“The word is boxbacknitties.”

“Pig! It starts with a B!”

“Mr. Weir, you’ve been eliminated. Please don’t help. Mr. McKernan?”

“B. Um, uh.”

“Mr. Weir, I can see you making an ‘O’ with your arms.”

“Just stretching.”

“Thanks, Bobby!”

“You got it, Pig.”

“I quit.”

Billy’s Back, And There’s Gonna Be Trouble

“Thoughts on my Ass!”

Hey, Billy.

“Summer!”

You look happy.

“Course. Looking at the kid.”

Oh, that’s nice. You two have developed a friendship.

“Nah, fuck that. Every time I see him, I get an enormous check.”

Right.

“And usually a tugger. Not from him, but once from him. Didn’t like it. Kid’s got some paws on him. Made my drumstick look like a chopstick.”

I’m so glad tour has started.

“Here’s some advice: if you wanna think your cock is huge, get a midget to stroke you off.”

Can we talk about anything else?

“We’ve talked about money and skank. What else is there?”

Music?

“Hold on.”

THUMP-THWACK

“Okay. What?”

What was that?

“We’re in the middle of a song.”

I don’t get it.

“Tempos are so slow that I only have to hit my drums, like, once every 20 seconds.”

Ah.

“Sometimes I run down to the casino between beats and make a bet or two.”

What game do you play?

“No game. The bet is how long I can wander around with my dick out before security tosses me.”

Do you win?

“Of course. Everyone has to look at my dick. That’s a solid victory.”

Nice to have you back, Billy.

“Yeah, I’m the shit.”

The Return Of Josh Meyers

Ah, Christ.

“Heeeey, buddy.”

Summer kinda snuck up on me. Thought I had at least another Mayer-free month.

“Nah. I’m in the house. Summer of Douche!”

Fuck.

“You have no idea how many celebrity friends I’m gonna take selfies with, and the ridiculous interviews I’m gonna do, and OH MY GOD am I gonna Snapchat the fuck out of this tour. Got my outfits lined up. You and me, buddy.”

CELL PHONE NOISE

“I hate you.”

Yeah, yeah.

“John Mayer here.”

“I got celebrity friend, too, Hot Dog Dick.”

“Fuck.”

“Obama.”

“That is not President Obama.”

“You no recognize because he wear sunglasses. Is Obama.”

“I don’t want to go through another summer of this, and quite frankly I don’t think the readers want to, either.”

“Why you not in Jewish propaganda?”

“What?”

“Movie. Very long. Band plays song for hours and do drugs and die. You in band. Why you not in Jewish movie?”

“I think you’re talking about Long Strange Trip, and I also think I’m just going to ignore this entire line of inquiry.”

“Was good movie for Jewish movie.”

“Please stop.”

“Hot Dog Dick getting wrinkles in forehead.”

“I could pass for 36.”

“Oh, nooooo. White people show age. Is like white car. See dirt faster.”

“I’m gonna hang up on you.”

“Is okay. I got Obama now.”

“Not Obama.”

“We have all summer.”

“Motherfucker.”

DIAL TONE NOISE EVEN THOUGH PHONES NO LONGER DO THAT

“What did I ever do to you?”

Besides the video with the pandas?

“Besides that.”

I’ll think of something. We got all summer, pretty boy.

“Fuuuuuuck.”

Billy’s Tour Memo*

Good afternoon, everyone. Another summer of this bullshit.

I’d like everyone to read this memo, and for someone to read it to Bobby. These are my new rules, and they must be adhered to if you wish your dicks to remain unpunched.

Yes, I’m talking to you, Black Phil.

There will be no entering my dressing room, tour bus, hotel suite, or isolation pod. NO ONE can come in, unless they have skank and/or cocaine. DO NOT bring me skank and/or cocaine unless invited or it is EXCEPTIONALLY good skank and/or cocaine. I’m talking that Merck shit.

I have rehired Benjy as my security team, and bought him nunchucks. BENJY WILL NUNCHUCK YOU if you enter my personal space without being invited.

This goes for EVERYONE, no matter how pretty they are and how many movie stars they have stuck it in!

You must schedule an appointment. If you schedule an appointment and cancel, then you will be charged for the visit.

I have had my kind and generous nature taken advantage of for TOO LONG. Do not approach me when I am in my tugger chair. Do not compliment me on my favorite red baseball cap. Even if your intent is to say mean things about Phil, YOU MUST HAVE AN APPOINTMENT.

Anyone walking by my dressing room will have a couch thrown at their family.

Do not wait for me in the hallway, or I will have Benjy set you on fire. The nunchucks have flame-throwing capability. If you attempt to walk with me, I will karate chop you in the throat.

YOU MAY NOT TAKE OFFENSE AT THESE RULES. It is for the good of the music, and also I’m just completely fucking sick of all of you people.

All of this goes double for Mickey.

May Allah’s Blessings be upon you,
Billy

*After Steve Harvey’s memo.

Happy Birthday, Billy

“Thoughts on my Ass! Look! I’m in a psychedelic butthole!”

Ew?

“I had a psychedelic butthole once. Went to visit Bear at Lompoc. Keistered in some shit for him, but I sat down too hard. Don’t remember much of the next month.”

What do you remember?

“Skank.”

Sure. Happy birthday, Billy.

“Thanks, man.”

Get any presents?

“Skank.”

Sure.

“I’m tough to shop for. It’s a ‘What do you get the guy who’s plowed everything?’ situation.”

How’d you spend it?

“With my family, of course. Real nice. Quiet dinner at home.”

That’s sweet.

“And later on, I got high and stole a firetruck.”

Not as sweet.

“Chicks dig firemen. Picked up this blonde with a black eye and a purse full of scratchers at the liquor store. Made her puke in the hat and wear it.”

Why?

“It was my birthday.”

That’s just weird.

“Hey, I’ve been banging forever, man. Gotta throw in something new every once in a while to get the juices flowing.”

That makes sense, actually.

“I cycle through fetishes. Every tour is a new thing. Quiz me. Name a tour and I’ll tell you what I was into.”

Okay, uh…The Dead in 2003.

“Orgies.”

Summer, ’92.

“Feet.”

Europe, ’81.

“Deaf chicks.”

Deaf chicks?

“You gotta hear the noises they make.”

Jesus, Billy.

“Mickey taped a bunch of ’em. But, you know, I was very respectful of Deaf culture.”

I’m sure.

“I learned how to sign ‘I’m transitioning to anal.'”

Nice of you.

“Of course, I was usually behind them when I signed it.”

Happy birthday, buddy.

“Here’s to 69 more!”

You’re 70.

“No, I meant–”

We got it.

M.I.T As Well

When dunces give you that “Jerry didn’t want it to be about politics, maaaaaaan,” jive, just remind them the Dead were literally the house band of a student riot. This is 5/6/70 on the Kresge Plaza at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The band was scheduled to play the next night in the gym, but when the kids took the campus in protest of the National Guard murdering four Kent State students, the Dead agreed to provide the soundtrack; they were hidden in the back of a bread truck and smuggled onto the site. (It looks like they didn’t bring Pig’s organ.) It was cold–May in Boston can get wicked chilly–and they had more trouble keeping their guitars in tune than normal, but the set’s got a crackly and wired energy; Dancin’ in the Street is the highlight, which makes sense given the context.

Garcia didn’t do politics because he was terminally passive-aggressive, but the Grateful Dead always chose sides, and it was always the side you’d expect.

Nudie, Nudie Minglewood Blues

Last shot of the Nudie Suits. (Is this Winterland?)

OR

Everybody’s favorite fun game: Spot Precarious Lee’s Work. Here’s a hint: it’s the monitors.

Nudielicious

Here’s another shot of Garcia’s Nudie Suit from behind; the outfit maintains the usual Dead motifs: skulls and roses and bullshit. Nothing says Grateful Dead like skulls and roses and bullshit.

Fuck it, might as well empty out the Nudie Suit library in one easy-to-find place. Here’s Bobby:

Is that a chicken? I think that’s a chicken. Here’s another of Bobby:

The son of a bitch just didn’t have a bad angle.

Say “Cheese.”

“Cheese!”

You look spiffy.

“Flash, baby.”

Awesome. This is Phil:

But you already knew that. (Check out the cowboy boots.)

This is a better shot of the weirdo Strat from late ’72:

This is 12/12, and he also played Numbers (I just named the guitar) on 11/22/72 at the Municipal Auditorium in Austin. We know this from this picture…

and this article.

I gotta be honest with you, Enthusiasts: this research horseshit is not for me. I’m exhausted. The president’s right: facts are for suckers.

And we finish up with a shot featuring both the Nudie Suit and the weird guitar. I brought all the threads together.

And you without a Pulitzer.

I know, right?

Live Nudies

The Nudie Suit experiment has never been properly explained; this sounds like a job for Lost Live Dead. There’s not many pics of The Boys in their suits, and they only wore them for a few shows: one (or more) of the Winterland run in December ’72, and then again at New Year’s. The outfits came out again 2/19/73 in Chicago, and then made their final appearance on 3/19/73 at Nassau Coliseum. (And not even for the whole show: everyone changed during set break.)

Wait, you’re saying. Those sound suspiciously like facts, TotD. You don’t traffic in fact and research.

Stop talking, I’d say, or I’ll throw myself out the window and you’ll never find out how the Little Aleppo story ends.

Wow, you’d reply. That got dark real fast.

And then I’d start crying. Are you happy? Is that what you wanted?

Stop this.

They did it. It’s all their fault.

Who is “they?”

Them.

Just stop it.

Fine. The dates from Winterland and Chicago may be wrong–I’m just going on Archive comments–but the Nassau show is a confirmed event. There is, Enthusiasts, evidence.

Look:

Bobby says in an interview that Garcia had his first, in fact had his before April of ’72 because he brought it to Europe with him (even though he didn’t have the balls to wear it onstage.) After March of ’73, though, they were gone forever. Phil still has his…

…and it still fits. (Phil went a little low-key with his, which I disagree with. What’s the point of a Nudie Suit if it can’t be seen from space?)

Who has Garcia’s? Gotta be worth something, more if it hasn’t been laundered.

But let me start at the beginning: 1902 was a terrible time to be born Jewish in Kiev. There’s never been a good time, but 1902 was worse than usual.

“Izzy?”

“Yes, Schmuley?”

“We should go somewhere where there aren’t Cossacks.”

“What is it with those guys?”

“They just seem to like hitting us with sticks.”

“And kicking.”

“Kicking, too. Let’s go to America.”

“You mean the Land of the Free, a country built on immigration that would never turn away needy and desperate refugees?”

“No, America.”

“Oh, okay. At least there’ll be jobs.”

“Sure.”

And so on.

One of these newly-arrived Jews was a young man named Nuta Kotlyarenko, who renamed himself Nudie Cohn and became a tailor, first in Minnesota where he met his wife Bobbie; they opened a shop in New York selling underwear to showgirls, and then moved to Los Angeles in the 40’s to make Western Wear. Spangles and frills and themes, and the last one is the most important: the key to the Nudie Suit is the theme. Anyone can slap some rhinestones onto a jacket, but a Nudie has a raison d’etre.

Look at this bullshit:

That’s some down-home bullshit right there.

That’s Porter Wagoner (right), and he was the first Country star to start wearing Nudie Suits; in fact, Nudie gave him his first suit for free, thinking it would be good promotion. It was. Soon, every male Country star had to have a Nudie Suit.

Hank Williams had one:

The notes represented his love of music.

Gram Parsons had one, too:

The drugs represent his love of drugs.

Every artist has a masterpiece, and Nudie Cohn was certainly an artist. His greatest suit of all time may have been both his simplest and his flashiest. You’ve seen it before once or twice:

“AH’M BACK!”

No, you’re not. Shh.

Anyway, Nudie Cohn died in 1984, but you can still get “Nudie Suits;” they make periodic comebacks adorning roots-rockers or alt-country acts. (You really can’t wear a Nudie Suit anywhere other than the stage. If you walk into a Taco Bell dressed like this, you will get gorditas thrown at you.)

Circling back to the Dead (this is about the Grateful Dead, remember), we still have many questions. Why would Garcia have had one in the first place? A Nudie Suit wasn’t an impulse purchase, nor could it have been a gift: they were hand-made, so you have to visit Nudie for measurement and fittings, and very expensive. And recall that Garcia got his before everyone else did, so it wasn’t a group decision. Garcia–in an entirely out-of-character move–bought himself a Nudie Suit out of nowhere? None of this makes sense. Bobby was the one who thought he was a cowboy. Someone explain this to me.

Like I said, the rest of the band thought it was a spiffy idea, so they followed Garcia down to the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, where Nudie’s of Hollywood was located, and fancied themselves right up. Bobby and Billy looked like this:

“I was gonna get skank on the legs, but I settled for pot.”

Quiet. This is not a dialogue post.

“Ah, suck my nuts.”

Great.

Even Keith had one, though there’s just this one black-and-white photo of him:

Poor Keith. He doesn’t want to be in a Nudie Suit. He knows he’s not pulling it off. Aw.

Much like the Farewell Shoes, Mrs. Donna Jean was not included. She did, however, wear a very fetching red number when the rest of the band payed dress-up. She looked like this:

Another alternate reality created, another unwritten future. What if they hadn’t learned to write songs? What if they buckled down and rehearsed and continued being the band they were in ’77? What if Brent didn’t die? And: What if they gave a shit about what they looked like?

Alas, it was not to be. The Nudie Suits were put in the closet, and the tee-shirts and jeans came out; in the 80’s, sweatpants and short shorts replaced the jeans. Never again would the Dead have “stage clothes.” But for a moment, they looked bitchin’.

Once You Pop

This is 6/18/67 at the Monterey Fairgrounds. I don’t know if I’ve listened to it; I will now, though. This show was the Monterey Pop Festival, legendary for its unlegendariness (at least as far as the Dead goes). The Boys were scheduled in between The Who (beginning a long inter-band relationship) and Jimi Hendrix (beginning his and Bobby’s best friendship); both acts put on high-volume shows punctuated by instrument destruction, arson, and explosives. In the face of such showmanship, the Dead countered by standing there and playing Viola Lee for 14 minutes.

They also refused to be filmed for the movie, which gives them a perfect record for avoiding being in iconic Rock Films: Monterey Pop, Woodstock, Gimme Shelter. Dead missed ’em all by thaaaat much.

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