Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: billy (page 1 of 6)

Saturday Night’s All Right For Kung Fu Fighting

After following disco down the rabbit hole, the Dead became infatuated with kung fu movies, and began production immediately on a film project that–against the very laws of nature–produced a negative amount of footage. Not only did they not shoot anything usable for themselves, but Garcia burned down a local movie theater the night before they began; it was a net loss, basically.

Garcia was being played by Sammo Hung. Or he was playing Sammo Hung–a lot of ideas hadn’t been finalized or written down or were any good in the first place. But Sammo was the only fat Asian guy they knew besides Buddha, who was a coke dealer from the Tenderloin.

Keith was really looking forward to the movie, as it would give him a chance to showcase his kung fu. The fact that the strictest definition of kung fu that Keith was capable of articulating was “That Jap shit all the black guys like. It’s far out,” really didn’t factor into Keith’s belief in his own chi and under the tutelage of his Shifu–who was the lump of soiled bed sheets in the corner Keith mistook for a person damn near every night–Keith had invented his own style: Sleepy Possum.

Keith would prepare for the match by ingesting depressing levels of depressants and by the time his opponent got there, Sleepy Possum was in full swing. The rival would gingerly approach Keith, looking around to make sure this wasn’t some sort of trap. They would usually call out, “Hello? Are you all right?” And stand directly over him, maybe a little nudge, tap with the foot.

And then Keith would punch the guy in the dick because it wasn’t Keith: it was Billy employing his Dickpunching Chameoleon stlye! (To be honest, Billy had been disguising himself and/or hiding in order to gain more direct access to his lover, the Cosmic Embodiment of Chaos, Madame Chao herself, who could only be wooed by the sound of a million souls crying out in terror, and Billy, being a canny woo-er of women both Metaphysical and Drunk, was playing this one slowly. That craven climber Tarkin blew up that backwater to impress her, and Madame Chao twirled around the dance floor with him, before slinking away in the middle of the night and leaving that thermal port hatch unlocked. Not Billy’s style: one-by-one, so she would always think about him. And Chaos was always on Billy’s mind, too.)

What was I talking about?

I have quite literally no idea.

Right: Billy becoming a master of disguise in order to more ably punch the dicks he needed to punch.

It’s weird that I understood that sentence.

It was just a trend that Billy was riding out of boredom and laziness. If everyone was going to be into kung fu, then Billy would let them think the dickpunching and disguises were some gay ninjitsu shit or whatever. Later on, in the 80’s, Billy would insist–to the point of violence–that the club they were referring to on his jacket when it declared him a member was the dickpuncher’s club, and he wanted to be in good standing. It’s Billy, what do you want: acceptable human behavior?

Mickey, as would be expected took it from goofy appreciation straight into cultural appropriation. FOR THE FIRST TIME, TotD can reveal that the true reason for the lack of Summer ’77 shows was not that Mickey had broken his arm in a drunken car accident, but that he had decamped to the Shaolin temples, which he though were in Japan. Through a series of escalating incidents in the executive lounges along his connecting flights, Mickey was sold in sex slavery. To be technical, which is what the embassy was in a very rude manner, Mickey might have sold himself into sex slavery. Who you want to believe, a warehouse full of evidence and court documents, or me?

Mickey was trying to learn how to look cool while simultaneously kicking people and wearing pajamas. This is the essence of the Martial Arts, and that’s what Mickey was going for before three shows a night in Bangkok shooting ping-pong balls out of his shoulder-vagina. (mickey has a shoulder-Vagina: look it up.)

Phil showed up the first day of shooting five hours late and surly. He asked for the script, was told there wasn’t one, set his empty down and left.

Haze, Craze And Dazed

The guys hazed the new members a lot. Nobody got called a half-of-any-words, especially not that one, mostly because it wouldn’t have made any sense, even in the backstage’s loose handshake with reality. It would have been funny if one of them had called another one a–

Stop. No. Nothing’s funny about that word.

Which word?

If you just move on, I’ll do the Najinsky, for you, tonight.

Mickey shook Brent down for fifteen grand early in the third keyboardist’s tenure, and it was also for a trip to Vegas, but instead of carousing, Mickey planned to go to Caesar’s Palace and synchronize 64 slot machines’ cha-CHINGs together. He had some vague idea about chess and gambling and India, definitely India, but Brent didn’t have nearly enough money for India and the office had started locking up at night, so Vegas it was. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is against, like, 47 different state and federal laws, and Mickey hadn’t, you know, called ahead or anything, so when the large men came galloping around the corner, Mickey ran like fuck, but Brent got his long, luxurious beard caught in the slot machine handle and he got tackled like fuck. The album would never be released.

Billy punched Vince in the dick a whole bunch of times at first. But no more or less than he did later in Vince’s stint with the band: Vince was in Billy’s presence; Vince had a dick; Billy punched Vince in his dick.

Phil once drunkenly left a voice-mail full of ethnic slurs that didn’t quite fit for Keith, who never got it because he died in 1980. (Seriously, what the fuck is a Godchaux?)

Interns had to run The Gauntlet, and Billy was at the end of The Gauntlet, and Billy kind of was The Gauntlet? And also, there was an actual gauntlet that Billy wore that was just horrible. People came out changed, the ones that came out. Others learned to blossom in the shade, to worship the filth of the NECROMANCY OF RA-MEMTOP.



Maybe time for bed?

Getting there, yeah.

Garcia never hazed a living soul, but he did call everyone who sat at that piano “Johnny Keys” until his death. Which hurt much more than any prank ever could.

Nice recovery.

See That Dog Star Shine


The notable thing is that Bobby is photo-bombing the dog, not the other way around. It’s not even his dog: some random family was at the mall having portraits made of their pet and Bobby burst in and kept lunging into the shot, no matter how many times the photographer said he was going to tell Garcia.

Bobby’s gleeful shouts echoed through the Sears, “I’m a dog, too! Woof!” Security was about to put a forcible stop to the whole thing when an urgent call came in over the walkie-talkie about a man with a mustache rampaging through Menswear punching mannequins where their dicks would be, if they weren’t mannequins.

It was a strange afternoon; no more shopping trips were scheduled for quite a while.

Two Of A Kind

I have moved onto 4/11/78, also at the Fox Theater, which is in downtown Atlanta, on Peachtree. There are, apparently, 140 Peachtree streets, boulevards, avenues, lanes, roads, byways, thruways, terraces, ways, places in Atlanta and this joint may or not be located on one of them. It matters not.

There’s a reason this show isn’t on anyone’s top ten list. Still: better than not listening to the Dead AND listen to Terrapin, ten minutes in: something blows up, cutting off Phil and Bobby, so it’s left to Garcia and Keith to slowly wind the show the show into what will be the first of a number of full-band  (or at least more guys than just Billy and Mickey) Drums.


Billy K. #3

When Billy played, he turned beautiful.

Billy K. #1

Reason number a billion why Billy is Billy: he brought that hat from home.

Mustache, too.

Not Pictured #4

Billy again, this time climbing the Wall to get to a large crow he asserted had–and I’m quoting here–“called him a wop.”

Not Pictured #2

Billy, because he was inside casually removing a 16-year-old’s bra while drinking a Coors Light. Billy didn’t want to play Cowboys & Indians: Billy wanted to play his drums, punch some dicks, and fuck every high school chick he could.

God bless Billy fucking Kreutzmann.

Take Note, Bobby

THIS is how you look cool in an Izod shirt.

Starts And Stops

The Dead could end songs. And by that I mean they had the requisite musical knowledge to properly end a tune, not that they knew when to do it. Also, rock songs only end one of two ways: sudden stop or big loud noise.

Starting songs was a little more difficult. That first riff, the one that most bands labor over to get your attention immediately, that says that this band is a professional band made up of professional people? The Dead weren’t good at that. They figured they had at least four or five bars to get the tempo together, and eight to ten bars for the key. They had, however, all been playing the same song at the same time since the “someone just walk over and tell Keith what we’re playing” policy was implemented.

For good or for ill, the songs were precisely as long as they wanted to be (which means, until Billy got bored). The tempos wandered all over the place, from the glacial ’72 Sing Me Back Home to the skittering, out-of-control ’85. ’85 was like the first ten minutes after you slam crystal, right? And you’re just like UHHHHHHH and then you’re like YEEEEEESSHfuck and–

I’m gonna step in here turn down his volume just a touch and say to everyone out there that Thoughts on the Dead supports living clean, waking up early, and smoothies of all sort.  Under no circumstances should any of you shoot crystal meth. Let’s check back in. 

–and your cock’s like–

Oh, for Christ’s…

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