Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: brent mydland (page 2 of 12)

Rock, Band

I’d not seen this shot before. The other more famous and widely-circulated frames from this roll of film, yes, but not this one. Any day, any day at all, you could wake up and meet your true love, or step in front of a Honda, or you might see a picture of the Grateful Dead you’d not before.

There’s always a reason to wake up.


Get out of the picture, Rock.


Spot the Heineken(s).

Mick, Thick, Hick



Stop it.


Knock it off.

Fat Phil had a phat ass.

This is unpleasant.

Well, for all but five years out of life, Phil has been rail-skinny and had no butt whatsoever.

True, but still.

If Phil’s body were a set list, then you would write it “legs>back.”


No butt.

We all got it.

But here he’s got a Heineken heinie.

And bearded Mickey.

Bearded Mickey is terrifying. Scariest of all Mickey’s iterations.


By The Numbers

Today, as you may know, is the birthday of both Brent Mydland and Jeff Chimenti. Enthusiasts being given to flights of a metafantastical nature, and the occasional occultishness, this has been seen as Meaningful. Maaaaaan. There is, of course, no deeper meaning to any Grateful Dead’s birthdays: they were born when they were born. (Except for Mickey. His birthday is Meaningful.)

But neither is this synchronicity strictly serendipity: it is no coincidence that there are two Grateful Deads with the same birthday. It is math.

To calculate the odds of two people in a group having the same birthday, you have to kinda work backwards a little. There’s 365 days in a year (let’s not bring Leap Year babies into this), so the probability of two people not having the same birth date is 364/365, which works out to better than 99%. Introduce another person, and the odds are 363/365, which you multiply by the first fraction. This makes your chances better, and because multiplication is magic, your odds hit even money very quickly: you don’t have to get too many people in a room before two will have the same birthday. It’s math.

There are two Grateful Deads with the same birthday because there have been so many Grateful Deads. Although, the fact that they’re both keyboardists is fuckin’ spooky, man.

A Rare Photo Of Brent Mydland As A Baby


Happy birthday, Brent.

Six By Nine


Number four, the first one in the second row, that one makes me sad: Phil and Billy used to be friends, or at least buddies, or at least friendly enough to drunkenly paw at one another during photo shoots.

Plus, if you read the images as a story, then the story is about Mickey enjoying cocaine.

On A Lighter Note


Your hat is enormous.

“It’s hat-sized.”

Every hat is hat-sized. Everything is itself-sized.

“No. Some things are bigger on the inside. Your basic Bag of Holding.”

Garcia’s Briefcase of Infinite Felonies.


Nothing. Does your neck tire?

“From the hat?”

And its enormity.



“Move on from the hat.”

It’s very big.

“It must be. A hat is a cape for your head.”

I disagree with your premise.

“Pretend you do.”

I agree with your premise.

“A cape must be at least knee-length, preferably to the mid-calf or ankle. A small cape is not a cape: it’s a backwards lobster bib.”

You have strong feelings on capes.

“Cloaks, too.”

Noted. How would the world be different if we hadn’t adopted the seven-day week?

“The song Eight Days A Week would make no sense”


“Calendars would be either wider or narrower.”


“God would be confused.”

When to rest?


Shouldn’t confuse God.

“Not that iteration, at least. Old Testament God was a mean fuck. Never baffle bastards.”

Rarely rewarding. Could you keep a small animal friend in your hat?

“Now you’re annoying and I’m getting my boyfriend, who is a dead keyboardist in a Furry costume.”




Stop yelling.

“There’s always yelling in this part.”

Brent, what are you doing?

“Grabbing some pussy, brother.”

I hate everything about all of this.

Don’t Shoot, You’re Just The Keyboardist


Hey, Brent. Whatcha doing?

“Drinking with a gun!”

Oh, that should end well.

“Up to everyone else, isn’t it?”

Brent, what’s your favorite part of doing the laundry?


How do you make laundry an enjoyable task?

“You fucking with me?”

Brent, what’s your laundry pet peeve?

“I’m gonna shoot you, dickhead.”

What’s your proudest laun–


We’re done.

Center, Left



Oh, get the fuck out of there.

“Stole the Time Sheath.”

And used it for this?

“Been drinking.”


“Hey, look: the Secret Serv–”




(Unless otherwise noted, all the ‘shops are done by Spencer from the Comments Section, and you should either thank or excoriate him, depending on your reaction to what he’s created.)

America Del Surly

The big groups all toured South America, the harder rocking members of the music industry mostly. There had to be a Brazilian version of The Eagles; every country has their own sappy bullshit, so why import another culture’s? KISS or Queen, though, could sell out stadiums down there: South Americans love it loud, and they enjoy when others rock them.

Which is why the Grateful Dead’s ’81 tour through Brazil, Argentina, and several other countries that Billy had to be discouraged from referring to as “Lower Mexico” is such a mystery. The concept, the agreement by the band to do it, actually getting them on the planes (and in 1981 it took a series of increasingly smaller planes to get anywhere in South America), the bookings: everything, really. To this day, no one knows whose idea it was in the first place, but lately people have been blaming Brent.

Thankfully, the original idea of driving down was nixed, even though it took a few days to explain to Bobby that the Darien Gap was not a clothing store. Mickey pushed hard for the overland journey, wanting to record indigenous drums and native cymbals and hopefully a half-civilized tambourine or two; he hoped to locate and capture on tape drums never before seen or heard, and then he would have the right to name those drums when he wrote up the article for the Journal of American Drumming. (Mickey was planning on naming the newly-found drums after his penis.)

The plane landed safely in Guatemala and Phil asked, “Why are we in Guatemala?”

To which Billy replied, “Because we’re touring South America, shitbird.”

“That’s unnecessary.”

“It’s been a long flight.”

“To Central America. The flight has only been to Central America. We’re supposed to be on a South American tour.”

“South, Central: what’s the difference?”

“Location. Location is the difference.”

“Ah, stop being such a Phinicky Phil, shitbird.”

And then there was a fist fight on the plane in Guatemala; Garcia got conked in the head by accident; he was in a foul mood about it for days. After consulting both the itinerary and a map, it was determined that Guatemala was, in fact, not where they thought it should be, which led to a vote of “no confidence” in both Guatemala and the map. The plane took off again, pointed downwards.

45 hours later, the Grateful Dead touring party landed in Buenos Aires, where there was a press conference for them. Billy was given a microphone, because otherwise he’d start swinging chairs around, and kicked off the question-and-answer session by thanking the Argentinians for being so welcoming.

“People have been so nice, you would think we were escaped Nazis!” Billy said and then they were all immediately thrown out of the country.

From there it wasn’t on to Chile, as it had been decided by everyone to skip the country: in the very beginning of the planning process, someone mentioned hitting Chile, and Bobby said, “We should bring sweatshirts,” and everyone in the room realized they would be hearing variations of that one for months to come, so it was tacitly agreed to never bring up the place again.

After that was Brazil, where they do not speak Spanish because a Pope drew a line on a map in the 1500’s. What Brazilians do have in common with the rest of the continent is a philosophy in stadium-building: as big as a Midwestern city. They are built so large because the architects want to give the peaceful sections of the crowd somewhere to run to once the riot breaks out. In Paraguay’s largest stadium (El Stadio Grande de Paraguay), any given Tuesday night will see four futbol matches and two unassociated riots going on at the same time.

The MaracanĂ£ hold 78,241 people. The Dead sold around three thousand tickets, and the place seemed kind of empty, but the crowd rioted anyway. The band did make at least one fan, who showed his appreciation the traditional way: chucking a lit flare at Bobby during Estimated.

Venezuela was next, but no one wanted to go and everyone hated South America and Brent, who they were blaming the whole thing on, so the plane stopped in Colombia even though the flight logs do not say that it did and the tour was never spoken of again.

The Dread Pirates, Brentbeard and Nobeard

phil pirate hat brent

Hey, guys. Whatcha doing?

“Day drinking.”


We’re done.

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