Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: bruce hornsby (page 1 of 6)

Even A Piano Player Can Shake Hands

“Jerry, wow. It’s such an honor to meet you. I’m a huge fan.”

“Great, great. Where’s my meatball sub?”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re not the kid with the meatball sub?”

“No. I’m Bruce Hornsby.”

“That means what to me?”

“I sing the piano songs on the radio.”

“We’re circling around the point here.”

“The meatball sub.”

“I have my mouth all fixed for it.”

“Do you want me to run and get you a sandwich?”

“Gee, could ya? Here’s a twenty. Get yourself something, too, and keep the change.”

“Um, okay.”

“Great. Be back in under a half hour and you can join the band when Brent dies.”


“Nothing. Hurry.”

Standee On The Mountain

Fun fact: Garcia was pissed. In ’94, the Dead was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Garcia decided not to go for several reasons; the rest of the band had a cutout of him made up and took it to the ceremony. They didn’t run their joke by him; he didn’t think it was so fucking funny; there was yelling.

I learned that fun fact in Susana Millman’s new book, Alive With The Dead, which was BotDs gift to me this Christmas. It’s beautiful, and my copy is signed and came in a very classy slipcase.

Bruce On The Loose





Excuse me.


Hey! Stop this!

Dude, what the fuck? What the fuck, dude? You’re crossing the streams. Italic guy can’t interrupt a dialogue post. It’s tough enough for people to understand who’s talking as it is. Y’see, this universe is narrated by several different “voices,” and which one is speaking is indicated through typography and punctuation. Are you familiar with the concept of semi-fict–

Shut the fuck up. Stop being weird and either write something worth reading, or don’t bother people.


And If All Your Friends Joined The Grateful Dead, Would You Do That, Too?


“Rando War!”

What? No. You missed it by, like, a month.

“Lots happened since then.”

Things move pretty quick in this universe. Hey, Bruce: question.


I read this interview with you where you said you didn’t drink, but your band does and every year or so, you would join them because they thought it was funny.

“Yeah, the guys love it. I get silly real fast.”

Follow-up question.


If your band was all gay, would you blow dudes once a year or so?


What if they were all Italian? Would you lose wars just to make them laugh?

“We’re done.”

I just worry about you sometime, Bruce Hornsby. You’re very susceptible to peer pressure, apparently.

“Stop talking to me and my son.”

That’s your son?

“Brice Hornsby.”


Big, Daddy

bruce hornsby sons


“Made me some good-looking boys.”

Nice work, Bruce. Jesus, how big are they?

“Together, it’s around 17 feet and half-a-ton of Hornsby.”

That’s why you tour so much. You had to feed these behemoths.

“You got no idea, man. It’s like owning an elephant.”

Spacey Space

Haven’t recommended a show in a while, and I certainly haven’t recommended a show in which Vince was the highlight, and I am utterly positive that I’ve never recommended a show in which Vince was the highlight AND the best part of the show was Space, but here we are at 9/16/91 from MSG.

It’s come to this.

It is, however, a spectacular Space that starts with a wheezing and sepulchral hockey organ that–if you’re not paying attention–will scare the shit out of you: it’s a breathtaking two minutes of demonic acoustics. Then there’s a fifteen-minute MIDIthon. Many people, some of them Enthusiasts, shun the MIDI-produced blorps and shmeeps of the era, but they are so wrong. So, so wrong.

(MIDI is a technology that, among other things, allowed you to play a synthesizer with a guitar or any other digital instrument. MIDI stands for Music Is Digital, Innit? It was invented in England.)

Rest of the show is outstanding, and you should listen to it, but Space is the place for this one.

Plus: Bruce Hornsby on GDTRFB.

I Got My Mojo Working Out

Many tales have been told of the Grateful Dead: they’ve been examined from angles musical, financial, sociological, historical, chemical, metaphysical, biographical, academic, and there was a coloring book once. Never, though, has the Dead’s relationship with exercise been detailed, and certainly not with the scholastic rigor I intend to apply to the following bullshit I’m about to make up.

Bobby was the most physical-minded of the group; he cared about the parts of his body that were not his dick or stomach, and engaged in strenuous and joyful fits of exercise, plus many soothing and barefoot yoga sessions. Bobby enjoyed running almost as much as he enjoyed running shorts. In the 70’s, he took up mountain biking, and in the 80’s got into hill biking; the 90’s saw Bobby become interested in riding his bike on flat terrain, and in the 00’s, Ebay was founded, which is where Bobby sold his bike.

Mickey gave Bobby a run for his money, though, and sometimes literally: Mickey liked to combine his athletics with gambling and would often make more money off his impromptu wagering than from a tour. Like Bobby, Mickey took up bicycling for a while, but always preferred his horses, as it was impossible to dose a bicycle.

And here lies a sheer and fatal drop-off in both athletic ability and exercisial enthusiasm. Except for Bobby and Mickey, every Grateful Dead would be picked last and sent to right field. (There are pictures of Bobby playing softball; there are pictures of Garcia watching softball.) You might pick Billy a little higher up if you were playing hockey and wanted to start a fight.

Billy’s exercise came primarily from running amok. Smoothie in the morning, throw a mailbox at a cop around lunch, run through a hospital with a chainsaw before the show, and then finish up the day with cardio (Billy calls anal “cardio”).

The ocean also provides Billy with a chance to stretch, strengthen, and shape up; he has invented something he calls “sharkour,” but is actually just swimming slowly and looking at fish. (You cannot do parkour underwater as there are no benches to vault over, and even if there were, you can’t vault over anything underwater.)

Phil’s idea of exercise was standing up during a blowjob.

The keyboardists were all over the place, as should be expected: Pig did Tai Chi once, by accident; TC did some fancy bullshit, I’m sure; Keith, along with Mrs. Donna Jean, trained in mixed-martial arts and practiced on each other constantly; Brent was the Marin county free-diving champ three years in a row until he was beaten; Bruce beat him; Vince owed his taut tush to ballroom dance.

Garcia always carried his own briefcase, though sometimes it was heavy.

Day Of The Dead Listening Party In Real Time


  • Is it the 80’s again?
  • Are Men Without Hats back?
  • The lead singer has never been in a fight.
  • Who stole my Cavaricci pants?
  • I wanted to wear them with my Capezio shoes and vote for Dukakis.
  • Maybe start a fanzine.
  • Jesus, how much longer is this?
  • I want to get in a fight with this lead singFUCK GOD, NO HARMONICA.
  • Dammit.
  • Good rule of recording: before you release a song, look in the mirror and take off the harmonica track.
  • I will fight this singer and his drum machine.
  • If you took The War on Drugs to a restaurant, they would have many questions about the food, due to their allergies and beliefs.
  • When Garcia sang “That’s really all I have to say,” it was bittersweet, but when this guy does it, it’s the best news you’ve heard in a while.
  • Fuck, he’s scat singing during the outro.
  • And more harmonica.


  • Immediate points off for not using the Oxford Comma.
  • Is Jenny Lewis not singing?
  • Why not?
  • It’s a bar band kinda deal, but it’s too fast: the whole point of Sugaree is the floaty, dreamy tempo.
  • Is the drummer playing like a drum machine, or is the drum machine set to 90% wobble?
  • I’m going to forget ever hearing this two minutes after it ends.
  • Nice organ playing.
  • Bored.
  • Who cares?
  • Why is this?
  • Who chooses a band name so hard to spell?
  • I now hate the drummer.
  • Browns picked up RGIII, huh?
  • Man, this election.
  • Could go for a ’72 today.
  • I could actually listen to the Replacements today.
  • I’d like to use the Time Sheath to make the ‘Mats do a cover in Sugaree in ’88 or so.
  • While Bob was still in the group.
  • Oh, thank God.
  • Three more.



  • We’re playing it this slow?
  • That’s a choice.
  • It’s Bruce Hornsby: how bad could it be?
  • He was a card-carrying Grateful Dead.
  • (Bruce insisted on having business cards made up.)
  • Did the same person produce all of these tracks?
  • Because that person doesn’t understand how drums are supposed to sound.
  • Oh, now they’re just making spooky noises.
  • Just play the Jerry Ballad; don’t haunted house at me.
  • Still spooky.
  • Oooooooooooooooooh.
  • Oogie-boogie.
  • Oh, there’s the song.
  • Bruce Hornsby can play the piano.
  • This drum sound is an abomination: if a state passed legislation stripping this drum sound of its rights, I would move to that state.
  • Turtle with multiple sclerosis.
  • Rusted-out Chevy in the backyard.
  • Tectonic plates.
  • Dripping pitch.
  • All of these things are faster than this song.



  • I have heard Courtney Barnett: they play her on channel 29 and 31.
  • Ooh, swamp guitar.
  • Drums still sound like shit.
  • Is that the theme of the album?
  • Which is 59 songs long.
  • Some of my very favorite bands didn’t release 59 songs in total.
  • Courtney Barnett is Australian, I believe, and she sings in her accent.
  • I approve of people singing in their natural accents.
  • Unless you’re Joey Ramone or Bruce Springsteen.
  • Okay, I got it.
  • 90 seconds left.
  • Animals that start with “B”:
  • Bat.
  • Baboon.
  • Um.
  • Big spider.
  • Birch tree.
  • Banana.
  • Biafra.
  • And the fade.
  • Slow-ass fade.
  • Still going.
  • Really?
  • Stop this.
  • Done.



  • Cover of a cover.
  • This is already not for me.
  • Is this Danzig singing?
  • Cuz the guy’s doing sexy voice at me and the song’s about nuclear war.
  • Like a Bauhaus vibe, maybe?
  • Goth-y.
  • Where are the cellos?
  • Can’t be goth without cellos.
  • Nothing in the soundscape is where it is supposed to be.
  • They’re doing a big build-up thing, but it’s so thin-sounding.
  • Oh, the drums kicked in.
  • Sucked the drama out of that.
  • Good job.
  • It turns out that without Garcia soloing over this song, there’s not really much here.
  • It’s the Dead’s version of Beck’s Bolero.
  • 20 seconds left.
  • Ten.
  • Aaaaand that’s all she wrote.

Neither Joel, Nor Springsteen

billy bruce hornsby peach

Hey, Billy.

“Thoughts on my Ass!”

Been a while.

“On my island. I have entered the Billysleep. In between tours, I enter a state of hibernation to muster my fantastic powers.”

Like the Odinsleep?

“Yeah, but without the capes.”

Everyone in Asgard has a cape.

“Chilly there. Capes don’t work in Kauai. Even if they weren’t so sweaty, a monkey’d probably sneak in there.”

Billy, the Hawaiian Islands have no native monkeys.

“Who you gonna believe, jerkoff: Wikipedia or me?”

Good point. Billy, do you have monkeys?



“Won ’em.”

How the hell are they still alive?

“Your guess is as good as mine. Clever little fuckers, too. One’s got a start-up.”

Can we get back to the Billysleep?

“Why not?”

How long has this been going on?

“Always. First tour. This tour. Think being Billy’s easy?”


“Hell, no! Playin’ drums, punchin’ dick, stickin’ my boner in stuff: wears on a man.”

Maybe you could cut down on the last two things, and the first wouldn’t be so taxing.

“What the fuck’s the point of playing the drums if I can’t punch dick and stick my boner in stuff?”

Yeah, okay. Bill?


Define “stuff.”

“Ladies, obviously.”


“Stranger’s popcorn at the movies.”

We know, yeah.

“ATM machines.”

Really, Billy?

“It was taking too long!”


“Vegas shows, I stuck my boner in a California roll and made the pretty guitar kid watch.”


“Why’d I fuck the sushi, or why’d I make him watch?”

Let’s start with those two, sure.

“Sushi was begging for it.”

Dammit, Billy.

“And, two: I got a long talk about how I’m not allowed to hit him.”

A talk?

“Okay, several, and I had to sign something. Anyway, you know I like hitting my bandmates on occasion.”

Also kicking and choking.

“Yeah, right: guy stuff.”

I’m not even gonna argue with that.

“But this is 2009.”


“And you’re not allowed to hit people now.”

You never were, Billy.

“No, no: I was. I was a rock star. Rock stars used to be allowed to hit lots of people.”


“And, shit, these guys were adamant, man. I was like ‘What if they need hitting?’ and the guy was like ‘No,’ and then I said ‘What if I’m bored?’ and he said ‘No, not then, either,’ and so I go, ‘ What about throwing a duffel bag full of furious raccoons at people?’ and the guy goes ‘You can’t do that, and we’ve already discussed it with Mickey. There will be no raccoons on this tour whatsoever’ So now: no punching people, Phil’s black, and it’s a raccoon-less tour.”

“So, I figure: I can’t hit him, I’m gonna make him watch me do weird stuff to lunch.”

Who knows what’s right in this world?

“We punch dick in the dark; we do what we can.”

Yeah. Hey, Bruce Hornsby. You like the new look?

“Look of what?”

The site. Thoughts on the Dead.

“The devil you talking about? I am a grown man and I do not have time to be scalliwagging about in chat rooms with perverts.”


“I’m a busy man, son. Got nine different bands. No time for foolishness.”


Hey, Dolphin Tattoo.


Yeah, sure.

Calving Season

bobby shorts jerry jeans bruce shorts

“Mom? What do you remember before the Last Days?”

“Lots. I was 13 when Allfather Trump ascended to glory and the sky caught fire. What do you want to know?”

“What did rock stars look like?”

“Look at this picture. Do you see these three men?”


“Rock stars looked like the opposite of this.”


“The clothes, the hair, the posture, the accordion: whatever these men are doing, rock stars did the other thing.”

“That makes sense. Mom, will there be another mass shooting tonight?”

“You know there’s a mass shooting every night, honey.”

“Right. Praise be to the Allfather.”

“Hallowed be his fame.”

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