Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: dave lemieux

Never Engage

My love of the Dave’s (and Dick’s) Picks series is not hidden: they’re virtually flawless records of the Dead’s career, except for the ones that suck, and anyone wanting to get into the Dead could do well by simply listening to both series in order.

Others think that each new release from Rhino and the Vault is a war crime, and that everyone involved should be tried and then banished to the Phantom Zone in a spinning window pane special effect. Most of these folks live in the Dead.net comment boards and they save their ire for David Lemieux, who is far too professional, reasonable, and Canadian to respond to any of them.

I, on the other hand, am unprofessional, irrational, and American and therefore present Things David Lemieux Would Like To Say To The Dead.net Comment Board:

  • What?
  • No.
  • Really?
  • That show?
  • Why?
  • Because it sounds bad.
  • That’s nice it was your first show: there were three Brent tunes.
  • Oh, gosh, no: that show can’t be released.
  • Because Garcia audibly falls asleep during Ship of Fools.
  • Please don’t call me those kind of names.
  • Leave my mother out of it.
  • Leave Canada out of it.
  • The steel beams don’t have to melt, just weaken about 15 or 20%.
  • Are you suggesting that show as a joke?
  • No, you’re not being “lied to” about ’93.
  • Shove what where?
  • That’s not only rude, but impossible.
  • Yes, Jeffrey Norman does know what he’s doing.
  • No, Jeffrey Norman’s not “in on it” because there is no “it” to be in on.
  • None of us are Masons and I wish people would stop spreading that rumor.
  • Nor are we Shriners, although that organization does truly good work.
  • We refuse to negotiate with terrorists.
  • Also, you can’t hold people hostage via the comments board of a semi-defunct choogly-type band.
  • Why would we lie about which tapes we have in the Vault?
  • It’s not a state secret.
  • Maybe.
  • No.
  • Never.
  • Double never.
  • A ’73 horn show will be released over my dead body.
  • Do you honestly thing that there’s some sort of trove of ’66 and ’67 tapes we’re hiding?
  • For reasons?
  • Complete, multi-tracked tapes of acid-drenched and muscular late ’67 shows, just as they were turning from a shitty surf band into the Grateful fucking Dead, maaaaaaan?
  • And we haven’t released them?
  • Because of–again–reasons?
  • I first learned the love of wine at the knee of my grandfather, Mario Lemieux; thank you for asking.

G’Day To You, Old Southern Skies

The Dead never went to Australia. There were many reasons: the 85-hour plane flight, the visa requirements (Billy had bitten the last three doctors who tried to give him a booster shot, so Rakow had had to forge the paperwork for the insurance company and immigration tends to look at things more closely,) and the fact that Bobby was convinced he was “gonna fall off, man. Opposite Day’s one thing, but Upside-down Day? Not on my watch.”

The Dead down under? Silliness.

But it happened.

Once again, David Lemeuixxx (DL’s alter-ego who runs a Dead-themed webcam show in which he talks about the upcoming releases while removing up to three layers of fleece and/or goretex) has roused a TUMESCENT TERROR from the nether reaches where lies spawn and honor receives a bad haircut. A DEMON OF LIES, is he, out to ROGER US PROPERLY with his FIB-BONER!

I can’t even look at you right now.

The Dead did indeed visit Australia, and New Zealand too, in the Summer of ’77. Mickey’s car crash was a ruse, a shuck, a jive: twaddle, I calls it! Think about it: Mickey getting fucked up and doing something stupid that cost the organization a small fortune? Does that sound like Mickey?

The plane ride went poorly. Everything got covered in acid and then there was turbulence so everything got covered in vomit and there were still, like, 32 hours to go.

Their arrival went poorly, too. In Australia, they’re fond of a certain word, starts with a “C,” they use it constantly about everyone and everything. We don’t. So, when the custom official, in what he thought was friendly banter, called Betty Cantor that, she hauled off and socked the dumb cunt.

Nicely done. Subtle.

Luckily, the entire country–including everyone in authority–is made up of sunstroked lunatics of criminal stock, so they respect a good border-guard whalloping. They think it’s a way of asserting your home countries’ pride. Australians are like Klingons in flip-flops.

The shows went poorly, as could be guessed: there were too many distractions. Jon McIntire got eaten by a kangaroo, then fired by Billy for it. Keith, having accidentally taken too may uppers instead of his usual barbiturates, declared himself Cockodile Dundee and wandered around Perth stark naked and demanding strangers look at his Uluru. It was nice of him to use the traditional name for it, but still.

The disasters continued: Garcia was mistaken for a koala and forced to pose with tourists in a nature preserve: he didn’t much mind because they kept him tranquilized and he copped a lot of feels when good-looking ladies took a picture.

The last dates were in New Zealand, so the boys rented a boat to make the hop, except it’s about 900 miles between Australia and NZ, so they nearly died 9 or 10 times and when they got there, everyone realized that it was just hobbits and sheep and cliffs–New Zealand is basically warm Iceland–so they went home and when they rehired Jon McIntire, who had been brought back to life via Time Sheath technology, his first task was to hunt down all the tapes of the shows and destroy them. When he had burned the last tape, Billy fired him again for no discernible reason.

Not Dave's Faves

You know my feelings on the Dave’s Pick series: it’s kicking ass on all cylinders, partly because of base-level good decisions being made concerning the first and most important choice–which show shall it be?

Aside from DaP 6, which I thought had more historical significance than musical merit, there’s not a Pick you can second-guess: perhaps the show you want hasn’t come around yet, but there haven’t been any shows of less than A+ caliber.

For example, Dave could have picked any of these shows, but didn’t. Good work, you apology-offering syrupsucker.

  • That show in ’83 when Bobby put slides on every finger and realized he couldn’t play like that so he got really frustrated and started windmilling his arms around and whomping people on the heads and screaming bloody murder and, you know: this was in front of fans, like twelve goddam thousand of them–it looks bad for the organization, so eventually Billy came around from behind his drums and mercy-punched Bobby in his dick and Brent got scared and started crying because the grown-ups were fighting and in the confusion, Garcia snuck into the bathroom and that was the end of the first set.
  • The marching band show. The things that happened to the flautists…
  • That time Vince got “hysterical blindness”, to which everyone responded by telling him that if he knew it was hysterical blindness, then he should be able to see, to which Vince then claimed to have “hysterical deafness, as well” and tumbled over a few things rather theatrically and the night got worse from there, to be honest.
  • All those benefits when Phil would yell at the sick people.
  • Any of those shows in the ’80’s when they would play brilliantly one at a time, or perhaps in small groups, but almost never everybody at once.
  • The show the day after the famous ’78 mescaline show, when they just sat there pushing the eggs around the plate for a bit, then tried to go back to bed, but everything hurt.
  • The Pants-off Dance-off. No one needed to see that shit, Billy.
  • Any of the shows they played at Summerland or Autumnland.
  • The lost May ’76 performance of Jesus Christ: Superstar that not one of them was off book for.
  • Those shows in late ’81, when instead of Drums/Space, Werner Herzog would just come out and rap with the crowd about man’s compulsion to defy his own mortality through art.
  • Any of the shows they did on that mall tour with Tiffany.

Dave's? Rave!

Today is Inside Day here at Fillmore South: it is approximately 35 billion degrees out. Fahrenheit. Of course, it’s Florida, so it’s sticky as a Tunisian’s ballsack and it feels about 10 degrees hotter than that. It is so hot that immediately outside my door, nuclear fusion is taking place. E is equalling the shit out of M, C, and Squared out there.

It is a good day to stay in, crank the air conditioner until it shudders with effort–damn the electric bill: I want to need a blanket in August!–and listen to the newest Dave’s Pick. Big number 7, from Normal, IL, from my beloved Spring ’78 tour. Perhaps you purchased it; perhaps the show just fell out of a truck onto your hard drive: no matter.

This release is a triumph for everyone involved: the sound superior to many of the Big Ticket Box Sets, and other multi-tracked recordings.  For a 35-year-old tape that was made as a simple document of the evening, this thing is as present as if it were recorded yesterday. The drums–THE GODDAM DRUMMERS–are especially clear, each cymbal and tom in its own space.

Garcia is heavy on the Mu-Wah-Funky-Wah-Pedal (I’m not a guitar tech: you know the thing I mean) and Bobby won’t put down the goddam slide for a goodly portion of the show (and makes the otherwise-fun Werewolves of London encore nearly unlistenable) and Keith is (briefly) back to his old ways, a little lighter on the touch than Fall ’77 and he’s listening at this show in particular.

PLUS an all-time version of Passenger, Bobby and Donna ad libbing in Music Never Stopped, and…well, shit, the whole first set is Hall of Fame. Go and listen.

Dave’s Nix

In honor of the new Dave’s Pick (chosen from a year that’s often overlooked and more often underrated), tonight we will be featuring some shows that, for one reason or another, will never be officially released:

  • The January ’78 double laryngitis shows, where Bobby loses his voice as well as Garcia, leaving the vocal duties up to Phil, Donna Jean, and dear sweet Christ, you get away from that microphone, Keith. The show consisted mostly of half-remembered Dylan covers, Jazz Odyssey, and ended with the drummers doing the My Little Buttercup routine to a smattering of sarcastic applause.
  • Any ’94 where you can musically hear Garcia coming out of a blackout to find himself halfway through Althea in front of 60,000 people. Again.
  • 6/13/66 (It’s a Friday, BOO. I just scared the SHIT out of you, yo.) They played at Miskatonic University. (SPOOOOOOOKY and Liiiiiiiterary.)
  • The Rabies Show. Billy just started fucking biting people and wouldn’t stop. I don’t want to talk about–HE’S COMING BACK FOR MORE!
  • The Radio City gig with the Rockettes. Acid and stiletto heels do not mix.
  • That other ’75 show where not only were Ned Lagin and Merl Saunders invited up, but also Rick Wakeman, Emerson, the guy from Deep Purple, Bernie Worrell (he came with Merl), Doctors John and Teeth, Elton John in the Donald Duck outfit, the blue elephant-muppet thing from Jabba’s Palace, and van Cliburn.
  • Any of my beloved, yet polarizing, horn shows. Scoff if you must, but love, she is blind. Or deaf. Or Lithuanian, whichever is worse.
  • And, last and most believable because it’s true: 5/8/77. Their most famous show, and they lost the tapes. Because it was the Grateful Dead thing to do.
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