Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: david lemeuix

Mix It Up

The newest release in the consistently brilliant Dave’s Picks series will be announced any day now, and once a lip-reader decodes David LeLouselatrec’s video which–according to sacred Canadian tradition–will be shot in a wind tunnel or directly underneath a wooden roller coaster, the grousing and sniping (and other bird-related verbs) can begin.

The usual suspects will loose their usual complaints. Spring ’83 was the best tour they ever did, someone will post. Vinnie, vidi, vicircus (Vince came, he saw, he made overpowering calliope noises) others will declaim. BENGHAZI MOM JEANS SECRET MUSLIM, a poster who wandered onto the wrong website will add.

It always amazed me the whinging humans–especially hobbyists of all stripes–can get up to and especially here. I can think of few long-running products that you could grab an individual item from randomly with such a guarantee of excellence. Bobbing for Dave’s Picks is like shooting a pistol while blindfolded at a Trump family gathering: no matter what you hit on, you’re going to be happy and the world’s going be better for it.

TotD has shared with you some of Dave’s Nix (shows that will never be released,) but did you know about the other series that have been proposed and turned down?

  • Dave’s Flicks This follow-up to the View from the Vault series was actually ready to go but cancelled due to the Great Recession. Thanks, Obama!
  • Dave’s Bics Subscribers receive four lightly-used disposable razors each year.
  • Dave’s Micks Mickey comes to your house and explains in great detail the history of one of his drums, then rolls his car off a cliff on the way home, cancelling the Summer tour.
  • Dave’s Chicks This limited-edition series was to consist of Dave reading the SI swimsuit issue with you.
  • Dave’s Hans Blix This was just copies of the UN’s reports regarding the Iraq War with cartoon doodles of Garcia drawn in the margins.
  • Dave’s Ticks Subscribers would be able to strip down and have an intern from Rhino Records visually inspect them for ticks every time they went outside.
  • Dave’s Dicks This is a fairly obvious set-up for a Billy joke and let’s take it as read.
  • Dave’s Licks Bobby comes to your house and puts his tongue on your food.
  • Dave’s Frix  In addition to a remastered show, subscribers receive a coupon for a half-off rabbit fricassee at Phil’s restaurant which Phil will not honor.

Put Your Dead On My Shoulder

phil mickey leaning


So many things unexplained, hinted at, alluded to, COVERED UP by the dread Machiavellian forces of Big Dead.  TotD counts at lest three MAJOR-LEAGUE CONSPIRACIES represented in the above picture.

Why, David Lesiouxsieandthebanshees?* Why do you make me cyber-and-then-actually-stalk you to find out these secrets that are my INALIENABLE RIGHTS. By the way: your name, while a never-ending source of fun and whimsy, is relatively common in Montreal and I think I might have broken into the wrong house. Funny story: that thing about Canadian politeness? Not at three in the morning for looming strangers in ski masks. In my defense: it was cold out and I had a pimple, so the ski mask was necessary, in my eyes at least.

First off, that’s not Mickey: it’s Doug Henning, and second off: it’s not even Doug Henning; it’s a Doug Henning impersonator and the only trick he knows is pulling out his dick and going, “Ta-da.” Billy could be overheard giggling and you knew he was going to be doing it for the rest of the tour.

Also, Phil’s not just friendly, or drunk (frunk, Phil used to call the mood): he’s leaving his scent through specially evolved pheromone glands in his cheeks. Phil shares this trait with all of the Cat People of Felicidae IV, his home planet.

(Honestly, though: that’s obviously Mickey, and Phil’s just plastered; he closed his eyes for a bit and Mickey played tabla rhythms on his head for two hours. The album was never released.)

* Looking up that woman’s ridiculous fake name might honestly be the most research TotD has ever engaged in.

True Story #2

“…Smithsonian J. Ip Man Mexico Danger Merriweather, Ph.D, DDS, MLS, HLIC!” cut through the pain, nausea, and shame that followed a good Billypunch and I retook my senses to this sound.

The lysergic librarian? The guardian of the sacred and profane; generic and sui generis? Why was he looming above me dressed like Hercules Poirot? (In fact, he was just Hercules Poirot because I’ve never seen a photo of NW.)

He was barely five feet, but at least seven feet wide: not a speck of fat. He was like a hedge made out of muscle.

The man next to him was tall and reedy, smelled like syrup. Canadian, my sweet dick! Spider-man is British, and  so is Superman; our president’s from Kenya, and our damn band is in the be-mittened hands. Soaked with beaver blood, those hands are! Back in the good old days,  Bobby got some Canadian money in change and he totally lost it, and shrieked “The Parallax! We’re through the Brane now!” He took off running; they found Bobby the next morning sleeping in a culvert like a confused angel.

The Boys weren’t xenophobic, they just hated and feared foreigners. Things change.

“My name is David Le–

And all of a sudden, there was this massive roar, the sound of the sea and the sky meeting and clashing and being big together. WHOOOOSH and his lips kept moving, but I could make nothing out.

“We kidnapped you and then stuck a rubber fist in your–”

The sound of seagulls rushed about, filling every corner of my ears and again i could hear nothing.

What? I said, after a fashion. I must admit, enthusiasts: I was toying with my captors now.


From the next aisle of shelves came the sound of a homeless man who had snuck in and was now loudly molesting himself.

Maybe you could get miked a little better, I said.

Kidnapped by Big Dead!

To be further continued…





True Story

I awoke–or, rather, came to–on the floor of a long hallway. There was no natural light, but I could still see.

My head was fuzzy, and my face hurt: I had been hit. I had been struck, and repeatedly. My phone was gone.

As I looked around, I realized that it was not a hallway I had found myself in; no, I was in between parallel shelves reaching ten or twelve feet up. It was like the stacks at my college library, but with less drug dealing and clandestine gay stuff. There were books, but there were also cardboard boxes and record albums and was that an oudand a shopping bag with “Billy’s I.O.U.’s” scrawled on it.

At the end of shelves, in the dimness, was a pair of maroon sweatpants with the elastic holding on out of sheer duty and a size XXXL black t-shirt. The clothes were suspended in the air in a human shape with no visible means of support.

Like this crazy bullshit Batman used to pull:

robin statue


how the fuck did Batman even do that? There’s a lot of craftsmanship in that thing, and technology, too, it seems. Is this how Batman takes his mind off being Batman? By using his advanced Morgan Freeman stuff to permanently turn the judging glare of the teenager he pretty much murdered on him while he worked? Did he wear the Batman suit while he worked on it?

Also, at one point–stick with me here–Batman had to be molding the crotch of that thing and, seriously: don’t you take a breather and reevaluate things? You’re a grown man in a pervert suit making a voodoo dead kid in a cave and maybe law school?

You had an idea. You were doing so well and developing things and being a big grown-up writerly writer–

Yeah, those first few sentences were killing it, thank you.

and then you squander your energy and their time–

If they’re reading this, they have nothing better to do.

on Batman nerd-porn. Stop it and get back to the story about how you found yourself…

…sitting between the shelves when I heard footsteps. There were two of them, one lighter than the other, but they had the gaits of soldiers. They walked like men of violence and my hand went to my already-bruised face and I was frightened; most of all, though: confused? What had I done to deserve this. Besides all the things I’ve done to deserve this.  Like, if there were a vote: it would be a runaway that I thoroughly need and merit a solid thrashing, but it isn’t a democracy. I’m the only one who gets to vote.

When the two men came around the corner, I could see that one was lanky and tall; the other, almost perfectly spherical in dressed in old-fashioned tweeds and a matching eye patch. He made it work, you had to give it to him.

Both of them had dangerous, drug-fueled lightning flashing in their eyes and I feared for my life. I snatched a random manuscript off of the shelf and, rising to my feet, made as if to tear it.

Don’t come any closer! I said.

The men stopped.

“NO!” the short one cried. “That is the only remaining copy of Bobby’s aborted 1978 novel, Who Is Clive Davis and Why Does He Keep Grabbing my Ding-Dong?” You mustn’t destroy it.”

His voice was plummy and flutey, yet manly. Clearly educated.

Bobby? I asked. My god…I am in–

“You are in THE VAULT, my dear boy. We have brought you here to–”

Who are you calling ‘boy?’ I said. There was a second of silence.

“Are…you…um. This is a rude question, but–”

What difference does it make?!

“because you’re allowed to say–”

ALLOWED? Check your privilege, son! I said

And then Billy leapt from the highest vantage point and punched me in the dick.

As I sank into unconsciousness, the one in the suit stood over me.

“My name is The Reverend Dr. Sir Nicholas Aloysius Kensington Flensington Jamiroqui Rothschild Baracus–

I then passed out.


(Honest. I know I’ve done this before. I wish Elvis would come back, too, but there’s MORE TO THESE STORIFICATIONS, Enthusiasts!)



The Matrix Revealed

We’ve got to talk about these matrix mixes. I just went through about eight of them, one after another, the digital version of throwing a paperback across the room after an egregious sentence. Etree is full of the damn things, and fuck me if they’re not a solid 95% unlistenable.

In Bill Graham’s great posthumous oral autobiography (seriously), he tells a story about the light show folks trying to get more power and/or control and/and money. He laughed at them. “If you don’t show up, the band goes on; if the band doesn;t show up, you don’t play. The light show is an appendage! ZAYNE HASHEN MEIN TUCHAS, TU ZAF CHARATZIM MITTEN DER PICKLESCHMECKER! “

In a Matrix, the crowd is the light show: it’s there to complement, to heighten the drama, to punctuate and underscore. It can never become a distraction. Rising, falling, cheering, and occasionally singing: all as one, a great human sweaty glob of instant feedback. Technology (and, let’s not forget the hard work and love that Jeffrey Norman and the whole crew do) now allows for a clarity, a precision to the sound that can border on the sterile.

It’s easy to forget that these shows took place in buildings, buildings just chock-full of people going through some real heavy shit, man.

So when David Lemieux announced that the next Dave’s Pick would be November 30th, 1980 at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, part of the big news was that this would be the first (?) official release that could rightly be called a matrix and from the small (for the Dead: it’s still a two songs that take up 20 minutes) snippet of the finished product, they’ve just killed it. Go listen to the drums, how you can hear them playing not just in the band, but in the room. They sound like they are fixed in space in a way that hasn’t been so clear before. The crowd cheers them on at every turn,

As opposed to–and I’m not making this up–one I listened to (briefly) where the matrix was where a compressed-sounding SBD met an AUD that was just dudes shouting out one another and yelling out names of songs that could never in a million years be played at that moment in the show. (Seriously, Mr. Bro-tato Head? You’re shouting for Wharf Rat in the middle of the first set? Go jerk off your uncle.)


p.s. It doesn’t take more than half-a-dozen comments on the announcement page before someone starts someone starts whining that, while the show’s from the ’80’s, it’s not from far enough in to the decade. Bravo.


Somebody Call Wardrobe


Oh, no.

YES! And a thousand more of that word, that ‘yes’ word; I say it again: YES!


BIG DEAD has always lied to you, my fellow Enthusiasts, from the fact that Phil and Bear produced the sound for the moon landing that NASA faked to the coincidentally-also astronaut-related fact that Brent ate an astronaut.

Stop saying things like that.

What things? Truth things? My things of truth that are true? Things that David LIE-mieux and David Gans (who already has a funny sounding name) are FORBIDDEN BY THEIR MASTERS TO TELL YOU?

Truth would be fine. Stop telling people that Brent ate people. It’s the internet; people believe fucking anything.

I know, right? This vaccine thing–

–Oh, yeah, sure–

–is just out of control and it’s all the internet thaHOW DARE YOU DISTRACT ME FROM TRUTH!

And so easily.

The TRUTH: Mickey did not leave the band because of his father stealing all the money, plus Pigpen’s bottle cap collection, NO. I present Exhibit A

billy phil t shirts mickeyThey told him they weren’t doing T-shirt Tuesday anymore. THEY LIED TO MICKEY!

Go get the car.


Time for a road trip.  We’re going to kidnap David Lemieux and force him to tell us what he knows.*


You’re not a bright man, are you?

*This is not actually going to happen.

Dead Freaks Unite

Quick question followed by hysterical rantings, accusations of treachery, cries of poverty (abject, moral, financial), and threats of reprisal.

Why not crowd-source the next Dead release? Put the 6 or 8 shows being decided among online and let the Enthusiasts decide. Why wasn’t that part of the Grateful Dead Game, that feculent folly? Someone explain that thing to me or I’m going to have one of my little fits and we can’t have the couch cleaned again: it’s more duct tape than sofa now.

Here’s my vote for the next one, pulled from a well renowned for its sweetness and goblins, but in fact all the more worthy because of its brethren: to listen to any show from Spring ’77 is to demand comparison and 4/22/77 at The Spectrum in Philly more than holds it own against any comers. The Peggy-O is the equal of the vaunted 5/7; the Scarlet>Fire might be better than 5/8.

P.S. The Scarlet>Fire is better, just objectively better. Don’t argue with me and go eat some fiber. And, hey: if you like what I’m doing, then wave the flag, huh?

P.P.S. Listen to Keith during the Dancing jam at 7:45: he hits these beautifully dissonant chords with the Hammond, which he uses quite a bit this show, but then he starts playing like a child, a drunken hairy child prone to smacking people, doing smack, smacking smack, and occasionally shoplifting. EDIT: There is no evidence whatsoever that Keith was a shoplifter. The smack, yes, but we have every reason to believe Keith paid for his candy bars.

Thereafter, Keith goes back to the piano to play some of the most gorgeous lines he’s ever laid down (you jive turkey) as if to reinforce his point.

P.P.P.S. They have, collectively, taken this show out back and beaten the living shit of it. BEST SHOW EVER! You stop that, you big bully.

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