Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: donna godchaux (page 1 of 7)

Heaven’s On Fire On The Mountain

“Are you the Colonel?”

“I can’t tell you this again, Mrs. Martin-Godchaux-Rodham-McKay: I am not the Colonel, and I am not Colonel.”

“The Colonel comes by t’ call on my big sister Julep after supper. He’s so tall an’ handsome. We sit on the porch while he tells us stories ’bout Southern heroism. If’n it’s cool, we set in the music room an’ my li’l bother John Wilkes will play f’r us.”


“Minuets an’ whatnot. John Wilkes played so beautifully. We’d later come to find out that it was him the Colonel was comin’ by t’ see.”

“I am not your brother’s gentleman caller.”

“He was also my uncle.”

“Did you grow up in a Faulkner novel?”

“South was diff’rent back then, sugar.”


“F’r example, take my daddy.”

“What was his name?”

“Daddy Jean Godchaux.”

“Nope. Wait. Oh, c’mon. Hey. Hey! The typist!”


“Yes. You used that joke already, but it was ‘Momma Jean Godchaux.'”


“Like, five years ago.”

You weren’t part of this five years ago.

“I went through the archives.”

Oh, that’s sweet.

“You’re as well-known as you deserve to be.”

Oh, that’s hurtful.


But still hurtful.

“And you’re a self-plagiarist. You’re stealing your own bad jokes about the Grateful fucking Dead, man.”

Are you trying to anger me?

“Why? Triggered?”

Don’t do that.


I tried to warn you.


“Oh, please tell me that isn’t–”

“Johnny MAYER! Hell-OHHHHHHHYEAH! Do you know who I am? I SAID…doyouknowwhoIamWOO!? If you know, then LEMMEHEARYA!”

“I didn’t deserve this.”

You totally did.”

“Well, howdy. Who is this bohunk?”

“Stay away from him, Mrs. Donna Jean.”

“My, doesn’t he look Jewish.”

“I truly don’t deserve any of this.”

Caption Contest!

“I farted.”


“We need to join a better-looking band.”


“Garcia farted.”

Black And Blues

Hey, Mrs. Donna Jean. Whatcha doing?

“Doin’ mah part, sugar.”

You’re a patriotic American, ma’am.

“Course ah am. Ain’t no one loves America more’n a Southerner.”

Except for those couple years.

“‘Cept f’r them couple years, yeah. Water under the dam, sugar.”

But if water gets under a dam, it destabilizes the entire structure.

“Mama knows what she said.”

California has to be a lot different from Alabama.

“That’s right. Spelled all diff’rent, first of all.”


“Have t’ drive in a diff’rent direction t’ get t’ the ocean.”

That, too.

“Zip code ain’t th’ same at all.”

I meant the cultural markers.

“I gotcha. Well, you know them ol’ Black Panthers?”

I do.

“There’s a reason they ain’t from Alabama, sugar.”

Someone would’ve put a stop to that, huh?

“Multiple someones. An’ a sudden stop, too. Woulda happened overnight.”


“Don’tchoo blaspheme in here.”

Sorry, Mrs. Donna Jean.

Bill Schwarzemann


“Thoughts on my Ass!”

Any explanation?

“Well, you know how Phil’s black now?”

He’s not. You’re talking about a man named Oteil Burbridge.

“Yeah! That’s what Phi keeps saying his name is!”

When I heard this joke the first time, the name was Rappaport.

“So I decided to try and understand the plight of his people. I’m a soul brother now.”


“Don’t worry about it.”


“I’m about to lose my voice, I’m saying the n-word so much.”

Stop that.

“I’m allowed! It’s great!”

You’re not black, Billy.

“Tell my dick that.”

STOP THAT. Get out of Jaimoe’s body.

“It’s nice in here. Look at all these muscles and hair. I’m staying.”

You’re gonna stay black?


You do know you have to walk offstage and back into America at some point, right?

“Not a bad point.”


“I’m gonna bang some white chicks behind the amps before I quit, though.”

Of course.

I’ll Meet You At The Diamond Jubilee

Hunter has the exact same face as Warren Zevon. Never noticed before.


Rockin’ Ricky over there is John Cipollina, who was in Quicksilver Messenger Service and jammed with the Dead on many occasions, but even cooler is the fact that his mom gave Pigpen organ lessons.

This is ’68, right after the Least Effective Firing In History. (Second on the list is George Steinbrenner firing Billy Martin: yes, Billy always came back, but at least he left the stadium for a couple months or so. Bobby and Pig didn’t even miss a gig after they were fired, so the Dead–as always–win a contest that they didn’t know they were participating in.) Bobby buckled down and practiced, but Pig’s problem was more foundational: he had no clue how the band’s new Hammond B3 worked. The sucker’s got a dashboard like the space shuttle, and foot pedals and levers, and switches and sliders and two keyboards. Pig knew how to play the piano.

Luckily, John’s mom Evelyn was a concert pianist and an accomplished organist, and so she–semi-secretly, now: the Pig’s got his pride–taught him the intricacies of his new instrument. They probably sat there next to each other on the bench, and maybe Evelyn would whack Pig’s knuckles when he got something wrong, and give him a gold-star sticker when he did a good job.

I bet Pig called her “ma’am.”


A rare photo in which Mrs. Donna Jean not only doesn’t have the best hair, but also does not feature Bobby.


No, wait: Hunter looks like Elton John.


Lucky Strikes are foul, but the packs–especially the soft packs–are art.


Takes balls to start with an invocation to the gods. Homer did it, Virgil did it, Dante did it, and so did Hunter. All of them got away with it.


Here’s another shot of Garcia’s Nudie Suit from behind; the outfit maintains the usual Dead motifs: skulls and roses and bullshit. Nothing says Grateful Dead like skulls and roses and bullshit.

Fuck it, might as well empty out the Nudie Suit library in one easy-to-find place. Here’s Bobby:

Is that a chicken? I think that’s a chicken. Here’s another of Bobby:

The son of a bitch just didn’t have a bad angle.

Say “Cheese.”


You look spiffy.

“Flash, baby.”

Awesome. This is Phil:

But you already knew that. (Check out the cowboy boots.)

This is a better shot of the weirdo Strat from late ’72:

This is 12/12, and he also played Numbers (I just named the guitar) on 11/22/72 at the Municipal Auditorium in Austin. We know this from this picture…

and this article.

I gotta be honest with you, Enthusiasts: this research horseshit is not for me. I’m exhausted. The president’s right: facts are for suckers.

And we finish up with a shot featuring both the Nudie Suit and the weird guitar. I brought all the threads together.

And you without a Pulitzer.

I know, right?

There’s A Jerry Band Out On The Highway

The only Grateful Dead who wasn’t in Jerry Band at one point was Bobby.


Ronnie Tutt is sitting there thinking, “He’s not gonna do any karate?”


Is that a long-sleeved guayabera?

So Many Rhodes



What’s the little one on the left?


Not the little person. The small wooden box on top of the monitor.




Keith’s posture can be used to calculate Pi.

Balloon Boys (And Mrs. Donna Jean)

Maybe it was just the ossification of habit, but Brent was always stage left. Keith was left, right, sometimes in the middle, once he was by the merch table.


“Don’t you do it, Weir.”


“Step on a balloon.”

“You saw my leg?”

“I saw your leg, man.”

“Hey, Jer.”

“Ah, shit.”

“Y’know, it’s New Year’s Eve.”

“Every fuckin’ year.”

“That means, uh, that this is the anniversary of our friendship.”

“Great, man. Play the song.”

“I got you a little something.”

“You really shouldn’t have.”

“Here ya go, Jer.”

“You went to Jared.”

“I did, yeah.”

“Is this a tennis bracelet?”

“Better. Anklet.”

“What the fuck is wrong with you?”


Later that evening, Mrs. Donna Jean (already in her ceremonial gown) would be thrown into the volcano to appease Gbaja-biamila, the god of backup singing.

Meadow; Tenor, Baritone, Alto

We now know what Billy did during the Hiatus: eat away the sadness.

Older posts
%d bloggers like this: