Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: elton john

This Is Our New Piano Player

  • Tiny Buck Dancer’s Choice.
  • Honky Cat Sunflower.
  • Can You Feel the Lovelight Tonight?
  • I’m Still Standing on the Moon.
  • Your Bird Song.
  • One More Saturday Night’s all Right for Fighting.
  • All the Young Girls Love Alice D. Millionaire.
  • Burn Down the Mission in the Rain.
  • We Can Share the Women, We Can Share the Elderberry Wine.
  • Wave to the Candle in the Wind.
  • Funeral for a Friend of the Devil.
  • Don’t Go Breaking My Foolish Heart.
  • Sweet Painted Lady With A Fan.
  • Don’t Let the Sunshine Daydream Go Down on Me.

Madmen Across The Water

Is Elton’s hairpiece balding now? That guy’s skull truly does not want anything on top of it.

OR

One time on the ’72 Europe tour, the Bozo bus was pissed and fighting. Bad vibes, man, and pointed silences. And then Bobby started singing Tiny Dancer. Everyone listened for a second, and then joined in with each other throwing shit at him and calling him names.

OR

Elton John and Bernie Taupin were a better songwriting team than Lennon/McCartney. I will defend this opinion no matter how indefensible it is.

OR

Are those mass-produced glasses? Because I cannot think of another human being who could pull them off other than Elton John. (Don’t let Josh Meyers see them.)

OR

Mickey, is Sir Elton John sexually harassing you?

“A little, but it’s fine.”

It’s not fine.

“Sure, it is. He’s a knight. Prima nocte.”

Okay, first of all: prima nocte is a myth. Second of all: that is not what this is.

Droit du seigneur?”

That’s just French for prima nocte.

“I’m getting a real education here.”

Mickey, don’t put up with sexual harassment from Sir Elton John.

“I’m into it. The English harass in such classy ways.”

How so?

“When he grabbed my dick, his pinky was out.”

Sure.

“I can handle myself.”

Okay, man.

“Is it okay if I send him to Josh’s dressing room?”

Yes.

Way Down In The South Of France

Fun fact: the Dead’s impromptu show is nowhere near the most impressive Rock Nerd trivia about the Château d’Hérouville. The Boys went to Europe twice before the famous ’72 tour, both times to play only one show because it took the Grateful Dead a while to learn about scalable economics. (That was actually a theme before Cutler taught them how to make money touring: they would play a week in New York, and then fly to Hawaii, and then back to California, and then one night in Texas. It’s like the schedule was decided upon by stoned hippies voting on stuff.)

Both trips were to play at hippie festivals: the European kids had heard about the Be-Ins and Woodstock, and they wanted a piece of the California dream. The first one was 5/24/70 in Newcastle.

“Hey, Jer.”

“Yeah, Bob?’

“We’re bringing dope to Newcastle.”

“Good one, Bob.”

It was cold and muddy, but Elvis Costello was there and the band played as well as they could with their stiff little fingers.

In 1971, the Dead flew back to perform at another festival, this time in France at a place called Auvers-sur-Oise. But it rained, and so the show was cancelled. As usual, the band had found a benefactor to keep them in the lifestyle they’d grown accustomed to: Michael Magne was a French film composer–he did the score for Barbarella–and he hosted the Dead’s whole party at the Château d’Hérouville.

He had the space. The main house was built in 1740 and had 30 rooms in two wings. Chopin used to live there. Van Gogh painted it.

Look:

And now it was occupied by a bored horde of hairy Americans, one of whom kept walking up to viscounts and asking them how to say “Please punch me in the dick,” in French, and when they told him they would get punched in the dick. If you don’t give the Grateful Dead something to do, then they’ll amuse themselves through destruction; they’re like border collies with arrest records.

Well, why don’t we do the show right here?

Precarious had to be talked into leaving America, but he didn’t let his reluctance affect his skills.

The Dead kicked ass that night. It was loose and groovy and people got wild and real with each other. (Obviously, the punch was spiked and–as in all of these stories–the cops wound up taking off their clothes and dancing.) You can listen to it.

Hell, you can watch it:

(I suspect the film crew was there to shoot the festival and got invited to the party.)

You might say, “TotD, what could be cooler than an impromptu Dead show that somehow became one of the handful of performances captured on video?”

And I would say, “GODDAMMIT, DON’T HELP ME. I CAN DO IT ALL BY MYSELF.”

And you would be like, “Whatever, asshole.”

And I would buy you flowers, but the wrong kind and you would make a face, and then I would beat you with the bouquet of flowers, which is an on-the-nose metaphor but it’ll do.

After the Dead played the Château d’Hérouville, Michael Magne converted it into a studio for rock and rolling types, and all sorts of silly-looking people came by to record albums.

How about Bowie?

He recorded most of Pin-Ups there, which was the covers album and is not the reason people were so sad when he died.

Or the Pink Floyd Sound, maaaaaan?

Hey, look: it’s Roger Waters! And David Gilmour! And another guy! Maybe he’s Pink? (They recorded Obscured by Clouds at the Château.)

And Iggy and T. Rex and the MC5 and Joan Armatrading and Cat Stevens and Bad Company and Elton John. This was the Honky Château, and Elton also recorded Goodby, Yellow Brick Road here.

He looked like this:

Yellow Brick Road sold 30 million copies, and it’s nearly perfect: sloppy and bulging and fizzing over like a proper double album, but it’s still not the coolest thing about the Château.

The Bee-Gees recorded this and How Deep is Your Love at the Château, and now that Van Gogh doodle doesn’t seem so impressive, does it?

Seriously, Knock This Off

tumblr_nr2k3w2Fmq1qbhkuuo1_500I’m sorry, John Mayer. Regardless of whether or not a guy looks like Isaac Mizrahi circa 1996, he should still be able to boogie down to a semi-defunct choogly-type band in peace without everyone getting creepshots taken of him.

“I appreciate that, man. I mean, you might have lived up to your beliefs by not posting literally every single photo you found, but them’s the breaks, right?”

Good way to look at things.

“What are you listening to? Checking out the shows again?”

What?

“Listening to? What show are you listening to?”

12/13/75. Good stuff.

“There was no 12/13/75 show.”

No?

“There were four shows that year and none of them were anywhere near December 13th.

Huh.

“Are you still listening to Elvis?

ELVIS KING! HI-YAA!

CRACK.

SLUMP.

DEATH RATTLE.

YOU HAVE SUMMONED THE KING ONCE AGAIN!

Godammit.

WHASS GOIN’ ON AROUND HERE? BIG OL’ HIPPIE PARTY, LOOKS LIKE.

Hey, King.

THE KING HAS QUESTIONED YOU AND HAS LITTLE TIME FOR PLEASANTRIES.

Fine. It’s the Dead’s 50th anniversary and they’re doing some shows. Did you kill John Mayer?

AH KILLED HIM WITH KARATE, YES.

You probably shouldn’t have.

NO MAN CAN CHANGE THE PAST, NOT EVEN THE KING. NOW TELL THE KING ABOUT THE HIPPIE PARTY.

It’s a good time, Elvis. Band’s playing well and everyone’s all smiley and happy and it’s the Fourth of July.

THIS IS THE KING’S FAVORITE HOLIDAY.

It’s a good one. None of the religious or family obligations of the other ones.

PLUS IT IS ABOUT AMERICA, WHERE JESUS WAS BORN AND RAISED AND RACED NASCAR. JULY FOURTH IS THE BIRTHDAY OF BALD EAGLES WITH ROCKET LAUNCHERS FOR DICKS.

I like that.

IT IS OUR DAY AND WE CELEBRATE OURSELVES. AND TO CELEBRATE AMERICA IS TO CELEBRATE ELVIS. THE KING LIVES ON IN THE SMOKEY MOUNTAINS AND IN THE RAIN THAT DOES NOT FALL IN CALIFORNIA. ELVIS IS THE ‘OOH’ THAT GREETS THE RISING FIREWORK AND THE ‘AHH’ THAT SEE ITS BIRTH AND DEATH.

Keep talking, King.

EACH STAR ON THE FLAG IS A BADGE IN THE KING’S COLLECTION OF POLICE TRINKETS. EACH STRIPE IS A FRINGE FROM THE KING’S JUMPSUIT, SWIRLING SEXILY AS HE DOES THE KARATE THAT IS FREEDOM AND THE JUDO THAT IS LIBERTY.

Uh-huh.

AMERICA WILL NEVER HAVE NO MONARCHY; IT WILL ALWAYS HAVE A KING.

I like you.

COURSE YOU DO: I’M ELVIS. SHOW THIS LOVELY AUDIENCE WHAT YOU LISTENING TO. LET ‘EM BATHE IN THE KING, AS WELL. CAN’T KEEP ELVIS TO YOURSELF, BROTHER.

Gotta pass you around like a doobie, King?

DON’T BE MAKING NO DRUG JOKES ‘ROUND ME, BOY. ELVIS IS ANTI-DRUGS. NO DRUGS FOR THE KING.

Sure, Elvis.

Ebony And Ivory

The Dead had so many options after Brent’s all-bullshit-aside tragic death and they went with the worst. They apparently had this weird did-you-call-me/should-we-call thing with Merl that is far too Mean Girls to relate in good conscience and more’s the pity because maybe Merl would’ve kicked Garcia’s ass just a little, being a straight-laced man and proud deacon of the Mt. Holy Oak of Zion First Macadamia Church of the Redeemer in Christ. Plus, the Dead would have had a black guy in it. And as commercials have taught us, people hang out exclusively in carefully diverse groups.

There were others they could have at least auditioned. Elton John was hitting a rough patch at the time, perhaps he could have helped out. Something tells me Bobby would love to play Crocodile Rock. The flaw in the plan is that the first time Sir Elton threw one of his legendary tantrums, Billy would punch him in the dick, because this time I’ve gotta stand up for Billy: grown men throwing tantrums deserve a thorough dickpunching.

Rick Wakeman was also in a bit of a fallow period since wasting all of the money in Britain on an ice show to play arpeggios to. I have a feeling that the first time Rick opened his spangly cape to play two of his army of keyboards at the same time, Garcia would freak out and think he was a dragon and set him on fire. So, that’s a no for Rick Wakeman.

Stevie Wonder wouldn’t have worked because Phil still owes him $60 from a poker game and is ducking him.

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