Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: jerry garcia (page 1 of 123)

The Dead Sell Out

When did Phil stop drinking? Because this is from before that. I think it’s ’85; that shirt combination was one of Garcia’s favorites in ’85.


“So it’s me and Mydland and Jer. and we’re singing or something.”


“But then the camera pulls to out reveal we were on a monitor.”

“I don’t think there’s a special effects budget.”

“We’ll figure it out. Anyway, now we’re in the studio and you read the copy or whatever and Billy sits there and dicks around.”


“But then the camera zooms out…”

“I’m listening.”

“And I’m sitting there, too!”

“I don’t get it.”

“I was in the teevee monitor.”


“And then I’m sitting next to you.”

“You can always sit next to me, buddy.”

“Weir, I just fucking can’t with you today.”


There are (at least) three schools of thought about the Grateful Dead’s business acumen, two of which are wrong and believed by others, and one of which is correct and obviously belongs to me. The first is that the organization was made up of apple dumplings with scrota full of glitter and hugs; men and women who cared nothing for the material and did it all for the fans, and for the music. Maaaaan.

The second take, the revanchist take, the contrarian take, is that the Grateful Dead were visionaries of commerce and communication. That their early-adopter stance towards technology advanced the industry as a whole, and that their intuitive use of branding led to memetic penetration of the teenage mind via ballpoint drawings of Stealies on desks and backpacks, and then you’re gonna hear a rap about how tapers either built the internet or were the internet. Run from these types.

The truth is that the Dead did all the same bullshit the other big bands did, but–due to congenital bushiness of their collective league–they almost always fucked it up. They tried hard to be big stars, and they worked diligently at pushing merch; they played Lovelight for 45 minutes at the biggest gig of their life, and they made commercials like this.

Go watch that bullshit again. I demand it. You must. I’ll wait.


Did you see that bullshit?

Did Precarious Lee write this script? What is for sale? “Projects and products.” What is that, Grateful Dead? You literally could not be less specific. “Projects and products” encompasses actions and objects. You’re basically saying “We have nouns and verbs for sale.”

Also: calling back? Younger Enthusiasts, before the internet there were far fewer ways to buy stuff. You went to the store. Other than that, you had catalogues. You wrote the company, usually longhand, having been taught both the proper format for a business letter, and enclosed a check or money order in the envelope. Mailed it off and then waited. There was no app to obsessively check the status of your package, so there was joy in the surprise when it arrived.

After a while, you could call an operator and order out of the catalogue.

By ’85, you could also shop on teeevee. Call the number on the screen, give ’em your credit card number, and they’ll send out your Ab Weasel. (The Ab Weasel was an actual weasel that bit you if you stopped doing sit-ups.)

And that was it. There was no “call you back.”

So: the customers had no idea what they was buying, and–even if they wanted to put their money down on sight-unseen merch–needed to wait for you to get back to them?

Good work, Grateful Dead. Proud of ya.

The Briefcase of Infinite Felonies Lands Safely

Oh, holy shit, Garcia.

“What now, man?”

Did you and Brent just take a helicopter to 2009?



“We took the Time Sheath to 2009. We took the helicopter to the Alameda county fair.”


“Alameda does fairs right, man. The kids show off their cows, corn dogs. It’s just tits, man.”

Sure, right. But why did you need to go to the one in 2009?

“I like to mix it up.”

And why did you need to take the helicopter?

“Traffic, man.”


For at least one flight, that helicopter pilot was a drug smuggler.

Son Una Banda Más Allá Descripción

Hey, Garcia. Whatcha doing?

“Wearing a sport coat for some reason. Hey, listen, man. I’m gonna ask you something and it’s gonna be between us.”

Los Lobos.

“Oh, right, man. For a second, I thought Bobby put on some weight.”

And turned Mexican?

“You never know with Weir, man.”

True. So, uh, do you have court later or something?

“Go away.”


Kid Can’t Read At 17

Hey, Garcia. Whatcha doing?


You love that.

“It ain’t the pits.”

Did you pick out all the symbols for the fretboard?

“Kinda. I said ‘Put some bullshit on it,’ and Dougie ran with the concept.”

What does it all mean?

“I don’t speak hieroglyph, man. Ask an Egyptian.”

Oh, I know one. Hey, Oteil?

“You may call me Opteil.”

Like Ptolemy. Nice.

“The joke only works in print.”

Still, it’s a good one. Anyway, can you read hieroglyphics?

“Are you accusing a black man of being illiterate?”

HIEROGLYPHICS. Totally not an offensive question.

“I’m fucking with you.”

It’s just that I got Miles Davis calling me racist all the time now. I’m overly sensitive.

“Can’t have that. Worst part of racism is the temporary discomfort it causes white people.”

So true. So fucking true.

“Yes, I can read hieroglyphics.”

How’d you learn?

“Rosetta Stone.”


“I’m on fire tonight.”

You are. So, what does Wolf’s fretboard say?

“Huh. Lemme see.”



“Oh, sure.”



“It’s a recipe for spaghetti bolognese.”

Was not expecting that.

“Nope. Hey, what did the Ancient Egyptian student say to the spelling teacher?”


“How many birds in pharaoh?”

Killing it, man.

“I feel good in this outfit.”

It suits you.

They Want To Lead The Glamorous Life



Do I want to know what’s in the sack?


Is it–

“Not a human.”

–a human? Okay.

“Just let this one go, boss.”

It’s gonna be tough.

“Suck it up.”

Mickey’s raccoons?

“Let it go.”


He’s Got Legs, Knows How To Use ‘Em

  • Son of a Son of a Lost Sailor.
  • Cheeseburger in Paradise Waits.
  • Why don’t we Get Phil Drunk and Screw?
  • A Prankster Looks at Forty.
  • Something Something Margaritaville.
  • I don’t know any other Jimmy Buffet songs.
  • Wait.
  • The one about the volcano; I kinda like that one.

The Monitor And The Merriweather

Jesus. Precarious?


What the fuck, man?

“Wally wanted a little brother, so I built him the Wall of Monitors.”

It’s just so aggressive.

“It’s a bit of a bulwark.”

And what are they propped up on?

“Bunch of hotel Bibles we stole and taped together.”


Everybody Say “Potato Salad!”

Bobby, confused by the sight of a camera that wasn’t aimed at him, sulked until the show.

Suit, Coat

You look like you’re in Mummenschanz.

“Suck my Mummenschanz.”

But you sound like you’re you.

“I pushed Wynton Marsalis down the stairs four times. Spaced that shit out, too. Didn’t do it all in one month. Took years. I might push that motherfucker down the stairs tomorrow. His brother, too. And his father aint shit. Whole family makes me angry.”

Why is this, Mr. Davis?

“No respect. Man says nasty things.”

About you?

“Me. Bird. All the motherfuckers he stole all his licks from. Rude young man. Headbutted Art Blakey.”

I haven’t heard that story.

“No story. Little motherfucker walked up to Art and headbutted him.”

Where was this?

“Well, Wynton was there, so it was probably some white thing. White people love that smiling motherfucker. Doesn’t scare them. Talks real nice. I don’t understand that shit. Most the time, the only fun you get as a black man in America is scaring white people. Pushing motherfuckers down stairs is fun, too.”

I guess. Can we switch topics?

“Fuck you.”

Mr. Davis, do you have any dating advice for the Enthusiasts?

“You’re looking for my moves?”


“Yeah, okay. First, you find you a bitch.”


“Then, you tell that bitch ‘I’m Miles Davis.'”


“Then, you ask her, ‘Bitch, you wash your pussy today?'”


“If she says no, then you only allow to her to suck on you.”


“And then, she gives you money.”

Do you have any dating tips for a normal human being?

“Fuck, no.”

“Hey, Miles. We got an extra seat, man.”

“Fuck kinda hat is that? You lose a bet, motherfucker?”

“It’s my vacation hat, man. You wanna come or not?”

“Where you going?”


“Lemme get my bathing suit.”

Hey, Garcia.

“What, man? I’m on vacation.”

Quick question.

“Real quick.”

Do you have any dating tips for the Enthusiasts?

“Sure, man. First, you find a chick.”


“Then, you have Parish make sure she knows you’re a rock star.”

No more advice.

“Hey, Miles! You coming!?”

“Don’t hurry me, you fat Mexican motherfucker.”

You two have fun.




What the fuck?



“We thought it provided an incongruously beautiful mise-en-scene.”


“Fucking with ya. I got no idea why we put that up.”

What are the monitors propped up on?

“Pizza boxes full of sand.”

It’s the Grateful Dead way.


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