Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: jerry garcia (page 2 of 119)

I’d Rather Be In Some Dog Collar

Some pedal steel sweetness for you courtesy of Cascadia’s Champion, Mr. Completely. It’s Garcia, Bobby and John Cipollina on acoustic, and someone who was not Jeff Chimenti on piano.

Knights In White Linen

1959 is not just the past, it is of a different era. 1959 is the Post-War years, and we’re not in those anymore. The past few (ten?) years have been the first little bit of the next era, the one with the internet. Younger Enthusiast, you wouldn’t believe how different it was: there was something called Missile Mail, which is precisely what it sounds like. The Navy tried it, and mostly succeeded, but mostly is an unwelcome adverb in a sentence about missiles. The project was terminated on the grounds of being “unfeasible” and “batshit insane.” But those folks in 1959, in the Post-War years, they believed in the power of technology. That it would save them, and not just create entirely new problems.

Good thing we’re smarter than them.

The very first Xerox machine was introduced in ’59. If you wanted something copied before that, then you needed a typewriter. If you wanted something copied way before that, you needed a monk. And if you wanted to make a whole lot of copies, then you needed a mimeograph machine. Revolutionaries loved mimeograph machines: they’re personal printing presses. Typewriter attached to a stencil; stencil gets washed in ink in a giant barrel against paper; paper comes out with propaganda or advertisements or math tests. There was, Younger Enthusiast, a mimeograph machine in every school in America, and all of your elders right now are smelling that faint, fruity aroma that rose from the dittos–once printed, the paper became called a “ditto”–that were waxy and wanted to roll into a scroll if the teacher had not let the stack sit under a heavy weight for an hour or two. Sometimes you would get them fresh; they would be still warm and you could smear the blue ink if you were not careful.

By the time I got to high school, the ditto machine had been scrapped, and the teachers got into fistfights over the copier, instead. This is the nature of change.

People also put lions on their teevees in 1959.

Stay Golden, Jerry Boy

You look like you’re about to rumble with the jocks.

“Well, have you met ’em, man? Really not where it’s at, those types.”

Then why the hell are you joining the Army?

“I’d like to kill some Viet Cong.”


“Stab ’em in the face with a bayonet, man. To protect democracy.”

You’re pulling my leg.

“Well, it was right there, right? C’mon, man, it’s 1959. It’s either go into the Army or take your chances getting drafted by the Navy or Marines. The thought of being cooped up in one of those boats gives me night sweats. Other people seem to really take to it, but that’s their experience and reality, right?”

What about the Marines?

“Fuck, no.”

I don’t think you’d do well in that milieu.

“The entire organization is built on yelling. And I couldn’t bear to think of what I’d look like with that haircut.”

Your pompadour looks like a greasy lobster tail.

“Get stuffed, man.”


(These no-longer never-before seen photos come via the great Eric Schwartz, who hosts Lone Star Dead on KNON in Dallas, Texas, and should be visited here.)

Madame, Pompadour

Ooh-ee! That suit is you!

“Right? I feel like a waiter in a restaurant I can’t afford to go to.”

You’ll get some leg tonight for sure.


Tell us how you DOOOO it?

“Ah, shit.”




“C’mon, TotD, gimme a break.”

One break…coming UPPPPPPP! Unchained! And ya hit the ground runnin’! Unchained!

“I don’t want to be a part of this anymore.”

Should’ve been an accountant. Who are these folks?

“This is Tafetta Puce, my date.”

Lovely corsage.

“And that’s Mamie Eisenhower.”


“Just a coincidence.”

Okay. We’re going clockwise?

“Sure, man. Guy in the black tie is Teddy Ponyboy.”

These are very 50’s-specific names your friends have.

“Everyone notices that.”


“Right next to him is Officerina Krupke.”


“You wanna see her driver’s license?”

Nope. Not her name. Who’s the tall Asian guy?

“Bruce Lee.”

Precarious’ brother?

“No, it’s the real Bruce Lee.”

It is not.

“He grew up in the Bay Area. Without looking it up, you can’t say for sure that it’s not.”


“Even as a kid, I’m smarter than you.”

Nothing to be proud of.

“I know, man.”

The Prom-ised Land

Hey, Garcia. Whatcha doing?

“Prom, man.”

You look like Kenickie.

“Is that a good thing?”

Better than being Sonny or Doody, not as good as being Zucco.


What did you do for your promposal? Did it get a lot of likes on social media?

“It’s 1959.”

No excuse for having a boring feed. Never too early to start building your brand.

“Whatever you say, man.”

Why aren’t you smoking?

“I don’t enjoy our conversations.”

Wanna say hi to John Mayer?


It’s Not Like He Specifically Said Not To Do This Sort Of Thing

“Hard Rock Hotel. Jenkins speaking.”



You are a hard worker.

“Gig economy, sir. How can I help you?”

Weird question: I’m looking for the creepiest item in your collection. Something that any right-thinking human would be repulsed by, and that would completely go against the contributor’s expressed wishes.

“Hmm. Wow. This is a new question. Wait, how about a Super 8 film of Ted Nugent getting a beej from a black chick?”

That’s not creepy. Just disappointing.

“People do sometimes vote against their interests. Ooh, I have the straw that Stevie Nicks used to make roadies blow cocaine up her butt with.”

That’s more gross than creepy.

“It’s been washed.”

That item cannot be washed enough, Jenkins.

“Well, we do have some pictures of Katy Perry.”

How is that creepy?

“She’s sleeping and John Mayer took them. And there are stains on the photos.”

That is pretty creepy, but let’s see if we can break the bank.

“Gene Simmons’ foreskin?”


“Rod Stewart’s stomach pump.”

That was a real story?

“Oh, yeah.”


“The quarter that Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings flipped to see who got the last seat on the plane.”

Oh, boy.

“Right? Very creepy.”

Yes. But I just don’t know.

“Wait! Jerry Garcia’s hair in a burial box complete with golden scissors.”

We have a winner.

Career Opportunities, The Other Ones That Never Knock


Out in the water, a Mexican man with a beard drowns.


A man wearing an Army officer’s dress uniform sits at the bar. LITTLE JERRY GARCIA (6 years old, beard, smoking) sits next to him.

Hello, little man. I sure heard a lot about you. You see, I was a friend of your
dad’s. We were in Bataan together, we walked side-by-side. Lot of time to talk,
and I got to know him real well. If things had worked out different, then he’d be
talking to my boy. But this is how things are. And so I have something for you.

The man pulls out a guitar.

This guitar was purchased in Nashville by your great-grandfather for eight
dollars and two chickens. These were the old days, you understand. You
could buy a guitar with a chicken. Your great-grandfather, well, he jammed
all over the country with it. Your grandfather, when it was his turn to jam? He
did it on this guitar, but wasn’t so lucky. Wound up in a Disco Biscuits tribute

The man takes a drink.

Before he took his own life out of shame, he gave the guitar to the keyboardist.
Keyboardist died, though. They do that. The bass player, though, he got this guitar
to your grandma. She gave it to your father, and he used it to jam in the lounge at
the Luzon Holiday Inn. When the Japs came, he thought that was it for the guitar.
They got a glimpse of it, and it would be gone.

Another drink.

So he hid it. He hid it in the one place that he knew it would be safe. For five
years, your father hid this guitar up his ass. And when he died, I put
the guitar up my ass.

Excuse me, please.

You absolutely cannot be here right now. This is a screenplay.

I see that.

Look at the formatting.

Very professional. Stop doing this.

I’m auditioning.

This is why you’re not allowed to contribute to Pitchfork articles about the Dead.

I’m sure I don’t know what you’re referring to.

Sure, champ. Please stop this.

What if I told you that Garcia was going to be played by one of the kids from Stranger Things?

Which one?

The black one.

We’re done here.

Three Dead In Massachusetts

“You want some, Pig?”

“Keep that devil’s lettuce away from me! The ol’ Pig smokes Camels like Jesus said to in th’ Bible!”

“He said that?”

“I’m just repeatin’ what I heard in Sunday School.”


Anything made of metal that remained still for more than ten minutes got a Stealie welded to it; objects not made of metal would get Stealies stuck to them.


Garcia’s head looks like a chimney brush. Just saying.


This is also from the Kresge Plaza show in 1970; like I said, the students had taken the campus in protest of the Kent State murders.

We speak now to the Younger Enthusiast, may they stay so forever. On April 30th, 1970, Nixon announced his new strategy to win the Vietnam War, which was by going to war with Cambodia. And, if that failed, Laos. Nixon was going to win this war, no matter how many wars he had to start. Naturally, this alarmed able-bodied young men, whom are required to have a war, and it doubly alarmed students because in 1969 the college deferment had been eliminated.

(Did people avoid the draft by taking a couple credits each semester for the length of the war? That might have been my method. I could have easily hid from the war for a decade at my local community college, taking whatever class interested me. That sounds like a pleasure, actually: you could learn, and make new friends.)

In 1940, the Unites States started drafting young men, which makes sense, but then the government forgot to stop when WWII ended, and so there was conscription until 1973. Any amount of thought or research will lead you to the fact that armed forces rarely want conscripts; they’re just going to fuck everything up on purpose. Remember how Klinger from MASH was always trying to get thrown out of the Army? In real life, that’s less cute because the guy who really wants out of the Army is surrounded by guns and grenades. How are you going to get any soldiering done when half your time is making sure your squad isn’t trying to escape? Throughout history, a conscripted troop will bolt the first chance he gets.

But this is the US government we’re talking about, so the draft stayed. There were free passes, though: college, marriage and/or children, homosexuality. The nation needed to protect its thinkers, families, and gays, so they were not allowed to go to war. (That’s why gays weren’t drafted, right?) In ’69, like I said, Nixon removed the student deferment.

And then, right before May Day, he announces the whole “Start two wars to win one” campaign. The students responded with equanimity.

And then they began setting things on fire.

They did at Kent State, at least: things got out of control. A little bit by the kids, but mostly by the adults. And the adults had all the weapons. The bayonets, too: on the 3rd, several students got stuck. The National Guard had brought bayonets to the campus, and then used them. That was on the 3rd. On the 4th, the National Guard remembered that they had rifles, and they used them, too.

Two of the dead were 19 years old, and the other two were 20. Nine others, all students, were wounded. The closest was not within 100 feet of the Guard’s position, the farthest was over 700 feet away. All were unarmed.

No criminal charges were ever brought. Civil cases failed. The public blamed the kids, and reelected Nixon in a landslide 16 months later.

This is what the Alt-Right are trying to do at Berkeley right now, this is what they want. Ann Coulter masturbates to that photo of the girl crying over her dead friend.

That went from history to current events kinda quick.

Everything happens at once.

It does tend to do that.

M.I.T As Well

When dunces give you that “Jerry didn’t want it to be about politics, maaaaaaan,” jive, just remind them the Dead were literally the house band of a student riot. This is 5/6/70 on the Kresge Plaza at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The band was scheduled to play the next night in the gym, but when the kids took the campus in protest of the National Guard murdering four Kent State students, the Dead agreed to provide the soundtrack; they were hidden in the back of a bread truck and smuggled onto the site. (It looks like they didn’t bring Pig’s organ.) It was cold–May in Boston can get wicked chilly–and they had more trouble keeping their guitars in tune than normal, but the set’s got a crackly and wired energy; Dancin’ in the Street is the highlight, which makes sense given the context.

Garcia didn’t do politics because he was terminally passive-aggressive, but the Grateful Dead always chose sides, and it was always the side you’d expect.

Sittin’ On Top Hat Of The World

Hey, Garcia. Whatcha doing?


You sound thrilled.

“Ah, man, this blows. All jive, y’know? Who am I, Madonna?”

You could’ve said no.

“Less hassle to do it than to refuse.”

And you got a nifty hat.

“You like?”

Very nice.

“Hiding a meatloaf sandwich in here.”

You got your meatloaf sandwich?

“Jerry Garcia always gets his sandwich.”

Case closed.

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