Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: jim irsay

The People’s Billionaire

Hey, Jim Irsay. Whatcha doing?

“Clearin’ out some space f’r a few more brewdogs.”

Feeling better?

“Stomach’s empty, brother! Shit: nose, too. Got any krell, bitch?”

I have no krell, and don’t call me bitch.

“You like these here dungarees?”

They’re very stylish.

“Had a homo pick ’em out f’r me.”


“How you fixed f’r perks?”

I’m good.

“You want a blowjob?”

From you?

“Fuck, no, hoss. Jimmy don’t swing that way. Getchoo a stripper. I got a whole separate phone f’r callin’ strippers. Smells like Shea’s cocoa butter and sweaty hundred-dollar bills.”

I’m all right.

“You a sissy? I’ll get the guy who bought me my jeans to swallow your marbles.”

I am fine. Are you all right?

“Better ‘n you, man.”

You sure? You’re tweeting out nonsense and covered in vomit.

“Could be worse.”

You could be the president.

“There you go, brother! Ol’ Jimmy’s gettin’ graded on a curve f’r the rest o’ his life!”

You got that going for you.

“I’m gonna go stick one o’ Clapton’s guitars in some chick’s bunghole.”

You do you, Jim Irsay.

“And I’ll do her.”

God bless America.

“Fuckin’ A.”

I Got Five On It

Hey, rich Enthusiasts! Go buy a guitar at a bowling alley! Bring cash, though, because Wolf’s going for over a million.

When Garcia died, Wolf went back to the guy who built it, Doug Irwin. (There was, as you might expect, lawyerly involvement in that transaction.) In 2002, he auctioned it and Tiger off: Tiger went to Jim Irsay for $850,000; an anonymous buyer spent $700,000 for Wolf. Even if the instrument hasn’t appreciated in perceived value–and it certainly has–it’s worth $950,000 now just due to inflation. Million-two sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Plus–and here’s the good part–all the money’s getting donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. They track hate groups, and when they see one, they point and say, “Look! It’s hatred!” and the hate group calls them fascists for trying to shut down their free speech. They always need money, for they have no oil wells, and they need more money than ever lately.

I just wonder who’s owned it for these past fifteen year.

“Hey! I do! I’m the anonymous buyer man.”

Excuse me? Oh, for fuck’s sake, Jim.


I know it’s you.

“Nah, man. I’m a nonymous. I’m so fuckin’ nonymous.”

Has anyone fallen for this disguise?

“All my employees.”


“You a smart fella. I like that. You wanna coach up my wide receivers?”

Could I telecommute?



“Your loss.”

So, wait. You’re the anonymous buyer? You don’t buy things anonymously. You buy things the opposite of that.

“Shit, yeah. People need to see my stuff. When I buy Wolf, I’m gonna throw a party. What’s that fat boy’s name always plays Tiger?”

Woody Hayes.

“Him, yeah. Have me a regular hippie hoedown in the Lucas Bowl of Oil Stadium Park or whatever the fuck the place is called.”

Hold on. You’re the owner.

“Fuckin’ A.”

And you’re going to buy the guitar?

“Got that right, chief.”

Tax thing?


Being rich is complicated.

“It does have its perks.”


“Speaking of which, you want some percs?”

Yes, I do.

“Let’s get that hoedown started!”

I like you, Jim Irsay.

“Shh. Don’t say my name.”

Oh, right.

The Dire Wolf Collects His Bids

As I discussed with Jim Irsay, Wolf is going up for auction; the guitar was the first of Garcia’s custom jobs from Doug Irwin (Peanut doesn’t count). Garcia started using it in May of ’73, sent it back for a while in favor of the two white Travis Bean aluminum-neck guitars, and then played it again from Fall Tour of ’77 until Tiger’s debut on 8/4/79. Garcia stuck a MIDI unit on it in the late 80’s, and it made sporadic appearances until he got another ridiculously complicated, staggeringly expensive guitar that had the MIDI bullshit all wired in.

This is what Wolf looks like:

Stop that.

Those are some funky Jews.

Yes. Stop fucking around and show a real picture of Wolf.


So creepy.


You know what you did.

May I continue?


And now you can buy it! Well, you can’t. Statistically speaking, you can’t. I am guessing that many of you do not have three million available to purchase dead people’s belongings; if you do, though, and haven’t paid a visit to Donate Button, then shame on you.

The auction house handling the sale is called Guernsey’s, which was named after its founder, Guernica Fontaine. (Guernica was, quite rightly, unhappy with her given name and went by the diminutive.) They have a very fancy website, which you would expect from a fancy place. You can’t be a shmancy auction house with a site hosted by blogspot.

If you don’t have three million American dollars (3.94 CAD), then you’ll have to wait for one of Garcia’s lesser-known guitars to come up for sale. A quick rundown of Garcia’s instruments, and where they are now:

Guild Starfire Big, cheap, terrible thing. Also a hollowbody, so lacked the requisite mass Garcia demanded from a guitar. Played on the first album, but was burned for warmth after the van broke down somewhere outside of Mendocino.

Buncha Les Pauls The black Les Paul that Garcia used for the ’69 Fillmore West shows and Live/Dead was traded to a wandering peddler for magic beans. At the time of his passing, Garcia had almost forgiven Bobby for it. The others are owned by Jim Irsay, except the one that Jim Irsay traded for magic beans.

Alligator The yellow ’57 Strat that you remember Garcia playing at Veneta, even though he played a sunburst Strat at Veneta. Alligator is currently owned by the Garcia Estate, which sounds like a maker of cheap wine. “Garcia Estates: It’ll Get You Sloppy.”

Peanut This proto-Wolf from Alembic was only played at a handful of shows. It is now owned by Jim Irsay, who has played it while naked.

Thumper the Fuckbunny Garcia refused to take delivery of this guitar until Doug Irwin renamed it and changed the decal.

Wolf After Thumper the Fuckbunny was rechristened Wolf, Garcia played it just like I said he did in the first paragraph. Don’t make me repeat myself; you know how much I hate writing paragraphs.

Tiger Also currently owned by Jim Irsay, Tiger was played by Garcia for almost all of the ’80’s, and now gets marched around the country to be fondled by relief pitchers and Woody Hayes.

Harp This was a harp. Garcia was like, “Why did you bring me a harp, man?” And Doug Irwin was like, “I thought you’d like it.” And Garcia was like, “It’s a harp, man.” And Doug Irwin was like, “Yeah, and you owe me twelve grand for it,” and then he and Garcia didn’t talk for a couple of years. Currently owned by Jim Irsay, who uses it to slice provolone cheese.

Top Hat, Rosebud, Lightning Bolt Same bullshit as Tiger, but heavier. Rosebud had a car battery in it. Top Hat and Rosebud are currently owned by Jim Irsay; Lightning Bolt is owned by a guy who plays pinochle with Jim Irsay, and I think you can figure out what happened there.

The Happiest Man In Indianapolis

Hey, Jim Irsay. You look happy.

“Gonna get me a new gee-tar! YEEEEE-HA! I’m the fuckin’ man!”

Oh, yeah: Wolf’s going up for auction.

“Ol’ Jimmy’s gonna snap that sumbitch RIGHT up! Gonna show it to waitresses, get me some poon.”

You know the proceeds are going to the SPLC, right?

“That’s good. I love animals.”

Not the SPCA. the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“They take drunk driving cases? All the lawyers in Indianapolis are sick of my shit.”

I don’t think so. You’ve made up your mind? Definitely buying Wolf?

“Shit, yeah. I already filled up two gym bags with crumpled twenties.”

Fairly sure auction houses won’t accept that.

“There’s a few dozen vikes under the cash.”

That doesn’t make it better.

“Few dozen vikes makes everything better, boy.”

Yeah, okay.

“Man, been forever since I bought me a Jerry gee-tar. I celebrate special.”

How so?

“Cover myself in baby oil, find me a single mom with flat feet, and road trip to Reno.”

Not Vegas?

“I’m more of a Reno guy.”

You totally are.

“Gimme one second, boy. Gotta drain the lizard.”


“I’m back.”

What the fuck happened!? You were gone 45 seconds.

“Made a pit stop at Fuddrucker’s. Snorted some shots, drank some pills. Had a fajita.”

Who the fuck is that?

“This guy here? This is my fuckin’ guy right here.”

Sure. Why are you wearing that?

“Stopped at Foot Locker and stole it off a high school kid.”

Well, that’s not so bad. Usually people around here take their dicks out at Foot Locker.

“I had my dick out while I was stealin’ the shirt.”

Of course. Enjoy your guitar, Jim.

“I’m enjoyin’ life!”

You seem to be.

Tiger, Tiger Burning Shore

parish jake peavy tiger

You might remember that Tiger came through town last week or so; a pitcher named Jake Peavy borrowed the thing and everybody took pictures and this one is sweet. There are only a handful of people who can claim any sort of ownership of Tiger. Legally, of course, Irsay is the owner. But that guitar’s got a little bit of Parish in her: he didn’t build her, or play her, or buy her; Parish made sure no one stole it. Tiger was surrounded by intensely sketchy people for most of her career, but she always went home with the right guy.

Also, I’m pretty sure that’s Jason Newsted’s kid.

A Note On Jim Irsay: worse people could own Tiger. He’s got all his guitars–150 or so–in a secure place with the right humidity and whatnot, plus he hired a guy to take care of them. It could be worse, but then again…

irsay tiger

…it probably couldn’t be. Rock and fuckin’ roll, Jimmy.

Hold That Tiger

Meanwhile back at TXR, the other side of this semi-dysfunctional, choogly-type family is up to all sorts of shenanigans. Phil and his Phriends are playing a show from 1987. TotD has, through careful sleuthing–

You googled it.

–determined that the show is 9/18/87 from Madison Square Garden, which was released as part of the 30 Trips set, but is also available as a Healy UltraMatrix; someone better-informed than TotD can fill us all in as to what precisely an UltraMatrix is in the Comment Section, but whatever their makeup, the sound is unique and maybe you’ll like it, and maybe you won’t.

But there’s more, Enthusiasts: Jim Irsay got all pilled up and sent Tiger on a field trip; it’s been wandering around the Bay Area like the Stanley Cup and I’m expecting to see Tweeted pictures of rando babies napping on it. Perhaps it will be taken to inner-city schools to inspire poor children. Will the lame be permitted to lay their twisted flesh upon it, that they may be healed?

Tiger has made friends with baseball pitchers:


And reunited with the Lesh family:


Phil got in on the action, too:

Portable Network Graphics image-BFAB049300CF-1

And then Phil handed Tiger into the audience, where it was passed from Deadhead to Deadhead; everyone got a turn.

As usual, though, TotD has a member of the Haight Street Irregulars in the audience (if we’re honest, he’s a full-fledged FoTotD) and he sent along this sweet shot of Phil and Grahame:


Fun fact: that is Kidd Candelario’s head in the foreground.

Less fun fact: from the angle of this shot, TXR needs to step up security. Maybe some velvet ropes, or give the busboys truncheons; I don’t know; I’m not a restaurateur.

Funnish fact: a silent letter is written but not pronounced; the “n” that is pronounced but not written in the word “restaurateur”is the opposite of a silent letter. (See also: the second “r” in “sherbet.”)

Costs A Lot To Win

jerry hat:hat

That fucking hat, Garcia was known to say in response to questions about the famous Herb Greene photos wearing the only hat silly enough to distract from the sweater/necklace combo. It was barely even his, Garcia would say–in an affable sort of way, of course–and he gave it away right afterwards. He wore it maybe three times in his life, as a goof. certainly never onstage.

But humans like turning images into icons. It’s fun for everyone but the subject, it seems, and combined with the paucity of pictures back them: this is the image that took with the general public. Captain fucking Trips.

For Enthusiasts, it’s a nice image for its nudity: no half-tinted sunglass or giant beard. Just a young man with old eyes.

The rest, though, see it as a sweet reminder of a weirdly hopeful time. There was an entire season dedicated to love! The had been Winters of Discontent and Autumns of Lumbago, but now people had flowers in their hair and none of the teen foxes were wearing brassieres and the music was real loud, but no matter how loud it got, it needed to be turned up: it was freedom rock, man.

We’re in the future now. When you see the Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac, you can’t look back. You can never look back.

Unless of course you have a hundred grand. (And not, like, a hundred grand masquerading as your home and car and savings: it needs to be a hundred grand you just have lying around.) Then, not only can you look back, but you can reach your grubby moneyed paws back and snatch up Garcia’s hat. You don’t even have to go to Christie’s in London to buy it nowadays: call in, or bid online, or send one of your hired goons. (TotD assumes that anyone with a hundred grand lying around has access to hired goons.)

Perhaps it will go to a good home. It should be in the Smithsonian, but it will most likely end up in Jim Irsay’s office and get destroyed when the Waffle House waitress he let wear it during fumbling pill sex ODs and crushes it.

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