Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: keith godchaux (page 1 of 15)

Overheard At The Hospital

  • Mickey, put the nurses’ scrubs back.
  • Has anyone seen the pharmacy?
  • No, Bear, please don’t rewire the public address system aaaaaaaand you fried the entire building; thanks for that, genius.
  • Who put tequila in all these IV bags?
  • Well, look around for it; it’s gotta be here; livers don’t just walk away.
  • Nurse, a shoeless black guy and a white guy with hair like a unicorn just stole my food.
  • No, not the contents of the pharmacy; the pharmacy.
  • Paging Dr. Beechwood.
  • Paging Dr. Schott.
  • It’s a lovely house, Bobby, but we need those tongue depressors for the patients.
  • You dosed the otolaryngologist? I dosed the otolaryngologist. Jesus, how many people dosed the otolaryngologist? We should check on him.
  • The opening to the gown is supposed to be in the back, Billy.
  • Yes, it’s a problem that everyone can see your dick.
  • No, we’re not “all professionals here,” Billy: we’re in the cafeteria.
  • Security to the parking lot: two ambulances have been stolen and are being repeatedly crashed into one another; approach with caution, as suspects are armed and married.
  • The whole pharmacy is gone, all of it, it is not there anymore, I don’t know how much more clearly I can put this.
  • If you don’t lock the morgue up, the road crew are just gonna steal more parts.
  • HOLY SHIT, are you smoking in the fucking burn ward?

She’s Safe, Everyone

Are you okay, Mrs. Donna Jean?

“I’m better’n okay, sugar. Momma got her load on.”

Wonderful. Glad you got away from Harvey.

“Harvey. Yeah. Okay. Sugar, I got a l’il secret for you.”

What?

“Harvey wasn’t so special. They was all like that. Every. Single. One.”

Oh.

“‘Oh?’ That’s all you got?”

Your hair looks nice.

“Bless your heart.”

OR

The trunk. Jesus, the trunk. There is neither floor nor ceiling to the Bush League that the Grateful Dead occupied.

Harvey Weinstein Meets The Godchauxes

If I have taught you but one thing, let it be this: There is always a Dead connection.

OR

Harvey got fat, but he was always ugly. Fucker looks like Chuck Wepner having an allergic reaction to shellfish.

OR

Holy shit, Keith can smile.

OR

“Keith, darlin’, you gonna stand in between me an’ that Jewish fella, all right now?”

“Okay. Why?”

“Hush up an’ do what momma says.”

“Okay.”

OR

From the Sabres sign behind them, we can assume that this is War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo; this is either ’73 or ’77. I’m going with ’73. What do you think?

I Spy With My Little Eye…

  • Classic iPod. (Behind Mrs. Donna Jean.)
  • Amazon Echo. (In between Mrs. Donna Jean and Garcia.)
  • Two iPads. (To the left of Billy and Mickey.)
  • Phil’s booty. (Behind Phil.)
  • Precarious Lee’s handiwork. (Bottom left.)

Precarious?

“Yo.”

Is that a humidor?

“On top of the monitor?”

Yes.

“Nope. Ashes.”

Human ashes?

“Yup.”

Whose?

“Don’t worry about it.”

Is that secure? That angle is rather…

“Precarious?”

Exactly.

“It’ll be fine.”

Will it?

“Should be.”

Your words don’t fill me with confidence.

“I duct taped it.”

Oh, well, then it’s fine.

“I know.”

I was being sarcastic.

“I know. Don’t care.”

Live Nudies

The Nudie Suit experiment has never been properly explained; this sounds like a job for Lost Live Dead. There’s not many pics of The Boys in their suits, and they only wore them for a few shows: one (or more) of the Winterland run in December ’72, and then again at New Year’s. The outfits came out again 2/19/73 in Chicago, and then made their final appearance on 3/19/73 at Nassau Coliseum. (And not even for the whole show: everyone changed during set break.)

Wait, you’re saying. Those sound suspiciously like facts, TotD. You don’t traffic in fact and research.

Stop talking, I’d say, or I’ll throw myself out the window and you’ll never find out how the Little Aleppo story ends.

Wow, you’d reply. That got dark real fast.

And then I’d start crying. Are you happy? Is that what you wanted?

Stop this.

They did it. It’s all their fault.

Who is “they?”

Them.

Just stop it.

Fine. The dates from Winterland and Chicago may be wrong–I’m just going on Archive comments–but the Nassau show is a confirmed event. There is, Enthusiasts, evidence.

Look:

Bobby says in an interview that Garcia had his first, in fact had his before April of ’72 because he brought it to Europe with him (even though he didn’t have the balls to wear it onstage.) After March of ’73, though, they were gone forever. Phil still has his…

…and it still fits. (Phil went a little low-key with his, which I disagree with. What’s the point of a Nudie Suit if it can’t be seen from space?)

Who has Garcia’s? Gotta be worth something, more if it hasn’t been laundered.

But let me start at the beginning: 1902 was a terrible time to be born Jewish in Kiev. There’s never been a good time, but 1902 was worse than usual.

“Izzy?”

“Yes, Schmuley?”

“We should go somewhere where there aren’t Cossacks.”

“What is it with those guys?”

“They just seem to like hitting us with sticks.”

“And kicking.”

“Kicking, too. Let’s go to America.”

“You mean the Land of the Free, a country built on immigration that would never turn away needy and desperate refugees?”

“No, America.”

“Oh, okay. At least there’ll be jobs.”

“Sure.”

And so on.

One of these newly-arrived Jews was a young man named Nuta Kotlyarenko, who renamed himself Nudie Cohn and became a tailor, first in Minnesota where he met his wife Bobbie; they opened a shop in New York selling underwear to showgirls, and then moved to Los Angeles in the 40’s to make Western Wear. Spangles and frills and themes, and the last one is the most important: the key to the Nudie Suit is the theme. Anyone can slap some rhinestones onto a jacket, but a Nudie has a raison d’etre.

Look at this bullshit:

That’s some down-home bullshit right there.

That’s Porter Wagoner (right), and he was the first Country star to start wearing Nudie Suits; in fact, Nudie gave him his first suit for free, thinking it would be good promotion. It was. Soon, every male Country star had to have a Nudie Suit.

Hank Williams had one:

The notes represented his love of music.

Gram Parsons had one, too:

The drugs represent his love of drugs.

Every artist has a masterpiece, and Nudie Cohn was certainly an artist. His greatest suit of all time may have been both his simplest and his flashiest. You’ve seen it before once or twice:

“AH’M BACK!”

No, you’re not. Shh.

Anyway, Nudie Cohn died in 1984, but you can still get “Nudie Suits;” they make periodic comebacks adorning roots-rockers or alt-country acts. (You really can’t wear a Nudie Suit anywhere other than the stage. If you walk into a Taco Bell dressed like this, you will get gorditas thrown at you.)

Circling back to the Dead (this is about the Grateful Dead, remember), we still have many questions. Why would Garcia have had one in the first place? A Nudie Suit wasn’t an impulse purchase, nor could it have been a gift: they were hand-made, so you have to visit Nudie for measurement and fittings, and very expensive. And recall that Garcia got his before everyone else did, so it wasn’t a group decision. Garcia–in an entirely out-of-character move–bought himself a Nudie Suit out of nowhere? None of this makes sense. Bobby was the one who thought he was a cowboy. Someone explain this to me.

Like I said, the rest of the band thought it was a spiffy idea, so they followed Garcia down to the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, where Nudie’s of Hollywood was located, and fancied themselves right up. Bobby and Billy looked like this:

“I was gonna get skank on the legs, but I settled for pot.”

Quiet. This is not a dialogue post.

“Ah, suck my nuts.”

Great.

Even Keith had one, though there’s just this one black-and-white photo of him:

Poor Keith. He doesn’t want to be in a Nudie Suit. He knows he’s not pulling it off. Aw.

Much like the Farewell Shoes, Mrs. Donna Jean was not included. She did, however, wear a very fetching red number when the rest of the band payed dress-up. She looked like this:

Another alternate reality created, another unwritten future. What if they hadn’t learned to write songs? What if they buckled down and rehearsed and continued being the band they were in ’77? What if Brent didn’t die? And: What if they gave a shit about what they looked like?

Alas, it was not to be. The Nudie Suits were put in the closet, and the tee-shirts and jeans came out; in the 80’s, sweatpants and short shorts replaced the jeans. Never again would the Dead have “stage clothes.” But for a moment, they looked bitchin’.

Balloony, Tunes

They ran a tight ship.

OR

It’s past that kid’s bedtime.

OR

Rarest Phil of all: baseball cap Phil.

OR

Could the giant speaker be any closer to Keith’s head? When he died, how deaf you think he was on a scale of one to Mickey?

OR

On New Year’s, Precarious always amused himself by getting the newest member of the crew to look for the “heavy helium” to fill the balloons with.

OR

Seriously, why is Phil wearing a hat?

Reunited And It Choogles So Good

“Hey, Billy?”

“Yeah, Mick?”

“Who are all the new people in the band?”

“Piano player’s named Keith. Some kinda bullshit last name.”

“What about the chick?”

“That’s his old lady.”

“You’re shitting me.”

“Nah.”

“C’mon.”

“Swear.”

“He got a big dick or something?”

“Haven’t seen it yet.”

“Tell me if you do.”

“Gotcha.”

“Something wrong with her throat?”

“No, that’s what she sounds like.”

“Okay. Billy?”

“Yeah?”

“Who’s the little guy with all the synthesizers?”

“He belongs to Phil. Neil? I wanna say his name is Neil.”

“Is he contributing?”

“No one’s quite sure. Tell you this, though: this whole tour, him and Phil have been making the most unholiest racket you ever heard during set break. Merch sales went up 20%.”

“Why?”

“They scared everyone into the lobby.”

“Sure. Hey, Bill, it’s nice to be back.”

“Uh-huh.”

“The Rhythm Devils are back together!”

“Yay.”

“Yay!”

“That’s what I said. Yay.”

So Many Rhodes

Precarious?

“Yo.”

What’s the little one on the left?

“Donna.”

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

“Humidor.”

Obviously.

OR

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.

OR

“Don’t you do it, Weir.”

“What?”

“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?”

OR

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.

Self-Promotion

This is almost certainly confirmation bias speaking, but there couldn’t have been a band that wore their own shirts as much as the Dead did. Metallica wears Metallica shirts a lot, but they’re pikers compared to the Dead; at any given show, at least 15% of all Grateful Deads on stage will be wearing Dead shirts. Shit, 3-to-1 that Keith’s wearing a Dead shirt in this photo.

Although, it was useful if you were too high.

“What band is this, man?”

(Looks at Mickey.)

“Oh, riiiiight.”

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