Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: keith godchaux (page 2 of 15)

There’s Always One

Mickey’s demands for the day:

  • Visor.
  • Dead shirt.
  • All the cocaine in the world.

The Least They Could Do

Perhaps as usual I’ve stumbled onto a theme for the evening: the rank unprofessionalism of the past. All of this–every single part of it–is unacceptable in today’s shiny and buffed branding exercise of a culture: the duct tape all over the piano, the circus tent, the plywood the plywood the plywood holy shit the plywood. No one even thought to order some tie-dyed curtains from Nighthawk to drape over the backdrop which, as I have mentioned, is just naked plywood.

So much unused space to announce corporate partnerships.




What are you doing?

“Checking the stage to make sure it won’t collapse.”

You think maybe you should’ve done that before the band got on it?

“Things get gotten to when I get to them.”


“You all right?”

Took me a second to parse that sentence.

“You knew what I meant.”

I truly didn’t.


Penduluminescent super troopers wrestle feedback gremlins in the balcony, while the ushers and the kids have ongoing discussions about the propriety of sitting on stairs, and the road crew barters for blowjobs backstage. The bathrooms need to be cleaned, cleansed, purified, all. In the concourse run round the loge, there is dynamism and torque, spooky action at such a far distance from the stage, where the next chord is a B minor.

Thank God, The Cavalry


Hey, Mrs. Donna Jean. Whatcha doing?

“Feelin’ it, sugar.”

I see that. You look like Kate Moss.

“All pretty people look alike.”

Your hair length says to me that you’ve suffered no extended illnesses.

“Okay, that’s enough. Don’t talk to me like you talk to those Burnin’ Man skanks, darlin’. I ain’t gonna contemplate the universe with you.”


“Besides, I’m married.”


keith horse egypt

Oh, Mrs. Donna Jean. I don’t want to do this bit with you.



Did Keith just slide off the horse?

“Looks like.”

Where’d he get a horse?


Good talk, Mrs. Donna Jean.

The Boys Will Be Boys


Sometimes we go left to right, sometimes we don’t. This is one of those “don’t” times.

  • You could show Lawrence of Arabia on Keith’s forehead.
  • As with all early Dead photos, one member is wearing a silly hat. (Not Pig; Pig’s hat is not silly; Pig’s hat is awesome, but only on Pig. Were any other Grateful Dead wearing the hat, it would become silly.)
  • Calm down, Phil.
  • This might be a shot from Europe ’72, I’m not sure, but it looks cold; someone get Keith a jacket.
  • Later that afternoon, Billy’s mustache and Bobby’s coat made loud, angry love in full view of the students at school for the Deaf.
  • Garcia is friends with a bear, and they have adventures.
  • Also, Garcia is friends with Bear; they, too, have adventures.
  • Seriously, Phil: simmer down.

A Vote For Jesus Is A Vote


Hey, Godchauxes. Whatcha doing?


“Waitin’ for my turn to sing, bein’ proud, wearin’ skirts. The usual, sugar.”

Who you two voting for?


Did Keith slide bonelessly to the ground?

“Looks like.”

Well, who are you voting for, Mrs. Donna Jean?

“Same person I always vote for: Jesus.”

I don’t think He wants the job.

“He didn’t wanna be the Messiah neither, but He did that pretty good. Jesus ’16!”

Not the worst candidate you could vote for.

“No, that’s Gary Johnson, honey.”


Overheard That Time The Grateful Dead Took A Tour Of The White House

  • No, Mr. Owsley, you cannot examine the communication system.
  • Billy just punched an usher in the dick.
  • Someone go down to the Situation Room and let Keith out.
  • I don’t know how he got in there in the first place, let alone lock himself in; just go get him.
  • Then wake him up: just get him out of there!
  • Carpet-cleaners to the Situation Room.
  • Do you smell smoke?
  • All the Grateful Deads need to stop calling the president “President Branford;” it’s just incredibly inappropriate.
  • “President Oteil” is just as bad, Billy.
  • Why is there 8 tons of gear in the Map Room?
  • Whoever it was that ordered pizza: the delivery boy just ran off with the CIA Daily Briefing.
  • No, Bobby: State Dinners aren’t when the president has ribs with all the governors.
  • Billy just punched the social secretary in the dick.
  • Flotus has asked for Pigpen to be kept away from her.
  • You dosed the Secret Service? I dosed the Secret Service. Jesus, how many people dosed the Secret Service? We should go check on them.
  • A burning smell; no one else smells that?
  • Lenny Hart has stolen the nuclear football.
  • Someone needs to tell Mickey taking his dick out under the Lyndon Johnson’s portrait while screaming, “EL BEEJAY!” at female passers-by is just not gonna work.
  • Because besides it being the White House, it’s an office; you just can’t have drummers taking their dicks out.
  • No, he can’t keep screaming if he puts his dick away; every part of what he’s doing is unacceptable.
  • Billy just punched White House communications director C.J. Cregg in the dick.
  • The road crew found the secret tunnels, and now they’re racing dirt-bikes.
  • Why are there people selling burritos in the Rose Garden?
  • Flotus has asked for John Mayer to be kept away from the First Daughters.
  • How did Katy Perry get in here?
  • Like the Treaty Room is on fire: I’m the only one who smells that?

A Picture Of Keith Godchaux, Overthought

keith sepia alley

It’s a guy standing in an alley; others are present. The subject is uncompelling.

But observe the composition: the strict adherence to the rule of thirds, the lightening color bands ascending up the frame, the Kubrickian one-point perspective.

Furthermore, observe your own observation: where does your eye start? On the brightest object, the light top left, and the glasses of the serial killer dude, and then across Keith’s baggy orbs, and finally to Macho Scungilli enjoying the shit out of a smoke and a mustache. (It’s not a perfect Fibonacci spiral–there should be a shiny necklace around Keith’s neck–but it’s close enough for rock and roll.)

It’s a guy standing in an alley; others are present. The photograph is art.

Raise a glass to the photographers. To Bob Minkin, and Herb Greene, and Baron Wolman, and Jay Bakesberg, and Jim Anderson, and Erica McDonald, and Ed Perlstein, and Robbi Cohn, and Susana Millman. Raise a glass to Rosie McGee.

South Africa, Keith Godchaux, And Zionism

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 1.13.27 AM

Your guess is as good as mine.

The Piano Has Been Drinking, But The Piano Player Has Also Been Drinking

keith rhodes forehead

This is Keith Richard Godchaux; it is his birthday today, and he doesn’t show up around here very much. Just a sleepy punchline most of the time, I’m sorry to say, but there’s nothing to hang a character on: he did no interviews and his physical presence on shows caught on camera gives little of his personality away. (When he made it into the film, that is:  he’s almost completely absent from Sunshine Daydream and the Beat Club footage, but he does get some nice shots in The Grateful Dead Movie.) I don’t know if I’ve ever heard his speaking voice. He died in 1980, which is the past but not that past, and nothing remains.

Did they call you Keith, Keith? Godchaux? Cho-Cho? Frenchy? What was your favorite candy? Did you go to church? What was your best subject in school? Did you write Mrs. Donna Jean letters? What did you think about lacrosse?

The rest of them are easy studies, Keith; who the hell were you?

Also: a studio apartment the size of Keith’s forehead rents for five grand a month in San Francisco nowadays.

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