Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: kreutzman (page 1 of 3)


Oooooh. OOOOOooooooOOOOOOooooh. (What’s weird is that if you use two ‘h’s, it’s no longer spooky. Well, yeah, it’s spooky, but in an unclean way: Ooooooohh.  Right? Just got fifty shades of creepy in here.) It’s Friday the Thirteenth. Oogie-woogie.

The origin of our dreadful fascination with the date arose when Jesus was 13 and Joseph came in from a hard day of being a fictional character offscreen and said “Thank God it’s Friday,” and Jesus leapt up and screamed “You’re not my real dad, I hate you.” and stormed–well, I was going to say into the other room, but the Christs* probably had more of a loft thing, right? The open floor plan was big in Judea in, well, I guess it would have been 13, wouldn’t it have been?

So, then Jesus opened his religion and after that there were Knights Templar, who liked to roam around Europe building hospitals and having gay orgies. That got the Pope mad so he killed them all and, even though none of this really happened, it took place on Friday the 13th which is why on this date, we kill black cats on sight with impunity.

(There is a good possibility that none of that is true.)

So, tonight is filled with horror and foreboding (totally out of context, check out Bobby’s slide solo in Werewolves of London). Jason would have cut a swath through the Dead like Mrs. Donna Jean through a Holiday Inn, as would Michael Myers, mostly because Jason is a blatant rip-off of said Mr. Myers.

Freddie Krueger would have had no luck with the boys; there was nothing he could conjure up in their dreams that was scarier than things they had seen while awake.

Draculas of all sorts were known to avoid the Dead for fear of catching something. Or, more likely, catching everything. The weird, quickly evolving bacterium and viruses that followed each tour did some wonderful things (from a science point of view). There was one pathogen that caused a nearly 80% result for an incurable disorder called Total Nipple Refraction. TNR, man! So, like pretty much anyone with three or four brain cells, the draculas stayed away from the tour blood.

Werewoofs also would have been no sweat. A guy who turns into a raging beast once every 28 days? So, like, half-a-Billy?

It doesn’t matter anyway: Bobby still demands his nightlight to sleep.

* Until the age of 25, I thought that Christ was his last name. Like, “Hi, we’re the Christs. I’m Joseph, and this is my wife Mary.”

Not Pictured #4

Billy again, this time climbing the Wall to get to a large crow he asserted had–and I’m quoting here–“called him a wop.”

Not Pictured #2

Billy, because he was inside casually removing a 16-year-old’s bra while drinking a Coors Light. Billy didn’t want to play Cowboys & Indians: Billy wanted to play his drums, punch some dicks, and fuck every high school chick he could.

God bless Billy fucking Kreutzmann.

Ebony And Ivory

The Dead had so many options after Brent’s all-bullshit-aside tragic death and they went with the worst. They apparently had this weird did-you-call-me/should-we-call thing with Merl that is far too Mean Girls to relate in good conscience and more’s the pity because maybe Merl would’ve kicked Garcia’s ass just a little, being a straight-laced man and proud deacon of the Mt. Holy Oak of Zion First Macadamia Church of the Redeemer in Christ. Plus, the Dead would have had a black guy in it. And as commercials have taught us, people hang out exclusively in carefully diverse groups.

There were others they could have at least auditioned. Elton John was hitting a rough patch at the time, perhaps he could have helped out. Something tells me Bobby would love to play Crocodile Rock. The flaw in the plan is that the first time Sir Elton threw one of his legendary tantrums, Billy would punch him in the dick, because this time I’ve gotta stand up for Billy: grown men throwing tantrums deserve a thorough dickpunching.

Rick Wakeman was also in a bit of a fallow period since wasting all of the money in Britain on an ice show to play arpeggios to. I have a feeling that the first time Rick opened his spangly cape to play two of his army of keyboards at the same time, Garcia would freak out and think he was a dragon and set him on fire. So, that’s a no for Rick Wakeman.

Stevie Wonder wouldn’t have worked because Phil still owes him $60 from a poker game and is ducking him.

Random Thoughts On The Dead

The Timi’i people have only five words for colors, which seems odd until you realize that they live in a triple canopied rainforest and the colors are Green, Really Green, Thing That’s About To Kill Me, Sun’s In My Eyes, and Night.

In Phil’s secret language of dreams, his word for “roadie” is the same as his word meaning “one about to be chastised.”


I sometimes need to hear five or six versions of the same song in a row. Part of that last sentence was a lie: I sometimes need to hear Mississippi Half-Step  five or six versions in a row.


Bobby was never more than two or three feet away from the note he intended to sing. Sometimes, this was an exciting musical choice–listen to Sugar Magnolia. Sometimes. Garcia’s voice was too fragile and sweet for the rockers, but it was in tune far more often than Bobby’s. Phil’s voice had a weird barbershop quartet thing to it, plus Phil’s larynx had not been informed of the fact that Phil had perfect pitch. At shows in the ’80’s, Enthusiasts hoisted signs reading Let Phil Sing. Note that these signs did not say Let Phil Continue to Sing: it was clearly seen as a one-time thing.

Pig wasn’t so much good at singing notes as he was at singing songs.


I’ll give the Dead this: they wouldn’t have put up with that My Little Pony shit at all.

The Dead did not subvert gender roles: they rejected your post-modernity and replaced it with a system that encouraged calling your wife “your old lady,” out loud and in public and getting away with it, which if you think about it, is a pretty good trick the guys played on their old ladies.


Could it be a coincidence that Roe v. Wade occurred in 1973? Is it chance that the landmark reproductive rights decision took place the VERY SAME YEAR that the Dead was just, y’know, killin’ it?

On The Bus

I think no more Jerry Band for me. These bloggings started with the express rule: no Jerry Band, which of course encapsulates Ratdog and Seastones and drunkenly narrated slide shows from Billy’s scuba trips. (“Punched that fish in the dick, punched THAT fish RIGHT in the dick. Swimmin’ over here and takin’ our jobs.”)

There is something, a gestalt (a Jungian would say that) that exists between four men and whomever else they let on the stage that creates the Grateful Dead. It’s like Voltron, except it now takes up to three hours to form the Voltron Robot because one of the lions–I’m not going to say which one, but it’s Garcia–has locked himself in the Space Lion Bathroom again and we can’t really force him out of there because he’s in an 800 ton warp-capable lion mech; outright aggression would be counter-productive.

I say four because it was four who were necessary: Garcia, Bobby, Billy, Phil. Mickey came and went; keyboardists plowed under as if stage right was the Somme. It was the four of them that made the sound that was the Dead: that lazy lope, that leonine lurch, that lupine lambada and they checked one another’s bad habits.

The worst thing to happen to Garcia–or any of them, really–was being the guy in charge of the band. Because Garcia wanted to play this next number for 23 minutes. Doesn’t matter what song, but it’s probably Dylan or a reggae tune he has de-reggaefied, and it’s gonna be 23 minutes. So, if Garcia’s the one signing your check, you comp under him for 23 minutes. Also, it’s going to be slow.

Billy wouldn’t put up with that shit, though. Billy was the guy who, when the group needed to buy a new truck in the early days, instead demanded they buy him a Mustang that he promptly wrecked. If Billy wanted a song to be over, it was going to end.

Phil didn’t really do any solo stuff; he could be a bit lazy. And surly. All of the Evil Dwarves. And, of course, when Bobby gets left to his own devices, this happens:

Imperfect Pitch #3

Okay okay okay: what if the Dead were mattresses? Garcia would be soft and fluffy, Phil would be firm and ungiving, Vince would be blood-stained and lying by the side of the road in an industrial section of town.

Are you mocking your own tropes are have you genuinely just run out of gas?


That is not a thing.


Nor is that. Look, I’m going to need the ball. We’re going with the lefty.


Yes, yes: Lefty Wright.

Doesn’t he also switch-hit?

Yes and no.


Sorry, boss.

Life is short: listen to ’73!

You are just the worst kind of suck-ass that there is. What you do is shameful and whether or not you feel wrong about that like normal humans have evolved to do over millennia doesn’t matter: your actions have shame attached to them and will hound you not just here, but in all the worlds to come.

How about the boys as olde-time comedian? Bobby could be Lucy and get into situations because Garcia don’t wanna take ‘er to da show. Garcia, Ricardo, same shit, right.



Audition time!

Imperfect Pitch

Hey, what if the Grateful Dead were Secretaries-General of the United Nations? Obviously, Garcia is Boutros-Boutros Ghali (which my spell-check says is spelled wrong, therefore: racist devil). Phil is clearly U Thant, and if you can’t see Trygve Lie’s baby blues staring out at you from behind the drums stage right, well…I don’t know what’s wrong with you, pal.

You got nothing, do you?

Not as such, no.

It really is going to be sad to see you go–

Dead as the A-Team? With Garcia as Hannibal and he’s like, “I love it when a jam comes together.” And Billy is Murdock and Bobby is Face and Merl is B.A., because they tried it with Mickey in black-face and even he saw the problems, so they called the only black guy they knew.

I’m going to pass.

Merl was the Dead’s Billy Preston

Nice observation, but still gonna pass.

Can I just go workshop some stuff, rub it up some flags, get it back to you in a much more proactive paradigm?

If you admit that what you just said doesn’t mean anything, then: yes.

Complete bullshit. All of it.

Get back to me.



Elvis Is A Terry Pratchett Character

Sorry to rail on about this Ronnie Tutt fellow, but first off, he’s just a massive drummer who gives my wiener worries; second, he played with Garcia AND Elvis. That is an odd cross-section of the Twentieth Century there. Supposedly they never met, but this of course begs the question: why not? Garcia must have been interested in the King, and Elvis was up for any stupid bullshit after enough pills and sandwiches.

Ronnie mentions it off-hand one night, and Elvis jumps on it like a steel trap.


“Yeah, Elvis. He wanted to meet you, so I thought he could come on down to Vegas and catch–”


“That’s Graceland, King?”


So, Garcia and the boys show up at Graceland. A red-headed porter in a modified Elvis suit/apron answers the door and shows them in, stopping at the entrance to the Jungle Room.”

“King, I present–”



This time, even Billy had nothing: he was just as impressed and terrified as anyone else. There was a silence; no, not a silence: there were birds birding and branches creaking and creeks branching and cars starting 300 yards away. It was actually a sound that, like the smell of a dominatrix decaying in a bathtub in a row house just north of the 7-11 on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood, hit your primal nerves–it was a sound that your reptile brain recognized long before your dumb ass put a name it: the sound of everyone shutting the fuck up and listening to the guy with the gun.


So they did and a good time was had by all. They talked a bit, ate bacon. Dr. Nick stopped by and declared them all very, very sick so they needed medicines of all colors and shapes; the proper dosage of these pills should be “a handful”. The Dead, of course, had dosed everything and everyone in the room, as well. The combination of LSD and the three champagne glasses full of pills Elvis dry-swallowed (which would have been a great party trick except for the whole “saddest thing you’ll ever watch another human being casually do right in front of you” thing) hit the King a bit funny.


With that, the King jumped off the couch (there are many shades of jumping, from vaulting or leaping to whatever it was that Elvis did that day). He ripped off his robe, expecting–I believe–that in an attack situation, he would just grow a karate suit like he was Super Man or something. But he didn’t: he just ripped off his robe and stood there, naked and confused for a good long moment and then someone came and brought him up to his bedroom to change.

The Memphis Mafia was thrilled by this; they took the time away from the King to smoke doobies with the Dead, since Elvis did not allow doobies to be smoked in Graceland.

“Is he really gonna karate out when he gets back? said Bobby.

“If he–PHWOOOOO (doobie)–remembers, yeah. And if he goes for it, we gotta join in. Sorry, Grateful Dead,” said Joe Esposito.

“Does anyone need towels or water?” said Charlie Hodge.

“Y’know, Charlie,” said Garcia. “My brow is sopping, but my throat is bone-dry.”

“I got the solution, chief: towels and water.”

Another two hours or so went by, and everyone was having a great time. They were high as kites, and girls showed up, and Red broke out the guitars, and everybody had just the right amount of towels and water, and they had a hootananny right there in the Jungle Room. The thick shag was sown with pills, like a qualude farm and–


Elvis was back. As promised, the Mafia had to pretend to fight, but the Dead were just giggly at that point, perhaps due to all the velour. Even Billy didn’t have any violence in him.


“Well, y’know man, it’s just that you’re kinda being a rude sort of host here and–


“We’re gonna split, man.”


The door shuts on the loud group of men, leaving relative quiet in the Jungle Room.

“I’ll karate with ya, King.”



Emergency Crew

Breaking news, my fellow Enthusiasts: the Hiatus was a lie! Well, not that it occurred: the Dead played only four shows in 18 months. That’s fact. What’s not fact is the reason why. We were all told it was because the Wall of Sound and the Wall of Drugs were driving them into bankruptcy and insanity. True, but not the only reason. In fact, not even the MAIN reason.

In the Summer of ’74, the Dead played a gig that appears in no database. They appeared as ringers in a local Anal Creek, WV, talent show to raise money for Li’l Possum, whom the city doctors had proclaimed was, “just as fucked up as you can be and still be alive. You want me to kill it? Let me kill it: I’d be doing everyone involved a favor.”

Well, they won, and raised that money. To thank them, the townspeople gave them a hospital, short on staff but long on love: St. Stephen’s Medical Center.*

Billy became Chief of Staff and immediately improved the hospital’s standing, financially and medically. From the top brain surgeon to the lowest psychiatrist, everyone respected Billy’s simple management style. He had one rule: “Y’sure you wanna do that?” And only one punishment. You knew where you stood with Billy. And sometimes, you knew where you lay in the fetal position, tenderly cupping your battered banana while puking.

Phil immediately went Phantom of the Opera: like, during the very first walk-through. Not only was Phil skinny, but he could dislocate his hips to the point where he could shimmy through an 18-inch pipe and he ran away from the group right when they got in the door and SHHOOOOOOP right into a duct and no one saw him for a month or so.

Garcia became the pharmacist and then four minutes later he threw up on himself and passed out, so the road crew instinctively put him on a plane to Milwaukee.

Vince would wander the halls convincing people to let go and follow the light, but he wasn’t all that good at judging how sick people were, so he would end up with a lot of 12-year-olds getting their tonsils out and 55-year-olds getting their knees replaced. Vince would clutch them tight (otherwise, they would squirm away) to his chest, and whisper, “Stop fighting. Be with your ancestors. THEY CALL TO YOU. Succumb. Succumb!” People lodged formal complaints; it was the kind of thing you filled out paperwork about.

Keith “would fuckin’ thank people to stop mistaking me for a corpse, please. I’ve had CPR administered on me four times today. Stop it: this is just the way I look.”

Bobby was the crusading internist/trauma doc/diagnostician (which is not a thing) of the hospital. He could heal anyone…but himself: Dr. Bobby, M.D. He battles with the suits, makes love to Nurse Donna Jean and tries to find a lead in the case of the disappearing livers.

Brent was a male nurse. He was gentle and kind and shaved all the ding-dongs.

*Yes, we’re all quite aware none of this makes sense and this bit makes no sense in particular. You’re very clever to have noticed.

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