Thoughts On The Dead

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

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Thoughts And Prayers At The Lapin Agile

“Hey, Thoughts!”

“Prayers! Get over here, you mug.”

HUGGING NOISE

“Man, we’re seeing a lot of each other lately.”

“I’ve spent more time with you this year than I have with my wife.”

“How is Best Wishes?”

“She’s really suffering from the Munchausen-by-proxy. Well, she isn’t suffering. The kids are. But, still: terrible.”

“Sorry to hear that.”

“What are you gonna do? I guess we should get to work, huh?”

“Nothing’s gonna get done without Thoughts and Prayers.”

“This is our biggest job in a while.”

“So sad, Thoughts.”

“It is, Prayers. And that’s why these people need us so badly. Nothing heals a broken heart like Thoughts and Prayers.”

“Most of these folks have gunshot wounds, though. Do we heal those?”

“No.”

“Oh.”

“But don’t let that distract you. We have a job to do.”

“Uh-huh. What is our job, Thoughts?”

“We get sent.”

“Like mail?”

“No, not really. Not like mail. Mail’s a tangible thing.”

“So, um, like a message? Like, Randolph tells Klaus to tell Marguerite to go fuck herself?”

“Not quite like that, either. A message has a specific recipient and may alter behavior. We’re more diffuse.”

“Okay. So, what is our actual job?”

“I’ve told you that: we get sent.”

“And then what?”

“And then nothing. That’s all there is to it.”

“We’re not actually doing anything, are we?”

“Not with that attitude.”

“I’m just saying what if instead of sending us, people did something. You know: committed an action.”

COLLAR-GRABBING NOISE

“Okay, listen here you little shit. This is the best gig I’ve ever had and you will not fuck this up for me. I have a mortgage, motherfucker.”

“Let me go.”

COLLAR-RELEASING NOISE

“You’re a dick.”

“I’m a dick with a good thing going, and so are you, bucko. Stay on the reservation. I can do this job on my own.”

“Really? You think people are just gonna send thoughts? Fuck that. I’m the headliner here. You’re nothing without me, asshole.”

“Bullshit.”

“You’re Andrew Ridgeley, buddy.”

“FUCK YOU, PRAYERS!”

“SUCK MY BALLS, THOUGHTS!”

CONCEPTS HAVING A SLAP FIGHT NOISE

“Are you done?”

“Yes. Are you?”

“Yes. Check your Twitter.”

“Ooh, Rhianna just sent us to Vegas.”

“Vegas, baby.”

Fourteen Thoughts

ONE

Dancing With The Stars was on tonight. I’m not a regular viewer, but I caught the first few minutes. The host is a man named Tom Bergeron; he looks like a model from the 1979 Sears catalog; he was born with sincere eyes. Tom looked right into the camera, right at me, and he asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the most recent massacre. The lights in the studio dimmed for a second, two, three, and then they came back up and Terrell Owens and Frankie Muniz jitterbugged to Everybody Dance Now. Frankie was wearing double denim that had undergone bedazzling.

C’mon out here, Frankie, and show ’em what they’re fighting for.

TWO

Tom Petty just got off tour. Big one. 40th anniversary for him and the Heartbreakers. They played baseball stadiums, Wrigley and Coors Field, and the world-famous Hollywood Bowl. After the news of the day cleared out from the trending list on Twitter–real late at night–his name would pop up. The shows were all sold out, and Tom Petty played all his hits. Folks would post videos. They were invariably Free Fallin’. Every man, woman, and child in those stadiums would sing along in the chorus. The part where it jumps up an octave. A lot of things made that song a hit, but the bit where it jumps that octave is the true hook.

THREE

The stage where Jason Aldean was performing, closing out the festival at around ten pm, is 400 yards from the Mandalay Bay. The room the shooter had chosen for his blind was on the 32nd floor. This means that the distance from the window to the crowd is over 1200 feet. Around a quarter of a mile. At that distance, faces cannot be made out with the naked eye even in daylight. Just shapes. Human silhouettes.

Just like at the range.

FOUR

Go and fetch a pen. Your favorite, the one that writes so smooth. Pad, too. If you don’t have a pad, use an unpaid gas bill. I’ll wait.

You ready? Good.

Write an opening line this good:

She was an American girl;
Raised on promises.

You’ll run out of ink before you do.

FIVE

In the doctor’s office this afternoon, MSNBC was playing; I’m not a regular viewer. Brian Williams was speaking. They let him do that, for some reason. He had a man from some sort of security consulting firm on, one of those companies with the vaguely threatening names. Brian asked what was to be done, and the man began speaking about the need to harden soft targets. I put in my headphones and listened to the Hold Steady. There was a magazine with an Audi on the cover, and I looked at that.

SIX

I kept hearing the shooter’s name as Tom Stoppard, and wondering how tough the life of a playwright must be.

SEVEN

Tom Petty made driving music. Songs for an American highway. Driving music needs a particular tempo: too slow and you’re causing traffic jams, but too fast and the law will take an interest. Driving songs don’t need speed, just momentum. Forward thrust. Put on any Tom Petty record and your window will roll itself down.

EIGHT

The initial burst from the shooter’s automatic weapon was nine seconds long. Close your eyes and count off nine seconds. One Mississippi, etc. Close your eyes and count off nine seconds. I’ll do it with you.

It was longer than you thought it would be, wasn’t it?

NINE

As I write this, 59 are dead. More will die, but right now the toll stands at 59. An NFL roster is 54 people. It is the worst massacre in modern history, beating the previous massacre by 9 corpses. The previous massacre was last year. We do not count historical massacres, as they were more complicated than we’d prefer. These new massacres are simple. They are just like the superhero movies everyone loves.

A very special man uses force to change the world. He succeeds, temporarily, but by the mid-credit scene everything is back to the status quo.

TEN

#VEGASSTRONG

Ah, go fuck yourself.

ELEVEN

Classical physics deals with position. A physical object occupies one at a time. Quantum physics disagrees, as quantum physics is an inherently belligerent science. Objects cannot be said to occupy any position with certainty until they’re pinned like butterflies by an observer’s eyeball. Nothing’s here, and nothing’s there; particles have a 50% chance of being here, and a 30% chance of being there, and a 10% chance of being there, and it continues on asymptotically. This is called superpositionality.

Tom Petty was superpositional today.

TWELVE

Will he pick a fight with a survivor or a bereaved family member? He will make this worse.

THIRTEEN

Tom Petty was born in the panhandle of Florida and had a massive heart attack in Malibu. I cannot think of a more American sentence.

FOURTEEN

59 people were murdered and 527 injured at a country-music concert last night by a stranger with a machine gun. I thought of a more American sentence.

Hey, That Guy Stole Josh Mayer’s Outfit

Hey, Bobby. Whatcha doing?

“Karate time.”

Oh, goddammit.

“He’s not here.”

Phew.

“Yet.”

Oh, sure. Can’t have a summer tour without Elvis showing up for some reason. Bobby?

“Uh-huh?”

Why does it look like you’re playing in a Sam Ash?

“The lack of presentation.”

I’m just saying that at this point, it’s almost a hassle to be this bush league.

“Well, you know: the fans expect a pretty high level of not-giving-a-fuck.”

True.

“Deadheads come to the show and there’s not road cases strewn all over the place lazily, then they feel cheated.”

Give the people what they want.

“Unless they want money.”

Yeah, sure.

“It works the other way. They give us the money.”

And then someone steals it from you.

“Right. It’s a system.”

If it never quite worked in the first place, don’t fix it.

“Exactly.”

Billy’s Back, And There’s Gonna Be Trouble

“Thoughts on my Ass!”

Hey, Billy.

“Summer!”

You look happy.

“Course. Looking at the kid.”

Oh, that’s nice. You two have developed a friendship.

“Nah, fuck that. Every time I see him, I get an enormous check.”

Right.

“And usually a tugger. Not from him, but once from him. Didn’t like it. Kid’s got some paws on him. Made my drumstick look like a chopstick.”

I’m so glad tour has started.

“Here’s some advice: if you wanna think your cock is huge, get a midget to stroke you off.”

Can we talk about anything else?

“We’ve talked about money and skank. What else is there?”

Music?

“Hold on.”

THUMP-THWACK

“Okay. What?”

What was that?

“We’re in the middle of a song.”

I don’t get it.

“Tempos are so slow that I only have to hit my drums, like, once every 20 seconds.”

Ah.

“Sometimes I run down to the casino between beats and make a bet or two.”

What game do you play?

“No game. The bet is how long I can wander around with my dick out before security tosses me.”

Do you win?

“Of course. Everyone has to look at my dick. That’s a solid victory.”

Nice to have you back, Billy.

“Yeah, I’m the shit.”

The Return Of Josh Meyers

Ah, Christ.

“Heeeey, buddy.”

Summer kinda snuck up on me. Thought I had at least another Mayer-free month.

“Nah. I’m in the house. Summer of Douche!”

Fuck.

“You have no idea how many celebrity friends I’m gonna take selfies with, and the ridiculous interviews I’m gonna do, and OH MY GOD am I gonna Snapchat the fuck out of this tour. Got my outfits lined up. You and me, buddy.”

CELL PHONE NOISE

“I hate you.”

Yeah, yeah.

“John Mayer here.”

“I got celebrity friend, too, Hot Dog Dick.”

“Fuck.”

“Obama.”

“That is not President Obama.”

“You no recognize because he wear sunglasses. Is Obama.”

“I don’t want to go through another summer of this, and quite frankly I don’t think the readers want to, either.”

“Why you not in Jewish propaganda?”

“What?”

“Movie. Very long. Band plays song for hours and do drugs and die. You in band. Why you not in Jewish movie?”

“I think you’re talking about Long Strange Trip, and I also think I’m just going to ignore this entire line of inquiry.”

“Was good movie for Jewish movie.”

“Please stop.”

“Hot Dog Dick getting wrinkles in forehead.”

“I could pass for 36.”

“Oh, nooooo. White people show age. Is like white car. See dirt faster.”

“I’m gonna hang up on you.”

“Is okay. I got Obama now.”

“Not Obama.”

“We have all summer.”

“Motherfucker.”

DIAL TONE NOISE EVEN THOUGH PHONES NO LONGER DO THAT

“What did I ever do to you?”

Besides the video with the pandas?

“Besides that.”

I’ll think of something. We got all summer, pretty boy.

“Fuuuuuuck.”

Separate, But Unequal

2017 and we’re still dealing with this kind of racism.

Excuse me?

The non-whites get segregated. That is the textbook definition of racism.

Jeff Chimenti is white.

Italians are white now? What next, the Irish?

You gonna be like this all night?

Yup.

Okay. Hold on.

Ahem: ERDOGAN CAN SUCK MY ASSHOLE.

RUNRUNRUN

WHOMP

WHOMP

WHOMP

WHOMPWHOMPWHOMP

Did you just deliberately get beaten to death by Turkish security goons?

Yes.

Okay.

They’re A Bag Of Nerves On First Nights

Summer’s here, Enthusiasts, and the time is right for sitting on your couch. I’m doing couch tour at my desk, but that’s because I’m a rebel.

Bunch of streams here, and the show starts when the show starts. Pop your corn, why don’t you?

Not Cool, People

SO not cool. It is wrong to do this, and it will be wrong to do this for the entire summer and send me the pictures so I can make fun of Bobby’s nipples. WRONG.

Wink.

Did you just write “wink?”

I wasn’t sure my sarcasm was translating.

It is indeed getting tougher and tougher to tell lately.

Yup.

Is that a mini-fridge sitting on the pool deck of the MGM Grand?

Yes.

Rich people get pool-fridges?

Apparently.

Damn.

Jealous Again

“Looky there, man. Little Josh suckin’ off the Dead nipple some more.”

Chris Robinson?

“Heeeey, brother.”

Don’t call me brother. I know how you treat your brother.

“It’s just shit, man. Legacy acts playing their old hits. Just sad, man.”

Sure. What are you doing this week?

“Playing a show from ’77 with Phil.”

Uh-huh.

“Where’s his beard?”

Who?

“Josh.”

Don’t call him that. Only me and Bobby and everybody else gets to call him that.

“Still: where’s his beard?”

I don’t think he has a girlfriend at the moment.

“You think this is what Jerry would have wanted?”

He’s dead. He doesn’t get a vote, except maybe in Chicago.

“Whatever, man. Just sad Play your own songs!”

You’re very hard to handle, Chris Robinson.

“You suck, too.”

Nice of you to stop by. Call first next time.

A Tale Of Two Cities (Temporarily)

Let’s get beyond the irony of the sign on the right: it is basic and obvious, and it would lower us to belabor it.

It’s kinda perfect, though.

Oh, absolutely. It’s the type of detail only a hack novelist or real life could come up with.

Maybe it’s French.

Oh, the Lé Itimatê?

Yeah.

No.

No. It’s just funny.

It is. They wanted to be classy so bad, and they did it so badly.

Right. What and when is this?

This is the International Hotel in 1969; Elvis started headlining there on July 31st of that year. He played the whole month of August–a dinner show at 8 and then another at midnight–and if you adjust for the time zones, then it’s likely the King was performing at the same instant that the Dead were onstage at Woodstock.

We are told this is culturally significant.

Enthusiasts–and I am sure you can see this coming–I would pick this over Woodstock in a hummingbird’s heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong: my heart would be in a shit-strewn field without basic facilities listening to Joan Baez, but only metaphorically; my physical heart would be with the rest of my body in Las Vegas.

This is an opinion best argued in bullet points, Enthusiasts. TotD presents Reasons To Choose 8/16/69 In Vegas Rather Than Woodstock:

  • I reiterate: no Joan Baez.
  • Also neither Country Joe, nor Fish.
  • But fish would be available–sole or flounder, with a choice of two sides–and so would a sweeping variety of other foods; there are also beverages of hard and soft natures.
  • Whereas Woodstock ran out of food.
  • Forget the narrative-induced juxtaposition of Vegas/Woodstock in any societal sense: the place with the food is always better than the place without the food.
  • In the casino that Bill Graham set up backstage at Woodstock, there was no craps table; point: Vegas.
  • Did not rain in Las Vegas in August, and if it did you could just go inside and play craps.
  • I didn’t look that up, but it did not rain in Las Vegas in August.
  • Oh, wait.
  • I did look that up.
  • BOOM, bitches!
  • Don’t call the nice people that.
  • The need to get at me, dog.
  • Don’t talk like DMX, either.
  • Get out of the bullet points.
  • You get out of the bullet points.

Fine. It is worth noting–as long as we’re discussing the narrative-induced juxtaposition of Woodstock/Vegas in a societal sense–that the Vegas lineup is far more diverse on a strictly numbers basis (33% to 15%) but judged by a metric of “southern lunatics” then the Vegas show is not diverse at all.

But look at that show! (Yeah, yeah: it’s two separate shows, but you could see them all in one night)

This is what the Ike and Tina Turner Revue sounded like in 1969:

Four songs–not lip-synced, real performances–and an interview with Hugh Hefner. Feel free to skip the interview if you don’t want to watch Ike get escalatingly more perturbed as Hugh directs all of his questions to Tina, but stick around for the Ikettes. Also, Hugh has invited every single one of his black friends to the taping, and the director is determined to let you see them having a good time.

And this is Wayne Cochran and the C. C. Riders from a few years later:

So there’s that.

There’s no film of Elvis at the International that first run, but this is what he sounded like the week after Woodstock on 8/24/69:

It’s a clear SBD, and uncut: you get to have fun with Elvis onstage as he babbles about whatever comes into his head, and also squirrels.

Then, when those three high-powered, house rockin’ bands are done, you can play blackjack or wear hats or have mob tie; whatever people did in Vegas late at night back then.

Or you could make a doody in a bush while Ravi Shankar sitars at you.

There is no choice.

  • Hey. Excuse me.

Why are you still in there?

  • I don’t know. I can’t leave. Can you help me, please? It’s brittle and loud in here. There are monsters.

Oh, wow. The bullet points are their own separate reality? Never realized. Live and learn.

  • Please help. I shouldn’t be here; I don’t have enough nipples.

You’re on your own.

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