Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: mickey hart (page 4 of 64)

When A Blind Faith Takes Your Hand

This is either the 23rd or 24th of March, 1968. Traffic was playing at the Fillmore and Winterland that weekend, and they set up their gear for a free show in front of the local hippie-run FM station; Garcia dropped by to jam. (I DARE you to find a sentence more 1960’s than the one I just wrote. I dare you, motherfucker.) Garcia brought Mickey, and Mickey brought his stupid hat.

Anyway, you can go read the story on Hooterollin’ Around. I know it posted it yesterday, but fuck it: I was just that entertained by this well-researched and deeply strange post. Besides the free gigs in front of radio stations, and the famous flatbed truck show during the Haight Street Fair, and the Disneyland gig (!), there was this:

In a better, purer world, the Dead served as Chuck Berry’s backup band those nights. Well, they did for the first night.

A Partial and Loose Timeline of the Weekend the Grateful Dead was Chuck Berry’s Band:

  • A month before the show, Bill Graham hires the Dead for the gig, giving them a list of Chuck’s songs and a pep talk about rehearsing and show biz and then he and Phil started yelling at one another.
  • The Dead do not learn any of the songs.
  • The night of the show, Chuck Berry arrives alone in a rented Cadillac ten minutes before curtain time.
  • Bill Graham pays him in cash.
  • He exits the Cadillac.
  • With five minutes until lights up, half the Dead is almost ready; the rest are missing, too high to function, or wrist-deep in skank.
  • Bill Graham corrals the Grateful Dead, much like a border collie with sheep, but if the sheep were surly and sarcastic.
  • There is a crisis: Billy cannot get his hand out of the skank.
  • The crisis is averted: a sneeze is induced in the skank and everything opens right up.
  • The Dead take their places.
  • Chuck Berry enters.
  • “Why the fuck are there so many people up here?”
  • “Hi, Mr. Berry. I’m Bob.”
  • “Shut the fuck up.”
  • Chuck Berry says “Maybelline in E flat.”
  • The Dead play Johnny B. Goode in G.
  • Chuck Berry calls out “No Particular Place To Go” in A flat.
  • The Dead play Johnny B. Goode in G.
  • This is the point at which the fistfight broke out.
  • The Flaming Groovies were called into service for the second set, and the following two nights.

Ah, You Come Up With A Title; I’m A Bit Distracted

It’s not that Robert Altman.




Why you standing back there?

“Chili farts.”


Twice Were Kings

If there were a Dead shirt-off between Mickey and Bill Walton, who you got?


No one from the Kings’ organization asked them to do this.


If you gave me ten chances, I couldn’t find Sacramento on a map. I know it’s not in Los Angeles, but that’s about it. Is Sacramento in Oakland? California’s a weird place, and sometimes cities are contained within other cities.

Having Fun With Mickey And Bobby Backstage

What are you guys laughing about?





You know that TotD does not look kindly upon gatekeeping, but if you didn’t recognize Mickey’s jacket, then you’re not a Deadhead.


Shortly after this picture was taken, a Jewish chick and a black dude set all the film on fire, killing a bunch of Nazis and ending World War II early.

Would You Break A Butterfly On A Beam?

Hey, Mickey. Rando?

“No. Poet.”

Much worse.

“What’s wrong with poetry?’

Nothing. It’s poets I can’t abide. I don’t like writing in complete paragraphs, but I do.


Sure. What do you like about her poetry?

“The rhythm of it.”

I’m shocked.

“And she’s a life coach too!”

What does that mean?

“I don’t know!”


“The Dead never really did the life coach thing. We preferred fake Indians and rogue chemists.”

The important thing is that you got good advice.

“That is the important thing. We never got it, but still: important.”

There gonna be a D&C winter tour?

“Christ, I hope so.”

Spent all the money from summer tour already?

“Oh, yeah.”

What on?

“Life coaching.”

There it is.

The Parentage Trap

Esteemed Commentator Tor Haxson brings to the table an important question, and because I am currently avoiding writing several vital e-mails, I shall attempt to answer this most ponderous of mysteries.

Which Grateful Dead would you want as a parent?

See, I told you it was an important question.

We must start out by noting that none of the Grateful Dead’s children have rampaged through a Burger King, nor been indicted on racketeering charges. Not a one of them has ever been arrested for pissing on a stewardess while yelling “DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS!?” They’re all presentable. Any honest reading of the situation must led to the conclusion that the Dead were, at least, decent parents.

But who would be preferred? All members of the band have their pros and cons. To have Phil as a parent means that you would be tall, and have a beard. If that’s how you’d prefer to look, then you should choose Phil. If, on the other hand, you would rather be a hot chick, then Bobby is your best bet. If you’d like a wholesome, hard-working, American name such as Stacy or Justin, then you need to go with Billy; for a hippy-dippy, godless, communist name like Taro or Raya, then Mickey is your man.

Mickey is also an excellent choice because he’s so easy to buy presents for.

“You got me a drum! How did you know what I wanted?”

“Just guessed, Pop.”

Are you going anywhere with this?

Honestly? No.

So why did you write this?

If I stop writing, I’ll die.

Even it’s complete shit?

History will decide its worth.

Go put your head in the stove.

It’s electric.

Put a gun in your mouth in your head in the stove.

Suicide by syntactical recursion. I like it.

Do it.

Trade Season

The rock and roll world was stunned last night when, just as the trade deadline was about to expire, Led Zeppelin shipped John Bonham to the Grateful Dead for Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, and a keyboardist to be named later. The trade is expected to be approved by the league after the men fail their physicals and then retake them with a less scrupulous doctor.

Bonham, 27, was quoted as saying, “It was time f’r a change, wunnit? Tired of playing wi’ a guitarist on th’ nod. Jimmy’s gettin’ sloppy. Be much better wi’ Fatty, wha’ever his name is.” Bonham then hit this reporter with a folding chair for no reason.

Kreutzmann, who gives his age as “Suck my balls, that’s how old I am,” responded to the trade by saying, “Turns out I’m getting paid more. Billy’s happy enough to punch dicks.” Kreutzmann then punched this reporter in the dick. Hart also refused to give his age and became belligerent with this reporter for asking. More dickpunching ensued, and, before this reporter lapsed into blessed unconsciousness, there were raccoons loosed.

The first performances of each newly-constituted band went poorly. Kreutzmann and Hart refused to rehearse and became enraged when offered English food to the point of sexually penetrating bacon butties. During the show, both drummers conspicuously mocked the other band members, frequently putting their sticks down to rise and do unflattering imitations of Jimmy Page’s guitar moves. When Robert Plant asked the crowd if they remembered laughter, the men leaned into their drum mics and told him that they did, in fact, remember laughter and called him an asshole. John Paul Jones was completely nonplussed.

Not surprisingly, the Dead’s performance was worse. Bonham, nervous about his first show, drank heavily and began throwing punches and tables. The Dead’s crew put up with it for about ten seconds and then began whaling the living tar out of Bonham to the point where he was unable to play that evening. The show was cancelled and Bonham was left in a dumpster on the way to the airport to pick up Hart and Kreutzmann.

The keyboardist that was to be named later is now being named: Brent.


There’s A Reason Drummers Don’t Get Microphones

Enthusiasts, you know my opinion of the so-called “jam band scene” is “get the hell away from me, and take your 45-minute cover of John Barleycorn Must Die with you.” Had I Kyrptonian technology, I would imprison all of them within the Phantom Zone. (Phantom Zone in this case being the JamOn channel on SiriusXM.) Most of this is Garcia’s fault, by the way. Selfish bastard died, and now we’re stuck with the Widow Pancakes or the Dibble Bibbles or whatever the fuck any of their terrible names are.

(Why do all jam bands have such shitty names? My theory: it’s a warning, like the bright colors on poisonous frogs. They’re telling you right upfront they suck. SIDE DISCUSSION: What’s the best band with a terrible name? My vote is for the Fountains of Wayne. Great power-pop, horrible name.)

And so I treat the jam scene as Patrick Moynihan suggested we treat minorities: with benign neglect.

By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with jam bands, there are two categories:

  1. Bands that sound like Phish.
  2. Bands that sound like they’re doing a cover of Cumberland Blues.

That is all.

So it angers me, Enthusiasts, that I must spend one iota of my New Yorker magazine-declared genius on any of these bearded bores. Christ, I could be writing about something wonderful, meaningful, beautiful, or maybe Sleepy Batmanful, but instead of that I have to mock an idiot. However, in the mockery, there will be a lesson. You know TotD is a tedious moralist, and there must be a lesson in everything.

Michael Travis, who is the drummer with Boulder’s own Strep Throat Instigators, decided that Facebook was the best place to work out some of his theories on the Jews. I don’t know what specifically it is about Jews that causes so much freelance theorizing, but hoo boy can you find a shitload of ’em. And easily! Used to be if you wanted a good juicy Jew Theory, you had to mail order self-published books, but now they’re literally in your pocket.

Mr. Travis has chosen as his Jew Theory an oldie but a goodie: Jews control the banks. Now, as far as pernicious and unfounded slanders against the Hebrews go, it’s better than the “drinking Christian children’s blood” one, but just barely.

Mikey strikes me as someone who would bitch about being taken out of context, so I’ll let him misspell for himself:

Enthusiasts, why is it that people smart enough to figure out centuries-old conspiracies aren’t able to use “their” and “there” properly?

Oh, fuck it: let’s go to the bullet points.

  • Y’see that third sentence? The one about reading the Torah? Mikey’s got notions about who is and isn’t a real Jew and I guaranfuckingtee you they’re fascinating. Know how I know? He knows better than to write them down on the internet.
  • It would be a stretch to say elementary school, but I learned that you can’t prove a negative fairly young. You, too? I feel like that’s common knowledge. It’s not one of those esoteric logical fallacies that all the wieners on Reddit like to throw at each other.
  • Following up a Jew Theory with an emoji makes it simultaneously better and worse.
  • Responding to it with an angry-face emoji definitely makes it worse, though.
  • THIS IS AN OFFICIAL TOTD DECLARATION: Disliking Donald Trump doesn’t excuse the rest of your behavior. I have a feeling fuckers on trial are going to start pulling this shit: “Your honor, I did eat that family, but I didn’t vote for Trump. I’m not a bad guy.”
  • Who’s taking my bet on who Mikey did vote for? I got Jill Stein. Any takers?
  • Do honest arguments about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and continued human rights abuses often get smeared by accusations of antisemitism? Yup. Will some Jews (Alan Dershowitz! Cough cough cough) immediately start yelling “Anti-Semite!” at the first hint of any criticism? Yup. Is it wrong to call the notion that Jews control the banks an antisemitic one? Nope.
  • An analogy:
    • “I have many, many Jewish friends…[but] the Zionist Banking cartel is a thing.”
    • IS TO
    • “I have many, many black friends…[but] their propensity for violence is a thing.”
  • I dated a Rothschild. Swear to God. Distant relation, but she had an enormous apartment in Beverly Hills all to herself.
  • We could go into the history of the Jews and their relationship to banking, which was mostly thrust upon them by Christian and Muslim hypocrites not wanting to sully themselves with “usury,” but we all know that Jew Theories are utterly immune to facts and context and nuance; this is literally the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
  • If it weren’t the title of a deliberately-written smear on an entire religion, Protocols of the Elders of Zion would be a great name for a Rush record. Maybe King Crimson.

Anyway, Mikey went on and on in an uninteresting way (much like his band) and you shouldn’t be subjected to it (much like his band).

Let’s settle this once and for all. Hey! Mickey?


Do Jews control the banks?

“Probably the ones in Israel.”

That’s true.

“And New York.”

Should’ve quit while I was ahead.

“People always say that around me.”


“Wasn’t there supposed to be a lesson?”

It’s in there somewhere.

Jam Night With The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead were hanging out at Front Street one day when Bobby said,


“What, Weir?” Phil said.

“Blow me, Weir,” Billy said.

“Look at my new drum,” Mickey said if he was in the band when this scene take place.

Garcia said nothing, because he was in the bathroom. SUDDEN TWIST: Garcia is clean, and he is there for legitimate reasons related to the 7-11 hot dogs he ate on the way in. REVERSE TWIST: he lights a shitload of matches to cover up the stank, drops them in the waste bin, and sets the bathroom on fire despite his (relative) sobriety. COUNTER-CLOCKWISE TWIST: he feels so bad about it that he goes back to using Persian.

Are there keyboardists there? Yes, no, maybe, who gives a shit, possibly. If one shows up, he shows up.

“Why don’t we, uh, have a Jam Show?”

“Why are you capitalizing that?” Phil asked.

“Free country,” Bobby said.

All the Grateful Deads in the room were intrigued by this idea, and displayed their interest by ignoring Bobby and playing grabass.

Garcia emerged from the bathroom as Parish ran in with a fire extinguisher.

“I agree with Weir. Let’s do one show and just lose it, man. Just go out as far as we can on everything. Throw caution to wherever caution gets thrown nowadays.”

Garcia was not the Grateful Dead’s leader; it was a coincidence that everyone always did what he wanted.

“Good idea, Jer,” Phil said.

“Jazzbo Billy’s making a comeback!” Billy added.

No one else in the band said anything because I don’t feel like writing dialogue for them.

And so the Grateful Dead announced their very first Jam Show at Madison Square Garden. Since there was no internet, they informed Dick Latvala of the news and told him to keep it a secret; every Deadhead in the world knew within 48 hours. There was even a theme: Skeleton Jam. (They did not work hard on the theme at all.) Tickets sold out immediately.

The morning of the show, no one had seen whichever keyboardist was alive for two days. If the keyboardist who was alive had a wife who was also a Grateful Dead, then no one had seen her, either. The entire hotel was not on fire, but only because it was a very large hotel. Nearly most of the band piled into the van around one o’clock.


The van was in Yonkers and Billy had punched the driver’s dick to death.

Phil took the wheel.


“Monticello?” Garcia asked. “How’d we get to Virginia?”

“There’s one in New York,” Phil said.

“Didn’t know that.”


“Pretty up here.”

“God’s country.”


“Weir’s asleep,” Garcia said.

“Little angel,” Phil said.

“We should tell him we’re proud of him more.”

“Good idea.”

“Where are we?”

“The last few road signs I saw had Cyrillic writing on them.”

“Not optimal.”

With ten minutes until showtime, Phil got the van to MSG. The giant inflatable gorilla in the tie-dye leapt from the building and began making bulbous love to the vehicle. Billy was aroused, and joined in.

“Come get a piece of this!” Billy cried.

“A piece of what?”

“I got no idea, but I’m fucking it!”

Extricating themselves from the penetrations of King Kong’s dong, our heroes went directly to the stage, stopping only to smoke, chat, grab ass, enjoy cocaine, receive tuggers and/or beejers, tune, bicker with each other, bicker with the crew, smoke another cigarette, throw paella at the promoter, ignore the fact that there were naked fucking children everywhere, and re-tune.

Earlier, Bobby had proposed that they play The Other One for the first set, and Dark Star for the second set. This was a reasonable plan, so of course it was ignored in favor of “finding jams where we didn’t know there were jams.” Garcia and Phil were very big on this plan, but neither was fond of rehearsal, so the plan never got further than “we should jam shit out.”

The first song was Promised Land. The jam was not found, even though they looked for it for a quarter-hour. The evening deteriorated from there.

Mitt, Mick

Hey, Bill Walton. Whatcha doing?

“Mitts up on defense!”

Sure. What are those things?

“They’re clearly labeled.”

Why do you need them?

“Why do we need the sun?”

Not a great analogy.

“Sun provides warmth; so do Turbotits.”




“Whatever they’re called, they’re wonderful. Just the best giant blue heating/cooling therapy mittens I’ve ever owned.”

How many have you owned?

“These are the first.”

Sure. Does Mickey have a pair?

“Oh, yeah. He’s gonna play ’em during China>Rider tonight.”

Of course.

Older posts Newer posts
%d bloggers like this: