Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: phil lesh (page 2 of 90)

Senior Tour

What is this?

“I’ve taken up golf.”

Oh, God, no. Not golf. Anything but golf.

“I’m, uh, all in. Found some bliss out on the links. That’s what we golfers call the course.”

Thank you for defining that completely foreign term.

“Lotta fun. It’s actually a very Grateful Dead activity.”

How so?

“Lasts forever, you get fucked up while you do it, and the equipment is stupid expensive.”

Yeah, okay.

“Had to order a custom pair of spandals.”


“Spiked sandals.”


“You know that there’s a cart that drives around with liquor on it? They bring it right to you. America, huh?”

Bobby, please don’t become a golf guy. Do any other rich white person thing. Take flying lessons. Learn to paint. How about tennis?

“No tennis. I find the scoring system impenetrable and counter-intuitive.”

And golf’s better?

“Oh, yeah. Much easier.”

Really? What’s a birdie?

“A feathered fishie.”

What’s a scratch golfer?

“The one that doesn’t show up. You scratch him off your program.”

That’s horse-racing.

“Horse-racing and golf are strangely similar.”

What’s your handicap?


Walked into that one.

“A little bit.”

Very upsetting. Hey, Phil.

“Fuck off.”


Hurts My Ears To Listen, Squint My Eyes To See

What the hell is that? A G&L?

“I guess.”

You guess?

“Shut up.”

You’re even more hostile than usual.

“Fuck off.”

Can you see me?

“Of course I can.”

How many fingers am I holding up?

“Look how many fingers I’m holding up, jackass.”

You don’t have your glasses and you’re blind.

“I can see everything I need to see.”

Did you just grab the first bass-shaped blur you saw?

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

Don’t you bring backup glasses on tour?

“Of course I do.”

You can’t find the backup glasses because–

“I told you to fuck off.”

–you can’t see them. I’m chuckling.

“Fuck off.”

Make me. I’m over here.


No, I’m over here.

“Not funny.”

Little bit.

I’m Right, You’re Left, He’s Ross

The confusion over Phil’s handedness continues. Does he bat lefty? Does he skateboard goofy-footed? Which hand–

Don’t say it.

–does he play with his seastones with?

You said it.

I’m asking the important questions.


Not Pictured: Billy, just out of frame, dipping his cock-and-balls into ink and smacking the whole mess onto the posters.

“There ya go! Like a royal seal!”


The woman in the background stared at the metal barricade for two hours.


Ross James is a wonderful guitarist, but he’s an odd choice for a security guard.

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.

Turtle, Horse, Cat



You’re white again?

“Had to switch back, man. I got pulled over nine times in an afternoon.”

That’ll happen.

“I wasn’t anywhere near a car.”

Yup. So, uh, why is there a picture of a horse crudely taped to your bass drum?

“Skank sees horse, skank thinks dick.”


“Skank has a simple thought process. Salt of the earth. Know what needs salt on it?”


“Meat. Specifically, mine.”

Don’t you have any other topics of conversation?

“I once punched both Gumbels in the dick.”

I’d almost rather talk about skank.

“Speaking of meat, you can find prime skank at the butcher’s shop.”

Like, ordering something in particular?

“Nah, not in the store. Out back feeding the stray cats. That’s choice skank right there, but you gotta watch out for toxoplasmosis. Then once you bang her, you can shit in a litter box.”


“And that’s what America means to me.”

We’re done. Wait: who’s the chair for?


Now we’re done.

Jerry, Phil, and Pigpen Sitting On A Fence

Jesus. Precarious?


What the fuck?

“The picket fence?”

The picket fence.



“40,000 volts running through it.”

40,000? Isn’t that a bit of overkill?

“Hey, man. I don’t work for the fuckin’ Eagles.”



Hey, guys. Whatcha doing?

“Talking shit about Billy.”

Which one of you said that?

“Both of us.”

Makes sense.


I don’t know how I feel about the phone-necklace. Is the cord elastic? Otherwise, you’re gonna be doing a real chicken-wing deal trying to text. Does Oteil not have pockets? Did Jeff Chimenti steal Oteil’s pockets? (As established, things disappear around Jeff Chimenti.) What about a fanny pack? Bobby has several, and he’s a generous man.


Oteil has lovely skin. I bet that pisses John Mayer off.

“I wash, and I wash, and I wash…”


“Phil, you sure you don’t wanna stop by for one Dead & Company show? Sit in for a song?”

“Mickey gonna whack a pair of stolen shoes together behind me?”

“Almost certainly.”

“Hard pass.”

Copy, Cat

I don’t even recognize you without the sweatband.

“You again?”

Hey, buddy.

“it was nice not hearing from you for a while.”

I think there’s room for three or four more pickups on that sucker.

“Eh. Not enough strings.”

Where’s the Heineken?


Nice. How’s Baby Levon?

“Love that kid. I’m teaching him how to read.”

A little Dr. Seuss?


Same thing.

“We done?”

You used to be more fun.

“Yeah, when you didn’t know how to write me.”


Join Together With The Band

Fun fact: this is a bigger crowd than at Trump’s inauguration.

Not fun at all fact: Trump was inaugurated.

Familiar fact: Mickey. Who does he look like? I can’t quite place my…oh, right.

I knew I recognized him.

Anyway: Meet-Up at the Movies is on 8/1/17 and the show is 7/12/89. Make your plans, or don’t. I’m not your boss.

Dead & Company At Citi Field

When did Bobby dye his hair?

That’s Garcia.

No. Garcia’s dead. I had to explain this to Nephew, but I thought you knew. Oh, shit, I’m not breaking this to you, am I?

This attitude is why Pitchfork won’t hire you.

Fuck Pitchfork.

That attitude, too.

Dude, hop on the D & C train.

It’s not Dead & Company. That’s the actual Grateful Dead at Bickershaw.

Nonsense. It’s Citi Field. Look in the crowd to the left of the stage; you can see Mr. Met giving Oteil the finger.

That’s not Oteil.

He would totally wear that sweater.

Absolutely, yes. Still: no.

I don’t get you, man. What about this picture doesn’t scream “21st century corporate perfection” to you?

Every single thing.

Ah, I’m just funning with you.

It’s never fun when you fun.

What’s the most Precarious Lee part of this setup?

Ooh, good game. Let’s play. Hmm. Amateurs might say the oblique angle that the monitors are lined up at.


A more seasoned vet would point out that Pig is literally behind the PA.

Well, it’s not like there was any room on the stage.

True. But the real Enthusiast sees Precarious’ handiwork in that super-taut wire leading to the speaker all the way up top on the right.

So many points of failure.

It’s amazing they’re all alive.

They aren’t.

I was funning with you.

Yeah, you’re right: funning isn’t fun.

I know.

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