Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: Pigpen (page 1 of 16)

Gong, Show

Hey, PIg. Whatcha doing?

“Waiting t’ play. Boys are doin’ their bippy-bop shit.”

This is 1970, though. They didn’t do it as much as they used to.

“Old age is gettin’ to ’em, I guess.”

Happens to us all.

“Didn’t happen to the ol’ Pig!”

No. How’s the venue?

“Atrocious! It’s like ruins, but without the charm. Know what it smells like? Imagine if piss could take a piss!”

Ew.

“Helps t’ keep a cigarette lit. You should see some o’ the places we gotta play! Last month, we was in some sort o’ factory where they process horse assholes. during the day.”

What does “process” mean?

“I didn’t ask! If they gonna do that to a horse, imagine what they’d do to the ol’ Pig!”

True.

“All we played was dumps. Even the nice joints! Fillmore East had rats the size o’ cats! An’ cats the size o’ dogs! An’ dogs the size o’ rats! It was circular an’ confusin’!”

I would imagine.

“Played a place in LA they did some sort ‘ Satanic nonsense in when the bands weren’t there! Walls was full o’ voodoo doodlin’!”

That sounds bad.

“Weirdo books layin’ around. Lesh starts readin’ from one and that mangy mutt summons himself up a taterdemalion. You ever met M’b the Soggy?”

No.

“Avoid it if possible!”

Good advice.

“Nothin’ like those places you guys got. All nice an’ clean. Stuff t’ eat besides funky hot dogs and popcorn. I got no idea what gluten is, but I enjoy being able to not eat it if I don’t wanna.”

Pig, are you using the Time Sheath to go to concerts in the future?

“Yep.”

Stop that.

“Nope.”

Who’d you see?

“BeyoncĂ©.”

Again? How many times is that?

“28. The ol’ PIg’s in the Beyhive. Even stole me a tee-shirt.”

Pig, please don’t wear a BeyoncĂ© shirt in 1970.

“How ’bout I do, but just make sure there ain’t no pictures?’

Deal.

That Confounded Bridge

For fuck’s sake. Precarious?

“Yo.”

Precarious Lee, everyone.

ENTHUSIAST APPLAUSE NOISE

“Hey.”

What the hell is that?

“That’s the Dead. Choogly-type band.”

Yes, thank you. I recognized them.

“They’re easy to spot.”

But mostly I recognized your handiwork. Are those speakers?

“Where?”

On the right.

“Yup.”

Are those two columns of speakers separated by a couple feet with another speaker bridging across the top?

“Yup.”

Why, man?

“Why not?”

So, so, so many reasons.

“If someone dies, we’ll do it different next show.”

That’s your motto, isn’t it?

“Mottos are for assholes.”

True.

Barbecue

Hey, Pig. Whatcha doing?

“Smoke, smoke, smokin’ my cigarette! Nothin’ better!”

What about booze and black chicks?

“Awright, some things are better. Heh heh.”

Who’s that you’re standing with? It’s not Veronica Barnard.

“Dunno her name, but the ol’ Pig’s gonna get her number! Kinda looks like Tootie from Facts of Life.”

Please stop using the Time Sheath to watch teevee.

“Hell, no! Loves me some teevee, but they’re just ain’t enough channels at the present! Gotta look to the future for my entertainment!”

So, you’ve got the entirety of teevee history to choose from and you’re watching Facts of Life?

“Other stuff, too. The Pig likes to flip.”

Like what?

Livin’ Single.”

Okay.

“Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

You just have a crush on Kim Fields.

“Heh hehe. Yeah, a little.”

Please don’t travel through time to hit on Tootie.

“Don’t be settin’ no boundaries on the ol’ Pig now!”

I’m putting my foot down.

“Foot’s gonna be floatin’ pretty soon.”

What was that?

“Aw, I’m jus’ teasin’ ya.”

Thank you.

“Wind gonna kill ya, not the water.”

Jesus, man.

“Hey, it happens, it happens. Happened to me! Shit, brother: you die, you can hang out with me.”

Yeah?

“We’ll watch some teevee together. Smoke some cigarettes, drink some whiskey, and tell some lies.”

That sounds okay, actually.

“Beats workin’!”

Always nice to talk to you, pal.

“I know! I’m the life of the damn party!”

Jerry, Phil, and Pigpen Sitting On A Fence

Jesus. Precarious?

“Yo.”

What the fuck?

“The picket fence?”

The picket fence.

“Security.”

How?

“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.”

True.

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.

Amateurs.

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.

The Tripps Spelling Bee

“Okay, if the crowd will just settle down then we can go on to our next round. Let’s have the first contestant up. From Atherton, California, Bobert Weir.”

“Bobby’s fine.’

“Hello, Bobby.”

“Hiya.”

“Bobby, your word is whirlicote.”

“I don’t need a coat.”

“Whirlicote.”

“No matter what it does.”

“No, Bobby. The word is whirlicote.”

“Ah. Can you, uh, use it a sentence?”

“Yes. The Duke and Duchess took a whirlicote to the opera.”

“Okay. Can you spell it?”

“I cannot.”

“Then how are you going to know if I get it right?”

“I meant that I can’t spell it for you. I know how it’s spelled.”

“Well, you know: only cuz you have it written down in front of you. Might wanna get off your high whirlicote.”

“Just spell the word, Bobby.”

“B-O-B-B-Y.”

“You missed the comma in between ‘word’ and ‘Bobby.'”

“Huh. Yeah, looks like I did. Do-over?”

“No. You’re out.”

“All right, then.”

“Let’s have the next contestant. This will be Mr. Billiam Kreutzmann from…Mymother? Is that a town? Billiam, where is Mymother?”

“Probably at the bus station with a cock in her mouth.”

“I see what you did.”

“Got you, fucker.”

“Great. Are you prepared to spell your word?’

“Hit me.”

“Skeumorph.”

“Nation of origin?”

“Greek.”

“Is it about butt-fucking?”

“No.”

“Big butt-fuckers, the Greeks.”

“It is an ornament or design representing a utensil or implement.”

“You sure this bullshit’s a word?”

“Yes.”

“S-U-C-K–”

“Wrong! No. You’re done.”

“Blow me.”

“Thank you, wonderful. Next contestant, please.”

“This is one of the most exciting night s of my life, being here with all these wonderful people and enjoying knowledge and learning and celebrating everything good in the world.”

“Please put your arms down, Mr. Walton.”

“Hands up on defense.”

“This is a spelling bee, sir.”

“You play your way, and I’ll play the right way. Now hit me.”

“Choucroute. Would you like me to use it in a sentence?”

“No need. U-C-L-A.”

“Get off the stage.”

“Which way did Billy got?”

“Follow the screams.”

“Usually the best way to find him, yeah.”

“Let’s just get through the rest of this. Next contestant?”

“Set me up one o’ them fancy words, Professor! The ol’ Pig’s ready to do some spellin’!”

“Didn’t you die in 1973?”

“This a spellin’ bee or a damn trivia quiz!? Don’t you worry ’bout who’s dead and who’s not!”

“Fine. Your word is boxbacknitties.”

“That ain’t no word.”

“Yes.”

“Then lay a little bit o’ context on me!”

“Here is the sentence: She’s got boxbacknitties, and great big ennobled thighs.”

“That’s just gibberish. You drinkin’? And if you is, why haven’t you offered the ol’ Pig some?”

“The word is boxbacknitties.”

“Pig! It starts with a B!”

“Mr. Weir, you’ve been eliminated. Please don’t help. Mr. McKernan?”

“B. Um, uh.”

“Mr. Weir, I can see you making an ‘O’ with your arms.”

“Just stretching.”

“Thanks, Bobby!”

“You got it, Pig.”

“I quit.”

Three Dead In Massachusetts

“You want some, Pig?”

“Keep that devil’s lettuce away from me! The ol’ Pig smokes Camels like Jesus said to in th’ Bible!”

“He said that?”

“I’m just repeatin’ what I heard in Sunday School.”

OR

Anything made of metal that remained still for more than ten minutes got a Stealie welded to it; objects not made of metal would get Stealies stuck to them.

OR

Garcia’s head looks like a chimney brush. Just saying.

OR

This is also from the Kresge Plaza show in 1970; like I said, the students had taken the campus in protest of the Kent State murders.

We speak now to the Younger Enthusiast, may they stay so forever. On April 30th, 1970, Nixon announced his new strategy to win the Vietnam War, which was by going to war with Cambodia. And, if that failed, Laos. Nixon was going to win this war, no matter how many wars he had to start. Naturally, this alarmed able-bodied young men, whom are required to have a war, and it doubly alarmed students because in 1969 the college deferment had been eliminated.

(Did people avoid the draft by taking a couple credits each semester for the length of the war? That might have been my method. I could have easily hid from the war for a decade at my local community college, taking whatever class interested me. That sounds like a pleasure, actually: you could learn, and make new friends.)

In 1940, the Unites States started drafting young men, which makes sense, but then the government forgot to stop when WWII ended, and so there was conscription until 1973. Any amount of thought or research will lead you to the fact that armed forces rarely want conscripts; they’re just going to fuck everything up on purpose. Remember how Klinger from MASH was always trying to get thrown out of the Army? In real life, that’s less cute because the guy who really wants out of the Army is surrounded by guns and grenades. How are you going to get any soldiering done when half your time is making sure your squad isn’t trying to escape? Throughout history, a conscripted troop will bolt the first chance he gets.

But this is the US government we’re talking about, so the draft stayed. There were free passes, though: college, marriage and/or children, homosexuality. The nation needed to protect its thinkers, families, and gays, so they were not allowed to go to war. (That’s why gays weren’t drafted, right?) In ’69, like I said, Nixon removed the student deferment.

And then, right before May Day, he announces the whole “Start two wars to win one” campaign. The students responded with equanimity.

And then they began setting things on fire.

They did at Kent State, at least: things got out of control. A little bit by the kids, but mostly by the adults. And the adults had all the weapons. The bayonets, too: on the 3rd, several students got stuck. The National Guard had brought bayonets to the campus, and then used them. That was on the 3rd. On the 4th, the National Guard remembered that they had rifles, and they used them, too.

Two of the dead were 19 years old, and the other two were 20. Nine others, all students, were wounded. The closest was not within 100 feet of the Guard’s position, the farthest was over 700 feet away. All were unarmed.

No criminal charges were ever brought. Civil cases failed. The public blamed the kids, and reelected Nixon in a landslide 16 months later.

This is what the Alt-Right are trying to do at Berkeley right now, this is what they want. Ann Coulter masturbates to that photo of the girl crying over her dead friend.

That went from history to current events kinda quick.

Everything happens at once.

It does tend to do that.

M.I.T As Well

When dunces give you that “Jerry didn’t want it to be about politics, maaaaaaan,” jive, just remind them the Dead were literally the house band of a student riot. This is 5/6/70 on the Kresge Plaza at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The band was scheduled to play the next night in the gym, but when the kids took the campus in protest of the National Guard murdering four Kent State students, the Dead agreed to provide the soundtrack; they were hidden in the back of a bread truck and smuggled onto the site. (It looks like they didn’t bring Pig’s organ.) It was cold–May in Boston can get wicked chilly–and they had more trouble keeping their guitars in tune than normal, but the set’s got a crackly and wired energy; Dancin’ in the Street is the highlight, which makes sense given the context.

Garcia didn’t do politics because he was terminally passive-aggressive, but the Grateful Dead always chose sides, and it was always the side you’d expect.

The Return Of Phil And The Phoxes

Enthusiasts, let’s solve a puzzle. We’ve done it before. The timeline of Garcia’s unfortunate 1969 mustache? Done. Who actually booed Seastones in Germany? (The Americans.) What caused the Civil War? Slavery.

It’s more complicated than that.

Only if you’re a historian or a racist.

Yeah, okay.

But now, Enthusiasts, we come to our greatest challenge ever. Our Apollo Creed, our Clubber Lang, our Ivan Drago, our whoever-Rocky-fought-int-the-fifth-and-sixth-ones. Perhaps some of us shall not survive. Perhaps all of us will not survive. If so, it’s been an honor lying to you.

But we must soldier on. I call to the Four Winds! I call to Nicolantheum von Meriweather in California, and David Lemieuxrphy’soilsoap in Canada, and Corey from Lost Live Dead in the Comment Section! Hear me, Deadbase editors and amateur rockologists! Are you out there, two specific women from Minnesota who should be in their late 60’s by now?

Please help me.

Please help me.

What the fuck is this bullshit?

I posted this photo years ago, and christened the band Phil & the Phoxes; to be honest, I didn’t even notice Pigpen standing behind the amplifiers. Found it on Google, slapped it on the blog, made my wee funny, and moved on with what I’m euphemistically referring to as “my life.” But here it is again, risen from the collective subconsciousness of Deadheads everywhere, and contemplated by the great Jesse Jarnow.

This is what he has to say about it:

Except, that is, for one intriguing photograph by Tom Berthiaume. Dead bassist Phil Lesh sings at center stage, and Ron “Pigpen” McKernan leans on the band’s amps at the rear. Seated at the drum sets, however, aren’t Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, but two fashionably dressed young women, more mod than hippie. A call to Berthiaume several years ago yielded nothing more than the memory that the photo was almost definitely taken between the evening’s early and late shows, and not during the performance itself. Beyond that he remembered nothing.

So: who are they and why were they allowed to sit and Billy and Mickey’s kits? (One would imagine that this action generally led to a sudden and vicious thrashing.) They don’t look like they came with the band–they’re clean–and they also don’t look like they came for the band; that is most certainly not what groupies looked like in 1970. Neither of those haircuts should be in the same room with the Grateful Dead, let along onstage playing the drums behind Phil.

(Let’s just note what Phil looks like, accept it, and push forward. Also: I think the ol’ Pig is birddogging Tig Notaro on the right.)

So here’s the question, Enthusiasts: what the fuck? Let’s solve this. Then, world peace.

Pic Of A Pic Of A Pig

Oh, Garcia, no. You are not a pirate, Garcia. Put them boots inside them trousers. Your buckle does not swash like that, Garcia.

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