Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: Pigpen (page 3 of 17)

We’re A Two-Gong Band

“How many cables do we need, Precarious?”

“All of them.”


“All of them.”


“Put everything we own on the stage.”



They must be playing one of their bibbledy-boppidy songs that Pigpen can’t understand, because look how sad he looks with that stupid tambourine.

Once You Pop

This is 6/18/67 at the Monterey Fairgrounds. I don’t know if I’ve listened to it; I will now, though. This show was the Monterey Pop Festival, legendary for its unlegendariness (at least as far as the Dead goes). The Boys were scheduled in between The Who (beginning a long inter-band relationship) and Jimi Hendrix (beginning his and Bobby’s best friendship); both acts put on high-volume shows punctuated by instrument destruction, arson, and explosives. In the face of such showmanship, the Dead countered by standing there and playing Viola Lee for 14 minutes.

They also refused to be filmed for the movie, which gives them a perfect record for avoiding being in iconic Rock Films: Monterey Pop, Woodstock, Gimme Shelter. Dead missed ’em all by thaaaat much.

Caption Contest

Whatcha got?

Photographic Evidence

When the shutter opens it lets light into the camera. Just for a split second, maybe less. The lens focuses the incoming light onto a small square of plastic that has been treated with chemicals, which is called film. The light interacts with the chemicals and leaves an image. If another drop of light hits the film before it is processed, it will be ruined forever.

In a darkroom, you essentially reverse the process: now you blast light through the film, and onto a piece of paper which has also been treated with chemicals. You then take this paper and dunk it in several tubs of poison. You need to get the order of poisons right, and the timing, too. Otherwise, the picture will be ruined forever.

And after all that, you have a photograph.

But sometimes, just sometimes, a hair will fall into the works and be caught in the negative and live forever as a spectral addition to the picture, a thin and unerasable reminder that human beings make art with their hands.


How many tambourines does one man need?

Big Pig On Campus

Good God.

“Whatchoo jawin’ about!?”

You’re a mess.

“The ol’ Pig’s like an unmade bed. Sloppy and invitin’!”

You look like you’re 28 and just got thrown out of the Navy.

“Always been a mature sort. My mama said my first words were, ‘Flop out that titty, woman! Pig’s got a thirst!'”

That is both very mature and not mature at all.

“Even babies get the blues! Can’t do nothin’ but make pee-pee on yourself! That sorta thing’ll bring ya down.”

Babies got it rough. You remember any of these kids?

“Made it with Michele!”


“She’s weird-lookin’, but so’s the Pig! An’ she got it where it counts.”

Brains? Personality?

“She had an ass like a lifeboat!”


“I would hold onta it for safety!”

Weird. What about the guys?

“Fuck them guys.”

Right answer.

“The ol’ Pig’s got nothin’ but!”

I know.

Sometimes The Dead Aren’t Dead, But Sometimes They Are

“How come the ol’ Pig ain’t in no storylines?”

What? You serious?

“Heh. Nah, I’m jus’ playin’ with ya. The Pig ain’t no actor. I play my blues and drink my wine.”

And whiskey.

“Don’t forget the beers! Gotta have you a sixer or two in icebox case a friend who don’t drink stop by!”

Pig, there’s alcohol in beer.

“Not enough t’ matter!”


“What’s goin’ on out there? Women takin’ the day off?”

Yeah. It’s called “A Day Without Women.”

“Day without women!? Sounds like a day without sunshine! They withholding their favors from the menfolk? Sounds like a Spartan idea.”

No, it’s not Lysistrata, Pig. It’s not a sex strike.

“Women got it rough in this man’s world! Out there holdin’ it down all day, and keepin’ it up all night!”


“Look at how ev’rybody treats the lady in the Dead! Cruel and unusual to her, folks is!”

Mrs. Donna Jean?

“Nah, the new one.”

Pig, I can’t have this conversation with you again: John Mayer is not a girl. He is a pretty man.

“He ain’t a girl?”


“Then what’s he doin’ right now?”



Men do the laundry now, Pig.

“You talkin’ abut Mr. Lee down at the Wash & Fold?”

Please stop being from the past.

“Can’t help it. Stuck here.”

We’re all stuck here, buddy.

“That’s the truth! All ya can do is find yourself someone to love up on. Play the radio too loud and fuck ’til dawn!”

Excellent advice.

“Lemme ask you something, Mr. Writer Man. Anybody still remember the ol’ Pig?”

Can’t speak for everyone, but I’m listening to you sing right now.

“How’s that band o’ mine sound?”

Like someone cut the brakes on God’s Cadillac.

“Ha! Yeah, I like that. Hey! Don’t be spending too much time with the dead. You’ll start gettin’ used to it.”

I like that.

“All right.”


Yeah, I know how you feel, buddy.

“The ol’ Pig just don’t know what t’ say.”

Me, either.

“Least a Nazi got punched.”

There’s that.

“But one got inaugurated, too!”

There’s also that.

“Nobody done showed up!”

That’s good.

“‘Cept the fella with th’ Bible that swore him in.”

That’s bad.

“Dumb and vicious is a bad combo, brother. I advise you to find a feisty negress, a bottle of whiskey, and join a rock and roll outfit.”

That’s the best advice I’ve heard all day.

“I dunno. ‘Always punch Nazis’ is pretty good.”



Two Souls In Commie Urine

“The hell is goin’ on out there?”

Pig, I got no fucking idea.

“President’s havin’ pee-pee parties with Commies?”

President-Elect. And they’re not Communists anymore.

“They still wear them big fuzzy hats?”



I don’t see your point.

“A hat got consequences! Look at my chateau, all beat-up and funky. You ain’t hirin’ the Pig to take your appendix out.”

Chapeau. Chateau is house.

“I failed Spanish!”

What were we talking about?

“That boondoggle you callin’ the present!”

The present is terrible!

“Thought you said the past was terrible.”

It is! But now the present is, too!

“I can’t believe you got the ol’ Pig defendin’ Tricky Dick, but that man ain’t no damn Commie sympathizer.”

He was a patriot, dammit.

“Lemme ask you something: what’s goin’ on with the piss?”

People enjoy what they enjoy.

“Not for the Pig! Bed ain’t no toilet, toilet ain’t no bed.”


“You sure can hump in the shower, though! Kitchen’s okay, too: that’s why they make the tables that height!”

I think there are other considerations.

“I jus’ don’t get that. You’re walkin’ down the street mindin’ your own business, right?”


“And across the way you see a FOX!”


“And the first thing you think is, ‘I wanna piss on her.’ I don’t get that.”

Who can explain the human heart?

“Sometimes I pee on girls on the shower, but that’s jus’ cause I think it’s funny.”

It’s kinda funny.

“Had one fox hit me back with some o’ her own! Angled the stream off her palm and hit the Pig in the damn mouth! Woman had a powerful flow!”

Sounds like it.

“We dated for eight months!”

Good decision.

“But she wasn’t no Commie spy, and I wasn’t no damn President!”

It was fun until you reminded me of that.

“What the hell is goin’ on out there?”

No one knows.

Bundled Of Joy

Where the hell are you, Pig?

“Not America! Can’t make hair nor hide o’ one word these people saying!”

Do they sound angry or hoity-toity?


You’re in France.

“The Pig don’t like it! I’m a damn California boy. How can a man sing the blues when he’s turnin’ blue? It ain’t natural!”

I agree. How you feeling?

“Not so hot.”


“Yeah, I made a li’l joke. Nah, I ain’t so great. S’okay, though. Touring Europe’s just what the doctor ordered.”


“Hell, no, peabrain! Fact, the doc said to me the exact opposite thing! Was specific ’bout it, too! ‘Pig, whatever you do: don’t let no one drag you ’round Europe on a bus, and then make you stand out in the cold all afternoon.’ Wrote it all down on his pad!”

Well, what do doctors know?

“That’s right. The Pig’s schedule ain’t made by no sawbones!”

Seriously, though: you look cold. Do you want some cocoa?

“Aw, you know they don’t make it right over here. Probably all fancy.”

I’ll find you some Nesquik.

“And if you could rustle up some of them itty-bitty marshmallows, then I wouldn’t mind.”


The Only Pundit That Matters

pigpen die shirt.jpg

“Hell’s goin’ on out there!?”

No idea.

“Can’t leave you people alone! Y’get up to nonsense!”

You’ll get no argument from me.

“The rankest of tomfoolery!”

Well, you know: Nixon was president when you were alive. You lived through it.

“At least Tricky Dick knew how a bill became a damn law!”


“Hell’s goin’ on out there!?”

I really do not know. What are you volunteering for?


That’s a good cause.

“Worth fightin’ for!”


“And them nurses in the Red Cross tent are fine-lookin’.”

That’s a good cause, too.


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