Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: saturday night live

He’s My Favorite Honky

Just cuz it’s funny.

There’s Always One More

Here you go, Enthusiasts: this is my contribution. Previously, there were three pictures of Bobby in various stages of bunnification; now there are four. (I always figure if I haven’t seen a photo, then most haven’t. If that comes across as arrogant, well: consider the topic. It’s like bragging about Magic the Gathering. And plus I didn’t even claim to be the best at it, so it’s like bragging about coming in sixth at a Magic the Gathering tournament.)

The Grateful Dead, Younger Enthusiasts, didn’t do a lot of teevee. Possibly because the first time they were booked on a show, Playboy After Dark in 1969, they ended up dosing the entire building. But it also makes sense: there weren’t too many televised venues for any rock music back then. There was Ed Sullivan in the 1960’s, and the Smothers Brothers for a year or two, but after that the opportunities dried up. Pop stars were all over the dial, obviously, but not rock. Johnny Carson didn’t book bands at all until much later in his run. There was Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, and that was about it.

And then, in 1975, came Saturday Night Live. They had rock bands on, good ones and wild ones and sometimes things would go terribly wrong, which was horribly entertaining, and they had very hip taste. Tom Waits was on in 1977, and Sun Ra in ’78. The first four musical guests in ’78 were the Stones, Devo, Frank Zappa, and Van Morrison. (Zappa was actually the host, and that went precisely as well as you’d assume. It turns out that “doing sketch comedy with stoners” wasn’t in Frank’s toolbox; he and the cast hated each other by the end of the week.)

Week five was the Dead. The comedy writers Al Franken (who is now a Senator) and Tom Davis (who is now dead) were massive Deadheads and lobbied Lorne Michaels to book the band. He didn’t want to–the Dead were not very cool at the time, and certainly not Lorne Michaels’ New York-centric version of cool–but one has to believe that Al Franken can wear you down. Lorne must have liked them because he had them back the following year, and even let Billy be in a sketch.


Told you.

Contrary to Frank’s Zappa’s surliness, the Dead are affable fellows (and Mrs. Donna Jean) and made friends with the cast; Belushi and Ackroyd would do their Blues Brothers routine at Winterland with the band the night they closed the place down.

Phil may or may not have gone to town on Lorraine Newman.

Live From New York, It’s Alabama

Bobby in bunny ears, Garcia killing it, and I finally figured out how to embed videos from somewhere other than YouTube. Good post, gang.

ALSO, Alabama Getaway isn’t much revered, but it’s one of my favorite of Hunter’s lyrics even though it makes no actual sense.

Twenty third psalm Majordomo
Reserve me a table for three
Down in the valley of the shadow
Just you, Alabama and me

The 23rd Psalm is the one about the Lord being your shepherd and all that; majordomo is something like a head butler. (Majordomo is one of several words the Romans had for specialized slaves that remains in the language. Nomenclature comes from the nomenclator, whose job it was to remember people his master had met. The Romans were monsters in so many ways.)

But, yeah: no clue at all what Hunter’s on about. He had already written songs about Tennessee and Mississippi, so maybe he figured Alabama was due.

Anyone got a theory?

Saturday Night Dead

Found this and thought you’d like it, but before you click on it, know this: you will be going to a desert, a ghost mall of the internet, a junction far, far across the Rio Grand (EeyOoo): MySpace. There exists a MySpace. Still. I wonder if their office still has the half-pipe and yoga studio? Didn’t “Tom” die in an auto-erotic asphyxiation thing last Winter Solstice? (That’s how I mark time, because of my beliefs. TOLERATE ME.)

So, you have to go to MySpace because, well, it’s on MySpace, but mostly because I don’t know how to grab the video, so just aim your clicker over the blue letters–not the blue thing, the blue let–good aaaaaand: there’s your bank account, Grandma.  Love you, Gam. NOMNOMNOM your face Gam. Gonna kill you in your sleep, Gam. NIGHT!

EDIT: I’m not even going pretend to know what went wrong there. It’s beyond just apologizing and moving on: this is High Crime or Misdemeanor time.  Fuck…WHOO, where was he even GOING with that? These are decent folks out there getting high and listening to the Dead while reading about the Dead. Fuckin’ stoner-ass stoner asses. Who am I again? Am I the Reader or the Faithless Narrator? Sometime, he uses italics for one, and sometimes…sometimes, I think this is all just a bunch of obscure lies and silliness, man.

SUPEREDITPlay the video or I’ll teach you what the word ‘flense’ means.

So: the Grateful Dead playing Saturday Night Live on 11/11/78. (You should open the video in a different window or, you know what?  You’re bright and capable and more than equipped to wrangle the doodads. Just be yourself all over the place.

Casey Jones on SNL

And we start off with everyone’s favorite secret genius, Buck Henry!

And Billy!

.26     It’s called conditioner, Garcia. Plus–and I’m just saying–for a guy who always bitched about being on TV, he certainly does play adorably to the cameras.

.38     Here we see Donna, who for some reason is easy skanking.

.50    Was Phil just yelling at the drummers on live TV? Seriously, can no one get Phillip Lesh to exhibit anything even resembling human behavior?

1.05   Donna was always dressed like your grade-school art teacher that time you ran into her at the supermarket.

1.15   We need to talk about Bobby’s pants. Young man, are you wearing jodhpurs? Or are they riding pantaloons? Are you playing Young George Washington? Will you golf later? If so, is your caddie Bagger Vance? Are you the renegade scion of the House of Bourbon? How are those socks staying up–is there a garter in play here? EXPLAIN YOUR PANTS.

1.45   Although if we’re going to be honest, they do hug his ‘tocks quite nicely. Bobby’s sexy and he knows it.

2.00  The slide. That’s a choice.

2.22   Hey, there are other people in this band!  (None of whom are attractive enough for a close-up, apparently.) And a great shot of both drummers, um, drumming.

3.00  Donna gives me boners.

3.12   It’s Rowlf the dog!

3.27 Hey, Mickey’s in this band!

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