Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: stevie nicks

Down In Front

The past looked like shit. The present is a hyper-designed nightmare of weaponized professionalism, but the past looked like shit. It was slapped together; “good enough” was good enough for the past. You could see all the seams, several of which were fraying before your eyes. See how there’s no chairs or aisles or sub-divisions within the crowd? That’s called general admission. It kills people. Not always, and not often, but it kills people. The past was more flammable.

OR

This is 11/27/70, which was the day after Thanksgiving that year. The Dead played on the 23rd in New York City, and then this show on the 27th. Did they fly back to the Bay, or did they eat their turdrugken in Manhattan? (Turdrugken is a chicken stuffed into drugs stuffed into a turkey.) The venue was called The Syndrome, because in 1970, you could name a venue “The Syndrome” and people would respond to that by saying “Groovy” and “Far out,” instead of “That’s a terrible fucking name. Are we in a hack novel about the Sixties? Don’t name it that.”

The Syndrome used to be called the Chicago Coliseum when the Blackhawks played there in the 20’s. In 1904, Teddy Roosevelt accepted the Republican Party’s nomination when they held their convention here; TR accepted the Bull Moose Party’s nod here, too, in 1912. Didn’t work out as well. There was roller derby during the Depression, and then the Chicago Packers laid in a hardwood floor and put up some hoops. They would change their name to the Chicago Zephyrs shortly before moving to Baltimore and becoming the Bullets, then heading a few miles south to D.C. where they are today the Washington Wizards. (Fun philosophy question: is it still the same team? Discuss.)

Out of date and lacking any sports teams to support it, the Coliseum turned to a life of crime; worse, it started presenting long-hair bands. The owners renamed the dump The Syndrome and booked acts throughout the 60’s. (Did they think the kids would be fooled by the dopey hippie name? That they would overlook the fact that the joint was less a building and more a building-shaped pile of material? I can smell the urine through the photo.)

Anyway, the Dead played there only once, on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 1970. They brought the New Riders with them, as was their wont in 1970. There’s no tape.

Three months later, 6,000 fans crammed into the arena to watch the simulcast of the Ali/Frazier fight. The projector broke. Riots broke out, and the fight fans damn near tore that old building down. The ensuing insurance inspection turned up so many fire code violations that even a bribe couldn’t fix it, and may I remind you that this was Chicago. Takes quite a bit to be beyond a bribe in that city, but the Coliseum was not longer financially feasible as a performance space. Japanese Buddhists own it now, and they do Japanese Buddhist things there. There is most likely no roller derby at all.

OR

Check out JT Leroy looking back at the camera.

The Boys Are Back In Towns

“LEMME INNERDUCE YOU TO MAH BOYS, NIX. THIS HERE IS JERRY SCHILLING. HE IS NOT A JEW.”

“I was wondering. From the name.”

“CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR WITH TH’ TIP CUT OFF. YOU OUGHTTA GET YER HAIR LIKE HIS, NIX. ALL BLOWN OUT. MAYBE GET YOU SOME DISCO SUITS.”

“The President of the United States does not wear disco suits, Elvis.”

“REAL TIGHT, TOO. LET THEM VOTERS SEE YER HINDQUARTERS. THASS WHERE ALL YER KARATE COME FROM.”

“I will, uh, stick to my usual wardrobe. Who is this?”

“THASS SONNY WEST. HE’S RED’S BROTHER.”

“Uh-huh. And what does he do?”

“HE’S RED’S BROTHER.”

“Fine, fine.”

“AN’ THIS IS JOE ESPOSITO.”

“Where the hell did he come from!?”

“HE WAS STANDIN’ JUSS RIGHT OUTSIDE THE PITCHER.”

“Elvis, there are many inconsistencies with that explanation.”

“UH-HUH. BUT HE STILL HERE, SO YOU GONNA HAVE TO MAKE YER PEACE WITH IT.  YOU KNOW CHARLIE HODGE.”

“Hello, Charlie.”

“CHARLIE HODGE, GIVE THE PRESIDENT A SCARF.”

“Thank you, Charlie.”

“THASS MAH GIFT TO YOU. IF YOU LIKE, AH COULD GET IT ALL SWEATY.”

“I’m fine, Elvis.”

“YOU C’N ALSO BERATE CHARLIE HODGE IF Y’LIKE. AH PRESENT HIM TO YOU LIKE KARATE JEDI GIVIN’ DROIDS TO THAT BIG OL’ FAT MONSTER OUT THERE IN TH’ DESERT.”

“I’m almost positive that you’re referencing a movie that hasn’t come out yet.”

“WHEN IT COMES OUT, YOU SHOULD GO. THESE HERE THE STANLEY TRIPLETS. ONE OF ‘EM CUTS MAH HAIR.”

“And the other two?”

“IF YOU’LL LOOK CAREFULLY, YOU WILL SEE THEY ARE TRIPLETS OF THE SIAMESE VARIETY.”

“Jesus. I didn’t know that was possible.”

“NIX, AH WAS BORN IN MIS’SIPPI IN THE 30’S. YOU GOT NO IDEA WHAT KINDA MUTANTS AH WAS SURROUNDED BAH. WHOLE FAMILIES ATTACHED TO EACH OTHER. SEV’RAL CHILDREN WAS THEIR OWN COUSINS. ONE KID WAS JUST A FOOT.”

“A foot?”

“BIG OL’ FOOT, MAN. THE OTHER BOYS AN’ GIRLS WERE CRUEL TO THE BOY, BUT AH SHOWED HIM KINDNESS.”

“That’s very nice of you, Elvis. Good for you.”

“MISTER PRESIDENT, AH’D LIKE YOU T’ MEET FOOTY JOHNSON.”

“AH! It’s the foot thing!”

“FOOTY AIN’T NO THING, DAMN YOU!”

“Get it out of here!”

“NO, FOOTY! HE DID’N MEAN IT! DON’T HOP AWAY!”

“THAT WAS CRUEL, NIX. AH HAVE A SONG SPECIFICALLY ‘BOUT THAT.”

“Elvis, you can’t bring foot-monsters into the Oval Office, at least not without warning me. Weird-looking sonofabitch scared the shit out of me.”

“THERE ARE FEELIN’S UNDER THEM KNUCKLES. YOU HAVE INSULTED THE MEMPHIS MAFIA. AH AM SORRY TO DO THIS, NIX, BUT AH MUST INSIST THAT THIS BE SETTLED IN TH’ DOJO.”

“How about an apology?”

“WOULD IT BE ACCOMP’NIED BAH A BADGE?”

“Certainly.”

“SHINY ONE?”

“Oh, the shiniest.”

“AH WILL CONSIDER IT PENDING REVIEW OF TH’ BADGE.”

“Great.”

“LOOKIE HERE, WE GOT S’MORE MAFIA. THIS HERE IS JOHNNY SANDSTORM.”

“Johnny.”

“OVER THERE, THASS DOODLEBUG.”

“Doodlebug.”

“OKAY, NOW, AH DO NOT REMEMBER BRINGIN’ A LIPIZZANER STALLION WITH ME, BUT THERE HE IS.”

“A beautiful beast, Elvis. I didn’t know you were a horse man.”

“AH GOT NO IDEA WHERE THAT ANIMAL CAME FROM, MAN.”

“Still, the haunches. Proud. America needs to be proud, Elvis. Do you believe that?”

“AH DO, SIR. WITH ALL MAH HEART.”

“Pride comes from work, King. When I have made progress on the work of the government, or you’ve done whatever it is you do, sing and dance, I don’t know. When you’re finished, and something lies before you–a work completed–then that is a moment for pride, and a specifically American pride. Not of place, or of origin, or of standing; of work. Of accomplishment.”

“THASS BEAUTIFUL, NIX. AH WAS MOVED.”

“The horse just took a shit on the rug, Elvis.”

“HE WAS MOVED, TOO.”

“Uh-huh. Jenkins!”

“Jenkins!”

“What the fuck is going on? Where’s Jenkins?”

“AH GOT HIM. JENKINS!”

“Yes, King?”

“Jenkins?”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“AH HAVE POACHED JENKINS.”

“Jenkins! How could you?”

“Mr. President, it’s just so much more fun.”

“I’m fun. Nixon is very fun.”

“Don’t make this weird, sir.”

“IT WAS ROCKY AT FIRST, BUT ONCE JENKINS LEARNED HOW TO FETCH ME MAH WAWA, AH WOULD NO LONGER ACCEPT CHARLIE HODGE’S WAWA. SO AH SOLVED THE PROBLEM USING MIND-KARATE, LIKE ALEXANDER TH’ GREAT CHOPPIN’ THE GORDIAN PLANK IN TWAIN.”

“Good word, twain. Not enough people use it. The blacks never do. Fine people, but you’ll never catch them using the word twain.”

“TRUER WORDS HAVE NEVER BEEN SPOKEN, NIX. JENKINS NOW BRINGS MA WAWA, AND CHARLIE HODGE IS STRICTLY ON SCARF DUTY.”

“Administration is the thing that always gets you in the end. The entrenched interests. They’ll betray you, Elvis. Be careful with your people.”

“PARD’N MAH FRENCH-CANADIAN, BUT TH’ MEMPHIS MAFIA IS DUMB AS A MOOSE’S DICK.”

“Ah, yes.”

“MISTER PRESIDENT, AH AM PLEASED TO INNERDUCE YOU TO MAH GOOBER-LIPPED, SMELLIN’-LIKE-A-BRUSHFIRE, EARWAX-EATIN’ SIDEWINDER OF A TOWN PERVERT OF A DADDY–”

“Vernon.”

“–VERNON. HE IS AWFUL SORRY HE DONE SPIT ALL THAT TOBACCY ON YER COUCH. HE’S JUST A BARELY-HUMAN SIMPLETON, NIX.”

“We all come from somewhere.”

“STILL SCARED O’ FLUSH TOILETS.”

“You don’t say.”

“PREFERS HIS HOLE.”

“Uh-huh.”

“USES THE CORNCOB T’ CLEAN ON HIS NETHERS. THEN HE FLINGS IT AT TH’ DEMOGRAPHIC O’ PEOPLE YOU WOULD EXPECT HIM T’ THROW IT AT!”

“Terrible. Corncobs.”

“BUT AH LOVE HIM, NIX. AH DON’ CARE HOW MANY BOWLIN’ ALLEYS HE BLOWS UP.”

“What now?”

“NOTHIN'”

“Elvis, I need to make a call. I’ll be right back.”

“AH STILL HAVE PEOPLE T’ INNERDUCE.”

“In a minute.”

“MULTIPLE MEMBERS O’ THE MEMPHIS MAFIA MUST MEET MILHOUS.”

“Nicely done. Give me a second.”

CELL PHONE NOISE

CELL PHONE NOISE

“Hello?”

“Yes, hello. This is Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of America. Your country needs you, boy.”

“Who is this?”

“Dammit, it’s Nixon.”

“Nixon Carruthers, the food theorist and ice sculptor?”

“Nixon Nixon!”

“Like Duran Duran? I could join Duran Duran. Yeah, why not?”

“Shut up and listen to me. Nixon need rescuing. Elvis is getting weird and boring, and I need to bomb something soon. Come rescue me.”

“Pass.”

“What? Come rescue Nixon. We’ll get into adventures.”

“Pass. Dead-ender of a storyline.”

“What the hell do you mean ‘pass,’ damn you!? You’re speaking to the president.”

“Hard pass.”

DIAL TONE BECAUSE PHONES DID THAT IN 1970

“Nixon will get you for that, John Mayer.”

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