Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: tom constanten (page 1 of 2)

Kung Fu Manchu


The rarest Grateful Dead pepe of all: potato salad TC.

Talented Composer


Let’s play everyone’s favorite fun game: TC or Randy Newman?

Us Against Them


I used to be in a band; we weren’t good, but we were loud and we had a basement all to ourselves. We didn’t win the Battle of the Bands. Never got any chicks, man.

But, Jesus, we were loud.

Me and the drummer never got along, which is typical, but we were both teenagers and teenagers are fucking typical. If you had mean-mugged him, I would have cold-cocked you. He was my drummer and being in a band means something. It’s a tribe and you have to pick sides and I picked the side playing The Ramones, poorly, loudly.

We didn’t play Soldier Field for our 50th Anniversary. Singer’s in Louisiana, he’s an entomologist. Guitar player’s in Boston and he works in a recording studio. Drummer’s still a drummer.

And I’m here.

But I used to be in a band.

Glass Half Empty, Glass Half Phil

band hall of fame 94

Here’s why this is secretly the most adorable picture of Phil ever taken: he didn’t want to wear his glasses with his tuxedo, and he can’t see a thing.

I Have A Cunning Plan

There have been terrible ideas–invading Russia, Godfather III, reaching for Garcia’s candy–but they are pikers compared to these ten. Ah, I’m feeling mean: let’s go through them one by one.

1. Trey pulls out one of Jerry’s guitars made by Doug Irwin which is a stupid idea because Trafficjam plays his Laser Duck. Just like Eddie Van Halen played his red and white Frankenstein guitar, or B.B. King played Lucille, or Willie Nelson plays Trigger. Guitarists, more than other musicians, are all fanatically picky about their toys. (Except for punk rockers, who are fanatical about not being picky when it comes to their gear.)

2. Cameos! are a stupid idea because no one needs more people onstage who haven’t rehearsed. There were already 45 to 50 old white guys who hadn’t shown up for rehearsal; we cannot keep throwing musicians at this problem.

Also, Dylan? Sure, everyone wanted Branford to show up, but Dylan? Will he do that thing where he isn’t good? He has been for two decades now; no reason to think he wouldn’t have mumbled through a deep cut no one else knew in Chicago.

3. Tom Constanten! What! is a stupid idea because everyone was fine with TC leaving in the first place. TC is the Chuck Cunningham of the Dead.

4. A Phish songĀ  is a stupid idea because it makes me want to strike you in your whore mouth. Fuck: they barely remembered the Dead tunes.

5. A New Cover is a stupid idea because (again) they barely remember the old cover tunes, and (again) rehearsal is for the hoi polloi, and (first time for this) the Dead’s choice in cover tunes towards the end of the run could be described as “obvious.” Satisfaction, Hey Jude…if Garcia had lived, they would have gotten to Like A Rolling Stone, I guarantee it.

6. A New Original Song is a stupid idea because how does one top Liberty? That’s the peak right there.

7. Hologram Garcia is a stup…ah, dammit: DO NOT MAKE HOLOGRAM GARCIA.

8 and 9. Something we didn’t think of/None of the above are stupid ideas because they’re clearly padding. These two entries are like the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.


There’s no ten. The entries aren’t numbered in the “article.”

It says that there’s ten entries in the title, but there aren’t and no normal human being would notice?


I think I respect them for that.

A little bit, yeah.

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn


“For example, there was that time in Houston. Mickey had “remembered the Alamo” in the hotel’s elevator, so we got thrown out of the joint. Turns out the Alamo’s in Dallas, anyway.

“And Milwaukee. We weren’t banned fromĀ a hotel in Milwaukee, we were banned from hotels: the City Council had enacted legislation that made it a felony–and I’m quoting–“to provide comfort, aid, or tuggers to any and all Grateful Deads, including TC.” Did everyone say ‘hi’ to TC? he’s say ‘hi’ back, but he got a nice, long talk about microphone privileges before we got up here.

“We couldn’t even get in the Riot House in Los Angeles. We showed up and they were all, ‘Sorry, not sorry,” and we were all, ‘But we’re rock stars; this is a rock star hotel,” and they were all, “You’re not the right kind of rock stars,” and that hurt because it was true. Phil cried and said he didn’t want to stay there anyway, stupid hotel.

“Brent was allergic to Ramada Inns. True story.

“Once we stayed in a great place in Florida with all these alligators right outside our window. There was also this horrible place in Maryland with all these alligators right outside our rooms, because Mickey had brought alligators to Maryland and then set them loose. Mickey was kind of a Situationist, if you wanna get all grad school about it.

“Much better now, though: we’re actually staying at a Five Seasons tonight. It’s like the Four Seasons, but it’s really nice. You don’t have to pay-per-view. You just view. Also, you need to have sold out a football stadium to get in: most of the time, it’s just Joe Montana, the Pope, and us. I would recommend it, but the whole point is that people like you can’t get in.

“Thank you, and God Bless America.”

Tennessee (Jed) Tuxedo

band hall of fame induction

Why is Bobby eyefucking Bruce? If they were in the prison cafeteria and Bobby looked at Bruce like that, Bruce would have to shank him. Those are the rules of prison.

Barrelful Of Monkey Suits

band hall of fame 2

The casual fan might be amused by Vince’s skullet; the normal human tickled by TC, who looks as if he has been arrested in the Sarasota area three times this month for sexing strangers’ above-ground pools.

The Enthusiast knows that the real fun is Phil, who is not wearing his glasses and, therefore, completely blind.

And–as usual–where the fuck’s Mrs. Donna Jean?

The Fix Is In

band bw 1:3:70

Another pic from 1970–in fact, from the show I recommended from January–at the old Fillmore East. Of note, Mickey’s goofy grin and Bobby in the back fixing his guitar.

You Look Wonderful Tonight

band tuxes hof

The Dead always liked high school foxes, but when they started taking them to their proms, there needed to be some real talk.

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