The Dead were not a Prog-Rock band, as that required hours of rehearsal, which was impossible when the phrase, “Let’s try that one again,” led at least three men to start wildly swinging their fists without even looking to see where they were going. The Dead were like Sinatra: one-take. If you allowed them back at the material after the first try, they would fiddle with it endlessly, eventually disappearing up their own asses entirely.
The Dead were not a Boy Band. Boy bands feature young, girlish men who conform to pre-slotted roles as the Cute One or the Shy One. The Dead was made up of men whose appearances might have been put on cans of stew. Yes, Bobby was the Cute One, but there was also the Locked in the Bathroom One, the Punching One, and Phil. Tiger, yes. Tiger Beat, no.
The Dead were not Alternative. I think it might have been the attitude towards guitars. Since Johnny Ramone threw his plastic Mos-Rite in a shopping bag and carried it into CBGB’s, one of the key signifiers of “cool” in the punk/alternative status game is who can find the shittiest, most obscure guitar. Garcia did not like that game, not one bit. He chased the dragon with those guitars as much as with his habit. Elaborate, expensive and–most of all-heavy things that he could fuss over. And, as we all know, anything fussed with too much is shit and those last guitars, my god, the pomp and circumference!
Wolf! Wolf weighed–I looked this up–211 pounds.
The Dead were not a Country Rock Jam Band with Delusions of Grandeur. No, no: they were. That is what they were. And, damn they were good at it.
The Dead were not Electronic Music, even though they used to let Phil’s retarded cousin Ned Lagin finger his MOOG onstage occasionally. I’m talking the Ibiza stuff, KLF is gonna house you, that thing where the bass stops and then it makes this WUBWUBWUB sound, that sort of thing. First of, all the darkness would lead instantly to a round of stealthy dickpunching the likes of which this party’s never seen! WHOO! Second, the Dead would, upon seeing the other large, bass-heavy sound systems, immediately go nuclear, leading to destruction.
“Chief, what have those Grateful Deads done this time?”
“Mr. Mayor, they’ve wired the sewer lines and turned the very ground beneath us into one giant sub-woofer!”
“And what happens if something goes wrong?
“Mr. Mayor, do you know what a caldera is?”
The Dead is not Hip-Hop, although there are similarities: the guys whose job title is kinda loose, weed.