It was a bad idea to even involve the Dead in the Easter pageant, let alone give them full creative control.

I sense this becoming heretical quickly.

No, heresy is merely the disavowal of Scripture: this will turn downright blasphemous almost immediately.

Ah. Carry on.

Right off the bat, the band moved the proceedings from St. Stephen’s–the small neighborhood church around the corner from Front Street–to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and hired the Flying Karamazov Brothers to open and play some of the 12 Apostles. They would also be doing a 40-minute drum-and-knife-throwing routine with Mickey to represent the resurrection. Billy was not allowed to participate in the knife-throwing act because Billy liked to improvise.

Mickey, being raised Jewish, didn’t really know what was going on and showed up at the first rehearsal in an Abraham Lincoln costume. When told the plot of the show, he still insisted on playing Lincoln.

Bobby, being raised a rich white person, was more familiar with the Easter story and had volunteered to write a rock opera about Jesus’ resurrection, except the deadline had blown by and all he had was a couple of chord changes and some verses that were about vampires.

“Bobby, are you just recycling your aborted vampire rock opera, Count Rockula?” Garcia asked.

Bobby looked down at the floor. “Aw, shucks, Garcia: I can’t get anything past you, can I?”

To save money on hair and wigs, Brent was to play Jesus. he got into character quite deeply, even being wracked with doubt over whether always feeling like the New Testament, and that he could never live up to the Old Testament that people loved so well. Also, this was a time in Brent’s life when his motto was “It’s 11 AM somewhere,” and things had become a bit unmanageable.

Come Easter Sunday, the set was on fire and Bobby showed up having not slept and looking like this:

bobby bunny ears

The Dead were not invited back the following year.