Thoughts on the Dead

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

All Righty Then

bobby weird hair 80s

Bobby was up for the part of Ace Ventura’s dad and really wanted the job.


  • Tunr Guitar-tuning app. Garcia has not installed this on his phone.
  • Ephebofile What’s the legal age of consent for stone cold foxes in each state? Ephebofile tells you, plus the pay-version runs a background check to see if she’s the daughter of anyone important.
  • The Official Grateful Dead App Oh, wait: this doesn’t exist.
  • Wall of App This application was created by Bear and it’s about 45 petabytes large and it can only be loaded onto a Cray supercomputer and costs three million bucks and it’s full of bugs and it will almost certainly gain sentience and try to destroy all humanity.
  • Punchr This is Billy’s special app and you know what it does and what it points out using GPS. (When the inventors of the GPS system heard about this app, they were quoted as saying, “It’s a trillion-dollar machine spread out over land and space that uses relativistic physics to determine your location down to six feet. And he’s using it for what? If we had known, we never would have done any of this. We are become death, the puncher of dicks.”
  • Drumr Mickey also has a special app. It crashes a lot, cancelling the summer your.
  • Bobr Put simply, they installed a locating device on Bobby years ago for his “wandering times.” It used to be a large radio collar that Bobby would gnaw at, and catching up to him required that giant metal wire  receiver geegaw that white people in khaki are always waving at Africa in nature shows. Now, it’s an RFID transmitter and a phone.
  • Disruptr This app just blurts out random words or sectors of the economy that need to be disrupted. “Produce section?” Disrupt that shit. “Knitting?” The yarn world is ripe for disruption. “Family?” Disrupt it!
  • Flappy Bob You also know what this one does.

Put The Load Right On Him

The narrator of The Weight has wandered into the most passive-aggressive town I’ve ever heard of. All the poor guy wants is a little hospitality and these conniving townsfolk–seeing a sucker coming, I guess–saddle him with a dog to feed, toss him Miss Anna Lee to take care of, and make him listen to Phil sing a verse.

Later on, the townsfolk would steal the narrator’s identity, pick his pockets, elect him mayor, then indict him on trumped-up corruption charges.


bobby phil jerry acoustic (bass)

Continuing with the awful guitar theme, we come to Phil’s (unexpected) dalliance with one of those acoustic-electic bass guitars that never sounded any good and made you look like the unlucky Mexican guy who had to play the enormously fat Mexican guitar. They had to be enormous to keep that low-E string from ripping the whole thing in two before it was even near tuned up; when it was, the timbre was that of “kaGONgfwabble.” (The “fwabble” was the metallic rattling noise that every single one of those things made with every damn note.)

Phil’s general m.o. during Acoustic Dead sets was to stand in the back, nurse his buzz, and wait for Bird Song to come around. Otherwise, it’s just root notes and a nice bottle of red. And the thing is: no one ever minded. No one ever bitched about it not being totally acoustic, man, because Deadheads aren’t complete idiots.

Those things came into being because of Unplugged, the MTV show where, say, Poison pretended to be musicians via the strategic use of stools. You could judge the artists’ authenticity and their sincerity through their stool usage. Eddie Vedder once stood on his stool, so he won.

No one was allowed to use electric instruments. the mics and camera were fine, though. Also, extensive overdubbing and retakes would be done to polish the performance, but there had to be a hole in the guitar or you couldn’t play. Also, the drummer was allowed to bring his enormous, double-kick drum heavy metal drum kit, but he had to abandon it for at least one song to half-assedly smack some congas while taking a vocal.

The guitarists were fine with acoustics guitars, but the bass player was always fucked because the acoustic version of a bass is the size of the Monolith from 2001 and just as tough to transport. Most idiot rock bassists wouldn’t even know how to hold the thing, let alone play it, let alone use the bow.

Just forget the bow.

So there were these monstrosities, which I had thought Phil immune to. You live, you learn: Alannis said that shit.

Also: Sweet Eleanor’s asshole, Garcia: go backstage and change into human clothes. You look like a mailman who lets rain, snow, or sleet stop him in his tracks.

Live Forever If I Take My Time

We ony have a few years before our skin starts to unravel: we’ll all be crab apples in August soon enough. The telomeres wind down, you see: chain links falling off the table and count down and down and there is definite check-out time. It’s just the hotel won’t tell us when it is, but they will let you know.

Billy has aged well, mostly because he is a crazy person and has been so for decades now. If one rounds generously, Billy has been out of his mind for a century. Plus, he was always a bit overweight and had started balding at the same month as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution; he wasn’t the heart throb of the group.

Complete lunatics have a better relationship with death than the rest of us: they think it’s for other people.

No App For That

jerry steinberger apple 2

This couldn’t be more 80′s if Margaret Thatcher were fellating Garcia.

Steal Your Face Right Off Your Headless

jerry steinberger

You put that thing down right now, mister.

Where’s Parish?

bobby holy shit randos

Bobby decided to take a few weeks off the hooch when this was the best situation he had come out of a blackout in for months.

Also: Bobby feet.

Overheard At The Video Shoot For Touch Of Grey

  • Who ordered all these big-booty hos?
  • Was that the pyro or Garcia?
  • No, Bobby: none of this is being shot in 3D.
  • Well, yes, we’re  in three dimensions, but…
  • Billy just punched a gaffer in the dick.
  • I’m not kidding: who is responsible for all of these big-booty hos? We need to return them.
  • Brent, there is no space in the video for you to do your Moonwalk.
  • First off: that’s not a Moonwalk. You’re lying on your back waving your legs in the air like a giant cockroach.
  • Billy just the punched the best boy in the dick.
  • Bear, get away from the cameras. They’re rented.
  • You dosed the cameramen? I dosed the cameramen! Jesus, how many people dosed the cameramen? We should go check on them.
  • You also dosed the big-booty hos?
  • Pease tell John Perry Barlow that the director is the one to yell “cut,” and it doesn’t need to be accompanied by shooting into the air.
  • How many of the skeleton puppets came to life?
  • All of them? Huh. You don’t say.
  • But only the Mickey and Billy skeleton puppets went berserk? Just a third are currently on mindless, murderous rampages?
  • I can live with those numbers.
  • Billy just punched the makeup lady in the dick and she’s one of those solidly-built tatted-up rockabilly chicks who does roller derby and it is not going well for Billy.
  • Why is Bobby in KISS makeup?
  • Mickey has stolen a camera-crane and driven it over a small crowd of people.
  • No, not skeleton puppet Mickey: the actual human Mickey Hart made that decision and followed through with it and the road crew thought it was some funny shit.
  • I don’t care who invited you, Hamza: we’re shooting a video, so there cannot be fifteen minutes of Bedouin-flavored jamming.

Last Touch

TotD concludes Touch of Grey Day with an AUD of 12/15/86, Garcia’s comeback show. Yes, yes: AUDs are for weirdos, extremists, and recidivists, but this one requires the full-blooded jubilance of the crowd to be whole; besides, the mix is actually good for an AUD: clear and as wide as can be.

It’s a simple song: verse, chorus, a few too many more verses, the bridge-iest bridge in Dead history, then the chorus again and it was EVERYWHERE that summer. MTV did a special Day of the Dead  weekend in which they sent J. J. Jackson to the Giant Stadium show. He was unbelievably easy to find in the crowd.

More people showed up: “Dude, I am STOKED to hear Hairy Garcia!” Maybe one in twenty stayed around, one in one hundred. Turns out lots of people wanted to hear the music play; that there are not many paces in the world that want to accommodate a 70,000-strong army of hippies is not the song’s fault. Don’t blame the song for what we did with it. It’s a good little song.

It’ll survive.


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