Thoughts On The Dead

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

Author: Thoughts On The Dead (page 2 of 913)

Twelve Thoughts On Woodstock

ONE

My father said he was there, but none of us believed him. Dad also told us that he was at the final game of the 1969 World Series; we did believe that. His Woodstock story consisted did consist entirely of “We walked around, and it was disgusting, so we went back to the bungalow colony.” That did sound like him.

TWO

A golf course. Woodstock was birthed on the second green, fleshed out by the turn, and the papers were signed at the 19th Hole. A couple rich kids, and then a guy who worked at a head shop. Not one clue between the three.

THREE

Woodstock caused Altamont just as the First World War One caused the Second World War Two. The presence of the former necessitated the existence of the latter. In a lot of ways, Sha Na Na’s set can be likened to the Treaty of Versailles.

FOUR

Here’s some film of the Dead in Bethel.

Woodstock was not in Woodstock. There was no location suitable for the crowds in Woodstock, so the concert was to be held in Wallkill, which is around 40 miles from Woodstock, but the good people of Wallkill chased the hippies out, and so the festival was held in a town called Bethel, which is around 40 miles from Wallkill. All of these towns are in the Catskill Mountains.

Air conditioning beat back the summer, but cities used to simply surrender. Paris still does. Your only chance in the heat was to flee the concrete oven with her radiating tenements and sizzling stoops. Get out of town! The folks in Philly took the train to Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore. Bostonians trekked out to the Cape. But New Yorkers had vacation options. Class-based of course. The rich folks went to the Hamptons. Still do. The Jews went to the Catskills, where it was cool and there was a lake every twenty feet. (Minnesota gets all the attention when it comes to lake-having, but I feel like New York State gets slept on. Unbelievable number of lakes Upstate.)

There were Communist summer camps for the kids; and bungalow colonies for the broke, or outdoorsy, or artistic; and boarding houses (most of them thoroughly Communist, as well). The hotels were king; they were the absolute and unquestioned center of Jewish life in New York for two or three generations. My parents courted at the most expensive hotel my dad could afford at the time, which was the Nevele. There was Kutsher’s, and the Concord, and Brown’s, and a dozen other resorts, each self-contained of its own food, lodging, and fun. This was necessary, as most of the guests had taken trains up, and were forced to stay on your property.

Grossinger’s was the biggest, and–like all the others–was full service. Dining room sat 3,000. Bill Graham waited tables there as a kid. Two mammoth swimming pools, indoor and out. Tennis and golf and all that shit, obviously. Summertime ice rink, which was impressive in the 1950’s, and a huge staff featuring employees whose sole job it was to entertain you. Bingo caller. Each hotel had a star Bingo caller. There was also a job called a tummeler, which is Yiddish for “pain-in-the-ass, but funny.” The hotel would pay someone just to hang around the pool cracking jokes and starting games of Simon Says.

(Simon Says was incredibly important at resorts in the Catskills. I can’t explain it. Put a bunch of Jews in nature, and intensely competitive games of Simon Says will break out. Jews fucking love Simon Says.)

And the showroom. The greats played the Borscht Belt. Duke Ellington, and all of the Rat Pack, and Ella Fitzgerald. Broadway producers sent their swing corps up the Hudson to put on condensed versions of the latest musicals. Comedians, too. Jews like Simon Says and stand-up comedy. Everyone you can think of started in the Catskills, and then came back when they got big.

It was Vegas, but kosher.

I wonder who was headlining the showroom of Grossinger’s on the weekend of Woodstock. Maybe it was Desi Arnez and his Orchestra.

Neither the Dead nor any other rockyroll types were permitted entrance to Grossinger’s, and instead stayed in the Holiday Inn right next door. The hippies couldnot be barred, though. The concert started an influx of crunchy-types into the area; this, combined with the onset of affordable air travel and ubiquitous air conditioning, led to the demise of the grand hotels. Some of ’em hung around through the 80’s and 90’s, but the rot had set in and the resorts were just big ol’ passing-for-white elephants.

35 buildings at Grossinger’s at its height, and the last one remaining got knocked down last year. Maybe some rich asshole will put a house on the land, maybe condos, maybe a casino. Nothing but maybe.

FIVE

Joan Baez should be launched into the sun. I’m sure she’s a personally lovely woman. She actively supports many wonderful causes. She is kind to animals, children, and old people. Shoot her into the sun.

SIX

Look at this bullshit:

See the bathrooms? No? That’s because there weren’t any. It is an absolute miracle that Woodstock didn’t see a dysentery outbreak. Or cholera. The idiot promoters should have been jailed, or keelhauled. Michael Lang should have been brought to the nearest deep-sea harbor, somewhere one might find a ship with a large enough keel to make being hauled under it a punishment, and then keelhauled. It is unconscionable to create this situation without adequate preparation. All that kept Woodstock from being a humanitarian disaster was luck.

SEVEN 

And not hiring the Hells Angels to be the security. Luck, and an excellent staffing decision kept Woodstock from being a disaster. Michael Lang and the other two guys made many, many poor choices, but deputizing a criminal organization comprised of hyper-violent psychopaths was not one of them. Good call, guys.

EIGHT

I always get Sweetwater, which was a real band, confused with Stillwater, which was not.

FEEEEE-VUH DAWG!

I should watch Almost Famous again.

NINE

Zep wasn’t there, man. (They did go to Vegas to catch Elvis’ show at the International on the 12th of August, though.) Beatles, obviously. Dylan didn’t show. Byrds weren’t there, and neither was Zappa. (He would have hated it.) The Doors were too busy being terrible in Los Angeles. KISS had not been formed yet. Buddy Holly was dead. None of Hitler’s clones knew how to play guitar.

TEN

There were no standards. Look at this bullshit:

That’s not a stage, that’s a platform. Woodstock was the jankiest shit I’ve ever seen.

ELEVEN

Yeah, yeah, Country Joe and his stupid chant, and Wavy Gravy and his stupid nose, and The Who and their stupid opera. and Jimi and his stupid musical metaphors. God I’m bored of Woodstock.

TWELVE

Hey, Garcia. Whatcha doing?

“Taking in the sights, man.”

Right on.

Real-Time Thoughts On The Dead’s Woodstock Set

  • I hate this already.
  • Damn you all, damn you all to hell.
  • I had a ’73 on.
  • A SEVENTY-THREE!
  • Eh, this is not so bad.
  • St. Stephen, doodley-doo.
  • They could start singing any time.
  • Any time at…there you go.
  • Strong start.
  • WHAMMO
  • Holy shit, that was an “>”.
  • That was the hardest > I’ve ever encountered in the wild.
  • The setlist makes no sense.
  • Woodstock was a TC show, and that is a rare show, indeed.
  • They do not 100% know Mama Tried yet.
  • The Dead took–at minimum–18 months to learn a song, and Mama Tried wasn’t there yet.
  • And now there’s what is generally referred to in the parlance as “banter,” and it’s…oh, holy shit ten fucking minutes?
  • Ten minutes in between songs?
  • I cannot sanction this buffoonery.
  • Oh, no.
  • Is that Ken fucking Babbs?
  • THAT FUCKER NEARLY RUINED VENETA.
  • No.
  • I’m skipping ahead to Dark Star.
  • Fuck this noise; I am in the last half of my life, and I will not give it to Ken Babbs’ drug-drenched nonsense.
  • My God, the bush league of it all.
  • John Fogerty is right to be mad at you, Grateful Dead.
  • He laid out his expectations, that you kept on choogling.
  • He did not ask that you choogled poorly for a bit, then took a ten-minute smoke break, and then choogled a little bit more.
  • Dark Star.
  • I have not ever to my knowledge listened to the Woodstock set before.
  • Although I would have sworn that The Band did not play that weekend, so my memory is suspect.
  • But I bring to the show all the baggage of the expectation, so perhaps I’m picking apart the music with a butcher’s ear.
  • This is, we are told, the worst show the Grateful Dead ever played.
  • But they’re just playing Dark Star.
  • TC’s leading the way.
  • Heavy TC presence on this Upstate evening.
  • Is Garcia even on stage?
  • Where’s the Big Guy?
  • “Don’t call me that.”
  • Oh, there he is.
  • Who’s afraid of the Woodstock set?
  • It’s Dark Star!
  • Everybody loves a Dark Star, even the crappy ones.
  • And this is not crappy.
  • To us, Enthusiast.
  • Because we, you and I, love a spacey, shakey, sketchy Dark Star that falls apart once or twice.
  • But they’re literally playing Jazz Odyssey for a festival crowd.
  • Aw, they’re being all quiet and thoughtful.
  • The Dead simply could not have been more ill-prepared.
  • Think of how rarely they played outside the hippie circuit before 1969.
  • This is delightful music for a theater full of tripping kids.
  • But there’s 500,00 people there.
  • Not all of whom were Deadheads.
  • Lots of people hate this kind of bullshit.
  • We don’t.
  • But we are a minority.
  • Most people wanna hear songs.
  • And sing along with choruses.
  • If you can write a chorus that folks wanna sing along to, you will make great deals of money in the music industry.
  • Dark Star does not have a chorus.
  • And has now petered out into High Time, and there is all sorts of commotion from the crowd.
  • Settle down, teens!
  • Calm your tits.
  • Here is music to soothe yourselves to: High Time, which I think I hate.
  • Obviously, I’ve tried to like the song, but it’s a dirge with an awkward melody and clunky lyrics.
  • Billy’s going for it, though.
  • THA-THUMP.
  • “Billy, it’s a ballad song.”
  • THA-THUMP THUMP.
  • Why?
  • Why High Time?
  • This was not the time for High Time.
  • Casey Jones might have filled the spot in a more crowd-rousing fashion.
  • Cosmic Charlie!
  • Dead was kicking the shit out of Cosmic Charlie in the Summer of ’69.
  • Whoa, yeah.
  • No, no: High Time.
  • The slow one that nobody knows.
  • Sweet monkey Jesus, who is that?
  • Why has a rando been given a mic?
  • WHERE IS PARISH?
  • WHY HAS THIS MAN NOT BEEN ASSAULTED?
  • Unacceptable.
  • Okay, it was pretty cool in the end, but the general principle remains: randos do not get microphones.
  • The guy’s wrong, anyway: there are not three coasts.
  • There are infinite coasts.
  • Maaaaaaan.
  • Hey, Pig!
  • It’s the ol’ Pig, everybody!
  • Love me a good Lovelight.
  • Oo-ee, when the Lovelight is right, and she starts up to pumping on your johnson: that’s when you knew the nitties are properly box-backed.
  • Sometimes we get nitties that are carton-backed.
  • Can’t use those.
  • Not funky enough.
  • Oh, no, he’s back.
  • SOMEONE BEAT THIS RANDO TO DEATH.
  • There are rules!
  • Where was the Road Crew?
  • This is 1/3rd of their job.
  • They unload the shit.
  • They protect the shit.
  • They load the shit back up.
  • This falls under the umbrella of “protecting the shit.”
  • Okay, he’s gone.
  • Gonna settle me into a nice, tight Lovelight.
  • Gonna eeeeease on in here.
  • Forty minutes?
  • For fuck’s sake, Grateful Dead.
  • I have told you this before: Lovelight only contains 12 or 15 minutes worth of music.
  • Dark Star contains multitudes, and may last for hours; it is a magickal invocation, and therefore subject to its own whims and becomes irritated at attempts of steering.
  • Dark Star c’est le roi.
  • Lovelight is a Bobby “Blue” Bland number.
  • Tom Jones did it in his Vegas act.
  • Pause the Dead and listen to this:

  • Tom Jones literally has Big Dick Energy.
  • (Those Vegas bands could swing, man, and they were enormous. Elvis’ assemblage was no anomaly. Full rock band + full orchestra + backup singers. That was for every singer in every showroom. And a smaller combo in the lounge. A good drummer who showed up on time and sober could make himself a lot of money in Las Vegas back then.)
  • Anyway, notice the time stamp?
  • Two minutes and twelve seconds.
  • And twenty seconds of that is Tom getting introduced.
  • The verse.
  • Then the part that goes BAH-BAH-BAH and the chords go down.
  • And you yell LET IT SHINE for a little bit.
  • Then the song is over.
  • That’s all there is to Lovelight.
  • You can’t build castles out of taffy, brother.
  • No one can see any of this, of course.
  • There were no video screens.
  • (Would someone PLEASE do some research about the introduction of video screens to rock shows? I’m fascinated, but don’t wanna do the homework.)
  • Thirty rows?
  • Forty?
  • How close do you have to be to the stage to see what’s happening on it?
  • Because most of Woodstock was farther away than that.
  • The lack of facilities cannot be overstated, but I suppose the promoters cannot be blamed for the lack of a Jumbotron.
  • I don’t even know if a Jumbotron was possible in 1969.
  • Obviously, it would have been impossible for Michael Lang and the other two rich kids who lured all those innocent youths into that barren, foodless field in Bethel.
  • Hey, guys, are the roads gonna be able to handle the volume?
  • “HERPY DERP! PEACE AND LOVE!”
  • Fellows, have you hired a medical staff?
  • “WHOOPITY-SCOOP! NO RAIN NO RAIN!”
  • A lot of the other festivals ended in violence, not just Altamont.
  • The crowd at the Miami Pop Festival tore down the bleachers and stage, burned them in a pyre, sacrificed the soft-tittied boys.
  • Jesus, are they still playing Lovelight?
  • It’s a lot of repetition.
  • Gotta be honest with you, Enthusiasts.
  • I get it.
  • There’s pleading.
  • And Pig demands to be my rider.
  • Fine, Pig.
  • You can be my rider.
  • Just play something else.
  • Lovelight is not a portal to sonic wavelengths beyond both our beck and ken; it is a soul single from 1961.
  • It should not be forty minutes long.
  • Meals aren’t forty minutes long.
  • 12 to 15 minutes is the perfect length for a Lovelight.
  • 30 to 50 is the perfect number of feral hogs, and 12 to 15 minutes etc.
  • Lotta repetition.
  • Again: being honest.
  • Not my cup of Lovelight.
  • Too much Lovelight in my Lovelight.
  • WAIT!
  • It’s over.
  • There is a God.
  • No, Garcia won’t let the Lovelight stop.
  • The man refuses to not solo.
  • THERE!
  • Ha ha, a rando yelled at the Dead.
  • “Do you guys know any more that two songs?”
  • Epic burn, rando.

Little-Known Woodstock Facts

Cannibalism was rampant.

As many as 45 teens may have been at least partially consumed during the festival, primarily during Santana’s set. His soloing–laden with Latin-tinged emotion as it was–induced something like a hunger within the crowd, and then MONCHMONCHMONCH things got weird, and quickly.

About ten percent of the crowd were undercover FBI officers.

Or CIA. Or Soviets.Or MI6/double agent for the Queen’s Guard? (The Queen’s Guard answers directly to the Regent, and solve problems for her all over the world: sometimes quietly, other times with a bang. There’s a big guy and a smart guy and a computer guy and a guy who’s a hot chick, and they have bitchin’ gadgets, and they talk to the Queen via hologram, and then they go to exotic places and extra-legally kill exotic people.)

Or Raphaelites. (He was an angel that came to earth and started a vacuum cleaner company/cult. It’s a long story.) Anyway, a goodly portion of any festival crowd in the 60’s and 70’s were agents of one secret society or another.

Or the Thurr. (Perfect name for ’em. Look at those motherfuckers, just look at ’em. Your mind just goes “Thurr.” Jesus, look at ’em. Thurring it up like that. Oughta be a law against it.)

The Band was there.

This one’s not a joke. Was everyone else aware that The Band played Woodstock? I would have wagered in opposition not two days ago, so sure I was that the revered Americana group (that was 80% Canadian) did not attend the August ’69 festival. This is the Mandela Effect in action, Enthusiasts. What other false realities do I live in? Has there been a third Van Halen brother all this time?

The mud was doody.

Before the cows even got there, the fields were made of pure doody. Dirt is worm doody. When the teens were sliding in the mud, they were sliding in doody. Nothing but doody everywhere you looked. The whole weekend was made of doody.

Bands other than the Grateful Dead performed.

You would not know that fact from my social media feed. According to it, the story of Woodstock is: The Dead played poorly, and some other stuff happened. 

TotD Listens To The Music Of Today

I have no idea what Brokhampton is. I think they’re 35 gay guys from Los Angeles, which would make them the Woke-Tang Clan, but I’m not sure. The song is, though, what the youths refer to as a “banger.”

Maintain Current Choogle Levels

I wish Fogerty sucked, so I could just write him off as an asshole, but the man could choogle.

Thoughts On An Important 50th Anniversary

ONE

There’s a first time for everything, the praying mantis said to his new bride, and she smiled.

TWO

The great ones have eras. Sinatra had the Teenybopper years, and the Rat Pack, and Bored, Old, Mean Frank. Madonna was a Boy Toy, and then the Material Girl, and is now Crazy Aunt. Mohammad Ali: His mama called him Clay; No Viet Cong ever called me n—-r; ALI BOOM-AH-YAY; a shaky finish.Even the bush league ones have eras. Baby Dead, Keith Dead, Brent Dead, Sad Dead. The last chapter’s always the same.

Elvis had Vegas.

The first era was Tupelo Elvis. Truck-drivin’, hip-swivelin’, mama-lovin’ Elvis with his two goober buddies on guitar and bass behind him, atop a flatbed truck at the county fair, captured in black-and white. Resetting his leg after he boogedy-shooped his way down the stage. The Elvis whose crotch was a danger to teevee audiences, possibly democracy itself. The Elvis about whom 50 million fans weren’t incorrect regarding. Tupelo Elvis still lived with his mother.

Army Elvis buried his mother. Army Elvis also met Charlie Hodge, who would thereafter procure for him both scarves and water,

Hollywood Elvis was next. Let’s play a game. I’m gonna ask you a question, and you’re not going to look it up. No googling. Follow the tenets of Without Research. Here we go:

How many movies did Elvis star in?

Wait! I didn’t give you the time frame. 1960-1969. Honorably discharged at the rank of sergeant in 1960, donned the jumpsuit and cape in 1969. How many movies did Hollywood Elvis make?

No, you’re wrong. Guess again.

Stop guessing. 27. Twenty-seven. 3^3. Two-and-a-quarter dozen. Hollywood spat out 27 Elvis movies in a decade; there aren’t 27 Godzilla movies in total. In the 60’s, Elvis movies came out on the same schedule as Marvel movies do today. All the same thing: Elvis tries real hard to deliver his lines like a big boy, and then he sings, and there’s a girl. Give him credit: the King tried, real early on, to make serious pictures. To get his teeth into a real character. To act, man. The craft, maaaaaan. Elvis made Flaming Star–he was a half-Kiowa rancher torn between love and country, or something like that–and he made Wild In The Country, which was written by Clifford Odets; nothing begs “Please take me seriously” more than letting Clifford Odets write your script.

“Oh, no,” the Audience responded. “This is not the Elvis for us. This is not our preferred Elvis. Bring back the one who sings and dances.”

Blue Hawaii was his next movie. The King saw as true and beautiful what the Audience had declared: they could never see him as anyone but himself. He was singular in their eyes. How could Elvis hide beneath a bushel? Let Tony Curtis do all the acting. Elvis must be Elvis.

Sometimes, Elvis was a stuntman. I think he was a professional water-skier once. He raced cars in at least several films. Carnivals, rodeos. All kinds of manly shit. And Elvis is always in a band so that he could serenade the girl. The rest of the run-time was taken up by rear-projectioned action scenes and light comedy.

After some years of this, the King became bored with being a movie star, and wanted to go back to being a rockyroll star. Did his ennui begin around 1967’s Clambake? I would imagine his feelings of frustration began earlier, but were crystallized upon production of Clambake. There’s no way Elvis didn’t pitch a fit upon initial receipt of the script.

“CLAMBAKE? WHAT IS THIS SHIT? JOE ESPOSITO, TELL ME AH AIN’ CRAZY!”

And then the black leather suit, the teevee special.

THREE

The mob built Las Vegas, but did not control it for that long at all. The city made too much money for the honest businessmen not to steal it from them. Big money always wins, even when the big money is pissing in jars and cosseting itself with Mormons and buying the local teevee station so it’ll play your favorite movies late at night. (That last one sounds pretty cool, actually.) If nutty Hughes could make bank in Vegas, than so could any half-bright fink with deep pockets.

Kirk Kerorkian was that fink. He built this:

FUN FACT: That’s Pauly Shore’s dad!

FACT FACT: You literally never have to stop playing baccarat.

“The baccarat, my sister, does e’er it cease?”

“Blessed one, no, it does not. The baccarat gallops on like time THE BACCARAT CANNOT BE BROKEN!”

And so on. It was at the time the largest hotel in the world, and the theme was international, because the name was the International, and so there was all variety of foreign bullshit everywhere. Henry the VIII furniture on top of rugs woven by sherpas who had become scared of heights. Tons of African masks. Lederhosen nailed to the walls of the elevators. Real classy joint. But it was not on the strip, and so needed a greater draw than the other casinos; the enticement would be the entertainment. Liberace! The Coz! Ann Margaret! (And you know Ann Margaret put on a high-energy show.) And the King.

Elvis was not the showroom’s first headliner when it opened in 1969; Colonel Parker would not allow that. His boy was the star, let someone else do the soundcheck. Booked to inaugurate the room was Barbra Streisand, whom the gentile crowds did not appreciate. The building having been shaken down, the King entered. This was to be his West Coast Graceland, his seat of power in the scorching desert beyond the mountains. This was a fine land to rule, the King thought. It is suitable for my guests, who are high-toned kind of people, and deserve luxury and comfort.

FOUR

Million dollars. Twice a year, summer and the holidays. Four weeks. Two shows a night. Elvis did ’em straight through, too. The International Theater did not go dark on Mondays when the King was in residence. That first engagement in 1969? He did 57 shows in a row. Now, Elvis only did an hour and change, so perhaps we can liken each show to one of the Dead’s individual sets; thus, we can equate his contracted run to 28 Dead shows. The Grateful Dead would have openly and violently revolted had they been scheduled to perform for 28 nights in a row. At least two members would have simply stormed off somewhere around day 11.

Elvis was a working man.

FIVE

It wasn’t a rock concert. Your ticket didn’t buy you a seat; it allowed you entrance to the showroom. You were assigned placement by a maitre d’,  who needed to be bribed. The eight o’clock show was the dinner show. Food was served while the King sang, and displayed karate. Can you imagine such impertinence? Slurping spaghetti in his presence. While the man is singing to you about the ghetto, among other subjects. Fuckin’ disrespectful, that’s what the dinner show was.

SIX

1969 was not Elvis’ first engagement in Las Vegas. There was a misbegotten booking much earlier in his career, when he was a different man and it was a different town. He appeared at the New Frontier alongside Shecky Greene and a pared-down version of Oklahoma. The crowd was older, and had dibs on sophistication, and so sniffed at the youth. He was uncouth, that youth. That redneckery was not going down in ’56 Vegas. The Audience wanted Xavier Cugat and an end to the Missile Gap.

The reviews were poor, and the crowds unreceptive, but Elvis used his time in town to befriend Liberace.

SEVEN

The big stars came out for Elvis. Nowadays, big stars hang out backstage or in VIP, but big stars would sit at tables just like they people at Elvis’ shows. He’d introduce them from the stage.

“STAN’UP, CAROL CHANNING! EV’RYBODY SAY HELLO T’ DOLLY! THASS CAROL CHANNING RIGHT THERE!”

It was an event, the ’69 run. It was glamorous, and so attracted the big stars. Sinatra didn’t go, because Sinatra was an asshole, but Sammy Junior Davis was in a booth making sure the whole room saw him being present. Cary Grant, and two of the three Catwomen from the Batman teevee show, and Tom Jones. Mac Davis. There were writers, who planned on writing things, and reporters, who planned on reporting on things.

Stonewall was a month before, and the moon just two weeks. Woodstock would be several weeks after.

EIGHT

Whether or not Elvis founded the city of Las Vegas depends on if you put your stock in history or historicity. It is believed by some that the King erected the first city walls, or at least had Sonny and Red do it.

NINE

The first band was two pieces. Scotty Moore on guitar and Bill Black on upright bass. You could fit the whole touring group in one Cadillac. Not so much for the Vegas band:

“AH TRAVEL HEAVY!”

We see that. This is ’69, and Elvis had not quite figured out his presentation yet. The iconic jumpsuit would not appear until 1970, along with a fancier set, a new piano player, and the legendary Also Sprach Zarathrusta  theme he stole from Stanley Kubrick. (You know that’s what happened. Elvis rented out the local theater so he and his slackjawed buddies could watch 2001 at three in the morning, and when the tune played he said, “THATSS GONNA BE MAH WALK-OUT MUSIC. THEM KETTLE DRUMS GONNA HERALD MAH ARRIVAL.”)

James Burton has the telecaster, and rhythm guitarist John Wilkinson is next to him. Piano player is Larry Muhoberac. Jerry Scheff on bass. You know Hard-Hitting Ronnie Tutt. Behind them is Buddy Morris and the Buddy Morris Orchestra. At stage left are the Sweet Inspirations, one of whom was Whitney Houston’s mother, and behind them–out of frame–are the Imperials. On the acoustic guitar which was never plugged in is Charlie Hodge. Charlie also snag backup, and fetched scarves and water.

It was a fine band.

This is from that opening run. It was a fine band, and Ronnie Tutt surely is due a place in the heavens of all theologies for his playing here. He was a nuclear reactor, he was a fierce attractor, he every drum at once on every single beat; it worked well. Ronnie Tutt eyed the King like a border collie. Never distracted. Keep your eye in, Ronnie Tutt. And when there was karate, it was accented.

It was a fine band.

TEN

Go buy this book.

ELEVEN

Is he not everywhere?
Is he not everything?
Is he not everybody?
Is he not still the King?

A Partial Transcript Of The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/14/19

“Welcome back to the Rachel Maddow show. My guest this evening is the Republican Congressperson from Iowa’s 4th district, Steve King.”

“Congressman, Rachel.”

“I prefer the gender-neutral term, sir.”

“And I’d prefer if your haircut matched your cooter, but no one gets to be happy around here, I guess.”

“Congressperson, you’ve a long history of controversial comments. You’ve accused Puerto Ricans of, and I quote, being more flammable than regular people.”

“True. Those suckers catch easy. Don’t need kindling.”

“You called the Jackson 5 ‘racist’ because they didn’t have any white members.”

“Racist as hell! Tito, especially.”

“Sir, you have long advocated culling the homeless.”

“Well, there you go. The lamestream, Soros-controlled, narrative-pushing, agenda-driven, libcuckinated, cosmopolitan, coastal elite,  lying, failing–”

DEEP BREATH NOISE

“–fake news again.”

“You did not advocate reducing the numbers of the unhoused via mass murder?”

“I did not. I fomented culling the homeless.”

“That’s worse.”

“Not in Iowa.”

“I’m moving on. Congressperson, you’re currently sponsoring a bill in the House that would disallow at a federal level all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest.”

“No exceptions for anything! Lady gets kidnapped by an evil scientist and he implants a fish-baby in her? She’s having that fish-baby. I heard this one story from the Civil War where a bullet went through a young soldier’s testicle, then ended up in a nearby woman’s womb. She’s having that bullet-baby. Rape baby, incest baby, fish-baby, I don’t care.”

“That’s a bit extreme.”

“This is all in scripture. Jesus wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for incest.”

“What with the who now?”

“I’m speaking about the Christian Bible, now, Rachel. You probably studied it in college, but a lot of Americans believe in that book.”

“Uh-huh.”

“God is the Father. Father of us all, Rachel. Even you, a muff-munching sinner.”

“Offensive.”

“God is the Father of me, and of the unborn children ripped from their mothers by cruel doctors, most of whom are Jewish or Asian, but I notice a lot of Indians now.  God is the Father of our beautiful, strong President Donald J. Trump. God is the Father of President Trump’s beautiful, strong children. I mean, the President is also their father, but I’m speaking Biblically.”

“Are you going somewhere with this?”

“And God is the Father of Mary. So, when Mary bore the Son of God, she was also bearing the Son of her Father. Which make Jesus an incest-baby.”

“I’m not sure there’s any theological backing for that line of reasoning.”

“Jesus is an incest-baby, Rachel! Just like Faye Dunaway in Chinatown. Would you abort Jesus and Faye Dunaway, Rachel? That’s my Lord you’re talking about! And she was Bonnie, dammit!”

“Please stop yelling, Congressperson King.”

“I’m riled! There’s 18 trillion unborn babies being slaughtered every day–”

“That number isn’t right.

“–and that’s just here in Iowa.”

“Nuh-uh.”

“And I love each and every one of them as if they were my own unborn children. People always talking bad about rape, but it does make more unborn babies, and you know what I say? The more the merrier! If rape is what it takes to get the numbers up, then so be it. Iowa needs less illegal immigrants, and more unborn babies. We’re talking about the future of our country here.”

“I have no idea what we’re talking about here.”

“Nothing’s all good or all bad, Rachel. Rape included. What if the only way the fire department could put out a fire was through rape? You’d be a big rape fan then, wouldn’t you?”

“I will not entertain that hypothesis.”

“Prison rape. Everybody loves prison rape.”

“They do not, sir. No one loves rape except rapists.”

“Well, there you go! Unlike leftists, I do not discriminate against people for their political beliefs.”

“No, sir. I like to rape is not a political belief.

“Thoughtcrime!”

“Stop it.”

“I’ve been accused of thoughtcrime by the thinkpolice!”

“Congressperson.”

“I won’t be politically corrected by the likes of you. My job is to represent the citizens of Iowa’s 4th district, and they like the job I’m doing. I walk down the street and everyone shakes my hand, tells me how wonderfully I fight for the farmers and unborn babies and unborn farmers. Some folks try to give me a ‘high five,’ but I don’t do that. I’m a white man. I don’t do that.”

“Oh, we’re off of rape and back to racism.”

“I won’t do any of those negro gestures. Gimme five. I don’t need you to gimme five. I can earn five. But that’s the black mentality, isn’t it? Gimme five, gimme five. They become dependent on being given five, and that’s what the Democrats want. The Republicans are the party of Lincoln, you know. We freed the slaves. Was the black ill-suited to govern himself and better off as a slave? Inarguably.”

“Very arguably.”

“And now the Democrats have put the black back in chains. Rachel, do you understand that I love unborn rape-babies so much that I even love black rape-babies!?”

“We’re going to go to commercial, and you won’t be here when we get back.”

“Hillary Clinton killed Jeffrey Epstein with her bare hands.”

“You’re the worst.”

Black Star, Dark Star

What the hell is this?

“Oh, it’s you. I thought you were dead.”

No.

“Hoped. I hoped you were dead.”

Alive and kicking. What is going on here?

“Playing the Apollo. First time.”

Really? Because when I think Apollo Theater, I think the Grateful Dead.

“It’s that kind of bullshit that made me wish for your death. The smartmouth bullshit.”

Sorry. Why is there a guy rapping?

“I told you: Apollo Theater. You don’t feature a guest verse or two, that asshole with the broom comes out and chases you off the stage.”

Sure. You have any idea what the guy’s name is?

Please don’t–

“I wanna say Branford.”

–say Branford.

“Pop, his name is Talib Kweli.”

“I ASKED FOR NO HELP, BOY!”

“You didn’t know his name!”

“That’s it, Grahame! Your’re grounded!”

“But I’m on tour.”

“You’re grounded from your tour. You can’t go on the road, and no wifi.”

“Daaaaad!”

“Keep it up and I’ll take your beard off its hinges!”

Always nice catching up, Phil.

“We don’t need to do it again for a while. Or ever.”

Scottie Doesn’t Know

“About my height, but not as handsome. Brown hair. I, uh, think he dyes it nowadays.”

“I haven’t, Bob.”

“Although, if you meet the him that’s from 1986, he won’t need to dye his hair. It’ll still be brown, though.”

“Huh?”

“Goes by Hewis. He’ll, uh, yell at you for calling him that, but I don’t know why. It’s the man’s Christian name.”

“If I see him, I’ll tell him you’re looking for him.”

“Nifty.”

OR

Look how wee an iPhone looks in Scottie’ massives grawpers.

OR

Kind of a dick move for Walton to stand with Scottie. Bobby must have felt like he was standing at the base of Mount Rushmore.

As Long As They Don’t Move Next Door

Presented without comment.

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