Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: 1975 (page 1 of 4)

Miles Back

“Look how many n—-s I got on stage with me.”

Hey, Mr. Davis. I asked you politely–

“I got so many n—-s that a couple of ’em ain’t even n—-s.”

–not to use that word.

“Got a Jew. Real Jewy Jew, too. Bagelfaced motherfucker.”

Offensive.

“And I got two Indians. The foreign Indians, not the ones from the movies. They playin’ Indian shit.”

It’s an enormous band.

“Who’s that bunch of hillbillies you listen to?”

The Grateful Dead.

“How many motherfuckers in that band?”

Anywhere from 5-8.

“Pussies. I’m thinkin’ about gettin’ four or five more motherfuckers. Maybe I’ll get some Eskimos. Are Eskimos real, or they some made-up white bullshit like leprechauns?”

They’re real, and they like to be called Inuit.

“It’s my band. I’ll call ’em snow-n—-s if I want.”

I’m so glad you lived when you did.

“Should be. I contributed to the fucking world, motherfucker.”

That, too.

Twelve (Short) Thoughts On The Netflix Dylan Thing

ONE

Which God he? Answer now. Is our victorious figure Vulcan or thrice-great Hemes Trismegistus? Surely this Bob Dylan is exalted, surely his is on-high. He must be taken seriously, I know that. Heaven fucking help you if you flare your nostrils at Bob Dylan. Not at the poet. Praise Be Unto Zim.

TWO

I don’t know enough about Bob Dylan to do Thoughts on Bob Dylan; this is solely Thoughts on the Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese. I have listened to the proper albums, shows, collections, but I was never diligent about it. Vast tracts of ignorance pock the topsoil of my knowledge. For example, “Bob Dylan” is not his real name. It’s “Robert Dylan.” Bob is short for Robert. I just learned that maybe a week ago. I’m not qualified to judge.

THREE

White.

Person.

Bullshit.

Every second of this film is White Person Bullshit. There’s so much WPB that Joni Mitchell shows up She appears when called, like Beetlejuice or the Candyman, and heard the Bullshit echo through Laurel Canyon. SHMAMP! There she is now in an attic with Roger McGuinn. Roger plays it cool, man. He’s used to chicks just popping in.

FOUR

Optima Cigars Gotta pass by one if your movie’s set in 1970’s New York. If it’s set in 1950’s New York, then you need a pass a Chock Full O’Nuts.

FIVE

Everything that isn’t performance is a vicious waste of time. Go away, Sharon Stone, and take Bette Midler’s husband with you. You darken my door, half-baked improv sessions! Were you attempting to make a point about…something? Fame, show biz, golf course design, something?

Was it satire? Because it was not satire.

Was it meta? As surely the creators would realize that their lies would be caught out before the film’s premiere, and therefore a discussion of said lies would become part of the overarching narrative surrounding the film–by now a “film” more than a film–so all sorts of intention games could be played. So: was it meta? I do not care: it sucked. It sucked so hard.

SIX

Everyone wanted to fuck him. These were the last years of Dylan’s fuckability, and he was burning bright with fuckableness. Jewish men wanted to fuck him, and goyische women, too, and whatever the fuck Spooky Violin Lady was.

SEVEN

No one ever dropped the g’s off the end of words quite so conscientiously as Patti Smith did. She was a city girl; she had a city voice. Jesus grew up in the suburbs for somebody else’s sins, not hers.

EIGHT

Fuck you for not introducing the band, Marty. They’re important. They deserved it, not your tacky little make-believes. That band was so good that one of ’em was Mick Ronson. You know how good your band has to be before Mick Ronson will join it? His presence is quality’s guarantor.

Check out how bitchin’ Mick Ronson looked:

That’s bitchin’. And he didn’t need a giant hat, or a mustache and shiny jacket.

NINE

He named it after the bombing. He thought it was funny. I have no evidence to back up my statement, but I believe it to be true. A man wearing a hat that size has a morbid sense of humor.

TEN

Ginsberg was as pathetic as always. The man was a delicatessen bathroom.

ELEVEN

There’s only one non-music scene worth keeping: the bit with Bob trying to grin his way back into Joan Baez’ pants. She’s still hurt. He knows, gets off on it. When he compliments her, she says ‘Thank you.’ When she compliments him, he nods and accepts the praise without remark.

TEN

This didn’t make the film, but Sharon Stone pretending she was a teenaged groupie did.

Not a great decision.

TWELVE

“I thought we were both wearing big hats, Bob.”

“Ah, shaddup.”

This One’s For Leonard, Who’s Not Here

Weird that Bob doesn’t mention Shazam. Whatever, SJW.

A Proof, Semi-Mathematical

There were stinkers in the beginning, in the early years before they quite learned how to play their instruments, and then Garcia was out of tune in 1970 and ’71. 1972 has no bad shows, but ’73 might (depending on how you feel about the Horn Shows). ’74 surely does; the last few performances from the September European tour are among the worst that lineup produced. 1975 was perfect.You may judge early ’76’s slumpy tempos as dealbreakers; this is your right. Depending on your tolerance for late-era Keith’s monotonous comping, ’77 may also contain a clunker or two. ’78 is a fucking mess. After this, no year comes close to batting a thousand.

We are left, in our very important choice of Best EVAR year, with 1972 and 1975, and I vote for ’75. I enumerate my reasons herewith and thereforth:

  1. Having your best year while the band is technically broken up is the Grateful Dead way of going about business; it is deeply on-brand.
  2. While the Dead achieved numerous career milestones and created some of the most wonderful music of their lives in ’72, they didn’t play Blues For Allah at ten in the morning to a baseball stadium full of teens. 
  3. Bill Graham introduces every show in 1975.

Quan Eros Dermatologium.

Lindley, Hopping

Lindley Meadows was the anti-Egypt. A chilly patch of grass in the middle of the afternoon is–in a mystical and occulty way–the opposite of the foot of the Great Pyramid during a lunar eclipse; very little magick can be summoned in a public park with the sun up. Egypt’s tickets were close enough to free, but it cost a thousand bucks to get there, while Lindley was perfectly free and you could take public transportation. But primarily, the Egypt shows were important, maaaaaaan, and they utterly whiffed ’em to the point of hiding the tapes, whereas Lindley was a tossed-off lark that produced a little over 90 minutes of the most beautiful music this band of hairy idiots ever made.

I wrote that Egypt was the Grateful Deadest thing that the Grateful Dead ever did, but I may have been wrong. It could be 9/28/75. There could be no act more Grateful Deadish than playing what can be argued as your best show while the band technically didn’t exist. And under a different name, too: the Dead were billed as “Jerry Garcia & Friends.” This may have been to pull a quick one on the Town Fathers, who might not have issued the permits if they thought too many folks would show up.

Too many folks didn’t show up. Just the right amount showed up.

One paper said it was 25,000, and the other one said it was 50; the cops declined to weigh in with an official estimate. There are many humans, let’s just agree on that.

Keith’s Fender Rhodes piano (his staple instrument that year and an enormous part in 1975’s unique sound) is resting on a stage Parish and Ramrod and Precarious built out of plywood on top of a flatbed truck. The band has, like, ten amplifiers between them.

Here, look:

If this is your first encounter with this site, then let me welcome you. Come on in. Have a seat. Would you like drugs? Here’s what you need to know, noob: the Grateful Dead are a semi-defunct choogly-type band and they used every amplifier in the world. You see what’s going on in that picture? That’s bullshit. They might as well be playing acoustically. Just a year previous, the Dead had so many amplifiers that they became architecture.

Grateful Deads shouldn’t be taller than their amps. It’s just weird.

Also: it was freezing.

San Francisco is geographically in California, but meteorologically in Cascadia, and so it’s downright nippy by late September. It is always jacket weather, and rent is a million dollars a month, and there is human feces everywhere, and the whole city is going to suddenly liquefact any day now. The place is a nightmare.

Stop going on tirades about cities you’ve never visited.

I’ve never been to Chernobyl. Do I need to go there to have an opinion about it?

I wish you would go to Chernobyl.

You’re mean.

Go to Chernobyl and get eaten by mutant wolfs.

I’m gonna get back to the topic.

You do that.

It was cold, but that didn’t stop Garcia from rocking. Look:


Sartorially, the Lindley show was a standout, too. Bobby’s Pendleton jacket and bell-bottoms, Phil’s college professor drag, and Garcia’s short-lived leather jacket/Pumas look.

It’s a good one.

You paying attention, John Mayer? How about you, Jonah Hill? That’s how men should dress. (Garcia would, almost immediately after this concert, begin wearing sweatpants and Zubaz and shapeless brownish loafers. But when he gave a shit, this is what he looked like.)

The question of how often the Dead played while tripping is often batted about, with the band usually sticking to the position of “Not as much as you’d think” and everyone else holding to “Quite a bit.” Clearly, they didn’t drop acid every night–that was the audience’s job–but, in the early days at least, they would invite the king up onstage with them every so often. Lindley is one of those shows.

 

Exhibit A.

And there’s the fact that numerous band members and roadies have all copped to it, PLUS the way Phil stutters at the beginning of Truckin’. The forced, pressured speech? That’s acid. Weed makes you drawl, and dope makes you whine, and booze makes you slur; acid makes you stutter.

Perhaps our friend Alice can be blamed for the plentitudinous lyrical pooching. Everyone gets in on it: Garcia tanks Franklin’s (as is customary) and mumbles his way through Must Have Been The Roses, and Bobby is Ruthian in his whiffing. Literally: he calls his shot before Truckin’ by telling the crowd he doesn’t remember the words, and then proves himself right.

These minor hiccoughs don’t matter; in fact, they make the show better. All the fuck-ups and the miscues and the lady having the baby. The Grateful Dead played human music, and there were mistakes and surprises and sometimes complete failures.

And sometimes there was Lindley Meadows.

Meadow, Beddo

“Josh, slow down.”

“You’re like 40 years off, Weir.”

OR

Nothing says “professionalism” like a couch pillow lazily stuffed in a bass drum.

Over There

The close-up photos lie; we were never that close. This is how we saw the Grateful Dead: those tiny, loud fuckers over there.

OR

9/28/75 at Lindley Meadows, of course. (There might be no other show so discrete: it’s the most readily-identifiable show they ever played. Plus, there were a fuckton of shots taken. There’s, like, one picture of the One From The Vault show. There’s none from the time(s) they wedged the Wall of Sound into a jai-alai fronton. Just a handful from Woodstock. But the free gig under an assumed name in the park on a chilly Northern California day? Millions of pics.

OR

“What it’s called–”

Oh hey, Precarious.

“–is omniaxial asymmetry.”

The speakers?

“Yeah. There’s no direction you can fold ’em in half cleanly.”

Why?

“Easier that way.”

Sure.

The Name Of This Show Is Lindley

9/28/75 is one of those shows I can always listen to always. Most Dead shows, I can always listen to, but sometimes I don’t want to hear this show or that right now. I can always listen to Lindley Meadows always. It’s good morning music, driving music, humping music; 9/28/75 is an excellent choice for corpse disposal or babysitting. (Corpse disposal and babysitting are more related activities than the media will tell you.) 9/28/75 slices, dices, chops, hops, skips, jumps, and knows where you left your keys. 9/28/75 has a corkscrew, scissors, bottle-opener, and even the little toothpick in the slot. Many Dead shows have lost the little toothpick in the slot, but not Lindley Meadows.

Is it the baby that’s born during the first half of the set?
Is it the first Help>Slip>Frank that’s not really a Help>Slip>Frank?
Is it Bobby calling his pooch on Truckin’?
Is it The Eleven jam that’s only kinda a The Eleven jam?
Is it the fact that it’s September, yet all of the Grateful Deads are dressed like it’s July in Antarctica?
(Remember: Southern Hemisphere; shit’s reversed down there.)

It’s something. 9/28/75 isn’t my favorite show; it’s the one I can always listen to. It’s the Fig Newtons of Dead shows: I might not ask for it by name, but if you put one in front of me, I will eat it every single time.

The Shock Of Genius

My God. It’s beautiful. Precarious?

“Yo.”

Did you do that?

“The inverted pyramid of gear?”

Yes.

“Yeah.”

It’s your masterpiece.

“Sometime, ya gotta challenge yourself.”

Magnificent.

Play It, Fats

Everyone who thought Fats Domino died years ago raise your hand in the Comment Section.

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