FUN FACT: In Canada, box sets come in a bag.
FUN FACT: In Canada, box sets come in a bag.
Oh, God. Who gave you a monkey?
“Hey, Thoughts on my Ass! Meet Pinball.”
I don’t wanna meet Pinball. Why is there a chimpanzee around the Grateful Dead?
“The question is: Why HASN’T there been until now!? This fucker’s a hoot! Literally: he fucks and he hoots.
Who is he fucking?
“Bobby’s leftovers, same as the rest of us.”
This is not all right.
“He’s a show biz monkey, too. Knows all kinds of tricks. Watch this. Pinball! Card!”
CHIMP PRODUCING A NINE OF DIAMONDS NOISE
“Was this your card?”
Holy shit, it was.
“Rides a unicycle, juggles, everything. He’s a triple threat.”
Is he toilet-trained?
“Quadruple threat. The poop is the fourth threat.”
Those animals are dangerous.
“So are me and Mickey.”
He should be in a jungle.
“And I should be in skank. But the world isn’t fair, and so we’re both on tour. Besides, it’s not like he’s got nothing to do. Mickey’s teaching him how to play the timbales.”
How’s that going?
“Not well. He fucks ’em. Oh, and–”
Mickey keeps dosing him?
“–Mickey keeps dosing him.”
That would be Mr, Jiggs, who was indeed a show biz monkey; he performed in between sets of the Dead’s 8/4/76 show at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City. There is easily-found video of the poor animal’s minstrelry, and it is unbearably sad. Don’t search for it. The past was terrible.
“You and me are Bass Drum Buddies.”
“Yuh-huh. That’s right, pal.”
“And we’re Mustache Muchachos.”
“We both got mustaches, yeah.”
“I love drumming with you.”
“It’s a treat, man.”
All Bills are Dollar Bills, but some are Wild Bills.
Both Stan and Dan are The Man.
Men named Boogaloo receive no nicknames, not ever.
What are you writing?
I have literally no idea, chief. Just started typing.
Make it up to the nice people with a show recommendation.
Holy mackarel, was that really the venue’s name?
It is not poetic.
If they sold it in the supermarket, it would be in a plain white wrapper with VENUE stamped across the front.
Not a great name. Anyway, the show’s got a Help>Slip>Drums>Other One>Wharf Rat>Slip>Franklin’s, so it’s worth a spin.
That’s what I said.
Educate yourselves, you damned hemispherists. There’s whole continents you got no idea about; don’t be a sap, simp.
“Shit. Shiiiiiiit. Shit.”
What’s going on, Bobby?
Ah. I see. What’s it like?
“On the plus side, I’ve got six times as much potato salad.”
That’s good, I guess.
“But, uh, I’m also experiencing reality like a conference call.”
“Yeah. Turns out the human mind is not set up for even semi-panopticality.”
I’ll alert Foucault. Do you have any idea how this happened?
“Right now, my working hypothesis has the white jeans as a main suspect.”
Jeans shouldn’t be white.
“Yup. It’s, uh, racist but true.”
So many things are.
It was a joke, Bob.
“My, uh, sense of humor is like a mirror thrown onto an ice-skating rink right now.”
This was 9/15/76, and the Duchess was a real boat, not some poorly-named North Shore bar. The New York branch of the Hells Angels–friends of the Dead since the ’72 Academy of Music benefit–threw a party in a location they knew could not be raided by the cops. It wasn’t a dinghy, either. Check this fucker out:
Did you check that fucker out? (The Duchess used to be called the Bay Belle. Ships can change names. For example, in the 60’s the SS Lew Alcindor changed its name to the SS Mohammad Ali.) A boat’s officially big when it’s required to have other, smaller boats hanging off the sides. (One day, Carnival Cruises will build a ship so large that its lifeboats are so big that they themselves need lifeboats.) They didn’t go much of anywhere–just circled Manhattan a couple times–but Jerry Band played, so it was probably worth putting on your floaties. (This was the version of Jerry Band with John Kahn in it, just in case you’re a stats nerd.) But why listen to me? Read about the show from someone who was there.
Or just watch it.
Whatever floats your boat.
Like so many other things, this was John Kahn’s fault. You will recall that in October of ’74, the Grateful Dead pulled the ol’ “fake retirement” trick–one of the hoariest gimmicks in show biz–and now Garcia had no touring money coming in. This is suboptimal for a man with three children and a mortgage, and so Garcia ramped up the Jerry Band. Whereas before, he stuck mostly to the Bay Area and played with locals, now he would take to the road and get some of that sweet, sweet East Coast cash. Those coffers ain’t gonna replenish themselves.
First, he put together the Legion of Mary–his best solo band, hands down–which was Kahn on bass (of course), Merl Saunders on organ and terrible vocals, Martin Fierro on out-of-tune saxophone, and the Greatest Drummer of All Time™ Ronnie Tutt. Sadly, this combo proved short-lived; Garcia fired Saunders and Fierro (not personally, of course; he let Parish make the calls) and added legendary British pianist Nicky Hopkins. Those big, brutish block chords in Sympathy for the Devil? That was Nicky.
But Nicky wasn’t a road dog like Garcia was: he was unhealthy since he was a kid, and he drank too damn much. He was a chatty drunk, too, and would introduce songs for ten minutes. Plus, according to Ronnie Tutt, he had bad time. (What Ronnie Tutt thought of Garcia’s time, he has kept to himself all these years.) A new keyboardist was needed. Someone reliable, professional, a real team player.
James Booker’s tenure with the Jerry Band lasted a weekend, which makes him the Anthony Scaramucci of the JGB. Quite frankly, I can’t believe Garcia kept him on for the second night. Go listen to the show. Booker overpowers Garcia, and Kahn, with the deluge of music coming from his piano and, even more hilariously, refuses to listen to Garcia in the slightest. Booker cuts off his solos, goes into verses when Garcia starts singing the chorus, and at least once takes over the lead vocal halfway through the song. Also: the tunes end when James Booker says they end, and that’s it. (Every song. Every single song ends with Garcia trying to finish up the song but Booker keeps playing, or he’ll just ripcord out of the song while Garcia is soloing away merrily in the background.)
Was he amused? Pissed? I bet Garcia was pissed. I’ll bet his eyes got darker and darker throughout the evening, and that he made fun of Kahn for the suggestion for years afterwards.
Anyway, this is the 1/9/76 show. There was a second show the following night, and then James Booker was bundled back onto a plane bound for New Orleans. Garcia called up Keith and Mrs. Donna Jean and never hired any geniuses ever again.
Been forever and ever since an old-fashioned show recommendation, Enthusiasts. Hell, it’s been forever since any of this bullshit was about the Grateful Dead, but 6/26/76 from the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago is a fine topic upon which to revert to bad habits. It is a highly entertaining show.
Note I did not say “good.” This fucker’s a mess, and Music Never Stopped is the high/lowlight: no one quite remembers the arrangement, Bobby has forgotten all the lyrics, and the drummers limp along like a giant who got a dryer stuck in his tennis shoe.
You turned it around.
I turned the phrase around, yeah.
You’re a winner.
I’m a hero. Anyway: the show’s a clumbering pile of clunk, but–like I said–it’s entertaining. This is not the mid-80’s lazy sloppiness: the band is trying! And failing! It’s delightful.
In fact, TotD now presents Things Less Wobbly Than 6/26/76:
Can I just say that I no longer understand anything on this site?
You can say whatever you want, man.