Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: farewell shows

Happy Place

Hey, Billy. Why are you at the Farewell Shoes?

“Looking for a happy place, Ass. Not gonna lie: I’m freaked out.”

But you’ve had so many diseases before.

“Sexually-transmitted! You could get a shot and be cured, and plus it was fun acquiring ’em. Not so much with the carnivorous virus.”

Corona.

“I’m pretty sure it’s carnivorous. It came from bats. This is a dracula-related syndrome. Goddamn Chinese and their draculas.”

What?

“Whole country is crawling with ’em. One out of every six Chinese is a secret dracula.”

I’m just gonna concede the point and move on. What are you doing to protect yourself?

“I got more guns than you can shake your dick at.”

How are you protecting yourself against the virus.

“Not gonna lie, I have fired off warning shots.”

Of course.

“And I got the whole compound on lockdown. There are a couple mines.”

You shouldn’t mine your property.

“There’s no law that says I can’t.”

There are many laws that say precisely that. Local, state, federal, and even international. Do not lay mines, Billy.

“Yeah, here’s the thing–”

You forgot to write down where you buried the mines?

“–I didn’t write down…yeah, that. So I have no idea where they are. Mines have an inherent flaw as a weapon.”

Yes.

CELL PHONE NOISE

“I gotta take this. It might be skank.”

You’re still consorting with skank during all this?

“They don’t come over or anything. I make ’em point the phones at their buttholes while they take a Duolingo class. It’s my new thing.”

Do it to it.

“This is Kreutzann. Talk me off.”

“Ooh, I like your phone manners. You a rascally little possum.”

“Mick?”

“It’s Joe Exotic. I done cured up coronavirus in a back trailer at my zoo.”

“I’ve taken lots of shit made in zoo trailers. Keep talking.”

“Mixed me up some ketamine with a bunch o’ other shit I ordered off of the internet. I call it Charlie Sheen.”

“Why?”

“Cuz there’s also tiger blood in there. Well, tiger everything. You ever seen a duck press?”

“Yeah.”

“I put a cub in one ‘ them. Squeezed it ’til it was juice. There was a refinin’ process after that. I know what I’m doin’.”

“And it can definitely cure the cappadonna? I did what Trump said and drank quinine. Well, I had a shitload of gin and tonics. I’m also looking into colloidal silver.”

“Drinkin’ it?”

“Investing. As a hedge against inflation.”

“I wouldn’t know nothin’ ’bout the economy. I was not educated.”

“Not at all?”

“Not even a little bit. There was laws against teaching homosexuals to read as recently as two years ago in Oklahoma.”

“So why do you stay?”

“Cuz there ain’t no laws whatsoever ’bout whether or not a man can own 800 fuckin’ tigers. Y’gotta make tradeoffs in this life.”

“How fast can you get your drug to Hawaii?”

“How fast c’n you hire me a private plane?’

“I can’t.”

“How fast can you buy me a first-class ticket?”

“I can’t.”

“How fast c’n you buy me a business–”

“You’re flying coach, fuckwit. And you’re getting a Silkwood shower when you get here.”

Fare He/She/Thee Well

I cannot lie to you, Enthusiasts, even though I do so all the time: the wonderful people at Da Capo Press sent me an advance copy of Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead’s Long, Strange Trip by Joel Selvin with Pamela Turley two months ago. And I read it, too. It’s not like the book’s been sitting there with an uncracked spine: I devoured the sucker the day it arrived in Fillmore South. I meant to write about it, I honestly did.

I mean to do so many things.

Anyhowdy, here’s the review: Da Capo Press sent me a free book, so you should buy FTWTHCOTGDLST. Thank you, and remember to smash that like button.

No. Absolutely not. That was a terrible review.

I’ve been corrupted! There’s been collusion!

No collusion. No collusion.

Nothing but collusion! How could I say anything negative about a Da Capo Press release? They sent me stuff I didn’t have to pay for, or shoplift. And they sent it DHL, too, so the guy knocked on my door and handed me a package; I felt like an important businessman for a moment, and that was nice. I was puffed up like a marshmallow. Even considered putting on trousers.

You don’t have to review the book. Just write about it.

I love this product and everyone should purchase at least six copies.

Maybe concentrate more on the contents. For example, what was the overarching theme?

“It could have been so much more embarrassing.”

Expound upon that.

After the Grateful Deads who didn’t die tossed the one who did in several rivers and bays–and they even fucked that up–they immediately turned on one another in increasingly petty ways, their primary weaponry being a passive-aggression so thick and layered it might be described as rococo, reuniting occasionally to suck cash out of multi-purpose sheds and assault one another. But, sweet Pittsburgh poontang, it could have been more embarrassing.

They did not, unlike KISS, write competing auto-biographies accusing each other of Nazi-sympathizing, wig-wearing, and being smelly.

They have not, unlike Pink Floyd, put numerous lawyers’ children through college suing each other over and over for two decades.

They do not, unlike Aerosmith, have Steven Tyler (who is a vulgar clown) in the band.

So it could have been worse. The surviving Grateful Deads kept most of their squabbling backstage, save for intermittent snafus like whatever the fuck happened with the Archive that one time and Mickey being a dick during interviews. Mostly, the Dead didn’t shame themselves in public.

But in private? Oh, yes, in private they made complete asses of themselves. Self-sabotaging, self-delusional, self-medicating paste-eaters all four of them, and in precisely the ways you’d imagine: Bobby’s first suggestion when the Terrapin Station restaurant/theater/museum concept is unveiled is to “put a roller coaster on the roof;” Mickey gets up early just to drive around Marin County looking for saxophonists to be cruel to; Billy is, well, Billy.

And then there’s Phil, or–more rightly–Philandjill. You can always tell who speaks with the biographer in one of these books about a bunch of people, because they come off the best. Philandjill did not speak to Joel Selvin with Pamela Turley. There’s no way around it: he/she/they are the bad guy of FTWTHCOTGDLST. According to this volume, at least, Philandjill basically pulled a “Look at me; I’m the captain now” routine starting a couple years after Garcia’s death and kept it up for 20 years. With vigor, too! Does Philandjill put a guitarist off the bus on the side of the highway? Yes, they does. Does Philandjill get into screaming arguments with backup singers and drummers’ children in front of the entire crew? You bet they does! Does Philandjill demand to read an advance copy of Billy’s book before he/she/they sign the final contracts  for the Farewell Shoes? Fuck yeah, brothers and sister: they does!

(Technically, Jill did those first two things, and Phil did the third, but marriage means cosigning your spouse’s bullshit, so both are held responsible. Also: totally true about Billy’s book. Phil had to go to a lawyer’s office and hand over his phone like Billy’s skank stories were national secrets, and that is simply perfect. I see him muttering the entire time.

“Fuckin’ Billy. Fuckin’ book. Fuckin’ Benjy. How do my reading glasses get so smudged? They’re just in my pocket. Fuckin’ BIlly.”

And then Phil signed the papers, but only after insisting that the band only rehearse for two hours.)

I come back to my original statement, which was about my inability to lie to you: this book is hilarious. It wasn’t meant to be–and it won’t be to anyone who can’t hold an hour-long discussion on the Dead’s Best EVAR two-show stand–but to us, Enthusiasts, it is Grouchovian in its comedy. It’s in the details, and I won’t give them away. You know the plot already, so the joy to found within the covers lies in the details. I will not, for example, reveal the true origin of Philandjill’s enmity towards Billy.

Pleeeeeeease?

Okay, but just this one and don’t go begging for more. Gotta buy the book.

Gimme.

Billy grabbed her tit.

Of course he did. Recently?

No, recently he tried to strangle Phil.

Garcia was literally the only member of the Grateful Dead Billy didn’t try to strangle.

That fact probably explains all of the post-Garcia years.

True. So, when was the untoward squeezing?

1987 or so.

Philandjill still holding a grudge?

Yup.

Impressive. Did Billy ever say he was sorry?

Yeah, but Billy makes the jerk-off motion while he apologizes.

That undercuts the message.

Nullifies it, if we’re honest.

Sure. Hey, what if you tell the nice people some more of the juicy, stupid details, but label it SPOILERS so that those purchasing the book and not wishing to have it ruined can, you know, go about their lives?

Good idea, Italics Guy.

I rule.

You heard him: if you don’t want the funny bits ruined, then bail out now. I’m not gonna do my usual routine of making up ludicrous bullshit; this is gonna be from  FTWTHCOTGDLST, available from Amazon or your local bookseller on June 19th, and like I said: most of the fun of the reading is in the grotty little nuggets of bare-assed humanity.

BUT some folks like a good spoil. Andrew Jackson fucking loved spoils. So if you are Andrew Jackson, or a non-genocidal maniac who simply doesn’t want to read a book, here are some of the best chunks:

I’M NOT KIDDING ABOUT THE FUCKING SPOILER THING. DON’T READ THIS SHIT EXPECTING IT TO BE ME GOOFING AROUND AND THEN GET MAD AT ME FOR RUINING THE BOOK. 

Ready? Okay.

  • Garcia died in August of ’95 and the first all-hands meeting after that wasn’t until December; in that time, Billy became a drunk, got shipped to rehab, got divorced, and moved to Hawaii.
  • Billy was doing the “middle-aged sad man” speed run.
  • Speaking of rehab, Bobby’s first time was in 1986 for white wine and valium.
  • Because Bobby is a Real Housewife of Marin County.

That’s about it.

You did such a build-up.

And 95% of it was for the Bobby thing.

I can understand that.

In conclusion, Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead’s Long, Strange Trip by Joel Selvin with Pamela Turley is a spiffy, sprightly yarn that will keep you wondering who the killer is until the last page. Also, the fuck scenes are hot.

There are no fuck scenes.

Thank God for small miracles.

Grateful Dead Confessions

  • Don’t know if I’ve listened to several of their studio albums; I might have heard, say, In The Dark by accident at someone’s house, but I didn’t buy them back when you had to buy music, and I haven’t stolen them now that they’re free. (Definitely listened to: American Beauty, Workingman’s, Aoxomoxoa. The rest are maybes.)
  • If the song was introduced post-Brent, I do not know it. At the Farewell Shoes, I had to ask whether Liberty had always been a Bobby song. Don’t get me started on Wave To The Wind. I wouldn’t know Wave To The Wind if I fell over it. Samba In The Rain? I mean: I know how a samba goes, so I could guess at the song’s basic rhythm, but I couldn’t sing the fucker for you.
  • I can’t remember anything past basic and acontextual flashes from any of the shows I went to.
  • High Time still ain’t doing it for me.
  • The “real” lyrics don’t matter to me: I still sing “flashing my keys out on Main Street.” The guy in the green suit without a face–the Doo-Dah Man–is standing beneath a neon arrow, he’s got his keys on the end of the chain that was worn with a zoot suit, and he’s twirling them around like a lifeguard with his whistle. Everyone knows this.

What are yours? Confess your sins, Enthusiasts, and we will be merciful. Don’t make us drag them out of you. We have dragons. For dragging.

Why are you speaking in third person?

It sounds eviller.

Okay.

I’m Right, You’re Left, He’s Ross

The confusion over Phil’s handedness continues. Does he bat lefty? Does he skateboard goofy-footed? Which hand–

Don’t say it.

–does he play with his seastones with?

You said it.

I’m asking the important questions.

OR

Not Pictured: Billy, just out of frame, dipping his cock-and-balls into ink and smacking the whole mess onto the posters.

“There ya go! Like a royal seal!”

OR

The woman in the background stared at the metal barricade for two hours.

OR

Ross James is a wonderful guitarist, but he’s an odd choice for a security guard.

Phil And Billy

Phil loved the Farewell Shoes. There was the overwhelmingly positive spirit coming from the crowd, and the band got along semi-decently, and the money was wonderful.

But what Phil really liked was that jean jacket Levi’s Stadium gave him.

OR

Right after this picture was taken, Billy punched Bill Murray in the dick and whispered in his ear, “Everyone will believe you.”

OR

“How should we decorate the green room?”

“Who’s using it?’

“Grateful Dead.”

“Hang up as much bullshit as possible.”

“Gotcha.”

“And a rose.”

“Done.”

OR

Phil’s had hepatitis, several different cancers, and a liver transplant, and he’s ten years older than Bill Murray, and he still looks better.

Follow The Money Money

Go check out this site, Enthusiasts: Grateful Seconds. There’s a neat new post about the Dead’s financials, and it’s worth reading. If you’re wondering why I didn’t link to it, it is because I must first warn you that there is Auto-Play. And, it’s Money Money, the Dead song about a lady who Bobby isn’t saying is a gold digger, but she ain’t messing with no broke hippie, either. Now that you are aware, I can let you venture over.

(Very occasionally, when one is in the right mood, and the moon is in the right sign, Auto-Play combines with what you’d been listening to in a serendipitous synchronicity, and it is so confusing as to become psychedelic and entrancing .)

And look at this, from the great site:

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 7.22.23 PM

The Farewell Shoes made almost as much money as the decade from 1975-1985. If Billy had known, he would have murdered Garcia long before 1995.

Also: this is ticket revenue. No streams, t-shirts, posters, high-quality hoodies with a lightning bolt embroidered in the inside of the hood, VIP bullshit, band access; nor is there the profits from after the show, namely the DVD, CD set, and coffee-table book. (I have decided that they put out a coffee-table book.)

Doobie, But Don’t Be A Moron

IMG_4369

In any room, there’s a dumbest person there. If the room’s large enough, there might even be three dumbest people there. Here are the three from Chicago.

The only explanation I can think of boils down to: it was their fault. I am not blaming the cops on this one. Sure, doobie should be legal and prohibition doesn’t work and yarble yarble yarble, but I can say from direct observation that the cops assigned to Soldier Field that weekend were not being all that aggressive; most seemed bemused, and all of them looked happy to have an easy shift babysitting the white people. We’ve all read stories about (or been present for) cops using Dead shows as hunting grounds for revenue, and being violent louts. This was not the case at the Farewell Shoes.

Cops do what they’re told (in public), and they had been told to welcome all the visitors and their money into the city and not bother anyone; Deadheads are mostly clever (yay, us) and we all figured out the score quickly. But 64,997 of us remembered: cops are still cops, no matter how pleasant they’ve been ordered to be, and certain rules still applied. Basic rules that have their roots in not the law, but primal primate bullshit.

Yes, the grounds of the stadium and the park have been de-facto declared a free-for-all, but no, you cannot smoke your doobie right in front of the cop. Like I said: 64,997 of us knew enough to–when walking past a police officer–cup the joint in our palm. Or slip the bowl in your pocket. You didn’t even have to do a good job: the point was to let the cop see you making the effort to hide the contraband. It’s a respect thing; cops are into that bullshit, and it doesn’t matter if you aren’t: when the cops play status games, participation is mandatory.

These three idiots, I’m sure, were dabbing up while making eye contact with one of Chicago’s Finest. There can be no other explanation; quite frankly, I have no sympathy for these rebels.

In Which Money Is Discussed, And Bob Weir Fights A Puma

billboard money

Billboard posted this breakdown of the cash-in, and my question is the same as yours: what does “$10M from Fan Demand” mean? Did the Dead–perhaps using some sort of arcane thaumaturgical incantation–transmute Deadhead’s desire into cash? Like Tinkerbell coming back to life if you clap hard enough?

Maybe Billboard is right. Let’s try it out. Bobby?

bobby smiling arm wrapped

“Sure?”

I really would like to see whatever’s left of the Dead all together again.

“Yeah, okay. Would be nice, sure. Dunno about it.”

Check your pocket.

“Hey, twenty bucks.”

OH MY GOD.

What happened to your arm?

“Puma.”

Wow.

“No big deal. I grew up in puma country.”

Atherton?

“Yup. Place is nothing but pumas.”

If you say so.