Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: jerry garcia (page 1 of 136)

Every Silver Jerry’s Got A Coat Of Grey



–carious Lee? Oh, hey. I have more questions about this.

“Figures. Shoot.”

What the fuck, man?

“The speakers?”

Obviously. Among other things, but obviously the speakers and their configuration is our primary focus. Are they being held up by the power of suggestion?

“Among other things.”

Like rope?

“Could be. I personally don’t recall tying anything down, but someone definitely could have.”

Wow. My further line of inquiry concerns the overall jankiness.

“Lotta jank with the Dead, yeah.”

This picture has been placed at Silver Stadium in Rochester, New York, and dated to 6/30/88.

“If you say so.”

This was a show at Silver Stadium in June of 1986:


Professionalism could be achieved in 1986. It wasn’t ’72 anymore.

“And yet the kids came.”

Every other band was right to work their crews like dogs.

“Good thing I don’t work for one of them. We ran into those guys a couple times.”


“Those Van Halen jagoffs. Mike’s okay, but the brothers like getting drunk and biting people. They’re vicious little fuckers. And Bobby’s terrified of David Lee Roth.”


“Instinct. For most of the people he meets, David Lee Roth inspires a fight-or-flight response.”

I can see that. Precarious, could you look at one last photo, please?

“Do it to it, chief.”

This is, once again, the Grateful Dead at Silver Stadium in Rochester, New York, on the 30th of June, 1988.

“Need a little zoom-and-enhance on that one.”

No, I like the long view that shows just how bush a league could be. That, sir, is the limit of bush. No league can contain more bush than that. That picture represents the exterior of infinity.

“What you need to remember about our audience–”

Don’t use the drug excuse.

“–is that they were on drugs. It’s true. Most of ’em spent the show staring at a stranger’s neck.”

Stop it. A couple of tie-dye banners. Some curtains to hide the exposed machinery. A proscenium. Something. Anything. You could have doneĀ anything and it would have been an improvement, as this is the bare minimum. You stacked heavy shit up, plugged it in, and cracked a beer.

“We were drinking beer while stacking shit up and plugging it in.”

I expect more out of the Grateful Dead’s road crew.


Lee’s Tower


I didn’t call for you, Precarious.

“You were gonna.”

Yeah. I was just stunned into silence. Dude, what the fuck?

“Be more specific.”

I cannot. The lack of aesthetics and basic safety requirements is all-pervasive. The stage looks like a Radio Shack, but not a good one; the Radio Shack in the bad mall, where the knife fights break out every so often. The bad mall wasn’t always the bad mall, but the economy and demographics and all that. Used to be a place that sold fancy popcorn. Flavored, seasoned, nice packaging. Now there’s nine stores that sell baseball caps. Time will do her marching, Precarious.

“You got a question?”

I asked it: What the fuck?

“Their choice of apparel and instrument is on them.”

Granted. Do you remember why Garcia was wearing his going-to-court jacket on stage?

“I do not.”

Did the road crew make fun of Bobby’s pink guitar?


Was there any thought whatsoever given towards purchasing a tie-dyed scrim to hide some of the more unattractive geegaws and wedged monitors?

“Obviously not.”

Why not?

“This way is easiest for us.”

A performance stage shouldn’t be set according to the laziness of the road crew.

“Not lazy. Efficient.”

What about the tower of speakers behind band?

“Yeah, maybe that was a little lazy. We probably should have set up the rigging.”

Wooden palettes and a forklift, right?

“How else would you do that?”

Holy shit, those cabinets at the top aren’t even strapped down, are they?

“I don’t recall anyone dying, so we must have done it right.”

That’s not how that works.

Go Tele On The Mountain

“Hey, Jer?”

“What, Weir?”

“I’m kinda digging this Telecaster. Thinking about maybe becoming a Tele guy.”

“A what?”

“Telecaster guy. Get myself a shirt styled in the cowboy fashion. Maybe one of those haircuts that requires unguent to maintain its integrity.”

“Haven’t I told you to stay away from unguents, man?”

“At least once a day since 1968.”

“It’s good advice I’m giving you.”

“I think the Deadheads would appreciate the change. Perhaps they could learn to line-dance.”

“They can barely stand in lines, man.”

“Jer, I’ve heard the sound of my soul, and that sound is ‘twang.'”

“Just play the damn song, Weir.”


Special People

One of the best things about the Dead is how little clothing the members owned. Bobby wore that shirt, like, every other day in ’72.


Where’s you get that guitar. Bobby?

“It was handed to me as I took the stage.”

Sure. But it’s not your usual axe.

“Huh. Guess not. But, uh, like I said: I’m handed a guitar as I take the stage. I don’t get into the logistics.”

Okay. Hey, Mrs. Donna Jean. Whatcha doing?

“Trippin’ balls, sugar.”

Professionalism at every turn.


That is a Les Paul Special, which was also available with a single-cutaway, but looked cooler in the double-cut configuration and coolest in the so-called “TV Yellow” finish. (That shade was believed to look fabulous on black-and-white teevee sets.) Gibson only made ’em from ’55-’60, when they were replaced by the far-less-cuddly SG.


Anyone know of any other shows when Bobby played that guitar? Scholar Michael Clem informs us that Garcia played an identical instrument during the Summer ’71 tour:

Is it, in fact, the same guitar that Bobby is wielding in the picture above, which we are told is from 10/18/72 at the Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis? Go ask your families, Enthusiasts. Demand answers from those parasites, and meet me back here around midnight. Bring sandwiches.

I Disapprove Of This

Not the interracial marriage part; I’m fine with that. I just don’t think that John Kahn had the legs for that kind of skirt.

Since You Left Your Old Cuisine Behind You

Which wife is this? Mashedpotatoes or the third one whose name I can never remember?

“Y’know, man, I really don’t enjoy our conversations.”

Is that a salad?

“I’m eating healthy.”

You know you’re gonna have Parish sneak you a chili dog when she isn’t looking.

“Go away.”

Fourth Time’s The Charm

Hey, Garcia. Whatcha doing?

“Getting married.”

I gathered. Is that wood paneling? Where are you, a VFW hall?

“Whatever, man. Don’t piss on my big day.”

Is this the one who dumped your remains in the Ganges?


You knew how to pick ’em.

A Mexican, A Jew, And Jerry Garcia Walk Into A Bar…

Men shouldn’t wear white pants. Jeans, slacks, sweats; whatever.


Holy shit, Garcia’s not smoking.


People often forget that Santana is 5’3″ at best.


Oof, fruit plate.


Wait. I think that’s a health salad. This is Marin County in 1978, and that was ground zero for health salad.


When the Nazis orphan you at the age of five, you’re allowed to be pissed off the rest of your life.

Solo Of A Thin Man

Hey, slim.

“Why, thank you for noticing.”


“No, man. Don’t comment on other men’s bodies. It’s suspicious.”

What are the chairs for?

“Marina Abramovic is coming by in a bit. We’re gonna stare at each other.”


“Art for art’s sake, man.”

On The Whole, I’d Rather Be In Colorado*



Just piled up the blankets and left ’em there, huh?

“Looks like it.”



What the fuck is that box?

“An ice dispenser shaped like W.C. Fields’ head.”

Obviously. Why?

“Why did we have it, or why is an ice dispenser shaped like W.C. Fields’ head?”

The first thing.

“Margaritas. We also had a blender shaped like Carmen Miranda.”



You fuckers thought I was kidding, didn’t you?

It’s not that I don’t know how to do research, it’s that I can’t usually be bothered.


*One would assume that this shot of Garcia is from Red Rocks; I am unaware of any other venues the Dead played where their backdrop was shale.

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