Thoughts On The Dead

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

Tag: oteil burbridge (page 1 of 9)


Why are you an enemy of the homosexual community?

“Excuse me?”

You treat gaiety as a joke.

“I do not! It’s a fun shirt.”

You may as well shoot up a gay nightclub. Or a library.

“A library?”

Apparently, the drag queens are hanging out at libraries now.

“I am an ally.”

That shirt is like queer blackface. You put on your costume, have your fun, and then go back to enforcing heteronormativity and eating Chick-Fil-A.

“Stop it.”

How gay?


How gay would you go for Trey?

“Fully gay. I would be up for anything.”

Dude. There’s some wild arrows in the gay quiver.

“I would assume it’s just like hot yoga with penetration. Bring it the fuck on.”

I like your gumption.

“You gotta be your own cheerleader, man.”

So true.

Hard In The (Face)Paint

“Hi, there. You must be Vinnie Vincent. My name’s Bill Walton, and I’m in multiple Halls of Fame: NCAA, NBA, and loving life.”

“There’s a Hall of Fame for loving life?”

“Yes, and I’m in it.”

“Great. Anyway, Bill, I’m Oteil Burbridge, not Vinnie Vincent. We’ve known each other for years.”

“You fooled me with your makeup. As I mentioned, I believed you to be erstwhile KISS guitarist Vinnie Vincent. That young man simply couldn’t get out of his own way. Of course, both Paul and Gene are tough to deal with. Rambunctious spirits with mean holds on their wallets. I barely lasted six months with them.”

“You were not in KISS, Bill.”

“No, not in the band. I was in the KISS Army. This was during the Dead’s hiatus, and I needed a band to follow around so I would have a new place to take drugs and noodle-dance every night.”

“So you went on tour with KISS?”

“I did! Poor decision. Musically, at least. They’re not very good at playing their instruments, or singing, or writing songs. Skilled at wearing wacky get-ups and selling tee-shirts, but not top-shelf musicians. Little to no jamming, either.”

“Yeah, they’re not great.”

“And I was not befriended. The members of the Grateful Dead have become like brothers to me, sharing their hopes, dreams, and skank as we wandered across this bright blue ball just spinning free. Whereas KISS was, in turn, predatory and downright hostile towards me. Ace puked on my shoes and mistook me for someone of Polish-American heritage.”

“How do you know he thought you were Polish?”

“He kept calling me a Polack.”


“Gene tried to sell me a Camaro. He said that it was a collector’s item, limited-edition KISS Kamaro, but I could spot no modifications or alterations to the vehicle. It was just a Chevy. Later, I learned that Gene didn’t even own the car.”

“Bill, I gotta get ready for the show.”

“Mickey once sold me an MG that exploded as I was driving it home, but it wasn’t like he was swindling me. That’s the MG nature. You’re buying a series of breakdowns. I still have the car. Let’s road trip, Oteil. You and I, cruising across California and the rest of America in my MG. We can discover the wonders of nature, and get truly authentic Tex-Mex.”

“Can we discuss it during the set break?”

“I call it halftime.”


Kiss And Makeup

This is unacceptable.

“The rando or the makeup?”

Is he wearing white jeans?


Both. Both the rando and the makeup are unacceptable.

“The makeup is fun and vibrant.”

You look like Vinnie Vincent.

“I do not look like Vinnie Vincent.”

Have Mark Slaughter and Dana Strum recently left your solo band, The Vinnie Vincent Invasion, because of your shitty attitude and thieving ways?


You sure? Cuz you look like Vinnie Vincent, dude.

“You can’t bring down my good mood, man.”

Holy shit, does the rando have the Twin Towers on his shirt?


You need a Parish.

Burbridge Is Ra

Pst. Oteil.

“What’s up?”

Don’t tell Clapton you’re black.

“I think he knows.”

Well, don’t remind him.

In Hiding

You are not as in on the joke as you think you are, buddy.

“Of course I am. I’m trolling.”

Or are you self-owning? Fine, fine line. Why are you hiding in your toppermost?

“I love it in here. There’s so much coze. And comf. An over-abundance of the two, in fact. If the world knew about the sensual delights of the toppermost, I believe global peace would be achieved. Who could fight in this?”

So tell everybody. I noticed you referred to them as “robes” in your GQ interview.

“The toppermost is a secret garment for the elite. You know that. I start blabbing about ’em in magazines and I can’t buy anymore.”

Sure. This one seems to be one of your favorites.

Sunrise in Santa Fe And The Sprinklers Have Just Come On At The Golf Course?”

Good name.

“It sounds better in the original Japanese.”

Everything does.

“Ask yourself: why does this toppermost have five colors?”

I don’t want to ask anyone that.

“Five is a big number in Japan. That whole Shinto thing they’ve got? Five is huge with them. It’s like how the number three is big with Christians. Japan is nuts for the number five. Now ask me why it has these particular five colors.”


“Because they complement each other. Full stop. Combining the theological with the pure aesthetic. Logos and pathos, thesis and antithesis, all that jazz. Clothes are the new punk rock, y’know.”


“Was it the punk rock thing?”

Oh, yeah.

“You’re talking to a very comfortable John Mayer.”

“What the fuck are you doing, dude?”

“Excuse me?”

“We’re in the middle of a show, buddy. You blipped out of existence.”

“I’m at a photo shoot.”

“Right, great, but you should be on stage in Mexico. Oteil is very worried, and Bobby’s gonna notice any second. Photo shoot for what?”

“To show off my fancy clothes.”

“Yuh-huh. Any chance a Time Sheath got mixed up with your laundry?”


“Get the fuck back here.”


Happy And Barefoot

Look at you, all happy and barefoot.

“We had the rugs deep cleaned. I tried to get Josh to kick off his shoes, but he started talking about Ibaldi’s Theory of Lace Color, and I think I blacked out. The boy likes to explain his outfits.”

He does.

“So, uh, he’s still got his shells on.”


“Your shells. Foot’s an oyster. Shoe’s the shell. Gotta slide on outta your shell, man. That’s where the living is done.”

All of you are getting weirder.

“Mickey is not only wearing shoes, but playing them.”

Sure. This is Mexico?

“Oh, yeah. It’s a hoot. Right on the beach, got the Holy Roller Monster Moon going. Nice check. Cannot complain about this check. Plus, uh, I wasn’t incapacitated by a shrimp taco this year.”

Right. Last year, you caught Montezuma’s Revenge.

“Rough 24 hours. Went through three toilets.”

Glad you’re healthy and happy.

“Better than the alternatives, yeah.”

The Tenor Of The Situation

“MotherFUCKER! How am I back here? Me and Miles drove off in his Lamborghini.”

“Did he turn left?”


“There you go.”

“Bob, you’re gonna explain what the fuck is happening or I’m shoving my horn up your ass.”

“Branford, are you familiar with the concept of semi-fictionality?”

“Oh, this is some white people bullshit.”

“I won’t argue with you about that. Pig’s girlfriend and Merl Saunders said the exact same thing. I,uh, don’t know much about black people, but I do know that you folks are aggressively averse to time travel. Our bass player gets real pissy about it.”

“I’ll bet.”

“His name is Branford, too, as I’ve mentioned.”

“Uh-huh. Yo, Oteil?”


“Why does Bobby think you’re named Branford?”

“The Grateful Dead thinks every black man is named Branford.”

“I don’t know if I’m pissed off or honored.”

“I’d be pissed off if they knew white people’s names, but they just make up shit for them, too.”

“Uh-huh. You gonna tell me what’s happening here?”

“Well, remember that I’m the new guy.”


“But we’re stuck in some sort of lazy universe full of unexplained magick.”

“Why’d you stick a ‘k’ on that ‘magic?'”

“Because magic is card tricks. This shit is some bullshit.”

“Uh-huh. And is there any–”


“–way out ofOH C’MON!”

“Oh, hey, man. You back?”


“Did you talk to Oteil?”


“There you go.”


“Yelling is almost always counter-productive, man.”

“Well, can you blame me? This is downright unsettling.”

“You get used to it. Good thing is that dying is less consequential.”

“What? You can’t die in here?”

“Oh, no, you can. But then the guy who co-wrote Billy’s book comes to the afterlife and brings you back in a racecar.”


“It’s not the most efficient method, probably.”


“That can’t be who it sounds like.”


“This is all just stupid.”


“Hey, King.”


“No, I don’t want to.”



“Yeah, man?”

“What the fuck?”

“Well, it’s like the snake said to the old lady: You knew we were weird before you jammed with us.”



How Oteil Are You Now?

Hey, Oteil. Happy birthday, buddy!

“Thank you, sir. Having a good one.”

Is that your present?

“What now?”

The slim teen boy.

“He is not my present.”

You can do stuff on them and make them think they deserved it.


Little tip? Get yourself some pliers and pull those braces off first.

“Can we be done?”

What are you gonna name him? How about Toby?

“I’m leaving.”

Can I borrow your slim teen?

“Get away from the boy.”

But I’ll buy him beers!

“You’re a monster.”

Happy birthday?

Memories Of The Riot

Hey, Oteil. Whatcha doing?

“The thing I love best.”

You’re a positive force in this universe, and I love you for it.

“I hear you’ve been doing a little dip into my old stomping grounds.”


“Hair Metal.”

Don’t do this.

“That was my 20’s. Your boy O wasn’t always a family man. When I was with the Riot, man, I tore it up.”

Oteil, you were not in Quiet Riot.

“I was. It’s just that I was named Rudy Sarzo at the time.”

And you were white?

“Ever see that David Lynch movie Mulholland Drive? That whole idea of doubles? It was like that.”

But that movie made no sense.

“And yet it’s a classic. Bill Pullman is Balthazar Getty, and I was Rudy Sarzo. I can’t explain this any more clearly.”

You probably couldn’t, no.

“Me and my band moved out to Los Angeles in the spring of ’77. We were called John Dillinger’s Penis. We’d been playing around South Florida but there was nowhere to go from there, so we got in the van and then we were on the coast. It was me and Jim-Jim and Shushy and TK. Our first week in town, the three of them were molested to death by Rodney Bingenheimer.”

To death?

“The Bing goes hard. Between him and Kim Fowley, there’s at least two dozen corpses.”

I wouldn’t doubt that.

“Luckily, I met Kevin Dubrow the next day and my life changed. I mean, my life didn’t change that day. Took us a couple years to get a record deal, but they were fun years. Girls would bring us groceries, and we would take dookies on their chests. We were not held responsible for our actions.”

I get that.

“Life got even crazier when I joined up with Ozzy. Oh, man. I don’t like to talk about it. Wow. Are you drinking something?”

I have a Crystal Gayle.

“An Arnold Palmer made with Crystal Lite?”


“Nice. Pour some out for Randy.”

I am not pouring anything out for Randy Rhodes. Stop this. You didn’t know him.

“That man was a brother to me.”

It’s official: you’re as crazy as the rest of ’em. Congratulations.

Oteil Burbridge’s Long-Lost Origin Story: Unlost At Last!

Literally everything is wrong with this photo. From the rando’s sneakers to Josh’s eyebrow game. Every single thing.

“Oh, it’s not that bad.”

Who’s talking? Wait, lemme guess. It was vaguely optimistic and not slurred. Oteil?

“Hey, friend.”

You’re such a cheerful guy.

“Got a lot to be cheerful about. I’m a blessed man.”


“Happy, healthy family. Money’s rolling in. Hell, I’m sorta in the Grateful Dead.”


“I said ‘sorta.’ I know that my membership has some sorta to it. But, hey: I’m more in the Dead than, like, anyone else on the planet. Jeff Bezos. How much he worth?”

Like, a hundred billion dollars.

“And he isn’t in the Grateful Dead in the slightest. You know Cardi B?”

She’s killing this rap game.

“Killing it. But what percent in the Grateful Dead is she?”

Zero. Cardi B is 0% in the Grateful Dead.

“There you go.”

You and Jeff really are the reasonable ones.

“Well, fucking duh. We’re not Rock Stars. They’re all of ’em nuts. It does something to your brain, man. Rewires stuff. Lose touch with the real world. I once had to sneak Gregg Allman out of a grocery store because he thought the produce section was the backstage spread and went hogwild on the carrots. Man ate, like, forty bucks worth of carrots in ten minutes.”

All of that story is terrible.

“And then I tried to, like, explain what had happened to him, because he was blaming Clive Davis, and I say to him, ‘Gregg, that’s not how the supermarket works,’ and he just stared at me for a while. Then he played his harmonica. I don’t think I got through to him.”

Almost certainly not.

“These four aren’t the worst I’ve seen.”

Who was?

“Ozzy. That man had no relationship with reality.”

Why do you know Ozzy Osbourne?

“I played in his band for years, man.”

No, you didn’t.

“I did, but I used a different name.”


“Rudy Sarzo.”

Stop it.

“Look it up.”

I looked it up. You were not Rudy Sarzo.

“Different haircuts.”

Different hair, Oteil. That guy’s white.


Uh-huh. Your contention is that during the 1980’s, you performed with Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, and Whitesnake as Rudy Sarzo?

“It is.”


“The Hair Metal scene of the 80’s was racist as shit, but I had power ballads in my soul. So I pulled a White Girls.”

Going the other way is called “pulling a Soul Man.”

“No, it’s called fucking blackface.”

Oh, right. Forgot. Listen, Oteil: I love you, but you were not a King of the Sunset Strip.

“Believe what you want. I have my memories and my leather pants. I can’t get into the pants any more, but I still have them.”

Nope. Too weird even for this shitshow.

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