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

To Lay Me Down

Morning Enthusiasts, one last indulgence if you don’t mind.  Rick will be laid to rest on Friday.  There won’t be any service, I’m sure you all know he would have hated that.  Unsurprisingly, Rick didn’t have that many friends IRL.  Most of his friends were those he met on this site.  Rick was the voice of our family and without him there just isn’t that many people to speak on his behalf.  I’ll do my best but its just not the same.

I thought it would be nice if his extended family knew about this community so I wanted to ask if anyone wanted to say a few words and send me an mp3 I can figure out a way to have it played that morning.  All the emails and comments that we’ve received have really touched my mom and me (in a non-sexual way ya perverts.  Rick was right about all of you).    For all those that have reached out to me the last few days, I promise I will respond.  I just haven’t had the energy to do much at all.  I hope you understand.  If you have my email, reach out there. Otherwise, I have access to thoughtsonthedead@gmail.com.  Still happy to receive nudes of Billy.

Here are a few pictures of Rick that I wanted to share. He worked hard on his anonymity but now that’s he gone I want everyone to know about him and how special he was to me.   Thanks to Chris for the first one.  So glad to see him so happy.

All my love and gratitude, BoTD.

 

 

54 Comments

  1. Dreamflower127

    Thank you so much for thinking of us & including us, BoTD & MoTD. We loved him so much, this really means the world.

  2. Don Babinski

    Very sorry for your loss. TOD was an entertaining site.
    Rick managed to keep it that way, despite the fact that he
    was going through such a difficult time personally at the end.
    I’m certain that many people will miss his unique sense of
    humor and insight. It may be some small consolation that he
    was able to connect with others through mutual love of the music
    & overall irreverence. Via con dios, amigo.

  3. wtfwjd?

    Thanks for keeping us up to date. You won’t be surprised to hear that a lot of us are still thinking about Rick every day, all day. What a mind. I didn’t know him but had a sense of some of his facets and think he found some joy in sharing that amazing mind with us, his virtual friends and admirers. If we were able to help him, in our appreciation of his genius (a word that neither Nick Paumgarten nor I uses lightly) then that makes me happy.

    Rick kept his private life private. But he loved you and your son an awful lot. That much was abundantly clear.

  4. wtfwjd?

    Also: God Damn It and Fuck Cancer.

  5. JES

    Thanks for the update, and all love and best wishes to you, your mom, and your family this week as you prep for Friday services. I’ll shoot you a sound file. I know this community Rick built appreciates you keeping us in the loop . . .

  6. Dave

    Been thinking of Rick a lot these last few days, and been thinking of this poem, the last published by Ray Carver who also succumbed to cancer at far too early an age. I’m glad Rick had the love of this community in life, and I’m glad his family has the experience of that love in his absence. Be well BoTD.

    Late Fragment

    And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.

  7. David Games

    You are doing right by him, brother!

  8. Busterdog

    Thanks for the pix, BoTD.

    I’ll shoot you a recording in a little while. Do you have any recordings of him? We knew his voice, day after day, but we never heard his voice.

    I’m the Radio Busterdog guy, streaming the shows from TXR on Mixlr as well as acting as Rick’s spy on the busboys and all the other insidious activities there at Phil’s clubhouse. How else can Rick – and through him, the Enthusiasts at large – know that Jay Blakesburg enjoys ogling hippie chicks, and then see photographs of those selfsame chicks to assess whether Pervert Jay’s interest is warranted? It was a service I cheerfully and selflessly provided, often from astride those dusty derelict bocce courts.

    We had plans to get him there to see for himself. I was gonna take him to see Mets/Giants out here. He was gonna sleep on our hide-a-bed and all of this was gonna be a great time and just the tiniest shred of payback for so goddam many laughs and tears and surprises and the unpredictable joy that flowed from him.

    I had his number and there were quite a few extended texting sessions, but I could never get him to pick up when I called, to talk. I know there’s some of his old standup on YouTube but could never find it. Maybe that’s ok, in the end.

    The two photos you gave us of him are perfect, one of a happy guy partying with the dead, and the other of a handsome proud uncle. Thank you so much.

    I had a tumor, 5 years ago now. For whatever reason, I shared that information with him at the time, and also within the conversation was a selfie of me – some TXR shot; I don’t remember – with some pessimistic context, because I was terrified.

    He said something like “all I see is a strong, focused man who will conquer this” (among other things as things progressed) and it was uplifting. Tumor got taken out of there and I’m fine ever since. But for some reason his words had more impact than the standard platitudes and generic well-wishes from everyone else. It’s like listening to him had always had such a great payback, that these words thus had extra gravitas.

    Of course I sent him back my support when he got sick. Only mine was for naught. All I can hope is that some of my words gave him some bit of comfort and encouragement.

    • Dreamflower127

      Hi there, Rick did call in to Tales From the Golden Road a few years ago, to discuss the blog. I was able to find it a couple of years ago, but struck out today. The date was 6/28/15.

      If anyone is able to find it, I would love to re-listen.
      Dreamflower127 on Twitter.

      • Dreamflower127

        Actually, I reached out to David Gans and he was kind enough to send me the link to an MP3 file. I hope this link works, sometimes this site doesn’t like them. The full show is here, just copy and paste:

        http://ftp.hostedftp.com/~talesfromthegoldenroad/Tales-2015/Tales%2015.06.28.mp3

        • Busterdog

          EXCELLENT! Thanks so much. Rick starts at about the 8:20 marker.

          We can compare his appearance to the predictions he made about it, earlier that day:

          https://www.thoughtsonthedead.com/things-totd-will-not-bring-up-on-the-radio/

          • Dreamflower127

            A perfect companion piece!

          • Busterdog

            Just listened. They talk for about 20 minutes. He’s sharp and funny. Lots of energy. I could have spent hours on the phone with the guy.

            Instead we have this years-long record of his brilliance and humor and insight, and we are all the richer for it.

        • mikemj

          Thanks for the link, I hadn’t heard this before. Man, I really miss the guy.

  9. bry-guy

    Thanks for the pics. Great to see him. Yes, still thinking about him. Can’t stop checking the website. I’m sorry he’s gone

  10. Dave

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Rick these last few days, and with that I’ve been thinking a lot about this poem by Ray Carver, the last he published before also succumbing to cancer at far too early an age. I’m so glad that Rick had this community and was able to feel their appreciation before his passing, and I’m so glad that his family is getting to hear how appreciated he was now that he’s gone.

    Late Fragment

    And did you get what
    you wanted from this life, even so?
    I did.
    And what did you want?
    To call myself beloved, to feel myself
    beloved on the earth.

  11. Seamus Thebear

    Take care of yourself brother. We are all thinking of you and your family.

  12. Mean, Green, Devil Eating Machine

    I knew who he was; telling would have spoiled everything. Miss you!

  13. Anthony Pulsipher

    Keep on keeping’ on y’all. Like a bird that flew.

  14. Matt Campfield

    He was a genius and I miss him dearly, never thought I could feel such sadness at the loss of someone I only knew from the written word. Wishing your family the best
    Would be cool if at some point you could do a tweet with the intention for people to post their favorite links from this site, a fan archive of his greatest hits.

    May his memory be a blessing

  15. chonzbot

    Thanks for this, BotD. Thanks for everything, Rick Harris. Not Fade Away…

  16. Greg pelly

    Dear BoTD and Family, May you always know the positive effect Rick’s writing had on so many, his work so obviously coming from a place of love, silly often yes but the world a so much better place for it, in this painful time know he was so loved, the photos I thank you.

  17. MJK

    Thankyou Brother On the Dead for giving us the opportunity to be part of the services. Unfortunately I am not savvy enough to send a recorded message so I will share my thoughts again here. As has been made quite evident in the comments since TOtD’s passing (I referred to him as Rick once and was immediately called out on it by TOtD himself, so I will stick to it) he was a truly gifted writer. And add to that one if the sharpest wits and genuinely funny perspectives and a wealth of knowledge on many different subjects and you have TOtD. That I actually came across this website and found someone who shared my sense of humor about the most ridiculous band that we all loved so much kept me coming back daily and usually the first thing I would check in with in the morning. This past summer TOtD was recognized by David Lemieux and Bobby on a Shakedown Stream pre show with Bobby remarking how he enjoyed TOtD’s writing and both of them wishing him well. The great writer Nick Paumgarten had offered his own praise in the past and I believe David Gans had even checked in on the website a handful of times. To those who are not familiar with those names I can assure you that TOtD had established himself with some impressive individuals singing his praises. He was a genuine talent and a true Mensch. And as I’ve mentioned before he continued on right to the end when he was not well. BOtD and family, know that your brother/son/uncle touched a lot of people with his writing and humor and I think I can speak for many others when I say that we’ve all been experiencing a void this past week and processing the fact that a man none of us have ever met had such an impact on us all, and that right there should tell you all you need to know about how unique an individual TOtD was. Thankyou. And my condolences. MK

    • Buck Mulligan

      MK, One nice addition to your list of TotD-reading luminaries: Even stern Mr. Lesh is known to have left at least one pseudonymous comment here, gently (and admiringly) razzing Rick for a silly joke.

  18. Bobert

    Thank you for the pictures, it gives it some reality to us folks who checked On his blog daily, loved his wit and humor. Thanks for keeping us posted hopefully his site will be up for a long time so we can relive some of the moments. I all the best to the family especially tomorrow.

  19. Anthony Pulsipher

    Man.

  20. Dawn Judd

    wow, i really miss coming here to see what’s what with everyone. it just sucks that his voice is gone.

    • JES

      Yepper . . . . I can’t bring myself to remove my bookmark for this page from my “regular reads” tabs that I hit every morning, so I keep scrolling over here too every day, out of a habit that I guess I need to break at some point.

      But that said, I’m gonna keep doing my part to keep promoting his brilliance and legacy, whenever I can, e.g.

      https://jericsmith.com/2021/04/23/favorite-songs-by-favorite-artists-series-two-30-van-halen/

      • PC

        JES,

        The habit we “need to break” is a hurtful thing. I’d rather not. I like coming here still, though of course it feels more like a cemetery than a party these days.

        I’ve read a fair bit of your blog and I appreciate your thoughts, perspectives, and erudition. Thanks for your efforts there and here.

        PC

        • JES

          Thanks, kindly. I suppose the Comment Section can keep on keeping on . . .

    • PC

      Agree.

      I miss this guy and miss the hilarity. It’s still a trip to read it from the start.

  21. Tor Haxson

    The fact that Bobby can talk about his upcoming opera without us getting to read about a semi-fictional accounting of said opera is a horrible injustice.

    • Dawn Judd

      so very true!

      i miss TotD so much.

    • JAH

      Seriously. I thought the same thing with Billy’s beachside soliloquy/message in a bottle episode last week, too.

    • JES

      Indeed. A rich vein of writing there, untapped.

      I keep thinking we need to do “Thoughts on Bad Co” over at my site, in homage . . .

  22. TLexvold

    I just heard the terrible news on the Dick’s Picks podcast. I have a weird sense of humor and he tickled my funny bone like no one else has or likely will. The semi-fictional world will never be the same.

  23. JES

    A little shout-out tribute to our bud (and the comment section) in a video interview I did at a colleague’s website . . . question and related TotD-adjacent answer begins at 25:39 in the linked video:

    https://jericsmith.com/2021/05/11/modern-talk/

    Miss him!

    • ediggy

      Great interview! I agree with what you said about TotD. I clicked for the comment about TotD, but ended up watching most of the interview. I look forward to checking out your blog.

      • JES

        Thanks for kind words. Much appreciated.

  24. Dawn Judd

    i have been spending some time reading the blog from the beginning — it is so amazingly good and funny and incisive. but how can it be preserved? i have even thought about printing it all, but that would be difficult. does anyone have any ideas?

    i am happy to contribute time or money!

    i really miss him.

    • Busterdog

      I totally agree and would contribute. I think a digital copy we could each purchase and keep, would do it.

      It seems some of the photos are already gone.

    • JES

      There was convo on Twitter right after Rick left us about getting it all indexed into the “Wayback Machine” at the Internet Archives. I think Mr C either reached out to someone there, or shared info from someone who did, and the Archives’ archivists were actively indexing the site. That won’t necessarily preserve the images and evolving links, but it should mean that a complete record of the text will remain there. Renewing the WordPress account in perpetuity would also do the job, as long as WP (and the web, I guess) continue to be a thing.I do my own site in ten-year blocks, just in case. Dunno if BotD would appreciate support via the Donate Button to do a long-term renewal, but that would also keep the platform intact.

    • Diggy

      Agree, Dawn. Miss him.

  25. JAH

    Bummed out all over again – ToTD would have had a field day with the new Josh Meyers album/video.

    • Carlos

      Second that!

  26. Dawn Judd

    i still come back, out of habit, and i still miss him an awful lot.

    • Morning Deuce

      Me too

  27. Anthony Pulsipher

    Bump

  28. dj5000000

    There’s always a connection. I just found out that Roy Head played Farm Aid II in 1986. The same day that the Dead beamed in their performance from Buffalo. I thought to myself, “Thoughts on the Dead has to know about this” and then hung my head in sadness.

    • TLexvold

      He just might have had some fun with that connection!

  29. JES

    Miss him too, and still have similar “Oh, can’t wait to get TotD’s take on this” moments, sigh.

    Also miss the Comment Section regulars. Be well, you freaks!!

    • Dawn Judd

      yes, i miss all of you!

  30. Alfie Clownfish

    Still thinking of him, it’s a sad day and I miss him. Weird I know but there you go. Sometimes oversharing is just right.

Leave a Reply