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Trivial Dead

28 Mar

Oh boy oh boy oh boy OH BOY! Yep, it’s finally ARRIVED!


THE GRATEFUL DEAD GAME is sitting in my lap as I type this. Now lemme tell ya: this purchase was a controversial one. Take a peek at what my wife had to say about it all on her blog earlier today:

A few months ago, M bid on and won a Greatful Dead Board Game. I think he paid a lot for it, and paid even more to have it shipped overseas. It came today and after seriously trying to hide it from him, he found it and opened it. He is threatening to make me play it. When I told him no, he said that he would then force (*name deleted) to play it with him. I miss her but you know, maybe it’s a good thing she’s in America right now! Though the idea of (*name deleted) beating him at this game is a satisfying idea.

The box says Ages: Adult. Haha…don’t they mean Acid Casualty Boomer? The goal of the game is to collect little tickets while you move a dancing skeleton around a collage of off-their-head dancing Dead Heads printed on the board.

Already M is looking at the cards going, “Man, these questions are super hard.”

And this just proves my theory– with all their lip service to love and light, hippies are the most hung up, retentive and controlling people. Ever.

(Have you ever seen a Head open their suitcase of live Dead cassettes? Did you try to touch them? Do you remember what happened? I rest my case while simultaneously dating myself)

If I must play it, will try to make this into a drinking game. For the good of the marriage.

Sheesh. I’m sure (well, pretty sure) she’s just taking the piss. Hell she’s the only one in the marriage to’ve actually seen THE DEAD play live, and multiple times at that. In the Bay Area no less! Yeah she’ll NEVER live that down.

BUT ANYWAY, the only problem I can see is . . . well you sorta need TWO OR MORE DEADHEADS to play. One Deadhead + clueless participant (willin’ or otherwise) just won’t cut it. Said participant would no doubt lose her pretty, everlovin’ mind after like 2 questions as the questions are, well, super hard. Here’s a sample question: “Creditors repossessed Pigpen’s organ in San Francisco in the 1960’s due to the band’s outstanding debts. Did or Didn’t?” Uh, yeah.

So who else is gonna join in to play? I promise, I’ll go easy onya.


Living, Breathing, Hissing Dead

9 Dec

As I sit here, trying to come to terms with yet another Dick’s Pick’s set (this one happens to be Vol. 32, live from August 7, 1982, at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, Wisconsin – which the liners tell me is mastered from freakin’ cassette) I feel it necessary to emphasize a few vital but all-too-often ignored points re: the singular nature of THE GRATEFUL DEAD. All you jaded, punkass mofos out there who’d rather piss on them: you just don’t know what you’re missing.


  • No other band in the history of rock ‘n’ roll ever prioritized LIVE to the sheer, maddening extreme that THE GRATEFUL DEAD did. This stance grew out of a firm belief that music was something to be discovered, hammered out, bent, altered and honed in real time, in relation to actual people, places, experiences and emotions. It was an approach once reserved for jazz players, but well, LSD sure does have a way of suggesting new vistas of possibility to even hardened control-freaks. And these SF longhairs learned from their trips. Boy, did they ever.
  • GDsound

  • No other band in the history of rock ‘n’ roll toured as long and hard as THE GRATEFUL DEAD. You think Ginn’s BLACK FLAG were on the road alot? Brother, Jerry & co. played – count ’em – 2,317 concerts over a 20 year-long tour history! Check out this insane, endless journey here.
  • DavidLemieux

  • No other band in the history of rock ‘n’ roll has documented their in-concert thing so goddamn rigorously as THE GRATEFUL DEAD. GD techs like Owsley Stanley and Dan Healy patiently toiled for years to attain superior on-stage sound and balanced sonic documentation, while archivists like Dick Latvala and David Lemieux made sure the tapes were preserved, cleaned-up and released to the insatiable tie-dyed public from the ’80s onwards. A ballpark count on my part tells me the band has authorized upwards of 75 live albums to date, most of which are multi-disc sets. And this is merely the tip of a vast, iceberg-like collection of recordings in extant in the vaults. Nuts!
  • GDtapes

  • Finally, no other band in the history of rock ‘n’ roll has fans that actively helped shape the listening experience quite like those of THE GRATEFUL DEAD. Confused Deadheads everywhere (that’s you, Nazz Nomad) used to record and pass ragged, homemade tapes – like little hand-rolled joints! – from one greasy hippie palm to another. And then what a truly hairy experience the listening becomes – when you can’t be sure that what you just heard was Jerry’s gtr feedback, the taper’s girlfriend sneezing, or the threadbare ribbon hiss at the end of a warped cassette! Once I stuck my little toe into this imposing body of work, I discovered there was, literally, no way out. Getting my head round it all was next to impossible. And when I returned to the studio recordings (all respectable stuff fr sure), I found they sounded more like well-rehearsed afterthoughts of the larger, neverending live GD train-of-thought. I’m ruined, and for life!
  • A Fold In Time

    2 Aug

    You may have seen this pic before, but OH MAN it’s still just the ULTIMATE.

    BLACK FLAG‘s Greg Ginn bows in prayer to the twin gods of PUNK and HIPPIE during one glorious, unified gtr solo – on the steps of the Federal Building in Westwood, CA, in support of the California Marijuana Initiative, July 4, 1983. Note the PURE WHITE LIGHT streaming down upon our unholy man’s cranium! Steal your face, indeed.

    It was the start of a beautiful marriage.


    Thanks to photographer Kevin Stalk for capturing it all

    Die, You Ungrateful Bastards

    28 Jun

    In the never-ending quest to counter unfounded insults & criticisms levelled at THE GRATEFUL DEAD (and in firm solidarity with the sentiment behind a grip of recent posts by Nazz “Pigpen” Nomad), I give you the first in what you can bet will be A SERIES OF KIND REVIEWS aimed at SETTING YOUR PUNY HEADS STRAIGHT.

    May Jerry’s guitar haunt your subconscious forever, as it does mine. First up on the chopping block is


    Truckin’ Up To Buffalo: July 4, 1989 (Rhino Records, 2005)

    (Yeah maybe not the one you’d pick first but fuck you too, you don’t ever really LISTEN to these guys/gals anyway. Truth be known I, too, HATED the DEAD in ’89 – oh, with a burning passion! – but hey, we all make mistakes, right?)

    OK. So:

    You’re stuck in Hermosa Beach, CA on a weeknight, and you don’t fucking know nobody or give a shit about any of it, except you know you want a drink and wouldn’t mind if it were down near the ocean. If only to get a better handle on this whole overhyped, emptyheaded, West Coast faux-culture thing.

    And so: you roll down to the beach and troll for a friendly-looking bar. And there really ain’t one that looks right, but . . . after paying 8 bucks for parking, you finally end up on a not-uncomfortable barstool just off Pier Ave., next to an overly-tan, stringy-hair fella who’s sipping a rum and Coke, wearing flip-flops, and grinning like a mutherfucker. Riiiiight. So you order a Maitai – it seems expensive, but hey what the fuck – it comes in a commemorative Hermosa Pier glass that you get to keep! – so you don’t complain. You just drink.

    After a while a band starts up off in the corner. It’s a bunch of old men with beef jerky for skin, wearing Hawaiian shirts and mirror shades and beaded necklaces – and it’s like this folky, out-of-tune rock-lite nonsense, the kinda shit you peed on in high school. The keyboardist – with his bogus synthwashes and overplaying – man, he is fucking it all up, royally. He’s just . . . shit.

    But as you drink a bit more, you start to reassess the situation.

    Ok, so:

    The one Mexican-looking dude can actually play a bit of guitar. Not what you’d ever play, but whatever. He’s got his own thing happening, definitely.

    The other main guy is at least singing like he MEANS it, which is very cool.

    The slow, easy-paced songs seem kinda calculated to please the baby-boomer element in the bar. But these guys are adding extended instrumental breaks and stretching everything out – taking the tunes elsewhere, far far away . . . it’s a neat sensation, listening to these songs bend/fold out in all these little unexpected directions.

    Yeah these old boys are definitely taking some chances, following the sound up all manner of sidestreets and alleyways. Sometimes failing miserably, but occasionally . . . ditching convention and floating right on out there . . . going for broke, hell even going for FREE . . . ok well maybe not free, but at the very least these fellas are pushing things in ways shitty bar bands – hell, MOST bands – never, ever have the balls to do. There is no denying this.

    And after a few more Maitais (3 to be exact), it all starts making a twisted form of sense. I mean, here you are, it’s a weeknight in this stupid beach town, in stupid SoCal, the drinks are watered down something fierce and the creep next to you is still grinning his maniacal grin . . . but these old fuckers are definitely on to something wiiiiiide open, doing it in real time not unlike . . . well, shit, not unlike instrumental BLACK FLAG once were too, and probably just down the street from here. And though it’s long over, that bogus hippie dream underlying all this – in the end you can’t resist grinning back at the stringy-haired dude next to you, and raising your glass to em all (even the annoying, way-too-far-up-in-the-mix keyboard player), toasting them once before they croak. Cause tonight: they deserve it.

    And TRUCKIN’ UP TO BUFFALO? Well, it’s more or less THIS GOOD.


    THE GRATEFUL DEAD – “Row Jimmy”