“So this is what a Grateful Dead crowd looks like”

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In honor of the ‘Days Between’, I figured I’d share a story from the Dead days.  The ‘days between’ is an annual celebration we do of Jerry Garcia.  Jerry was born August 1st, and died on August 9th.  So, instead of celebrating his birthday, as we do with most… there is this tradition where we take a week to celebrate Jerry… the ‘days between’ his birth and death.

This is a story from seeing the band back in the late 80s and on and off through the 90s (Jerry died in 1995).  The Dead attracted some great opening acts.  I guess when you tour the world playing only football stadiums (70K people a night, or more), you get your pick of the litter.  In the years I saw them I remember CSN, Edie Brickell, Santana, 10,000 Maniacs (playing to their home crowd of Buffalo, NY), Dave Matthews Band (totally unknown at the time), and Sting.

This is a story about Crosby, Stills, and Nash opening one of those nights. It’s a story about ‘Croz’.  That is an affectionate name we all call Crosby.  I may use it.  You may not.

CSN was opening several nights on a Dead summer tour.  It was likely  1990.  What a perfect pairing of bands!  During their opening set, Croz calls out ‘So this is what a Grateful Dead crowd looks like!”.   We went nuts.  We were quite an odd site to see.  An entire football stadium full of shirtless freaks tripping balls and dancing in the brutal summer heat.

Croz knows the scene, and the boys in CSN and the Grateful Dead go WAY back.  Know the Nash song ‘Teach your children well’?  There is a pedal slide guitar in that song, it’s Jerry Garcia playing.  We are all quite proud of ourselves, and it was a fun way to ingratiate themselves with us.

The next night (or… day for the opener.  They probably went on about 4pm) we got to see CSN again.  Now, they have about 40 years of songs to jam into a 45 minute set.  YET… they do the exact same set the next day.  Weird.  Don’t they know it’s almost the exact same crowd?  That is the thing we are famous for… going town to town and following the band.  Doing the same setlist isn’t egregious, but it stands out.  It’s what Croz says inbtween songs “So, this is what a Grateful Dead crowd looks like!”   David, David, David… learn to read the room, buddy.

I fully get these are first world problems to have, and it was great to see two of my favorite bands together.

Friday Fives – rock star deaths

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Another rock star died today, and by his own hand… again.  It’s time to have the talk.  The big talk.  The one your dad was supposed to have with you when you were 12… but he was afraid to.  So, instead he just told your mom that you two had ‘the talk’ and just bought you a Penthouse from that 7-11 over at 44th & Camelback?  You know, ‘scary Larry worked there overnights?’  Dude was LEGEND, and would sell ciggies and Mickey’s Big Mouth beers to anyone as long as there were no other customers in the store.

Or… am I being too specific?  So let’s just finally have that ‘talk’.  The ‘talk’ about rock stars dying.

ok, let’s get into it, shall we?

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Kurt Cobain – do you think Courtney was involved?

No.  I wouldn’t put it past her, though.  I would not be surprised if we found out she was involved.  In this specific situation, though, I think it was all him.  Totally doesn’t mean she wasn’t planning that very second to have him killed.  It’s like the joke my pal Jeff told me about Kennedy’s killing.  There were so many people out for him:  the mob, the Cubans, the Republican hawks who didn’t want him to draw down Vietnam.  So, his point is more ‘who wasn’t trying to kill Kennedy that day?”

Here is the thing, I am kinda obsessed with Courtney.  I am in love her with, and reviled by her.  I have written about her a lot, and I will admit to you I also have a nude photo of her on my phone which is just fantastic.  She defines the term ‘hot mess’, and I also call her lovingly ‘the original Charlie Sheen’.

Is the ’27 Club’ a real thing, or just a perfect example of confirmation bias?

Yes, it’s a real thing.  Now, let me clarify… I am not saying more rock stars die at 27 than normal people.  No.  What I am saying is that when it comes to rock stars dying… there is overwhelming numbers that show it happens at 27 years old.  Believe it or not, I have a whole web site just about this.  I have been fascinated by this since high school.  That was 25 years ago, and it keeps happening.  I never could find a good site that just focused on this phenomenon.  Plus, I truly believe I know more about rock music that most folks alive… so who better than me to tackle it.

It’s called ‘Remember the 27’.  It’s cool, you should check it out if you are a music person.  I take a look at what I consider the top 5 reasons why this might be happening… and then drill down on each one.

What’s your favorite rock star death?  I know that’s a sick question… let me rephrase it ‘what is the most interesting death… to you’?

Brian Jones (from the Rolling Stones)… his death was listed as ‘death by misadventure’.  You don’t know the name, which is a shame.  He wrote their best early stuff – Paint it Black, Ruby Tuesday, Mother’s Little Helper.  He drowned, and everything about it is suspicious… but we’ll likely never know… since it was prolly 50 years ago.  His sacrifice may have been worth it, though… as we have the term ‘death by misadventure‘ in the lexicon now.

What rock star death hit you the hardest?

Initially, as in “I just can’t believe that happened.  I am still waiting for someone to tell him it was a mistake” – Chris Cornell.  Over a lifetime, though, Jerry Garcia.  Thing is, I wasn’t that impacted when it first happened because I was mad at him.  We saw them on their last tour, and it was terrible.  So terrible we walked out, which I had never done at a Dead show before.  Basically, when it happened, I wasn’t even a tiny bit surprised.  However, the sadness has compounded over the years.  I think he was the greatest guitarist we had.

Who is the rock star that you are most surprised isn’t dead?  Difficulty challenge – other than Keith Richards.  Don’t be so obvious, man!

Courtney.  She doesn’t just love drugs, she seems to have a lot of emotional and narcissistic tendencies.  I would bet her mentality about drugs is that they kill weaker people.  She also seems to possess all kinds of impulse control problems.  When she goes, it will be like Weiland.  We won’t be surprised… except for maybe how she lasted as long as she did.  I am pre-mourning her death in anticipation of the inevitable.

also, honorary mention on the ‘how is he still alive’ definitely goes to Slash.

 

Friday Fives – some more music edition

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I didn’t like any of the questions from my idiot editor.  So, I am going to my old fallback.  Setting my phone to full random on songs.  Going to tell my relationship to each song or band, in the order that they come up.

Bury Me – Dwight Yoakum

I just love this guy, and I am not a country fan by most definitions.  To me, his music is folk music.  I finally got to see him a couple years ago, at Red Rocks no less, and it was fantastic.  I don’t know how I came about his music, but for years I have been performing ‘Fast as You’ with my band, and alone camping.

It’s funny to me that he is an actor.  Being actor is about being a face.  Yet, find me one publicity photo of his face.  You can’t.  Wait… I googled a pic of him without that hat.  Never mind, Dwight, put that hat right back on.

I got to listen to him do a longform interview on the ACS.  He was stupidly likeable.  He didn’t just tell great stories, he sang old jingles and played guitar.

Estimated Prophet – Grateful Dead

One of the few Bobby songs that we all love and appreciate.  And their ain’t many.  Over the years, I have finally come to really appreciate Bob.  Basically, it took Jerry dying to realize what a treasure we always had in Bobby.  We took him for granted, and I will personally cop to it.   However, may I note that this was a big song he was doing when I was following the band in summers of ’90 and ’91.  He would do this caterwauling at the end that was just sad.  We used to call him ‘Bobby Cheese’.  Ok, maybe not ‘we’…. So much as ‘me’.

Side note, this comes from the album Terrapin Station.  My god I love this album.  Terrapin isn’t just my favorite Dead song… it is a super rare moment where the recorded original version is just perfection.  Most of their catalogue never really got great until it was played live.

Nice Boys – Guns & Roses

This is from the album before Appetite.  Can I tell you something?  I was listening to Guns & Roses BEFORE Appetite for Destruction came out.  Credit goes to Tim Ashton, of course.  They had an EP called ‘live like a fucking suicide’.  It was later re-released as side two of ‘Lies’.

Hello… sorry – Todd Snider

I love Todd Snider, he is a folk troubadour, a la Arlo Guthrie, and his father before him.  This isn’t a song, but an intro to one of his wonderful live collections… where he tells as many stories as he does sing songs.  Got to see him live a few years ago, and it was everything I hoped it would be.  One of my favorite clips you can find online is this.  Too Soon To Tell.

 

Buckets of Rain – Bob Dylan

well, it’s no surprise the list featured the Dead and Bob Dylan.  I still listen to Dylan almost daily.  This is from the masterpiece ‘Blood on the Tracks’.  This is a rather jaunty look at his miserable divorce… which the whole album is about.  Young Bob Dylan was a God, and I am thrilled he got the Pulitzer.  To me, 1974’s Blood on the Tracks is a mystery, of sorts.  This is the music Bob Dylan was making up to 1966.  This should be the successor to ‘Blonde on Blonde’.  However, Bob went weird for almost a decade.  For Bob to ‘go weird’… well that is saying something.  Lay Lady Lay?  What the hell was that?  What was that thing he was doing with his voice?

It’s like Bob went in to witness protection from 1966 to 1974.  Then, he comes back with Blood on the Tracks… and it is like he was never gone.