Tag: Grateful Dead
Last night during the 9th straight show Furthur was playing at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY – shit was not going good for Bob Weir. I started receiving texts from a friend at the show during “Me and My Uncle.” He was telling me that Weir was in hilariously fucked up form all night: leaning at a weird angle, forgetting all the words, strumming aimlessly. But then the texts got darker…”He just fell over”…”I think I’m gonna cry.” As you can see from the video below, Weir takes a straight up face-plant onto fake-Jerry during “Unbroken Chain.” Two crew members come out and prop him up in a folding chair as he stares aimlessly like an Alzheimer’s patient, or more like someone under the influence of a massive amount of opiates. The song ends, the band walks off stage, and then returns sans Weir to finish out the set. Phil Lesh announces that Bobby strained his shoulder earlier in the day, like that’s some sort of excuse for passing out on stage. I suppose he could have been under a good amount of medication, but that’s besides the point.
The point is something much larger. First off there’s the very ominous sign that the entire band is dressed head to toe in black. As my friend pointed out, “Maybe the whole band wanted to dress like Jerry but Bobby wanted to take heroin like Jerry.” Regardless, the scariest part of the situation is the band’s reaction – which is absolutely no reaction at all. It seems like they could honestly care less what’s happening to Weir. Now this leads to two things – First, they obviously seemed well aware that Bobby was a mess before the show started, and thus seem prepared for this potential scenario. Even the crew members seem to have a folding chair ready to go just in case it was needed. Secondly, and more importantly, they seem prepared to not give a fuck what’s happening to Weir. Now I don’t care how big of a band you are or what legacy you carry… when you see your 65 year old friend take a massive digger front and center, you fuckin’ check to make sure the dude’s OK. Hell, what if he had seriously cracked open his skull and bled there to death while Phil Lesh just kept singing “Unbroken Chain.” Clearly it seems like there is a severe break in the chain there fellas. And honestly, John “Fake Jerry” Kadlecik doesn’t seem to give a fuck either. Seriously, one of the founders of the band that this guy has modeled his life after just fell on top of him, and he just kind of takes a step out of the way.
Sometimes you gotta stop. Sometimes you need to remember you’re a human being as are the other members of your band, and make sure they’re still breathing. Honestly, I feel sad and sorry for Bobby, but I feel anger towards Phil. This is a tremendous low-point for the legacy of the Grateful Dead. It’s not sad that Bobby was so fucked up, it’s sad that nobody seemed to care if he was all right. You don’t just pretend nothing happened. It will be interesting to see what news arises about the actual background behind this situation, but it’s clear we’ve reached an odd point with the Grateful Dead. With hundreds of Dead cover bands out there, it’s become clear that the music itself is more important than the people making it, but Phil Lesh has just taken that mantra to a whole new level.
Now don’t get me wrong, these guys work their fuckin’ asses off, and I understand the desire to keep playing music and push through everything. But at least glance at the man and make sure he’s OK… maybe John could have reached down and lent him a hand at least… Ugly scene all around – get prepared if you haven’t watched the video yet – it ain’t pretty. Get well soon Bobby… and Phil.
Sure, I know to some people the title of this post makes no sense… yada, yada, yada Grateful Dead, blah, blah, bonghits, murmur, murmur, when were they ever productive in the first place…phuck phish. But c’mon – hippie bashing became passe in the late 90′s. You can only tell so many light-bulb jokes before you realize everybody around you is having the time of their lives. Take it from THIS GUY. But anyway, in the past there’s always been a distinction between the dreamiest desires of nerdy passions and the technological possibilities available to us. These days though, the nerds are in charge. And with the nerds in charge they’ve been able to develop the means and know-how to bring our nerdiest dreams to fruition. What this really means is that after some recent developments, you can currently stream for free every Grateful Dead and Phish show ever played. You can now open up your nerdy setlist book, find some epic moment where some specific song is being played in some odd fashion, and you can listen to instantly. If you had told any Deadhead that this was possible in the times when Jerry was still around, they would have lost their friggin’ shit. Hell, if you had told any Phishhead this was possible ten years ago they would have lost their shit. The fact that we have reached a time when all this music, and furthermore all this information is truly available at our fingertips is quite astounding. I’m only 32 years old, and I already sound like an old fart when I talk about sending out Maxell XLIIs to people who would make a shitty copy of a show for me if I sent them “blanks and postage” – and that I would then wait for it to be physically mailed back to me. Sure the thrill of anticipation is lost, but I for one surely don’t miss it.
I feel some of the legality of these sites is still up in the air, but as long as they’re audience produced recordings that have been freely available in other forms for years elsewhere, I think they’ll stick around. But if you’re a fan, be warned – because hours can fly by in a heartbeat when you’re listening to random gems from Europe ’97, or Anywhere ’69. God bless these super nerd fans for figuring out the date entry formula to create these pages, and for the fact that they weren’t Nickelback fans. The only current flaw with the system is that over at listentothedead.com, each song needs to be started on its own – you can’t just sit back and listen to a whole show without cuing each track. You have been able to do that with Dead shows over at archive.org, but that site doesn’t have them so neatly organized as this new site. I’m sure it’s a bug they’ll fix soon though, so enjoy your fucking face off…
GRATEFUL DEAD – www.listentothedead.com
PHISH – www.phishtracks.com
So here’s the news… Last night, Good ole’ Bobby Weir was playing at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, CA – a venue which he just reopened a year ago. He was scheduled to play a solo acoustic set followed by an electric performance with his band, Ratdog. Bob’s solo set was cut short when he stormed off stage halfway through Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall”. It seems that a group of people, or perhaps an even larger contingency of folks, would just not stop talking during the gig, and with Sweetwater being such a small room, that shit must have echoed a little more than usual. Bobby looks visibly frustrated through the song, and pauses for a moment to ask the folks if he’s interrupting them before totally abandoning the track. I wonder if he started the tune in the first place so he could sing the line: “Ive seen ten thousand talkers whose tongues are all broken.” But you know Bob, sometimes hard rains fall and sometimes you gotta push through that shit. During the full band “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” encore, he reportedly yelled “Shut the fuck up.” I’ve thought about this all morning, and I’ve decided that Bobby was right in telling them to shut the fuck up, but wrong to walk off stage. Here’s why…
I’ve brought up this whole ‘talking during the show’ thing for a while. It totally fucked up the 2nd night of Phish’s 3-night run in San Francisco last year, and I totally wanted to kick a girl in the cooch during New Year’s. Here’s the thing – if you’ve paid a bunch of money for a band and have totally gone out of your way to see them, then why the fuck are you not going to pay attention to the show? This same thing happened when Trey played the 800-capacity Higher Ground in Burlington, VT 7 or 8 years ago. It seems that once inside these small venues, some jerk-offs feel a sense of entitlement. What’s even cooler about seeing a huge band in a small place? Not even giving a fuck that you’re there – it’s the ultimate hipster fuck-face move. So talking during a tiny Bobby solo gig is wickedly poor form. What surprises me though, is that there weren’t any other heads in the crowd who told them to fuck off. I wasn’t there, so perhaps there were, but usually in these GD crowds the older heads are not at all afraid to tell some younger lot trash to go suck a fat one. Perhaps the talkers were older fans themselves, which makes for a slightly more perplexing situation, but still one that you have every right as a fellow fan to tell them to close their traps.
Bobby telling these douche-bags to shut up is a well-deserved move, and one that we should totally respect him for. Surely bringing it to attention in such a small room is going to insure that it stops. Walking off the stage, however, is not the classiest way to handle the situation. By doing that, he not only let the talkers win the battle, but he fucked over the show for everyone else in the crowd. Yes, he can blame it on the gabbers, but that still isn’t fair for the people who are being respectful and not talking – you just cut them short on music they paid good money for. By watching the video, it does seem like a good portion of the crowd is being pretty loud, but it’s hard to tell exactly where it’s all coming from. I think the reason for his move is that he came up in a band that was always part of a greater collective scene. Unlike other smaller, hard working bands, the Dead never had to deal with inattentive rooms. If they had, then perhaps Weir would have learned that part of being an entertainer is being able to push through no matter what. You put your heart out there all the way, no matter if there’s only 2 people there, or if there’s people talking really loudly. I mean hell, the man owns this venue, it’s not like he couldn’t have asked security to intervene if they didn’t shut up after he asked them to. Anyway, it’s a shitty situation and I probably would have been really pissed off if I was there. But basically, he should have told the dumb fucks to shut up even sooner, and not let them get him so riled up. Take control, don’t act like a victim. Oh well, we all have our shoulda-woulda-coulda nights I guess. Check it out for yourself…
Merch. It’s really more important these days than ever. When your music is presumably available for free online, either legally or illegally, you gotta have some sort of additional merchandise for your band to make some extra money off of. If you go see a small band you like, then buy their CD at the merch booth – I guarantee you they will be overwhelmingly excited. Seriously. The Grateful Dead of course, have never been a stranger to merch. They ingeniously incorporated two different predominant logos for the band: the Steal Your Face lightning-bolt skull, and the dancing bear. One kinda scary, one much more inviting, and both iconic symbols for the band. Thus, that’s two versions of everything they can merchandise. But despite all this, the Dead have always had a certain degree of taste and respect with their logo placement. It’s not like you were going to stumble upon Steal Your Face tampons, or Dancing Bear tire jacks. And of course, we all remember when they sponsored the 1992 Lithuanian Olympic Basketball Team. It was another one of those moments where you realized these guys had respect for their fans, their music, and their product, and that they weren’t just gonna smack their logo on a stapler and sell it to you for $40. If I recall correctly, it was in the Rock Scully book where he references a pre-fame Garcia saying that you’ll never find the Grateful Dead doing a “things go better with Coca-Cola” ad.
Well unfortunately Jerry’s gone, and it seems with him has left any self-respect the band perhaps once had. Last year, Rolling Stone printed an article about how the surviving members had declared that in terms of merchandise and advertising, anything was now up for grabs. I guess Bob Weir had seen Bob Marley’s face splattered all over the universe on every product imaginable and decided that was good money the GD crew was letting slip by. As an avid Dead-Head myself, my reaction to this mega sell-out news was at first pretty well received. Hell, I thought the Stealy Converse were pretty cool, and c’mon, who wouldn’t want a GD snowboard? But my opinion changed pretty drastically when my girlfriend stumbled upon this online the other day – Old Navy is selling fake vintage GD t-shirts. Old fucking Navy? Now Old Navy is owned by the Gap, and they’re infamous for selling sweatshop gear made in Korean and Chines owned factories in U.S. controlled territories of Asia, and thus justifying falsely labeling them as Made in the U.S.A. And look at this shit:
Pink sleeves and a pre-faded, fake-vintage logo. Plus a little “79″ down in the corner, just to make it a little faker vintage. Not only does this shirt look incredibly stupid, it’s totally being made by .05 cent an hour workers. This, my friends, is selling out. This is gear intended for the Korean Pop Girl acts who just want something with bright colors that looks “American.” This is my musical heroes no longer caring about where their merch is made, who’s selling it, or what the social and/or ecological ramifications or producing the product are. It’s just a wicked bummer. I still love and respect the guys, but c’mon fellas – isn’t this going a step too far?
If you paid any attention to my earlier posts, you know I was incredibly weary about seeing this band. I’m a fake-Jerry hater all the way – it’s just not what I’m looking for in my GD echoes. But luckily I caught em on a good night, although one night is definitely all I need of this band.You can read the full review HERE over at State of Mind.
…And yes‚ John Kadlecik does try to bring in more of his own voice both vocally and on the guitar in this band then he did while in Dark Star Orchestra. But let’s kindly call a spade a spade — he got hired for the band because he sounds like Jerry. Personally‚ as someone who just narrowly missed seeing the real fat-man in person‚ I’ve always felt that listening to someone try to play precisely like Garcia is like framing a poster of the Mona Lisa on your wall — an odd depthless replication. Regardless‚ I decided to approach this show with as little preconceptions as possible. I went to Edgefield this night with the intention of listening to this music like they weren’t songs ingrained in my soul‚ but rather just familiar echoes of blissful times passed…
...The backup singers are completely unnecessary and add to the slight Vegas-shtick vibe‚ but other than that it’s a top-notch band that Phil and Bobby have assembled. The one grand realization I did have however‚ is that with the formation of this band they have officially acknowledged that they are playing to a crowd that is primarily made up of people who didn’t ever see the Grateful Dead. It’s a younger crowd‚ and it’s a crowd that doesn’t have the same hang-ups as I do about synthetic Garcias. And you know what? That’s fine…
I first got into the Grateful Dead in 8th grade…let’s see when was that? 1993 if I do so believe. Which also meant that a couple years later I had just turned 15 when Jerry died, and wicked horribly never crossed that threshold to see the Fat-man swing. The scheduled show October 23, 1995 would have most likely been my first gig, but as is life. I of course did see my first Phish show on December2, 1995 at the New Haven Coliseum to assure that I didn’t miss out on any other ridiculous bands in my life, but that’s another story. Anyway, due to fate of circumstance I have thus always carried this overly-critical judgement about any Grateful Dead music I hear performed. And it sucks. Because GD music is supposed to be this eternal tradition which will surpass us all, and the main reason of that is how universal the songs are. But what’s worse is that I’m far more critical of the musicians’ sincerity on stage than the actual sound of the music.
And yes, if you know me, this is all an even more absurd notion of mine since I’ve been playing in well-established Grateful Dead cover bands for nearly 10 years. So maybe that gives me more of this inner, twisted relationship with hearing the music being played or maybe I’m just an overly-critical, and occasionally jealous asshole. And maybe I am just an asshole, but I always have this inner feeling of, “Oh, Jerry’s dead and this is what I’m pretending to like?” But everyone else around me has the notion of “Oh, Jerry’s dead so let’s have as much fun with what we got!” Believe me, I wish I could have that sensation. I almost feel like a disgrace to the name of the music by demanding so much from its resonant echoes, but I’m just not into it when the musicians seem into it for the wrong reasons. That’s why I started a Dead cover band – to establish a solid framework of incredible musicians who could play the fuck out of the music, and not have some odd delusion that they actually were the Grateful Dead. And please don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen some amazing post Jerry, GD oriented concerts in the past 17 years, but I’ve always seen a slew of BS GD desecraters.
Sorry, I rant, but why? Well tonight one of my heroes, Melvin Seals from the Jerry Garcia Band is playing a few miles away from me. But when I saw him play with JGB a couple months ago, his and the whole band’s performance was rather sub-par. And tonight he’s just playing with some random Jerry cover band that I have no clue who they are, and who have the massive nuts to be charging $18 to get in. It’s not that the money would take food off my table, but I can’t feel justified in paying it without some guarantee of sincerity. Sure, all of my friends are there havign a friggin’ blast and I’m writing a late-night blog post, but I can’t shake the need for truth and balance. Yet this notion frightens me even further as 6 days from now I will be seeing Furthur for the first time. Now I love Bob Weir, and I love Phil Lesh, and also have great affection for the other members of the band except for their fake Jerry. The thing is that when this band started a couple years ago, up until that point no member of the band had played with a fake Jerry. All the fill-in lead guitarists had either been well-known players who already had their own definitive sound which they brought to the music, or they were lesser known guys who could reinterpret the guitar leads into a whole new twisted fashion. But now they’ve got the fella from Dark Star Orchestra – the fella who spent yearspretending to be Garcia, and I’ve always felt scoured of my insides when I saw him and the rest of the band try to mimic the band’s movements as well as their music like they were in some Vegas tribute show.
Obviously the answer is yes, I am a self-loathing Dead-head. Will I look like a cynical asshole next Friday? Quite possibly. So here’s my personal mission – I will fully cloud all my pre-judgments of this band and approach it with a completely clean slate. I will listen to these songs with no prior thoughts of visions to compare them to. I shall succeed and feel justified in paying $75. Yes, I shall succeed.
So on the way back from a friggin’ horrid gig in Saratoga last night, I came across the modern dilemma of what music on my iPod could both satisfy the needed subversive expansion for my currently half-withered soul and likewise entertain the 60 year-old Deadhead riding shotgun. The Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. album proved to be too much of a discussive workout, despite my need to listen to it daily (more to come on that soon). So I turned to the modern standard: Radiohead. I had just uploaded the new King of Limbs – From the Basement Sessions and I thought it would be perfect. You know, a good old rhythmic assault is fun for everyone, and he’d have to dig it since it’s live and thus a step-up automatically in any old Deadhead’s book. The response I got was at first obnoxious, and I contemplated just caving and putting on The Allman Brothers, but then it became so absurdly hilarious I had to continue. Here’s some highlights that both frustrated and amused me.
“So, there’s just some sort of loop machine going right?”
“This guy’s supposed to be so good at guitar, but there isn’t even any guitar on this song!”
“It sounds a lot like U2 – you know, drones with Bono scatting on top. Skee-bop, whiiiiiir, the suuuun, how’s that song go?”
“By listening to this, you know who would sound perfect to collaborate with Radiohead….Mickey Hart”
“Laaaaaah, laaaaaaah, (whistle of high harmony) laaaaah”
“I saw em on TV once, and the guitarists were on the ground twisting knobs all over the place – it was wild!”
“What, Radiohead released a new album this year? I can’t believe I didn’t know that.”
Bless you Mr. Charlie, your fragmented views of modern music are both refreshing and ignorant all at the same time. You are a treasure my friend. Look for “Part 2: All the Different Shit He Thinks My Morning Jacket’s Circuital sounds like”
So I cut my media outlets early last night, thus only woke this morning to news of Bin Laden being killed. Fuck, I really would have loved to shoot my shotgun mindlessly into the air in celebration. Do you think this actually happened like 3 weeks ago, but they announced it just yesterday in order to draw away any more unprecedented media footage of Great Britain’s royal wedding? Seriously, it’s like the only media attention that England has gotten in years, and they’re uber-hyped about a big tourist boost. So wouldn’t it be just like the single-minded, war consumed heart of our American military and political leaders to hold off on celebration of this news until they could use it to even more of their advantage on the world stage? Put THAT in your cap and smoke it! That’s right, ishitmusic, your number one destination for all things new in music and ill-informed conspiracy theories.
Well, I’m sure the one thing we can all agree upon is that no other song and music video comes to mind on this glorious day of U.S. military blood-drawing then the one below – God Friggin’ Bless -
I’ll slap my own ass pink for my drooling adoration of Doug Martsch and Built to Spill. Also being a huge fan of the late great Mr. Show, I’m drawn to most things that Bob Odenkirk attaches his name to. So when I saw that the band recently released a new music video, by Odenkirk, for one of my favorite tunes off of There is No Enemy - well, my giddy levels fluxed to max. Turns out though, the video kinda blows. That’s probably why it’s only averaging 20 views a day, and why nobody hipped me to its’ initial release.
Not to drag on about shit that lets me down, so the best part of the video for “Hindsight” is the idea that in the future we’ll have the technology to just download holographic versions of old bands – you know, like the holodeck on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wouldn’t it be friggin dope if you could just type in Grateful Dead 5/8/77 and then be able to walk through a magic door into a fully interactive holographic representation of that night in Cornell 30 years ago? Sure, it’s bound to open up a whole new universe of addiction but that’s the case whenever new cool shit comes into fashion.
This did make me think of the scene in Vanilla Sky when they’re having that baller party in Manhattan with a holographic Charlie Parker playing in the living room – turns out it’s not real. Fuck modern cinema! You got me again. So I guess we’re not yet at the point where R2D2 can project a Princess Leia -you know, it turns out there’s all these problems with making light particles stop and stay organized in thin air – I guess the breakthroughs you have on psychedelics at 3 in the morning haven’t yet come into full fruition. So until that point, I guess all we can do is bathe in the 2-dimensional wonder that Built to Spill honors us with. I’d post the video but they’ve taken down the embedding code, probably because they’re just as non-proud of it as I am bored of it. Check it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYf3tAtktD8 And here’s what we’re aiming for:
Here’s the link to my adoring review of Radiohead and their latest release: The King of Limbs. http://www.stateofmindmusic.com/entry/1196/Radiohead—The-King-of-Limbs/ And just in case you think I rant in too far of a positive direction some times, here’s my dumper review on The Decemberists and their latest: The King is Dead. http://www.stateofmindmusic.com/entry/1191/The-Decemberists—The-King-is-Dead/ What an odd state of affairs in the world of album sales, when that overly gentle throwaway goes to number 1 on the Billboard charts. I think the main unfortunate result is that it gives an ill-constructed ego boost to said bands involved, and suddenly you give a bunch of boring, drab party-poopers who already think they’re changing the world in some weird subliminal way – you give them the confidence that they’re actually succeeding and heading in the right direction. And thus instead of making the band struggle and work through to actually make a newer, better album – they now forge along the same boring path that goes nowhere because they think that’s what will bring them success in the outdated concept of how that used to be measured in the music world. I don’t know, just not my thing. Have you heard their studio-released cover of “Jimmy Row” by the good ole’ Grateful Dead? If not, then please make sure you never do. It’s so boring, and so obnoxious of them to think that they somehow represent some indie-culture of nerdom and thus them covering a Grateful Dead song is completely different than somebody else doing it – like they believe it represents some crazy wall breaking down and them revealing themselves as cross-shoot americana-ista hippies or something. Like that really would mean anything. And beside Doug Marsche has already been busting out “Ripple” at Built to Spill sets for the past year – way to tag on the coattails of a far superior NorthWest band. Just saying.