Ok seriously... why the Grateful Dead?

Soul Tramp

Speaker Snob
V.I.P. Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
9,784
Reaction score
25,912
Jerry drank very little, and no, he never had a liver transplant (that was Phil, who did drink heavily for a period).

Wow! I've been wrong about this for a long time. I thought he had a transplant several years before his death. Thanks for correcting me.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
3,675
Reaction score
3,487
Wow! I've been wrong about this for a long time. I thought he had a transplant several years before his death. Thanks for correcting me.
You're welcome.
Jerry's big health scare was a diabetic coma in summer '86. TTBOMK, the only '60s-rock-star liver transplants are Lesh & David Crosby.
And yes, I do realize that my knowledge of GD minutia may be seen by some as a bit scary..........
 

VictorB

Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile
Super Mod
V.I.P. Member
Joined
May 31, 2007
Messages
49,100
Reaction score
158,241
And Gregg Allman
 

Uncle Remus

Senior Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
1,696
Reaction score
3,614
Why the Grateful Dead? Because it feels so right. I really dig the early, pre Keith and Donna stuff the best. I also like the Brent Mydland stuff as well as Vince welnick. My favorite studio album is probably Workingman's Dead. Their live shows were either really great or pretty awful, but the great nights were magic.
 

Tone deaf

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
36,633
Reaction score
77,829
I'll toss in that Brent Mydlands (keyboards '79-'90) vocals (mostly backing) were among my favorite facets of their music. He OD on a speedball in '90, IIRC.
 

I Break Things

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2016
Messages
5,831
Reaction score
13,510
I've never heard any of their songs that I'm aware of. Some of the stories in this thread about the concerts are interesting though. I've never been to a concert.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2013
Messages
3,675
Reaction score
3,487
Why the Grateful Dead? Because it feels so right. I really dig the early, pre Keith and Donna stuff the best. I also like the Brent Mydland stuff as well as Vince welnick. My favorite studio album is probably Workingman's Dead. Their live shows were either really great or pretty awful, but the great nights were magic.
Brent was probably the best keyboardist they had (but the band as a whole was probably best with Keith, until his last year or 2). Vince was a great player - with the Tubes & Rundgren; he just wasn't a Dead player, IMO.

I will take issue with your characterization of their shows as either great or awful; it wasn't that binary. I would say that 5-10% of them were pure magic. Since, as Weir once said, "If you go diving for pearls, sometimes your gonna come up with a clam", another 5-10% were pure shite. The rest, however, were just good GD - in other words, a lot better than anyone else.
 

Uncle Remus

Senior Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
1,696
Reaction score
3,614
Brent was probably the best keyboardist they had (but the band as a whole was probably best with Keith, until his last year or 2). Vince was a great player - with the Tubes & Rundgren; he just wasn't a Dead player, IMO.

I will take issue with your characterization of their shows as either great or awful; it wasn't that binary. I would say that 5-10% of them were pure magic. Since, as Weir once said, "If you go diving for pearls, sometimes your gonna come up with a clam", another 5-10% were pure shite. The rest, however, were just good GD - in other words, a lot better than anyone else.
I can't stand Donnas voice. Cats screwing sounds better her. The Pigpen years were my favorite. I would raise the awful nights to about 25%, great nights about 25%, and the rest going through the motions which could be flat to near great. Too many nights of bad singing, bad timing, and jams that went nowhere to be considered better than everyone else though. A bad Allmans show would be considerably better than all but the best of Dead shows.
 

Frogfur

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2013
Messages
20,014
Reaction score
35,945
Buffet shows: stock brokers who think wearing Hawai'ian shirts and getting can't-stand-up-fall-over-sitting-down-piss-in-the-corner drunk makes you a rebel. I enjoy his music now & then, but you couldn't pay me to go to a show.

I am a Deadhead; saw them often '79-'91 and really wish I'd seen then sooner!. I can see no real argument that they weren't the greatest rock-n-roll band in the history of the universe. They took a an amazing wealth of influences - folk, '50s rock, blues, bluegrass, jugband, jazz, classical, country, sea chanties, and much, much more - and forged them into a unique style of music.
Perhaps the most the important point: If it's not live, it's not Dead. I love most of their albums, but what they did was improvise. Drummer Mickey Hart: "We use a rock lexicon with a jazz syntax". They learned to play together, together, and continued to grow and explore for the next 25 years (I admit the last 5 years did kind of stagnate; that - and the change in the scene - are why '91 was my last show).

And they were/are great players.

Pigpen was a limited (but soulful) keyboard player, and an OK blues guitarist & harmonacist - but perhaps the best ever at a freefall blues rave-up vocal. Every other member of the band was among the best at their instrument - in particular the most unconventional of them, Phil Lesh & Bob Weir.

Lesh started as a classical violinist as a child, switched to jazz trumpet in his teens, and studied modern composition in college. He picked up a bass after he became the Dead's (well, technically the Warlocks'; they changed the name soon after) bassist, and learned to play bass by playing bass, with a highly experimental band, using his profound abilities from other instruments and forms to become a truly unique player.

Weir, when told early on he was lagging and needed to up his game, didn't listen to other rhythm guitarists; he instead immersed himself in McCoy Tyner & string quartets. No one else plays like Bobby (Garcia on Weir: "His playing provides the only context in which my playing really makes sense."). Pretty much no rock guitarist, and very few jazz ones, have his command of inversions. In fact, I would argue that he & Jer were not a rhythm/lead duo, but more a chordal/linear lead duo.

You don't like the Dead? Good! I wish there were more like you. "Touch Of Gray" was their ruination; as has been noted, the community of band & audience was a large part of it, and after "TOG" you saw the invasion of the "Touchheads", and the marvelous Dead show gatherings of like-minded souls that was the scene started turning into rock-concert crowds.

Were there drugs? You bet! (Gee, that really set them apart from most rock bands, eh?) But, until the later years, not the "hard drugs" others have mentioned; pot & psychedelics were the rule. And while yes, I did usually and joyfully join in, sorry, but they sound just as good when I'm straight.

But anyway, to answer the original question: Why the Grateful Dead? Because of the most joyous, complex, exciting, never-before-or-again-played-that-way, transcendental music I've ever heard. Yes, it may be trite, but it's true - you get them or you don't. It is one of the great joys of my life that I do.
Not even close to the best band. But a great band in many ways. Ill give'em that, and i understand dead heads.

Live, its hard to beat the who thru Tommy. Probably Woodstock. Defenitely hold title for world's loudest band.
Flippn' killer on a good night!

Next loudest was no doubt, Hendrix and Cream. But, bands like Tower Of Power, and Chicago live, or any big band really, that employ brass are amazing to attend up close. Very powerful indeed.
 

rogue3

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2017
Messages
4,463
Reaction score
6,158
. Anyone know how this got started?

There is a local band that has a following,mostly originals....Known this band from way back.Decided to go to a local club show,had not seen them in a long while...but you tube video showed a mass of people up dancing.

Sure enough, when the set started,first one,then a couple,then a whole mass of people on their feet dancing the night away. Camaraderie. sharing.peaceful.live music.All ages.Songs that improvised to 8 and 10 minutes.Very dead-like. People were enjoying themselves. I think that's it,once the momentum gets going,and people have a good time sharing...it's infectious.Call it hippie if you will...its the peaceful way. And they need me on second guitar...:rofl:.Word of mouth,join the clan,have a great time,equally, men and women.Love.

I'm going back to catch their next show, as someone i know,a nice lady,goes regularly.;)
 
Last edited:

Latest Threads



Top