Sunday, 31 October 2010

What it is like being married to a Deadhead

The Grateful Dead were pioneers in the world of rock and roll. They were the first to use great walls of speakers, and monitors too so that they could hear themselves. They also had such a huge musical repertoire, from Old Time, Blues, Cowboy songs, Rock and Roll, Disco, to Train Crash Psychedelic, that none of their gigs were the same. They also allowed audience members to tape the shows, and these tapes were always exchanged freely between Deadheads. Often recordings were made from the soundboard, and many of these have been released as CDs. At Dead concerts people jotted down the set list (if they could write). There are archives documenting each show with reviews such as The Tapers Compendium and analyses of their lyrics such as The Annotated Dead and huge vaults of recordings.


One of Elby's fine sons sent him this, a scenario which illustrates the title of this post uncannily.


A quick look at the media player on my computer shows 2825.2 GB of Grateful Dead or
7768:35:58 playing hours.

52 comments:

Elby the Beserk said...

It's all horribly true. In fact, we have some four TeraBytes of Grateful Dead and related music. Probably enough for 18 months non-stop playing.

But - as T.S. Eliot wrote - Mankind cannot get enough Grateful Dead.

My excuse - it's where I do the obsessional (and football is where I do the irrational). We all need places to indulge these aspects of our characters...

Electro-Kevin said...

Ha ha !

Elby is worth it. He's really ... hip !

(A sore point, I'm sure.)

Anonymous said...

That was very good and very true....just ask my wife!

lilith said...

Luckily I understand and benefit from Elby's preoccupation Kev. Although not only do we have all the terabytes, but we also have enough shows on CD to listen to one a day for the next six years. That is quite a lot of storage space...and shows :-) I would however rather throw away my clothes than ask Elby to cut back on his cds.

Spooky, Anon, isn't it?

Elby the Beserk said...

Admirers of enormous sound systems might fancy a look at this - The Wall of Sound

I had the pleasure of this rumbling my guts back in 1974. Monstrous.

Thud said...

Bloody hippies! I thought we killed you all off in the punk wars etc.

lilith said...

I am sorry Thud. Elby's dowry is your legacy.

lilith said...

You can't get away from hippies, Thud. I went to the osteopath...turns out he had his ear pressed against the scaffolding at Bickershaw. I went to see a therapist instead...turns out he followed the Dead around Europe in '72. If you can't beat 'em...

lilith said...

...marry 'em.

Scrobs... said...

By sheer dint of your blogging power Lils, you have created a first at the 'Turrets'...

Never before have the sounds of 'Birdsong', or 'Jack Straw' reverberated around here at 4.30am, causing severe interest in becoming number 85 trillionth in the list of Deadheads!

I don't quite know how you do it, but you've done it now!

Raedwald said...

My Dead's all still on vinyl.

It harks back to the days when whole long minutes passed in silence at the ending of a 20mt LP side as a room of stoned to sheet zombies contemplated the long journey across the carpet to the Hi Fi to change the album, none ready to make the hazardous journey on hands and knees, avoiding both the coffee table and the dark hazards of the fireplace.

It usually all started with some Muppet requesting 'put on some early Dead'.

lilith said...

Excellent Scroblene! You might like
Reckoning (1981) or American Beauty (1970)

Dodgy Jack Straw, eh? Cut his buddy down.

lilith said...

Quite so, Raedwald. It was Pigpen on Live Dead that sucked me in. But have a heart, there are no longer the gaps between records...young Deadheads these days just need to set their ipod/pc to "play all" and they don't need to get up for months!

Elby the Beserk said...

Raedwald

A scene which took place in college room and student digs all over the country. Occasionally interrupted by a "Pass me the headphones, man".

Happy daze :-)

Scrobs... said...

"Occasionally interrupted by a "Pass me the headphones, man"

...or even seen at the first ever Virgin record store in Brighton, where they all lined up on mattresses in the window, while poor old Scrobs had to wade through brown varnished lywood cases of albums just to touch the one he wanted most...

Mrs S bought it for me later though! (Crosby and Nash, including Southbound train etc...)

Dick the Prick said...

Sorry, what the fuck? Are those figures correct? Fuckety fuck fuck and perhaps an other fuck! That's 10,000 fucking hours? Err....head doing sums....hokay - only works out at a year and a season but even so. No Bucks Fizz, no Ray Charles? Phhhhwweee....kinda knackered just commenting, really.

Again err sorry, but just off to Youtube 'em now as err...kinda passed me by. I'll get me coat. Freaks!!

Dick the Prick said...

What the hell? Just clicked on the annotated stuff and was drawn into a complex world of ...aaarrrggghhh..

All the best Mr Elby & cheers Mrs Lilith.

Honestly, I genuinely couldn't distinguish Grateful Dead in a line-up. Will toddle off and educate myself.

lilith said...

Lots of Ray Charles too Dick. We have most of everything :-) although I can get frustrated when I am looking for the odd Spice Girl track...

Elby the Beserk said...

Diki,

Wiki's as good a place as any to start on the Dead. Think of them as much as a cultural phenomenon as a rock 'n roll band. The vast amount of their live material that is available means that they are a Cataloguer's wet dream (I worked for 25 years on library systems, so the whole notion of taxonomy and cataloguing is close to my heart).

Worth noting that they have fans in their teens, and fans in their seventies. All the band members are still playing, and the scene that built up around the band is as strong as it has ever been, despite it being fifteen years since Jerry died.

We are everywhere...

Elby the Beserk said...

The other thing to note about the Dead is that they were a live band above all else. They lived to play; their studio albums can seem pale reflections of this - that said, you could do a lot worse than check out Workingman's Dead &/or American Beauty, both made when they came down from the insane psychedelic propelled rock 'n roll of their first few years.

I do intend to blog on this more, and have even grabbed a blog and blog name, but not as yet have not progressed further.

It is called

From Rock 'n Roll to Hip Op

and will be sub-titled

Confessions and other splutterings of a rock 'n roll derelict.

Dick the Prick said...

What are their best songs d'ya reckon? I did that youtube mix and the bloody Beatles came on! Been doing a lot of Streissand recently. Girl can sing.

lilith said...

That's a tricky one Dick as they have an oeuvre of over 500 songs, and many of them are played very differently on different occasions. What do you like? They don't really do anything like Streisand ;-)

Oddly the track that floored me at 19 isn't on youtube. I could put that right.

lilith said...

Except that it is 15 minutes long. We have 352 versions of it, so there is probably a passable one somewhere that is less than 10 minutes long. There are a couple of 25 minute ones too...How do I chose which one to upload?

lilith said...

Dick, if you go here and click on the last track (Lovelight) you will find the song that started it all for me.

Dick the Prick said...

OOooh that is good, very funky and quite bluesy too. I genuinely didn't realise they were soo big. Thankyou.

lilith said...

You're welcome :-)

call me ishmael said...

I feel I ought to like them/it but I just can't. I keep trying but that bloke in the shorts, well, he's shit, isn't he? Blues players don't wear shorts, rock 'n' rollers don't wear shorts. Wham! they wore shorts. And he can't play for shit either. Nor sing. Man's a fucking prick. Shorts, fuck me.

Maestro Garcia is alright on a good day but that's not when he's doing Bob Dylan stuff, or Van Morrison's stuff, or anybody else's stuff, really. Honest, I do keep trying but it's like when you splash piss on your trousers in the pub toilet, dive in the cubicle and try to sponge it off with bog paper and it doesn't work so you just sit there for a while hoping it'll dry and you think it has and so you go back in the brilliantly-lit bar and there it is, big damp patch, and everybody looking. Trawling for good Dead tracks is, for me, just like that, an unfailing disappointment. Either that prat in the shorts is jumping up and down, singing and playing out of tune and looks like he couldn't give a fuck anyway, or else Jerry Garcia is falling asleep and doodling some wrong chords and mumbling in his beard. I looked at them doing And It Stoned Me and it fucking did but in all the wrong ways. Jesus fucking wept, Dead? Fucking well rather be than watch that again.

I don't mean this comment unkindly, the Grateful Dead are so widely regarded and respected that they must have had something and their non-proprietorial stance about their shows and material was admirable. I just don't see what it was about them, or how they played which distinguishes them from any group of stoned players sitting around and jamming. In their shorts.

lilith said...

Don't fret Ishmael. Many many many people share your assessment. I concluded years ago that it is either a gene or a virus that makes people groove on the Dead. It certainly seems to run in families.

But Bobby's shorts. We love Bobby's shorts.

call me ishmael said...

Degeneracy in the West Country, eh?

Elby the Beserk said...

Funny that, Ishmael - Mr. Dylan said that Jerry interpreted his material better than anyone else! Indeed, The Bobster went so far as asking the Dead if he could join them, after they toured together in 1987

Shorts. Well, any damn fool can be uncomfortable! I would also add that Bobby is one of the finest and weirdest rhythm guitarists the world has ever encountered.


I do think, however, that there is a Deadhead gene. Either you get them, or you don't. There's no half way position on them, no "Well, I quite like them".

Sampler to follow :-)

Elby the Beserk said...

As for degeneracy in the West Country, why yes, of course - we are redneck hippies down here!

call me ishmael said...

Dr Bob is notoriously wayward in his critical judgements, leaving Foot of Pride and Blind Willie McTell offa the Oh Mercy album, for instance. And the Dylan and The Dead album is just, I dunno, awful doesn't do it. Anyway, if I had a band, I wouldn't let any on them in, Dylan or the Dead, But I'd have you and Mrs Beserk, kinda Somersetian Delaney and Bonnie.

Did you know that the Dave Clark Five was only called the Dave Clark Five because Dave Clark's dad put up the money for the van, shoulda been the Mike Smith Five, Smith being the keyboardist and writer, Clark being ths stupid grinning drummer. Groups, eh ?

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Elby the Beserk said...

I think I did know that about the Dave Clark Five, Ishmael, but had forgotten it. Happily!

I've rather given up trying to "convert" people to the Dead; as we have both noted, there's no half measures with them. It's been a long ride for me, as I stumbled on to them courtesy of John Peel's Perfumed Garden, and because I was already fascinated by what was going on in California.

Indeed, at the age of 16 I had decided that I would certainly try LSD, and the Dead were a central part of the aural wallpaper which accompanied me when I took acid. I would also add that I have seen them live a few times under the influence of acid or mushrooms, and it was always a might fine flight.

That the community which grew up around them way way back should be so strong and so out there still is a testament to something built to last. They are an essential part of me, and I guess have informed to an extent the way I live. 'Cos I'm feeling, glad all over, yes I'm glad all over, yes, I'm glad all over ... that's enough of that!

Dick the Prick said...

I do worry a little bit about kids these days and wonder what kind of durge they're listening to. I quite like the music video programmes but there's very little that's not instantly disposable. And they're being told that drugs are bad..Hmm...but their music is rubbish. Poor blighters.

call me ishmael said...

There are lots of talented young musicians, mr dtp, adept and studio - or computer - savvy. On C4 in today's jingle-jangle morning I watched some kids called The Coral, doing their own stuff but reprising the Byrds Feel A Whole Lot Better and I am sorry to say that the Byrds thing was head and shoulers above their own material- and it wasn't especially one of the Byrds' best.

I think most of it's been said and the brightest of new performers - like David Gray and Damien Rice, Kings of Leon, even Lilith's exquisite tastes, like the Be Good Tanyas - cannot but echo those sixties and seventies people; there is only so much can be done - listen to Buddy Holly and The Crickets and Tell Me How pop music could be better than that, when you can, That'll Be The Day; two guitars bass and drums, snappy songs, overdubbed vocals and the scorching Stratocaster, Holly invented it - ask the the Beatles, ask Bob Dylan, ask the Dead, ask the Stones, ask Maestro Thompson. I'm gonna tell you how it's gonna be, you're gonna give your love to me, I'm gonna love you night and day, well, love is love and Not Fade Away. Dropkick me,Jesus, through the goalposts of life but that's God's own rock and roll.

The young people can't do that, I wish they could, but it's all been done. They should take up painting.

Hemulen said...

You've only had a few years of it Pen, try growing up with it...

(And Blind Willie McTell was left off Infidels...)

Elby the Beserk said...

I need more shows...

Elby the Beserk said...

Mr. Ishmael - plaudits too to the likes of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley who were also belting out that jive rhythm at the same time. The Fifties rocked.

lilith said...

It is very worrying, Dick. All the bands seem to start with a K. I can't tell one from the other.

Hemulen, I have video of Calfy grooving to Jerry (Going Down the Road Feeling Bad) aged 18 months. Poor child.

I think, Mr Smith, they should take up crochet, but I am biased.

Hemulen said...

Dad - no you fucking don't. Stop it now.

lilith said...

Hemulen, he has left the four of you five hundred shows each in his will. Plus the Ratdog.

Hemulen said...

It's been a while since I've had a good old ceremonial burning.

Elby The Berserk said...

And the Jerry Band...

call me ishmael said...

Whatever it was left off, Blind Willie McTell shouldn't have been, that was the point,you wretched little know-it-all pedant. You should go and join the Warriors of Apostrophe Jihad, instead of shamimg your parents like this, in front of their friends, decent people, having to tolerate twerps like you cruising cyberspace with nothing to say, save correction and reproof; nobody would want you in their band.

lilith said...

You are too harsh on the young Mr Smith. You'd like Hemulen. I'd want him in my band.

lilith said...

And I think it was an observation, not a reproof...

Hemulen said...

I don't know who you are (and you clearly have little idea who I am), but perhaps you should have engaged your brain before thinking. And I shan't call you Ishmael.

And you really would want me in your band, I'm a shit hot player.

Pen, T'was indeed merely an observation. I had the great pleasure of hearing "Blind Willie McTell" during my first Dylan concert 10 years ago now, in the company of my "Beserk" father (getting it yet?).

"Dignity", on the other hand should not have been left off Oh Mercy.

Good day.

Elby the Beserk said...

Bang to rights, Ishmael. And you - a master of reproof. It's a gotcher :-)

lilith said...

:-)

Dick the Prick said...

Hee hee - defo have him in the band. Ah, am getting old, as, obviously we all all but saw Take That on X Factor last night and thought it was quite good. What the hell is happening to me? 'I used to be somebody!'

Bollox to it all. Songs like this aneasthatise (sp)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=uk&v=WbaWdyDipcw

Although that's 10 bloody years old now! Hmm..

Hemulen said...

(Bows)